Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hot Pocket Cooking: A Failed Attempt

A few months ago I had what I thought was a great idea: what if there was a way to use Hand Warmers to heat food.  I wanted to take a common item found in most ski shops, and re-purpose it to create a mini-oven in my jacket pocket.  My thinking behind this madness was that I could eat a warm quesadilla on a chairlift, thus making my friends jealous of my ingenious creation and allowing for more time spent on the hill and less in the lodge.
Test quesadilla #1

I started to research Hand Warmer cooking.  I wanted to make sure that the Hand Warmers were non-toxic (which they are) and search for any other information on Hand Warmers and food. I found a few videos and gear reviews that suggested using the sticky boot warmers on the outside of a mug to keep liquids warmer longer, or to use hand warmers to warm propane stoves when winter camping.  However, no luck finding any information that would help with my makeshift pocket oven.

Since there was no information on this revolutionary concept, that meant that I had to go out and do some field testing.  On a snowy Tahoe day I opened a package of Hot Hands hand warmers and put the pair in my jacket pocket.  I had discovered online that most cheese melts at 90 degrees fahrenheit, so my goal was to see how many hand warmers it would take to make my pocket 100 degrees (just to be safe).  I started off with two, then went to four.  However, I quickly learned that the porous lining in my pocket was no help for holding in heat.  Duly noted.  I needed a way to trap heat in my pocket, or I had to use a different jacket with thicker pockets.

Placing the quesadilla with hand
warmers on each side into my
jacket pocket.
Before switching jackets I decided to try a direct approach.  I made a quesadilla using brie cheese (I wanted to test a soft cheese that melts easily) and wrapped it in a thin layer of aluminum foil.  I placed a hand warmer on each side of the quesadilla and placed the food and heat back in my pocket.  After 45 minutes I removed the quesadilla and used a thermometer to test how much the cheese had melted.  In the spots where the hand warmer was directly against the quesadilla the cheese warmed to 93 degrees, and did in fact melt.  However, the distribution of heat throughout the quesadilla was uneven, and the part that was not directly against the hand warmer was only 68 degrees.  I definitely don't want a blotchy quesadilla, I'm on the pursuit of gooey, cheesy perfection!  Back to the drawing board....

Be sure to read the next installment of "Hot Pocket Cooking", where I will hopefully find a way to enjoy warm quesadillas while riding a chair lift.  And in the meantime.... check out for outdoor recipes and series episodes!

Homemade ENERGY Goo with Tori Sowul from Spread Stoke

Tori Soul taking a break on the trail to fuel up
with her homemade energy goo.

Tori Sowul is a force of energy!  She is a passionate outdoors woman who spends a great deal of time ripping along Utah's mountain bike trails.  In addition to being a ski and bike enthusiast, Tori is also co-founder of the action inspired website,  

As you can imagine, Tori is a busy woman with a hectic schedule, which is exactly why she shared a recipe for her homemade energy goo.  She often needs a boost of energy when she's out on the trail, and this recipe has just that.  There are both simple and complex carbs for quick and sustained energy, along with a vitamins to support tired muscles.  And, the best part about Tori's Goo is that it can be made at home using common, inexpensive ingredients.  Heres how to make Tori's Goo, and be sure to visit to join an awesome community of outdoor enthusiasts!

Makes 15 servings:

  • 3 tbsp Honey
  • 3/4 tsp Black Molasses
  • 1 tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup Cooked Quinoa
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Coffee

  • Mixing up a batch of Tori's homemade energy goo.

    1. Combine ingredients. Mix everything together.
    2. Put 2 tbsp. goo into individual serving plastic bags. *Make sure you use a reliable container to hold the goo, otherwise you will have a big sticky mess to deal with.
    3. Consume goo on the trail for simple backcountry energy. Store goo in refrigerator when waiting to be used, to ensure food safety.

    For more trail friendly recipes visit: