Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I spy... a new veggie convenience food for hiking!

This past weekend, while cruising the aisles of my local Meijer store, I did some lollygagging in the "world cuisine" aisle. You see, they just built a Meijer near me, so I'm in love. I haven't had the time to properly browse all the nook-and-crannies yet. But, I spent a few extra moments looking at the ethnic foods.

The Indian Tasty Bite meals caught my eye. Mainly, because the packaging claimed that no refrigeration was needed, it cooked in just five minutes AND they were vegetarian/vegan. Awesome! I was tickled with this because I love to camp and hike. Last year, Lipsmackin' Vegetarian Backpacking by Christine and Tom Conners, was the bible that my boyfriend and I worshipped to get us through the week in the woods. We have a trip coming up at the end of August, and I've been meaning to flip through the bible again to start getting our meal plans in order. BUT, these Tasty Bite meals intrigued me because if they were good, they also could be used on our trip and could save me a little bit of preparation! So, I bought two meals--"Kashmir Spinach" and "Peas Paneer & Basmati Rice"--to try.

Over the past couple of days, I have tried both meals. And while not extremely stellar, restaurant-quality food, I could definitely see us eating these meals in the woods. They were uber quick to prep. Basically, boil water and then drop the meal pouch into the boiling water for five minutes. Then, carefully slice open the pouch, pour into a bowl (or, if in the woods, you could eat right out of the pouch) and enjoy!

Personally, I found the Kashmir Spinach to be a bit on the light side (I had it for dinner). Nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but if I was eating this out in the woods after a day of hiking, it might leave me hungry. What would've made this dish much better would've been a big hunk of bread for dipping into the spinach, since it had a soupy texture to it.

The Peas Paneer was more filling. I don't think I cooked the rice correctly though. The peas and rice were in two separate pouches, and when I dropped both of them into the pot, the rice pouch was sticking out of the water more than the peas. I think this is why the rice was a little hard... half the package seemed to feel softer. But, with the peas and sauce over it, it really wasn't a big deal.

The packaging claims that technically, you can eat the contents of these meals without heating them up. This would make the Tasty Bite meals ideal for vegetarians to have on hand in case of a power outage or an emergency situation/emergency stash of food.

Overall, a really cool find! I will definitely be buying these meals for camping, etc. Can't wait to try the vegan versions. Meijer had a decent selection, so if you have a store near you, check them out!

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