Tag Archives: recipe

Hold the Bun! 3 Bun-Free Hot Dog Recipes

We never thought we’d say this so early in camping season, but it is possible to tire of the classic ol’ hot dog on a bun with ketchup and mustard. We still love our wieners, though, so we went on the hunt for the tastiest bun-free hot dog dishes. Check ‘em out below!

Hot Dog Hash

Courtesy of Gigi Ross at Kludgy Mom

Image: www.kludgymom.com

Image: www.kludgymom.com


  • 1 package (quantity eight) hot dogs
  • 2 medium onions
  • 5-6 medium potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Ketchup and mustard to taste


  1. Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat with a generous amount of olive oil. Peel the potatoes. Halve them lengthwise. Halve each newly-cut section lengthwise. Then chop the potatoes, cross-wise, into smallish chunks. Place the potatoes into the heated skillet and cook until well browned, turning only occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, thinly slice the onions and then either quarter or halve the slices. When potatoes are nearly brown, add the onions and cook until they turn opaque.
  3. While onions are cooking, slice the hot dogs lengthwise, then lengthwise again. Then cut them crosswise into small chunks. Add to the skillet and cook until hot dogs are slightly browned.
  4. Serve with ketchup and mustard.

Beanie Weenies

Adapted from LoveThatFood.Com

Image: www.LoveThatFood.com

Image: www.LoveThatFood.com


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 package hot dogs, sliced thin
  • 1 can baked beans
  • BBQ sauce to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Brown the ground beef in a cast iron skillet.
  2. Toss in the sliced hot dogs, baked beans, and BBQ sauce.
  3. Simmer for about 15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

 Pigs in Ponchos

Adapted from Everyday With Rachael Ray

Image: www.rachaelraymag.com

Image: www.rachaelraymag.com


  • 8 hot dogs
  • 1 can (16 oz.) spicy refried beans
  • 1 large poblano chile pepper
  • 16 flour tortillas (8-inch), heated to soften slightly
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa verde
  • Mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Parboil the hot dogs for a few minutes to heat through. In a medium pan, heat the beans over medium heat, adding a little water to thin slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, grill the poblano (or cook over an open flame) until evenly charred. Transfer to a bowl, cover and let cool, then peel and slice.
  3. Make the ponchos: Top each of 4 tortillas with a thin layer of salsa verde, a swirl of mustard, a few slices of poblano and lots of cheese, then cover each with another tortilla. Spread the top tortilla with some beans and set a dog at one end. Wrap and roll up the tortilla stack around the dog; repeat with the remaining ingredients. Spray the ponchos with cooking spray and grill for a few minutes to brown and crisp the tortillas.

Fireside Fiesta: 5 Camp-friendly Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

This Cinco de Mayo celebrate Mexican heritage (and delicious food) by gathering around the campfire or grill and feasting on these delicious culturally inspired recipes. For those unfamiliar with the holiday, Cinco de Mayo or The Fifth of May” is a Mexican celebration of national heritage that is often honored with lots and lots of music, dancing, and of course, food and drink. Start a fiesta of your very own without leaving the campgrounds by treating yourself and your camp buddies to this mouth-watering Mexican recipes.

Image: www.lifeisfare.wordpress.com/

Image: www.lifeisfare.wordpress.com/

Let’s kick off this virtual fiesta with a recipe for all the fishing fanatics out there from Life is Fare. These Local Fish Tacos are a great way to use your fresh catch and celebrate this colorful holiday all in one flip of the spatula. Loaded with fresh veggies, savory herbs, and pico de de gallo, these fish tacos are sure to add some spice to any campground.

Image: www.dirtygourmet.com

Image: www.dirtygourmet.com

We cannot wait to sink our teeth into this next recipe from camp cooking authorities Dirty Gourmet. Crunchy, cheesy, and spicy, these Skillet Fried Tacos have are a triple threat to rumbling tummies everywhere. Image returning from a day-long hike to nosh on these crispy pockets of deliciousness—sounds like heaven if you ask us!

Image: www.http://wpsu.org

Image: www.wpsu.org

This next recipe is a surefire crowd-pleaser, and is just as satisfying on the back deck as it is in the backcountry. Mexican Grilled Corn or elote is a summer staple that has found its way to menus all across the U.S. Smothered in creamy mayo and dusted with spices, cilantro and cotija cheese, this roasted snack is perfect for picnics, BBQs, or impromptu fiestas that may need an extra bit oomph.

Image: www.Sunset.com

Image: www.Sunset.com

This campfire recipe is the full enchilada—no really, it does! Sunset’s Chicken Enchilada Nacho Bowl is a hungry hiker’s dream: gooey cheese, crunchy chips, fresh veggies, and protein-packed chicken. Don’t worry, this zesty nacho bowl only looks complicated, and you and your compadres will have it whipped up and ready to eat before you can say “tengo hambre!”

Image: www.copykat.com

Image: www.copykat.com

While queso is just Spanish for “cheese” in the world of dips it means so much more. This spicy, melty Skillet Queso from Copy Kat, is a simple yet supremely satisfying way to get your Mex fix while huddled around the campfire. We recommend packing extra tortilla chips, or you’ll be licking cheesy goodness off your bare fingers—it’s that good!

Go Green, Go Hunting: The Benefits of Hunting Responsibly

Contributed by Will Jenkins, The Will to Hunt

Pan seared venison with rosemary and cherries is both delicious and an environmentally responsible dish.

Pan seared venison with rosemary and cherries is both delicious and an environmentally responsible dish.

Over the last few years “go green” and “organic” have become buzz words associated with living a clean and sustainable lifestyle. I’m sure if you aren’t a hunter or perhaps if you are, the last thing you associated with those terms is the stereotypical gun-toting hunter. While there are plenty of folks that hunt for trophies and some just for the tradition the majority hunt to eat. I’m not sure there’s a better source of organic meat out there!

Venison (which refers to any wild game meat, though most people use it to refer to any type of deer and sometimes elk or antelope) along with most wild game is a much healthier protein source, with higher levels of protein and lower levels of fat. The difference: you have to take an active role in the food chain to get it. Modern conservation and game management techniques are used to set limits  to protect the game animals. This prevents the mistakes of our past, when several species like the American Buffalo were hunted close to extinction. Thus creating the renewable part. You pay a premium for grass-fed, hormone-free or organic meat at the store. Most likely, there’s a good amount of that meat running around the woods within driving distance of your home. While there is some investment up front in the form of weapons, arrows or ammunition and gear, it’s relatively easy to get set up to procure your own meat. Plus, with apps like the Pocket Ranger®’s Fish & Wild, hunters can easily identify specific wildlife.

As hunters, we also help conserve the land animals that we take from. Hunters spend a good bit of money joining organizations like National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation or Mule Deer Association. On top of that the fees from licenses fund the local conservation police and other conservation projects. There’s also a 10% federal excise tax on all firearms and ammunition. All of this goes to conservation. Annually, all of this amounts to millions towards conservation, and since the firearms tax started in 1937, it has accounted for $4.2 Billion towards conservation.

While most people who read this blog are nature lovers, consider getting even closer to nature and getting right in the middle of the food chain. Even if you don’t hunt or never plan to, if you see a hunter out on public land and your first reaction isn’t the best, remember they’re helping financially back the whole conservation system and they’re providing organic meat for their family. By hunting, they’re “going green.”

If you’re interested in starting to hunt, most states now offer an apprentice type license that lets you hunt with a licensed hunter taking a safety course. Also, a great way to meet hunters is to find a local online hunting forum or local hunting organization. Most states have some sort of private non-profit hunting organization. In my experience they can be the best resources to help teach you and sometimes lend you gear to use to ease the financial burden of starting out.

Want a real-life example of green eating? Check out this bonus recipe!

Below is the winning recipe of The Mindful Carnivore Photo Contest, available on TheWilltoHunt.com.

Pan Seared Venison with Rosemary and Cherries

  • 1 1/2 tsps. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds (or 1/2 tsp. ground coriander if you can’t find the seeds)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsps. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (1-lb.) venison tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 3/4 cup fat-free beef broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 2 Tbsps. black currant jelly (or red, if you can’t find the black)


  1. Grind 1 tsps. of the rosemary with the coriander and garlic with a mortar and pestle to make a paste, then stir in 1/2 tsp. of the olive oil.
  2. Pat venison dry and put in a bowl, then rub with paste. Season well with pepper, then cover and chill 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 450. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until hot, then add remaining oil, tilting skillet to coat evenly. Season venison well with salt, then brown, turning once, about 6 minutes total.
  4. Transfer skillet to middle of oven and roast venison until an instant-read thermometer inserted diagonally into center registers 125 F, about 10 minutes (give or take). Transfer meat to a plate and cover tightly with foil.
  5. Add wine and cherries to skillet and deglaze by boiling over moderately high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Stir together broth, water, cornstarch, and remaining 1/2 tsp. rosemary in a bowl and add to skillet. Simmer, stirring, until mixture is reduced and thickened (to your preference), about 5-10 minutes. Whisk in jelly and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cut venison into 1/4-inch-thick slices and serve with sauce.
  7. Makes 4 servings. Each serving about 196 calories and 3 grams of fat.

How to Enjoy a Campfire Thanksgiving Feast

Everyone knows the best part of Thanksgiving is the food, and spending the holiday in the great outdoors doesn’t mean you have to forgo the deliciousness of a holiday feast. These campfire recipes will let you enjoy a Thanksgiving meal to rival the best of ‘em!

Campfire Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Courtesy of Dirty Gourmet

Image: www.dirtygourmet.com


  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1-2 tbsp chipotles in adobo, minced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut into fourths
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Wrap raw whole sweet potatoes in aluminum foil, and place them in your campfire, near the embers. Turn every 5 minutes until tender all the way through.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, chipotles in adobo, and brown sugar. Mix together well.
  3. Remove sweet potatoes from the fire and unwrap. Slice open long ways and add one of the butter quarters to each sweet potato.
  4. Add a quarter of the sour cream mixture to each sweet potato and mix in with the flesh. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Adapted from Backpacker.com

A Thanksgiving classic!


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 c water
  • 1/4 c powered milk
  • 1 c instant mashed potato mix
  • salt & pepper


  1.  Melt one tablespoon butter in a saucepan and sauté garlic until tender and translucent. Remove to a plate and wipe out saucepan.
  2. Heat remaining butter, water, and milk, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in potato flakes. Let stand one minute.
  4. Stir in garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.

Garbage Can Turkey

Courtesy of Allrecipes.com

[Image: www.allrecipes.com]
Turkey, King of the Feast!


  • 1 (12-lb) whole turkey, neck & giblets removed
  • aluminum foil
  • 15-inch wooden stake
  • new 15-gallon metal garbage can with lid


  1. Lay about 3 long sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil out on the grass to make a square about 3×3 feet. Pound the wooden stake into the ground in the center of the aluminum foil.
  2. Fill the lid of the garbage can with a large pile of charcoal, and light. Place the whole turkey (thawed of course) onto the stake, legs down. Turn the garbage can upside down, and place over the turkey. Place piles of lighted coals on the top, and around the sides of the can.
  3. Cook for at least 1 1/2 hours, or keep going until coals go out. Do not lift can during cooking. Brush the charcoal off of the can, and lift off carefully as some heat may rush out when you lift the can. The internal temperature of the turkey should be at least 180 degrees F (83 degrees C) when taken in the thickest part of the thigh.

Cranberry Sauce

Courtesy of Simply Recipes

Image: www.simplyrecipes.com


  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 4 c (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Optional: pecans, orange zest, raisins, currants, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice


  1. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.
  2. At this point you can add all number of optional ingredients.
  3. Remove from heat. Cool completely and keep chilled. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Campfire Green Beans

Courtesy of Allrecipes.com

Image: www.allrecipes.com


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 c slivered almonds
  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans French-style green beans, drained
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in olive oil, then mix in onion, garlic, and almonds. Saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in green beans and season with salt and pepper. Cover skillet with lid and cook for 3 minutes, stirring a few times so mixture doesn’t burn. Transfer mixture to a shallow dish and place in refrigerator to cool. When cool, pack into a resealable bag.
  3. At campsite, heat a skillet over the fire or camp stove, dump in contents of bag, and cook just until heated through.

Pumpkin Pie Cobbler

Courtesy of Scoutorama.com

[Image: www.edibletubers.blogspot.com]
The feast’s finale.


  • 1 29 oz. can of pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 12 oz. cans evaporated milk
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick of margarine or butter


  1. Mix all ingredients except for cake mix and butter in large bowl with whisk.
  2. Line the inside of a Dutch oven with foil. Pour liquid into Dutch oven.
  3. Carefully sprinkle dry cake mix on top of pie filling.
  4. Slice stick of butter and spread slices onto top of cake mix.
  5. Cover Dutch oven and begin heating process.
  6. Cook until cake mix turns golden brown.
  7. Serve warm or cold.

Game Day Recipes for the Great Outdoors

So you’ve elected to spend your weekend in the great outdoors rather than loafing on the couch, screaming at the television with the rest of your football-loving friends. We can’t say we blame you, although the nature-vs-football weekend dilemma is one of fall’s biggest bummers. However, just because you’re choosing to forgo the excitement of watching the game doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the second best part of football season: the food! With these campfire recipes, you can still get a taste of game day even if there’s no TV in sight.


Courtesy of Dirty Gourmet

Image: Dirty Gourmet


  • 1/2 large bag of tortilla chips
  • 1 can of black beans (16 oz)
  • 1 bag of shredded cheese (8 oz)
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, sliced
  • 4 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • Pepper to taste


  1.  In a pot or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions, ground beef, and half of the jalapeños.
  3. Cook until meat is browned and onions are translucent, about 5 min.
  4. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour beans into skillet with the meat and heat over medium heat.
  6. Begin layering nachos starting with the tortilla chips.
  7. Add 1/3 of the cheese, scallions, cilantro, and extra jalapeños on top of the chips.
  8. When beans and meat begin to boil, remove from heat.
  9. Scoop the beans and meat mixture over the first layer of nachos.
  10. Repeat the layers until you run out of ingredients.

Chicken Wings

Courtesy of KOA

Image: Delish.com


  • 2.5 lb. chicken wings
  • 1/2 c. hot sauce
  • 1/3 c. melted butter


  1. Pan fry the wings until cooked through.
  2. Drain the liquid and fat from the pan.
  3. Add sauce and butter and simmer.
  4. Turn all of the wings to coat.
  5. Simmer uncovered over low heat for a few minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes.
  7. Dig in!

Pigs in a Blanket

Courtesy of Old House Kitchen

Image: ljcfyi.com


  • 1 pack of hot dogs
  • 1 tube of crescent roll dough


  1. Wrap one triangle of dough around each hot dog, stretching it so that it mostly covers the hot dog.
  2. Skewer it on a roasting stick.
  3. Roast near the coals, not in the flames.
  4. Enjoy with ketchup and mustard if you wish!


Courtesy of A Little Campy

Image: SeriousEats.com


  • 2 lb. ground meat
  • 2 cans ranch style beans
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 4 to 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 squirt ketchup
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 8 oz. water or chicken broth
  • Black & red pepper (or Louisiana hot sauce) to taste
  • Cooking oil


  1. Brown meat prior to camping and keep in an ice chest.
  2. At the campsite, heat the ground meat in a Dutch Oven, camping stove, or slow cooker.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Simmer.
  5. Mash some of the beans to thicken the chili.
  6. Serve with shredded cheese and saltine crackers.


Courtesy of Tasty Kitchen


  • 2 lb. beef or pork ribs
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 bottle barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 c. marmalade
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce


  1. Combine brown sugar, chili powder, salt and pepper as a rub and apply to the ribs.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients except for the ribs in a pan over medium heat.
  3. Simmer sauce for 8 minutes.
  4. Grill ribs on medium heat for 2 hours (beef) or 1 hour (pork).
  5. Apply sauce to ribs every 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with the rest of the sauce!

Recipe Remix: Energize with Trail Mix Alternatives

Whether backpacking a difficult trail or dealing with some rowdy kids at the campsite, sometimes we need a boost of energy.  Trail mix has long been the fodder for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts because it provides a boost with just a few protein and calorie-rich ingredients, it packs lightly and compactly, and it’s pretty delicious (which could be the most important element).  But sometimes trail mix just doesn’t cut it.  Maybe you’re looking for something healthier, you want to avoid the germs from everyone reaching their grubby hands into the same bag, or you just want to try something a little different.

We took to our Pinterest account to find the best traditional trail mix alternatives. All are homemade; who needs to spend the extra money for unnatural additives or ingredients that you can throw together at home? All provide the energy boost that you need to get through whatever hike, bike, or adventure you’re on.

Healthy Mixes

Although calories provide the necessary fuel for our bodies, sometimes a low-cal option is preferable for shorter hikes or for everyday snacking on a camping trip. We’ve rounded up a couple we think you’ll enjoy:

Trail Mix Carnival Explosion

by Hungry Girl

Image: http://www.hungry-girl.com/newsletters/raw/837

Yield: 4 Servings

3 cups popped Jolly Time Healthy Pop Caramel Apple Microwave Pop Corn or 94% fat-free kettle corn microwave popcorn
2 pouches Fruit Ripples or Nature Valley Fruit Crisps, Cinnamon Apple; slightly crushed
1 pouch Special K Snack Bites, Vanilla
1/4 cup dried apricots; chopped
2 tbsp. Sunkist Almond Accents, Butter Toffee Glazed or Honey Roasted

Break Snack Bites into small pieces. Place those, along with all other ingredients, in a sealable plastic bag or in an airtight container with a lid. Secure bag or container and shake thoroughly. Now go nuts!

Dried Fruit Trail Mix Recipe Ideas

from Backpacking-tips.com

Image Credit: http://www.backpacking-tips.com/trail-mix-recipe.html


Combine equal parts of:

  • Dried Apricots
  • Dried Apple Slices
  • Dried Papaya Chunks or Cubes
  • Dried Mango Chunks or Cubes
  • If you enjoy crunchy snacks then just add:
  • Dried Banana Chips

to balance out the sweetness and softness of the fruity recipe.

The exact proportions of each ingredient are not as important as the flavors and textures that you enjoy, so feel free to swap other ingredients in and out of the basic dried fruit mix recipe above. For example:

  • Raisins
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Beef Jerkey


Sometimes you just don’t want to deal with the mess of a mix.  There are some great store-bought energy bars, but why not make your own? Here’s one we thought looked particularly delicious.

Blueberry-Banana Peanut Butter Bars

originally from A Fork in the Trail, by Laurie Ann March (Wilderness Press, 2008)
reprint from Backpacker.com

Image: http://www.backpacker.com/skills/12399?page=7

1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 cups high-energy cereal made of strong flakes, crushed
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup dried banana chips
1/3 cup white chocolate chips


At Home, break the banana chips into small pieces and set aside. Heat the honey and brown sugar in a large pot and simmer for 1 minute. (Boiling too long will make the bars brittle.) Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the peanut butter. Add the remaining ingredients and combine well.
Coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with vegetable oil. Scoop the mixture into the pan and pack down evenly. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer the pan contents to a cutting board. Allow to return to room temperature and then cut into 10 bars. Wrap bars in waxed paper and store in zip-top bags. The bars will keep in the freezer for three months.


Pack your nuts, seeds, and berries into convenient packaging: bread!  Logan Bread, a dense quickbread, is a traditional backpacking treat.  With a namesake such as the Yukon’s Mount Logan, it would have to be!

Logan Bread

from Section Hiker

Image: www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=63394

1.5 cups of whole wheat flour
1.5 cups rye flour
1 cup quick oats
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup wild flower honey
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Mix all of the grains, powdered milk, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Next, mix all of the other ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.
Grease two 9″ x 9″ pans using Crisco. Then sprinkle extra flour onto pan bottoms and sides. This will show you if you’ve missed greasing any spots and will help with removing the bread from the pans when finished baking.
Mix the ingredients of the two bowls and mix very thoroughly.
Spoon the mixture into the two greased pans evenly.
Bake for 90 minutes at 275 degrees or until a tester comes out clean.
Let cool. Carve Logan Bread into 3″ x 3″ squares and store in plastic bags for eating on a backpacking trip or at the office.


When have you ever wanted to say “no” to a cookie?  On the trail, it won’t be any different with these delicious treats:

Happy Trails Adventure Cookies

by Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows

Image: http://gimmesomeoven.com/no-bake-energy-bites/

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 + 10-12 mins
Yield: 13-14 cookies

Dry ingredients
1 cup whole pecans, toasted
1 cup + 1 tbsp oat flour (make your own flour in the blender using 1 cup rolled oats; use gluten-free if necessary)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp rolled oats (use gluten-free if necessary)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 scant tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp ground flax-seed

Wet ingredients
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsp brown rice syrup
1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries
3 tbsp pepita seeds
3-4 tbsp mini chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and toast pecans for 8-10 minutes, watching closely. Remove and set aside to cool. Turn oven temp to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or grease with oil. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
3. In a mini processor (or by hand) process/chop the pecans into small crumbs, just smaller than the size of peas. Stir into the dry ingredients.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well until combined. The dough will be very sticky, but not to worry. Fold in the mix-ins.
5. With lightly wet hands, grab about 2 tbsp dough and shape into a ball, packing firmly. Place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Repeat for the rest, wetting hands every 4 cookies or so.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes (I baked for 11.5 mins). Cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes or the cookies could break apart. When completely cooled, store in a glass jar or freeze for maximum freshness.
Note: 1) To make these gluten-free, using certified GF oats and check all other ingredients. 2) If you eat honey, you can probably use it as a sub for brown rice syrup. I do think the cookies need either brown rice syrup or honey for the cookies to hold together and retain that nice chewy texture. I don’t recommend subbing it for more maple syrup.


For a smaller, more shapely cookie alternative, we’re dying to try some energy bites!

No-Bake Energy Bites

from Gimme Some Oven

Image Credit: http://gimmesomeoven.com/no-bake-energy-bites/

1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like.  (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.)  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Yield: about 20-25 balls.

Substitution ideas can abound for just about any of these ingredients!  Feel free to substitute in your favorite nut butter (almond butter, sunflower seed butter, etc.) for the peanut butter.  And you could also add in some wheat germ in place of some or all of the flaxseed.  I would caution, though, against substituting agave nectar for the honey, as the honey’s thickness helps hold things together.

Some other fun substitutions for the chocolate chips (or an addition to them) could include:

  • chopped dried fruit (apricots, dates, raisins, etc.)
  • dried berries (cranberries, cherries, etc.)
  • chopped almonds, pecans, walnuts, or sunflower seeds
  • other chips (butterscotch, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, M&Ms, etc.)
  • other grains (different kinds of oatmeal, rice cereal, etc.)

We also want to try this other version of Tiffany Haugen’s Power Balls.  She said that she was inspired by an edible Play-dough recipe!  Let the fun begin!

What’s your favorite trail mix recipe? Leave us a comment with the recipe!