Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Taco Surprise

This was named by Max's cousin when I described it to her as "beef taco stuff." She then dubbed it "Taco Surprise" because...surprise! There's no tacos! No grains means no tortillas, but that doesn't mean we can't have taco filling! It was a hit at Max's annual family Cape Alava backpacking trip. Also, I have a lead on some cassava flour tortillas that I think would do well in backpacks...coming soon!

Makes 4 servings

1 TB cooking fat
2 red or green bell peppers, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 large crimini mushrooms, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1.5 lb ground beef
1/2 TB salt
pepper to taste
1 TB chili powder of choice (chipotle, ancho, etc)
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste (about half a small can)

Cook vegetables in a large pot over medium heat until soft.
Stir in the ground beef, spices, tomatoes, and tomato paste.
Cook until meat is cooked through.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Spread on parchment paper on dehydrator trays and dehydrate 8-12 hours at 150F.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sprouted Buckwheat Cereals

No. It's not Paleo. BUT...sometimes Paleo granola is just too many nuts at once for me. Buckwheat is gluten free which is a strict rule I follow in my diet life, and sprouting makes them more digestible. I've used Living Intentions' Superfood Cereals before on trips which use buckwheat sprouts as the main base, and I really like those. It's just one of those compromises I make sometimes for the backcountry. Living Intentions is somewhat expensive, though, so I decided to try making my own. I found a couple recipes, and they worked out nicely! They did turn out super crunchy, though, which tired my mouth out after a while, so I started soaking my bowl of cereal in coconut milk and water (I always water down my coconut milk in my cereal, otherwise it makes me feel sick) before adding about a tablespoon of collagen to it, and that worked well. Here are the two recipes I used. I followed them pretty exactly, with the exception of the cooking method for the Maple Cinnamon which says to cook in the oven at 400F. It started to get pretty burned around the edges, so part way through I took it out and finished it in the dehydrator. It would probably do fine to do it in the dehydrator entirely, and probably better to preserve the "liveness" of the sprouts...I don't know if that's true, but it sounds like it could be. Eventually I would like to make one more along the lines of Living Intentions' that uses things like reishi and maca and stuff like that just for more nutritional benefits.

Banana Nut Buckwheat Granola

Maple Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola

Friday, September 8, 2017

Chile Verde

I adapted this recipe from one I found using beef chuck roast. I changed it to ground beef for better dehydrating, and added some plantains and green bell pepper for more substance. I knew it was going to be good, but it actually turned out way better than I thought. And more filling. I looked at the quantity after dehydrating it and it didn't seem like enough for 4 people, so we brought cheese and sweet potato chips to go with it, but I think it would have been fine on its own.

Makes 4 servings

2 large anaheim peppers
2 large poblano peppers
1 jalapeño
1.5 lb ground beef or pork
1 onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
2 large green plantains, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tomatillos, diced
2 cups beef or chicken broth
1/2 TB ground cumin
1/2 TB dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup cilantro
1 TB freshly squeezed lime juice

Place all the peppers on a large baking sheet. Roast under the broiler until skin is black and charred, about 5 minutes per side. Remove peppers from oven and put in a paper bag. Let them sweat for about 20 minutes, then remove from the bag, peel and discard skins, cut out seeds, and dice peppers. Put peppers in a crock pot or dutch oven.
Sprinkle beef or pork with salt and pepper. Brown meat in a frying pan over medium heat.
Once meat is browned, use a wooden spoon to break large chunks into smaller pieces (this will help it rehydrate faster later), then transfer it to slow cooker or dutch oven.
Adding more fat to the meat pan (only if needed), sauté the onion, green bell peppers, and plantain until onion is translucent and plantain is starting to change color to a brighter yellow. Plantain may start to stick to pan, if this happens, you can add water or broth to the pan.
Add garlic to the pan and continue cooking another 30 seconds to release the garlic's flavor.
Transfer onion, green bell peppers, plantain, and garlic to the slow cooker.
Add diced tomatillos, broth, cumin, oregano, allspice, salt, and half of the cilantro.
If using a crockpot, cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours. Add remaining cilantro, and the lime juice. Taste and adjust spices.
If using a dutch oven, or other large pot, bring contents to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 3 hours. Add remaining cilantro, and the lime juice. Taste and adjust spices.
Spread on dehydrator trays and dehydrate 8-12 hours at 150 F.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Almond Flour Dill Crackers

These crackers are delightfully salty, and the dill goes really well with smoked salmon. They're a little more on the cakey side of texture rather than crunchy, but don't let that put you off! They make a great addition to any lunch.

2 cups almond flour
1 egg
1 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried dill

Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it has taken on a doughy texture.
Use your hands to form crackers into a long log, about 1-2 inches in diameter. You can make it a circular log or square.
Using a knife, cut the log into thin slices (about 1/8 inch) and lay them flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350F. If crackers are thick, they may take longer.
Remove and let cool before packing in a Ziplock bag.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Last Minute Meal Prep

View of the Three Sisters from Morgul Vale (5.9+) at Wolf Rock, Oregon
A couple days ago I got a text at 6pm that a friend of a friend's climbing partner had backed out of a trip, and could I go? It sounded like too much fun to pass up, but I had no food, no car (Max had our truck on a weekend trip), and basically no time. I racked my brain as I stared at my somewhat empty pantry shelves and refrigerator loaded with fresh food I had planned to cook into delicious meals this weekend. I've pretty much stopped snacking between meals lately so I had no emergency snacks to bring along. I dropped a can of salmon, two avocados, a carrot, 2 packages of Heather's Choice Packaroons, and a travel bottle of olive oil into a paper bag. Definitely not enough for a full day's climb. This was a problem. But I wanted to go on the trip badly enough that I decided I would just grab some energy bars at the store before heading out. The store we went to didn't really have any paleo energy bars, so I settled for some Cliff whey protein bars (which were actually pretty good, even though the chocolate coating melted in the blazing sun), a Kate's Grizzly Bar (also very good but not paleo), and a Picky Bar (also good, and also not paleo). I had the can of salmon mixed with avocado and drizzled with olive oil and half of the carrot with some peanut butter for breakfast. That kept me going really well for half of the climb. And the energy bars did a good job of keeping me going for the second half, but I hate feeling like I'm compromising my body by just feeding it a lot of brown rice syrup in different flavors. So the lesson of this post is...I wish I'd had several things at home that I could have grabbed instead of settling. Here's a list of things I would like to prep and/or buy to always have around in the event of other last-minute trips:

In the freezer:
Grass-fed jerky
Morning Glory Muffins (these freeze really well)
One or two dehydrated dinners

In the pantry:
Plantain chips
A jar of trail mix
Tanka bars
Grass-fed pepperoni sticks
Sardines or other canned fish
RX Bars
Packets of nut butters (like Justin's or Wilderness Poets)
Heather's Choice dehydrated meals and packaroons

The only problem is, now I'll just have to make sure not to snack on it before any more trips come up!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Forgot Your Stove?

We did. Fortunately it was just a weekend overnight car camping trip to Smith Rock, but regardless we didn't have a way to heat up our food. I had already pre-cooked a stir-fry breakfast like I usually do for car camping trips, so we just ate that cold, and our lunch was no-cook anyways, but dinner...

We had planned on making burgers with some ground beef from our freezer and now we sat looking at a pound of raw meat wondering what to do. All of a sudden, I remembered reading that if meat is frozen for more than 14 days, it is safe to eat raw because it kills all the bacteria in it. Our beef, part of a bulk order we'd had in our freezer for a while, had indeed been frozen for more than 14 days.

That solved it! Raw meat dinner! We pulled out our trusty bottle of mustard, diced up a few lacto-fermented pickles and some avocado, and basically stirred it all together. It was delicious! (Seriously...I know you're probably doubting this one.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tuna or Salmon Chowder

This recipe deserves a story. A couple years ago, Max and I went on a 2-week bike trip on the Pacific Coast. The first week of riding was in beautiful, sunny, late-fall weather, iconic of the Great Northwest. During the second half of the trip, our luck changed. One morning we woke to rain. The type of rain that is also iconic of the Great Northwest, but in a very different way. Heavens-opening-up-on-you rain. You-might-as-well-be-in-a-swimming-pool rain. Stay-inside-and-listen-to-it-thunder-on-the-roof rain.

But we were trying to make it to San Francisco for the Divine Play acroyoga festival and needed to stay on schedule. So we rode. We rode 10 miles to the nearest town for breakfast at a cafe and dined, already soaked to the bone. Staying optimistic for the first half of the day that maybe it would let up at least a little, we pushed through for another 5 hours or so, and realized at 4pm that we hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. Had it really been 5 hours? We'd been waiting for it to stop raining but it never had. We snacked quickly under a road overpass and made the decision to stay at a hotel that night. We then rode another hour or more until we found a small inn that wasn't too expensive.

We arrived, soaked through, shivering, hungry, tired, and cold, cold, cold. The owner of the inn was so kind to us. We asked if they had a dryer we could dry our sopping cycling clothes in, and he offered to take them for us and do it himself. An hour later he brought them to our door, and announced he had went ahead and washed them for us as well. He also brought us extra towels, not showing any sign that he was worried we'd grow a pond of mildew overnight in his room. We were exhausted as we hung up all our other dripping gear over the chairs, the ceiling fan, the doors, and anything else we could find.

Luckily we had two things: first, a pint of Häagen-Dazs ice cream we'd picked up at a convenience store a half-mile before the hotel, and second, the last of a gallon-sized bag of salmon chowder we'd already used for a couple dinners. We downed the whole pint of ice cream as a pre-dinner snack and cooked up a huge pot of this chowder, simmering it on our pocket-rocket on the front stoop outside our room, the sky still drizzling away. We ate it on the hotel bed watching episodes of Human Planet (if you haven't seen these shows, you should definitely check them out, they're pretty incredible). Rich and dense, it picked us up from the day behind and fueled us for the next day, which started with the biggest climb of the trip.

For 2 people

4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 TB dried dill
1 5-oz. can of clams
1 5-oz. can of wild-caught salmon or tuna
1/2 bag frozen peas
1 14-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
sea salt to taste
coconut flour or amaranth flour for thickening

In a large soup pot over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until the fat begins to release. Add onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf, and dill. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.
Add clams and salmon (add the juices, too!) and cook a few more minutes until heated through.
Stir in the coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and let cook about 10 minutes. Stir in peas just before turning of the heat.

Before dehydrating:
Allow soup to cool and check consistency. If it is very thin, it might need some thickening. We've used both coconut flour and amaranth flour (amaranth isn't technically paleo, but it's pretty tasty and I feel good about using it). Start with a small amount (about 1/4 cup) and stir it in completely before adding more. Coconut flour especially has a tendency to soak up liquid and make things really dry.

Let cool about 20 minutes, then spread on dehydrator trays covered in parchment paper and dehydrate 8-12 hours at 150 F, checking several times during this process to break up clumps and turn over. More dehydrating directions found here.

Before dehydrating

After dehydrating

To rehydrate:
Throw it all in a pot, add water until just covered, and let it soak for as long as you have. When ready to cook, bring to a boil (you might have to add more water after soaking) and cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, cover pot with lid and let sit for another 5-10 minutes. Open and enjoy!