Today begins my epic journey into the wild. Right now, I sit on my couch enjoying the calm before the storm, eating chocolate and sipping a glass of wine. Remembering that not too long ago, I braved the elements, spent 8 hours hiking the most gruesome (referring to it's vertical incline) mountain. Slept on a glacier, frozen, and all-consumed in my own fear. A year ago this weekend, for the first time, I hiked into the mountains with all of my gear on my back. Alone with Mr. H in the wilderness. Since then, we have become somewhat more prepared, and enthusiastic about backpacking. A wineskin rather than a bottle, down sleeping bag instead of synthetic. I now dress for practicality, not style. This weekend, a few of us will brave the elements and circumnavigate Mount St. Helens. Loowit trail, a 3 day, 28-mile hike with an elevation gain of 4000 ft. I am excited and mildly terrified. I will need you to pray for me, that in my deepest and darkest hour, I resist the urge to cry.
I've spent the last couple of days planning out each meal. Separating into plastic bags, sorting and labeling. It is very important that each and every meal be extremely delicious, to preserve mental sanity. When you've spent the whole day hiking, dirty and sore, sometimes all that one can be excited about, is food. Mr. H and I have come to the conclusion that it is much easier to pack freeze dried meals and add water, than to cook and dirty dishes. Plus, food takes up space and weight, and you want your pack to be as light as possible (to leave room for the wine). Much time and research was done this last week, ensuring that we get the tastiest of them all. With a limited vegetarian selection, we settled on Mary Janes Farm, bare burrito and curried lentil bisque. A full report next week on their respective tastiness.
As for snacks, I like mine to include chocolate, and after scanning the aisles for granola/energy bars without much success, I settled on a homemade recipe. A hodge-podge recipe of sorts, with ingredients already stocked in my pantry. I added some wheat germ for extra fibre, chocolate chips, and some raisins for good measure. These bars are chewy, sweet, salty, and slightly buttery. Miles above anything you can purchase at the store. I threw a couple bars in our packs, with along with some Justins maple almond butter. Something I will be dreaming about all day!
CHOCOLATE CHIP GRANOLA BAR RECIPE (print)
makes 18 bars
notes: i like the addition of raisins, but you can leave them out if you are in the no-raisin-in-my-cookie camp.
2 cups quick oats
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 ºF.
In a large bowl, mix the oats, flour, sugar, wheat germ, salt, cinnamon, chocolate chips, and raisins.
In a medium size bowl, whisk the egg. Then whisk in the melted butter, honey, and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine.
Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with butter. Pour the mixture into the pan and press flat with a spatula or piece of waxed paper and your hands. Ensure that all of the granola has been smoothed out to the sides. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 17 minutes, or until the edges have turned light brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cooled, cut into desired shapes. Wrap in small snack bags, and store in the freezer, or in the fridge for up to two weeks.