Posts Tagged ‘food’

Hit the trail but definitely take good food!

It has been a bit since I have been inspired/had the time to write a post, but when Sierra Trading Post asked me to write a post about food, I knew I could find my writing groove 😉 Let’s face it, I love food and am always up for a good chat about food on the trail!

My history with food and backpacking started out with canned soup and granola bars. By the time my sister and I started backpacking together, it shifted to packets of tuna and chicken with crackers and energy bars. By the end of a three day trip, both Renee and I would swear off tuna for weeks!

Our food for three days in Yosemite in 2009

Our food for three days in Yosemite in 2009

Luckily, my love of food has driven me to spend a bit more time and money when prepping for food for the trail. Over the past year and a half, Brian (my fiancé and adventure partner) and I have tried numerous backpacker meals and also discovered that ramen noodles with summer sausage and cheddar cheese can be the perfect meal when starving on the side of a mountain.

In all of my backpacking, the best prepared meals and desserts that I have had were from Backpacker’s Pantry. We have unsuccessfully tried other brands only to be disappointed by lack of taste when starving after a long day of snowshoeing or hiking. Our absolute favorite pre-packaged meal to date: Backpacker’s Pantry’s Pad Thai. Not only did this meal fill us up, but it was warm (which was important on the mountainside during a cold March afternoon, with a snow storm approaching), easy to make, and so very delicious!

I have to say that while the Pad Thai was great, it is not the best meal that I have had while backpacking. That title falls to a meal of steak, mashed potatoes, and red wine that Brian made for me (using a stick & knife because we forgot our sporks) in May of this year.

My man has some mad camp cook skills!

My man has some mad camp cook skills!

Since we weren’t camping in grizzly country, we were able to be a bit more relaxed about food on this trip. Brian put together a marinade in a Ziploc bag at home, and we soaked a steak in it for several hours in one of our packs while we hiked and fished. That steak, cooked over our small MSR stove, might very well be the best steak I have ever eaten! We made instant mashed potatoes and had taken in some Stack Wine. As we sat in the rain that turned to snow and back to rain again, we savored every bite and sip.

For me, food can make or break your time on the trail. Join the #trailtime conversation with Sierra Trading Post and a bunch of rad peeps on Twitter this (& every) Thursday at 4pm MDT. As you might guess, this week we will be talking food 🙂

 

Advertisements

Big city days

I like to push myself and test my limits.  Normally this means physically pushing myself through outdoor adventures, but every once in a while I test other limits.  For example, as you likely know, I am most at ease in nature, so spending a long weekend in the downtown of a big city (Denver) can also take me out of my normal comfort zone. 

This is pretty much my normal look (outdoorsy).

Every day me :)

Every day me 🙂

However, I recently met up with my sister and a friend for a long weekend in Denver, so I got a bit gussied up and even wore….wait for it….MAKEUP!  Seriously, I couldn’t remember the last time I wore it (likely the last time my sister helped me with it at some point because I seem to be inept at girlie things like that!).

Yes, I am wearing makeup (thanks Nee)

Yes, I am wearing makeup (thanks Nee)

All kidding aside, I had a fabulous time getting to see my sister and our friend Heather for a few days.  This was extra special because my sister is currently stationed in Germany, so our time together these days is limited.  Being three hardworking professional women, we decided to treat ourselves and stay at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Denver.  This place was super swanky but the staff was so super nice and accommodating (even when I requested some foam pillows so I didn’t mess up my neck).

I make friends everywhere

I make friends everywhere

We spent some time (& money) at the Denver REI; I came away with a sweet new snowboarding helmet (thanks Mom & Dad!) and a super sweet birthday present from my sister, the sunglasses I have been dreaming of for months (Native Eyewear Silencers). 

so purdy...the helmet that is

so purdy…the helmet that is

Naturally, it was then time for some beer….hey we are all WI girls, so what do you expect?!  We headed down the road from REI to try some brews at the Denver Beer Co.  We got a sampler which included the normal suspects (a wheat, a pale, and IPA) as well as a few tasty surprises in a cider, graham cracker porter (soooo yummy!!) and a mead of sorts.  With its big front porch and garage door front, this joint seemed to be a favorite to locals, and we quickly became fans of it as well.

Look how happy we are and no beer consumed yet :)

Look how happy we are and no beer consumed yet 🙂

After a day of shopping, some more adult beverages, and sightseeing, we finally found a place for dinner (it was a Saturday night, so most places had hour plus waits, ugh!).  We stumbled upon a great little Italian café named Mangiamo Pronto. My sister and I shared some subpar pesto bruschetta (It was served on regular toast; I mean come on it is an Italian café who bakes their own bread…give me a baguette!) and some tasty chicken pasta with pine nuts and creamy pest. 

May not be the most visually appealing, but it was tasty

May not be the most visually appealing, but it was tasty

Then, drumroll please, I had my first taste of gelato (yes, ever); it was delicious creamy caramel sea salt flavored goodness.

MMMMMM yum

MMMMMM yum

Day two was more shop browsing before Heather had to head back to CA, wine tasting at Cru Wine Bar, a tasty beer sampler from Wynkoop Brewing Company, and an early birthday dinner at the super fancy (especially by my terms!) Ocean Prime .  The entire meal was fantastic but the dessert really took the cake (pun definitely intended!).  Renee and I shared this beauty of baking perfection.   

Tower of carrot cake

Tower of carrot cake

So while I will remain a nature loving, country girl to my core, a trip to the city from time to time is alright in my book 😉

A great weekend with my best friend!

A great weekend with my best friend!