UpNorthica Eats: Ginger-Orange Nutty Granola


Nothing like greeting the 6 o’clock sun with some hearty, sweet granola. MORE >

Smoking Salmon


After hauling a canoe along the infamous Angleworm portage, there’s nothing better than grabbing a forkful of smoked salmon off our dinner plate.  You want some too?  Here you go.


UpNorthica Eats: Baking with a Jello-Mold Oven

Dessert is one of the comforts from home that many of us enjoy after our evening meals around the campfire.  Baking them, however can feel intimidating.

Through online message boards we discovered the Jello-Mold oven and started baking with it.  We were intrigued by the ability to make an outdoor oven ourselves with minimal cost.

At home preparations.

We picked up an 8″ aluminum jello-mold pan from the local thrift shop for a buck.  Plainest one we could find.  Yes, its a funny looking pan, but the hole in the center allows for even heating and baking.

Use a 8″ aluminum pie or cake pan for the lid.

Make or buy your own favorite dry-mix baking treat.  You can make nearly anything you can bake at home. We like brownies, biscuits and gravy or blueberry muffins.

Pack any wet ingredients separately.  You can find many mixes where you just add water.

At the campsite.

Build a campfire and allow it to burn long enough so that you have nice hot coals. If you can’t hold your hand over the grill for more than 4 seconds it may be too hot.  Too much smoke or flame will ruin the recipe as well.

Grease the Jello-Mold according to your recipe directions.

Add your mix, and top with pie or cake lid.

When we’re in the Boundary waters, we heap a pile of hot coals under the grill.   The pan is placed about  5-7 inches from the hot coals on top of the grill.

We found that cook time is similar to cook time at home.  Check your baking periodically.

When baking is done, carefully remove Jello-Mold remove from heat.  If you’re making a dessert, let it cool 5-10 minutes, then either scoop out the treat or invert it into the pie pan.

Most everything takes on the ring shape, but is still just as tasty.

A Taste of the Gunflint Trail

Good smells are coming from the trail, but it’s not from the campsite on Poplar Lake.

Saturday, September 11, eat your way along the Gunflint Trail as local businesses team up with the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center to whip up tempting recipes from A Taste of the Gunflint Trail cookbook.

The event will benefit the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center .  With a suggested donation of a $1 per tasting,  you can feel good about helping the museum construct a nature trail boardwalk.

Along the way, join a guided hike with naturalist Steve Robertsen as you explore the new Centennial Trail.

At the end of the trail, there is a ice cream and pie social at Chik-Wauk in case you need to fill in the cracks.     While there, hike some of their scenic trails or enjoy chatting with local book authors at a book signing.

So toss in the flannel jacket, kids, and camera, it’s going to be a delicious drive.

Event goes from 11am – 5pm.

UpNorthica Eats: The UpNorthica PB & J

upnorthica_pbjWhen 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. MORE >

Better Living Through Hot Cereal

Less than half-excited about your default instant oatmeal breakfast? Tamia over at extols the virtues of hot cereal on the trail.

Besides a good list of ingredient options, she opens the vault and shares a few recommended recipes for that Most Important Meal of the Day. There are also some good ideas for toppings to pack (Nutella? How about skip everything else and just bring the Nutella.)

I’d always loved Malt-O-Meal until I let some get cold on a winter camping trip — imagine eating spoonfuls of rubber doorstop. But that’s my own fault… Note to self: Leave the metal bowls at home.

UpNorthica Eats: Campfire Jambalaya

Cajun Filthy Rice

It’s hard to go wrong when cooking Cajun jambalaya –  at home. “If it’s in the kitchen, it can go in the pot,” is about as close a dictionary definition of the word, as you’ll find. But how to make a trail-friendly jambalaya with minimum prep and dishes, without resulting in just a heavily-peppered Rice-A-Roni? Not as easy.

Optimized for minimal prep work, this dish needs only a pot, a large cup, a spork and a cutting knife, so this is very much a 1-pot meal. Any chopping is coarsely done, right in the pot. The only item requiring cold storage, is optional. Even the rice mix base has a comparitively quick cooking time. Bada-bing…

But what makes this recipe a ga-ron-teed winner, is not only its savory-spicy flavors; it’s also very scalable. Skipping the chicken, you’d still have Cajun dirty rice so good that it’s downright Filthy. Or add to it, some frozen andouille sausage links and you’ll nearly double the number of flavors (and most importantly, the servings)….Bada-BAM! Eat up.

Click below for full recipe.