DIY High-Fat Dehydrated Dinners for Backpack Hunting

After going through all the work to become fat-adapted for my sheep hunt, I couldn’t find premade backpacking meals that were high enough in fat and lower-carbs.  made my own DIY High-Fat Dehydrated Backpacking Dinner.

Jump to Recipe

(Here is a Round-Up of all the food I brought)

DYI high-fat dehydrated dinners

Note: To make these meals truly “keto” you will need to leave out the potatoes in the Japanese Curry and the Beans in the Chili. I don’t really care if I am #keto. I wasn’t worried about some carbs because of the high amount of physical activity I was doing. My goal is never to be “KETO”, I just want to feel my best and decrease my pack weight.

4 Reasons to Make High-Fat Dehydrated Meals?

 

1. The Health benefits of low-carb while in the backcountry

  • A low-carb, Paleo-ish diet, has anti-inflammatory properties. Sheep hunting is extremely strenuous and hard on your body. Anything you can do to decrease this stress and help you recover faster is worth it. Plus, anyone who has eaten Mountain Houses for a week knows about the GI stress they can cause.
  • When your body is fat adapted, you can go longer between meals and if you must skip a meal, you don’t get that hard crash you do when burning carbs. Fat is also a cleaner burning fuel that everyone carries plenty in their bodies. This translates to better performance in the backcountry.

A Day's food Backpacking Food

2. They Weigh Less

  • Fat has over 2 times the calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein. This means you can either carry way more calories or your back can weigh less. Two pounds of food per day backpacking is considered pretty standard.
  • I was able to get around 3,000 Calories/day to weigh just over a pound/day. This meant my husband’s and mine pack were 10 lbs lighter each (on a 10-day sheep hunt)! That is huge! Especially when you are my size…. And female.

3. DIY High-Fat Dinners are Delicious

  • We looked forward to eating them each night, but when you are working that hard, food just tastes better too.
  • I did not experience the strong food cravings I typically do during a long hunt. I’m not sure if it was all the veggies and micronutrients, or just the taste, but I was craving a good cup of coffee instead of my usual hamburger or sweets.

4. You can control what goes in them

  • I love using real food ingredients, that I know my body performs well on. You can also make them suit your personal tastes. Say you don’t like carrots, just swap them out with another veggie you do like.
  • Want to stay in ketosis the whole time or ear strict paleo? Leave out the beans and peas and just add more fat. Personal I wasn’t too worried about my Marcos. My goal was to perform better not be in ketosis 100% of the time. Sheep hunting is so strenuous, I knew my body would appreciate the extra carbs and go back into ketosis quickly. But you are in control!

How to make DIY High-Fat Dehydrated Backpacking Dinners

I started out by downloading the Heather’s Choice Ebook. They are a great company that makes healthy, gluten-free backpacking foods. Honestly, if I hadn’t been set on Low-carb, I would have saved a ton of time and just bought all my food from them.

Full Disclosure. I am an affiliate with them. The worst affiliate ever. I have recommended their food and E-books countless times, and this is the first time I am using my link.

Anyways, the E-book has lots of good recipes and how-tos to make your own meals.

General process

  1. Start by dicing all your veggies up. Smaller pieces dry and rehydrate faster.
  2. In a large skillet brown meat and onions with 2 about teaspoons salt (depending on the recipe). I used caribou and ground turkey.
  3.  Meanwhile, bloom 1 teaspoon gelatin in about 1 tablespoon of cold water. This is optional but results in a pleasant sauce and gelatin (collagen), is a great source of protein and great for you. Ok, I’ll leave it there, but I really could talk about collagen for a while.
  4. Once the meat is browned, add the spices. Keep stirring until you can smell them.
  5. Stir in wet ingredients, veggies and gelatin.
  6. Simmer until most of the excess liquid is gone.DIY high-fat dehyrdated dinners
  7. Let the meat mixture cool until it is easier to handle.
  8. Dehydrate on the highest setting on your dehydrator or lowest setting in your oven*.dehydrating in a convection oven
  9. Once all the food is completely dried, let cool to room temperature.dehydrated backpacking food

    Packaging You DIY Dehydrated Meals 

  10. In 3 mylar bags, equally, divide all the ingredients.
  11. If the recipe calls for coconut butter add it now if the recipe calls for butter or cheese, add those in the backcountry, just before you devour your dinner (remember to pack it).
  12. Add a desiccant packet. I skipped this step, but for peace of mind, I won’t next time!
  13. Seal bag with iron or hair straightener. Try to get all the air out you can. This was the first time I have used my straightener in a LONG time.how to seal a mylar bag
  • To play it safe, I stored my meals in the freezer just to make sure nothing would go bad. Technically you shouldn’t have to, but who wants to get sick in the middle of nowhere on some mountain?

In The Backcountry

  1. To eat, simply add about 1 ½ cup boiling water and give a stir. Fold over the top (clip closed with the clip on your pocket knife), and let sit 20 minutes, if you can.DYI high-fat dehydrated dinners2. Stir in butter or cheese if desired and Enjoy!

For many of the kitchen essentials, I used to make these meals and use every day, check out my Amazon Store!

*dehydrating times will vary greatly depending on your oven or dehydrator. If you are using a convection oven, the fan will speed up the process. Unfortunately, you will just have to keep an eye on your food. Dehydrators take less supervision than ovens. Good news, these meals can be made in advance, so pick a day when you have plenty of time or break it up into batches. I dehydrated all my food one day and package the next, but there is no reason you couldn’t break it up even more.

Follow me on Instagram to see what I’m eating and my latest adventure!

 

I am constantly developing new recipes for my Low-Carb backcountry adventures. If you like these you may be interested in Low-Carb Dehydrated Berbere Chicken Soup!

Updated  Low-Carb  Japanese  Curry

Low-Carb Dehydrated Japanese Curry

I liked the Japanese Curry so much last year I made it again this year. For the updated recipe click HERE!

Basic Chili

Keyword backpacking food, dehydrated meals, high-fat
Servings 3

Ingredients

Veggies

  • 1 bell pepper
  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 can beans drained
  • 5 oz baby spinach no need to chop

Meat Mixture

  • 1 pound meat of your choice
  • 1/2 onion

Spices and Seasonings

  • 2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin whole if you have it
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper

Wet

  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin bloomed

Add in the Backcountry

  • 3 tablespoons butter 2T/serving
  • cheese to add the desired calories

Recipe Notes

Leave out beans and add more butter to make keto.

Green Chili

Servings 3

Ingredients

Veggies

  • 2 bell pepper
  • 1 can beans drained

Meat Mixture

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion
  • Spices and seasonings

Spices and Seasonings

  • 2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin whole if possible
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Wet

  • 1 jar green salsa
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin bloomed

Add in Backcountry

  • 6 tablespoons butter 2T/serving
  • cheese to add the desired calories

Recipe Notes

To make keto, leave out beans and add more butter

Low-Carb Collagen Coffee "Peanut" Butter Cups

Keyword chocolate, coffee, collagen, keto, low-carb, MCT, peanut butter, treat
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 3 oz 90% dark chocolate
  • 1 oz cocoa butter or more chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons sun or peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons collagen protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons coffee beans whole or roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • stevia to taste*

Instructions

Pinterest worthy Instructions

  1. In a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate cocoa butter in a small pan.

  2. While that is melting mix sun/peanut butter and collagen powder.
  3. Once the chocolate mixture is completely melted, mix vanilla and stevia (optional).
  4. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the chocolate mixture into each of the 8 large baking cup liners – no need for a muffin tin.
  5. Form ⅛ of the peanut butter mixture into a small disk and press down into the chocolate mixture. Repeat 7 more times until each chocolate cup has a peanut butter center.
  6. Sprinkle 1/8 of the coffee beans in each cup.
  7. Divide the rest of the chocolate mixture evenly among the baking cups, completely covering the peanut butter centers.
  8. Sprinkle with salt
  9. Let cool at room temperature or in the fridge.
  10. Store in an airtight container.

Busy Person’s Instructions

  1. In a double boiler gently melt chocolate, cocoa butter, sun/peanut butter.
  2. Once the mixture is melted mix all the remaining ingredients, taking extra care to mix completely.
  3. Evenly divide mixture into 8 paper baking cups.
  4. Let cool at room temperature or in the fridge.
  5. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

  • *I personally like very dark chocolate and prefer it not to be very sweet, so I do not add any stevia.
  • Place the baking cups on a small sheet pan before filling them to make moving them around easier.
  • Cooling at room temperature takes a lot longer but produces a shinier treat. Cooling in the fridge may cause your chocolate to “bloom” or become a little cloudy, this does not affect the flavor.
  • Cocoa butter contains antioxidants and increases the melting temperature of the Peanut Butter Cups.

To see more of my adventures, how I am getting ready for my next hunt, and Paleo-ish/ Mostly Low-carb food and what I am currently cooking, follow me on Instagram or Facebook!

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*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She will only provide links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

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Low-Carb Egg Puffs

low-carb egg puffs

Do you like cheese? Do you hate when your blood sugar spikes only to crash again? Are you busy? Want to add some to your diet? If you answered “yes” to any of these Low-Carb Egg Puff are for you!

If you would like more Low-Carb recipes you can make ahead of time, check out my E-book 10 Minute Meal Prep!

Low-Carb Egg Puffs

Low-Carb Egg Puffs are fast and simple to make and can be made ahead of time. Ever since I went Keto to increase my fat-burning capabilities these Low-carb eggs puffs have been in my breakfast rotation.

Course Breakfast
Keyword batch cooking, eggs, gluten-free, keto, low-carb, make-a-head
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 tablespoon butter melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup sour cream full-fat
  • 6 oz grated cheese chedder, pepper jack, mozzarella
  • 3 oz power greens, frozen and crumbled* optional
  • 7 oz sausage**, cooked (or bacon)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together coconut flour, garlic powder, salt, and baking powder.

  2. Add in eggs, butter, and sour cream.
  3. Whisk until completely mixed.
  4. Stir in the cheese, greens, and sausage. To cut down on dishes the same whisk can be used 😉

  5. Scoop ¼ cup mixture onto two baking sheets, lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. (I use a #20 scoop)
  6. Bake 400° F for 15-20 minutes (depending on your oven), until the edges just start to brown.

Recipe Notes

*I keep a bag of power greens in my freezer for smoothies and baking. This allows me to buy in bulk and they never do bag. Freezing also makes some of the nutrients more bioavailable. Once the leaves are frozen I crumble them up

** Organic Frozen breakfast sausage is a great timesaver. I just take it out of the freezer and cut into 1/4 inch pieces. 

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She will only provide links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

Delta Dall Sheep Hunt 2018

Gina Ciolkosz wtih Dall Sheep

 


A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON MY HUNTING BUDDY

Gina Ciolkosz on Delta Alaska Dall Sheep Hunt

 

Just before I started dating my husband, I was about to join Match.com (I promise this is about hunting!) It was August 2013, I needed a hunting buddy for the upcoming sheep season. I would say that at the time I wasn’t interested in finding a life partner but a hunting buddy.  I figured you couldn’t ask a guy to help you packout out if you aren’t willing to put out.

Right when I was about to set up a Match.com account, I had a conversation with my roommate/landlord at the time(enter future husband, Ryan) about how great sheep hunting was. Ryan decided he wanted to give it a try and offered himself up as my new hunting buddy. We started getting ready for the season by outfitting Ryan with the right gear, studying maps, and making packing lists. Within a couple weeks, we had also started dating.

Life Happens

Just before the sheep season opener, my mom, who had been battling breast cancer for a couple of years, took a turn for the worse and I had to fly to Wyoming to be with her. Shortly after I arrived she died, so sheep hunting that year ended up being the least of my worries.

We tabled it until the following year when Ryan drew a great tag (DS203) for just outside of Delta Junction, Alaska. Certain hunting areas in Alaska enough people want to hunt, that the Alaska Fish and Game set up a lottery for tags. You must put in for the individual hunts and for some tags, the odds are very low.

Then…wait for it… later that month, I found out I was pregnant.

Life did what life does, and long story short, I had to wait 5 years to go sheep hunting. This year was a big deal to me – the stars aligned, life calmed down, and I drew a Delta Dall Sheep tag! I’m the first to admit I’ve been super lucky with sheep tags. The four years I have put in for sheep tags I have drawn Tok Management Area and Delta! Anyway, I was super excited and wrote a little post about the Draw Results.

This sheep season was the first time my husband and I had been on a real hunt together (we previously had only done  a fast-overnight brown bear hunt the first fall we dated), it was the first time we had spent a night away from our now two kids together, so in a way, this sheep hunt was like our belated honeymoon.

PREPARING FOR A SHEEP HUNT

Sheep hunting is like the marathon of hunting. Much like people train for a marathon for months, it takes months to prepare for a sheep hunt. A day after tags came out in February, I had designed nutrition and training programs to physically prepare for the hunt.  During my Delta hunt, we covered over 60 miles and, who knows how many feet of elevation gain, all with a ~ 60-pound backpack. I’ve run a marathon without training before, but I would not want to go sheep hunting without a strong training base.

My nutrition plan includes five and a half weeks of strict keto, months of low-carb eating, and countless fasted workouts. All this metabolic work allowed my body to become more efficient at burn fat and not be as depended on constantly eating.

The training program initially was designed to heal some injuries I have, increase strength and endurance. I was unable to heal from the injuries, so I just did the best I could. This was a source of anxiety for me.

Once your body is prepared as it can be, there is all the gear. Sheep hunters are notorious for their Excel gear lists. We had almost everything we needed, but for everything we didn’t have, we spent hours researching and discussing before coming to a final decision. Some final decisions on gear were not made until the very last possible minute.

DIY Low-carb backpackingfood

Food is another important part of hunting. I had decided to pack low-carb. Fat has over twice the calories than carbs and protein. It also is a cleaner burning fuel. I researched and tested many high-fat, backpack-stable foods. Some were a success (like my DIY high-fat dehydrated dinners), some were failures (like my meal replacement drinks). My DIY backpacking food turned out great and I ended up removing ten pounds from each of our packs, which is a really big deal, but that process will have to be its own post.

Every ounce counts! We weighed everything. There is a balance between functionality, comfort, and weight.

DAY 0 – THE BEGINNING

The week before my Delta sheep hunt I had been sick. I was already worried about how my body would hold up (I have a chronic leg injury from caribou hunting that prevents me from training very much). My cough and two sick kids had made sleeping impossible.

As the hunt got closer, most of my extreme excitement was replaced with anxiety. I wanted a sheep so bad. So many things can go wrong, and maybe I wasn’t strong enough, maybe I would miss my shot, who knew? I was definitely nervous. Last year only one woman successfully harvested a sheep on a draw permit. And only five total… those aren’t promising odds.

Ryan’s dad arrived the night before and I worked on finishing some last-minute things for the hunt and to set the kids up for while I would be gone.

On the Road

Once Ryan got home from work we packed up the truck and hit the road. We got to Delta at 11 PM and drove 30 more minutes to a campsite. We just slept in the cab of the truck. I had been sleeping so crappy, but sleeping in that passenger seat was the best sleep I had in over a week.

DAY 1 – COVERING GROUND

Now that we started the hunt, I was starting to get excited.

The early Delta hunt is non-motorized (and non-pack animal), which means you cannot use a 4-wheeler to transport you or your gear, even if there is a dirt road. So, after we woke up, we parked the truck just off the highway, packed up our bikes with kid trailers and hit the road.  

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We biked until we reached a swampy area and decided the rate of return was not high enough to continue biking and we would have to travel on foot.

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The week before sheep season, Delta had gotten a ton of rain. If the conditions had been drier, it would have been possible to make it further using bikes.  However, I will say it was the easiest six miles you can hope for in a sheep hunt.

We switched the gear from the trailer to our packs. Mine weighed 55 lbs. including all my gear, food, gun, and water. Ryan’s weight was 65 lbs. Ryan was carrying five extra lbs. for me. I had calculated that my high-fat food had saved us 10 lbs each., so I figured his pack was still lighter than it would have been if he was hunting with someone else. I felt pretty good about that. Pulling my own weight is really important to me.

It was still relatively easy walking on the trail for a few more miles, if you consider carrying a 65 lbs. pack easy. There was a slight climb but it was a nice solid trail. The trail got less and less well defined and it started to gain in elevation.

We stopped to glass the far-off mountains and saw a sheep that we thought was a ram, but it wasn’t in the direction where we’re headed. Normally if you see a ram you go after it, but it would have been hell to walk straight to him and we would be able to access the area he was in later once on top of the plateau.

While glassing, we realized we had to go down the hill we had just climbed up to get to the mountains. Giving up elevation is one of the hardest things to do in sheep hunting.

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By the end of the day though we were up the first part of the mountain. We had covered another eight miles by foot, within range of sheep country just in time for opening day.

DAY 2 – THE OPENER

Opening day!

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The second day was relatively uneventful. We hiked seven miles total and got on top of the plateau. On top was tundra, which is desirably hard to hike through. It is soft and lumping, which makes stabilizing a heavy load difficult. We stopped from time to time to glass for sheep and worked our way back further into the wilderness.

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Glassing takes a long time. Ryan and I would take out the spotting scope and binoculars and search every square in of mountain in sight. This is an important part of sheep hunting.

It was a little discouraging not seeing any sheep, but it was still early in the hunt. There was a tent where we had wanted to go, so we camped in a little canyon that night. It was  right next to a great place to glass for sheep the next day!

DAY 3 – NOTHING INSIGHT

In the morning we climbed out of the canyon and over to the large drainage we had wanted to hunt. We glassed it and only saw three ewes. We stayed up high and did a loop on part of the plateau where there were a lot of little drainages there could be sheep. Every little ravine we would stop and glass. As we got close to where we had started, we ran into a solo hunter. We chatted with him a bit. He had missed a shot at a nice ram opening day, which explained why we weren’t seeing many sheep.

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With all the glassing we only covered about five miles. We set up camp higher in elevation that night, but not very far from the previous camp. It was a nice place that we could glass nearby.

That night we heard a shot. My heart sank. That should have been my sheep. Why was I in my tent trying to sleep? (Actually, it totally sucks to field dress and pack out an animal in the dark so I wasn’t 100% mad about it.)

“No way they got a sheep,” I told Ryan, “who gets a sheep with just one shot?”, some people do, but there was also a chance they had misses and scared way more sheep.

DAY 4 – A CHANGE IN STRATEGY 

With the lack of sheep we were seeing, we needed to come up with a new plan. Our camp was in a good place. The way the mountain was shaped, we could head in a few different directions, so we decided to keep camp where it was. We packed up a couple days of food and the essentials and took off. Our hope was with a lighter pack we could travel farther and end up having more luck.

Early in the day, we stopped to glass and finally saw some sheep! They were miles away, we could barely tell they were rams, but they were! They were the only rams we had seen in a couple of days, so we took off after them. We headed down a ridge, then we would head up the next mountain, and across a ridge for a long ways.

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Once we had dropped down on to a little ridge, we were able to look me with the back down the valley with the spotting scope. There was a lone ram! Closer, and it looked like he was legal. It is common in sheep hunting to spot sheep when you change your view. As you travel, you get new vantage points of the mountain. It is possible to be right above a sheep while he is tucked out of sight.

We turned around and got back on top of the ridge we had just been on. Day 4 was really really windy, and the wind was not in our favor. Ideally, you are downwind of the animal you trying to stock so it can’t smell you. The only thing we could think to do was stay just on the other side of the ridge and try to get downwind of him. We were hoping it was windy enough for our smell to be carried past.

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Once we were downwind, we went into a drainage to try to spot him and couldn’t see him. I must admit I was not feeling optimistic at this point. There was a good chance he had smelled us and decided to leave. We had also run into some ewes along the way.  We tried to give them enough room as to not spook them, but on top of the plateau was pretty flat, there wasn’t a way to get out of their sight. It was possible they had crossed the ram’s path and made him nervous.

We hiked back to the ridge top and started to work our way closer to where we thought the ram was. Down another drainage out of sight. Then we crawled up a little ridge until we could peer over. There he was, just out of range. Now I had hope again!

Back up to the ridge, we went and then back down another drainage. Now we were in rifle range!

Ryan was able to get a good look and judged him legal. In Alaska, rams must either be a full curl, have broken off both their tips, or at least 8 years old. This ensures the rams have time to reach breeding age and mate, but is not always easy to do. A legal ram is an old ram. If you shoot a ram that is not legal, the Fish and Game confiscate it. 

The ram was standing broadside! Because of the way I was lying I had trouble seeing through my scope and couldn’t judge for myself. Eventually, he bedded down, and I was able to get into a good shooting position. He was looking right at us. I waited until he turned his head. He was a full curl!

The shot, however, was a little tricky. He was laying down facing me, surrounded by rocks and about 300 yards away from me. Usually, I am very conservative on the shots I will take. But the chances of me just wounding him were low and for some reason, I felt incredibly stable, way more stable and calm than I normally feel at the shooting range.

I was sure of myself and this might be my only chance, I had to take the shot. Aim, breath in, breath out, squeeze. I squeezed the trigger.

Defying the laws of physics, he dove towards me and off the ledge he was laying on, but you could tell he was dead! I turned over on my back and took a couple of deep breaths…

THE REAL WORK

In sheep hunting, the real work begins when you pull the trigger, and I now had a sheep down over 20 miles from the truck.

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I didn’t wait for Ryan, I grabbed my pack and took off after my sheep, down the drainage, I THOUGHT he was in. “Ryan, I don’t see him!” I yelled. Ryan stayed high and went to look down the next drainage. There he was, near the bottom. Sheep country can be so deceiving.

When I got to him it was obvious he had fallen a long way. It was gruesome, but miraculously, his horns were just scuffed, not broken.

Unfortunately, we were unable to get a good picture of him. Dall sheep are such beautiful, amazing animals, and I will always be disappointed we didn’t get a good picture.  Killing such a beautiful badass animal is both the best, most exciting feeling and also incredibly sad at the same time.

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We pulled on our whites, the Tyvek suits painters wear. They are handy when stalking sheep if you find yourself without something to hide behind. Sometimes they will fool a sheep into thinking you are a sheep, therefore not a threat. I like wearing whites when I gut an animal, so any blood you get on yourself you can just strip off when you are done.00100sPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180812142901821_COVER

Then we went to work field dressing and deboning my sheep. It was sunny, and the wind wasn’t blowing down where my ram laid. This might have been the first sheep shot in history mid-day with the sun out, imagine getting back to camp while it is light out! We took as much meat as possible, including some of the organs, out of respect for the animal and because sheep meat is so delicious. You only get about 60 lbs. of meat from a sheep.  

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Once he was all loaded in our packs, we looked up. Wow, was it steep.

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The climb ended up being about 1,700 ft of scree. Some places were so steep I was crawling on my hands and knees. On one of Ryan’s trekking poles, he has an ice ax, which I become extremely jealous of him. I’m not going to lie, with the extra 40 lbs. of sheep meat and horns in my pack, it was a struggle.

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Then once we were back on top of the plateau, we were in a windstorm. Some gusts were so strong, I had to take a knee, so I wouldn’t be blown over. At this point, it was only 2.5 miles back to the tent (if the tent was still there), but with the extra weight, elevation gain, and wind it took us 3 hours to get there. This is what is called Type 2 fun. At the time you aren’t sure why you do it, because it sucks, but in a few weeks, you are able to look back on it fondly.

Fourteen hours after we had left in the morning, we were back at camp, and the tent was still there! Caved in, but still there! I was a little surprised the stakes hadn’t been blown out of the rocky ground.

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That night we did not sleep well. Several times a tent stake would be blown out of the ground and would need to be re-staked. The occasional cave-in was not very conducive to restorative sleep. But I had my sheep!

DAY 5 – I’M TOUGH, I LOVE SHEEP HUNTING, I CAN DO THIS

We slept in a little but did not feel rested. We took our time eating breakfast and drank an extra cup of coffee. One of the best things about getting your sheep early is that you no longer need to ration your food and you eat pretty well on your way out.  The wind died down a little for us, which made breakfast and packing up more pleasant, but once we took off for the day it started blowing again.

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I hate the wind. I’m from a town in Wyoming, that is right next to the world’s largest wind-blown basin in North America. I moved away for a reason.

Day 5 was the most physical and mentally demanding, my mantra for the day was “I’m tough, I love sheep hunting, I can do this.”

Gina Ciolkosz, Delta Alaska Dall Sheep Hunt

After all day of hiking in the wind (did I mention it was windy) we were off the plateau. It was nice to be more protected, but that also meant more brush. Walking through the brush is also the worst, especially when you have a gun and two giant hooks (sheep horns) on your backpack that easily get snagged.

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On the map, we covered about 8.5 miles, but by the end of the day I was about to my limit and was sore all over. With a pack that heavy, you are never sure if it’s harder to do uphill or down, the easiest one is always the one you are not doing.

We made camp next to the trail in the brush on the flattest ground we could find. Even with all the bear sign around camp and meat hanging nearby, I was so tired slept well

DAY 6 – POOF, IT’S OVER

The last day was the shortest and easiest (relatively). We had three miles on a nice trail, then a six-mile bike to the truck. I had a little bike trouble but was able to take care of it before it became a big deal. There was so much weight in the trailer, my rear axle bouned out a couple of times, walking my bike down a steep rocky hill.  I was thankful for my cycling days back in college and my Leatherman. We also ran into two hunters that had called it quits because of the windstorm, proof I’m not the only person who hates wind.

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Getting back to the truck was great. It felt good to put on some yoga pants and Crocs. I felt so satisfied with our successful sheep hunt and was so glad to have gotten some alone time with my husband. However, It is an odd feeling for a hunt to be over. Six months of planning and preparing, and a week in the mountains, then poof – it’s done.  Sheep hunting is a true emotional roller-coaster.

IMG_20180814_092921.jpg

Now, even before all the feeling is back in my feet, I want to go back. I’m already starting to train and plan for next year.

Follow me on Instagram to see my latest adventure!

Triple Cocoa Coconut Fat Bombs

Triple Cocoa Coconut Fat Bombs have become my go-to snack, even my kids love them! I started making them when I first went keto. I’m not full-time keto, but I used it to get fat adapted for my sheep hunt (which I’m totally glad I did!). I ended up making a lot of my own food for my sheep hunt, including these and DIY High-Fat Dehydrated dinner.

(Here is everything I packed on my sheep hunt)

triple cocoa chocolate coconut fat bombs hunting

I like these fat bombs because they aren’t just pure fat, they the have a little texture and nutrient. Oh, and they have chocolate!

Cocoa butter is the fat found in chocolate. It contains healthy saturated fats, that have anti-inflammatory properties. I also like it because cocoa butter is hard at room temperature, so if you take your fat bombs out of the refrigerator they don’t melt.

The Triple Cocoa Coconut Fat Bombs are so fast and simple to make I bring them on every long hike I do. I also made them for my sheep hunt, and I often pack them for my kids as a snack at preschool (they are nut-free).

making fat bombs

Triple Cocoa Coconut Fat Bombs

These are my go-to fat bomb, they are great for a little snack to fuel all your adventures, even if that's just surviving the day. Each bomb contrains about 1 g NET CARB.

Course Snack
Keyword coconut, cocoa, chocholate, fat bomb, nut-free, dairy-free
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 oz very dark chocolate chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • stevia, to taste* optional

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, gently melt cocoa butter over LOW.

  2. Once cocoa butter is melted stir in coconut, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, and stevia*.

  3. Scoop 1 tablespoon mixture onto a small sheet tray, lined with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper. (I use a #50 scoop)

  4. Refrigerate until hard, then store in an airtight container in the fridge. These keep really well.

Recipe Notes

* personally I don't like stevia and prefer my fat bombs less sweet, but make your fat bombs the way you like! Also, you can add a tablespoon of coconut sugar which will add less than 1g carb per fat bomb, this is how my husband likes them and if you are hiking hard that little bit of carbs won't kick you out of ketosis.

Chcolate fat bomb

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She will only provide links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

Slow Cooker Bone Broth- Why Sourcing your Bones Matter

Wild Game Bone Broth

 

As a hunter and spouse of a hunter, I feel so incredibly lucky to have access to such high-quality meat. You can’t buy better meat. Not only is game meat much more humane than “conventionally farmed meat,” it is more sustainable and provides an excellent source of nutrients. Game bones also make the best bone broth.

When an animal lives and eats in the wilderness, it is exposed to fewer pollutants and eats exactly what it is supposed to eat. Wild plants tend to have more nutrients than farmed plants, and those nutrients are stored in the tissues of the animals that eat them. Wild game and grass-fed meats have higher amounts of Omega-3 fats and vitamins and minerals than does grain-fed meat.

How I Source My Bones

This season, I couldn’t go hunting. However, I did help friends butcher their caribou. As is customary, they rewarded me for my efforts, and I chose my payment in bones. Later in the season, my husband also harvested two black-tail deer. If you have never seen a black-tailed deer, they are hilariously small. I could fit the bones of more than one leg in a gallon Ziploc bag!

I have been making bone broth for a while, but this was the first time I made it from game bones. Typically, with grass-fed beef bones, I make a batch of broth for my family and the second batch for my dog. By then, the bones are so soft, you can cut them with a butter knife.

After the second batch of caribou broth, the bones were almost as hard as when I started! So, I made another … and another! I was amazed. The caribou bones produced two times the broth as beef bones did. I’m no scientist, but this can mean only one thing: Game bones are kick-ass!

If you do not have access to wild game bone broth is still worth making!

Sourcing Your Bones

If you aren’t a hunter or simply can’t bring yourself to pack out the bones (trust me, I’ve been there), bone broth is still worth making. It’s just important to source your bones thoughtfully. Bones are a tissue that bioaccumulates. This means if the animal is exposed to pesticides, heavy metals, or pollutants, you’ll find these substances in the bones. This is bad news if you don’t source bones from a quality source.

If you don’t have access to wild game bones, buy bones that are organic/grass-fed/pasture-raised. Good places to look are your local farmer’s market or butcher shop, or you can purchase organic/grass-fed/pasture-raised cuts of meat that are still on the bone. Not only is bone-in meat typically cheaper, but meat cooked on the bone offers more flavor and nutrition. For example, after you roast a whole chicken, you can save the bones for bone broth and really get your money’s worth

Any type of bone will work, but bones that include joints result in a broth that is richer in collagen and other healthy-joint compounds. Chicken feet are also great to add if you have them.

Consider asking your butcher to cut the bones you buy down the middle through the joint to increase the surface area. Increasing surface area and exposing the insides of the bones will help the water extract all the wonderful nutrients locked inside. Asking the butcher to do this can be intimidating, but it’s their job and they should be more than happy to do it for you. I have found butchers to be a great source of information and very helpful when asked.

 

Why consume bone broth?

Simply put, bone broth is delicious and an amazing source of several nutrients that are super bioavailable! Bone broth is great for your gut, bones, joints, skin … the list goes on and on. Among other things, bone broth contains collagen, amino acids, and minerals. If you want to know more, here is a great article by Chris Kesser about bone broth.

Consuming your broth

I use bone broth any time a savory recipe calls for water. Broth is a must for soups and stews, but I also use it whenever I cook rice, to add nutrition and flavor to a simple, bland food. I also use it in my slow-cooker meals. Chilis and curries are my favorites, so that is how my family consumes most of our bone broth. You can also sip broth like a tea. Sipping a cup before bed is a great way to unwind after a long day butchering caribou, and the magnesium and glycine found in bone broth will help you fall asleep!

Roasted caribou bone

Making Yur Bone Broth

Bone Broth

Bone Broth is a true superfood that you can make in your own kitchen.

Keyword bone broth, bones, stock

Instructions

  1. Roast at least one pound of frozen bones in a glass baking dish at 425° F for about 20 minutes, until browned.
  2. Put the bones in a slow-cooker and cover them with water.
  3. Add a splash of vinegar, preferably organic apple cider vinegar.
  4. Cook the bones, water, and vinegar or lemon juice on LOW.

    If you’re using chicken bones, you will want to cook them for 12-24 hours. You’ll want to cook larger bones (like beef bones) for at least 24-36 hours. 

  5. As the bones cook, skim the fat and scum off the top. Do this more often in the beginning and aim for every few hours throughout the cooking process. 

While you may have just recently learned about bone broth and its benefits, bone “broth” is nothing new. Traditional cultures all over the world have been making it for many years. Chefs call it stock (and don’t cook it long enough, in my opinion) and use it as a crucial ingredient for adding flavor and viscosity to soups, stews, and sauces. Here’s how I make my broth.

I love my slow cooker because I can roast the bones right in the insert.

 

1. Roast at least one pound of frozen bones in a glass baking dish at 425° F for about 20 minutes, until browned.

 

The more bones the better, but don’t stress over it or put in so many bones that you can’t cover them with at least an inch of water when you move them to your slow cooker in the next step. If you are using bigger bones, you can generally make more than one batch of broth.

Roasting the bones is purely for flavor. Make sure your bones are nice and browned, but not burnt. After baking, the liquid may have accumulated in the bottom of your baking dish. If you’d like, you can pour this liquid into a heat-proof glass container and let it set. Once the fat has risen to the top, discard this and add the remaining liquid to your slow-cooker.

2. Put the bones in a slow-cooker and cover them with water.

If you are using tap water, make sure to run it through a filter first. I used this filter before I moved to a house with a well.

Cooking with and drinking filtered water or well water is important because the water you use greatly affects the flavor of whatever you’re cooking. Unfiltered tap water may also contain things that you don’t want to consume, like excess chlorine, which can be hard on the good bacteria in your gut.

3. Add a splash of vinegar, preferably organic apple cider vinegar.

As a substitute, you can use lemon juice. Acidity releases more nutrients, like calcium and magnesium, from the bones and into your water. Here is a PubMed study to prove it 😉 The study also looked at heavy metals in bone broth.

While the study found that bone broth contains safe levels of heavy metals, less is always better. Animals that are fattened in feedlots can be exposed to more heavy metals. If you source your bone from the right place, this is even less of a concern.

4. Cook the bones, water, and vinegar or lemon juice on LOW.

If you’re using chicken bones, you will want to cook them for 12-24 hours. You’ll want to cook larger bones (like beef bones) for at least 24-36 hours. As the bones cook, skim the fat and scum off the top. 

Do this more often in the beginning and aim for every few hours throughout the cooking process. (Don’t worry about it overnight, though.) Here is the skimmer I use. You can use a ladle but if you get serious about bone broth, the skimmer will save you a lot of time. If you skip the skimming, your broth will taste funky. Trust me on this one.

Flavoring the broth is optional.

However, I like to add herbs and spices, as well as organic veggie scraps, skins, and stems from dishes that I had cooked throughout the week. (I save the scraps in the freezer until they’re ready to use.) I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but organic is important.

Things that are good in broth include, but are not limited to, carrot, celery, mushrooms, onions (and the skins), herbs, ginger, peppercorns, bay leaves, allspice berries, lemon peel, garlic, etc. Don’t be afraid to get creative with the flavorings! If you add the veggies and spices to your broth at the beginning, the long cooking time will overcook them and the resulting broth will be less flavorful. Be patient and wait to add the flavorings until the last couple hours of cook time. You can also leave the broth plain, which can be a good option if you are simply going to be cooking with it (vs. sipping it on its own).

You can tell that your bones have given you all they can when you can cut them with a butter knife.

To store your broth, you will want to strain out the solids. These are the strainers I wish I had. I recommend storing broth in glass mason jars. (I typically use a quart or half-gallon jars.) Your broth will keep in the fridge for about five days, though adding a teaspoon of salt per quart of broth will help it stay fresh longer.

If you aren’t going to consume the broth in the next week, keep in mind that it freezes well. You can freeze it in freezer jars. I like to simmer broth on the stove to reduce the volume by about half. This way, it takes up less room in the freezer. (After hunting and fishing season, freezer space is at a premium in our house.) After the broth has reduced, I pour it into silicone molds. I like these molds because they are a great individual serving size; they are the same ones in which I bake personal frittatas. Once the broth is frozen, I move it into Ziploc freezer bags for longer-term storage. When you defrost your broth, just add water to restore your original quantity.

Give bone broth a try! Let me know what you think or if you have any questions.

Slow-cooker Bone Broth

Adapted for a post I wrote for Open Sky Fitness

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She will only provide links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

3 Reasons to Make Collagen Coconut Milk

DIY Collagen Coconut Milk

For the past few months, I have been making my own coconut milk. I use it in everything from Simple Curries to lattes. Homemade Coconut milk is even built into my Paleo “oatmeal recipe”. After you have made your own and see how easy it is, you will probably never buy coconut milk in the carton again.

3 Reasons to make Collagen Coconut Milk

 

1. It is way cheaper

If you are like me, you like to know you are getting a good value. Food is expensive enough. Store bought coconut milk is a total rip off. It is mostly water! Need more convincing? Well here is a table comparing the price per cup for common brands to homemade.

coconut price comparison

2. Store-bought brands contain a lot of Additives

Store bought coconut milk contains gums. Gums act as an emulsifier to keep the coconut and water from separating. They also give the “milk” a thicker, creamier texture. While some are better than others, all gums have the potential to irritate your gut. Some people are more sensitive to this than others. Chris Kresser did a really great break down of gums if you would like more information.

The cartons are also lined with plastic, which sometimes contains BPA!

Take a look at these ingredients and tell me which you rather consume.

Coconut milk ingredients

3. This recipe contains Collagen

Collagen (is great for you! It contains amino acids that most people are deficient in and helps heal your gut, the opposite of what gums do. Collagen is good for joint health and helps you sleep better. Since I have started consuming more collagen I have noticed my skin has gotten way softer. I could go on and on about collagen but in case you don’t really care I won’t, but if you would like to learn more check out this link to a Dr. Axe article.

Gelatin is Collagen that has been cooked

Collagen Coconut Milk

Making your own coconut milk is easier than you think 

Course Drinks
Keyword blender, coconut milk, collagen
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 3

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water boiling
  • 2 cups water cool
  • 3/4 teaspoon grass fed gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut butter (manna)
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Bloom gelatin in about 1 tablespoons cool water
  2. In a blender, mix hot water, bloomed gelatin, coconut butter*, and salt, on a low spend for about 20 seconds.

  3. Add cool water, and refrigerate
  4. After the milk has cooled, shake to mix, one final time. 

Recipe Notes

*To make a richer coconut milk, more like you would find in a can, add ½ cup coconut butter instead of just 2 tablespoons.

The original recipe first appeared in a post I did for Open Sky Fitness

Collagen Coconut for Pinterest

 

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She will only provide links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

Advieh Zoodles

Do you make the same 3 things for dinner every night after work? Are you looking to add something a little exotic, but familiar enough that your kids will still eat it? Make Advieh Spaghetti and Zoodles tonight!

What is Advieh?

Advieh is a Persian spice blend that has rose petals. Typically, I hate flower flavored foods, when I see lavender flavored chocolate I want to throw a temper tantrum. But the rose in Advieh is subtle and somehow very comforting, like something a Persian grandma would make. I was able to find food grade rose peddles at my local spice shop, but they can also be bought on Amazon. Here is an Advieh spice, but I have not tried it, but I’m sure it will work.

 

Advieh Zoodles

This weeknight Paleo dinner is somehow both a comfort food and exotic.

Course Main Course
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs grass-fed ground beef or lamb
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon Advieh
  • 3 cups tomato sauce about (just 1 Jar)
  • 1-2 eggplants 1 inch cubed 1t salt 20 minutes 425
  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • ½ bunch parsley roughly chopped

Advieh

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground rose petal
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

Instructions

  1. On a sheet pan, sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over eggplant, set aside while oven preheats
  2. Brown meat and onions together in a pan with ½ teaspoon salt
  3. Put eggplant in a 400 degree F oven to roast (15-20 minutes)
  4. Add spices and garlic to meat and stir until you can spell them. (Note: if there is a lot of liquid in the pan drain that off before adding spices)
  5. Stir in vinegar
  6. Add tomato sauce and simmer
  7. When the eggplant is done roasting stir into the sauce
  8. Simmer for about 15 minutes
  9. Stir in chopped parsley
  10. Serve over zoodles

Tips and Tricks

Persian Spaghetti with Zoodles

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She will only provide links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

Epic Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

paleo brown butter chocolate chip cookie

Where I Eat Epic Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of enjoying a cookie or two on top of a mountain. These Paleo-ish Epic Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are a perfect mid-hike treat. Of course, you don’t have to climb a mountain to enjoy them, they are also good wherever you happen to be.

Brown Butter

Brown Butter is amazing and makes everything better. Basically, if a sweet recipe calls for butter, brown butter will make it better.

How Treats Fit into My Diet

To prepare for my upcoming Dahl Sheep Hunt I have been going in and out of ketosis. “How can you eat cookies?!”, you might ask. First off, I am a huge believer in the occasional treat when I’m not eating keto. But according to Dr. Cate Shanahan, even in ketosis, you can enjoy some carbs if you time them right with exercise.

So then you kind of emptied out those little suitcases in your muscles that store glycogen (during exercise), and so now you could just refill those suitcases, and it doesn’t take insulin to do that, either (allowing you to stay in ketosis). Balanced Bites Podcast

Plus, a cookie tastes its best when you are it enjoying with friends, surrounded by nature, after working hard. But seriously these cookies will taste great anytime.

Epic Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These chewy Paleo-ish cookies are a nice little treat you can enjoy on top of a mountain or at your kitchen table. 

Course Dessert
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 30

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup grass-fed butter

Dry Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs

Mix-In

  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium-low heat
  2. Occasionally swirl, until the milk solids turn golden and the butter smells nutty.
  3. Set aside and let cool off until you can comfortably touch the pot.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.
  5. In the saucepan mix butter, dry ingredients, and wet ingredients.
  6. Once completely mix together, fold in chocolate
  7. Scoop about 1 tablespoon of dough on to silicon or parchment paper lines cookies sheets
  8. Flatten out dough balls with a measuring cup
  9. Bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 12-15 minutes or until the edges start to brown

Recipe Notes

Makes 30-35 cookies

*the instant coffee is optional but adds a nice bitter note to offset all the sweetness

 

Tips and Tricks

  • Here is a brown butter How-To video. Once you learn how you’ll never want to use plain butter again, I’ve even put it in my coffee! It has a great sweet, caramelly, nutty flavor. I’m not sure why it tastes so sweet, because to my knowledge it does not contain carbs.
  • I use Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips or chopped Lindt dark chocolate bars because they do not contain soy lecithin.
  • I love my cookie scoop and use it for everything including Fat Bombs and mini muffins. Mine is a size #50, but I also have size #20 for muffins and cupcakes, and a large #12 I use for Keto flatbread.
  • Silicon mats are great for baking cookies, veggies, and sheet pan meals. They make clean up a breeze! Or use an unbleached parchment paper. You can use parchment paper a couple of time before you have to throw it away.

 

 

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She will only provide links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

paleo brown butter chocolate chip cookie

Paleo “Oatmeal”

grain-free hot breakfast

If you’re like me, you miss having your “healthy” bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Well, I have good news for you, this Paleo Oatmeal is just as comforting and a better low-carb alternative to the insulin spiking bowl of sugar you used to eat. Here is a Mark’s Daily Apple article about oatmeal if you are looking for a comprehensive read.

I made my Paleo Oatmeal in a mason jar. It only can fit a half batch, but I use my blender all the time and love that I can blend everything right in the jar. I also use my blender for Make-Ahead Smoothies. Seriously, I could probably write an entire cookbook for this blender. It doesn’t have the power of a Vita-Mix, but I’m obsessed with mason jars and hate doing dishes.

Blender love letter aside, you can make this recipe in any blender😊

 

Paleo Oatmeal

This healthy breakfast will have you forgetting all about oatmeal. Plus it can be eaten hot or cold!

Course Breakfast
Keyword dairy-free, grain-free, low-carb, paleo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 4 cup water + a splash
  • 2 teaspoon gelatin optional, but highly recommended
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cup berries

Instructions

  1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil.

  2. Meanwhile, bloom gelatin in your blender (or jar) with a splash of cold water.
  3. Add hot water, coconut butter, salt, nuts, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  4. Blend until nuts are in small pieces.
  5. Add coconut and chia seeds to the blender, pulse just to mix
  6. Pour out half the mixture into a bowl and top with berries

 

Tips & Tricks

  • If you don’t have gelatin or coconut butter, just heat up 2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk or another nut milk.
  • You can half this recipe for a single serving, but why cook once and only eat once. This can be reheated or eaten cold as a parfait
  • Try using your favorite types of nuts
  • If you want your Paleo oatmeal a little sweeter, add a drizzle of maple syrup (just know you are adding sugar).
  • Buy nuts raw and store them in the freezer

*Wild and Well Fed is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. While this does not add any cost to the consumer it helps Gina continue to work on this blog. She will only provide links to things she thinks will help you or you might really like. Thanks for the support!

oatmeal

A Formula for a Simple Curry

formula for curry

A post in the Open Sky Fitness Podcast Group by Rob Dionne got me thinking. How many recipes do I use to cook most of my dinners? I realized that rather than “recipes,” I have formulas. At least once a week I use A Formula for a Simple Curry. Honestly, I think we ate curry four times the other week. When your life gets crazy … simplify where you can.

Why a Formula Instead of a Recipe

Give a person a recipe and they can cook tonight. Give a person a basic formula for a simple curry and they can cook for a lifetime, with whatever they have on hand.

Warning

This looks much more complicated than it is. Once you have used the formula once or twice, it will become second nature!

Developing a Formula for Curry

It was harder than I thought to write down my abstract curry formula, even though it’s very logical. I started with my very general dinner formula.

Meat + Veggies + Flavor = A Healthy, Good-Enough Dinner

For example, take my simple Salmon Fajitas.

Meat (salmon) + Veggies (onions and bell peppers) + Flavor (fajitas seasoning) = Healthy Sheet Pan Supper

So, I guess my Formula for Simple Curry goes like this:

1 pound meat + lots of veggies + 2 cups liquid + 1-2 tablespoons spices + bone broth (optional) = Fast, yummy dinner

Meat

Typically, I use wild game hamburger, ground turkey or chicken. I personally don’t like fish curries, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a try! (Lots of people like fish curries; I’m just weird.)

A good general rule, is 1 pound meat -> 1 teaspoon salt added during cooking.

Veggies

My go-to veggie preparation? Roasted! Most nights, we eat some form of roasted veggie. Not glamorous, but I love the way they taste, and silicon mats make for fast preparation and clean up.

Curries are a great way to use up any random veggies hiding in the bottom of your crisper drawer. Just throw it all in there! Extra roasted/steamed/baked/sautéed veggies from the night before? Throw them in there! Often, I make a curry Sunday night to use up anything I didn’t get to that week. This cuts down on food waste.

 

These veggies I found last night. Even the sad wilted celery tasted great in the curry.

 

Often, at the very end, I throw a few handfuls of spinach or kale into the sauce to get some extra veggies in my simple curry.

Liquid

To make my curry sauce, I typically use full-fat coconut milk. Usually, I have some Homemade Collagen Coconut Milk in my fridge. If I don’t, I’ll use canned.

Lately, I have started to occasionally mix it up with cashew milk.

Spices

Thai Kitchen makes a green curry and red curry paste that I really like. They are made from real ingredients. They also don’t need to be refrigerated until you open them, and then you can keep them in the fridge for a long time.

One or two tablespoons of garam masala and/or curry powder is also a good option. When I add dried spices, I usually add at least a teaspoon of cumin, just because I love cumin.

Bone Broth

Bone Broth is optional but is so good for you! You can either make your curry a soup or cook rice or quinoa in bone broth instead of water. Although rice is not paleo, when it’s prepared properly, most people tolerate it well and it’s a crowd pleaser. Personally, I feel pretty good feeding my kids sprouted brown rice I’ve cooked in bone broth. For more information about properly preparing grains or legumes, check out this awesome in-depth Weston A. Price Foundation article.

Simple Curry

This is a formula to make a curry out of whatever you have laying around. It is a fast and healthy meal to cook on those nights you did not plan ahead and you are in a hurry... so basically every night.

Course Main Course
Keyword curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound meat
  • Lots of veggies chopped
  • 2 cups liquid
  • 1-2 tablespoons spices
  • bone broth optional

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet or pot brown meat

  2. Stir in spiced

  3. Add liquid 

  4. Either add veggies or roast them at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes

  5. Simmer curry for about 15 minutes

Ingredient Options (include but not limited)

Instructions for Ground Meat

  1. In a large pot or skillet, brown meat with onions if available, over medium-high heat.
  2. Add spices to meat mixture, stirring constantly.
  3. Turn heat down to medium-low and carefully add liquid to make a sauce.
  4. Either serve with roasted veggies or simmer veggies until done.

Instructions for Stew Meat

  1. In a large pot or skillet, brown meat with onions if available, over medium-high heat.
  2. Add spices to meat mixture, stirring constantly.
  3. Turn heat down to medium-low, then carefully add liquid to make a sauce.
  4. Simmer at least 30 minutes or add to slow cooker (LOW 4-6 hours, HIGH 2-4 hours).
  5. Serve with roasted veggies.

Instructions for Chicken Breast and Thighs

  1. In a large skillet, brown onion over medium-high heat with a little oil, if available.
  2. Add spices to meat mixture, stirring constantly.
  3. Turn heat down to medium-low, then carefully add liquid to make a sauce.
  4. Either stir in veggies now, or roast them at 425°F for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Add chicken and let simmer in the sauce for about 30 minutes.
  6. Use a fork to break chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Instructions for Fish

  1. In a large skillet, brown onion over medium-high heat with a little oil, if available.
  2. Add spices to meat mixture, stirring constantly.
  3. Turn heat down to medium-low, then carefully add liquid to make a sauce.
  4. Either stir in veggies now, or roast them at 425°F for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Add fish and let simmer in the sauce for about 10 minutes.
  6. Use a fork to break fish into bite-sized pieces.

Instructions for Slow Cooker

  • Not recommended for fish.
  • Chicken thighs hold up better than chicken breasts.
  • If using ground meat, brown before adding to slow cooker.
  1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker.
  2. Cook on LOW 6-8 hours or HIGH 3-4 hours.

Tips and Tricks

  • Garnish your curry with cilantro, green onion, and a squeeze of lime or lemon (if available).
  • Garnishing with a finely diced granny smith apple adds a nice texture and brightness.
  • Roasting veggies take another pan but add flavor and texture, while adding very little to the actual prep time.
  • Make enough for lunch the next day

 

Give it a try! Thinking about cooking this way will make it easier to throw together a fast, healthy, and tasty curry.

 

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