Thanksgiving In The Outdoors Inspiration

Thanksgiving in the outdoors is a huge fantasy for many: escape the crowds, family that drives you crazy, commercialism and everything else. Maybe you want to try backpacking over the long weekend (it’s usually really quiet out!) or you want to sneak away to a cabin, having easy recipes really helps. You can have the comforts of home, without slaving over a hot kitchen…or listening to your drunk Uncle rant for hours.


Sourdough Stuffing


  • 1 round loaf sourdough bread
  • ¼ cup diced dried onion
  • ¼ cup dried celery flakes (in spice aisle)
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 Tbsp lower sodium vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried rubbed sage
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Directions at home:

Heat the oven to 350°. Cut the bread into small crouton shapes and put on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 50 minutes, checking every 10 minutes, stirring, till crispy dry. Once cooled, use a rolling-pin to break them up even smaller. In a small bowl mix the seasoning blend together until well combined.

Split into 3 quart freezer bags (about 2 cups dry bread each) and 3 Tbsp dry seasoning mix. Note on each bag “Add ½ cup near boiling water and 2 Tbsp oil or melted butter”. In camp, after adding the oil and water seal the bag tightly and shake to distribute. Put in a cozy for 15 minutes.

Each bag serves 2 to 3 and the recipe makes 3 bags worth.

(Alternative) Trashy Stuffing

In a quart freezer bag:

1 package instant stuffing (usually between 6-8 ounce box, Stove Top or similar)

Mark: Add ¼ cup butter and 1½ cups water.

(Alternative) Homemade Stuffing

At home take approximately 6-7 slices of bread and flatten them with your palms on a cutting board.

Take a sharp chef knife and dice up the pieces of bread.

When done you will want about 4 cups of diced bread. The flattening creates a denser crumb.

Put on lined dehydrator trays. It will take about 2 hours at 135*. You want crispy dry.

When dry, split the bread crumbs into 2 quart freezer bags.

In a small chopper, blender or clean coffee grinder combine and whirl:

1 Tbsp low sodium chicken bouillon (or 3 Tbsp homemade)
1½ tsp dried parsley
1 tsp poultry seasoning
2 Tbsp dried onions
2 Tbsp dried celery
1/8 tsp sugar

Split the seasoning mix into two small bags. Each bag of bread gets a bag of seasoning mix.

Mark the bread bags with:

Add ¾ cup water + 1 Tbsp olive oil.

Mashed Potatoes

In a quart freezer bag:

  • ¾ cup instant mashed potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp dry milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter powder
  • Pinch of salt, if desired

FBC method:

In camp add 1¼ cups near boiling water to the bag. Stir well, getting into the corners. Seal tightly and put in a cozy with the stuffing for 15 minutes.

Serves 2 to 3.

Turkey (or Chicken) Gravy


  • 1 packet organic turkey or chicken gravy mix
  • 7 ounce pouch chicken or 5 to 7 ounce can of turkey

One pot method:

Add the gravy mix to 1 cup water in a small pot, stirring well. Add in the chicken (or drained turkey) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for a few seconds, until nicely thickened. Season to taste with black pepper if desired.

Serve over the mashed potatoes.

Serves 2 to 3.

(Alternative) Turkey Cranberry Gravy

In a pint freezer bag:

1 package Roasted Turkey Gravy mix
¼ cup dried sweetened cranberries


Add a 5 to 7 ounce can of chicken (with any broth) and ¾ cup water.


Green Bean Casserole

In a snack bag pack:

  • ¼ cup crumbled dried mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp dry milk
  • 2 Tbsp dry cream of mushroom soup mix
  • ¼ tsp soy sauce powder or 1 packet soy sauce tucked in
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

In a snack bag:

  • ½ cup french-fried onions

Also take:

  • 1 package freeze-dried green beans (0.42 ounce) (about ¾ cup)

FBC method:

Open the green bean package, and find the desiccant packet, toss. Add in the dry ingredients and 1¼ cups boiling water. Stir well, seal tightly and let sit for 15 minutes. Open up, stir well and add in ¼ cup of the fried onions, stirring in. Top with the remaining onions.

Serves 2 to 3.

The dry items packed:



Savory Broth Powder


  • 1½ cups dried shiitake mushrooms (about 1 ounce)
  • ¼ cup diced air-dried sun-dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup dried celery
  • ¼ cup dried celery leaves
  • 2 2/3 cups Large Flake Nutritional Yeast
  • ¼ cup onion powder (not onion salt!)
  • 2 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried rubbed sage
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt


Add the mushrooms through celery leaves into a dry mixing container for a Vitamix 5200 Blender or a similar high-speed blender, process on medium (about 5 on a Vitamix) until powdered. Add in remaining ingredients, process on medium until just mixed, stirring as needed.

Store in an airtight container.

Use 1 Tablespoon broth mix for every cup water.

Makes about 2½ cups.


You can find the mushrooms in big containers for cheap at Costco (in the produce department). With the tomatoes, pick up really dry ones. I use these ones from Frontier.

Cranberry Sauce


  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

At home:

Grind the cranberries with the sugar in a food chopper, or small food processor. Pack in a pint freezer bag.

In camp add ½ cup near boiling water. Seal the bag and put in a cozy for at least 15 minutes. Letting it cool down after rehydrating will help it thicken up.

Serves 2 to 3.

DIY Instant Cranberry Sauce

¼ cup dried sweetened cranberries
¼ tsp dried orange peel (in spice aisle)

At home pulverize the cranberries and orange peel in a mini food chopper or blender till a small chunky paste (it will be sticky). Pack in a pint freezer bag.

On trail add ¼ cup near boiling water. Seal the bag tightly and let sit in a cozy for 15 minutes.
Serves 1.



Cranberry Pear Compote


  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup dried pears, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp dried orange zest (or a True Orange packet)
  • Pinch fine sea salt

At home:

Pack the ingredients in a snack bag or pint freezer bag, depending on cooking method.

 Insulated Mug/Bowl Method:

Add the ingredients to an insulated mug or small bowl, cover with ¼ cup of water. Cover and let hydrate for 20 to 30 minutes. If a bit dry, add in a little more water as needed.

Freezer Bag Method (FBC):

Bring ¼ cup water to a boil, set aside. Place the freezer bag in a cozy, add the water and seal bag. Let hydrate for 20 to 30 minutes. If a bit dry, add in a little more water as needed.

Serves 2.


Pumpkin and Gingersnap Pudding


  • 2/3 cup dry milk
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch or favorite thickener, arrowroot works as well
  • 2 Tbsp dried and powdered pumpkin purée (see below)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Big pinch ground nutmeg
  • Big pinch ground ginger
  • Big pinch salt

 Also take:

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 bag crisp gingersnap cookies (any size, more is better..say 7-9 ounces)

At home:

Pack the pudding ingredients in a sandwich bag. Tuck the butter in a small bag.

One Pot Method:

Add the mix and 2 cups cold water to a cooking pot. Using a small whisk, stir while bringing to boil, over a lower flame. When the pudding comes to a boil and is thick, take off the stove and whisk in the butter. Serve warm or let cool, a cold stream or snow bank works well for chilling.

Divide between mugs or bowls – or in a pinch served in pint freezer bags.

Crumble up some of the gingersnaps, dust on top, serve with the rest to dip in the pudding.

Serves 2 to 4, depending on appetite.


Dried pumpkin? Very easy! Spread a can of organic pumpkin purée on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, dehydrate in your oven at lowest temp till bone dry, then powder. Store tightly sealed. Or see here on how to do it in a dehydrator.

Want it even better? Add in some rum at the end, after it comes off the stove.

Book Review: Lost and Stranded

A recent read was Lost and Stranded: Expert Advice on How to Survive Being Alone in the Wilderness. Not tent reading material I suppose, but an excellent book to help one make wise(r) choices in the wilds.

Author Timothy Sprinkle breaks down the dangers that can affect hikers, backpackers, hunters, kayakers and any one who is in the outdoors. From animal encounters, weather events (lightning strikes), parasites (giardia), biting insects (bees/wasps), winter hazards (avalanches), natural disasters (forest fires), hypothermia, dehydration, disorientation, and more.  Each topic starts with a case involving a human in the outdoors and a discussion on how it happened, the why (if there even was one) and how one can hope to avoid the same issue. In some it just comes down to the wrong place, at the wrong time, which is always unsettling. But in many you realize that your chances of it are very low.

It’s not light reading. It is however an informative read. Perfect for those long nights in winter, preferably by a fire.

FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy.

Thanksgiving On The Trail Made Easy

If you haven’t ever gotten the chance to hike over a Thanksgiving weekend, make it a goal. It’s still shoulder season in many areas, almost no one is out, and being on the trail is invigorating in the late Fall. And you get an excuse to climb into your sleeping bag early and read for a few hours. It’s a luxury you don’t get at home too often.

I decided a round-up of commercially prepared meals would be a fun option, so I hand-picked out some vittles from Alpine Aire: two meal choices & a dessert.

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy with Turkey.

This meal led me to a memory, from a very long time ago. Back in the day Alpine Aire had more rustic packaging. I had made an order from Campmor, one of my first online purchases, of various hiking gear, and I picked up a couple of “hiker meals” to take with me. One of which was this meal. It wasn’t my first freeze-dried meal, but it was pretty close to that. It was one of the better ones I had though, and it has held that title over these many years. It’s simple comfort food, satisfying to eat. The gravy/turkey is prepared separately from the potatoes. You could add in dried cranberries into the gravy as well. This meal is one I’d say serves 2 well, if you make dessert. Tip: Pack in some soft potato rolls for the extra gravy. You won’t regret that!

Pre-digital years. Lake Minatour, North Cascades, Washington State. Two tiny one man tents. Mine was the smaller orange one. It was the first time I backpacked to alpine and it totally changed my life. And yet, I remember the meals? 😉 Always!

For those who don’t care for potatoes:

Wild Thyme Turkey. This is a different kind of meal. It’s wild rice, cracked bulgur, rolled barley and a lot more. It’s halfway between soup and a casserole. High in protein from turkey, almonds and sunflower seeds. It’s a modern meal for changing tastes.


Cinnamon Apple Crisp. It’s a great dessert – or even breakfast. It’s simple, and warming. Apples and raisins, topped with crunchy granola. It’s a classic choice.

FTC Disclaimer: We received items for potential review. All thoughts are ours.