anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Archive for the ‘Outdoor + Environment’ Category

Outdoor Cooking: Cilantro and Tomato Bruschetta

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This summer, I embarked on a bicycle tour – a pedal-powered book tour, in fact! – from my house, west of Seattle, all the way down to San Francisco. As was to be expected, I cooked a lot of food along the way, and now that I am back in front of the computer (far less interesting than being on a bicycle, I assure you) I’ve been busy compiling all the recipes.

The first one went up this week on Adventure Journal and I wanted to share it here because it’s perfect for using up late summer tomatoes. And even if you’re not on a bike trip, this works well as an at-home appetizer too. But soak up those final rays of summer and go enjoy it outdoors!

Cilantro and Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

  • 2 to 3 medium-sized heirloom tomatoes
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic
  • A small handful of cilantro leaves, chopped (about 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped leaves)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 slices of bread
  • Olive oil

Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and place them in in a bowl or pot. Finely chop two of the garlic cloves and add them to the tomatoes, along with the cilantro and a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle a little olive oil over it and mix together. Taste. Add more salt and pepper as needed.

Place a frying pan or pot over medium heat on your stove and pour in a little olive oil. Grill a slide of bread on both sides, until both sides are a golden brown. Remove the bread slice from the pan and place on a plate. Take a clove of garlic and lightly rub the grilled bread with it. Top with a generous scoop of the tomato and cilantro mixture.

Repeat until you’ve grilled all the bread and used up the tomato and cilantro mixture.

Read the full post here.

Written by Anna Brones

September 9, 2016 at 17:19

Bikepacking the Olympic Adventure Route with Komorebi Cycling Team

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Bikepacking on the Olympic Adventure Route with Komorebi Cycling Team

This is an essay I wrote over on Adventure Journal, which also includes a list of tips for meal planning and cooking for a bikepacking trip, along with a few links for recipes. 

This is all the email said:

Riding bikes in the backcountry, camping, making food on the trail…June 17-19. Interested in details?

Like any sane person, I responded with an “um…okay!”

It was a proposal to join a bikepacking trip with Komorebi, the Portland-based women’s bikepacking team. The fact that I had never been bikepacking didn’t deter me, and after all, that was the whole point of Komorebi: to get more women adventuring on two wheels. Okay, actually it did freak me out a little bit, and as soon as I said yes the thoughts started swarming in my head:

Will I be able to keep up with women who bikepack all the time?

Will they judge me if I am not fast enough?

I don’t really ride mountain bikes, what if I fail?

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Written by Anna Brones

July 24, 2016 at 09:13

Video: Coffee Outside

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Surrounded by a lot of talented filmmaker friends, I have always been attracted to the power of visual storytelling. But enjoying visual storytelling is one thing. Making it yourself is another thing entirely.

A little over a year ago I told a couple of filmmaker friends that I wanted to invest in a camera so that I could try my hand at filming. “Do it!” was the resounding response.

Sure, I had played around with iMovie a few years ago, putting together a few clips into something coherent, but nothing more than that. Maybe it was time I challenged myself. So I got the camera, and took a lot of nice photos with it, entirely intimidated, in fact, nearly paralyzed, by the thought of trying to do video. Where would I even begin? What if I failed?

Having talented creative people around you is a really good thing. Imagine if you were surrounded by a bunch of boring, mediocre individuals? No thank you. But there’s a flip side to being surrounded by all this talent; while they’re happy to encourage you, you also have very high standards to live up to. And so, I found myself unable to jump into the world whose waters I wanted to test. I was nervous, stricken by the idea that I might make something that wasn’t up to par.

And then it struck me: this is your first film. If we all listened to the voices in our head that told us we were going to fail before we even started, we wouldn’t get anywhere. Failure is just another form of fear. Because what is failure? The definition is up to us entirely, and in the case of wanting to try something new, the only failure I could really come up with, was not doing it at all.

So I set out to make a short film. Super short. Turns out, it’s hard. But it’s also fun, and I can see why all my filmmaker friends are so addicted. There is power in storytelling, whether it’s a short love letter to something we love, or if it’s a feature-length documentary tackling important subjects that we believe the world should know more about.

This video came out of a love of coffee and the outdoors. At the end of July, I spent two weeks hiking in Northern Sweden, and I knew that with a place so visually stunning, I should at least get something on film. This is what it became. This short video isn’t going to change the world (that will be a film later down the line, thank you very much) but maybe it will change how you think about your coffee routine. And maybe this story will inspire you to try something new, something you have never done before and that you’re scared of. Because quite frankly, there’s nothing better.

Written by Anna Brones

August 24, 2015 at 18:27

What if Nature Was a Prescription Drug?

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Is nature the answer to all your problems? It might be.

I love this humorous video by Dream Tree Film & Productions. It’s part of a series, all intended to get us thinking about the positive benefits of the outdoors. What if we all got more regular doses of nature? Imagine how well off we would be…

Learn more at NatureRX.

Written by Anna Brones

August 14, 2015 at 15:45

Posted in Outdoor + Environment

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Can Digging in the Dirt Make You Happy?

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I was thrilled to work on a story for Modern Farmer about the link between dirt and well-being. There’s some very interesting research looking at the benefits of microbes in the environment on human health. Here’s an excerpt:

The psychological benefit of nature has been well documented. When it comes to being happy or not, many studies show that psychiatric problems are more common in urban than in rural communities. That makes Lowry’s and Rook’s research interesting, as it gives us a better understanding of exactly why being outside, in a garden or on a farm, makes us feel good.

“People usually assume that the health benefits of exposure to green space are due to exercise. In fact two large studies now demonstrate that although exercise is definitely good for you, it does not explain the beneficial effect of green space,” says Rook. “Contact with microbial biodiversity is looking like the most probable explanation for the green space effect.”

Just like we’re becoming more and more aware of the benefits of foods with microbes (think: fermented foods with probiotics), being around a lot of different microbes from the earth and animals is good for us too. In other words, sterile environments that are too clean aren’t so great for you.

I was even more excited to see that the piece got picked up and discussed by the New York Times.

Now, on to finding a plot of land to get my hands dirty.

Image: jenny downing

Written by Anna Brones

September 3, 2014 at 09:14

Keep Running

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Yes, yes and yes.

Love this piece my friends at Duct Tape Then Beer did for Arc’teryx. What keeps you running?

Written by Anna Brones

July 8, 2014 at 19:40

1,000 Miles: Month 6

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“What’s in like to run in Paris?” friends sometimes ask.

Paris is one of those places that has a certain reputation. It has an identity that’s known around the world. But like with anything, there’s an identity that we see from the outside and the one we see from the inside.

When you live in a place you come to know that inner identity. You live the everyday things that no one ever talks about outside of that place, and that’s particularly true when it comes to Paris. Because who would be silly enough to criticize Paris?

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Written by Anna Brones

July 4, 2014 at 16:47