white chocolate, coconut, and macadamia nut banana muffins

Road Trip Journal Part Three

Day Nine: Marc and Taylor get up early to get on the road to Utah.  Before they leave they decide to shower at their campground, as they will be backpacking for four days straight once they get to Utah.  Taylor is excited for her second shower in nine days, until her supposed-to-be-8-minute shower ends abruptly after 2 and a half minutes(she was timing it on her watch).  Covered in soap and with conditioner in her hair, Taylor has no more quarters to pay the machine and no choice but to towel off the soap and have ultra-moisturized hair for the next week.  

After their showers, they get on the road to Zion National Park.  They camp in one of the campgrounds at the park on this night, and prepare for their Trans Zion hike. This hike will take them 40 miles across Zion National Park and four days to complete.  It is described as one of the most “spectacular hikes in the world” as it goes through deep canyons, high ridgelines, across streams and rivers, and through grass, mud, sand, and rock.  

They get their tent set up and decide to go out to dinner before they must survive on instant oatmeal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and macaroni and cheese for four days.  

Day Ten:  They are up early to be at Zion Adventure Company by 6:45 am for their shuttle to their starting point.  They start the day at Lee’s Pass, which happens to be very muddy from a few days of rain.  Taylor thanks Marc’s parents every 5 minutes for the hiking poles they lent them, as the poles saved her countless slips in the mud, powered her up some nasty hills, and also helped her balance-challenged self get across 15 stream crossings.  

After 6 miles of backpacking, they arrive at the most challenging part of the day: the river crossing.  They were warned they may have to get across a waist-deep river, but they weren’t told how raging the river would be!  

After searching for almost an hour for a place to cross, Marc finds a crossing he thought Taylor could handle.  Taylor almost has a full blown panic attack in the middle of the river, but she manages to pull it together and make it across.
After 6 hours of backpacking and the eventful river crossing, they are ready to call it a day.  They set up their tent, make some macaroni and cheese, and call it a night. 

Day Eleven:  Marc and Taylor find out that when you go to bed at 9:00, you wake up really early.  They take advantage of the early morning cool weather and after a breakfast of oatmeal and coffee and packing up the tent, they hit the trail.  Unfortunately the cool weather doesn’t last long and by 10:00 they are both in t-shirts and shorts.  Today they hike through Hop Valley which, they’ve been told, gets really hot.  The rumor is true.  Luckily the scenery is unbelievable, which helps them get through a hilly 12 miles – one of their toughest day of hiking.  
Exhausted, they set up their tent at Northgate Peaks, make rice and hot cocoa for dinner, then play some cards before heading to bed.  

Day Twelve: Another long day of hiking.  Again, the day is filled with views that makes Taylor never want to leave.  That is, until she realizes if she never leaves she will have to sleep on a thin air mattress for the rest of her life.  She decides she’ll just come back to visit again.  

Day Thirteen: The last day of the Trans Zion Hike.  They end the hike in the main part of the park, and are in a little bit of a social-shock when they go from not seeing more than 3 people per day, to being surrounded by other tourists.  For the last part of the hike, they drop their packs and plan to hike up a strenuous trail called Angel’s Landing.  Taylor calls it quits halfway due to her aversion to steep cliffs and major drop offs and hangs out, ironically, on the side of a cliff. 
After Marc finishes the Angel’s Landing hike, they return to their bags to find a hungry squirrel rummaging through their bags.  Taylor’s brand-spankin’-new backpack has been gnawed through, all for a couple of peanuts, and Marc’s not-so-new pack has its zippers chewed off.  Through all they have been through on this adventure they figure if that’s the worst that happened, they had a pretty successful trip.  
Day Fourteen:  They head to Bryce Canyon National Park for a brief visit before making the trek back home.  They are wiped out from the past two weeks, as they’ve traveled over 3,000 miles, hiked until their feet had blisters, and survived on macaroni and cheese and pb&j’s, but they also saw the most incredible scenic views, went on some crazy adventures, and made some amazing memories.  It sure was one epic road trip.  
Now for the muffins!  These are such a treat.  Naturally, I had some browned bananas waiting to be used up, but I wanted something a little different than the typical banana bread.  Using what I had on hand, I jazzed up a banana bread recipe with some coconut, macadamia nuts, and white chocolate.  They are delicious!  
White Chocolate, Coconut, and Macadamia Nut Banana Muffins
makes about 24 muffins

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup ripe mashed bananas, about 3
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

In medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  

In a bowl with electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars.  Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.  Slowly add flour mixture.  Add the bananas and sour cream and mix to combine.  Lastly, stir in white chocolate, coconut, and macadamia nuts, and stir until just combined.  

Pour mixture into muffin pan, 3/4 of the way full.  Bake in preheated oven 16-20 minutes.  The baking time may vary according to your oven, so make sure to check every couple of minutes towards the end and bake until toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.  Cool in pan for a couple of minutes, then transfer muffins to cooling rack.  Enjoy!  

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  1. says

    can i just say (again!) (are you sick of hearing this yet?) how proud i am of you and your adventurous spirit? you are such a trooper! are you sure you’re not adopted? :)
    p.s. your panic attack when you’re crossing the river makes me pretty sure you’re mine, tho.

  2. says

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve bestowed the Versatile Blogger Award on you. Stop by my site to check it out. I’m at whatthedogate.blogspot.com.

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