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6 Ways to Get Active in Augusta in 2016

Maybe you’ve decided that 2016 will be the year you run a marathon. Or, maybe your New Years Resolution is to be more active and healthy this year. Either way, we’ve got plenty of ways to get you moving.

1. Augusta University Half Marathon & 10K – The only thing better than a long weekend exploring our city is leaving with a finisher’s medal. The AU Half Marathon & 10K in February includes a 2-day wellness expo, post race yoga and a festive finish line. To register, or get more information, visit AugustaHalf.com

2. Yoga in the Park – Bring your yoga mat and meet at the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park Visitor Center for a yoga session for all skill levels. Being outside can intensify the yoga experience in many ways – focusing awareness, breathing deeply and practicing stillness. Yoga in the Park is every second Saturday of the month – year round. To register, or get more information, visit PhinizyCenter.com/Events

3. 3 Bridges Run 5K – If you’re not ready to tackle a long distance run – then the 3 Bridges Run in March is perfect for you. This scenic course is a paved, crossing three bridges along the Savannah River and Augusta Canal, with start and finish at the brand-new Lake Olmstead Trailhead. To register, or get more information, visit 3Bridges5K.com

4. Kayaking – If you’re a water lover, then mark your calendar for Benderdinker – an outdoor festival on the water each April with live music, barbeque and brews. You could also rent (Savannah Rapids Kayak, Escape Outdoors, Outdoor Augusta) a kayak or SUP or schedule a kayak tour (Cole Watkins Tours) year-round. To register for Benderdinker, or for more information, visit Benderdinker.com

5. Biking – Whether you want to hit a heavy-duty trail mountain bike trail or go for a more casual spin – we’ve got options for you. Bring your mountain bike with you to explore F.A.T.S – a well-known trail in Augusta’s River Region. Or rent bikes from the Bicycle Peddler at Savannah Rapids Pavilion and enjoy a leisurely pedal along the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area towpath.

6. Marine Mud Challenge – In May, the brave of heart can tackle 5 miles of off-road trails filled with more than 30 military style obstacles. Participants will have to conquer 15 foot high cargo nets, free standing 7 foot high walls, a rope bridge, mud pits, more than 200,000 gallons of water in a 4′+ deep pit, being blasted by a fire hose, and battling up hills after being tested. This challenge is best tackled with a team – so gather your friends and prepare for battle! To register, or for more information, visit MarineMud.com

Warm up with a cup of Spiced Peach Cider

December brings cool days and chilly nights. To celebrate, we’ve given a classic winter drink a Southern twist. So brew a batch and settle down with a warm cup of Spiced Peach Cider.

We used Hillside Orchard Farms Peach Cider from the Augusta Visitor Center for the recipe and it turned out great! Stop by and grab a bottle – they’re very reasonably priced at $5 and it’s Georgia made.

Spiced Peach Cider

You’ll Need:

3 cups Peach Cider

2 cups apple juice

4 orange slices, 1/4 inch thick and cut in half

1 teaspoon chopped candied ginger

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a coffee maker, place orange slices loosely in a coffee filter and sprinkle with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour apple juice and peach cider into the coffee maker’s water reservoir and brew. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

Southern Jam Straws

This time of year always puts us in the mood to bake. There’s just something about a sweet treat paired with a hot mug of coffee. Whether it’s a quiet morning with a good book, or a stroll through the woods to take in the fall colors – having something to snack on and keep warm just makes it better! So, when we found this 4-ingredient jam straw recipe from an old issue of O Magazine, we knew we had to try it.

We used Hillside Orchard Farms T.O.E. from the Augusta Visitor Center for the recipe and it was delicious! Don’t be put off by the name – Tangerine, Orange and Elderberry give this jam a more complex flavor than most store-bought jams. We’re going to have to find a few more recipes to use it in. Stop by and grab a jar – they’re very reasonably priced and it’s Georgia made.

Southern Jam Straws

What You’ll Need:

1 puff pastry sheet (1/2 of 17.3-ounce package)

1/4 cup Hillside Orchard Farms T.O.E. Jam

2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Roll pastry sheet to a 12″ x 16″ rectangle. Cut crosswise into 2 (8″ x 12″) rectangles. Brush 1 rectangle with jam and place second sheet on top. Mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle half on top. Press in gently with a rolling pin. Flip pastry over and repeat on other side. Cut pastry into 24 (1/2-inch-wide) strips; leave flat or twist. Transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, keeping 1 1/2 inches between them. Chill tray for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°.

Bake until pastry is cooked through and golden, about 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. Makes 24 jam straws.

6 Spooky Things to Do in Augusta This Fall

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Cooler weather, changing leaves and pumpkins can only mean one thing – fall is here! This season, there are plenty of ways to have a little spooky (or sort-of-spooky) fun in Augusta.

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1. The Haunted Pillar

The Haunted Pillar is all that remains of a farmer’s market that once stood at Broad and Fifth Streets in downtown Augusta, Georgia before it was destroyed by a tornado. Local legends claim that any attempt to move, destroy, or even touch the pillar will result in death. According to one story, a preacher who was denied the right to preach there, “…threatened that a great wind would destroy the place except for one pillar and that whoever tried to remove this remaining pillar would be struck dead.”. Take a trip to the pillar – if you dare!

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Afterwards, stop by the Augusta Visitor Center – located down the street from the Pillar inside the Augusta Museum of History – and grab a Haunted Pillar t-shirt to take home and brag about. A visit to the Haunted Pillar is free (not including any medical bills that may be incurred from touching it) and t-shirts are $18. BONUS: Mention this blog at the visitor center and get 20% off your haunted pillar t-shirt!

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2. Forever Pumpkins: Tuesdays – Sundays in September & October

Carving pumpkins is a beloved fall tradition by many, but you haven’t carved pumpkins like this before! Tire City Potters, a local pottery shop, offers Forever Pumpkin carving almost every day in October. You’ll get to carve and decorate your own clay pumpkin at the shop. Afterwards, Tire City Potters will fire your creation so that you can use it year after year. Pumpkins are $35 each if you or your group are carving 1 – 4 pumpkins and $25 each if you or your group is carving 5+ pumpkins. Call (864) 434-0183 to schedule your carving.

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3. Walk With the Spirits – October 10 & 11, 2015

Meet and learn from the residents of Magnolia Cemetery during Historic Augusta’s Walk With the Spirits tour. During a 45-minute tour led by a spirit guide in period costume, participants will hear about the history of the cemetery and iconography of the headstones.  Along the route participants will be introduced to Augusta residents buried in the cemetery, played by actors also in period costume, who will enlighten the group with details of their lives and accomplishments. Tickets for the tour are $15. For more information, visit HistoricAugusta.org.

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4. Granite Reminders: West View Cemetery Walk – October 18, 2015

This 115 year-old cemetery was originally established to provide a burial place for the mill workers and their families that lived in the nearby neighborhood of Harrisburg. Julie Boone, Augusta Canal NHA Interpretive Guide and Program Coordinator, gives this Canal Trail talk and walk through Westview Cemetery to highlight different sections, the people buried there and how their stories help us understand Augusta’s history. Admission for the walk is free and donations are accepted. For more information, visit AugustaCanal.com.

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5. Family Camping Halloween Weekend: October 30 & 31, 2015

Camp out under the stars at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park and enjoy an evening of activities, campfire eats, and more! Family activities include: children’s (non-spooky) campsite trick or treat, dusk swamp cemetery walk, Cabela’s activities, hot dogs & s’mores, morning nature hike and morning guided bike ride. Camping is $36 per group (up to 6 people) with $5 per extra person (limit 12 people per campsite). Register online at PhinizyCenter.org or by calling (706)396-1426.

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6. Augusta Ghost Trolley Tour: Various dates in October

Join in for a spirited and interactive trolley tour of Augusta. From tales of body snatchers and legends of cursed stone pillars to restless spirits of the past and presence, the Augusta Ghost Trolley is a fun and informative tour that will thrill and leave you wanting more! Take the ride, if you dare, and discover the legends and tales, chills and thrills of Augusta’s eerie past. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children. Visit AugustaGhostTrolley.com or call (706) 432-8883.

Buttermilk Waffles with Georgia Made Syrup
“My Favorite Buttermilk Waffles” posted by Sally on September 6, 2014.
This blog has been modified from the original version. Find the original blog here: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/09/06/my-favorite-buttermilk-waffles/

My Favorite Buttermilk Waffles are delightfully crisp on the outside and light as air on the inside. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Some of our favorite holidays are FOOD HOLIDAYS! Really, who doesn’t love a good excuse to whip up a batch of something yummy in the name of celebration? This August 24th is National Waffle Day and we’re going to be eating waffles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We ran across this recipe on Pinterest and fell in love.

It’s a basic buttermilk waffle recipe, but it’s awesome because there are no overpowering flavors taking away from their buttery flavor. The recipe makes waffles with delightfully crisp edges and soft, tender centers. Golden brown on the outside, light as air on the inside.

You might say that we’re waffle purists. No whipped cream. No powdered sugar. Just melty butter and Maple Praline Syrup (our fave!) and we’re happy!

My Favorite Buttermilk Waffles are delightfully crisp on the outside and light as air on the inside. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

There are just a few things to note before beginning:

(1) Splurge on the syrup! The secret to simple waffles is quality. We love the Georgia made Maple Praline Syrup from Blackberry Patch. It’s hand-made in small batches in Thomasville, Ga. It’s so good, even Oprah loves it! Get a bottle (or two) from the Augusta Visitor Center (inside the Augusta Museum of History).

(2) This is a buttermilk waffles recipe and is developed for the inclusion of buttermilk. No alternatives for this particular recipe. Go grab some buttermilk from the store; you won’t be sorry.

(3) Want to know my secret to their fluffy centers? Separate the eggs, add the yolks to the wet ingredients, whip the egg whites, and fold them into the batter. If a light and fluffy waffle is what you are after (of course it is!), then the separation of the eggs is imperative.

(4) Avoid overmixing. Using a whisk with a gentle hand, whisk the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Then, using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the egg whites.

My Favorite Buttermilk Waffles are delightfully crisp on the outside and light as air on the inside. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

My Favorite Buttermilk Waffles

Yield: 10-12 four inch waffles

Total Time: 30 minutes

Print Recipe

Here is a recipe for my favorite buttermilk waffles. Delightfully crisp on the outside, light as air on the inside. These will be your new favorite way to spend Sunday mornings!

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 3/4 cups buttermilk1
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • butter + pure maple syrup for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat waffle maker on medium-high heat. Preheat oven to 200F degrees. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, butter, sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk gently until smooth. Do not overmix.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. I typically use a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  4. Pour 1/3 cup of the batter into each well of the waffle maker (or less if your waffle maker is smaller) and close the lid. Cook the waffles util golden brown and crisp, 5-6 minutes. Transfer the cooked waffles to the wire rack and keep warm in the preheated oven as you cook the rest. Repeat to cook the remaining batter.
  5. Serve the waffles immediately with butter and maple syrup, or your choice of toppings.
  6. Make ahead tip: Waffles are best enjoyed the same day. Extras may be refrigerated up to 3 days. Waffles may be frozen, up to 3 months, then warmed in the toaster.
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