Don’t Be A Jerk-y

August 13, 2012

While we clearly have a summer preservation plan for fruits and veggies, but we also have another agenda in mind. Our fifth anniversary passed by at the beginning of the month, and we decided to mark the occasion by taking a trip. It’s our typical tradition to go camping over our anniversary. Looking for something special, we turned toward my childhood and decided to plan a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which is a huge expanse of lakes in the northern part of Minnesota that extends up in to Canada. I’ve been lucky enough to go twice as a child.



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The BWCA is a very special place to me and I’m nothing less than thrilled that we have made it happen. Some number of years ago Katie and I bit the bullet and bought most of the equipment we needed for camping. Thinking ahead, most of the equipment we bought is appropriate for backpacking (read: LIGHT).

So this works perfectly for this type of trip, which also happens to be our first backpacking trip together.

Anyhoo, I’m generally disappointed by the quality and price of pre-packaged meals, so we have dehydrated a lot of produce to make soup mixes and such.

Photo (left to right): Peaches, apples, strawberries, jerkey, front carrots and celery.

One of the hardest things about backpacking I think is that it is hard to incorporate protein. One of the more interesting ways of doing that is by making jerky! I love all kinds of jerky but beef is the most economical, so that’s what we chose today.

Jerky is pretty easy, all things considered. You make a marinate, soak your meat, slice it up (or not), and dry it. Our marinade included soy sauce, worchestershire sauce, garlic, and cayanne pepper. We let the meat, cut in to strips, marinade for about six hours and then put it in the dehydrator overnight.



We’ve actually made jerky on a couple occasions and we haven’t quite got the timing right yet. Left overnight it tends to go a little on the long side and while good, is a little tougher than necessary. You’ll have to play around with it and see what works based upon your meat size. Our pieces were pretty small which probably contributed to the cook time issue.

I have no doubt that we will post more about this trip as we close in on it (early September). For now after eight hours of packing food, we’ve got a start, albiet small, in our packing.

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Block Party

February 9, 2012

Maybe we’re crazy, but every day Katie and I have the same debate about what to have for dinner. We’ve moved in to a place of meal planning and after coming up with all kinds of fun and new ideas, we get tapped out before our list is complete.


I got creative and decided I’d make something to help us out.

I started with a piece of 2×2 and cut it in to uniform cubes.

I sanded down the edges so we didn’t have splinters, and then I got really lazy. The pretty thing to do would have been to paint them. I just didn’t care that much, so I took them inside and began making little suggestions for them.

Each block contains a set of foods – one is protein, one is veg, one is carb/starch and we just have a set to roll. I also did one for breakfast since we do a special Sunday breakfast each week.


This may all seem a bit silly, but the intention is to roll them to get a basic idea of where to go. It inspires ideas instead of sitting around with the convo “I don’t know, what do you want to have.”

This is an example. With this roll, I’d be inclined to pull together a BLT. Similarly you could make breakfast omelets with toast. It’s just a way to kick off some ideas. These aren’t fancy and took me less than 30 minutes to make INCLUDING the drying time of the glue. If you wanted to you could paint them, seal them, do all kinds of things to make them flashy.