Category Archives: Let’s Eat: Provisioning, Food, and Cooking

Food and eating for active folks.

Hasty Homemade Vegetable Soup in Less Time Than It Takes to Shovel the Drive

“Soup’s on!” Do you long to hear those welcome words? Then here’s how to make your wish come true.

by Tamia Nelson | March 11, 2018
Originally published in different form on January 8, 2013

Whatever your complaint—a bad cold, the flu, or just one dark winter day too many—soup is good for what ails you. But soup-making has now become a black art practiced only by a coterie of cognoscenti, something far beyond the reach of ordinary mortals. That’s what the Mad Men in marketing would like you to think, anyway.

To which I reply: Piffle. Making soup from scratch is no harder than shoveling the drive, and it won’t take any longer. So before you grab a can off the shelf, give this recipe a try. It will put a steaming pot of vegetable soup on your table in less than 30 minutes.

  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 32-ounce container of broth (vegetable, chicken, or beef—cook’s choice)
  • Medium-sized potato (any variety), diced small
  • Small onion diced fine, or a few green onions, sliced
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It’s Alimentary: From Soup to Nuts to Soup Again —
A Cornucopia of Seasonal Treats by Tamia Nelson

Now that the shopping holiday season has begun in earnest, few of us are thinking about paddling — or cycling, come to that. (So many HyperMarts, so little time!) But we still have to eat, right?

No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds —
— Thomas Hood, “No!”

November is an indecisive month, teetering on the cusp between autumn and winter. At least that’s how it is in Canoe Country, and while the New Model Climate is now pushing the thermostat higher with every passing year, November is still full of surprises. On one day, we wake to summer‑like temperatures and balmy breezes. On the next, we look out on three inches of new snow.

And then there’s the sky. Gray is the dominant color note, a theme echoed by the gray hills and reflected in the ominously gray water. Only the stands of spruce and pine provide an occasional, and very welcome, visual respite. All in all, November doesn’t invite us to linger out of doors. Day trips are fun, but it’s … Continue reading »

Cold Day? Make a Pot of Soul-Warming Chili! by Tamia Nelson

Is it cold where you are? Maybe raining or snowing, too? Then cook up a pot of chili! You could make it with canned beans, but if you’re nesting for the day, give dried beans a go. It’s not as hard as you think. Much of the work is done without your needing to keep watch, and the results are well worth the effort. Dried beans simmer up into tender, toothsome morsels packed with their own subtle sweetness. And you get to control the salt content — something to keep in mind if you’re on a low-sodium diet.

Until necessity required it, I’d never cooked dried kidney beans, and perhaps never would have if I hadn’t excavated a large bag of them from a forgotten corner of the cabinet. What I didn’t have was ground beef. No matter. Meatless chili is every bit as satisfying, and it’s lower in fat, too. But don’t be turned off by the lack of meat. This chili is robust in texture and flavor, and will appeal to carnivores and herbivores, … Continue reading »

Cyclists Rejoice! It’s Shaping Up to be a Great Spaghetti Harvest by Tamia Nelson

Is there any better reward after a spin on your bike than a plate of steaming spaghetti topped with your favorite sauce? If you love spaghetti, then you’ll be happy to learn that the spaghetti harvest looks like a good one this year.

Where would we be without spaghetti and other pastas? We’d be hungry, of course! Farwell and I each consume several pounds of spaghetti every week, so we were heartened to hear that the harvest this year is in full swing. The venerable BBC has produced a short documentary to explain the spaghetti harvest. It’s worth watching:



Now that’s good news! And if you’d like to know the story behind the report, watch this:



I’m off to the kitchen. The pot’s boiling over!


Questions? Comments? Just click here!Continue reading »

Keeping Your Food to Yourself Where the Wild Things Are
by Tamia Nelson

Picnic time for ...

Ah, wilderness! The annual flight from the cities and suburbs is about to get under way in earnest. Soon many popular waterways will boast their own traffic jams, as canoes and kayaks jostle tentatively with darting jet‑skis and lumbering party barges. Lighting out for the territory just ain’t what it was in Huck Finn’s day. But some things don’t change. Beyond the boundaries of the tent‑cities now springing up in established campsites — the line of demarcation is easily identified by the sudden and unexpected appearance of lower limbs on trees — the natives go about their business as best they can. That’s natives with a small “N,” of course. I’m referring to the furred and feathered creatures who make their homes in the world’s remaining enclaves of wilderness.

Wilderness, you may remember, has been sanctified in law in the States. It is the place “where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” A noble sentiment, indeed, if woefully wide of the mark. … Continue reading »

Cyclotouring Menus: Extra Weight or Empty Belly? It’s Your Call by Tamia Nelson

In planning a cyclotouring menu, I’m often guided by my experience on mountaineering and paddling trips. But there are certain obvious differences.

In planning a cyclotouring menu, I’m often guided by my experience on mountaineering and paddling trips. But there are certain obvious differences. Did you forget to bring any coffee? That’s bad news in the mountains. You can’t pop into a convenience store when you’re halfway across a snow field, after all. But it’s no problem if you’re on the road.

Of course, the gulf separating the two realms is really much wider than that. On most backcountry trips, you can’t eat what you didn’t put in your pack. On most bike tours, your menu is limited only by the contents of your wallet, not by what you can cram into your panniers. Which is a very good thing. The food packs—yes, I said packs—for two paddlers on a typical three- to four-week-long paddling trip can easily top 100 pounds. Even 150 pounds isn’t impossible. Unless you’re a much stronger rider than I … Continue reading »

A DIY Recovery Drink: Can You Say Naturally Refreshing? by Tamia Nelson

I’m not a bike racer, and I don’t train to race, but hauling a load of groceries the 12 hilly miles back from town can still be a workout. So can long amphibious jaunts in the mountains, especially when the humidity keeps pace with the temperature. I snack and drink regularly while I’m on the road, but it’s not unusual for me to lose a few pounds in the course of a long day, a pretty sure indication that I’m a bit dehydrated. And when my sweat doesn’t taste salty, I know my intake of electrolytes (salts) has also been sub-par. I try to put this right ASAP. Most of the time this means drinking more water and eating some fresh fruit, or even having a light meal. But when time presses, I have another solution: I make a recovery drink.

That’s “make” and not “buy.” Yes, the local HyperMart has plenty of candidates on its shelves. But I’m a DIY type. And just as I prefer my homebrew Newt Nectar to commercial energy ‘ades, I … Continue reading »