Why would you be reading about cooking camp burgers? Because I believe this one ranks as “The Easy No Mess Method,” in which you’ll dirty no plates, bowls, flatware, nor will you have to tote around (or clean) a disgusting grill.

Cooking your hamburger on a campfire by wrapping it in foil and placing it right on the coals has some big advantages: you get a juicy burger even if cooked to well-done; there’s no mess; there’s no fuss; they taste even better when you cook them with the veggies. Check it out.

Ingredients
• Standard burger stuff: Ground beef patties, your toppings and seasonings of choice

Directions
1. Place individual patties on a sheet of aluminum foil (should be large enough to be folded over and fully enclosing the meat and toppings)
2. Sprinkle your seasonings – suggestion: garlic salt and Mrs. Dash
3. Add your vegetables; exceptions are lettuce and tomato which should be added after cooking
4. Wrap the foil around your meal, leave no holes exposed.
5. Using a shovel, scoop out cooking area within your fire ring, and place a bed a hot coals.
6. Place your wrapped burgers on the coals and and cover with another layer of coals.
7. Let ‘em be. Don’t touch. Drink a beer.
8. Check one at 10 minutes. It should be cooked to medium at this stage, and still extraordinarily juicy
9. Serve, eat, and be merry.

Shortcuts & Healthier Versions
• This is the shortcut
• Use ground turkey patties instead of beef

Other Tips
• The options are as endless as your creativity. Sure, wrap your patties in bacon if you want. Add barbeque sauce. Whatever, it’s your food.
• I’m fond of adding red onion slices, rings of green bell pepper, and and sliced jalepeño to the package with raw meat. It sends a rush of flavor to your mouth and you’ll be happy.

The recipe of sorts comes courtesy of Mark Stephens, publisher of Adventure Parents. Visit Mark’s website for more recipes, adventure galleries, and ripping narratives.


* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

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For you trout lovers out there, Chef Mark DeNittis shares an awesome trout recipe from a recent backcountry excursion in his Jeep TJ.  Fix ‘er up and enjoy!

Pub Style Trout with Pretzel and Mustard Crust

2 Each Fresh Mountain Trout right from the stream (gutted)
1 Tbs Mustard ( Yellow Mustard) Dijon or other would work just as well.
½ tsp Black Pepper to taste
½ Cup Snyder’s Pretzels (or your favorite brand), crushed
No salt needed as the salt on the pretzels will do just fine.
1 Tbs Butter
1 Tbs Cooking Oil

Method of Preparation:
Pat dry the skin of the trout with paper towel. Slather the mustard on both sides of each trout. Season with black pepper. Roll the trout in the crushed pretzels. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet or on a griddle on medium heat. Place the trout into the skillet or griddle, cook on both sides for about 4 – 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the trout. Once cooked through, pick the flesh off the bone, sprinkle a little lemon on and enjoy with a cold beer of your choice.

 

* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

Most people do not pack their blender when heading out for a weekend camping trip. Margaritas, blended coffee, and smoothies are not typical camp fare. So I was very intrigued and courious about a hand-cranked blender from impressive product line of GSI Outdoors.

The Vortex Blender is a nesting, two-speed, hand-cranked blender that attaches to any table top (most park campgrounds have picnic tables that work well) or it will attach to the optional Vortex Trailer Hitch Table for those sites that are more off the beaten path.

The Vortex Blender’s construction is very durable, solid, and comfortable to use. The pitcher and shot cap are made of Lexan® resin making them virtually-indestructable.

Packing a blender on our trip allowed us to round out our Tex-Mex menu on one particular trip with margaritas and salsa. The versatible Vortex Blender can be used to crush ice or work as a food processor. We were very impressed with the two-speed option. The crank can be fitted to the low speed position to pulse fruit or vegetables, blend sauces, or batters. Dropping into “four” low we were highly impressed by the raw power pulled from our unexpected new friend as we cranked out batch after batch of frozen ritas. When you’re through being creative the base fits right into the pitcher making it very convenient to pack and store.

The GSI Outdoors site boasts that increasing your popularity, making new friends, and picking up ladies, are just a few of the hidden benefits of owning their hand-cranked blender. Overwhelmed with the cooking and beverage possibilities alone, I suppose I underestimated this awesome gadget according to their claims. What ever your reasons and wishful intentions may be for purchasing the GSI Outdoors Vortex Blender, you would not be disappointed. It would certainly make a very unique and highly appreciated gift to your favorite camp cook.

Rating:  5 out of 5

* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

As we enter the winter season, some spirits are dulled. The bikes are hung, camping gear is stored, and the grills are covered. We start to unload the previously tucked away sweaters, load up on the firewood, and try to build our immune systems to avoid the flu and most recently H1N1.

To help build your immune system this season, stick to those foods that are the most colorful. Not only do they aid in supplying a generous amount of your daily requirements of essential
nutrients, but also boost your intake of antioxidants.

Oftentimes with vitamin and mineral supplements, we won’t absorb the majority of its contents. We like to call it expensive urine. This is because our bodies will excrete the unused nutrients that linger in the gut. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “But, I’m not paying $5 for a ½ pint of blueberries!!” Need not fear my friend, frozen berries are just as beneficial and much easier on the wallet. Even root vegetables such as yams, carrots, and beets can carry many beneficial phytonutrients. Grape juice and cranberry juice are also preventative foods, but be conservative with the sugar content. Increasing your tomato consumption is a great way to boost that immune system, whether it’s spaghetti sauce or a V8. These foods all contain antioxidants (antioxidants), nutrients that help our body to reverse the oxidized cells that become damaged from our environment, be it pollutants, stress, the sun, and even some diets.

By getting these molecules back to their reduced or normal state, our immune system is able to conquer the other bad bugs that our bodies are exposed to such as H1N1 flu. With the addition to antioxidants, staying active becomes more and more important to keep our immune system going strong.

Now, I’m a snow queen and when there is a freshly fallen blanket of snow on the ground, I tend to play harder and stronger. You can’t necessarily run in the snow, but strap on a pair of snow shoes and you’ve got yourself a whole new level of fitness. I was recently introduced to the midnight full moon hike and let me tell you, there is nothing more serene than hiking along a snow packed trail, lit by a brilliant full harvest moon swimming in a sky that is glittered with stars while you’re bundled up, listening to nothing else but the soft crunch of snow and the occasional sniffle as you work your way across a mountain valley. An event that I feel everyone should experience. However, if you’re more of an adrenaline junky, try back country skiing. No need for a $100 lift ticket as back country skiing will give you a whole new experience of shredding the mountain.

Whatever your style is, no need to sulk because your kayak won’t see water for another six months. Instead, experience what amazing activities lady winter has to offer. Staying active and maintaining a healthy varietals diet can help you avoid that nasty flu season and also keep cabin fever at bay. Shred on my fellow mountain shredders, shred on!

* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

The Bull Moose Hunt Society is a small group in San Francisco that focuses on responsible gun ownership, ethical hunting, and human camaraderie. Being an avid outdoorsman myself (not so avid as of recent due to family, work and business obligations), I thought to myself, “Hmmm…Bull Moose Hunting Society in Northern California, specifically the Bay Area…I’ve got to investigate!”

I spent about 45 minutes on the phone with one of the founders Nick Chaset.

A funny thing happened within a sea of opinions against anything remotely mentioning the use of guns and hunting animals. Two friends, Nick Chaset, a native San Franciscan and his friend Nick Zigelbaum, native Bostonian (now living in San Francisco), wanted
to find out more about guns and seeking out critters to kill and consume in a responsible and ethical fashion, hence the birth of the Bull Moose Hunt Society. Nick grew up in a very liberal area of the country, and pondered when he was posed the question over two
and a half years ago, “How is it you can eat something you haven’t killed yourself?” So the adventure began…

Chef D:  How did you come about creating the Bull Moose Hunt Society?

Nick C: Once asked the question about “killing what I eat”, it piqued my interest in finding out more about guns, hunting, and all that it encompasses. From preparing for the journey itself, to consuming something I personally sought out, killed ethically, processed ourselves, to ultimately consume amongst friends, proved a very moving experience.

I found as I researched there was actually a lot more people interested in this than I expected. For me the whole process is a very real and humanistic experience. The outdoors and aspects of conservation are abundant. A fun aspect to what we are doing is challenging the preconceptions of hunting and gun ownership in a very liberal community yet in a positive and meaningful way.

Chef D:  Was any formal training required?

Nick C: Yes, we wanted to seek out and research the most responsible ways in which to accomplish the activity as a whole. Growing
up in a San Francisco household I wasn’t exactly exposed much to guns and/or gun handling. Never mind hunting. I went to a local
shooting range and spoke in depth with the range master, as well other responsible gun owner/operators attending the range.

Additionally, we visited a local game ranch. We spent a full day with the rancher to seek advice on all the aspects of the animals, land,
conservation and conditions.

Furthermore, we sought out the expertise and advice of responsible hunters and gun owners on the internet web sites and forums. Most people were very surprised by the fact that two guys from SF were not only interested in guns and hunting, but that we actually had a true appreciation for it all.

Chef D:  Is the Bull Moose Hunt Society considered to be rare or fairly commonplace?

Nick C: Within our personal education regarding it all we have found it to be very common outside of San Francisco, largely in the Mountain west, Midwest and South. In San Francisco, most certainly it is something that is very rare but it doesn’t have to be. We have approximately seven BMHS members but the friends of BMHS are many, especially when we have a freshly harvested animal. We invite upwards of 100 people; friends, chefs, friends of friends, and friends of chefs for our feasts. Chefs are always especially interested, even more so with the nature of SF’s food scene. It is always a very rewarding experience to expose and collaborate with likeminded individuals.

When we BBQ there is a commonality…sharing heritage, good food and good times, something that we have lost or disconnected with over the years as a society. Being in touch with our hunter/gatherer nature and consciousness of the outdoors, a deeper awareness of our senses, the smells, sounds, animal tracking as a whole is a very moving and personal experience.

At the BBQ’s, preconceptions are left at the door, anti-gun, antihunting or anti-meat is all swept to the side. Again, we love to chat about the hunt, all the preparation once an animal is harvested, the experience as a whole. It is a great education for ourselves and we enjoy sharing that with others. Both of our girlfriends are not exactly thrilled about us having firearms but they know it is very important to us. They also know that we have invested a great deal of education and time in handling and safety of firearms.

There is a large cross section of population diversity that is interested in what we do and even members, as well friends, range from a solar energy installer to a firefighter to liberals and conservatives both. We found there to be people from rural, suburban, and urban centers alike interested and practicing these same interests.

Chef D: When out on an adventure, do you prepare the food yourself or is there a favorite hot spot you gravitate towards?

Nick C: To date we have only done overnight and one day trips, so foods that are quick, hearty or light to carry and provide sustenance is what we typically bring. We certainly make or swap a lot of jerky venison or other game meat jerky.

Being in SF we have access to some of the greatest breads, cheeses and other foods in the world for simple consumption at camp. We would like to eventually do something longer such as three or five –day hunt treks into the backcountry. As with our diligent research with guns and hunting, we will do the same regarding food and equipment for longer trips.

Chef D: What is your favorite adventure comfort food and beverage?

Nick C: Venison jerky from game trades with others or our own jerky. My favorite beverage would have to be a pull of Jameson Whiskey from the flask. This is strictly of course only after the day concludes, ammunition has been unloaded and we are settled at camp for the evening. We can’t stress enough the importance of safety regarding alcohol consumption. It is something we take
extraordinary and serious steps with both our own actions as well educating others on regarding the matter.

Chef D: What is your adventure kitchen comprised of?

Nick C: A simple camp stove for very simple preparations such as stew.

Chef D: What is the biggest challenge of preparing food out on the hunt?

Nick C: Not so much with what we eat while hunting as that is the easy part. It is when we have the opportunity to harvest a live animal, the challenge lies within safely preparing the animal in the field to consume at a later time at home with our friends. How we process, pack, and prepare a freshly harvested animal would be the biggest challenge. Educating ourselves before our first trip was a high priority.

Chef D: Can you recall your most memorable adventure “game hunt”?

Nick C: The very first time two years ago, it was a wild boar sow named Bertha at a game ranch 150 miles north of San Francisco. The complete story is here:

http://www.bullmoosehunting.com/Site/War%20Stories/C97FB4B0-2709-4E15-81FB-99C3621F4341.html

Each time we go it is being in touch with and having our hands on the whole process, going through the motions of seeing a live animal become cuts of meat to becoming cooked product on a plate, ultimately being consumed and enjoyed by friends.

* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

The big trip is soon approaching and you’re in need of an efficient way to clean your cookware, as well as your hands, that doesn’t require packing out in a trash bag while on adventure. Well, the folks at JPFreek recently discovered the perfect solution to an important part of camping. The answer?

Flour tortillas!

Yup, not only do flour tortillas provide an excellent source of carbohydrates while on the trail, they are also easy to pack and make use as an excellent item to wipe your hands and clean used pots and pans. The great thing is that once you’ve finished wiping your pots, pans, and your hands, no disposal is required as you can eat your napkin and save pack space!

So, the next time you’re planning a fun weekend getaway on the backcountry trails, think environmentally-friendly; think space saving; think Edible Napkins!

* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

Last minute notice of four open spots from JeepExpeditions.org, group for a Jeep Expedition across the Mojave, pronounced Mo-ha-vay. The trek included 120 miles across the open desert of the Mojave Desert Trail in Southern California. The starting point was Laughlin, Nevada with a finish destination somewhere near Barstow, California.

Total Miles: (1948miles) 1720 Pavement; 128 miles Off-Road

Equipment Features : 12 Volt Lunchbox Oven

Recipe Features : Rajun Cajun Rigatoni, Yucatan Style Beef, Chevre, Rice and Black Bean Burritos

Restaurant Features : Javier’s Lindo Michoacan Las Vegas, Nevada; Carneceria: Baker, California; Linda’s Café: Westslope I-70 in Colorado

JEEP LOG DATE: 10:6 – 10:9:2007

Denver to Vegas 1am – 8pm

Left Denver after teaching a 6:00am – 7: 30pm stretch with a one hour nap. Got on the road by 1am on Friday morning and finally, the beginning of the 4-day road trip of a lifetime! I picked up co-pilot Chef Adam Sacks, a fellow colleague and now business associate with a sense of adventure, and we were on our way. One way to either make a friend or have a complete loathed enemy is to spend four whole days in the confines of a small Jeep. Fortunately, it ended up being the first of the two possibilities.

Having both grown up in the same era and area of the country, we had lots in common and a lot to talk about. Caffeine and lots of snacks, nothing fancy as I had been teaching double classes all week and the weekend before was busy with XRRA Rock Race Finals in Colorado Springs. Stopped just outside of Grand Junction to catch another hour nap, then we slowly made our way to
Laughlin. The head winds were insane, in particular from the middle of Utah all the way to Vegas.

Along the way was a lot of historical information regarding the State of Utah, not on the top of my list (explained later) other than of course, Moab. Outlaw Country, the Place Nobody Wanted and Cove Creek Fort were all great and informative stops along the way. This lends well to the educational aspects of our trip.

Finally a quick stop by an intriguing sign off the highway somewhere in Arizona / Nevada indicated the state of my sometimes twisted sense of humor, mind and demeanor which most that know me would certainly agree…Area of Critical Environmental Concern!

A stop in Vegas but got lost. No, not the gambling lost kind either. I mean really getting lost! But we found our way past the new Trump Tower which looks to dwarf the Wynn Casino.

At this point, hunger was really kicking in and the down home goodness of Big Momma’s Soul Food Restaurant, located on the edge of the “hood” looked great; however, we wanted to leave Las Vegas so we ventured through the bright lights and we found Javier’s Lindo Michoacan, a highly overpriced and way overrated food quality of a Mexican restaurant (see The D.I.R.T. at http://jeepgrilleadventures.com/thedirt.aspx for the full scoop and 4-lodown). At least the cold carbonated beverages were good.

After a full belly of overrated and overpriced Mexican slop we were on our way to Laughlin.

Vegas to Laughlin NV 8pm-7am

Got to Laughlin around 11pm and saw all the pretty lights in the middle of nowhere. It was neat. All this glamour in the middle of, well, absolutely nowhere!

We found the Riverside Motel, an older place on the west side of town with clean rooms and hot shower. Now what happens in Laughlin after 11pm stays in Laughlin. I will note that there are some interesting folks, in particular the locals at the Lazy River Lounge. What was most fascinating was the persistence of the locals in expressing what a nice place Laughlin was and how it is such a “nice” and “great” place to settle and raise a family. Sure..O.K. If you say so?!?! It felt eerily like we were immersed in an episode of the Twilight Zone. I would however, visit again and maybe even retire there. Go figure.

One of the highlights was shooting pool with old Al, a regular at the Lazy River and a fellow Massachusetts native who was wicked cool. I think most remarkable and memorable was the “Al Shuffle,” a little jig when the game
went well for him. Oh yeah, word of caution: Don’t mention or say the words “milk jugs” in front of Mistress Kitty. Why you ask? Well, you’ll have to find out for yourself.

Finally retiring after being up for 48 hours with only two hours sleep, I looked forward to four more hours of restful bliss. We got up at 6:30am on Saturday for a cup of coffee on the little patio of the bar, and reflected on how nice life in Laughlin must be. From there, we reflected on the drive behind and the drive yet ahead.

MOJAVE TRAI L First Leg: 8am – 6pm

The meeting point for the whole group was south of Laughlin at the Avi Resort / Casino. All in all there were a total of 21 vehicles with folks mostly from Arizona and some from southern and even Northern California. I think though, “the boys from Colorado” as we infamously became known, trekked the farthest to attend. I don’t know if it was the loud laughter, the most dented nerf-bars, the insane amount of time driving or the combination of it all that contributed to us becoming known as such.

Our trail leader was freelance editor Jim Brightly, who was actually doing an article for 4WD and Sport Utility Magazine. The first leg of the trip was 68 miles to our camp destination. The trail itself was a combination of semi-soft sand and hard packed sand, pretty much a road that could be traversed by most cars compared to what I am usually accustomed to wheeling. I sort of admired that milder aspect as it was a nice change from the hardcore trails I usually traverse. Not having to worry too much about major parts breakage and enjoying the diverse scenery was great fun and the chances of actually driving back to Colorado in one piece were greatly improved. The odds were in my favor!

With that said, there was some minor breakage. First, a flat tire due to a sidewall tear on a TJ in the group and then, a Grand Cherokee steering pump that got bent and snapped a belt. Someone pulled out their tool box while I went to go get the shop-box out of my Jeep. This is one of those testosterone things, my toolbox is “bigger than yours,” and by far when I whipped it out, folks were impressed. “Look at the size of those channel locks, my I feel insignificant” and “Damn that guy could build a whole Jeep with what’s in there!!” It was a “Tim the tool man” moment with oohs and ahhs. Needless to say, it was another feather in the cap of preparedness and boost to the Jeep ego.

I have collected those tools, bolts, nuts, lubes, thread locker and the like over a period of 17 years, the epitome of “just in case.” I did not, however, have the needed fan belt or 16mm wrench.

*Mental note-to-self: Go buy these items just in case!!

The magnitude of the diverse ecology of the first 68 miles was amazing, as was the history behind the trail from the days of it being a route used by the government for communications. At one point the government attempted army desert training, inclusive of using camels instead of horses.

Finally arriving at the camp spot in the mid-Mojave desert, we quickly unloaded and set up the kitchen. COFFEE first and foremost, followed by a cold carbonated beverage was in order. Tonight we dined on a not-so stable camp table that ended up being more like a wind chime.

On the menu?

Recipe: Ragin Cajun Rigatoni Pasta with Chicken, Andoullie and Tasso Ham in a Mushroom Creole Cream Sauce

I made this ahead and assembled the separate ingredients on the trail. I do recommend complete assembly at home and simply reheating on the trail for even quicker cooking and clean up.

After this evening’s dinner we went to the group area to sit by the fire, mingle with the members of Jeep Expeditions and chat. It was an early night as most dispersed at 9pm, quite an early night. Must have been something I said. Of course the “boys from Colorado” stayed up late by the camp site, chatting more, laughing a lot and enjoying cold carbonated refreshments in the cold and windy desert night.

Mid Point Mojave Mile 68 – 128 and into Utah Sunday 10/7

Setting up the back of my trailer as a sleeping unit proved to be great and while I don’t have any pictures, it was great to be out of the cold nights wind. Dreams were intense and vivid at one point, feeling like coyotes were nipping at my toes and desert rodents running up inside my trailer. Nonetheless, deep sleep from the lack of previous days was refreshing.

Woke up at 6:30am and started breakfast coffee. I enjoyed the desert morning air and silence. There is just something about the solitude, smells and visual ecstasy in the desert that is just darn cool! From there, we broke down and packed up, which took most of the morning. We were on our way by 9am for the final 65 miles of the desert portion of the expedition.

First stop was the Mojave Mailbox to sign the traveler’s guestbook. Of course, leaving a www.JeepGrilleAdventures.com sticker strategically located on the bottom of the box was in my plan. Inside the mailbox, people take and leave multiple goodies. The most unique was the bag of Shrimp Chips, tasty little puffed rice chips with shrimp flavoring.

Onward we went for a side trip to see some ancient volcanic tubes in the earth. Note to self: This would make an awesome family trip in the cooler months of the year. My wife and daughter would really enjoy researching and being immersed into the abundance of historical and ecological surroundings this whole area has to offer. The cylinder tubes we and others explored were really cool. Ancient lava flow bubbles – the champagne bubbles of the earth if you will.

Along the way we crossed a salt lake bed to add to the Rock Pile at mid point. At the top is a plaque and I won’t divulge what it says as it would perpetuate years of horrible events. You must travel to the sacred spot to find out for yourself. I, of course, had to be different and balance one rock atop another (a little reddish rock balanced atop a triangular rock). Adam climbed to the top to read the plaque, also leaving his rock from the trip. The crystallized flats were semi-soft and salty mud flew everywhere as we trekked across it. After the salt bed came an area of soft sand dunes until we finally reached the mines area. It was a great little playground where the JGA Jeep got to stretch and flex a little.

Lunch today consisted of Yucatan Style Beef, Chevre, Rice and Black Bean Burritos

The final stretch to pavement in California

We Left the playground for a scenic photo opportunity of the whole group at a neat railroad bridge. We then left the bridge and stopped around 4:00pm, then it was onward to Afton Spring campground. We came across the only water crossing for miles and concluded the Mojave Desert trip, the desert part anyway. For some it was another couple days onward to an expedition to Octillo Wells. We were graciously offered to join, tempting as it was we both did had a few personal days saved up but the consensus was ultimately that we should get back to Colorado. We aired up and said our thank yous and goodbyes until the next expedition (MOAB IN MAY)!!!

We rested at a quick stop off I-15 in Baker, California where we ate some great tacos and drank wonderfully flavored horchata. Something about a restroom essence restaurant would deter most, but this didn’t scare us off. It’s gotta be good because no gringos would even consider entering a place like this. I, of course, had to order the burrito la lengua with chicharon. Yes, cow tongue burrito with crispy fried tidbits of pork fat. YUMMMMM is all I can say although next time in Baker I think the Alien Jerky place is deserving of a visit.

This was the first of many stops this evening as we realized we had a long trip ahead. For some reason it seemed as though an additional 1000 miles was added to the trip back to Colorado. We stop 15 miles west of Vegas for a quick nap and then awoke to the voices of Nevada’s finest, not directed at us but rather at someone they had pulled over and stopped right behind us. Fascinatingly enough they didn’t even come to check on us in the Jeep, just leaving after they finished with the folks they pulled over. Pretty awkward we thought.

Utah proved to be the longest stretch as the first 250 miles into the state seemed to last forever, especially since there wasn’t a single place to get a cup of coffee.

Everything was closed to get coffee. I am proclaiming action be taken against the state of Utah for lack of adequate coffee supplies to weary road travelers. We finally did find one place that was open for coffee. What is wrong with Southwestern Utah?

Driving for 30 minutes, sleeping for 30 minutes, driving for an hour and sleeping for an hour proved to prolong the trip that much more.

Monday morning to Monday Night

Finally daybreak and still another 500 or so miles to go to Denver. At least this time there was not a head wind we were traveling into and the snow storms originally forecasted for this day were not in sight. It was clear sailing all the way. We ate at a roadside stop on I-70 around 3pm, just outside of Grand Junction, called Linda’s Rainbow Truck Stop.

Linda herself was our server but explained she no longer owned the place. The BLT was decent and substantial although I do prefer crisp bacon rather than undercooked, rubbery bacon. The fresh-made beef soup that Adam ate was less than desirable. Damn those chefs are picky!

We finally arrived back in Denver around 8 pm. Back at home and back to reality.

Summary

I have to say it was one of the most truly epic trips that I have experienced.

Adam is a former Jeep owner himself, and now after the trip I am holding him accountable for getting back to his roots by trading in his little Subaru thing and getting his Jeep once again!

Of course his wife may or may not approve; however, we Jeep folks know one of two things will happen regarding trading in a vehicle for a Jeep. Either way it will be a win-win situation.

* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

Real items for real adventure and real trail use. That’s the 4-1-1 on the Epicurean Camp Series Cutting Board and why we, as Jeep adventure enthusiasts and backcountry cuisine afficianados, dig this product!
Adventure usefulness and/or Jeep usefulness:     

This earth friendly cutting board made from dense recycled cardboard fibers proved very useful on my last trip to the mecca…for the Moab Easter Jeep Safari. I particularlly liked the dual use aspect of cutting board and strainer. In the past I had carried an extra colander that took up valuable space. This product helped solve that! Thank you Epicurean!!

Durability of the item in the field:     

The cutting board held up to multiple applications of typical Chef abuse such as the slicing, dicing, and chopping of a wide variety of produce and proteins. One of the better features in particular in this unit was the strainer aspect. Make sure to properly wash and sanitize in between cutting produce and meats and strainer use. I would recommend cutting all produce, especially ready to eat raw vegetables that might not get cooked such as salads and vegetable snacks prior to using anything else. A
quick wash in hot soapy water, rinse and wipe down with moist bleach towelette proved to do the job. It proved itself over again and again by handling the production of enough food for three dinners for at least 15 people. If that isn’t a testament to a product I don’t know what is. I will be sure to continue using it as part of my camp kitchen for sure. It proved to meet every claim that the company makes.

Value of product in relation to competitors’ product:     

The only competition I can remotely even think of or find is those little plastic roll up ones…and by far they don’t come close on several levels. The value of this product is definitely well worth every penny. I am going to additionally look into purchasing some of the larger sized ones for camping as well one or two potentially for the house from several of their other series of cutting boards.

Quality of product:     

At first I must candidly admit my initial thought was “recycled cardboard fiber…how will this hold up to knife banging even more so hot pasta water from straining a pot”! After putting the board the rigors of my trail testing my doubts were proved wrong. That’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend soaking the board in water for any extended periods of time.

Ease of use:     

Place the board on a table, place the product on the board and cut away, it really doesn’t get any easier. The only slight imperfection and this is by far only a picky little chef thing, was that it wasn’t non-slip. I only say this as I like to have either a small rubber mat or moist towel under my cutting board where it contacts the table so it doesn’t slide around when slicing at super chef speeds. My simple fix was to do what I normally do with any cutting board…place a moist towel or small rubber mat under it. Great product and overall easy to use for sure!

Specifications of product per the manufacturer:

Epicurean Cutting Surfaces® are commercial grade cutting surfaces for the outdoor gourmet. Made from recycled cardboard fiber that will last for years of use, these premium surfaces are exceedingly durable, easy to handle and store, and won’t dull expensive knives. And unlike wood cutting boards, these nonporous surfaces will not harbor bacteria and can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher.

THIN & LIGHTWEIGHT
All Epicurean® Camp Series are light and slim enough to handle comfortably, clean, and store efficiently.

HEAT RESISTANT
Epicurean® cutting surfaces are heat resistant up to 350˚F/176˚C. You can use them as a trivet and not leave a blemish.

RECYCLED CARDBOARD
Epicurean® cutting surfaces are made using recycled cardboard fiber.

MADE IN USA
Epicurean® cutting surfaces are exclusively designed and manufactured in the United States of America.

DISHWASHER SAFE
Unlike wood and bamboo cutting boards, Epicurean® food preparation surfaces are dishwasher safe.

* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

Colorado is one of the fittest states in the nation because its inhabitants are so lucky to be living near the Rocky Mountains where summertime is playtime for the majority of folks. Since there are so many activities offered, such as hiking, kayaking, camping, off-highway travel, and so much more, keeping the energy level up can be difficult when taking part in these activities; therefore, many outdoor explorers grab energy bars that will help them keep that high energy level. That’s great but the only problem is, do they know what a good energy bar is?

All energy bars provide energy because energy, in the pure sense of the word, refers to use of calories to propel oneself. Since some energy bars contain over 400 calories (more than in many candy bars) and up to ten grams of fat. Many energy bars do contain added vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other important substances; however, they do not contain the natural fibers, phytochemicals, and high quality proteins found in less-processed foods.

Here is a simple Fruit and Nut Energy Bar recipe that can be changed into many different bars by changing the nuts or dried fruits:

1 Cup Rolled Oats
¼ Wheat Germ
¼ Cup sunflower seeds
2 Tablespoons Flax Seed Meal
¼ Cup Almonds
¼ Cup Cashews
¼ Cup Dried Cherries
¼ Cup Dried Blueberries
¼ Cup Honey
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
¼ Teaspoon Salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a glass pan with cooking spray.
2. Spread oats, wheat germ, nuts, and seeds on a sheet pan and toast for five minutes while stirring occasionally.
3. Combine honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until brown sugar is dissolved.
4. Add the finished oat mixture to the saucepan along with the dried fruit and mix.
5. Press and form mixture down in greased pan then bake for 15-20 minutes.
6. Cut into eight servings and store in air tight container for up to one week.

Calories: 205
Fat: 8 grams
Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Carbohydrates: 30 grams

* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

Move over Julia Child and Betty Crocker cooking clubs of yesteryear, today’s chefs and food enthusiasts aren’t just Suzy Homemaker anymore. Enter the Man Pan.

Sure, I’d like to see someone say “cooking is for girls” these days to somebody like Gordon Ramsey of Hell’s Kitchen…or even say it to me for that matter! Bring it, and that is just what Man Pans has done!

Having this pan myself since it was still in the prototype phases, I have trail-tested this pan on numerous occasions both out on the trail as well in my home kitchen. It is a useful tool for sauté, wok-style cooking, boiling water, cooking pasta as well pasta dishes, soups, stir fry, or even one pot meals such as stews or braised dishes. It performs in the house just as well as it does on the trail.

Adventure usefulness and/or Jeep usefulness:    

The Man Pan fits fairly well in an off-highway camp kit much more easily than it does in a backpacker’s trail kit. The handle, which has a great purposeful design, has its own slight issue being that it’s in a fixed location and might potentially lend to it taking up extra space or making it slightly tougher to pack. Nonetheless, The Man Pan’s superbly designed, lightweight nature and overall handle design usefulness does balance it out as an adventure savvy trail companion.

Durability of the item in the field:     

Lightweight it might be but I would consider it to be a heavyweight contender in durability. Construction is geared towards commercial use, and anybody that has worked in a restaurant/hotel/food service kitchen can attest to the beatings that pans take. Similar, cheap imitation pans made overseas might be considerably less expensive but guess what, you get what you pay for! Similar cheap pans would become loose and breakdown easily under pressure.

The Man Pan has been industry proven as it is used in several national chain restaurants. It can “Take a high heat licking and keep on ticking!” The one-piece handle itself is attached/riveted at four points from the inside with the handle integrated attachment point on the outside. This means your wife can smack you upside the head multiple times and the handle will not loosen from the pan.

Value of product in relation to competitors’ product:     

The fact that these pans are made in the good ole’ USA and secondly in an Eco-Friendly manner is of significant value within itself. As far as what the product costs, it certainly may seem expensive to the average Joe or Jane but by far there is no comparison in the quality of the finished product. Placed side by side with other contenders in this particular pan category the cost is comparable. The exceptional and added value amongst its competitors in the same range is certainly strength, durability, and design.

Additionally, the design itself incorporates methods of material forming for impressive H.E.T. (heat-energy-transfer) efficiency (like an R.T.I. ramp but for pans). This process gives the ability of lowering the heat source by up to 40% while still generating the same effects as if it were a full, high heat flame. This is the Man Pan claim and trail-tested and proven result. The Man Pan won’t sit in the garage or storage unit lonely with your other camp cookware. The Man Pan demands more than that. Its value is additionally shown in the ability to have it as an everyday home use pan. The wife just might actually get jealous if she doesn’t use it to smack you upside the head (remember, it is durable).

Quality of product:     

Designed by “a team of top industry engineers and experts” (possibly including wives, just a theory I have), the materials and design factors that went into the Man Pan shine through when in use and it shows. From the technologically superior design components such as the ultra durable cool grip handle and natural non-stick nature (Gen-X2, see information in manufacturer specifications), the Man Pan delivers (insert Tim the Tool-Man grunts here).

Similar cheap imitator pans use Teflon for non-stick. Let’s be honest here: How many Teflon pans have you thrown out (I HOPE YOU HAVE) because of flaking Teflon surfaces?

The integrated natural non-stick surface of the Man Pans comes from the pan making and metal forming/layering process itself. The claims of scratching with a coin hold true, I have done it myself, try that on a Teflon pan!

The cool grip handle design is purposeful and two fold.

The design itself and metal used keep the handle from getting the O.S.T.H.H.G. Factor (Oh S&%T that’s a Hot Handle Grab Factor) you have experienced while being camp chef. C’mon you know those “Wish I had the video camera AFV home video moments.”

The handle is further designed to be non-slip, which is a great added benefit. Industry pans often have “handle rubbers” that are just plain worthless and make the pan even more dangerous to handle.

Ease of use:     

Pretty simple here. Put over medium – high heat, add in a cooking medium (such as cooking oil not 30w or 40w), some food, and …cook away! Don’t worry about delicate clean-up either. Get in there and “Git ‘er Done!” without worry of scratching that precious Teflon coating!

– For more information on The Man Pan and other products built by Man Pans Cookware, check out their website at www.manpans.com.

Related – Epicurean Camp Series Cutting Board

* Published by JPFreek Jeep Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.