In five weeks my meals will consist of food eaten out of pouches and Ziploc baggies where all you do is add water and voila! you have a meal. I have been blessed with the support of a small time local company, Good to Go. As they are less than a year old and working hard to meet the demands of their clientele I am extremely grateful for the discount they have offered me (every little bit helps!). Before I went off spending hard earned money on a bunch of food I had never tasted, and which I would be committing to eating for the next 6 months, I went out and purchased each of their flavors. All of their meals are GLUTEN FREE and VEGETARIAN. I started with the safest bet first, Classic Marinara with Penne, how can you go wrong? It was delicious, the simple marinara they used had great flavor and tasted fresh. Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like sitting in my Italian grandmother’s kitchen or anything but it is by far the closest I’ll get while in the middle of the woods (my grandmothers’ are Russian and English, so I doubt you’ll find me at my Italian grandmothers kitchen any how). Make sure you allow the food to sit for 20-25min and I recommend giving it a stir half way through to make sure the water gets to all the pieces.
Second on my list was the Herbed Mushroom Risotto. This one was good but it wasn’t great. I struggled with rehydrating it, I believe it was operator error. I don’t know if I didn’t have my water at a full boil before I put it in or what but the rice just didn’t absorb the way it should have. I finished cooking this pouch meal on the stove. Once I had it all together things were better.
Third was the Smoked Three Bean Chili, this one also falls under the good but not great category. I don’t know, there was something missing and I again had operator error with the rehydration process. Problem with rehydrating food when you are hungry is you get impatient and don’t let it sit for the full rehydration period. I spent the next half hour picking half rehydrated beans out of my molars. Bonus this meal will last longer than any of the others!
Last but far from least was the Thai Curry. I was so nervous about this one I kept putting it off and putting it off but the time had come. I was in the midst of dehydrating some of my own spaghetti when I realized I didn’t have food planned out for my dinner. Thai Curry it was! I carefully opened the pouch and removed the oxygen absorber. I then took the pouch of powdered coconut milk and added it into the main meal. Poured the boiling water in, stirred it up and set it aside. I forgot about it as I spread portion sized quantities of sauce and spaghetti across my dehydrator trays. When I suddenly realized I hadn’t eaten I was trilled to see the package sitting there looking at me. As I opened it up the aroma of Thai spices filled the air, the sweet smell of coconut milk inviting me in. I looked into the pouch to see green veggies scattered across the top. The first bite was heaven! The flavors indescribable. I was excited to be sitting in my living room eating this meal out of a pouch! I was disappointed that I couldn’t scrape every piece out of the nooks and crannies of the pouch.
I have been slowly preparing meals to take on the trail with me but only in the past weeks have I come to truly understand the best way to put these meals together. I started with the concept of cooking up items individually and then mixing them in a bag to create a meal. The downfall to this is the individual parts of the meal don’t get cooked in the richness of the spices.
I enjoyed sautéing up veggies and mixing them into the store bought pasta sauce, adding egg to increase the protein and cooking the Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) right into it so it would fill with the flavor of the sauce.
When it was all said and done each tray held one portion, for the trail. The calorie count isn’t bad either. The sauce held about 140 calories, the pasta 420 calories and the TVP an additional 70 calories. With my second batch I sprinkled ground parmesan across the top adding an additional 20 calories. Each meal will provide me with @650 calories. This meal will be a “freezer bag meal” where all I need to do is open the freezer bag it is stored in pour hot (not boiling) water over it, tuck it into my freezer bag cozy and wait! Presto! meal should be done and ready to eat in 20 minutes.
My supplies are slowly making there way into my home. I am so excited to put together all of these awesome meals and start preparing my package drops. I just got my Goji berries and Figs so I can make my own protein bars! This is truly an experience of a life time!
And don’t worry in the midst of all of this food sampling and dehydrating I found time to take Star out to the woods where she could run about with a 4 pound pack on.
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