Appreciation for the outdoors
I admit it: I'm a little sad to see my snow sports and equipment go into an early retirement this year. However, there's one activity in particular that I'm more than happy to get an early start on this year: Hiking! Northern BC is known for its stunning wilderness and unparalleled hiking trails. As a Vancouver Island transplant, I have an immense appreciation for the outdoors but have yet to discover the vast network of outdoor trails that Northern BC has to offer. If you see me daydreaming at work while gazing out of the window, you can bet that's where my mind is wandering!
Stay energized while hiking
One of the most important parts of hiking, as well as any outdoor activity that makes you break a sweat, is getting proper fuel and nutrition to stay energized. Depending on how long and how intense your hike is, you can burn a pretty significant amount of calories each day. On overnight hikes, it's especially important to plan your meals to make sure you've brought enough food to eat while still considering how much weight you're carrying. Check out Mountain Equipment Co-Op' websites on backcountry meal planning and backcountry cooking for awesome tips and meal ideas.
One food has remained a staple in my hiking meal plans for as long as I can remember: The power cookie. I make a batch of these little energy balls for hiking for a few reasons:
- Dried fruit, dried coconut flakes, and orange zest give these cookies a sweet and tangy taste.
- Oats, whole wheat flour, and applesauce give your body the carbohydrates it needs to refuel energy stores and fibre to help digestion.
- They're easy to make and pack into the trails!
The Power Cookie
Yields about 20 two-inch cookies.
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 tbsp grated orange zest
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 ½ cups large-flake oats
- 1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
- 1/3 cup diced dried apricots
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the orange juice, orange zest, vanilla, and eggs. Blend well. Stir in the applesauce.
- In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this mixture to the applesauce and mix well. Stir in the almonds, oats, coconut, apricots and cranberries. Ensure the mixture is well-blended. Chill the mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Form the dough into 1" x 2" bars or balls and place on a large baking sheet. Press each one down with a fork to flatten slightly.
- Bake on the centre oven rack for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden brown. Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely.