Camping: A How-To for Food

This weekend, we have plans. We’ll be spending the long weekend (and my birthday!) in the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia. I’ve been looking forward to this camping trip for a couple of months and now that it’s finally upon us, it’s time to start deciding what foodstuffs we’re taking along.

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Okay, this is Alaska, but camping there is amazing, too. And isn’t this view incredible?!

Now, planning a menu for a weekend spent in the woods, sleeping in a tent, without a proper kitchen, can be a little daunting. But, thanks to years as a girl scout and parents who took us camping as kids all the time, the task of packing the foodz isn’t so bad.

(Really, we can chalk it up to my dad’s affinity for lists that has been passed down to me. Everything seems more manageable with a list .)

Getting started might be the hardest part, but here a few steps I take to make sure cover all my bases.

D211EAEF-1C30-407A-B3DF-4A966F6E6616What Are The Cooking Conditions?

I always start with this question, because knowing how I’m going to be able to cook my food usually determines what I can bring. This weekend, I’m tent camping, which means no camper or RV with a kitchen. We’ll either be cooking over the fire (dinners) or using my camp stove to boil water for breakfast, and packing lunches that don’t require heat (pb&j!). Knowing that I have a campfire with a  grate gives me lots of options – this weekend we’ll be using trusty pre-made (by me) foil packets. We’ll put salmon filets in some, and sliced potatoes, onions, garlic, etc. in the others. They turn out to be some of the tastiest meals ever. Yum!

meal planHow Many Meals Do You Have to Prepare?

I find it really helpful when packing for a camping trip, to plan out each meal ahead of time, that way I know exactly how much food I need to pack. This weekend, we’ll be out two nights, so as you can see from the above grid, I’ve planned out our days by food. This plan will be my grocery list for tonight and my packing list for Saturday morning. I’ll just throw things in the cooler and we’ll be good to go!

scoot 2What Are Your Daily Activities?

Knowing what you’re planning to do each day you’re out can really help determine what food you should bring. Typically, when I camp, I like to be pretty active, so I know that the food I bring needs to sustain long periods of activity, but also be easy to throw in a day pack. We’ll be hiking for much of the day Sunday, so while breakfast and dinner will be had at the campsite, lunch and snacks will be on the trail. Protein bars, trail mix, granola, and pb&j sandwiches are all great options. They’re easy to pack, both in the car and in your day pack, they’re full of the protein and carbs to sustain a long day of activity, and they’re yummy!

scoot 3Be Bear Aware: Food Storage

One thing that’s important to consider every time you go camping: how am I going to store my food? Remember, you’re going to be in a wilderness area – you’re coming in to an animal’s home and just because you set up your tent and stake your claim to an area doesn’t mean that all of the critters will leave you alone. Growing up and camping in Alaska, I was taught to always be bear aware, and that included knowing how to store my food while in the woods. If you’re car camping, lock it up inside any time you’re not using it. If you’re tent camping, make sure you store your food in a bag, off the ground, away from your campsite – never in your tent! Flimsy walls will do nothing to keep a bear at bay.

IMG_1460 (1)Pack Out What You Pack In

Piggy-backing on the last point, the last key to a successful food venture in the woods is cleanup. Food waste and trash are notoriously smelly, and nothing attracts wild animals like the pungent aroma of last night’s dinner. Proper disposal of these items not only ensures that your campsite stays safe, but also guarantees that you’re doing your part to keep the wilderness clean, so that you and others can come back and enjoy it again. If you’re in a campground, there will be dumpsters for you to use – we usually take our trash out after dinner every night so it doesn’t sit in the car and stink things up. If you’re backpacking, you’ll need to pack out your garbage and dispose of it when you reach an appropriate garbage can.

Ultimately, camping is the funnest and cooking over a fire is one of my most favorite things. I’m looking forward to a weekend in the mountains, relaxing by the tent, hiking through the woods, and enjoying some s’mores by the fire – it’ll be a very happy birthday, indeed!

Rock n Roll Marathon Series Global Tour Pass Giveaway!

So you may have read last week that I’ve got a busy year ahead.

And since running is currently a no go, I wasn’t able to use my Rock-n-Roll Marathon Series Global Tour Pass for 2016, an awesome perk that comes along with being a race series and brand ambassador.

I was hoping to at least run #RnRDC in March, but my body stopped cooperating early in the first trimester. My other “must-run” RnR races for the year in September and October (Philly and Brooklyn) don’t seem incredibly feasible, as I will then have a newborn on my hands.

So instead of fretting about the timing, I decided to share my pass with one lucky reader and postpone my race plans until 2017.

Up for grabs is a 2016 Global Tour Pass worth $479. It gives you entry to any and all RnR races in 2016.

Click on the image below to enter:

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This giveaway will begin Monday, May 23 and will last one week, ending at midnight on Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day.) There’s only one pass up for grabs and only one winner. I received this pass (a $479 value) through my role as a #RocknBlog ambassador. While I love this series, all opinions on my experiences are my own. Winner must be a US, Canadian or European resident. Current #RocknBloggers are no eligible to win the pass. Cheating to enter this giveaway will disqualify entrant. Required entries are a must to be considered for prize.

And HEY! Since I know you all love a deal, use my discount code “ScootaDoot” to save some cash on an upcoming Rock n Roll Marathon race. Save $15 on entry of the marathon and half-marathon distance at 2016 RnR events.

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What’s on your Rock n Roll Marathon Series bucket list? What RnR races do you want to run in 2016?

Changes

2016 has been one helluva year to date.

My father passed away after a 10-month battle with leukemia. My business moved to a brand-new office building, uprooting me from my home-away-from-home for the last 14 years. And the biggest life change – my husband and I are expecting our first child.

I know this post is long overdue, but where to start?

My dad, an Ecuadorian who moved to United States in the 1950s to attend university, had a spectacular life. A mapmaker by trade, he lived 85 years and remained positive throughout his last year, despite his terminal diagnosis. He died in February, and I was fortunate enough to spend several days with him and my mother the week before he died. At that time, I shared our news – that he would have a grandchild.

My dad was thrilled. He couldn’t get over it, as I’m the youngest of his four children and I’m what the medical community politely refers to being of advanced maternal age…a geriatric pregnancy.

You see, my dad and my pregnancy are linked. I don’t like to talk about it and hesitate to share even here, but it’s time to take a leap of faith.

The day I found out dad was sick, I also learned I was pregnant.

The day I helped tell my father he was dying, I learned that my pregnancy wasn’t viable.

The day I learned dad’s chemotherapy had stopped working I also learned I was again expecting.

Less than two months later, he passed away in my parents’ Pennsylvania home.

Dad was what I’d call a true gentleman and an incredible storyteller. He was quirky (who isn’t?) and intelligent, but lived for his loves – most importantly my mother. He was dedicated to his job and would have been honored to see dozens of former co-workers from across the country lovingly share stories as they attended his memorial service.

I know he is still with me, as I can feel his love and guidance regularly. I am heartbroken that he will not be able to hold his grandson.

As for me, I’m nearly done with the second trimester.

The first trimester was physically exhausting. The second was mentally draining with all the changes and adjustments, but I’ve been blessed with a wonderful network of family and friends who have simply been incredible.

Since just before dad passed, I’ve felt good – the energy returned when I most needed it and I’ve slowly realized I need to slow down a bit –  and I have.

Vic at nearly 25 weeks. Almost to the third trimester!

Vic at nearly 25 weeks. Almost to the third trimester!

In mid-April I outed myself at work, as I could not longer hide my rapidly-expanding waist. I also launched a new series about prenatal fitness, starting with yoga.

Now, I’m looking forward as my husband and I prepare for the birth of our son. I’m blessed to be able to share the journey with my cousin Keith and his wife Laura, who are expecting their first child (a girl!) in July, and my brother-in-law Andy and his wife Diane, who are due in September.

We’ve been purging the house of unneeded items. We’ve been preparing the nursery. We’ve been spending time together, relishing our last months as a couple.

It’s a whole new world.

Recipe Box: Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

It’s been raining. For forever. Everything is wet and cold and terrible.

Consequently, I feel super unmotivated kind of all the time and basically hibernation seems like the best option.

I need summer, badly. I’m starting to feel like a slug.

So, to feel better, I bake. Last weekend was the last concert of my choir’s season and I volunteered to bring one of my favorite sweet treats: Salted Caramel Cookie Bars. I discovered this recipe last summer and it’s become one of my go-tos for birthdays and special occasions.

Let’s break it down really quick: layer of chocolate chip cookie dough, layer of salted caramel, layer of cookie dough.

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These bars are ridiculous. On their own, the cookie bars would be delicious, but adding the layer of caramel is some next level ish. (And then, when you’re done with the bowl that you melted the caramel in, you can make whipped cream in it with your leftover heavy cream, and then your whole life will be magic. Because caramel flavored whipped cream.)

INGREDIENTS:
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips
10 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Sea salt, for sprinkling over caramel and bars
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the melted butter and sugars together until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream. Microwave caramels on High until caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes, depending on your microwave.

5. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Pour hot caramel over the cookie dough. Sprinkle caramel with sea salt. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough over the caramel and spread dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt.

6.Bake cookie bars for 30 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Cool bars on a wire rack to room temperature. Cut bars into squares and serve.

Gimme a Gimmick – 2016 Jog ‘n Hog Entry Giveaway

We all have those races that bring us back to them again and again. The reasons vary. Some could be the course. Others are because of the crowd support.

And then there are others… others that promise something extra special.

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Like ICE CREAM!

Give me ice cream and I’m yours forever. Mix ice cream and running? Some might cringe. Me? I say BRING IT ON.

For the past three years I’ve participated in the Jog ‘n Hog, a gastronomical, mental, and physical challenge. Now in its 5th year, the Uncle Dave’s Ice Cream Jog ‘n Hog which takes place at Shady Brook Farm in Pennsylvania, is going strong and so are its participants.

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When I heard from race mastermind, Brian (and tangentially his brother, Andrew) this year asking if we were interested in returning, I said, “SIGN ME UP!”

Each year, on International Ice Cream Day -mark your calendars, it’s Sunday, July 17the Jog ‘n Hog takes place. As the name suggests, you JOG to the designated eating area, you HOG a pint or quart of ice cream, and then you JOG back, all while trying to beat the PACE PIG.

New this year is the (Whoomp, There It Is) TAG TEAM option. Aren’t a huge fan of mixing running and ice cream? You can now have a DE aka Designated Eater. Sign up with a pal and you can run while they eat. Or vice versa! Anything goes!

Joining me for the half jogger division are two ladies who are no strangers to the Jog ‘n Hog. Team Scoot a Doot is currently made up of Christina, Rachel, and myself.

Christina - "There are many things I love about the Jog n Hog--from the nausea in the July heat to the taunts of the pig to the soothing rhythm of jimmies swishing back and forth in one's running belt--it's just a unique race that is not to be taken too seriously."

Christina – “There are many things I love about the Jog n Hog–from the nausea in the July heat to the taunts of the pig to the soothing rhythm of jimmies swishing back and forth in one’s running belt–it’s just a unique race that is not to be taken too seriously.”

 

Rachel - "Two of my favorite things: running and ice cream. I mean, who doesn't like sweating like a pig and then eating a pint of ice cream like a pig to cool down?"

Rachel – “Two of my favorite things: running and ice cream. I mean, who doesn’t like sweating like a pig and then eating a pint of ice cream like a pig to cool down?”

We hope that you sign up because there is always room for more in our inevitable selfie shot(s)! The only thing we ask is that you share toppings with us.

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I think my goal for this year will be two-fold. 1. I think I can eat the entire pint. Christina is always really good at finishing her ice cream and makes me feel incredibly guilty when I don’t! So with her coaching, I know I can do it. And 2. Maybe I’ll actually beat the pig this year.

So, what do you say? Want to join in the fun? If you register before June 1st, you’ll save some moolah. Or you could try and win the giveaway!

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Click the pic to enter!

The giveaway ends May 22nd, so if you’re not our giveaway winner, you still have time to register before the price increase on June 1. Thanks to Jog ‘n Hog for always being so great to us and our readers!

Scoot Stitches – Lesson 1, Machine & Tool Basics

Types of Machines stamp

This is it, the first lesson in Scoot Stitches Sewing School. We’re happy you’re here and we hope you enjoy the lesson! YOU CAN DO IT! Let’s get started…

Aside from a few shakes of the tripod and a lovely view of my shoulder (sorry about that, I ran out of time to re-film), I think this went swimmingly! Please let me know if you think so too. Get to practicing and let me know if you have questions. Tweet us, Facebook us, or email me at scootadoot@gmail.com. Thanks again for watching. See you next time! #scootstitches

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Quest Nutrition: Our Two Cents

Last month, Quest Nutrition announced a new initiative: QuestLabs – a space to share new products with customers while they are still in the development stage.

As a member of Quest Labs, you’re an essential part of our innovation process. This privilege comes with many benefits, including access to products that haven’t been released to the public, plus the ability to help us continue to improve through your feedback. You’re now a stakeholder in Quest and it’s an honor to work with you. Welcome to Quest Labs!

As a fan of Quest protein bars and protein powder, I knew I wanted to get in on this, so Clay and I ordered a few of the test products to try…

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Protein Bar

quest barsClay: It’s Quest. They’re perfect. Nothing new here.

Kyle: Hahaha. Well, yes. That’s about it. I’ve been using Quest protein bars for a couple of years now and I love them. Lots of flavors, low in sugar and carbs, high in protein. Great for a pre-workout snack, these are often my breakfast go-to for a long run. The new flavors released here were Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Rocky Road and Blueberry Muffin. Though it was difficult to pick a favorite, I think I have to give this one to Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. I would like more of this immediately.
Crunch Bar

Clay: A really nice offering that steers away from the typical protein bar platform. I dislike that Quest advertises “3g of net carbs” on the front. Carbs are carbs, and these guys come in at 18g of carbs per bar. 10g of sugar isn’t enough to be too concerned with, and it really helps in the flavor department. 12g of protein help round out the macro portfolio, along with 4g of fat.

To me, these feel confused. They don’t know if they want to be a protein bar, or an energy bar. With that, it’s hard to categorize them. That said, these are delicious. The texture is light and crunchy, and the typical “whey” taste of protein products is non-existent. The Waffle bar offered vanilla and maple syrup notes, along with a VERY realistic Belgian waffle flavor.

As a whole, I think these will do great serving its purpose as a mid-day snack, or a grab and go breakfast option.protein crunch

Kyle: We differ here – the “net carb” issue is one that has been long debated, and while I’m generally trying to cut back on my carbs as a whole, the 18g here (and the 15g of fiber) don’t much bother me. Mostly because I would eat this in the morning and that’s when I like to have my carb heavy meals anyways.

These also call to mind other “cereal and milk” bars that are on the market now, but these succeed in being much healthier. Thumbs up, Quest.

End of story: These things were awesome. We tried Waffle and Peanut Butter Chocolate and I would like both of those in my life frequently.
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Keto Cup

Kyle: So – I’m going to say that these babies were delicious. They come in four different flavors: vanilla creme, chocolate fudge, mint and peanut butter. And as products that are meant to fit a loose ketogenic diet, they are high in fat. Clay will get more into what keto is and why he takes issue with these, but I’m going to tell you that as a treat? These are awesome. I’m not following a ketogenic diet, but I do like to make sure I get enough fat in during the day. I also have a major sweet tooth. Usually this results in me wanting cookies. Or brownies. Or both. At the same time. Unfortunately, those things are sugar bombs and make me feel gross after too many.

Keto Cups seem to fill that hole nicely. I would have one cup (a serving is two) a day when I felt like I needed a little treat, and I was surprised at how good they were! Thank you, fat, for packing in the flavor!

Ultimately, these won’t make it into a regular rotation, but I could see this product being an “every once in a while” treat.

Clay: Oh boy. Here we go. First, I would like to say that these are all opinions based on MY fitness and nutritional goals. Everyone’s mileage varies, so please keep that in mind.

I will preface by saying that I LOATHE health and wellness marketing. “Lose 10 lbs in 10 days!” “Get shredded in a month with fat burners!” “Guaranteed to add 40 lbs of mass!” While not complete lies, it is certainly misleading. They never add the whole “smart workouts and smarter dieting is required” part. It leads to bad body image, disappointment, and ultimately leaves an inexperienced individual feeling like they don’t want to come back to fitness. While Quest didn’t take it this far, there are still questionable marketing techniques in the name.

The Keto Cup.

First, the facts. A whopping 26g of fat, with 11g of carbs, and 7g of protein. It’s definitely a snack based on ketosis, the act of forcing your body to use fat for energy instead of carbs. The diet is a bodybuilding staple that allows for high caloric intakes, while still dropping body fat. The old phrase “fat doesn’t make you fat, carbs and sugar do,” is the general idea of Keto dieting.

Quest named it that to hit a place that doesn’t exist in the market. Low-carb sweets. The flavors are essentially Reese’s cup, Oreo, Thin Mint, and chocolate. My issue is that I doubt anyone actually Keto dieting wants a snack that has 11g of carbs. That’s extremely high for something not in a meal. Low carb? Sure. Call it that! Keto? No. Dieting for ketosis is difficult, requires an incredible amount of discipline, and instead of marketing a diet friendly product, it feels like Quest has made a mockery of the ketosis process. Long story short, while Keto is low in carbs, low in carbs does NOT automatically mean Keto. Keto Cups are just that. A low carb, high fat alternative to candy. They taste great, and have a nice macro profile for a NORMAL low-carb diet, but not for a Keto diet. Even on refeed days, Keto dieters seek more “real food” carbs than this can deliver. Solid product, misleading name. Quest’s marketing team made the product leave a bad taste in my mouth on this one.

To lighten things up a bit, I did really like these. I will definitely eat them again. I maintain a fairly low carb diet, and these will help with the sweet tooth cravings. They are absolutely delicious. When I go on a hard cut, where reaching a state of ketosis is the goal, they will be removed from the diet. Again, this is all based on YOUR goals for YOUR body. My issue is not with the product, but the branding.

Conclusion:

We both really like Quest products and I think we’re excited to see the ways the company is branching out. It will be interesting to which of these things make it to mass market production – QuestLabs has a great customer forum going, where folks are offering their reviews, and I think they genuinely care about what we have to say.

Note: The opinions offered above are our own – we were not offered any compensation or free products by Quest.