Biolite Stove Review – 2 years post purchase

We have been using our BioLite stove with the grill attachment along with the cattle for about 1 to 2 years now and here are some of the things that I like and don’t like since using it:

Pros/Likes:

  1. It’s very compact as the battery fits into the stove compartment and then they both slide into the kettle. So tailgating is made easy for someone who doesn’t have the space or lives in a compact area like San Francisco. For us, it makes it easy to pack up or just store out of wa when not in use.
  2. It is an all-in-one: a grill, battery recharger, and stove top.
  3. The battery and fan are self charging/propelling via kinetic energy from the fire, unlike the latest blue version out there.
  4. Small electronic devices like headlamps, and watches recharge quickly.
  5. Wood is free fuel. I have purchased the little Biolite wood pellets for when I just want to start a fire right away (yes i have been that lazy…I mean exhausted) or keep a fire going for a long time. I find the heat from the wood pellets is long lasting and more controlled, not mention I don’t have to keep throwing in twigs every 2 mins. I want to try BBQ wood chips to see if there is a big difference in flavors…..and I have seen them for cheap at stores.

Cons/Dislikes:

  1. IF it rains…..say goodbye to breakfast, lunch and dinner. You need twigs/dry wood to start your fire and if you didn’t collect it before the downpour then you will be eating whatever doesn’t need to be cooked.
  2. Unable to sufficiently recharge larger devices like phones. My older Motorola smartphone recharged quite well with our Biolite; however, since I have upgraded to a Galaxy S5, a get a small burst of recharge (a whopping 1%) about every 5mins. I was reading that the newer phones will need more amps to recharge than older models. Just FYI.
  3. It is heavy for backpacking (33oz. = 2.06lbs) so I don’t recommend it for this activity. We use a Jetboil for backpacking and love it too but for different reasons.

In the end, I would recommend the Biolite for tailgating, car/base camping, or is you need something really compact that does it all. But if you are focused on backpacking, not feeding a fire, instantaneous ON and just reheating water for your dehydrated meals, I really enjoy my Jetboil.

Chia Yogurt Parfait

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I love berries!! And being a lacto-vegetarian, I really like to incorporate chia seeds into my meals for the protein as well love you omega fats. This breakfast is so easy and is one of my go to breakfasts when I’m busy as I can prepare it the day before and it’s ready in the morning.

Ingredients:
– 2-3 tbsp Greek yogurt (I like vanilla :-))
– 1 tbsp of Chia seeds
– 1tbsp of oatmeal
– berries (you decide how much)
– add a bit of water so you can mix it all up (I usually fill it about half way up my ingredients’ height)

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And in the morning, it is all thickened from the chia seeds and oatmeal.

Enjoy!

Flavored Waters

Banner Flavored Water

I LOVE flavored waters…….

however I have yet to make it at home. 😦 So I went on a hunt for recipes and I found this great blog with flavored water recipes. I thought I would start out simple, with just fruit, and go from there in my new experiment 🙂

I picked up the below Ball Mason Jars (pint & a half) from Wal-mart as I felt these were the best bang for your buck ($10 for 9) and they can go in your freezer as well. Note: that anything larger than this size can not go in your freezer IF you want to use it for something else.

Flavored Water 2I put about 8 blackberries in one jar and cut up some watermelon in another. I took a spoon (as I don’t have a “masher” utensil) and just started cutting/pressing the fruit into the bottom of the jar to help the juices come out of it. Then, I filled it with ice and then water to the fill/freezer line, before putting the lid on the jar.

Flavored Water 3Once the lid was on tightly, I flipped the jar upside down to move the water. You don’t want to do this too many times (a.k.a. don’t shake it) as you can bruise the fruit and it can change the flavor to not be “as crisp” if you get what I mean. 😉 Then, I left these on my countertop near a window. I thought I would see if the sun does anything to them like brewing sun tea. So I’ll report back to you about how they are soon.

Cheers!

**UPDATE**

So far my favorite flavored water is Watermelon with 2-3 mint leaves. I have found that if you put too much mint, it reminds me of spearmint which is a little overpowering.

90-Day Spending Fast Challenge: What’s for Dinner?

Left-Over Veggie Stew

So part of the 90-Day Spending Fast Challenge is purging stuff I don’t need or using what I have. So keeping with what I have = old veggies; I decided to make Left-over Veggie Stew.

This way, if I don’t want to eat the veggie stew now, I can package it up and freeze it for a later date. This is the easiest stew/soup you will make in your life.

Ingredients:

  • Look in your fridge and see what is left-over
    • I suggest onions, carrots, broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes
  • Add some protein like lentils (these don’t have to be pre-cooked)
  • Water
  • Dill
  • Lemon
  • Veggie Bouillon
  • Salt – try Himalayan, Hickory,  or Smoked salt for something different beyond the Bouillon seasoning salt
  • Pepper
  • 2-3 Cloves

You can thicken up this recipe with some cornstarch or arrowroot if you have any. I’ve even thrown in Liquid Smoke, soy sauce and a chili to change it up.

Chop everything up and throw it all into your slow cooker. Mix the vegetables up with the seasoning and add enough water to cover the top of all the vegetables:

Left-Over Veggie Stew Done

Make sure to taste the broth before starting your slow cooker. If it’s bland now, it will be bland later! I like lemon to add some zest for my stews.

Turn on the slow cooker on low and set aside for 8-12hrs.

Have fun with creating your own concoction. 🙂

Mini Apple Pies for the Holidays

With recently hosting a Country Baby (girl) Shower, I wanted to make some homemade apple pies for everyone. I find it easier to make bite-size or mini individual size pies so people and grab-n-go at the buffet which helps keeps the flow of the party going.

So here is my EASY Mini Apple Pie recipe:

  • 1 box Pillsbury Pie Crust (contains 2 pie crusts)
  • 2 Gala apples
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tsps Vanilla Extract
  • Sprinkling of Cinnamon
  • Dash of Nutmeg
  • Baking Pam or other baking spray
  • A Pastry Cutter/Masher  (I don’t know what you really call it)
  • 1 Plastic Cup – to use as a cookie cutter
  • Regular Muffin Pan

A basic rule of thumb for these pies:
For every 1 Apple, use 1 tbsp of Sugar.

  1. Take your pie crust out 20-30mins prior to unrolling it. This will unroll much easier than straight from the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat oven, to 425 degrees.
  3. Chop the Gala Apples — I cheated and used a “chopper” from Pampered Chef.
  4. Sprinkle your Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Vanilla  over the apples
  5. Stir all the ingredients together so everything is evenly coated
  6. Unroll your first pie crust.
  7. Use your Plastic Cup as a cookie cutter to cut out as many circles as you can.
    I get about 8 without having to re-roll my dough.
    Setting up_Mini Apple Pies
  8. Then, use your Pastry Cutter to start cutting strips for the top of your pie.
    I didn’t have anything fancy so…hence the straight lines of the my pies.
    Strips for Pies
  9. Spray your Muffin Pan with the Baking Spray
  10. Place your circles in the tin, pushing the dough into the creases and pushing out any air below the dough.
  11. Spoon in your apple mixture
  12. Take your strips and make 2 “X’s” (one above the other) on your pies and push the dough into your bottom crust so “they connect” for baking.
    Individual Applie PieBefore oven_mini apple pies
  13. Bake for 18mins @425 degrees.

    Finished Mini Apple Pies

Other Embellishments:

  • Instead of strips – cut out another circle and also use tiny cookie cutters to cut out the shape of a heart, rattle, Christmas tree, etc. in the center for whatever holiday or event and place that on top,  to cover the filling
  • Put the pies into holiday or other festive cupcake wrappers
  • I’m sure you could also use this recipe for other fruit as well.

Have fun with it!

Almond Milk from Scratch

So, I just learned how to make Almond Milk from scratch from my uncle. It’s actually quite easy and if you have any almonds left over, they are much easier to chew as they are soaked in water.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of raw almonds
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 medjool date (pitted)
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • Nut milk bag & blender

FIRST, take about 3/4-1 cup of raw almonds and soak then for 48hrs in the refrigerator.  CHANGE THE WATER EVERY DAY!!

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Next, take 1 cup of soaked almonds (without the water) and put them in the blender along with the 3 cups of water. Add the vanilla extract and dates and then allow the dates to soak for 10 minutes prior to blending the mix. I put my blender on “liquidify” for about 3 minutes to make sure all the almonds were completely ground down.

Place the milk bag into a large bowl and then pour the mixture into the bag.

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With your hands, if you want you can also wear food preparer gloves, squeeze out the liquid starting from the top and working your way down.

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Now you have your own Almond Milk 🙂

Almond milk pic

P.S. If the Almond Milk is not sweet enough add more dates.

I will be writing another post soon on what to do with the remainder “pulp” from the Almond Milk.

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Stay Tuned!

Flavored Waters

So while walking outside today, I got a craving for flavored water! Which got me thinking that it’s really easy to make:

I was also thinking that if you drink alcohol, this would be good:

  • Watermelon balls soaked in vodka
    • I’ve heard that you have to careful with soaking the watermelon or else it can explode/break down the watermelon skin and it becomes a mess……maybe I’ll try and report back
  • Cucumber vodka spritzer – met someone @ Wreck Beach (Vancouver, BC) who did this and it was very refreshing surprisingly
    • This was literally vodka, sparkling water, and cucumbers. The cucumbers gave the drink a nice refreshing flavor.

Here are some recipes from the Atlantis Spa (in Reno):

Flavored Water Recipes from Atlantis Spa