Maple Alps

Classic Strawberry Banana Smoothie (vegan)

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

Did I tell you about the time my husband won a year’s worth of free smoothies? The first 50 customers at an opening smoothie shop was offering free smoothies (one a week for a year). He went out at 5am as kind of a joke to see if it would even work out, and ended up being #48 or something like that. Crazy, right? The sad ending of this story was that he was greatly disappointed in the quality of the smoothies and we ended up moving away anyway.

Why did I share this story? I don’t know. But…

One thing that is sure in our home is that the blender will be whipping up a smoothie every day. It’s part of the reason we had to upgrade our blender early on (that, and I kinda of made our old one die…). We love experimenting with different combinations of flavors and textures, but there are smoothies involved. Smoothies are a great way to get some nutrients in and even stay somewhat hydrated. They are also easy to customize to your own specific needs. ALSO, they taste way better than any of the ones we’ve bought from stores and they don’t cost $6/smoothie. Yikes.

This summer, I’ll be sharing some of our favorite smoothie recipes with you, starting with a classic.

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Classic Strawberry Banana Smoothie (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

Strawberry banana was probably one of the first smoothies I ever made on my own way back when. It has remained an easy favorite.

It was kind of weird to measure out exactly what we put into this smoothie, but I think it was worth it to be able to share it with you. Honestly, eyeball the heck out of this smoothie, because it will still taste great! This is a great smoothie to start out your day with or to end it - I won’t judge.

This recipe will make enough to share with your favorite friend - or you could just enjoy it on your own, I suppose. I love adding flax/or chia seeds to my smoothies for some fiber too. It’s optional for you, however. Just know that you can’t actually taste it if you choose to add it.


By the way, we never add any ice to our smoothies, because we find that it takes away from the creaminess of them (that, and we never have ice on hand!). Instead, we use frozen fruit to achieve a similar effect. Feel free to use a few blocks of ice if you prefer, however.

Strawberry Cream Smoothie | www.maplealps.com

Strawberry Cream Smoothie

what you need:

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk (I use soy)

  • 1 large banana (use a frozen banana for a thicker smoothie)

  • 1 cup strawberries (use frozen strawberries for a thicker smoothie)

  • 1 tsp ground flax seed (optional)


what to do:

1) Add all ingredients to a blender and process until everything is well mixed.

2) Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

Do you enjoy a good smoothie? What is your go-to? Let me know in the comments!


 

Fresh Homemade Lemonade

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

Whenever I envision the perfect summer break in my mind’s eye, whether I picture myself sitting somewhere peaceful like a nice deck or on the beach enjoying the sunshine, I also see myself sipping on some lemonade. It’s almost as if I can’t have summer without lemonade! Or some cold iced tea. But mostly lemonade!

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Fresh Homemade Lemonade | www.maplealps.com

I’ve done all different types of lemonade over the years. I remember one summer I was obsessed with putting ENTIRE (yes, whole) lemons into the blender with ice and agave. I mean, it was tasty, but I think my system couldn’t handle all of the rind by the end of it. Huh, just telling you about this is making me want to retry this episode of my life story! I also used to mix some other fruit into lemonade - usually blueberries, because I loooooove blueberries!

But this recipe is super easy. All you need is some lemons (duh), water, ice, and simple syrup (find the recipe here)! The simple syrup bit, you may have to plan ahead since it requires some cooling down, but it’s worth the wait, truly!

Fresh Homemade Lemonade | www.maplealps.com

The best part about this lemonade is that it’s quick and easy to make. That, and there are no instant lemonade granules in the bottle of your glass or jar. Seriously a pet peeve of mine! I like my lemonade natural and freshly squeezed from a lemon.

Use still water or swap it out for sparkling if you’re feeling fancy! Sip it out of your reusable straws (these are the ones that are picture that we use from Amazon!) and feel really good about what’s in your glass!

Fresh Homemade Lemonade | www.maplealps.com

Fresh Homemade Lemonade

what you need:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup simple syrup

  • 1 cup water (OR sparkling water)

  • Ice


what to do:

1) Add all ingredients to a small pitcher

2) Stir well, until mixed

3) Serve immediately with ice and enjoy!

 

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Are you a lemonade fan or an iced tea fan? If you liked this recipe, share it with a friend or on Pinterest! Did you try it? Snap a quick photo and tag us on Instagram @maplealps!


 

Untraditional Simple Syrup

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

Summer for me means a lot of fresh lemonade and iced tea. I remember the days of powdered mixes in a can that you mixed with water and at the end of the drink there would be little granules at the bottom - and it would get sweeter as you got to the bottom. I know I’m not the only one who was annoyed with that.

Besides canned and powdered mixes being full of chemicals and dyes and sugars that are not the best options during the summer, it is incredibly easy to make your own drinks that contain less ingredients and taste just as great - if not better!

Untraditional Simple Syrup | www.maplealps.com

A couple of things makes my simple syrup untraditional, the first being that instead of white refined sugar, I use raw organic cane sugar. The reason I use raw organic cane sugar is not necessarily for health reasons (gasp!). First off, I find white sugar a little bland. It’s just sweet and there is no depth of flavor. Maybe it’s just a personal preference, so feel free to use white if that is what you so wish. Organic cane sugar just means that the sugar cane used for the sugar was grown organically and is produced without any synthetic pesticides and herbicides. Which is nice to know. Not only does this decrease the amount of pesticides you are potentially intaking, but it is a step towards lowering the pesticide load on the environment.

In conclusion, there really isn’t a difference nutritionally between the two sugars, and you should be careful to not intake too much of a good thing anyway ;-)

Simple Syrup-2.jpg

The other thing that makes my simple syrup untraditional is the ratio of water and sugar that I use. Usually, there is a 1:1 ratio. I, however, use 2 parts water to 1 part sugar. It’s a small difference, but still a difference nonetheless. I’ve been curbing my sweet tooth, I guess. Don’t worry. It is definitely still sweet enough!

This simple syrup is perfect for lemonade and sweet tea and anything else you may want sweetened - without the granules in the bottom of your glass!

The best part? It’s quick and easy to whip up! And even easier to store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks!

Untraditional Simple Syrup | www.maplealps.com

Simple Syrup

what you need:

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup raw cane sugar


what to do:

1) Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to boil

2) Simmer for about 3 minutes, until syrup is clear

3) Allow to cool down before using in the drink of your choice

4) Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3-4 weeks (if it lasts that long!)

 

What are your go-to summer drinks? Have you ever made a simple syrup before?


 

Maple Alps Roundup: 6 Sweet Treats for Summer Days

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

It is hard to believe that Summer is here again! It has been another eventful year - a lot of things have happened and changed - and I think that goes for pretty much all of us!

To kick off the Summer season, I thought I might share some the sweet, cold treats we’ve shared before for you to enjoy over the next weeks! It will be a pretty hectic summer for us while we transition to a new state and I take two classes and get ready for a brand new type of school year, but the best thing about these treats is that they’re relatively quick to make and easy to keep in the freezer!

Maple Alps Roundup: 6 Sweet Treats for Summer Days | www.maplealps.com

I’ll be releasing some new goodies over the summer, but just in case you forgot about these ones, here you go!

 

This mango swirl ice cream is delicious and easy to whip up! All you need is a pot and an ice cream maker! Well, and the ingredients, but that’s a given….right?

Chocolate Chai Ice Cream? Yes, please! Also, I just realized that 'chia' and 'chai' are basically the same but just with the last two letters rearranged. Okay. Go make this ice cream already!

 

Speaking of chia….these chia peach frozen pops are perfect for those days on the porch. Bonus: they're low in sugar and high in fun! Also, they’re highly customizable. Don’t like peaches? Pick a different fruit!

You won't find a tastier vegan Fudgsicle! These frozen chocolate pops are creamy and delicious and you can bet I'll be keeping my freezer stocked with these - they’re my personal favorite actually.

For those days you're feeling a little fancy: try this strawberry cream dream cake! You’ll need to do a bit of planning, but it will be worth it! Again, customizable. Don’t like strawberries? Pick something else!

It’s not summer without a good chocolate cream pie! I love cream pies - especially when I get to enjoy them out on the deck with a good friend. What about you? This one is gluten free, has little sugar, and vegan, so less guilt, right? Maybe. Still tastes great.

 
vegan pantry | www.maplealps.com
 

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting into an Intercultural Relationship

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

Interracial and intercultural relationships are becoming more and more normal these days with the world opening up as a global world. Growing up, I had interracial parents from very different backgrounds, and so it didn’t seem strange when my husband and I got together and have been making it work.

I decided that in honor of Loving Day, I would share a few things that I wish I knew before getting into an intercultural relationship.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting into an Intercultural Relationship | www.maplealps.com


One.
Knowing your spouse’s mother tongue will help so much in understanding where they are coming from. Language is deeply connected with culture and understanding that what might be a literally translated idiom from one tongue could be an insult to another could possibly be the prevention of World War Three in your home. Trust me. There have been so many times where one of of has had to say (kindly, of course), “Well I know in [your language] you say [this], but in [my language] it can be taken as [this].” On the other hand, if you know each other so well and are switching between languages in your home, it’s easy to forget to mention this, and you end up offending someone outside of your home. But that is another story, heh.



Two. Your living possibilities suddenly expand. I mean, yes, you can always live wherever you want in the world, but once you marry someone from a different country, the process usually becomes a tad easier. While we live in a country where neither of us are from, we have some strange kind of peace of mind that we have options in case something happens.



Three. Travel becomes special. You develop a love for your spouse’s country and it becomes a second home for you. You have people from all over the world to visit. It also becomes extra special when you get to explore new countries and cultures with each other!



Four. Your culinary tastes will expand. Chances are that your spouse’s culture eats differently than yours! This could, of course, be good or bad. But if you’re an adventurous eater like I am, then it definitely is a good thing. I enjoy learning how to make specialties from my husband’s country, and I love sharing favourites from mine with him! When we go to international markets, we are like little kids running up and down the aisles and drop far too much money to share these special indulgences with each other.



Five. Your home has its own culture. While your past plays a part in how your home culture turns out, it’s important to focus on making it yours - together. That may mean taking things you love about one culture and omitting things that are not as desirable. Focusing on building your own family is important, rather than trying to hold on selfishly to one way or another. Compromise is good, but blending is even better!

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting into an Intercultural Relationship | www.maplealps.com

Six. Home is where the heart is. While it may be hard to leave family behind (a possibility when marrying someone from a different country), it is an adventure to start a new one. When so far away from those you grew up with and who are near and dear to your heart, you learn to lean on God and your spouse to get you through that. Sometimes you only have each other and that is okay.



Seven. There are still people out there who disagree with interracial marriages, but that doesn’t have to get you down. Just because people might automatically assume certain things, doesn’t mean your relationship is not valid. These situations can be great when turned into teaching moments. Certain comments may hurt, but learn to let them slide. Everyone is at a different level of understanding, and some people might not even know that they are being offensive.



Eight. Humans are humans. Humans are very different, and yet very similar. Even though we might have different physical appearances or cultural backgrounds, we all have similar needs and longings, but just various ways of expressing them.




Nine. Communication style varies across cultures, but it’s important nonetheless. Any relationship, romantic or not, depends on communication. Understanding where the other person is coming from and how certain things are communicated is important. It will also help you avoid a lot of unnecessary hurt due to misunderstandings. Communicate, communicate, communicate! And yes, it is much easier said than done sometimes.

Ten. True love is unconditional. I think I’ll leave it at that for now.


Are you or anyone you know in an intercultural or interracial relationship? Tell me about it in the comments below!