So, as you know, my husband is in the military. He has a job in which he has to carry all sorts of survival gear on his body just in case. *shudder*
And even if he doesn’t end up in the middle of nowhere surviving while waiting for someone to rescue him, he still has to have food on hand to eat on long (like 8 hour) missions while he’s strapped into the cockpit.
(this isn’t my picture, nor is it my husband. It’s from http://www.aircraft-wallpaper.com . But you get the idea. )
Even if he ate a good breakfast, he’s going to get hungry if he is in the plane for that long. And personally, the idea of him chowing down on CLIF bars just because they’re convenient makes me really want to gag. All they are is sugar and soy protein. Mmmm genetically modified phyto-estrogenic foods.
I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of foods for him to take with him for mid-mission snacks and also for longer-term survival. Larabars were one of the first things to come to mind. They’re awesome – real food in delicious combinations. But they have a lot of sugar (from dates). They’re great for a snack, but I don’t know if I’d want him eating 3 a day, 4 days a week.
The coconut cream ones are a bit higher in fat – which is good of course – than the others. If he were going to eat just one, that one would likely be best. It helps that they’re delicious too.
Then there’s Tanka snacks. They’re made of buffalo meat and dried cranberries, along with spices. Also awesome (though I haven’t tasted these yet – they have great reviews) but low carb AND low fat. As a result of this, each bar is only 70 calories. Good calories, but that’s not something you can survive on, especially at $2.80 a bar.
So for longer-term survival (the dreaded “in case”), rather than just snacks while mid-mission, I found these pouches of salmon. They don’t require refrigeration and they (well the smoked salmon one) have a good amount of fat in them, which makes them higher calorie, and therefore higher energy. So awesome. Expensive, but he won’t be eating these on every mission. These are the “worst case scenario” foods.
My genius idea today (I was SO excited when I thought of it) is a portable, delicious snack he can eat without looking and with one hand with zero mess (unlike the “make a sandwich out of two cookies and some peanut butter” idea he was given by some other pilots). Take a look at these stats too, and try to tell me this isn’t a GREAT, satisfying, balanced snack.
Perfect Paleo Power Pouches
Nutrition per serving:
Right??? Right???!?!?! One recipe took me about an hour and a half to make (you’ll see why), but it makes 30 power pouches, and the total cost is about $15, not including the packaging and spices.
You will need:
A foodsaver vacuum sealer thingy.
A roll of foodsaver plasticy stuff.
2 26oz. jars of almond butter. (These cost $6 each at Costco)
1 24oz bottle of honey (I got 3 bottles for $10ish at Costco)
Other stuff (optional) – cocoa powder, cinnamon, molasses, ginger, nutmeg
So here’s how you do it. Mix together (using the paddle mixer thingy) 2 jars of almond butter and almost 1 bottle of honey. You could really dump in the whole thing, but I had calculated the nutrition facts for this particular ratio.
When everything is blended together, drizzle in some vanilla extract to taste. Some sea salt would probably be awesome too, but I didn’t think of that until afterward.
Now, you’ll need to make a bunch of pouches. First, cut lengths of the foodsaver bag stuff about 5-6 inches long. Seal one of the long sides (the short sides are already sealed).
Then, mark the center with a sharpie (see my little tiny mark near the bottom?) and make 2 vertical seals, one on either side of the center. You’re making 2 pouches that can be cut apart since each one is individually sealed.
I did 3 tubes for the first one, but they were harder to fill, so the wider shape worked better.
Label them with permanent marker before filling. I did vanilla first.
Use a medium cookie scoop to fill the bags. I just did two blobs in each one, which turned out to make exactly the number of pouches I had planned on (30).
Vacuum/seal the top edge, trim the pouches and separate them by carefully cutting between your two center seals, and voila! You have perfect primal/paleo power pouches – tasty for a snack, convenient, not bulky, and full of good stuff.
When I finished packing up the vanilla batch, I divided the remaining mixture into two bowls. I added plenty of cocoa powder (to taste) to the first batch to make chocolate flavored power pouches – similar to Nutella, but without the vegetable oil aftertaste (yes, I said it).
To the last batch, I added lots of cinnamon, a sprinkle of ginger and some nutmeg, and about 2 tablespoons of molasses (this changes the nutrition information for this batch slightly of course). They have a spice-cookie taste I think is really nice. I couldn’t label them “gingerbread” though, because my husband doesn’t like gingerbread. WHAT?? I’ve been married to him for 4 years and just learned this, AFTER we made hundreds of gingerbread cookies together.
This should be enough for a little while, anyway!
One final (optional)step. You know all those packages of things you buy (dried apricots, cheese, whatever) that have the little notch in the plastic instructing you to “Tear here”? That. In the wider sealed edge (the one that was one of the originally sealed vertical edges in the plastic tube), snip a little diagonal 1/4” long cut.
(It’s just a slit, not a notch. I’m pulling it apart in this picture so you can see it though.)
My husband had to test whether the slit “Tear here” thing worked. And it did. And the perfect Paleo power pouches are husband-approved.
I feel pretty good knowing that I’m sending him “out there” with some really good sustenance. You know, not snacks that will cause him to grow man-boobs (see: soy) or get diabetes. But snacks with a great balance (when used together) of protein, carbs, and good fats. Not pictured are the Larabars, but don’t worry, he’s getting those coconut cream ones too.
I am still planning on trying my hand at making real pemmican (50% dried powdered beef, 50% rendered tallow is the basis… plus dried fruits, honey, seasonings – all optional), but the idea freaks him out a little, and I’m glad to know that he’ll have something really good in the meantime.