In search of healthy and fun meals to feed my family, with an eye toward sustainable living.

Here you'll find recipes & ramblings about keeping my family fed with what's available in Alaska between local produce, a little bit of wild harvest, and the modern grocery store.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Camping Food: Peace, Man!

We're getting ready to go on a week-long camping trip to Alaska's Interior: we're taking the remote and very scenic Denali "Highway" (summer-only dirt road) between the Richardson and Parks Highway -- Alaska has so few highways that we use names instead of numbers.

Since I'm in charge of FOOD, I spend this week planning, shopping and cooking for the big trip -- there will be no grocery stores along the Denali Road, and the few towns we pass on the way there only feature the occasional tourist-trap rip-off "Mart" where even TP costs an arm and a leg... I exaggerate, but basically, if you forgot something, chances are you'll go without!
So this past week I spent more time in the prepared food isles of the Supermarket than I usually do (I'm proud to say that I rarely venture there normally), and I was surprised at all the "Convenience Foods" there are. Even the simplest things, like rice, couscous and noodles, are packaged and sold in amazing variations -- I was a bit tired last night, and just stood there, dazed and overwhelmed...
Well, I did finally make my selections (including powdered do-nuts, which I can't stand, but the family loves as a special camping treat), plus trying a few novel items (Annie's, an organic label, carries Peace-symbol pasta a la Mac'n'cheese, which surely the family will get a kick out of...). We're well-stocked in chocolate (Belgian label Hageland has a dark ch0colate that is thick enough to require dentures -- how big are the teeth of those Belgians, anyway?), there's plenty of freshly-ground Peanut Butter (the kids would boycott a trip without this essential staple), we got crackers, nuts, coffee and hot cocoa, and plenty of beer!

Today I was busy cooking for the trip.
Here are some of our family's favorite camping recipes:
Split Pea Soup with Ham hock
Black Beans (Cuban or Mexican chili)
Cajun Red Beans & Rice
Hummus for veggies and crackers
Brownies with nut meal
Benner Snack Mix

The last 2 require a bit of an explanation. Ever since we've started making our own Almond Milk, we've got a good supply of nut meat, which makes a wonderful addition to brownies!
Almond milk is an alternative for our milk-intolerant daughters of the household -- thanks to J for teaching us how to make your own:

Homemade Almond Milk
1 c almonds
3 c water
1/2 t vanilla
1-3 t sweetener (maple syrup is perfect)

Soak the almonds in water for 2 hours or more. Use blender to make "milk", then strain thru cheesecloth. Add vanilla and sweetener. Store in refrigerator. Save nut meat for baking (either in frig as is, or dry it in oven or dehydrator).

Benner Snack Mix (named after the family who taught us this recipe)
1-2 c almonds, pecans, or cashews
1 box "Life" cereal or other squares, such as those made of rice, oats
optional: pretzels, dried fruit
1/2 c butter or margerine
1/2 c honey

Melt butter and honey, then slowly pour over mix while a helper tosses all the ingredients together. Spread onto baking sheet, and bake at 325 until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Let cool on wax paper -- spread it out so it won't clump. Store in a tupperware or large ziploc bags.

This is rich, but a favorite treat to nibble on during long drives or hikes..

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