By Becca Reberry
I love cooking as much as I love climbing. Cooking is stress relief. Looking at recipe books inspires me to try new things and ultimately gets me excited to taste something I haven't had before. Being a climber, I like to balance food that tastes good with food that's good for me. Sometimes those two things don't always mix, but hey, what's life without a little deliciousness?
I’m sharing some of my favorite go-to recipes from online. I have one snack recipe and two dinner recipes I think everyone will love. Being a vegetarian, it's normal for me to substitute ingredients, even with food I can eat, because sometimes modifying a recipe can make it so much better. It doesn't always come out as planned, but hey, there's no harm in trying!
One of my favorite on-the-go snacks are energy balls. Over the years I've tried many different kinds, and still continue to experiment with different ingredients. I prefer energy balls that have texture. I also love coconut, so I add coconut flakes to pretty much any variation I make. I also like dates for added sweetness. Dates, coconut flakes, a food processor, and a couple other ingredients lead to delicious, vegetarian energy, packed into a single bite! Check out this link to get started making your own energy balls:
If you're looking for a delicious dinner option, gumbo is the way to go! I've always been a sucker for okra, so that's probably the reason I enjoy this meal so much. Gumbo has a ton of flavor and incorporates a variety of spices and vegetables. The tricky part to a good gumbo is making the roux, which can be difficult, especially if you're impatient. The recipe below has some great tips for making it easier. The recipe doesn't call for any beans, but I typically add a couple cans of red beans to add more protein and flavor. My family approves. For meat eaters like my family, you can cook andouille sausage on the side. Once cooked, just serve it over some rice and you're good to go!
Black bean burgers are a great make-ahead meal option. This black bean burger is delicious and easy to make. One of the first things the recipe calls for is to rinse, drain, and dry the black beans, then lay them out evenly on a pan to bake. This is an important part of the recipe that allows you to dry out the beans enough to create a better texture for when you mix the ingredients together. I love this recipe because it gives you options for toppings. One of my favorite ways to eat the burgers is with some sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese on top, and since you can freeze them, your effort will reward you with future meals!
For me, food is such an important aspect of life. Trying a new recipe and sharing it with the people I care about brings me joy. Even when I do something incorrectly and the meal has the wrong taste or consistency, I still enjoy the process.
I find this relates to climbing because when I'm projecting a hard climb, there's bound to be a move that knocks me off. Climbing is a puzzle that allows my mind to work just as much as my body, and I love being able to challenge myself in that way. Trying new recipes challenges me too because I don't know what the outcome will be.
Climbing and cooking both share an aspect of the unknown. When I read a climb at the edge of my ability, all I see is the route as a whole; I'm not able to inspect every hold or work out every move. All I can do is trust in myself, and hope that when I get on the climb, I can make the moves properly and endure until the end. The same goes for cooking. As I look at a recipe, all I get is what's on the paper. If I have a question on whether I'm doing something right or not, there's no one to ask. In that moment, I go with my gut and hope my instincts are correct. Either the meal comes out properly and my family and myself love the taste, or it’s a bust and I’ll try again another day. It's the same with climbing; either I can work out the moves and get to the top, or I fall trying. Both outcomes are learning experiences I am grateful for.
I hope you've enjoyed reading through some of my favorite recipes, and try them for yourselves. Mix them up however you like, and enjoy the outcome! If you have any recipes you love and are willing to share, I would absolutely love to try them out.