Vegan Coconut Hot Cocoa Mix

Vegan hot cocoa need not be a commercial mix of scary ingredients. You can make up a batch with 3 simple ingredients, and have plenty to have on hand, stashed in a mason jar. Even though we don’t follow a vegan diet in our home, I prefer plant-based options whenever I can. I love the richness that coconut milk powder gives to a warm mug.

Vegan Coconut Hot Cocoa Mix



Mix ingredients together. If the coconut milk powder is clumping, pulsing it in a mini food chopper will blend it.

Store tightly sealed, preferably in a glass mason jar, for long-term storage.

Add 2 heaping Tablespoons mix into a mug, stir in 1 cup boiling water, stirring well.

For taking camping or backpacking:

Bag 2 heaping Tablespoons in a snack bag, mark “Add 1 cup water”.

Makes about 5 servings.


If you like a thicker cocoa, add a Tablespoon of corn starch to the mix, and blend in well before storing.


Two Backpacking and Prepping Pasta Recipes

A few years back I developed some recipes for a friend who did intensive backpacking trips yearly. He’s now a climate scientist with a PhD who specializes in NASA research in Greenland. But then….he was spending his summers exploring Alaska, chasing a never before seen waterfall in the Olympic Mountains (he did find it, plot spoiler) and remote islands in B.C., Canada. He was fun to write for, creating recipes that he could make easily on cold nights. He rewarded me with some photos, so there was that.

These two recipes are great for both backpacking, camping, prepping and long-term food storage meals to have on hand. I have included the three cooking methods. If you want to do long-term storage, pack into mason jars, and store in a cool/dry area.

Chili Mac

In a quart freezer bag or sandwich bag:

4 ounces cooked and dehydrated pasta (small shapes)
2 Tbsp cooked and dehydrated hamburger or freeze-dried hamburger
2 Tbsp diced dried bell peppers
1 Tbsp cooked and dehydrated pinto beans
1 Tbsp freeze-dried corn

In a small bag:

1/4 – 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried diced garlic

Also take:

1 Tbsp or 1 packet olive oil
1-ounce cheddar cheese or shelf-stable (such as Laughing Cow wedges)
Salt to taste

FBC method:
Add 2 cups of near boiling water to the bag. Make sure all pasta is covered. Seal tightly and put in a cozy for 15 minutes. Drain off any remaining water carefully. Shake in spice packet and add oil. Mix well and top with diced cheddar. Let melt a bit and stir in.

One pot method (w/dehydrated pasta):

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in your pot. Add in the pasta bag ingredients and stir well. Mix in the oil and seasoning bag. Turn off the stove, cover tightly and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. In cooler temperatures use a pot cozy. Stir well and add in the cheese.

One pot method (with uncooked pasta):

Bring 2 cups water and the oil to a boil in your pot. Add in the pasta and cook for time on pasta package, at a gentle boil. Turn off the heat, add in the seasoning blend and cheese, stirring well.

Serves 1.

The amount of chili powder is up to you; I like it spicy, others don’t. Add in a couple of salsa packets for an extra kick. Cheddar cheese carries for a few days in a backpack, look for single serving sticks by the string cheese in stores.

Bruschetta Pasta

At home:
Cook 8 ounces small pasta of choice, cutting the cooking time short by a minute and drain.

Meanwhile, mix up in a bowl:

1 15-ounce can diced Italian seasoned tomatoes
4 green onions, thinly sliced (or 2 Tbsp diced onions)
2 minced garlic cloves
12 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste, if desired

Toss together. Spread on parchment paper lined trays and dehydrate at 135*. Stir every hour to break up clumps. When dry, split in half and measure each portion in a dry measuring cup. Note on the two quart freezer bags how much each one is.

Also take for each bag:
1 Tbsp or 1 packet olive oil
2 Tbsp shelf stable Parmesan cheese (green can or packets)

FBC method:

Add a 1:1 ratio of near boiling water to pasta mix. Add oil; stir well, seal tightly and put in a cozy for 15 minutes. Toss with Parmesan cheese.

Insulated mug method:

Add a 1:1 ratio of boiling water to pasta mix in your mug along with the oil. Stir well, cover tightly and let sit for 15 minutes. Toss with Parmesan cheese.

One pot method:

Cover the dry ingredients with a 1:1 ratio of water. Bring to a boil, turn off your stove, cover tightly and let sit for 15 minutes. Toss with Parmesan cheese. In cold temperatures place in a pot cozy.

Serves 1 per bag, makes 2 bags.
A 1:1 ratio works well for many dried foods, you may need to add a bit more water, depending on your personal taste.
Adding in crumbled dried mushrooms, diced toasted walnuts, dried beef, “beef” TVP, or shredded beef jerky is a nice addition as well.

Maple Lemonade

Lemonade made with pure maple syrup is a treat to enjoy. Each of the recipes below makes a quart of lemonade, best enjoyed over large glass of ice, sipped slowly.

Of course, if you have a sweet tooth you may want the lemonade sweeter. It is not as sweet as commercially made lemonade, and you do have to love the heady taste of pure maple syrup. But I have to think if you are here reading, you are passionate about your use of sweeteners.

Maple Sugar Lemonade


  • 1 large lemon (about ¼ cup juice)
  • 3 Tbsp Maple Sugar

Add to a 1 quart container and shake gently to combine. Add 1 quart cold water. Put on cap tightly and shake till sugar dissolves.


Maple sugar is sold in some bulk bins at natural grocery stores, and at times shows up at Trader Joe’s.

Makes 1 quart.

Maple Lemonade


  • 1 large lemon (about ¼ cup juice)
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Add to a 1 quart container and shake gently to combine. Add 1 quart cold water. Put on cap tightly and shake for a minute.

Makes 1 quart.

Both recipes can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, but best enjoyed within a day.

In Your Face Morning Mocha

You can have a long-term pantry full of dry products, but you also need to go through them on a steady rate, so you don’t waste them. This is a key rule of prepping! But while it can be easy to buy vast quantities, knowing how to use them isn’t so easy.

This easy to whip up dry mix comes from our book Trail Cooking: Trail Food Made Gourmet, on page 24. It’s a tasty way to wake up in the morning, wether or not you actually need to use your emergency supplies.

In Your Face Morning Mochas



Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Bag the powder into ½ cup portions, either in snack size zip top bags or in small mason jars.

2 Tbsp of espresso powder will provide a sweet mocha flavor. 4 Tbsp will give you the “bite” of a double shot.

To prepare:

Add 1 cup boiling water slowly to the mix, stirring well. Sip away and wake up!

Makes 5 to 6 servings.

Three Trail Ready Recipes

As I walked our property this morning, I listened to birds in the trees, and realized the birds are early this year. Not only has it been un-wintery, it has been warm. I keep watching the trees and bushes pushing on buds. If it continues this path, spring will be early.

Evergreen Huckleberry buds showing.

Which leads me to dreams of hiking and backpacking coming soon. Maybe sooner than later. In the years before we had more boys, I often backpacked in winter. But I won’t lie….hiking in Spring is a lot nicer – and warmer.

These three recipes are favorites of ours, and are in Freezer Bag Cooking: Adventure Ready Recipes. All about the comfort food, these are all carb-fests: potatoes, pasta, and rice…and they also work well for emergency food prepping – and can be stored in mason jars for long-term food storage.

Alfredo Mashers

In a quart freezer bag:

  • ¾ cup instant mashed potatoes (plain)
  • 2 Tbsp dry milk
  • 2 Tbsp shelf stable Parmesan cheese (green can)
  • 1 Tbsp dry Alfredo sauce mix
  • ¼ tsp granulated garlic
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Also take:
  • 1 Tbsp or 1 packet olive oil

FBC Method:

Add 1 cup near boiling water and the oil, and stir well. Seal and let sit until cool enough to eat. Stir before eating.

One Pot Method:

Bring 1 cup water and oil to a boil in a small pot. Take off heat. Add in dry mashed potatoes, stir well. Let cool a bit before eating.

To make heartier meal, with a dose of protein, add a 3 to 5 ounce can (make sure it has a pop top), or 7 ounce pouch, of chicken breast (include any broth) with the water.

Serves 1.

Dry weight is 4 3/8 ounces. If adding in a 7 ounce pouch chicken, 11 3/8 ounces.

Beef Stroganoff

In a quart freezer bag:

In a leak-proof bottle take:

  • 2 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp low sodium beef bouillon powder
  • Couple grinds black pepper

Also pack:

  • 1-ounce tub or foil packet cream cheese

FBC Method:

Add 1½ cups nearly boiling water to the past bag, seal tightly and put in a cozy for 15 minutes. Drain off most of the remaining water carefully, leaving about a Tablespoon behind (this actually is pretty good tasting broth). Add in the cream cheese and sauce blend. Stir till blended.

One Pot Method:

Bring 1½ cups water to a boil, add in pasta bag contents. Cover tightly, take off stove, and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain and proceed as above.

Serves 1.


A 3-ounce package of ramen noodles can be substituted, or chuka soba noodles. Gluten-free ramen noodles can also be used. Discard flavor packet and break up the noodles a bit.

Hungry teens/men may want to use as much as 1/4 cup hamburger.

You can take ketchup packets instead, and dry Worcestershire sauce powder can be found online. Shelf stable cream cheese is also sourced online. If you carry regular cream cheese, you can find small tubs or packets by the bagels in grocery store bakeries. It is good for 2 or so days carrying in a pack, unless it is super hot out. Otherwise, you can also use Laughing Cow cheese wedges, which are shelf stable (even though they are sold chilled often).

Meaty Marinara Pilaf

In a quart freezer bag:

FBC Method:

Add 1¼ cups near boiling water and stir well. Sal tightly and put in a cozy for 15 minutes. Fluff up.

One Pot Method:

Bring 1¼ cups water to a boil in a small pot. Add in ingredients, stir well and cover tightly. Take off stove and let rest for 10 minutes. In cooler weather, or at altitude, stash pot in a pot cozy.

Serves 1.


To boost calorie count, add in 1 Tablespoon or 1 packet olive oil. Add more cheese on top if desired. For larger appetites, use up to ¼ cup dried meat (Add in a Tablespoon more water for each Tablespoon dried meat).