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Gluten-Free Chocolate Quinoa Brownie Bars

Who said gluten-free can't be delicious?

For those with gluten-free diets, most energy bars are off-limits. Enter the brownie bar. These indulgent DIY bars work great for backcountry breakfasts or trail-side pick-me-ups. The quinoa flakes give the bar a grainy texture that’s not quite as smooth as a brownie but not as crunchy as granola bar. Meanwhile, mini dark chocolate chips make the flavor pop. And for extra protein and healthy fats, slather on some peanut butter. Make the bars before a trip, store them in the freezer, and then throw them in a zip-top bag when you’re ready to go. Read Full Story...
Thursday, July 08, 2010 in: Trail_Chef
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Blueberry Cheesecake “Baked” in a Stream

Kick off the 4th with this easy, delicious dessert.

While most backpackers pack a stove on their outdoor excursions, a refrigerator is another matter. Luckily, Nature provides her own, and a cold stream or lake makes the perfect outdoor cooling system. Put it to good use with this easy blueberry cheesecake recipe—for a Fourth of July twist, add raspberries, for a red, white, and blue celebration. What I like about this recipe is that you can make it as easy or as gourmet as you like. Read Full Story...
Thursday, July 01, 2010 in: Trail Chef
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Trail Chef: Easy, Cheesy Fondue

Dip into a tasty, "no utensils to clean" meal.

 While making a list of my backcountry do’s and don’ts, I generally leave messy and elaborate meals on the don’t list. Fondue has always seemed like a meal best suited for gourmet-only dinner parties. Though it made a splash in the 70s, this dish dates much further back (and surfaced in much harsher conditions) than the modern American family’s dinner table. Swiss peasants from the 18th century are among the first to stir up a cheesy pot. Read Full Story...
Thursday, June 24, 2010 in: Trail Chef
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Trail Chef: Baking in the Backcountry

Sometimes only a freshly baked cookie or pizza pie will do.

"baking pizza + mountains = epicness"

At least that's the consensus of uberKy after watching a YouTube video of the Backpacker Oven baking up some pepperoni pizza on the top of Mt. Whitney. What's the Backpacker Oven you ask? Just this morning Backpacker's gear team posted a slideshow gear review of this lightweight camping oven made by Bemco that cooks like a normal oven, even above 14,000 feet! The tester cooked batch after batch of cookies, chicken tenders, and biscuits - and returned from his trip five pounds heavier (...only guessing on that last part). Read Full Story...
Friday, June 18, 2010 in: Trail Chef
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Calorie Calculator

Just how many calories did you burn on that hike?

One of the fantastic perks about backpacking is that you have a free license to eat almost anything you want. The key word is almost. The number of calories you actually burn in the backcountry depends on many factors—distance, elevation gain, temperature, pack weight, and so forth. Use these formulas to calculate roughly how many calories you’ll need each day, to make sure you're getting, not too many nor too few, but just the right amount. Read Full Story...
Thursday, June 10, 2010 in: Trail Chef
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Trail Chef: Black Canyon Cake

Kick-off Memorial Day weekend with this decadent dessert.

Who wouldn’t want to cap off a long day with something savory and sweet? Don’t let the limitations of a camp kitchen keep you from the art of fine baking. With a bit of practice, anyone can master this scrumptious recipe. Read Full Story...
Thursday, May 27, 2010 in: Trail Chef
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Dress a Dish with Wild Morels

Turn a spring hike into a hunt for this gourmet, honeycombed 'shroom.

In May, morel mushrooms fruit in forests across North America. Scout around dying trees, traverse in fire scars, and bring back to camp a bounty with international reverence. Just in time, here are three savory morel-icious recipes to serve them up in.
Battered and Fried Morels
A morel lover's favorite appetizer  
10 morels
1 cup flour
1 egg
2 tbs. of butter (or oil)
2 tsp. of salt
At home: Put flour in zip-top bag.  
In camp: Halve morels lengthwise and evict any insects; set aside. Fork-whisk egg in a bowl. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Dip morels in egg and then roll in flour. Fry mushrooms until golden brown, around 5-10 minutes, turning frequently. Season with salt. Serves 3.  
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Thursday, May 20, 2010 in: Trail Chef
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Trail Chef: Snacks from Norway

An epic gear test in Norway results in a new appreciation of waffles and reindeer.

To the customs officials in Newark, NJ my souvenir reindeer jerky was an international threat. But in Norway, where BACKPACKER recently embarked on an epic gear test, reindeer jerky is akin to a Slim Jim, an easy-to-eat (and acquire) trail snack that's immensely palatable. Too bad my husband will never get to taste it. Thankfully, the ice cube tray-size chocolate bar slid right through the X-ray machines, as did a handful of other Norwegian snacks (including some very special cheese) that many Americans have been missing out on. Here's a round-up: Read Full Story...
Thursday, May 13, 2010 in: Trail Chef
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Trail Chef: Foodie Meet Outdoorsy

Kashi commercials, whitewater & wine, and real-life trail chefs--just a few of the ways foodie and outdoorsy mesh.

  So you're a foodie. (Do you know what a persimmon is and how to use it in a dish? You qualify.) And you're the outdoorsy type. (You're reading this blog. You qualify.) And while once foodie and outdoorsy may have butted heads (at least in the mainstream), that relationship is swiftly reconciling, as evidenced by the number of recipes and discussion on this website and others regarding delicious meals that are easy to prepare in the backwoods. With that reconciliation comes an array of new opportunities for the foodie-outdoorsy type: Read Full Story...
Friday, April 30, 2010 in: Trail Chef
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Trail Chef: The Caffeine Buzz

Does caffeine boost or bonk your trail endurance?

The other day at the grocery store, I grabbed a couple of bottles of Vitamin Water and noticed some of the flavors now have caffeine. This recent (to me) development is just one example of the caffeine craze sweeping the food aisles, with more and more gels, bars, blocks, drinks, and even baked goods (google Buzz Donuts) caffeinating up. So is this bandwagon a good one for backpackers to jump on? That’s a hard question to answer, since the caffeine debate is filled with pros and cons, fact and fiction. Here, we’ll attempt to dispel some of the myths and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about caffeine and sports performance.  Read Full Story...
Thursday, April 22, 2010 in: Trail Chef
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