I won't be spending valentines day in the Backcountry this year unfortunately, but for those of you that are or might be thinking about a last minute trip - here are a few food ideas to think about:
Wine in a glass bottle is heavy to pack in if you plan on being in the backcountry, and nobody wants broken glass or spilled wine in their pack or at camp. There are a few options here if you are a wino and want to bring a nice wine to drink on V-day Outdoors. First - Platypus (the company that makes hydration bladders) has a nice wine carrier that is a really nice way to bring your favorite wine to your destination. This carrier also preserves the wine so you can carry your favorite vintage for a few days without worrying that the taste/flavor will deteriorate. A cheaper solution is to go to the grocery and pick up a boxed wine to bring along. To pack it in your pack just remove the exterior cardboard box to expose a "wine bladder" inside. Boxed wines do however have alot more wine, so unless you and your special someone are big drinkers I would recommend drinking some of the wine prior to the trip, or pouring some of it out into a container to save at home. The other great part of this option is that you can repurpose the finished "wine bladder" into a nice pillow for sleeping by blowing it up slightly and wrapping a fleece jacket around it, or you can use it to transport water to or from your campsite. Finally - there are alternative packaged wines at the grocery store that I have seen more and more of these days. At some stores I have seen individual serving size "pouches", and I have seen large juice box type packages from several wine companies.
For most parts of the country it is great time to be able to pack in cheese to your favorite spots because the cold temperatures will keep even the softest cheeses fresh like they were in the fridge. This could be a great snack on the trail or an appetizer for dinner. I like to bring in a baguette to enjoy with cheese. You also don't have to worry about the high fat since it is wintertime and you burn significantly more calories while hiking in the cold.
Chocolate actually provides great energy to hike with, and is easy to find around this time of year. If you want to be health conscious shoot for dark chocolates because they are healthier for you than milk chocolates. Check out this article from WebMd about the benefits of chocolate in our diets.
Full menu Idea
Backpacker Magazine- Trail Chef's Valentines Day Menu
Stay warm and have a good Valentines day everyone
I really like the comfort food quality that macaroni and cheese can provide on a tough trip. There are a few ways you can make mac and chesse in the backcountry and some tips that I have found useful Here is my Compilation of Mac n' Cheese Options for your upcoming trips...
Freeze Dried - You can find freeze dried options from all of these companies
Boxed Store Bought
Classic Kraft - By just using water this box has a liquidy consistency, adding powdered milk helps out here alot, and if you have powdered butter too that's even better.
Kraft Deluxe - No Butter or milk needed, but the ready cheese pouch brings this in as the heavy weight for packing purposes
Kraft Deluxe Bistro - These are just like Kraft Deluxe with the ready cheese pouch, but have several cool flavors like sundried tomato parmesan, and creamy mushroom
Pasta Roni - Try shells and white cheddar - it is one of my favorite tasting boxes (needs powdered milk and oil/butter for best results)
Prepare a store bought pasta of your liking then add enough powdered cheese to make the pasta cheesy enough for your tastes
Make your own cheese sauce in this Great Recipe from Backpacker - Alpine Mac & Cheese
When I want to Spice up plain Mac n' Cheese here's what I like to do:
Your favorite type of Mac
Teaspoon Dried Onion Flakes
Pinch Garlic Powder
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cup of some type of Dehydrated Veggie - Peas, Carrots, sundried tomatoes....
Combine spices, Veggies and Pasta at home in a Ziplock bag. At Camp Prepare the mac n cheese with the spices and veggies. A few minutes before the mac is done add the chicken pouch to the pot.
Other Recipes to check out
One Pan Wonders - GoBlue Fredo (scroll down on page)
4 garlic cloves, minced and then mashed
2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2/3 cup of tahini (roasted, not raw)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1. In a food processor or blender combine the mashed garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste.
2. Remove after completely blended, and spread onto food dehydrator trays
3. Dry Overnight or until no moisture is visible in the hummus
4. Take dried hummus out from dehydrator and process to a powder in a blender or food processor. At this point you can divide into multiple servings in ziplock bags depending on the portions you want (I half this batch size to make lunch two days for two people)
5. In Camp - a few hours before you plan on eating the hummus start the rehydration: first add the olive oil- and remember if you divided your batch to adjust the measurement accordingly (i divide into two servings, so for each serving I add 1/8 cup of olive oil) then add enough water to the ziplock bag to thoroughly soak the powder, but not to much to where it becomes "liquidy".
6. When you are ready to eat the hummus check the consistency of the hummus - add more water if needed to get the consistency you want, and make sure it is all mixed up well by giving it a good stirring
*I like to bring Pitas to eat with hummus, but crackers, bread, and tortillas are all good too
*I typically carry olive oil with me on trips to cook with, if you usually don't, just find a container that seals well and can hold the amount of oil you need. The reason I add the olive oil after the mix has been dehydrated in this recipe is that fat content negatively affects dehydration time and results, and I think that the taste is better by adding the olive oil during the rehydration time.
I wanted to make a list of all the places I've been backpacking at, so here is a start to my growing list, I have been to alot of these places more than once too.
Cohutta Wilderness - Cisco, Georgia
Blood Mountain - Blairsville, Georgia
Springer Mountain - Ellijay, Georgia
Raven Cliff - Helen, Georgia
Preaching Rock - Suches, Georgia
Rabun Bald - Dillard, Georgia
Shining Rock Wilderness - Brevard, North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountain National Park - Bryson City, North Carolina
Bartram Trail - Dillard, Georgia
White Mountains - New Hampshire
Joyce Kilmer/ Slickrock Wilderness
St. Joseph's Wilderness Preserve - Cape San Blas, Florida
Cumberland Island - St. Mary's, Georgia
Toccoa River Trail - Cleveland, Georgia