Exhale. Do a backbend. Shake those legs out.
It’s been one of those fortnights where I can legitimately say I have been a busy lady. There’s even been a few days that have taken on hamster and wheel type qualities that are not conducive to good food, good sleep or good anything really. I try not to be someone who bandies around the word BUSY too easily. Usually I can’t help but be a little skeptical of people who are always ‘crazy busy’ – like it’s become their default answer when you ask how they’re doing. I’m sure you’ve heard it before – the complaint that’s more like a brag about how full his/her life is? This isn’t actually what I had planned to write about today (but a topic I’m interested in!) – so for now I recommend you read this pretty brilliant New York Times piece that asks the question ‘when did it become cool to be busy?’
So, with a scrupulous eye determining that yes I have had a busy few weeks judging by the amount of meals I’ve eaten at home (not many!) – a stripped back camping weekend seemed like a perfect way to reset and pull things back into a normal pace.
Me and the lad decided to hike into our camping spot in the Royal National Park just south of Sydney. That meant we had to prepare a weekends worth of food in advance to carry on our backs. It also meant we were pretty cut off from civilisation, the reward for the sweaty slog around the cliffs on the way in and out.
Should I be embarrassed to say preparing a weekends’ worth of food gets me a tad excited? Uh, too late. Camping and hiking is pretty synonymous with pre-packaged foods that lack in freshness – hello s’mores, sugary muesli bars and snags over the fire – but it doesn’t have to. Prepping in advance and with a little creativity, you can get stuck into epic nutritious food on the go, on a cliff, next to the fire or mid-hike. Here’s how we did it.
A few tips
- Plan out your meals and snacks so you know you’re covered for the whole trip.
- Over cater slightly – all that hiking / tent assembling / being in the great outdoors is hungry work! There’s nothing worse than running out of food early – unless you have some sweet hunting and gathering skills.
- Have a range of different sized Tupperware, jars and zip-lock bags ready to go when prepping your camp food.
- Small collapsible gas camping stove
- Small cooler bag
Breakfast: Porridge with banana & stewed apples
- 2 cups rolls oats
- 2 bananas
- Stewed apples: prepped in advance and stored separately. Simmer two sliced apples and dash of cinnamon in a pot until soft with ¼ cup water.
- 350 ml soy or almond milk
- Good quality honey
Heat oats and milk over the gas stove until porridge thickens. Keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick. Add sliced banana, stewed apples and a drizzle of honey for an easy, warming and heavenly camp breakkie.
Lunch: Quinoa & brown rice salad wraps with beetroot tahini dip & avocado
- Wraps – we used organic gluten free wraps
- Sliced avocado
Quinoa & brown rice salad
- Brown rice
- Good quality chicken stock
- Cherry tomatoes
- Marche salad leaves or any green leaves like spinach or kale
- Goats cheese feta
- Flat leaf parsley
Cook the quinoa and brown rice in the chicken stock and let cool completely. Add the feta, chopped parsley and mint. Layer the greens and tomatoes into your Tupperware last to stop the fresh veggies from going soggy. Make as much as you need for your trip! We ate this for lunch on both days days, once in the wrap and also on it’s own. So yummy, filling and full of nutritious energy.
Beetroot and tahini dip
- 3-4 small beets
- 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 large tbs tahini
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
This super quick dip is perfect for spreading in wraps, or for a quick dipping snack with carrots. Chop and peel raw beetroots. Place beetroots and remaining ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. We stored this dip in an old juice jar ready for the road.
Snacks: Maca Bliss Balls
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup oats
- 1/4 cup cacao powder and a little for rolling
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon maca powder
- 8 Medjool dates
- pinch sea salt
Maca is a powdered root that has a mild malt flavour and has been used for centuries to help balance hormones, increase energy and libido (ooh la la!) and is also high in B vitamins. Combined with cacao and sweet Medjool dates it creates a slightly caramel flavour. To make Maca Bliss Balls, process all ingredients together until the crumb sticks together in your fingers. Roll into balls and then dust with little left over cacao. Firm up in the fridge.
Other snacks included carrot sticks, homemade trail mix and cacao almond paleo bars.
Dinner: Jamie Oliver’s minestrone soup
We made this soup for dinner the night before and then froze into individual portions to take camping. By the time we had set up camp it was defrosted enough to easily transfer onto the gas stove.
It’s not camping without marshmallows skewered on a stick and melted over the fire. Sometimes traditions are important too. If you’re not a fan, a few squares of dark chocolate also hits the spot.
Lots of water, peppermint tea, black coffee via aero press and green juice.