Bicycle Bars

 

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This Recipe comes to you from my mother, Sally Hobbs, cookbook.  As a child my mother made these delicious bars which were gobbled up with breakneck speed.  This is a very quick and tasty energy bar to make, made with simple ingredients.  This tasty treat has wonderful texture and a bonus – healthy to eat!

Bicycle Bars

1 package (6 oz.) of semi sweet chocolate chips

2 Tablespoons of smooth or chunky peanut butter (add more if you would like)

3/4 cup of wheat germ

3/4 cup quick or old-fashioned oats (uncooked)

1/2  cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup finely chopped dates

           Bicycle.bar.ingredients

In a large saucepan, over low heat, melt together chocolate pieces and peanut butter.

Stir in wheat germ, oats, coconut and dates, mixing well.

Shape quickly with buttered hands into 8 bars, each about 3″ long. Wrap each bar in plastic and refrigerate until firm.

Makes 8 bars.

Bicycle.bar.closeupI took these bars on a recent hike with a friend and they were a big hit!

Let me know what you think of this bicycle bar recipe when you make them!

Happy, healthy eating! – Beth

 

Sweet and Spicy Beef Jerky


Beefjerky.Sweet&spicy

I have been experimenting making beef jerky for the past couple of years. It started when I discovered an awesome “spicy sweet” beef jerky made by Oberto. The flavors and texture really hit the spot but to sustain this new addiction would be pricey.  So, I came up with my own recipe. It’s chewy texture and mouth watering sweet and salty flavors, with a hit of “heat”, becomes the perfect snack to take backpacking or hiking!

Sweet and Spicy Beef Jerky

1 lb of sliced flank steak (or a very lean cut of meat)

1 cup of Mr. Yoshidas Sauce

1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger

3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (more if you like it really spicy)

2 Tablespoons of lime juice

2 Tablespoons of  Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce


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Cut flank steak 1/8-1/4 of an inch. Place all ingredients (except the meat) in a plastic bag.  Mix well.  Place meat into the bag and incorporate the ingredients into all layers of the meat. Place in the refrigerator for 3 days.  Occasionally turn and mix the ingredients in the bag over the next three days for an even marinade.

Take meat out of the bag and place it on to your dehydrator racks. I use a Nesco Dehydrator and Jerky Maker. It works great! Set the temperature to 160º.  Space slices of meat so they are not touching. This will help with a more even cooking time.


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Cook beef jerky at 160º for approximately 3-7 hours. This time frame can vary greatly due to how well your dehydrator retains its heat, thickness of your meat as well as desired texture.

When your beef jerky is finished, let it cool before packaging. Take the beef jerky off the trays and store in an air tight container or plastic bag.

Your beef jerky will store up to 1-2 months in a cool dry place like a cupboard, longer if you refrigerate or freeze your it. If you are at my house it does not last a day!

Enjoy and happy hiking!

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Helpful Hints:

Freeze steak partially (not solid) prior to cutting your meat.  This will make it easier to slice the meat and cut more even slices.

Cut steak across the grain of the meat for a less chewy texture.

Get you beef prepped at a butcher shop. I purchase my beef jerky meat from the wonderful Springfield Butcher’s.  I can order the flank steak ahead of time and my butcher will cut it and have it ready for pick up at an agreed time.  My butcher tells me any lean cut of beef will work for beef jerky but he finds that most customers always come back to flank steak as their preference.

Trim off any extra fat on your beef.  You want to have the leanest cut of meat as you can.  Fat will inhibit the length of storage time of your meat as fat can go rancid. So keep it lean.

You can find Mr. Yoshida brand products at Costco, Wallmart, Sams Club, or Amazon.

It is important to cook your meat at a minimum of 160º, the temperature in which bacteria is destroyed, keeping your beef safe and enjoyable to eat!


Groovin’ Granola

Granola.yogurt.bowl

When I think of granola it reminds of the natural, whole food Hippie craze that erupted during the 1960’s.

Actually, granola was first created as a health food breakfast cereal by a Dr. John Henry Kellogg, for his patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. It was thought that through healthy eating it would lead to wellness and healing.  Dr. Kellogg was on to something big in the late 1800’s.

Kellogg never successfully marketed granola as a cereal but later went on to create corn flakes.  It was not until 1972 that the Pet Milk company developed the first commercial granola called Heartland.  Other companies soon followed.

But why buy granola when you can make your own, exactly the way you like it.  Pair it with Geekin’ Greek Yogurt and you got yourself a winner of a snack!!!

Groovin’ Granola Recipe

4 cups Whole Grain – Old Fashion Oats

1/2 cup Honey or Agave

1/3 cup Vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Salt

1 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla

3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

1/2  cup each, coarsely chopped – Almonds, Cashews, Pecans

3/4 cup of dried cranberries

Exercise your creativity:

Be creative and add and subtract what sounds inspiring to you.  Here are a few ingredients to get you thinking: Walnuts, peanuts, sun flower seeds, pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), pistachios,  hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts and shelled sunflower seeds.

Add in after your Granola has cooled:

Chocolate chips, coconut chips, Peanut butter chips, Blue berries, raisins, dried banana chips, dried strawberries, dried apples, dried mango, dried pineapple or dried pear.

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In a bowl add your oats, nuts and salt and toss together.

In a pan mix over a medium heat your honey, brown sugar, oil and cinnamon until warm and the sugar has dissolved and ingredients are incorporated.

Stir in vanilla to the sugar mixture.

Add sugar mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet.

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Pop your cookie sheet of uncooked granola in an oven at 300° for 20-25 minutes.  Stir every 5 minutes. Granola should turn a golden brown and be very crunchy, not chewy when baked completely.

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Let cool, then add your berries or other ingredients that could be effected by the heat.

Take your granola along on a hike in a small container or baggy.  Bring it out when you are hiking and eat it by itself or add it to yogurt. Enjoy!

Look out for next weeks edition.  I will be sharing how to make beef jerky!

Beth.Kaidy.happytrails

Geekin’ Greek Yogurt

Going on a hike

Going on a hike

Spring is around the corner and all I can think about is getting outside. Hiking is at the top of my list. When hiking I like to take great food along with me.  The next few weeks I will take you on an adventure of creative snacks to make and enjoy while you are playing in the great outdoors.

I need to be perfectly honest, I have never really enjoyed yogurt very much.  I have found store bought versions too tart for my taste.  It wasn’t until my mother made yogurt from scratch that I realized I could control the tartness and texture to my liking. As I experimented, with this very simple recipe, I found that I had created a creamy smooth treat that rivaled ice cream. And this just about stopped me in my tracks!

Geekin’ Greek Yogurt Recipe

1/2 Gallon 2% milk (or whole, soy milk, coconut milk or almond milk)

2 T.  Plain yogurt (starter)

Add Ins (optional)

2 T. Honey

sprinkle of cinnamon

1/2 t. Vanilla

Tools you will need:

Colander

Cheese cloth or a thin dish towel

Kitchen thermometer

Pot

Spoon

2 Bowls

1) Pour milk in a large pot and simmer until just before boiling. The temperature should reach around 185°. At this point the milk will start to form little bubbles on the top of your milk. If you do not have a thermometer to work with, this is a great indicator that now is the time to take your pot off the stove.

2) Pour your milk into a clean glass bowl.  Let it sit out until it cools between 90°-110°. If you do not have a thermometer use a clean finger to guestimate. The temperature should feel very comfortable to touch. You should not feel coolness or any stinging from the heat. It should feel warm.

Cooling your milk can be done in several ways.  You can leave your milk on the counter to cool or you can place your bowl of milk in a water or ice bath to reach the desired temperature. Stir occasionally to even out the temperature of the cooling milk.

3) After your milk has cooled, add 2 tablespoons of yogurt (your starter culture) to the warm milk.  Cover with plastic wrap. Keep the temperature of the mixture as close to 100° as possible.  This can be achieved in different ways by putting your bowl of milk in an oven on “proof setting”, on a low setting of a heating pad, a warm water bath or in the oven with the light on.  The light will generate heat. At this point leave your mixture and let it go until the milk forms into a custard like mass (curd) surrounded by yellowish water (whey). This could take anywhere from 7-12 hours.  Be patient. Depending on the environment and temperature you are keeping your milk heated to, will depend on the length of time it will take to curdle.  The longer the mixture stays out the more tart the yogurt will taste.

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“Curds and Whey”

4) Put your cheese cloth or thin dish towel (if you don’t have either use a clean, one layer of a t-shirt) in a colander.  Place the colander over a bowl to catch draining liquid called whey.   Pour the curdled milk mixture in the cloth lined colander. Let it drain in the refrigerator.

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I needed to lift my colander so it did not sit in the pool of water as it drained.  To prevent this I placed my colander on a smaller second bowl to lift it up out of the draining water.

Yougurt.colander

Place your bowl in the fridge until it drains to the desirable consistency.  If your mixture drains too much it may come out looking like a soft cheese.  Either use it for cheese (add some herbs and spices) or add whey (the drained liquid) back into you yogurt to give you the desired consistency you are looking for.

I enjoy adding honey, vanilla and cinnamon to even out the minor tang that was created in the yogurt making process.  Be creative and add anything and everything you enjoy in your yogurt.

It keeps for 1-2 weeks.

Geekin Greek Yogurt

The Science behind the recipe:

Geekin’ Greek Yogurt, as you can see, is a very easy recipe with only two ingredients. To make yogurt is more about understanding the science behind it.  The milk is heated to 185° for two reasons.  One is to re-pasterize the milk, killing off any unwanted bacteria from growing in your yogurt as it sits out for 7-12 hours. It also denatures the proteins in the milk, disrupting their original state. By creating this disruption, the protein are better able to join together into a mass (to curdle).

By keeping your milk close to 100° as possible your are creating an environment to grow the microorganism called probiotic. This is introduced into our milk by way of 2T of yogurt. The Yogurt contains live cultures that grow in our mixture by way of fermentation, which is the bulk growth of the microorganism. I like to equate this process to that of making bread. In bread the starter used is yeast.

Greek yogurt and regular yogurt are basically the same thing.  The only difference is Greek yogurt contains less liquid, creating a thicker texture.

The left over whey is a “good” byproduct of making yogurt.  It contains a lot of nutrients and can be used for many things. If you are like me, I find it hard to throw a good thing away. Here are a few creative uses for using your whey; making Ricotta Cheese, watering plants (dilute with water first), add to your compost or substitute in recipes that call for water.

What’s your B.R.A. Support

I recently took a trip to the Shenandoah National Park with my buddy Genny. During this trip I had the opportunity to discover the importance of B.R.A. support!

Genny and I stayed at Skyland resort, in the Shenandoah. The accommodations were quiet, comfortable and clean. This trip was an opportunity to unwind, connect with a friend, with ourselves and enjoy the great outdoors.

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It was a beautiful trip as the mountains found their peak color in the autumn sun. We hiked Stoney Man Trail and reached the summit of 4010 feet.

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Then we hiked Little Stoney Man just as the day was coming to a close. The air was fresh and crisp. Snow was beginning fall. I took a deep breath, the cool air filling my lungs. I found contentment.

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On day two of our trip we challenged ourselves with a “difficult” hike, taking on the Cedar Run Loop in the White Oak Canyon. It is an 8 mile hike, considered more strenuous than Old Rag Loop (one of the more popular hikes in the Shenandoah).

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The difficulty came in the form of increased stair stepping over rocks and tree roots for the majority of the trip. We lost the trail for about 50 yards. Climbing though brush and sliding down large rounded rock, we eventually found the trail continue on the other side of the river.

The challenges were worth the experience as we traveled down the canyon along the river bank, experiencing waterfalls the majority of the way.

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The trail was very strenuous in ability and length, more than we were conditioned for on this day. Grateful that I had brought my hiking stick as I found myself slipping, tripping and falling on roots and rocks hidden under the abundance of leaves. It became my saving grace and saving face as I met many obstacles along the way. It was during one of my many stumbles that I began to realize the importance of added SUPPORT while taking on challenges on the trail and in life.

The day took a turn for the worse around mile 5 when my Iliotibial Band (IT Band) began to rub creating discomfort along the side of my left knee. It only got worse as we traveled up and down the canyon and crossing the river 3 more times.

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As we reached the Whiteoak Fire Road the pain was stabbing on the side of my knee. I gritted my teeth and slowly hobbled the remaining portion of the trip. It was difficult and I was unbearably slow. My buddy Genny was an amazing support with patience and encouragement. I am not sure I how much further I could have gone without her help.

As the pain increased I found my energy level decrease. To move forward was challenging. There is something I do when things get really tough whether on the trail or in life in general. I say to myself, “Thank you Jesus”. This is the start of a long conversation I have rattling off words of gratitude. “Thank you for the colorful trees. Thank you for the opportunity to hike. Thank you for my friend Genny.” Some how by doing this it brings a sense of calm and focus within me, giving me energy.

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As the sun began to set, I needed to muster that last bit of attitude to finish this hike. Finding attitude comes from within. From a place of reserve. A place we do not know exists until faced with a challenge. And when we find that reserve we discover new strength within ourselves we never knew was there. And in the end I was grateful for this wonderful discovery.

We finished the hike shortly before the sun set. Without my B.R.A. support I am not sure I would have made it. Without my Buddy, my new found Attitude and my Religion, I may have given up.

B.R.A. Support is just as important for men as it is for women. It is important on the trail and in every day life. Think about who and what makes up your BRA support. What’s your B.R.A. size and Is your B.R.A. giving you the support you need to meet the challenges in your life? If you are finding your reinforcements not holding up, it might be time to get fitted for a new B.R.A.!

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It’s Not Just A Place, It’s An Experience

Starting off on our Big Adventure!

Starting off on our Big Adventure!

Treasures come in all shapes and sizes but the treasure experienced within the heart has no limits as to the wealth that it provides.

It was less than a week prior to leaving on our backpacking trip to Isle Royale when my teenage daughter declared that she was not interested in going on the trip with me.  Dumbfounded by her response I looked at her plainly and said, “OK, then I am going by myself”.  I do believe my response surprised her even more than her response startled me.  A couple of days later, either out of pity or concern, my daughter changed her mind to join me on the trip, unknowingly, changing her life forever as a result of her choice.

After months of preparation and planning my daughter and I ventured off on our first backpacking trip into the wilderness alone. With only each other to depend on, while carrying minimal supplies, we soon began to experience the world like we had never done so before.

We hiked for miles along the Greenstone Ridge and surrounding forest, among the wolves and the moose. We laughed all the while making mistakes and learning lessons along the way. Finally, sharing the pathway with hundreds of miniature toads, we found our limit of pain, fatigue, hunger and irritability. Stopping was not an option. We dug in our heels and discovered new levels of perseverance we never knew existed.

I never promised my daughter this would be a fun trip but I did promise her it would be a memorable one. And a memorable trip it was. Afterward, I asked her how she liked our National Parks adventure; she gave it a score off the charts.  It was the most loved and memorable trip we both had ever been on.

In the weeks that followed I noticed a change in my daughter that I had never seen before. This young woman had transformed in confidence and courage all in a matter of days, discovering new levels of self-awareness that will grow within her for a lifetime.

Being among the wilderness of Isle Royale National Park we did not find ourselves lost rather we found parts of ourselves that we did not know existed and that is a treasure you can’t put a price on.

The National Park Conservation Association has started a movement to remind our leaders why our National Parks are so important.  We are in and age of decreasing government spending and the National Parks are not exempt from these cutbacks.  Adequate funding for the National Parks are crucial to maintain their preservation and impact. The National Park Conservation Association has created a website where you can submit your National Parks Story.

myparkstory.org.

They want you to share  how the National Parks have impacted you.

Here is my story…

http://www.myparkstory.org/story/316a18f02d1c423893d3a98401e6dfa2

…what’s yours?

The Macho Taco Burrito!

20130822-164341.jpgI really enjoy cooking.  However, cooking in “the outdoors” is even more fun and challenging  by using different tools and techniques resulting in the most delicious mouth watering culinary creations.  I hope to cover many techniques overtime but today I would like to share a simple and fun recipe that is quick and easy to prepare. It’s called the Macho Taco Burrito or the “MTB” for short.

What I like about the “MTB” is that everyone makes their own feast. Also, it is an easy clean up when your meal is over. Each camper creates a masterful meal to their liking by combining the ingredients that appeal to them.  The “MTB” starts off with a  very large tortilla wrap placed on a sheet of foil. On the tortilla place any or all of the following ingredients:

The Macho Taco Burrito

  • Large, soft tortilla
  • 1 lb. Seasoned pre-cooked Taco Beef
  • Tomatoes diced
  • Corn
  • Avacados
  • Salsa
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Chopped red onion
  • Black Beans
  • Re-fried beans
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Red peppers
  • Foil
  • Sour cream and salsa for garnish

Wrap your Macho Taco Burrito tightly remembering to fold in the sides as you roll resulting in a completely closed burrito. Continue by wrapping your burrito snuggly in your piece of foil.  Since the meat is already cooked, all you really need to do is warm your “MTB”.  I recommend that you put your “MTB’s” on hot coals so it can slowly heat up all the way through.  Do not put them directly on the fire otherwise you will end up with a charred mess on the outside and cold food on the inside. When you are done you will end up with a warm Macho Taco Burrito, cheese melting with a slight crunch to your outer shell. Serve your “MTB” with a dab of sour cream or more salsa.  You won’t be disappointed.

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Helpful Hint: Prep as much food as possible before you leave for camp. Using plastic containers or plastic bags to contain your food will help with your organizing your meal. I recommend waiting to cut the avocado till right before you use it, however, if you chose to dice it up ahead of time place the avocado pit into the container with the avocado to prevent browning

An added bonus: The MTB is great the next day.  I made about 10 “MTB’s” with the ingredients I had available. There were several left over that I put in the cooler.  The next day three of the teenagers that I was camping with wanted a burrito.  I told them, “Sure, enjoy the leftovers.”  They were enjoying them, cold, more than I anticipated. I thought they might take a few bites then throw them away. Instead they ate the whole thing. Before they were completely devoured I requested a bite of this cold burrito wonder. Much to my amazement this pocket full tasty goodness was just as appealing cold the following day as it was warm the day before! What a pleasant surprise!

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Is this where I am suppose to be…or am I just lost?

Setting off on a journey.

Setting off on a journey.

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.” – Anon


Journeys are comprised of experiences that are gathered as we travel in life from one destination to another. Our passage may take a week or perhaps a life time. The routes in which we travel are not always clearly marked and at times we may find ourselves wandering in the world with no point of orientation. Are we lost? Or is being lost where we are suppose to be and this disorientation all part of our personal journey?

Since I was a child I have always had a love of being in the outdoors. From spending time camping with my family to playing in piles of dirt that was to be used in my father’s garden, being in nature is – for me – like being plugged into an energy source that inspires and rejuvenates at the same time, clearing my soul. Nothing is better than being in the natural world.

The path of my life became more unmarked as I set out to discover my life’s purpose in my early 20’s. I felt lost as I traveled to New York City to intern with professional artists: I found myself trapped in a world of concrete, with little green. It was suffocating.

After that, I took a job with the US Government. I saw ahead of me echoing images of long days in an office with no windows, sitting at a desk. And this was true for the next 18 years of my life. Was this my destination, I asked?

I left the office job and have spent the last several years raising children. As the years passed, I quietly listened to a restlessness rise up within me, the call of the outdoors growing louder in my spirit. I have finally begun to heed that call and venture forth, back into nature.

I am a novice at both writing and everything having to do with “the outdoors”; I do not claim to be an expert at either. This blog is my journey to quench my curiosity and meet the challenges of both self-expression and personal fulfillment. I hope to learn things I have always been curious to discover, uncovering new skills and tools for life along the way. I am excited about this adventure. I hope you are too.

Come along and see the messes I make, what I am most curious about and what lessons I discover as I travel in any direction that the current pulls me. Maybe through my wanderings I may not find myself lost after all, but actually end up right where I am suppose to be.

About Me

Beth

Beth

Full of spirit and imagination, I am setting off on a journey to explore and discover the great outdoors. As a mother of two, I have spent many years nurturing my children’s exploration of the world, it is now my turn to quench my curiosities that call to me and lead me forward. Living in a metropolitan area all of my life has made it difficult to truly nurture this desire. I have decided bringing more of natural world into my everyday life a goal of mine. With limited time and natural resources it will take work to put this Mother back in Nature, but I am looking forward to the challenge!

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