Welcome to Gazing In!

“The family” is my husband (Kirk), teenage son (Ford), preschooler (Walker) and toddler (Alistaire).

With my three boys in July of 2012. Minus no Kirk. He is hiding behind the camera.

We live in a small town, Maple Valley, that is a mix of suburbia and rural, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington State, which helps feed our love of the outdoors. We did it for the good schools, affordable housing and that cities cause me a lot of stress. But I do like where I live. I have settled down with some roots finally. I don’t see myself as having a “hometown”, having moved a couple of times while growing up, so this is the closest I have come to it.

I lived on what I call “The Island” for a decade and half, living in dumps with stellar views of large snowy volcanoes. Island life is a different way of life, especially in the cold Pacific Northwest. I might be main-landing it now but my heart will always be on a rock in the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington.

(An old photo of the family. Winter of 2002, my oldest son, Ford, was 5 years old then.)

On a hike with Walker in the summer of 2010 (he was born March of that year).

Gazing In is my blog about my family, my children, babies, baby gear, toddler stuff along with a lot on cooking, kitchen gear, cookbooks and recipes. I wanted a place where I could ramble on about stuff that isn’t ‘outdoorsy’, but rather about my day to day life. For our business we write the Freezer Bag & Trail Cooking blog. My husband and I authored and published the outdoor cookbook Freezer Bag Cooking: Trail Food Made Simple, a book aimed at the outdoorsy and are currently writing our second and third outdoor cooking books. Our other website is Trail Cooking, where I develop recipes and methods for outdoor cooking, along with outdoor gear that I sew and sell. I have been published and written about in a number of articles, magazines and books.

We follow a plant-based diet/way of life, more of a focus on vegan and vegetarian dishes for health reasons, with no artificial colors/flavors or preservatives, due to being triggers for migraines. The biggest challenge was finding out Alistaire, our youngest, has severe peanut & cashew allergies, as well as a mild egg one, at 14 months old.This changed quite a bit how we cook/eat/shop compared to before. Sometimes we eat meat, it is rare though. I removed nearly all processed food from our diet, with a focus on adding vegetables, fruits, raw nuts, seeds and whole grains. I want our meals/food to taste good but be healthier. But most of all to not taste like food from the Hippy Hut™ (which is what I called the deli at the local food co-op back in the day – that place made everything taste gross. Even chocolate! It was probably gag…carob). I’ll be honest…I like to cook. Failures are OK – that means I get taken out to dinner! We rarely eat the same dinner twice. Always seeking new ideas, concepts, flavors. I grew up eating the same meals every week. I don’t want to do that.

This blog is my personal recipe collection and digital scrapbook of my life. The things I don’t want to forget over the years!

My little middle man – Star of Mommy’s Blog:

With Walker as a newborn:

With Alistaire as a newborn:

Daddy and Alistaire:

Walker and Alistaire:

I hope you enjoy reading my blog and I love comments/feedback on my posts.

~Sarah Kirkconnell

And if you hike, well I hope to meet you on the trail someday – and till then…..may all your trails be flat and never have dirty dishes.

In The Snow

In The Snow On The PCT Trail



  1. […] 4. Gazing In  where I like to read about hiking, cooking on the trail as well as kids and family stuff. […]

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