Giving Thanks, Paleo Food Prep and A Kombucha Update

Giving Thanks, Paleo Food Prep and A Kombucha Update

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I must say that I am looking forward to this year’s holiday season more than usual, I really think the collective “We” can use it.  I love seeing all my friends posting and talking about things they are thankful for. Whether your gratitude list is long or short, it is a wonderful perspective to have.  Give me some love perspectacles any day.

Nothing says love your neighbor more than Christmas lights and holiday cheer.  My brother has declared that there will be a “smokers section” in his backyard for everyone who smokes or wants to talk politics on Thanksgiving Day this year. And none of us smoke.

Thanksgiving doesn’t rank as high as Christmas for me as far as spending time with my family, especially because my son used to spend it with his father’s family at the beach cabin.  I would use this 4 day weekend as an excuse to get out town instead.

On the way to Neah Bay.

Over the years I have taken road trips, usually drives around the Olympic Peninsula or down to the Columbia Gorge for hiking.

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Early morning Multnomah Falls.

Oh, don’t think I’m the only one who abandons family for T-Day. My mom is in Costa Rica this year and my baby bro will be in Arizona with his wife’s family.

This year will be a blend of Home For the Holidays and getting away as thankfully Thanksgiving is one of the two days per year my son’s work is closed. I am grateful to have him at the family get together, he has missed quite a few having a starter job with no vacation opportunities.  So, I’m not off the hook from cooking for the big dinner and I’ll be packing for a road trip, as well.

Because I have a large family (even if a few are missing) we do a potluck style dinner with the host usually providing the bird and everyone else the sides. I am almost always the one providing the vegetable. I used to do the mashed potatoes, too, but other than the obvious reason of not eating potatoes anymore, my family stopped trusting me to the job after the year I hid a head of cauliflower in them. No one noticed, I probably shouldn’t have said anything…

So, this year it’s Brussels sprouts.  Because I will be hiking Thursday morning before the big feast, I prep in advance in the dish, cover with foil and stick in the fridge so I can just pop it in the oven Thursday afternoon.

I mentioned this dish in my post Mandarin Ginger Brussels Slaw and you can vary the oil to suit your tastes. Bacon fat or coconut oil work well, too. Just bake at 350 degrees until the sprouts are soft, about 20 minutes.

And as for my road trip, I tend to pack a cooler with food and plan to eat out once of twice. I spent the last few nights making egg muffins and pumpkin porridge which store nicely in the cooler.

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As if often the case when making things out of habit, I was going a bit fast when prepping the porridge and grabbed the wrong jar…

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Rice does look a bit like coconut flakes in the jar when you are multitasking! Let’s try that again…

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When not as worried about carrying weight in a pack, I will throw together a few meals that look like this:

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Canned salmon, Kalamata olives, oregano, mushrooms, rice noodles and olive oil.

It’s easy to just boil some water and add the ingredients to one pot.

I’ll be taking another one I made up for my road trip this summer to Colorado based on my coleslaw recipe . You just toss everything into a gallon Ziploc bag, toss and eat.

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Canned chicken, sunflower seeds (not pictured), lemon juice, coleslaw, tarragon and olive oil.

I’ll pack some fruit and nut butter…

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…and vegetables with guacamole (that will go in the jar).

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There are more ideas for packing a paleo cooler on my page, Day Hiking Paleo. Hopefully, tonight I’ll be baking some crackers and banana bread, as well. Gotta use up that stash of aged bananas in the freezer!

Repurposed coconut oil jars make great ice blocks for the cooler, FYI.

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And as for the latest on my kombucha adventure, it turns out that making your own kombucha is a lot like that Amish Friendship bread.  Or growing zucchini (for everyone but me, that is). Or breeding rabbits. As you can see from the pictures, I have a few jars going, lots of SCOBYs multiplying and I even made some fruit leather with the extras “babies”. I have added ginger and a mango juice mix to several batches and like the flavor a lot.

I just tossed in a cut up apple and some cinnamon and it didn’t turn out too bad.

I am learning that I don’t need to let my kombucha store as long as my original batch, I did have one batch come out more like vinegar than kombucha (all the sugar was converted). I’ll be checking out this article to put it to good use. All in all, it has been a lot of fun and I am looking forward to trying more flavors. My bf has even asked for a baby so he can try it. Ah, so sweet.

Well, I hope all of you will be spending tomorrow with family and friends and are feeling thankful for all that you have. Don’t be afraid to tell those close to you how much they mean to you and cherish the time that you have with them.

And don’t forget to #OptOutside on Friday!

This was the hike I did last year on Thanksgiving morning: Mt. Pilchuck T-Day. What a beautiful day! I don’t think things will be that nice this year but it will still be good to get outdoors. You may find me at one of these hikes doing a little preburn before the weekend:

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving Day hike or outdoor activity?

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