I was looking forward to spending a weekend in Acadia with my sister. It’s a BEAUTIFUL national park up in Maine, which everybody should visit! Check out http://www.nps.gov/index.htm for more parks, sites and monuments all over America to check out. It’s amazing what America has to offer!
But one thing had me worried. . . what was I going to eat? I’ve been trying to go vegan for about two weeks now, and I’m really enjoying it. I feel so much better. But camping? I can’t exactly bring an entire kitchen with me, now can I? Either it had to be easily prepared over campfire or a camp stove, or come already made. So I fretted over the menu, nearly forgetting about the point of the trip. To spend time with my sister in a beautiful park, seeing what Maine has to offer. Oh boy, did it have a LOT!
As I thought about it, I realized that I had one factor playing in my favor, we were car camping. Sure, the campsite was approximately 300 feet away from the cars, but we could bring and keep a cooler in there. Score! That opened up a world of choices for me. So I decided to make everything at home, except for breakfast on Sunday morning. That meant I had Friday and Saturday taken care of. And I have to say, I think I did a decent job. As anybody know, for people with food allergies, you have to plan ahead. Especially when you camp. It made the trip so much more enjoyable!
So on Thursday evening, I made pasta salad, chickpeas spiced with tamarind spinach salad, teff muffins and put together the needed ingredients for the breakfast on Sunday. I also gathered fruits and other snacks such as dried cranberries, dried pineapples, and vegetable chips for my sister. Feeling satisfied with the menu, I went to bed, but not before telling my sister that she needs to be sure to eat a hearty breakfast before the long drive.
On Friday morning, we woke up, raring to go! After eating breakfast, I took everything out of the fridge and put it in the cooler, with other nonperishable items in a bag. Now we were on our way. We agreed beforehand that we were content with rice cakes, peanut butter and dried cranberries for lunch. It was both light and filling (peanut butter never fails to do so!). It was the perfect start for us, sitting by this intriguing bridge in Bucksport, ME, overlooking the water, munching away on our treats.
But dinner was amazing. The tamarind spiced chickpeas salad with spinach was exactly what we wanted, and it didn’t require any prepping or cooking, so we were able to sit on the rocks at the Seawall picnic area, in awe of the beauty before us. The rocks, the waves, the open water, the evergreen, mountains and islands far away. Talk about a dinner and show! My sister and I were delighted to eat the tasty meal as we took in the sights. I found the recipe on Whole Foods’ website, and I highly recommend it. It’s meant to be served hot, but it tastes great cold too! Check it out at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/1768
For dessert, we had fruits. YUM!
On the following morning, we were prepared to tackle the day with teff muffins and a banana. Now the muffins were DELICIOUS! Gluten-free, corn-free, soy-free AND vegan! Yup, I swear. I got the recipe off Bob’s Red Mills bag of teff flour and adapted it so I could have it. It was actually surprisingly easy to make. Instead of eggs, I used flaxseed gel (1 egg = 1 TBSP flaxseed meal + 3 TBSP cold water). Teff has a lot of protein, which is great considering we were eating vegan meals all weekend. It’s important to ensure that you’re getting all of your nutrients if you decide to omit something out of your diet.
More rice cakes with peanut butter and cranberries for lunch! I have to say it did taste great. It also gave us an energy boost needed to check out the visitor center in Acadia, then go to Echo Lake (a stunning watering hole in the middle of mountains on the island).
Dinner was a pasta salad that I made on Thursday evening. It was simply rice pasta mixed with cut up vegetables, raisins, grape seed oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? You can make any combination you want, really.
Now the view was INCREDIBLE! The trees were behind us, and in the distance we could see a few of the neighboring islands. Wow. Only if I could eat there every night.
Now breakfast the next morning was what had me nervous. The first step was getting the camp stove started. After tinkering with a few things, I was able to get it started! The pot already had the rice milk and quinoa in it. So I was able to get it started immediately.
The breakfast recipe actually comes from my boyfriend who uses it every time we go camping. It’s one of the meals I look forward to! Whenever we eat that, I know we’re out in the nature. I love it. But how to make it vegan? It’s cooked with dried milk. Mmm… Then it hit me!
At the store, I saw juice box versions of rice milk. Knowing that I wasn’t backpacking, so the weight wasn’t an issue. I thought, why not? It was a success!
Alex’s Quinoa Breakfast : Vegan Style
1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup raisins (may be substituted with cranberries, or mixed)
2 TBSP cane sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
two “juice boxes” of rice milk (Rice Dreams, original enriched, which adds up to 16 ounces).
1.) Put quinoa in one container, and the rest of the ingredients in another, mix well (NOT the rice milk! Leave it in the original box until you’re ready to use it).
2.) When you’re ready, put the rice milk (just poke the hole with a straw and squeeze it out) in the pan along with the quinoa. Cook as you normally would, cover, until you see the grain plump up and it starts to curl.
3.) Add the rest of the ingredients, and cook until the desired texture.
4.) Dine away!
It was a learning experience for me, planning the menu, seeing how everything tasted, and I have to say I think it was a success! Don’t let your diet stop you from going on that adventure you’ve always dreamed of.
If you have a dish that was a hit on a camping or backpacking trip, please do share! I’m always looking for more ideas!