The World According to Gorp

Following yesterday’s possibly-TMI (too much info) post, I’m running with the fiber thing. And camping. ‘Tis the season. Have you ever been camping? It’s a hoot. And the miraculous thing about it to me is that kids are totally amused simply by being at a campsite. Just when you think your kids are completely jaded because they are hooked up to computers, phones, i-this and i-that, you can pitch a tent for the weekend, let them loose and they are perfectly content. They are hiking? Whittling a stick? Looking under rocks? Wading in the river? Yup, and there are no plugs, screens or monitors in sight. Amazing. It gives a parent hope. Creativity, activity and natural surroundings rule the roost and everyone is….er…happy as campers.

My family and I are hoping to camp more this summer. Somehow, despite buying my husband a camping stove AND camping coffee pot last year for Father’s Day, we didn’t go at all last year. Never fails. You get all the gear and then it sits there gathering dust until you become so guilty about the money you’ve spent on it that you finally go. The ultimate Guilt Trip.

We even have a tent with a “closet”. I kid you not. Yes, it’s the world’s smallest closet and but technically, it is one. It even says it on the brochure for the tent. The first time I used this tent, I was setting up with girlfriends at a campground (husbands hadn’t arrived yet). Mind you, we got our tent at Target. It’s an Eddie Bauer or some such brand. Perfectly decent brand but not like the very high-end  ones some of my girlfriends have. Well, I was the recipient of both heat and envy when I set up my cute, orange tent. It has a closet. It has a overhang on the door. It even came with a doormat and a little zipped trapdoor near where you would put your sleeping bag on the inside. Why? So that you can put a little cooler right outside and just stick your hand out to get a drink. My kind of tent. My husband, Eagle Scout that he is, knows who he is camping with. I’m absolutely not adverse to getting down and dirty, but I like a few little creature comforts here and there, thank you very much.

That said, here’s a great “amenity” for when you do venture to a campsite this summer. And you should. You’ll have a great time. Don’t be a weenie. Go roast some over the fire. My husband actually got this for me one Christmas. I use it for loose tea but you can use it for coffee, too. It’s the REI Double Shot Press Mug. Basically, a travel French Press for one. You can store some tea or coffee in the base and brew it in your mug. How brilliant is that? Works great both off and on a campsite.

AND, if you want to go a tad more high-maintenance (than us folks who schlep Cafe du Monde to a campsite. Guilty), there is the REI Camping Espresso Maker. This one I haven’t tried yet, but it may be a purchase in the near future. If for no other reason than to watch my husband cringe (but secretly be happy) when I whip out an espresso maker at our campsite. Lesson one: How to be the envy of any campground…Bring an espresso maker. Lesson Two: Add to that several pounds of bacon.

Of course, no camping trip is complete without a good dose of fiber, as I mentioned yesterday. Tread carefully, my friends. Ha. Here’s a great recipe for homemade Granola, which you can magically turn into GORP just by throwing some extras into it. GORP…did you know that stands for “good ol’ raisins and peanuts”? Bet you didn’t. Funny name, tasty snack.

Camp-o-rific Granola, courtesy of Penzey’s Spices

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup oat bran (you can buy this in the cereal aisle, believe it or not)
1/4 cup GROUND flax seed (no more…ha!)
1/4 cup wheat germ (cereal aisle, too)
1 cup raw whole almonds (optional)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tb. canola oil
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup of either dried blueberries, cranberries, cherries, apricots…your choice

Preheat oven to 300. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, oat bran, flax seed, wheat germ, almonds (if using) and salt. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring honey, brown sugar, vanilla, canola oil and water just to a bubble over low heat. Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture, using a flexible spatula,  and toss until the oats are evenly moistened. Spread the oats onto two ungreased, rimmed 11 x 17 baking sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring twice. Cool completely, then add dried fruit. Stir again. Store in sealed container for up to 2 weeks. I also like to throw some toasted coconut in this mix, too. Have fun, throw in what you love. And psst…granola keeps longer when stored in the freezer. Who knew?

*This stuff is great by the handful, over yogurt (with fresh berries for a healthy breakfast or dessert) or over frozen yogurt.

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