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With the weather getting nicer but not yet too hot I can't help but think of planning a camping trip. I am an outdoor kind of gal. Camping to me is not an RV and air conditioning, but rather a pitched tent along a stream or river. Unfortunately finding a remote place to camp is not as easy as it sounds, so we generally settle for a long weekend at Huntsville State Park.
Planning for meals is an important task in preparation for your camping trip. You don't want to haul in too much but you want to eat better than bologna sandwiches and burnt marshmallows. If you have mastered the art of the dutch oven, great. But a nice portable propane stove will work as well and of course grilling over hot coals is another option. So what do you bring along to feed your hungry crew after a long day of swimming, hiking or just relaxing under the shade trees?
Well, if you were lucky enough to catch a nice catfish or bass fry that baby up and enjoy. If your fishing trip was less than fruitful try this yummy recipe instead.
Foil Dinner Meatballs
2 dz frozen meatballs (thawed) either homemade or pre-packaged
2-4 large potatoes, sliced
2 cans Cream of Chicken or Celery soup
Place several meatballs on a square of heavy-duty foil. Add several potato slices and enough soup to cover. Fold and seal foil packet well and place on hot campfire coals. Cook 10 minutes, then turn and cook on the other side for an additional 10 minutes.
So, you have successfully prepared dinner and now you need to worry about breakfast the next morning. Sure, you could whip out the box of sugar coated flakes or present the box of donuts you secretly hid under the car seat, but that's cheating! Get up and start the fire! Besides, you need a fire to boil the water for your coffee.
Your kids need a good breakfast to get them going and you do to. We all know how stressful taking 3 or 4 naps a day can be. So try this easy breakfast idea. The kids will thank you.
1 pound sausage browned over open fire
8 - 10 eggs
1 pkg. Grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Crumble sausage and cook till done. Remove from pan and set aside. Beat eggs and add seasonings to eggs. Pour into skillet, cook one side, turn over, sprinkle with grated cheese and sausage. When cheese melts, place on tortillas and roll up into burrito.
See, you have managed to get the day started without all that nasty sugar. Good for you. Now you can relax and think about sitting around the fire later in the evening. Singing songs and swapping stories. And your camping trip would not be complete without making the time honored treat of S'Mores.
2 Graham Crackers
1 Chocolate Bar
4 Large Marshmallows
Toast the marshmallow over the campfire until lightly toasted. Place half of the chocolate bar on one half of the graham cracker. Top with melted marshmallow and other graham cracker half. If less chocolate is desired, stuff marshmallow before cooking with milk chocolate bits in place of the chocolate bar. Makes 2.
Camping is a wonderful way to spend good, quality time with your family and kids. No television, no video games and no telephone. Yes, you can bring your cell phone, just leave it in the car to use for emergencies. The world can manage without you for 3 days…I promise.
There are some basic rules of camping that will keep our campgrounds and wilderness areas clean. If you were a Boy Scout or Girl Scout you will remember some of these.
Always leave your campsite as you would have wanted to find it.
Be considerate of other campers.
Try to keep your noise level down (i.e. radios).
Always leave any food in your vehicle at night so as not to attract any unwanted visitors to your site.
Always put your garbage in the established garbage bins.
Never try to touch or feed any animal that you come into contact with.
Only start fires in designated fire pits.
If you take it in, take it out.
One last item before you set off on your wilderness adventure….building a campfire. I know, it sounds easy but in reality not many people do it the correct way. Follow these easy steps and you will have a wonderful fire to cook over and sing songs around.
Where permitted, gather firewood. You want to collect everything from dry leaves and twigs, to small sticks, to branches up to 2-4 inches in diameter.
If a fire ring is not already available, clear an area that's away from any trees or brush.
Place a small pile of dry leaves and twigs in the center of the fire ring.
Build a teepee of small sticks around these dry leaves and twigs.
Next, build a square wall of larger sticks around, and up to the height of, the teepee.
Place more sticks across the walls so as to cover the teepee.
Add another wall of larger branches, but do not cover the top.
Drop a match or two into the dry leaves and twigs until they catch fire.
As the fire begins to spread, add some larger branches across the top, being careful not to collapse the existing walls of the fire.
Continue to add larger branches and pieces of wood to keep the campfire going.
Don't build a bonfire; campfires do not have to be large to be enjoyable.
Do not use flammables such as charcoal lighter, gas, or kerosene to start a fire. Especially if you want to keep your eyebrows and the hair on your head!
Do not burn "green" wood, it has too much sap, and will burn slowly and pop. Also, do not cut any wood from standing trees.