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Backpacker Magazine – Online exclusive

Trail Chef: Russian Tea & Apricot Oatmeal

Fuel up with these belly-warming meals.

by: Laura Binks

Where I grew up (North Dakota), this time of year is ice-fishing time (just picture the movie Grumpy Old Men). I've only gone a few times, but that's OK with me. I just don’t think waiting for a tip-up is all that exciting, especially when you can’t feel your toes or fingers. Plus, I always wanted to operate the auger, and for some unknown reason, no one would let me.   
The saving grace? Meal time. And because there was no guarantee we would catch our meal, we had to be prepared. Here are a two of our favorite frigid-weather recipes—all that's required is boiling water. Try them for breakfast or lunch during your next wintertime excursion, be it ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or hiking (though they're just as tasty by the fire at home).  
—Laura Binks
Russian Tea
(Yields about 3½ cups dry mix)
½ cup instant tea
2 cups Tang
3 ounces lemonade powder drink mix
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
At home
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Before you head out on your trip, divide Russian Tea into individual serving sizes and place them in small zip-top bags. Generally, it is about 2 to 3 tablespoons per cup of hot water. Adjust to taste.   
In Camp
Just add mix to hot water and stir well.  
Apricot Oatmeal
(makes 3 big servings)
1/3 cup dried apricots
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups oatmeal (quick or old-fashioned)
3 ½ cups water
At home
Place dried apricots, ground cinnamon, and oatmeal in a zip-top bag.  
In camp
Bring water to a boil. Stir in oat mixture and return to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed—anywhere from one to five minutes depending on whether you used quick or old-fashioned oats. You can also substitute in raisins, dried cranberries, or dried apples for apricots. A tasty twist: I also add ¼ cup Grape-Nuts to the cooking oats.

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