food

Backpacking Snack Ideas / Snack Down, Part 2

I bet cavemen never thought grass-fed, organic (wait, it was only grass-fed and organic back then) meat would be available fully cooked and wrapped up in a rectangular block. Actually, who would've known meat would become the next granola bar? Clearly my imagination was stunted by seeing mystery meat sticks only in the form of long thin cylindrical shapes!

There's a growing number of meat bars out there now, even one made locally here in Missoula. But if you're like me, you might be feeling skeptical. I saw meat bars popping up at the store next to my usual granola/power/nut bars and thought, "Ew. WEIRD. I kinda want to try it, but it's probably gross. But Chipotle flavored? Hmm...." Well I decided to try a few for you so you don't have to spend $2.99 on potentially gross rectangle bar of meat.

Okay, I kid. They're not gross. Only one is and only sometimes.

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I tried EPIC's Habanero Cherry Beef, OMNIBAR Chipotle Beef, and EPIC Pulled Pork Pineapple for this Snack Down and below are the specs. 

THOUGHTS

1. EPIC Habanero Cherry Beef: The tartness was sort of surprising and took some getting used to. I'm not sure I liked it, but felt compelled to eat it all. I kept expecting it to be chewy like beef jerky, but it crumbled rather easily. I think I would eat it again especially considering the amount of protein.

2. OMNIBAR Chipotle Beef: Wow! (And that's not the good kind.) I admit I was a bit hungry when I ate my bar, but I have to say it's a hard one to swallow - literally. The texture is really really strange. It reminded me of the recycled paper we used to make out of old newspapers back in elementary school - remember that? The chipotle flavor is 10xs better than the Mango Curry (one I tried a while back that made me gag a little), but that's not saying much.

I don't mean to sound so harsh in this review of OMNIBAR, especially since they're a local company and all, but I can't recommend it. I love that they're 100% grass fed, local, etc, but [insert squished weirdy face here]. I bet you want to try one now, don't you. What's wrong with your fascination of abomination? Go ahead, try it. Tell me what you think. 

3. EPIC Pulled Pork Pineapple: Have you ever had a Costco polish dog + soda for $1.50? Well, if you have (admit it), I guarantee you had to re-live that polish dog via burps for the rest of the day. This pork bar has the same exact effect. It was the tastiest one of the three and I'd eat it again. It's more smokey than pineappley, and if you don't mind those burps, I'd recommend trying this one. 

So who's the winner?

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Winner of this Snack Down is: EPIC Pork. Hands down. For 15g of protein, reasonable flavor, and nice texture, this one's the clear winner.

Runner-up: EPIC Beef. High in protein, fine flavor, reasonable texture. Would definitely scarf this down if I were hungry. 

Which one would you try? 


SHOP EPIC BARS

 
 

Backpacking Snack Ideas / Snack Down, Part 1

Do you ever cringe at spending $2-3 for a bar you've never tried? What if it doesn't taste good?! What a waste! 

I often buy the same bar over and over because I know it won't disappoint especially when I'm hungry on the trail, but there are often a hundred different bars to choose from! As a curious person, I want to know if there's another treasure out there in that massive mix. Sadly, it seems like there are more misses than hits, and the risk feels a bit too expensive.

So I'm trying something new here. It's the Snowqueen & Scout Snack Down! (Get it? Like "smack down." Hehe.)

I'll choose some random bars and let you know the info I'm looking for in a product, like price, calories and protein (plus a few other bits of info like sugar content and if it's gluten-free). Then, I'll share my thoughts on the texture and taste. 

NOTES
*The price will vary depending on where you buy them. The prices I list is how much I paid at a local grocery store.
*No one provided these bars to me. I paid for them with all the pennies I saved. ;-)

CLICK on the images below for more info & to ZOOM in

The pictures below correspond with the order of images above. 

Winner of this Snack Down is #4: CLIF Mojo. Even though it was too salty, for the price and the amount of protein it has, it's the most worth it. 
Runner-up: #3: KIND Almond & Coconut. It's low in protein, but it's the tastiest one of this batch. It's one that I can imagine wanting to eat when I'm tired and feeling low. 

Which one would you try?

Backpacking Snack Ideas / Are thimbleberries edible?

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When I was backpacking in Glacier National Park, most of the trails were sprinkled with thimbleberries. On our first day, I noticed these pops of red along the trail, but I had no idea what they were so I steered clear. (Note: We should NOT put anything wild into our mouths unless you're absolutely 100% sure it's safe to eat.)

My trail mate eventually verified that those red pops of color were thimbleberries and shoved a few into his mouth. My eyes grew big and I squealed with glee inside. I remember thinking, "Oh. GAME. ON." You see, I grew up eating lots of fresh fruit, but on the trail, I get maybe one apple on the first day. The rest of the time, it's rehydrated food. So getting any kind of fruit/fiber/freshness on the trail was going to be a huge win.

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Let's just say that more often than not, I was holding up my group because I stopped to collect a mouthful of berries. (Sorry guys!) So, YES, thimbleberries are edible! But make sure you're 100% that's what you're eating. 

Note: I'm not a naturalist or expert in plant identification by any means, so I'm not recommending anything here. This is simply an account of my experience of finding and eating wild edible thimbleberries. Don't sue me for your decisions! ;-)

Sample Meal Plan

Here's a sample meal plan for a four-day trip. This is what I took on one of my solo trips, and ended up coming out with some leftover! 

backpackingfood

BREAKFAST
Oatmeal (4 servings)

LUNCH
8 Hawaiian bread rolls
4 Justin's nut butters

DINNER
4 bags of dehydrated soup + dried rice
Ramen

SNACKS
2 Luna bars
Gummy bears
Pretzels
Beef jerky
1 bag of peanut m&ms
4 pieces of candy
GU chomps (1.5 bags)
1 bag sport beans

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The reason for the leftovers was because: 
1) I took one extra dinner, which I ate instead of a breakfast serving of oatmeal;
2) I probably should've forced myself to eat some more snacks. I remember being a bit hungry during this trip, but it was so hot I struggled swallowing dry food;
3) I met two women who brought too much food and shared their dinner with me. (Other people's food usually tends to look tastier than my own on the trail. Why is that?)

What do you like to eat on the trail? 

Ramen is already awesome, but make it blow your mind!

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I'm not talking about any ramen, I'm specifically referring to Korea's finest Shin Ramen. Slurping up the hot and spicy noodles is perfect after a long day of hiking.

Imagine this: you're clean after bathing in an ice cold river; you're in your warm cozy pajamas, thick wool sock and crocs (if you have them); and you are hungry. You boil some water and pop in some ramen noodles (already pre-mixed with the msg-filled seasoning. It's looking real good, but you realize it's missing something. 

It's missing sprinkles of AWESOME that you never knew you needed: you've been missing out on dehydrated veggies!

To enhance your ramen, dehydrate yourself some green onion, carrots, onion, peppers -- pretty much anything you want -- and add some to your mix of noodles. It will provide extra nutrients, fiber, and filling in addition to a carby, salt-replenishing shin ramen. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can use your oven on a really low setting to dehydrate. Here's a great resource on how to dry veggies in the oven. Or there's always buying them at the store.