DIY Snack Bars

diy snack bars
Photos by Jake Adams

As I was doing my weekly grocery shopping at Whole Foods Market, Amanda, the Healthy Eating Specialist, introduced me to a delicious recipe for diy snack bars that are great to take hiking. I decided to try it out and have a go at making my own bars that fit my family’s tastes.

This simple recipe makes it easy to put your own spin on it to make it the way you like. Plus, these bars have no added oil, are high in good fats and the seeds offer ample protein.

Ok, enough about how awesome they are. Let’s get baking!

What you will need:

  • 3 Medium Bananas
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups Rolled Oats
  • 3/4 cup Raisins
  • 1 cup Walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/2 cup sliced Almonds
  • 1/4 cup hulled Hemp  Seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

How to:

1.  Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking dish with parchment paper. I prefer to make thicker bars, so I use  a 1.5 quart baking dish. If you prefer thinner bars, try using a cookie sheet.

2.  In a large bowl, mash the bananas until creamy. Stir in vanilla extract.

3.  Combine oats and other ingredients into the banana mixture.
diy snack bars

4.  Pulse oats in a food processor or blender (I used my Vitamix) until coarsely ground.

diy snack bars

5.  Pour mixture into desired pan and press firmly to create an even texture.

diy snack bars

6.  Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then lift out of the pan holding onto the parchment paper. Flip upside down and remove paper. Allow them to cool for another 10 minutes before cutting.

7. Slice into bars and enjoy!
diy snack bars

Gregory J53 Backpack Review

gregory j 53
If you are in the market for a women’s specific backpack, then you may want to take a look at the Gregory J53!

I purchased this pack a few weeks ago in Twilight Blue and recently took it on my 2-day backpacking trip in Virginia. The pack is specifically designed for a woman’s frame and can be purchased in small, medium and large frame sizes.

My favorite part about the pack is the CrossFlo Suspension system. This allows the frame of the pack to sit off of your back while allowing air to flow freely between you and the pack. This is a great addition, especially during the summer months!

Another great feature about this pack is that a size small weighs only 3 lbs! This pack is designed to save on weight without sacrificing comfort and functionality.

Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • Under $160
  • Adequate storage
  • Floating and removable lid
  • U-Shaped front zipper access
  • 2 front hipbelt pockets
  • Ventilation between frame and back
  • Moves with you allowing  for good range of motion
Con:
  • Only one thing – water bottle pockets are hard to reach

I really enjoyed using this pack and I am excited to continue using it on other backpacking trips. This pack has a weight limit of just under 40 lbs, which makes this a great pack for 1 to 2 night trips or longer trips if your focus is on cutting weight and volume.

Check out my video below to learn more!

Disclosure: I am not endorsed by Gregory, and I purchased the pack with my own funds.

16 Miles On The Appalachian Trail

grayson highlands
Photo by Jake Adams

This weekend was great! Jake and I hiked 19 miles, 16 of which were on the Appalachian Trail from Massie Gap to Old Orchard Shelter and back.

We drove up to Virginia on Friday night and spent the night in Grayson Highlands State Park. Staying in the state park is always a treat and even though we were there for such a short time we enjoyed every minute.

On Saturday morning, we repacked our backpacks, said goodbye to running water and flushable toilets and headed off to the backpacker’s lot.

For this backpacking trip we decided to go north on the AT,  short for Appalachian Trail, because it was a section we had never hiked before.

Heading north on the AT, we came across several streams, hiked up and over Stone Mountain and Pine Mountain and witnessed large fluffy clouds dance along the mountains in the distance.

gregory j 53
Photo by Jake Adams

After finishing our descent of Pine Mountain, which I had clearly underestimated, we set up camp at Old Orchard shelter. It was a great choice! We had a great water source, a privy and we met some amazing people.

old orchard shelter
Photo by Jake Adams

We were fortunate enough to spend the evening talking about gear and hiking with two thru-hikers hiking the Appalachian Trial. Thanks again Rock Boat and Kingfisher for talking with us!

The next day felt like a breeze compared to the first day. I was sore, but after climbing up Pine Mountain again and eating a Snicker’s bar I was ready for a great day of hiking!

It was a bittersweet end coming back to Massie Gap. I was tired, sore and sunburned. Wear sunscreen! Do as I say, not as I do. But, I enjoyed being on the trail so much, I was in the car planning our next adventure.

Until next time Grayson Highlands!

Upcoming Grayson Highlands Trip

grayson highlands
Photo by Jake Adams

I am beyond excited about this upcoming weekend! Wanna know why? Jake and I are headed to the Grayson Highlands in Virginia this weekend and I couldn’t be happier!

Why does this bring so much excitement into my life? It was the very place I took my first step on the Appalachian Trail. I knew right then and there in 2006 I would live my life enjoying hiking and sharing my adventures.

Grayson Highlands has it all! You can hike on the Appalachian Trail, climb Virginia’s highest peak (Mount Rogers), take in the amazing views or my favorite part, visit with the wild ponies. Yes, I said wild ponies! Where else can you go climb a ridge line with furry four legged animals as hiking partners?

This trip will also be fun because we are planning on hiking about 16-19 miles in two days! Yep, my feet and back are probably going to ache, but I know I will be in my happy place. Our plan is to drive the four hours up on Friday night and spend the night in the state park. Then, we will set out early Saturday morning from the backpacker’s parking lot.

We only have two days off of work, which is why we are cramming so much in to one weekend, but it will be worth it! This weekend will also be great because we have some new gear to test out! More info and reviews will be posted later, so stay tuned.

I’m excited and also impatient, but I know Friday will be here before I know it and I will be sleeping among the stars. Ahh… relaxation at its best!