This is a Test and Only a Test……….

Whenever I’ve gone backpacking or canoe camping I’ve always used the already dehydrated meals. These are expensive and not always on the healthy side either. So back in January I purchased a small dehydrator for this sole purpose. Today I’m making my first attempt at dehydrating my own.

Today’s test meal is something I call “Sausage vegetable stew”. I put this concoction together yesterday in my crockpot and let it cook all day. Once cooled I put it into the refrigerator over night so all the flavors had a chance to meld. This morning removing the stew from the fridge I scooped it into a colander in the sink. I did this so any excess water can drain off. I then spread the stew onto my dehydration trays and now I sit and wait.

0715: The dehydration begins

1505: The Dehydration stops

I made three 6 ounce servings from this batch. Looking at one of my similar single serve pre-made meals they are 3.5 ounces. After a long day on the trail or canoeing I find that the 3.5 ounce serving doesn’t satisfy.

Stew:

1- pkg Gianelli Italian turkey sausage (6 links)

2- 28oz cans crushed tomatoes

1- 10oz can petite diced tomatoes with green chiles (Mild)

1- 15.5 can Goya black eyed peas

1- 15.5oz Goya small red beans (I rinsed and drained  both cans of beans)

1- 15oz can mixed vegetables

1- 15oz can cut green beans

1- pepper chopped

Half of an onion chopped

2- tbsp minced garlic

Salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to taste….

Combine all ingredients into crockpot except the sausage. Next fill a pot with water and bring to a boil, removing the sausage from the casings while you wait. Once the water is at a boil breakup the sausage as you put it into the water and cook for a few minutes. After sausage is cooked drain it in a colander. Next boil another pot or kettle of water and pour it over the sausage to rinse any residual fat (This is important). Once rinsed you can combine the meat into your crockpot.

I love the Gianelli sausage as it has half the fat and calories (90 calories per link) as pork sausage and it tastes amazing. This meal has a total of 1,875 calories according to all packaging. However caloric value does change during the dehydration process according to what I’ve read.

This recipe is endless with what you can do for your own personal taste. And a special thank you to my buddy Gary who claims he will be the guinea pig.

Cheers!

Putting the stew onto the dehydration trays.
The dehydration begins
The dehydration has ended and the weighing process starts.
Three 6 ounces meals bagged

 

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Gear Review: LL Bean “Ascent” Packaway Jacket

I’ve been an LL Bean fan and customer for years. As a matter of fact my life contains a vast majority of their clothing and gear. In my opinion LL Bean’s customer service is legendary, so when I needed a jacket for layering I turned to Bean. February here in New York has been extremely cold, with Jack Frost nipping at the noses of most in the Northeast. In retrospect a perfect environment to put my new remarkably light LL Bean “Ascent” Packaway jacket to the test.

The Jacket: 

This jacket boasts 60-gram remarkably light PrimaLoft One insulation. Ultralight ripstop nylon shell is treated to shed water and block wind. A highly compact alternative to fleece, packing into its own hand pocket.

Improved fit is trimmer through the body and upper arms with the ultralight ripstop nylon gliding easily under layers for a smooth fit that won’t restrict your motion. Shell resists wind and weather, has a drawcord hem and elasticized cuffs to seal in body heat, rated at -15 degrees.

Center back length, size L: 27″. Imported. Machine wash and dry.

Fit

Slightly fitted, best with lightweight layer, falling at hip. I wear a size large but decided to order an extra large for additional layering as I plan on using the jacket snowshoeing in the High Peak’s of New York’s Adirondack Park. Here weather conditions could change within minutes.

Test Dates:

Friday February 13th 2015 was sunny and cold with the temperature at 3 degrees and a wind chill of -13 degrees. With the wind at a moderate 11 mph I snowshoed around the local park for 3 miles averaging 2.9 mph. This particular park is open with no shelter what so ever. The jacket performed flawlessly. It did what it said, blocked the wind and kept me extremely warm, I was very impressed and extremely excited. I thought the jacket fit just right, I was unrestricted in my movements and after the first mile or so I had to slightly unzip it as I began to sweat a little.

Sunday February 15th 2015 was sunny and cold with the temperature at 0 degrees and a wind chill of -22 degrees. The wind was howling at 22 mph today and I went for a 5 mile snowshoe hike at a place called the “IBM Glen” where I averaged 3 mph. The first and last parts of my hike were .35 miles each across an open wind swept and snow drifting golf course. The wind was pushing at me so hard I had to use my poles to keep me upright. Again this jacket performed flawlessly! In truth I was utterly impressed because it was brutally cold out. Once in the woods I did receive some shelter from the wind. Like I said the jacket fit just right and I was unrestricted in my movements.

On both days I wore the exact same clothing to make sure this test was as accurate as possible. The layer closest to my body consisted of an Under Armour Cold Gear compression long sleeve shirt, followed by an LL Bean “Expedition Weight” base layer, topped with LL Bean’s linden green Ascent Packaway jacket.

Conclusion:

I truly love this jacket and its versatility. I felt very warm during the weather conditions on both days. I like the fitted style and feel of this jacket and I strongly believe it does what it says it does, blocks the wind and sheds water. This jacket is perfect for layering during the winter and can stand alone during the Spring and Fall months.

I have no affiliation with LL Bean or was I given this jacket. Just like you I am a consumer and I think I should get what I pay for. With that said I highly recommend this product.

If you are looking for a light weight versitile jacket look no further than LL Bean’s “Ascent” Packaway Jacket. http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/86465?feat=ascent-SR0&page=ascent-packaway-jacket

Sunday February 15th 2015.
Sunday February 15th 2015.