Camping is my Happy Place

I’ve been camping. So baking and cooking has not been occupying my time. Sitting in the backyard weeknights is a good place too. I decompress from work there. I watch the birds. The same ordinary backyard birds. I did see a goldfinch this week. Actually that was while camping in New Hampshire. The biting flies were still at it. Mountain lake for swimming, campfires for roasting marshmallows, grandchildren for chasing around the fields with bats and wiffle balls. Bicycles for riding…into the woods to sit by the river…almost getting thrown into the ferns and poison ivy by the exposed tree roots on the path. Camping is my happy place. And that campground is one of our favorites. I have three more camping adventures planned for the season. That just seems too few for me.

We had a gourmet meal while camping. Beef filet wrapped in bacon, stuffed baked potatoes, garden salad, and fresh focaccia bread. Voila!

The secret here is the beef filet are from a package already prepared and ready to cook. Hubby had baked the potatoes ahead of time and stuffed them at the campground to heat on the grill. The salad greens and the bread were fresh from the Keene farmer’s market that morning. A tasty meal that we ate under the canopy while listening to the now gentle rain tapping on top. It always rains when we camp.

But then:

And, of course, there is the cast iron all-in-one breakfast: sausage patties with eggs and sauteed leftover potato, onion, with cheese on top.


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!


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!



What we ate this past week…

This past week I had not been terribly inspired to try new recipes or cook elaborate meals. But we do go to work, Hubby and I, and come home and need to eat. For the most part I am trying to eat better, and less, for health and well-being. I usually get two to three days into the week and BOOM!, I fall back into eating too much or having that extra glass of wine or sweet thing that sets off the indigestion or sets back the good efforts I have made.

That said, I have been making protein shakes for breakfast and taking a decent lunch with plenty of fruit for snacking at work. I have a bag of string cheese in the small fridge in my office for a healthy snack mid-morning. One morning I cooked up an egg with a piece of ham with a bit of frozen spinach for color. It took just a few minutes so I am not sure why I don’t do that more often.

Another hallmark of the week is that I have logged 10000 steps one of the days! I did this by walking to work (7/10th of a mile) and walking a mile on the treadmill during my lunch break. AND carrying my iPhone on my person to track the steps. A Fitbit would be easier but it’s just an extra bit of technology that duplicates the App on the smartphone. I do not walk to work everyday because I need to give my ankle a chance to rest and sometimes because I am just plain lazy!

So what did we eat?


Monday was barbequed chicken baked in the oven. I used my homemade sauce (It’s different every time!). I baked the chicken and poured on the sauce after 30 minutes and then set it under the broiler after 20 more minutes to brown them. I served this with a spinach/romaine salad topped with strawberries, toasted pecans, and feta cheese, dressed with homemade Green Goddess dressing.


Tuesday was a quinoa salad made with the two leftover pieces of chicken from Monday’s dinner. I found a fabulous quick cook quinoa/wild rice mix that cooks up in 10 minutes and there are no additives or spice mix in it. This is the multi-grain crunch salad from the back of the box. I forgot to use chicken broth to cook the quinoa and just used water. I did not measure the vegetables but added plenty along with my own addition of Craisins and walnuts.

  • make the equivalent of 1 1/2 to 2 cups quinoa/rice/grain mixture
  • add 1 cup cooked diced or shredded chicken
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrots (I used prepared shredded carrots and chopped them up further.)
  • 1/3 cup diced celery (I used 2 large stalks)
  • 1/3 cup diced red pepper (I used 6 mini peppers of varying sizes and added 2 yellow ones as well.)
  • 1/3 cup citrus vinaigrette (I made about 1/2 cup using 1/4 cup of the Persian Lime olive oil and the juice of one lemon. I chopped up fresh chives and thyme and parsley to make a few tablespoons, add a bit of kosher salt and pepper.)
  • 1/4 up Craisins and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cook the quinoa, chop the vegetables, add the chicken, and toss with the dressing. Super simple and super delicious. And super good for you! I made double and was able to take some for lunches. It can be served warm or cold.


Wednesday was a “BAD DAY”: Super Nachos! But served with guacamole for the vegetable! For these nachos I browned about 1/2 pound of ground beef seasoning it with 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and a few drops of hot sauce. Pile on cheese and jalapeno peppers and bake for 10 minutes. I make guacamole with garlic powder, diced tomato, lime juice, and a spoonful or so of sour cream. Oh yeah, don’t forget the avocado!


Thursday was a re-run of the quinoa salad. For this supper I put fresh baby spinach leaves in the bowls and then piled on the salad. This is a great salad. One could switch it up and use rice or lentils or barley instead of quinoa for a nice summer supper.

Friday was the start of a camping weekend. We had our usual Subway grinders for Friday with chips. This lets us get to the campground, set up, and then have a supper ready to eat. For Saturday I had par-cooked (read that as “boiled the heck out of”) chicken leg quarters that we would finish cooking on the grill. I forgot that they were on the stove so they were more than par-cooked and turned out a tad dry but good enough with a Texas BBQ Rub. I did end up with a nice rich chicken stock out of it though! We made a foil packet of potatoes with butter, onions, and cheese as well.The best meal of the camping was the cheeseburgers for lunch. But here is a pic of our dinners:

So now it’s Sunday and were home again. What to cook this week?

My summer kitchen…


Hoping that spring had finally arrived we had a camping weekend. As usual, it rained the Friday we arrived at the campground. We have set up camp, even in tents, in worse. We set up a screen house three times inside out one time in a major rain storm in the dark at a new to us State Park a few years back! And then just ask my kids about “the flat top tent adventure!” On Saturday the sun came out and it was a perfect day to sit outside and read and walk around a bit. I took very few pictures and we just enjoyed the moments.


Here is our end of camping weekend breakfast. It is cooked in a cast iron skillet. We fry up the leftover onion, the leftover potatoes, a few peppers, the remaining breakfast sausage, add a few eggs and a handful of cheese. Serve with a slice of bread toasted on the grill. Usually we cook our breakfast outside on the grill also. But not this time. The big bad wolf of the wind huffed and puffed and tried its best to blow down our house which is vinyl sided and on wheels but the wolf was not successful and we came home safely in one piece!