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Author: Danielle Prewett

Chukar Chasing Energy Bars

Energy Bar
This season I will be joining Ultimate Upland’s crew in Idaho for some backcountry upland hunting.  As I prepare for the trip I can’t help but think about provisions for this physically challenging hunt.  Days spent climbing up the mountains chasing after chukar can leave you calorie deficit pretty quick. So to combat that I will be bringing my own energy bars.When formulating a recipe for homemade granola bars there are some important factors to consider: nutrient density, glycemic index, shelf life and practicality.

I made a list of all the nuts, seeds, sugars and dried fruit I could think of and ranked them from high to low based on calories, fat and protein. The ingredients I chose are a combination of the highest amount I could economically formulate without compromising the texture or flavor.

The glycemic index is a rating of how quickly carbohydrates raise blood sugar.  When sugar is ingested your pancreas reacts by releasing insulin, causing your blood sugar levels to spike.  In order to combat that rise of sugar, carbs get used up fast which results in the dreaded “crash” afterwards. Fiber and fat slow down this fast burn but its better to avoid high glycemic sweeteners, these include refined and processed sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.  Honey is considered to be lower on the glycemic scale and choose whole dried fruit that doesn’t have any extra added sugar (HFCS). It does cost a little more to do it this way but it’s much healthier for you.

With this consideration in mind, you’ll notice chia seeds are on the ingredient list. These little bitty seeds are considered to be a superfood for many reasons. They are high in protein but also have an amazing ability to absorb liquid and plump up in size.  Chia seeds help stabilize blood sugar levels because they gelatinize in the stomach, slowing digestion and sustaining your energy levels.

In order to increase shelf life its important that these ingredients remain as dry as possible, you don’t want any ingredients with a high water content. Another thing I don’t want to use is dairy which is why my recipe calls for cocoa nibs instead of chocolate chips. Cocoa nibs are simply crushed and roasted cocoa beans. These little morsels don’t have any dairy or sugar added but when mixed in with all the honey it still tastes like chocolate chips.

The recipe below sounds more complicated than it really is and I promise there is a valid reason for the steps. If you just add the honey to the dry ingredients without heating first they will always remain sticky and annoying to deal with in the field.  You want to gently boil the honey to caramelize the sugars so that when it cools the ingredients will harden together. Use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature because if the sugar gets too hot the honey will harden like brittle resulting in over crumbly bars that hurt your teeth, and if it’s too low it will remain too soft and sticky.

Finally, remember that these tasty little candy bars are really high in calories. Try to keep those greedy hands away when cooking in the kitchen and save them for the field when your body really needs them, although that didn’t stop me from having one or two while I typed this article up. Have a safe and happy hunting season this year!

Makes 12 large bars

Chocolate Cherry Bar

Chukar Chasing Energy Bar

Course Snack
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 bars
Author Danielle Prewett

Ingredients

  • 1 C. Steel Cut Oats
  • 2 C. Almonds
  • 1/2 C. Almond Meal*
  • 1/4 C. Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 C. Hemp Seeds*
  • 1 C. Dried Cherries
  • 1/2 C. Cocoa Nibs*
  • 3 Pinches of Salt
  • 1 C. Honey
  • 2 t. Vanilla
  • Parchment Paper
  • Candy Thermometer

Instructions

Method:

  1. Line a 1/4 or 1/2 sheet tray with parchment paper.  If you want thick bars use the small tray and fill to top or use larger sheet pan and spread for thinner bars.  Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Use a food processor, blender or chopper and pulse the almonds until you reach a coarse consistency.  Place in a large bowl and add the oats, almond meal, chia seeds, hemp or sunflower seeds, cocoa nibs and salt.  Use a knife and roughly chop the dried cherries and add to the bowl.  Mix well and set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pot heat the honey and vanilla over medium-low heat.  Insert a candy thermometer and watch the temperature as you gently boil.  Once you have reached exactly 250 degrees remove from heat and slowly pour in to the bowl with dry ingredients, stirring continuously.  Mix the liquids into the dry well using a spatula and then press into the parchment lined sheet tray.  Be patient with this step and press into all of the edges trying to level out into an even layer without any gaps.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes to set.  Remove and let cool to the touch, they will begin to harden at this point.  Lift the parchment off the sheet pan and onto a cutting board and slice into even rectangles.  Use a spatula to separate each bar and flip over onto another clean piece of parchment paper to let the bottom side, which might be sticky with honey, dry out.  Leave these sitting out to fully cool and dry for at least a couple hours or longer. Cut rectangular pieces of parchment paper out and layer a sheet in-between each bar to store inside of a ziplock bag.
  5. These bars should be shelf stable for well over a week or two.

Recipe Notes

* Substitute almond meal with peanut butter powder or take extra whole almonds and grind in food processor/blender until you reach a powder consistency.

*  Substitute hemp seeds with Sunflower Seeds/Pepitas

If you can’t find cocoa nibs or don’t want to use it you can substitute with mini chocolate chips  but beware a shorter shelf life and potentially a melting mess in hands.

17.83 g Fat
10.45 g Protein

Visit Wild + Whole for more great game recipes for your birds this season. 

 

Orvis Barbour Wax Jacket

Orvis Barbour Jacket

 

One of the biggest challenges I face hunting the open plains of North Dakota is the wind.  During the winter months the freezing temperature combined with high wind can be brutal.  I love waxed canvas because it not only keeps you dry during snowfall, but it is excellent for blocking out the wind.  The Barbour Wax Jacket is essentially a shell that I can layer differently depending on the temperature, and has the option of purchasing a separate fleece vest that zips in. It has hand warming pockets as well as convenient deep front pockets.  This high quality, great looking jacket is something I wear in the field as well as around town – $349 click here to learn more.

Musher’s Secret

Mushers Secret

 

Our dogs work hard for us (no matter how terrible the hunting conditions may be) and its our job to take care of them!  Our dogs’ paws have been cut up running through snow that the wind has blown over into ice.  Musher’s Secret helps keep them protected and conditioned during hunting season.  It is also great during the off season when the weather is hot and dry – $20 click here to learn more.
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All-Clad Frying Pan

 Wild + Whole

 

If I had to suggest one kitchen item that every cook should own, it is this All-Clad Frying Pan. I have been cooking for a number of years and I swear by the quality of this brand.  This pan not only heats quickly, but also evenly due to the layer of aluminum in between the steel.  This means consistent cooking – no more “hot spots” in the middle of your pan .  The second reason I love this pan so much is that it is oven proof. Pan-roasting is one of my favorite cooking techniques to use with wild birds.  I brown the breast in the frying pan on the stove top, flip it, and transfer it directly to the oven to finish cooking – $155 click here to learn more.

 

FoodSaver GameSaver Wingman Vacuum Sealing System

GameSaver

 

It always comes as a surprise to me when I hear people say they freeze their game in ziploc bags or butcher paper.  It takes a lot of effort, time and money to hunt wild game.  Why wouldn’t we invest in something that will keep our harvest tasting fresh, even after they’ve been frozen for a year?  I love my Gamesaver, I use it not only for freezing meat, but also to cook sous-vide.  Having great tasting meat each time you pull it out of the freezer is a must for me – $90 click here to learn more.

SHOP THE STORY

ChefSteps Joule Sous Vide

JouleSousVide

 

Sous-Vide is the newest cooking trend in the foodie world, although it has been around for years.  The Joule is a small electronic device that can be controlled from your smartphone to heat water and hold it at a consistent temperature for extended periods of time, allowing you to cook foods with complete accuracy. No more over-cooking your birds – $169 click here to learn more.

Jacobsen Salt Set

Jacobsen Salt

 

My number one tip when cooking with wild game is to give it a “dry brine.”  I always sprinkle salt over the meat at least 24 hours before cooking.  Salt draws out moisture which will help your meat stay tender and juicy during the cooking process.  Jacobsen Salt Co. is renowned for their high quality and carefully crafted ingredients.  This salt sampler pack is a great way to get creative in the kitchen and add a lot of flavor to your birds – $45 click here to learn more.

Chef’s Choice Knife Sharpener

ChefsChoice Trizor Edge

 

A sharp knife is a safe knife!  I know a lot of people prefer to manually hand-sharpen their knives, however you can easily damage the edge of the blade if done at the incorrect angle. This Chef Choice electric knife sharpener can be used on Hunting or Chef Knives and offers three stages (with the option of a 15 or 20 degree angle) producing razor sharp edges. Your knife will feel brand new after each use – $112 – click here to learn more. 

Grilled Pheasant + Mojo Sauce

Whole Pheasant Grilled

This spatchcocked, grilled pheasant is probably one of the more satisfying meals I have made with wild game to date. The crispy skin is full of flavor from a homemade dry rub, the meat is tender and juicy, and the citrus-garlic Mojo sauce is so delicious.

Cuban Mojo Sauce

This Mojo sauce has it all: Sweet, Sour, Garlicky, and a little bit of kick. It’s great for serving as a dipping sauce with meat, fish and veggies, or you can use it as a marinade. It’s really easy to make and the recipe below yields about 2 Cups. You can always freeze what you don’t use, but I am willing to bet you put this sauce on any and everything.

Mojo sauce is definitely for garlic lovers, the Cubans did not skimp out when they created it. This recipe has 8 cloves in it, which seems like a lot, but somehow it works and it is so delicious!

This sauce really packs a punch which is why it’s so addicting. Traditionally, Mojo is made using sour oranges. Because I live in North Dakota and can’t get that, I used a blend of oranges and limes. A traditional Mojo would also have cumin and oregano in it, but I chose to leave them out because they are in the dry rub, and instead, used cilantro and jalapeños.

Spatchcock Pheasant

How to Spatchcock a Pheasant

Spatchcocked, also called Butterflied, is an easy way to break down a whole bird that you want to be grilled a little quicker and with a little more consistency.

To start, make sure the pheasant you use is in good shape (i.e. the legs aren’t shot into a million bone fragments). You can pluck the bird and keep the skin on, but you can also do skinless. If you choose to do skinless, you can marinate the pheasant in the Mojo sauce. But, if you want the skin to be really crispy, use the dry rub instead and follow the guidelines and get the full recipe at Wild + Whole.