Thursday, March 29, 2012

Beef Stew

Thought I'd drop on a quick recipe while I'm at it. Nothing warms the belly on a cold night like beef stew. With Spring here, I wanted to make up a good stew one last time before Summer hits. The best part of stew is its adaptive nature. A stew is whatever you have on hand to throw in the pot that day. It can also be cooked just as easy in a campfire as it can be on the stove. A cast iron dutch oven can make the trip from one to the other easy. Throw in today's meat, veggies and greens and you're good to go. 

Here's this week's recipe for beef stew. 

1/2 to a whole onion chopped up
Baby carrots (what ever amount you want)
Green beans with ends removed (what ever amount you want)
Mushrooms (handful or whatever)

1 can tomato sauce
1-2 lbs. grass-fed beef (I like london broil for this)

  • Put all the veggies in the dutch oven
  • Season with basil, oregano, herbs de provence, salt and pepper. 
  • Add the tomato sauce
  • Cut meat into little cubes. 
  • Sear the meat in a cast iron with oil until browned. (Work in batches, don't crowd the skillet).
  • Add cooked meat to dutch oven.   
  • Add water (or wine) to the cast iron to get brown bits up and add to dutch oven. 

  • Cook at 325 for about an hour and a half
I always cook some sweet potatoes in the cast iron skillet while I'm waiting for the stew to finish. Then I throw them on as a last minute topper. You can add them in with the stew, but they tend to liquify in a stew, and i like the texture of the crunchy fried potato on top.


Finished Spoon

My spoon is finished. It turned out really nice for a first run.

Unfortunately, the bowl of the spoon chipped on me as I finished it. It had been cracked, but I'd hoped it would survive. 

I was able to gorilla glue the chip in, and it's been working so far. It probably won't stand up to high heat or submersion for extended periods, but I'm pretty happy with my first attempt. If nothing else, it will be a nice memento once I have a large collection of homemade spoons and utensils. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Morning hike

So I awoke yesterday morning to find Spring had arrived in my backyard. The trees and bushes had all budded out, and the wildlife was abundant. So the only thing I could do was go on a short hike to check out the scenery and watch life unfold.

Time for a game. Don't cheat and scroll down or zoom in. Try to find the critter below. 

There is is zoomed in. A chipmunk just as excited about Spring as I was. 


Sorry for the hiatus. Last week, I took a trip out to the Rocky Mountains for the week. It was a nice relaxing week with beautiful views. Seeing nature in its wildest form really refreshed my profound respect for her.

This is one of the many incredible views I was fortunate enough to have. I love the outdoors, and the Eastern woodlands are beautiful in their own right, but something about a mountain view just gets my heart racing. 

Pictures really don't do them justice. If you haven't been . . . go. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The 10 Piece Kit

Here is Dave Canterbury talking about his 10 Piece Kit. This kit covers his 10 C's of Survivability. For those new to wilderness self-reliance or experienced outdoorsmen, this list provides a very good baseline for the things you should always have on your person in the bush. Dave explains his reasoning behind his choices and the 10 C's themselves.

10 C's
1. Cutting tool - fixed blade knife
2. Combustion device
3. Covering 
4. Container (stainless steel and capable of boiling water)
5. Cordage
6. Cotton bandana
7. Compass
8. Candling device 
9. Cloth sail needle
10. Cargo tape 

Now here is my 10 Piece kit. 
1. Mora Clipper
2. Strikeforce
3. Wool blanket/tarp combo 
4. Guyot Designs 32 ounce Backpacker
5. 1 roll Bankline
6. Cotton bandana
7. Brunton classic
8. Petzl e-Lite 
9. Cloth sail needle
10. 1 roll 1 inch gorilla tape

Anything beyond these items is considered a "luxury." That being said there are a few things I add to improve my kit. When I add an item, it is generally going to be a tool, because tools are going to make my time in the woods much easier and can often recreate any other luxuries I might crave. First is some sort of combination tool. I have a Leatherman Surge that is always in my bag. It has all the tools I need for repairing my gear, etc. When I know I'll be out for an extended period of time I supplement my cutting tool with a Bahco Laplander folding saw and/or my Wetterling's Hunter's axe. The next "C" is cargo. That is something in which to carry all of the above. For a minimal kit Dave's Sealine drybag works great. Make yourself a paracord strap and sling it over your shoulder and your good to go. Otherwise a larger pack like the Snugpak Rocketpack can hold all of this plus an extra set of dry clothes inside a Sealine drybag to ensure they stay dry. Check out my Kit page for a complete list with pictures of what I carry with me into the woods. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day Off

Today I had the day off, so I was able to get around to some things I'd been putting off as well as do a little carving. The spoon is coming along nicely. I've nearly finished shaping it. Now I just need to trim it down some more to make it a manageable size.

While I carved, I ate some leftover chicken legs from the other nights dinner. Not too shabby a lunch if I do say so.

Then I did some gear repairs. Anyone who knows me knows that I almost exclusively wear wool socks during the colder months. So after almost a season of wear I had a cheap pair blow out on me. No worries. Just a chance to practice my sewing skills. So today I did some repair work on the socks as well as a wool sweater I had torn out at the arm pit. For sewing and other repairs, I use bankline. It's waterproof and will hold up to almost anything. I've had a bankline bracelet on for over a year, and it is showing no signs of wear. Any man worth his salt should be able to sew and do it well. I've got a sewing kit in my office and my kit stocked with bankline. If you don't have any, I recommend you pick some up today. It's as versatile as it is tough. 

What is Paleo?

The general idea of Paleo nutrition is that we remove all those foods which weren't eaten by our hunter/gatherer ancestors. This is done to achieve optimal health according to our evolutionary biology. This infographic should provide some specifics. The benefit is that eating this ways eliminates all processed and refined foods which have no place in our bodies. In essence, if you can't hunt it or gather it - don't eat it.