When packing a trail lunch, there are two halves of me that vie for the role of Menu Planner:
The Hiker in me is practical, wanting only raw materials to give me energy. Carbs, proteins, maybe a modest sugar boost, but don’t go crazy. Keep it simple this time, don’t pack a whole picnic. We’re trying to travel light here, he says.
The Foodie in me, however, knows that all this talk means a handful of gorp and the crappy default pita-bread PB & J. Foodie hates Hiker.
So Foodie digs in his heels. Screw the extra pack weight; he wants flavor, texture, fresh (not dried) ingredients and a little variety in his lunch. Oh! and also Nutella, if he can sneak it in there somewhere…
I’ve finally discovered a common ground for Hiker and Foodie in the UpNorthica PB&J. Its ingredients supply serious fuel when I need it and it’s extremely flexible for substitutions. And of course, it’s easy. Who has ever messed up on a PB & J? [pregnant pause] … Nobody, that is who. So Hiker is satisfied. Foodie, meanwhile, revels in the fresh berries… the melange of nutty whole-grainy flavor sensations… He’d keep singing the praises of it, if he weren’t cramming it into his face non-stop. But he does make contented little noises as he eats, because Foodie is happy too.
Hiker just rolls his eyes and asks if there are any more sandwich halves left. Foodie pretends to rummage through the pack, before sneaking a fingerful of Nutella from its hidden jar. “Nope,” he says, “gotta travel light here…”
Click for recipe.
UpNorthica PB & J
- A good brand of hearty whole-grain bread
- Nut butter (cashew and almond butter are great here, but PB will work too)
- Sunflower seeds, pepitas, or other small seeds/nuts
- Dried cranberries, cherries, golden raisins or other dried fruit
- Fresh sliced fruit (strawberries, bananas, kiwi all work well)
- A good brand of fruit preserves or jelly
Toast the bread well. Doing this will keep it from getting too soggy. Spread nut butter thickly on one slice, with a thin layer on the other slice. Place dried fruit, then fresh fruit on the slice with the most nut butter. On the other slice, spread the preserves thickly and sprinkle with seeds or nuts. Stick the sandwich halves together and eat them both. At the same time.