Archive for March, 2016

Product Review: Runa

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

While I always carry tea bags with me when I camp, I am constantly looking for new products that can flavor my water without a lot of weight.  This is where I found Runa.

Runa Tea comes in both bags and cans.  If I am going on a short trip, I will choose the can version.  While I have to care the cans out, the convenience of having already made tea makes the pack out issue worth it.  Yes, I know there are other versions of bottled and canned tea, Runa Tea is different.  It is a product with a cause.

runaThe mission of this company is to produce a delicious product that is good for you without destroying the environment and native cultures. 

While this product is marketed as a tea, it actually is not.  It is a natural product called guayusa, which performs some of the same functions as green or black tea. 

As stated before, the “tea” does come in a canned version but what when I am going to be out in the backcountry for a while I prefer the tea bags or loose leaf.  While there is a selection of different flavors of “tea,” the selection is limited compared to store brands.  Yes, this can be an issue but the Runa is so flavorful, you will not miss the fact that there is not a wide selection of flavors. 

Prior to trying this product, my normal tea preparation process was to get up, build the fire and put a pot of water on a grill rack above the fire.  Once the water was hot, I would pour it over the tea bag and steep for as long as I wanted.  This changed when I tried my first cup of Runa and I really did not know why.  I was on a long camping trip out in Indiana’s backcountry.  I followed the same process as described before but when I pour the water over the tea bag, I just did not feel like rushing around.  I sat down and enjoyed the steeping process of my “tea.”  I would later call this process “mindful steeping.”  This “mindful steeping” gave me a chance to think about the night, talk to my fellow campers, and reflect on what the day’s plans were.  Ever since that first tea bag of Runa, I have continued to slow down and enjoy the simple processes of life, like steeping tea.

While you may not be a “tea” drinker, Runa is different.  It will give you a splash of energy when you need it.  It also comes in several different forms so that you can enjoy it anytime and anywhere you want.  The best part is the fact that this product allows wild places to still exist for all of us to enjoy while we collectively sit down and enjoy a cup of “tea.”

Camp Fire Recipe: Drop Scones with Candy Chips

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

How do you turn a cold, dreary day into one of the most memorable camping days on record?  You cook.  Yes, I said you cook.  You cook something that is gooey and delicious.  While the weather was a start to this recipe creation, the true jumpstart to this recipe was an English friend of mine who, believe it or not, wanted to have English tea and treats while we were camping.  This is not a true scone but it is a close substitute to the real thing. 

 Camp Fire Recipe:  Drop Scones with Candy Chips

Ingredients

Liquid or spray oil

2 cups of all purpose flour

1/3 cup of brown sugar packed

1 tablespoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon of salt

½ cup of butter

6 ounces of candy chips of choice, example chocolate, butterscotch, and white chocolate

½ cup of whipping cream

1 egg

drop.scones.with.candy.chips

Steps

  1. Build fire and prepare the coals for the Dutch oven.
  2. Grease the inside of the 10 inch Dutch oven by rubbing liquid oil on the inside or spray.
  3. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Stir to mix.
  4. Take the butter and cut it into small pieces.  Add to the flour mixture.
  5. Using your hands, work the butter and flour mixture until it reaches a crumbly texture.
  6. Add the candy chips of choice to the flour mixture.  Set aside.
  7. In another bowl, combine the whipping cream and egg.  Beat.
  8. Slowly pour the whipping cream and egg mixture into the flour mixture.  Stir until combined but do not overwork it.
  9. Once combined, drop ¼ cupfuls of dough into the prepared 10 inch Dutch oven.
  10. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and move to a heat resistant surface.
  11. Create a circle with 10 prepared briquettes.
  12. Place the 10 inch Dutch oven on these coals.
  13. Top the Dutch oven with 22 prepared briquettes.
  14. Cook for 20 minutes.
  15. Once that time period has passed, knock off the coals from the lid of the Dutch oven and remove the Dutch oven from the circle of coals.  Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  16. Serve.

Without a lot of sweat and tears, you too can enjoy and English high tea and scones while camping.  The best part is it tastes like you spent a lot of time around the campfire but only you really know the truth.

Camp Fire Recipe: Chicken, Black Bean, and Nacho Casserole

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

When I am at home, I love to cook once and eat twice meals.  This is also true when I am camping but sometimes this can be a challenge, especially if you need to refrigerate a lot.  To reduce the need to refrigerate for a long period of time, I cook once and eat twice meals on the same day.  As an example to how this works while camping, I will cook two whole chickens over the campfire for lunch.   One will be used for lunch while the second will be stripped of the meat and the meat will be stored away for dinner.  Once dinner time arrives, I just have to mix the ingredients together for the casserole. 

Now that you see how I do cook once and eat twice meals, let’s move on to the recipe.

Camp Fire Recipe:  Chicken, Black Bean, and Nacho Casserole

Ingredients

Liquid or spray oil

2 cups of chopped chicken

½ cup of instant rice

14.5 ounces of diced tomatoes

10 ¾ can of condensed cream soup, any variety

11 ounce can of Mexican corn

16 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained

4.5 ounce can of chopped green chilies

1 teaspoon of chili powder, any variety

2 cups of crushed tortilla chips, any type

2 cups of shredded cheese, any variety

chicken.bean.nacho.casserole

Supplies

  1. Build fire and prepare the coals.
  2. Prepare the inside of a 10 inch Dutch oven by wiping it down with oil or spraying the inside with liquid oil.
  3. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  4. Pour into 10 inch Dutch oven.
  5. Move the Dutch oven to a heat resistant surface.
  6. Taking the prepared coals, create a ring using 10 coals.
  7. Place the Dutch oven on top of these coals.
  8. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and cover the lid with 20 prepared coals/briquettes.
  9. Cook for 35 minutes.
  10. After the time has passed, remove the coals from the lid of the Dutch oven. 
  11. Take off the lid and add the remaining cheese.  Put the lid back on and allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  12. Once that time has passed, remove the Dutch oven from the heat.
  13. Serve.

To really take it up a notch, consider topping this casserole with sour cream, a little salsa, and slices of avocado. Serve additional chips on the side.