Kimpossible: Off-Roading and Roughing It in So Cal.

Meet Kimpossible!  Kim has been one of my favorite people and closest friend for several years now. We’ve spent years experimenting with new recipes, working out, and ushering each other through major life changes.  Kim is an “outdoor girl”, and since I’m going camping this summer, I’ve asked her to share a few ideas for camping foods.You’ll see more of her in my book, but for now, she’s gonna tell us about eating healthy, driving jeeps over huge boulders, and gettin’ stuff done.

Tell us about yourself!

I have been working for an environmental engineer for the past 10 years. I have an amazing boyfriend named Randall, and we live together with his 2 kids, ages 12 & 15. We spend all of our free time camping, hiking, and off-roading (“Jeeping”) in the mountains and deserts of Southern California. When we’re not actually gone, we’re planning the next trip.

I have a  love for cooking and baking, when I have “extra” free time (whatever that is!). I love finding new recipes or challenging dessert projects to tackle, as long as there’s an audience who will eat it up.

Tell us more about off-roading and how you got into it.

I was an outdoor girl from a young age. As a kid, my dad took me camping and fishing in Mammoth, or hiking and quad riding in Big Bear. I was never told I was too young to do anything challenging. I learned everything he showed me about balancing on a tree to cross a creek, hooking my own worm, cleaning fish, etc.

Jeepin’ it in the desert, near sunset.

Randall introduced me to the world of Jeeping almost 2 years ago.  We would go out to the desert and camp, where groups of people with Jeeps would drive through huge canyons or over great  big rocks. In the beginning, I screamed like a girl, worried about broken U- joints, got out and walked, and had countless  heart – stopping moments.  After breaking in a bit, I was offered the keys to try taking on my first trail, Chocolate Thunder.

Kimmie and the Rigs

Getting behind the wheel changes things entirely.  Since then, I’ve learned how to FIX a broken U joint, I only insist on jumping out if there’s a great photo opp. Add to that the fun of making 100 sandwiches on trail, or climbing 1000 hill sides, and you have the ideal way to spend a vacation for me.

Snowy Jeep Trail, The Sierras

Do you often combine your love for cooking and the great outdoors?

At any given time of year, we are looking forward to 3 upcoming Jeeping trips. My job is usually to plan the weekend menu for the trip, taking into account whether we’ll have an RV, camper, condo, or just a tent and fire pit.

Lunch time in the Sierras

Depending on which version of “roughing it” we’re gearing up for, I have all the camp tools I could possibly need. Group dinners and on-trail lunches are always a fun challenge. When we’re out camping with just a propane stove, we tend to do soup or chili and salads, since they clean up easy (one pan). Another versatile option is, skip the stove and use the fire pit. I’ve included a recipe for “foil packs” at the end of the interview, which are perfect for fire pit cooking.

JEEP CAKE!

What would you say defines your cooking “style”?

Keeping fit and being accountable for what I feed my family has been the biggest motivator to my developing style of cooking. I have been cooking and baking as far back as I can remember. My favorite dishes were extraordinarily unhealthy, and I ended up overweight and didn’t know why by the age of 24.

At age 30, I dusted off the treadmill, swapped cheese, butter and meat for salads and tofu, and proceeded to drop 20 pounds. Since then I have learned how to convert my once over-indulgent comfort food recipes into lower- calorie, vegan (if you really want to, it can be done), or healthier versions. I am no longer vegan, nor vegetarian, but I do still appreciate that there are “better” ways of eating and preparing food.

I run 5k and 10k fund-raisers several times a year, which are fun to do with friends, dogs, kids, etc… so when I’m training, I tend to eat more strictly. All in all, I have a good sense of compromise in my diet, and my cooking reflects that.

Kimpossible! About to run the Laguna Hills 10K May 2012

Do you have any favorite  Domestic Artists?

Honestly, I hold Miss Beretta Fleur in the highest regard … For years now, she has been my best friend, as well as the first person I run my koo-koo ideas past. When I sleep over, I was served lattes and toasted bagels in bed. She is the definition of HOST. Last year, she showed up to my pool-side housewarming BBQ, husband in tow, knowing no other guests, and created this great atmosphere with no notice whatsoever, out of a few random tablecloths, some paper streamers, a wicker basket of plastic ware, and themed napkins.

Kim and Beretta

AAAW I love ya! What are you most proud of about your own Domestic Accomplishments?

I feel  accomplished in my ability to do the basic things… You know, the stuff that women used to do as a full-time job, we now have to find time to do after working a 12 hour day.  I cook nearly every night for Randall and the kids. We eat every meal at the dining room table, with actual plates. We all share in the clean-up. I make our bed every morning. I do not worry about walking barefoot through the kitchen because I know the floor is clean.  I am happy to know that I have a house that my boyfriend is happy to invite our friends and family to.

Kim and Randall, Jeeping

All these things sound mundane and routine, but not everyone can pull it off, and keeping house is not a “no-brainer” or an out-dated skill set. So I feel great about that!

Anything else to add?

Although I have not done much as of yet, I do aspire to write more. So far, I have one published blog on  Aliso Viejo Patch . You can also find me on Facebook.

Enough of the chit-chat, I’m packing for a camping trip and I need your recipes NOW!

You got it…

Kimpossible’s Camp-Fire Foil Packs

Clean-up is easy and everyone’s meal can be custom. Here are some of my stand-bys. I season the ingredients when they are piled on the foil. I make them ahead of time  at home and freeze them, and then they just go in the ice chest when  it’s time to camp.

Steak or Chicken: Cube steak and/or chicken and potatoes into 1″ pieces. Slice mushrooms, carrots, peppers, and onion.
To season: ½ teaspoon each salt , pepper, garlic powder, drizzle of olive oil.

Shrimp:  Combine peeled shrimp, chunks of red onion, and cherry tomatoes.
To Season: A drizzle of lime juice, season salt, and a dash of cayenne pepper.

Salmon: Place a small salmon filet on foil on top of  a bed of raw spinach.
To Season:  ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup agave nectar, chopped green onion.

Portobellos: Leave mushrooms whole, rinsed and stems removed.
To Season:  1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, fresh ground black pepper.

To make the foil packs:

  • Cut 18” pieces of heavy-duty foil, one for each serving.
  • Lay your foil flat, non-stick, shiny side up.
  • Pile your meal-sized portions of ingredients in the middle.
  • Season them.
  • Take the long ends up to the center and fold them down like you would a paper lunch sack.
  • Roll/fold the short ends in. Pinch all your “seams” tight, so seasonings and juices won’t leak.
  • Write on the foil with a sharpie what each contains if they’re not all the same.

To cook:

Toss foil packs directly into your camp fire when it’s good and hot, around the edges of the wood pile where the coals are bright, and leave them there for 45 minutes (time depends on the meat and how thick you cut it.) You can turn them if you want, but you don’t have to. Remove with tongs.

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