A Little Bit of the Poconos, Plus Italian Green Beans and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes!

I’m back!  Did you miss me?  I have been kayaking, biking, and hiking my way around the Poconos with my boyfriend, Nick.  We had quite the adventure vacation, which is exactly how I like it.  I am a pretty high-energy gal, and the best vacations are the ones where I go back to the cabin/hotel every day exhausted.  It is also a fantastic way to explore new areas and try new activities!  I promise I will get to the recipe for this delicious bean dish, but first I want to share what I’ve been up to in PA the past few days.

We arrived on Wednesday afternoon, and after dropping our things off in our cabin in Shawnee, we drove to Bushkill Falls and hiked around some massive and gorgeous waterfalls for a few hours.  Both of us broke a sweat, and that night we made our favorite mint free-range lamb burgers (recipe to come!) with parsley and feta pesto that we paired with one of our favorite wines.  It was a solid start to what was to become a fantastic vacation!

The next morning we had a quick breakfast of maple banana nut coffee cake muffins (mine with copious amounts of almond butter and Greek yogurt on top), then we were off to kayak down the Delaware River.  We wound up choosing to do a 20 mile trip, a trip that the sporting place advertised as a two-day excursion.  Ignoring the fact that it takes “normal” people two days, we paddled our way down the river in under five hours!  It was so fun: the weather was perfect (77 F and partly cloudy), and we couldn’t have asked for better scenery.  With every turn in the river, there was another breathtaking view.  Here I am after reaching our extraction point at the Delaware Water Gap. Although tired and sunburned, I was extremely happy

That night, we made a dish I have been working on that Nick dubbed “Mexican Chili”.  It is quite tasty, and the perfect hearty meal that we needed after a long day of paddling.  Look for the recipe in the coming weeks!

We spent the next day mountain biking (16 miles of it to be exact) and hiking (about 4 miles).  That was the most extreme biking I have ever done.  It was a rocky path with some hills that I definitely didn’t think were possible to bike up!  Later that day, as we lay glued to the couch of our cabin, we watched the new Thor movie before making dinner.  Chris Hemsworth is a perfect ending to any day in my opinion 😉

I should mention that I brought all the food that we ate with us.  I packed a huge cooler for the three nights were were spending there, without any hesitation.  Being an extremely picky eater, I leave nothing to chance when it comes to having food that I will eat, especially when planning on hiking, kayaking, and biking on vacation!  Here are a few food tips and tricks I learned this vacation:

  • Make these Super Seedy Hemp Protein Bars with twice as much hemp protein powder and 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate for some of the most delicious energy bars you have ever tasted! 
  • Swiss Chard leaves make a fantastic replacement for a wrap or bread: so good that I ate them while floating in the middle of the Delaware hassle-free!
  • Put roasted sweet potatoes on everything. 
  • Always make extra pesto, and coffee.
I’d like to leave you with a recipe for Italian Green Beans with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes.  I have been making this one a lot recently, as my garden currently is bursting with baskets of beans, cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs!  The cherry tomatoes are cooked down with garlic and olive oil to make a fresh tomato sauce that is light, and delightfully summery when paired with garden beans.  This is a simple recipe that makes a great side for just about any meal.  I actually started eating it with fried eggs and sweet potato hash for breakfast.  I love sneaking in more vegetables with breakfast 🙂

Italian Green Beans and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

1/2 lb garden beans, washed and ends cut off
1 cup mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Saute the garlic in the oil over medium heat until golden brown.
2. Slowly add the tomatoes.  The oil might spit when adding the tomatoes because of all the water, so make sure you are careful during this step.  I sometimes hold a lid between myself and the pan.  Add the fresh herbs and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
3.  Add the beans and stir to completely coat them before placing a lid on the pan.  Cook the beans for 7-10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, or until they are cooked, but still crisp.

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