Pre-Planning and the Darn Budgeting (Originally posted on allwomenalltrails.com)

REI…

Anyone with even the slightest sense of adventure could easily spend thousands of dollars here. Plus they work as a Co-Op and advocate and work towards saving our precious environment. What’s not to like?!

Our family probably only visits two other stores more frequently- the grocery store and local running store (Runner’s Roost Lakewood).

They have just about everything adventures require.

The iconic flagship REI in Denver, CO

So to the point. Why was I looking at summer adventure gear when we were expecting a good 9-12” of snow the next day?

Simple- I have a super epic trip planned with my wee man! This summer is crazy, with ultra distance trail races, remodeling the kitchen, family time, and birthdays. But the big trip is just going to be me and my mini me (and probably the dog).

Kitchen remodels aren’t exactly a safe environment for a 23 month old who gets into everything. And construction and toddler sleep schedules don’t mesh. So I figured it would be better to go backpacking!!

We hiked all summer last year. This year he’s walking and running! It will be so much fun. But also requires quite some planning.

It’s not like a 23 month old can carry his own stuff….so I will carry it ALL…plus him a good majority of the time.

I’ll also need extra gear I wouldn’t typically carry by myself (I’m a minimalist when it comes to gear). So to REI we went to start figuring out what I need that I don’t have and planning a budget (eek money).

On our way up to Shelf Lake. Little man’s highest elevation hike so far at just over 12,000ft

Things I need:

A new pack. Mine isn’t big enough to carry everything and my larger one doesn’t fit right anyways. What am I thinking: Gregory Deva 80L (which is actually 76L)

A ‘kitchen sink’ aka a collapsible wash bucket. Why?! Diapers!! I decided it would be much simpler to use cloth instead of trying to pack ALL the disposables a trip would require. No one wants to pack those out anyways. With cloth we wash and sun dry (July = nice and toasty) and use again. This means less space taken up by diapers and no carrying a ton of dirty ones.

Pack towel!! There’s a ton of water where we’re going. I assume there will be water splashing times that leaves me a soaked child.

Left: Break time! Right: No one wants to carry dirty diapers. 

Maybe need:

Charging system for phone. Normally I don’t carry my phone but multi-day trip with the wee man means bring it just in case. Plus -WATERPROOF CAMERA!! (There is actually cell service on and off through the area we’re going)

Gear straps. Might need to strap things on to outside of pack. Definitely want some sort of ‘clothesline’ for diaper drying on the go.

Soft bottles. My dogs chewed up my favorite ones. I prefer these as the weigh almost nothing and can be stuffed anywhere in the pack.

A little pack for the little man. This will be decided last minute depending on how much he’s hiking on his own during day trips. This will be a 100% just for fun item because kids always love to do it themselves.

When you take into consideration the upcoming member sales and Memorial Day sales you can estimate this to cost around $300-$500. This doesn’t include any food costs.

So pre-planning is done!! Next up – logistics of the where.

This is why we pre-plan and plan. Sometimes it just sucks and you need to be ready.

Biryani aka Yummy Indian Goodness

Since y’all asked here’s my recipe real fancy style 😂

Recipe:

Sauté veggies (chopped small) of choice – I used zucchini, yellow squash, carrot, onion, and orange bell pepper this time – and nuts (cashews or peanuts 1/4 cup to every 2 cups veggies) and raisins (1/4 cup to every 2 cups veggies) in olive oil with curry (2 tbs oil and at least 2 tbs curry per every 2 cups veggies)

Separately cook white rice to sticky (basmati rice works great but any white will work) 2 cups per every 2 cups veggies

Separately cook meat of choice (optional) here I have 1.5 lbs chicken thighs to about 8 cups veggies

Mix all up and eat

Can drizzle plain yogurt on top if desired

Mac’n’Cheese

In honor of my website working again I decided to share about Mac’n’Cheese!!

Oh yea that’s right. Cheesy delicious goodness.

I haven’t been able to eat dairy for over a year. After having recently weaned (more to come on that later) I celebrated by making Mac’n’Cheese from scratch…

Bye bye boxed stuff – the pressure cooker wins again!

Ok seriously this is the best Mac’n’Cheese I’ve ever had

And super easy

Toss into pressure cooker:

1lb medium pasta shells or small elbow noodles

2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp ground mustard seed

8 oz chopped mushrooms (optional)

Just shy of 4 cups water

Cook on high pressure for 4 min

Let decompress on own

Then mix in:

1 cup milk

4 oz cream cheese until it’s melted

Then:

12-16 oz cheese blend (I chose a Mexican cheddar blend) by handfuls as it melts

Top with or mix in:

Green onion to taste

A cooked meat of choice (optional bacon or chicken are great choices)

Enjoy!!

And ditch the boxed stuff…