Monday, September 3, 2012

12 Days In The Woods

6 years ago I got involved with some insanity called Alchemy: the Georgia Burn. Based on the Burning Man project in Nevada, Alchemy is 5 days of art, music, expression and general debauchery in the North Georgia mountains that I have been devoting myself to since the beginning.

For the last several years, I have been working with the organizational side of the event in Public Works. Our motto, "Alchemy Public Works : We Make Shit Go." We show up on site early and are some of the last to leave. It's hard work, but it's my gift to my community and it's a hell of a lot of fun. 

It's also been quite the weight loss program in the past, the really unhealthy kind. Not only am I working a lot, spending a week tent camping, drinking too much, not drinking enough water, sleeping very little, I am eating most things that are handily available from my cooler or the box of non-perishables. Beef jerky, endless cheese/meat rolls, granola bars. All sustenance, very little of it quality calories. This all mostly due to a lack of pre-planning, getting more involved in the event planning than my own personal camping planning.

This year, building on my growing compulsion with bulk cooking for home I decided that I was going to make an effort to feed myself and my partner, Robert, in some way other than from a box or a paper bag for 12 days. We will have access to a source of electricity, so my beloved crock pot and a my old dependable Oster blender will be packed away with the rest of my camp kitchen.

On the menu:

  • Breakfast Cupcakes - biscuit dough, eggs, sausage, cheese baked in a muffin tin. 
  • Mason Jar Smoothies - fruit and almond milk frozen in a plastic bag for later mason jar use
  • Chili - Made in bulk, frozen in gallon bags
  • Vegetarian Corn and Potato Chowder - base pre-cooked and canned to be frozen and watered down later in the crock pot. 
  • Chicken and Noodles - my ultimate in comfort food
  • Ham and Beans - simple crock pot food with happy pig meat
This is my no means enough food for two people for 12 days, but it will help keep the diet of dried meat and cheese crackers to the busiest times. 

Mason Jar Smoothies 

This might not be typical camping food, it requires a blender. But, I plan to continue to do this at home for quick breakfast that is way cheaper than the commercially offered single serving smoothies you can get at your local grocery chain. 

- Frozen or fresh fruit or peanut butter (anything you would put in a smoothie)
- Bananas 
- Almond milk (or soy or rice)

Other equipment: 
- Pint freezer bags

Fruit Smoothie - Per serving is (1) cup fruit, (1/2) cup milk variety of your choice and (1) small banana (or half a really big one) 

Peanut butter and chocolate - (2) Tablespoons peanut butter, (2) Tablespoons chocolate sauce, (1/2) cup liquid of your choice. 

Take one of your pint freezer bags, add to it all the ingredients, squeeze out as much air as possible and put in the freezer. 

Left - Tropical fruit  Center - Peanut, chocolate and banana  Right - Strawberry banana
Don't make the mistake I did and forget to label the bags. These were taken out of the freezer just a couple hours after I put them in because I forgot to take photos for this post. Now, days later, it's really hard to tell the tropical fruit from the strawberry banana. You can tell the chocolate peanut butter because it looks awful in the bag. 

Taking them from bags of frozen stuff to yummy slurpable stuff requires a little more equipment. I have an old Oster blender circa the 80s whose blender blades perfectly screw on to a regular mason jar. Not all blenders will, so test the seal with some water before you make a giant sticky mess. Or, skip the mason jar altogether and just dump the contents of the bag into a blender. 

But, if your mason jar fits snugly, allow the frozen mixture to melt down until you can squish it and do just that out of the bag and into the mason jar. The mixture alone when blended will be thick. I liked it, but after the first one, I added a little orange juice (or more milk or apple juice or water) to the mixture before I blended it. I also plan to buy a bag of spinach, which I have found performs most excellent in a cooler if you put it in a watertight bag, and put a handful in the mason jar to pump up the nutrient value a little.  Enjoy! 

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