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My Full Monty (A Blogging Disclosure)

I like to write about things that interest me, and if you have read any of my blog so far, you will find it primarily about food preservation, foraging, backpacking, blah, blah, blah. I also like to talk. So blogging has become a natural extension of this love affair with the wild; when I am not outside because the weather stinks, or life constrains me indoors with work or family obligations, I can always revisit my outdoor experiences with my blog.  Not nearly so blissful as that last walk in the woods, but, hey, bloggers beggars can't be choosers.

Anyhoo, what I am getting to, is that in order to help fund some beer money, I have monetized my blog. I am telling you this to be nice and transparent to my readers. I am definitely NOT doing this to get rich, but since I spend hours every week writing about the stuff, I figure I may try to make a few cents in the process.  Moreover, I promise not to write about or recommend stuff just to make a few cents off the product.  Although I am an admitted gear junkie, and I spend way more on freeze-dried food than anyone should, I am actually a value-driven cheapskate at heart.  

So here goes!

1.  I provide links to Amazon products that I use and would recommend, and in return I get a [very] small commission.  You don't pay any extra to buy these products from the links I provide. As an aside, my 16 year-old purchased an Amazon Prime membership without telling me a few months ago. To say I was pretty upset when I saw the $99 charge at the time is an understatement.   Once I recovered from my apoplexy and realized 2 day shipping is included with the membership (Christmas purchases were delivered on Sunday!), I am very happy with the purchase.  And right now I am in a hotel on a ski vacay with the kids and watching the "Harry Bosch" series based on the books by Michael Connelly. You can only get this as an Amazon Prime subscriber.  Love it! 

2.  So far I have paid for every product I have reviewed in my blog, but from time-to-time in the future (hopefully the very near future), manufacturers of these products may shower me with gifts of the newest stove or a new Caldera Cone (hint, hint), and I will write a review.  If I write a review of an item I received for free, I will be sure to mention that in the blog article.

3.  I have been buying and recommending freeze-dried food from Emergency Essentials for a long time.  Just recently I found out that they have a Linkshare marketing affiliation program.  If you link to their website through mine and buy something, I get a kickback.

4. I allow Google Adsense to be displayed on my site. I don't always use those products (especially if it has something to do with hygiene, lol), but so far I have made a whopping $18, so I am almost to a 12-pack of my favorite craft brew. 

Now that I have some housekeeping out of the way, it's time to get outside!

Just in case you ran out of interesting things to read on my blog, you can check out the FTC disclosure rules for yourself!

Spaghetti Squash: Cooking, Preparing, and Dehydrating

Americans are the superheroes of mindless eating. So it's no surprise that Supermarkets spend millions of dollars on marketing stratagems to help consumers part ways with hard-earned dollars. I am a fairly educated consumer, BUT, I am a self-admitted sucker for grocery store marketing gimmicks. 

For instance, you know that elevator music playing in the store?  The tempo is designed to lull you senseless; making you feel relaxed and spend more time in the store, thus spending about 29% more than planned. 

Soft, focused lighting and handwritten signs in the produce section also sells more - about 30% more!  The first thing consumers see is a dazzling array of colors. Fresh food that says "eat me!"  And I hear what that food is saying, and I buy everything in sight. 

I can't even imagine how much money I have spent over the years on produce, only to throw it later in the compost pile rotten because I never got around to doing anything with the stuff!  Fortunately, one vegetable "experiment" that I learned to use successfully is spaghetti squash. 

Spaghetti Squash

Mexi-Cali Beef & Bean Quinoa : Instant Backpacking / Survival Food FBC

Something I love about "ethnic" foods on the trail is that the spices and herbs that make up the flavor profile allow the food to taste the same on the trail as it does at home. On a winter backpacking trip last week I tucked into this comfort food with finesse. Spork-licking good stuff.

Keep in mind that you don't have to follow the ingredients exactly. Mix and match your favorite ingredients to your taste. Don't feel like drying tomato sauce and chilis? Just dry some salsa or add packets of salsa available from McDonalds or Taco Bell. Don't have freeze-dried corn? No sweat: just skip it.

Watching your carbs? Simply reduce the amount of quinoa and add extra meat!

Dried Beef, Beans, and Quinoa with Veggies and Spices. Yum!
Keep reading for the recipe!

Which Ground Meat is the Best Deal for Dehydrated Dinners?

I am thrilled to see that views on this blog just surpassed the 7,000 mark!!  I can't believe there are so many people on the blogosphere that enjoy reading about foraging, dehydrating foods, and eating healthier on the trail! Sharing my enthusiasm for the trail and eating well is my hobby and passion, and this is my creative outlet; pathetic, yes, but I can't sew or knit to save my life....

To celebrate,  I decide to have a little dehydrating fun, so off to the grocery store I go.

Which Meat do I buy to Dehydrate? 
Or For that Matter, the Best Bargain for Any Meal?

DIY Trail Food: Eating Healthier and Homemade for Backpacking, Survival, and Travel

Do you want to eat healthier on the trail without breaking your budget?  Have a hankering for beefing up your Bug Out Bag (BOB) but can't stand the thought of MRE's?  How about having a taste of home when on the road in hotel rooms?  If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, but don't know where to start, then this post is for you!

Freeze Dried Backpacking food
Craig with his dinner
When backpacking with a group, dinner time around the fire is like show and tell for grown ups.

Frequently heard at meals: "What are you having?" usually followed by "do you want to try some?"

Also heard: "Yours looks better than mine?" or  "how much salt is in there, anyway?"

Much more rarely heard: "Yuk, this is nasty!" Because everyone knows that any meal on the trail is:

  1. Flavored by hunger so everything tastes better than at home.
  2. This stuff is expensive and you carried it, so you might as well eat it.
  3. You don't have anything else to eat because you planned out each meal before leaving home, so you either eat it or starve.

After setting up camp and gathering fire wood, everyone sits around the fire and pulls out their food bags.  The requisite blue foil of Mountain House, the tan paper of Mary Jane Farms, the clear plastic of Packit Gourmet.  Except me.  I am one of those who beat to a different drum. Living on the fringes of society. Walking the line of sanity.  What can I say, I am a hammock hanger :)

DIY Trail Food: Building a better backpacking meal, Step One - Base

My first post in this "DIY" series on how to make your own trail meals introduced how making trail meals at home can be a cheaper and more nutritious alternative to store bought trail foods, and discussed why outdoorsmen or preppers should make our own dinners. This article begins the actual "how" to put your meals together, and is the second in a  series of how-to articles...

Copyright: <a href=''>robynmac / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Start Your DIY Meal With the Right Base

DIY Trail Food: Building a Better Backpacking Meal, Step Two - Meat (or Meat Substitute)

Like I mentioned in my little ramen rant from Step One, some people rely too heavily on simple carbohydrates and junky food for calories on the trail, and forego nutrition for taste.  Step One  provides the simple carbohydrates for your meal.  This post is the second in the series, focusing on how to add adequate protein to your DIY trail meals.

Adding Protein to Trail Meals is Easy and Delicious

Read more by clicking the "Read More" link below!