Eat to ride, ride to eat

While riding 50 miles a day and generally being pretty active when we don’t ride, food becomes a [the] main event of each day.

For breakfast we don’t cook much. At the beginning of the trip we had oatmeal fortified with trailmix, honey, coconut, and whatever else came to mind, but we haven’t done that since the third month.  Now we either eat a bag of dry cereal or a ProBar. We are lucky enough to have the support of ProBar, an energy bar that is packed with all sorts of good ingredients like chunks of dried fruit, chocolate chips, and nuts. We can eat one bar and be set for much of the morning.   By 10:30 we ought to have a snack in order to make it to lunch and not be too ravenous. This is usually anything that’s quick.

For lunch we don’t cook except when we had real cold weather and sometimes fixed some easy soup like Ramen, onions, cabbage, and eggs. We generally eat PB&J or more often, veggie sandwiches consisting of some or all of the following: bread, cabbage, green peppers, cucumber, red onion, pickles, cheese, humus, bean dip, sprouts, mayonnaise and mustard. Made right it tastes great.  Depending on the grocery store, sometimes we are able to find Newman’s Own snacks or Field Roast grain meats to supplement our lunch.  Both companies have supplied us with coupons to pick up their product when we find it.  This helps cut costs and tastes oh so good.

Dinner is where we almost always cook. We break out our two Primus stoves and two pots, one 2.1 liter and one 3 liter. When we got those pots I thought I’d made a mistake and they were too big, but filling those two up is usually what the four of us need for calorie intake. What we cook for dinner is really the purpose of this blog post and an area where we can use some suggestions. Typically we fix meals that have rice and beans in them or pasta and sauces. There are many meals we’ve had over the course of 250 days on the road that didn’t have those ingredients, but let’s just stick with those two categories. They sound pretty boring and sound like something you’d get sick of, and we do, but the meals are much more involved than a few ingredients. Here are the recipes.

Rice and beans meal

Ingredients

1 pound of white rice (quicker to cook)

1 can of enchilada sauce or stewed and seasoned tomatoes

1 can of whole beans

1 can refried beans

Chips or tortillas

Vegetable possibilities: cabbage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, yams, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, maybe some others, every once in a while some weird stuff.

Toppings: salsa, avocado, sour crème, 8 oz. cheese

Preparation

Cook the rice and enchilada sauce or tomatoes on one stove. Maybe even add a bouillon to the mix. Cook vegetables first and add whatever seasonings we are carrying at the time – chili pepper, garlic powder, soul-food seasoning. Add the beans and don’t burn it as the pot fills and the gruel thickens. Add whatever toppings and make a burrito or dip some chips in the mash.

Feeds 4, can make one gaseous

Pasta and beans meal

Ingredients

16-32 oz of pasta (elbows work better than spaghetti for small pots)

1 jar of pasta sauce

1-2 large cans of baked beans

Vegetables: cabbage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, yams, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant.

Toppings: Parmesan cheese

Filler: couscous

Preparation

Use the 3L pot for the pasta and depending on our appetite it will fit up to 32 oz. Boil it and make it al dente. This is easy. For even more calories or to soak up some water, add some couscous to the pot and let sit. The veggies get sautéed up and add the jar of pasta sauce. Now – get this – add a jar of baked beans to the sauce. Occasionally we have them on the side, but usually it all goes together in the sauce. Pile parmesan cheese on top, there’s no point to just a sprinkle.

Feeds 4, can leave one unsatiated, full but empty

There are nachos buried beneath the cheese and veggies. On top are beets and kale.

There are nachos buried beneath the cheese and veggies. On top are beets and kale.

Not green eggs and ham but cheesy veggie eggs and breakfast potatoes.

Not green eggs and ham but cheesy veggie eggs and breakfast potatoes.

You didn't think we cooked all the time? This is our largest pizza of the trip, 24 inches.

You didn't think we cooked all the time? This is our largest pizza of the trip, 24 inches.

Now these meals seem pretty good to me and it’s probably because we’ve added a lot of vegetables to something that otherwise could taste pretty generic. The problem is, when we say beans and rice or pasta, I think people generally think of a much more boring meal and assume we suffer. We do sometimes suffer, but not usually from the food. That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a good home-cooked meal but cooking outdoors we’re doing alright.

In our school presentations we mention our food choices as well, but saying beans and rice, brings no glamour to bike touring. What we’d like to come up with are better names for these meals. Names that are simple, yet descriptive enough, and create an image of what we’re eating. We’ve thought of a few names, but they’re obscure and seem more like inside jokes. Here’s where we could use your suggestions. While you can’t leave comments here due to spam, go on facebook and drop us a message on the link to this blog. AND… share with us some of your favorite camping recipes (yes, we’re vegetarians) or suggestions for meals.

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