When we started our adventures in the backcountry, we ate a lot of the pre-packaged, store bought meals. These are an excellent starting point, as they get the job done and it’s easy. But after a few hikes, or a few days of repetitive meals, it starts to get boring. We began to venture out into the possibilities and alternatives, and things just keep getting better.
Despite our breakthroughs with supper, I found that we were still starting the day with our same old boring instant oats. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of oatmeal for breakfast while hiking. They are light-weight, easy to make, high in fibre and grains, and give you some sugar to start the day. A warm bowl of oats on a cold morning in the backcountry is comforting and warms the soul. However be aware of the high sodium, high salt, artificial flavours and preservatives that are often found in the store bought instant oats.
Our first attempts to mix it up with breakfast involved plain instant oatmeal packages with the addition of our own dehydrated strawberries, apples (and a dash of cinnamon), pineapples, or mangos. This works wonders as the fruit will rehydrate slightly with the hot water. Change it up each day with a variety of fruits and it will make the oats slightly more tolerable.
The next progression is to make your own instant oats. There are numerous websites that give recipes for this, my personal favorite being: from the Yummy Life.
Even with all the different variations of oatmeal, it still gets old. I’ve started bringing home made granola with a small amount of dehydrated milk powder for alternating days with the oats. I roughly follow the Planet Organic Market Cookbook recipe for Organic Granola.
3 cups slow cooking oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashew pieces
¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp sea salt
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup canola oil
1 cup – whatever I have in the cupboard – dried cranberries, walnuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
Preheat oven to 250F. Combine oats, almonds, cashews, coconut, sugar and salt. Whisk maple syrup and oil together and pour over oat mix. Place onto baking trays and bake for 1-2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes. When desired colour is achieved, remove and cool. Place in large bowl and toss with berries or raisins. Yields 6 cups.
The final addition to our breakfast line up was care of Noel, bringing a batch of biscotti to Iceland. This was a big hit and has become a necessity to fully enjoy our morning coffee/tea in the backcountry. Whether soaked in your drink or dipped in oatmeal, the biscotti really brought breakfast to the next level for us… Watch for the recipe in part 2, coming soon!