Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Backwoods Spaghetti

As we gear up for our summer trip, I've been practicing trail cooking at home. That way, we can try out the recipes before we're miles away from a kitchen. I try to do a full practice with the stove we have to make sure the recipe will work with our limited gear. Today I made spaghetti!

I LOVED this meal! It was easy and delicious! For the noodles, I broke them in half to fit in a snack ziplock. For the sauce, I went with a tomato paste base. 

Tomato Sauce:
- 2 tablespoon of tomato paste
Buy a can and divide the paste into an ice tray.  Freeze it and have paste for a long time. I would then use one cube for this recipe
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- pinch of red pepper flakes

As with any recipe, play with your seasoning and seasoning amounts to fit your taste. I wanted a simple recipe so I did all "1" measurements. 

Our cooking tools are really simple when we're on the trail. From left to right we have our stove with snowpeak pot, an xmug to eat it in, noodles in the ziploc bag, sauce in the tupperware, and the lid/sauce pan.  I grabbed all of the tools and ingredients and proceed to my front porch to cook. I like to worry the neighbors. 

Fill the pot with water and bring to a boil. Then drop in your noodles, lower your pot to a simmer (if you can, otherwise just take the pot off the flame for a bit), and throw a lid on it. Remember, noodles like a lot of water to move around in.

My cat was suspicious of the gas stove sounds...

Be sure to stir and check on your noodles on occasion. My lid kept coming off so I had to leave uncovered towards the end.

Drain what you can without losing the noodles and keep 1 cup of extra pasta water in the your mug. That way, you can add in water as you need to your sauce. Drop in the whole set of sauce seasonings and stir. Add water as needed to reach your desired consistency.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why every cosplay should have a professional photograph

You've labored and spent hours on creating your costume. It's like your own masterpiece when it's done! I recognize the amount of effort it takes to make those outfits, props and accessories that go into it so reward yourself with a professional photography session.

A professional photographer is going to be able to capture you in the moment of being your character, not you stressing to run back into the shot after hitting the timer. Not to mention, they're a professional! The skill these guys have with a camera is going to make you look even better.

Allow me to demonstrate my point. Here is a picture of me taken by my sister at Anime Weekend Atlanta in my first cosplay, Shura from Blue Exorcist with another cosplayer.

It's not perfect or the best Shura cosplay. Heck, I know I'm not built the same way as she is. The photo is good, but that's about it.

Now here's the same costume, same girl, but with a professional.

Quite a difference! If you're going to take the time to make a costume, spend the extra bucks to take photos to preserve your work. It's a great memento to look back on as you make your next costume!

* Professional photography taken by Pixlette Photography.

Monday, June 3, 2013

First Aid Kits: Day Hiking Version

You never think you need a first aid kit, until you REALLY need it. We leave it out because we think we can't get hurt or we don't have the room for it. I love a good kit list, but you've got to take the time to custom it to your situation. This week, I'll cover my day hiking version and I'll tackle my anime convention version next week.

Day Hiking First-Aid Custom Kit

When you shop first-aid at a gear/sports/outdoor store like REI, you'll find a lot of things you may not need. You do not need this kit for a 4 hour hike, but there is a lot of practicality in something smaller. We can all imagine a situation where you could use the gear, but you need to balance your likely hood of use with your space and weight limits.

That said, I do keep a full first-aid kit in my car with all of mediciations. We don't plan to be out for more than a half-day so having the gear in the car but not in my bag is nice compromise in case an emergency did occur.

So here are my important items that live with me on the trail, starting from the top left:
- Large bandaid
- Duct Tap
- Safety Pins
- Can and Bottle Opener, with spoon
- Moleskin
- Sterile Pad
- Bandaids
- Travel Scissors
- Fire starter
- Paracord bracelet
- First Aid Tape (not pictured)

On a dayhike, I'm probably not going to run into much more than blisters, busted gear, or a small cut. Shows like Survivorman remind us that simple trips can go wrong, so you should always be prepared. If I was venturing on a new trail or bushwhacking, I would take more. I insist you take more! But for the city hiker who probably will always been within eyesight or earshot of another person, there's no need to go overboard. Remember, I have a full first aid kit in my car to supplement the dayhiking version. 

Day Hiking - Full First Aid Kit

If I'm going out a bit further or trying out a new trail, I'll take my full kit. The big additions are some medications, extra bandaids and extra tools. 

Longer trails or new trails warrant extra supplies in case I can't get back to the car very fast. This all came from a small first aid kit I got on one of the discount gear sites, like backcountry.com, that I added some of my own items to (safety pins, fire starter, compass). I actually reduced the number of bandaids and medication packs to help fit everything in the bag and keep the extras on hand for restocking. 

What items would you add or subtract to my dayhiking first aid kit?