Been camping!

Summer has been difficult for me to come up with creative things to cook. There have been a lot of repeats: barbecue sauce, ketchup, tuna noodle salad, and plain old grilled hamburgers and Italian sausages. Baking is rare since I do not have air conditioning in the house and turning on the oven heats up everything. But now that fall is around the corner I will want to bake bread and cakes, even though I don’t have enough people around to eat the cakes!

We got a new camper trailer! Yea! This one we designed specifically for us. This means we chose the options and the layout that we wanted. The big trip to Niagara Falls has come and gone. It was fabulous! If you’ve never been, go!

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I thought I would share a few of the meals we cooked while camping. This is just camp fare, nothing to write home about!

20160821_130315585_iOSI baked muffins (from a mix) in the camp oven. They did not rise high and I think that is because the oven runs cooler than the temperature on the dial.

Camp goulash used up the leftover elbow noodles (the first half went into tuna noodle salad for our picnic earlier that week), a can of tomatoes, a can of mushrooms, diced onion, pesto, oregano, salt and pepper. And shredded cheese. This is served along side grilled Italian sausages and bakery bread.

And then there is The Last Supper: farmer’s market new potatoes, sliced and diced onion, cut up breakfast sausage patties, cheese, herbed butter, and ground pepper. Packet those up and cook on the grill for about 15 minutes. Yum!

 

 

Honey Oatmeal Muffins

Again I am using the Quaker Oats 1982 cookbook. I am not sleeping well and there are fresh blueberries languishing in my refrigerator. So I make and bake muffins in the middle of the night!

I choose this recipe because all I have is almond milk and am not sure if non-dairy milks can be substituted in baked goods with perfect results. I used almond milk in an egg custard once and it did not set as expected. But this worked out. The recipe called for 1/2 cup milk unlike my other favorite muffin recipe which called for one cup. This also uses vegetable oil so I imagine they are healthier than those made with butter.

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup honey

Mix the wet ingredients together in a 2 cup measure or other smallish bowl.

  • 1 1/2 cups oats, uncooked
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the dry ingredients together in your mixing bowl. To this I added 1 heaping cup fresh blueberries and 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Stir gently.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just until mixed. Bake in greased or papered muffin pan at 400 degrees F for 15-18 minutes. Makes 12.

Enjoyed these for breakfast. I will make these again.

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The herbal experiment…or Scarborough Fair Veg!

Sing along with me…parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme!

I was planning to steam some farm fresh green beans to have for dinner as the two girls would be home with us. I had some very thin baby carrots and thought those would work well in combination with the beans. Then I wondered how to add flavor. Fresh herbs! Why not, I have some growing right outside my kitchen door.

Looking at my herb garden I wonder what to use. I used basil with peas before so I want to use something else. Sage. I have no idea what to use fresh sage with so I’ll see if it works with beans and carrots. I select six nice sized sage leaves and cut them up and sprinkle them on top of the carrots in the steam basket. As I am preparing the green beans, I think to myself…parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme! I step out my back door and pluck some fresh herbs.Actually I snipped them with the kitchen shears.

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more green beans get piled into the pan than shown

I used a small bag (one pound?) of mini baby carrots and a batch of fresh green beans that when trimmed equaled about 2 cups. For the fresh herbs I used six sage leaves, a four inch sprig of thyme, a four inch sprig of rosemary, and a few snippets of parsley.

I steamed these for about 7 minutes. I did not keep good track of the time. I had not researched how to use sage and after preparing the pot for cooking I thought I should have kept the leaves whole like the additional herbs.But by that time they were buried beneath.

These get served with grilled pork loin chops seasoned with a Chicago steak seasoning that my son left here before going off to his Alaskan adventure. I put the jars of chimichurri,  A dog fight of flavors!, and plum sauce, Supper, on the table for people to pick for topping their pork. And didn’t Hubby do fabulous grill work on those chops?

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The herbs gave a very subtle flavor to the vegetables. I liked it; the others were indifferent.

Blueberry Pie

Hubby and I took a Sunday drive to look around some of the local campgrounds to see if any looked inviting for weekend camping trips. It is the second half of the season for camping and I may or may not find a Labor Day weekend spot but it is worth the effort. In the rural areas of this small state there are farms and farm stands. We found one that also is a new winery with a wine tasting happening so we had to stop! And because they took “plastic” for payment I bought plenty of fresh locally grown produce and homemade preserves and a fancy bottle of wine!

They had only four pints of blueberries left so I bought two of them. Pie, I was thinking! I had two discs of pie dough in my freezer so this should be easy! Easy as pie! 🙂

I do not like to cook up the fruit before filling the pie crust. I also wanted to use just one pie crust and fold it over the top of the fruit so it looks rustic. I am not sure what that is called but I’ve always wanted to try it.

  • one pie crust, unbaked and rolled out to a 12 inch circle; I love the apple cider pie dough recipe here.
  • 3 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice; I read some time ago that lime is nice with blueberries so i thought I would try lime instead of lemon juice

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out crust and place in 9 inch pie pan. Mix the fruit with the other ingredients and pour into the crust. Fold the crust over the fruit filling. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

I also sprayed the crust with butter flavored cooking spray and sprinkled on some sugar before baking. I figured this would make a nice golden brown.

And here is the final product:

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The filling was a bit runny. This may be because I cut it when it was still warm. But it tasted good and fruity. The filling broke through the crust so I would not be able to pull it out of the pan to place on a serving plate. Did I roll the crust too thin? Hmmm?

Jam bars

More jam or too much? That is the question. 

I was looking for something to bake using homemade jam a neighbor gave me. He didn’t make it but someone at his work. I recently learned he is a chef at a local bar/restaurant. Not going to tell him about my food blog. Too much pressure!

These are from a Quaker Oats recipe booklet from 1982. Wow! That is older than my oldest child! Anyway I’ve used this for the banana crunch cake recipe and wanted to try some of the others. Over the years I probably have made a few but I just don’t remember. I came across these Wholegrain Jam Squares. They are whole grain because of the two cups of oats not because of anything whole wheat. In the 80’s oat bran, etc. was the key to lowering cholesterol. I also remember oat flour (made by grinding up oatmeal in the blender) was the secret ingredient in Mrs. Field’s cookies. Or so a letter circulated at the the time “revealed”. It would be a chain letter similar to and just as annoying as those Facebook posts telling you to “share if you agree”. (I admit I have succumbed if I was feeling particularly impassioned about something at the time. But mostly I roll my eyes and wonder if the poster will think I’m a heartless b—-!”)

Alright, enough about me, let’s get to the recipe. It is basically an oatmeal shortbread with jam and a streusel. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease or spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. 

  • 2 cups oatmeal, uncooked 
  • 1 3/4 cups flour, all purpose 
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon soda
  • 3/4 cup preserves (or more as you will see below)

I left out the 1/2 cup chopped nuts. Add them if you would like. Mix everything together except the preserves. It helps if the butter is at room temperature. I use my kitchen aid mixer and it’s mixed in no time! Reserve two cups and then press the rest into the pan. Flatten with back of spoon. Now for the jelly! For the first batch I used a 4 ounce jar of homemade blueberry jam. It barely covered half the pan! So I spread a mixed berry preserves from my fridge (store bought) on the other half. Crumble the reserved mixture on top. This covers the jelly pretty evenly and thoroughly. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool. Cut in squares. Eat. Might be nice served with ice cream. We just ate them and not all at once. I think they lasted 5 days or more! These were tasty but the fruit was barely noticeable. They looked marvelous!


I tried again. I figured twice the amount of jam and raspberry would be a stronger flavor. I used an entire ten ounce jar of raspberry jam. Whoa! I also inadvertently baked these at 350 F instead of 400. They looked a little under done and I cut them while warm. Tasty but gooey. Did I use too much jam?


The next day they firmed up nicely. The flavor of the fruit was definitely present. These just may become my “go to” recipe for coffee hour, bake sale, work pot luck, and “bring a dessert ” dinner invitations. 

For store bought jams and jellies be sure to read the ingredients before buying. Fruit should be the first ingredient listed. The only other necessary ingredients are pectin and sugar, preferably cane sugar or honey. Three ingredients is all that is needed in the real stuff. Beware of high fructose corn syrup. It’s what’s making America fat!