Fruit-Infused Water

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While I’m on the subject of water, this is another simple way to add a little flavor to your water bottle. Simply chop up some fruit, add it to a pitcher with some water, and refrigerate it overnight! In the morning, strain out the fruit and pour the water into your bottle.

The resulting infusion will have a pleasant sweetness and fruity flavor, which will encourage you to drink more water and stay hydrated – particularly important during these hot summer months. It’ll also be more hydrating than pure juice, since juice is essentially a food suspended in water.

Chop the fruits well to allow a lot of surface area for the juice to infuse the water. If you’re making a fruit salad for your day hike the next day, it’ll be super easy, since you’re already chopping up fruit 🙂 In the photo above, I also added a teabag of DoMatcha’s Organic Tencha Green to the pitcher, and cold-brewed the tea along with the fruit overnight.

Fruits that infuse well include:

  • Apricots
  • Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
  • Kiwis
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Lychee
  • Mangoes
  • Melon – watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, etc.
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple

You can also add fresh mint or other herbs. Bruise them first by rolling them in your hands or smooshing them on a plate with the back of a spoon, to break up the leaf cells and release their fragrant oils.

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Check out more easy recipes in my Kindle ebook Easy Hiking Recipes.

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What Reading and Hiking Have in Common

Discovering new vistas on the Diez Vistas trail in Vancouver

Discovering new vistas on the Diez Vistas trail in Vancouver

I was a major nerd in school. What am I saying; I still am a nerd! 🙂 But I was a bonafide bookworm all through junior high and high school. I read everything, from Nancy Drew to cheesy historical romances, to Dostoyevsky, to daily newspapers, to sci-fi. I particularly loved reading fantasy novels, and almost exclusively read fiction.

In college I continued to read, but textbook reading tended to take precedence over reading for pleasure. Then when I got out of school, I gave into the trend of reading non-fiction to “better” myself. Nothing wrong with that, but there’s this idea that non-fiction is somehow fiction is a “waste of time” because it’s purely for entertainment, rather than non-fiction which is for educational purposes (like, cooking for instance ;)).

My world was pretty small and boring, but when I read a book, I suddenly escaped to a world of possibilities. I loved nothing better than to escape into a world filled with adventure, where anything could happen.

I love hiking for the same reason. When I was a kid, I found adventures through reading. Then when I discovered hiking (regretfully at the ripe old age of 23), I discovered that I could have adventures in my own life too! I could venture into the unknown, face grueling challenges, and–literally–reach new vistas. This is also the reason I fell in love with martial arts, and rock climbing. To me they are all related.

Writers who dare to dream up a new world have that same sparkle in their eyes as a hiker surveying a new trail to explore. Climbers who tackle a rock crag with 100% focus have the same electric charge radiating from them as a martial artist who is totally engrossed by the form they’re practicing.

Many of our lives are pretty cushy; I know mine is. It’s easy to get lulled into complacency, just going with the flow out of fear or laziness. Hiking keeps the laziness at bay for me.

Life is a great adventure. So put on your hiking boots, or dust off that book you’ve been meaning to read, and join me in discovering some new horizons to explore!

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ps – If interested, check out my e-book Easy Hiking Recipes: Simple Meal Ideas for Day Hikes and Other Outdoor Adventures!

Tencha Green Tea Cucumber Water

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This recipe is a real refresher after a long day of hiking, or anytime the weather gets hot! The cucumber and green tea meld well together to create a subtly sweet tea. I use a cold-brewing method to infuse the tea, which brings out the tea’s natural sweetness. I used DōMatcha’s Organic Tencha Green Tea, which has a particularly rich, sweet flavor, though you can use other types of green tea as well 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 DōMatcha Tencha Green Tea teabags
  • 8 cups water (cold)
  • 20 thin slices of cucumber (1 small cucumber or half of a large cucumber)

Optional:

  • Lemon slices
  • 1-3 tablespoons fresh herbs (mint, lemon balm, lemon verbena, rosemary, thyme, spearmint, etc.)
  • Agave syrup

Place the cucumbers, water, and teabags in a pitcher. If you’re adding herbs, “bruise” them by rolling them between your hands for a few seconds, and add them into the pitcher. Place the pitcher in the fridge overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, remove the teabags and garnish with lemon slices. Add a couple tablespoons of agave syrup to sweeten to taste!

Coconut Granola Breakfast Squares

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Sometimes I just can’t be bothered to make breakfast in the morning when I’m getting ready for a hike. These tasty little squares are like granola, but softer. They’re  a great cereal option if you’re camping or just in a hurry. Eat them on their own, or put a couple in a bowl with a splash of milk. I like to put three squares in a bowl with some soymilk, and heat it up for a few seconds for “fancy” oatmeal.

In this recipe I use coconut oil, my new favorite seasoning 🙂 Coconut oil lends a light tropical essence of coconut to your cooking and is a source of healthy saturated fats and may contain antiviral properties. But mostly, it just tasted delicious! The oil is solid at room temperature, so you must melt it before mixing it in with the oats. You can also halve this recipe to make a smaller batch.

Ingredients

2 cups rolled oats

¼ cup organic virgin coconut oil

¾ cup peanut butter

¼ cup honey

½ cup shredded coconut

¼ cup chopped nuts

¼ cup raisins

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9”x9” baking pan with parchment paper or foil, all the way up the edges.

In a small pot, heat the peanut butter, honey, vanilla, water, and coconut oil on low heat until thoroughly mixed.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Whisk in the peanut butter concoction. The dough should be sticky but a bit crumbly still. Add a little extra water if the dough is too dry to mostly stick together.

Press the mixture firmly into the pan with the back of a spoon. Bake for 40 minutes, then cool completely. Remove from the pan, and peel off the foil. Slice carefully into squares – it’s a bit crumbly. Enjoy!

It’s Alive!

It’s alive! You can now check out my book Easy Hiking Recipes: Simple Meal Ideas for Day Hikes and Other Outdoor Adventures on Amazon.

Click here to check it out.

EasyHikingRecipes

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read the book using the free Kindle apps:

Kindle app for iPhone, iPad, and Macs: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/kindle/id302584613?mt=8

Kindle app for PCs: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000426311

Kindle for Blackberry: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000468551