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March 18th, 2010 | in Recipes | Leave a comment

There is nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread in the morning, especially when you’re camping.  Below is a Coleman Oven tested recipe for breakfast scones.  The scone (rhymes with Joan) is a small British Quick Bread or Cake, if the recipe includes sugar, of Scottish origin. Whether you call it Bread or Cake, serve it with butter, jam, jelly or honey it will be a true camping hit that you will want to prefect and repeat during each camping experience.

 

Breakfast Scones
2 cups whole wheat or white flour or a combination
1/4 cup buttermilk powder
2 tablespoons dry egg
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder (3 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup fresh water
1 tablespoon sugar, for sprinkling

 

In your favorite large mixing bowl combine the flour, buttermilk powder, dry egg, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Use a fork or your hands to cut in the shortening as you would for biscuits.  Be careful not to over mix your dough.  The texture should be crumbly and the in chunks approximately the size of peas or dried beans. 

 

Pour the fresh water into the dry ingredients and stir the mixture with a fork until it is soft.  Scatter a little extra flour about the dough and form it into a cohesive ball.  Knead the dough in the bowl about 8 or 10 times.  Be careful not to over mix.

 

Lightly oil a 9-inch round cake pan.  Place the dough into the pan and pat it into a large circle about 1/2-inch thick.  Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the circle into 8 pie shaped wedges.  Sprinkle the sugar on top if desired.

 

Bake at 425° for about 15 to 20 minutes.  The scones will be well-rising and golden brown.  They are best served hot with butter, jam, jelly or honey.  I prefer them with orange marmalade.  In addition to breakfast, scones are excellent with afternoon tea or coffee for a snack.  This recipe serves 8.

 

Scone Variations:

  • Apple Scones:  Chop 1/2-cup of dried apples into small bits.  Soak in hot water to re-hydrate for about 30 minutes.  Drain well.  Stir the apples into the dough along with 1-teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.  Proceed as directed.
  • Blueberry Scones:  Increase the sugar to 1/3-cup.  Add 1/2-cup dried blueberries.  Proceed as directed.
  • Orange Cranberry Scones:  Increase the sugar to 1/4 or 1/3-cup.  Add 1/2-cup dry cranberries and 1-tablespoon of grated orange peel to the dough.  Proceed as directed.
  • Cinnamon Nut Scones:  Add 1/3-cup finely chopped walnuts and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Proceed as directed.
  • Raisin Scones:  Add 1/2-cup plumped raisins and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Proceed as directed.  (To plump the raisins, soak them in hot tap water for a few minutes, and then squeeze to drain well).
     

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March 16th, 2010 | in Recipes | Leave a comment

If someone in your camping group is a vegetarian, it doesn’t mean they have to suffer.  Below are several great vegetarian recipes for main dishes both at base camp and on the trail.

Black Bean Burritos

Backpacking: Yes
Effort: easy
Serves: 1-2
Prep time: 1-30m

 

Ingredients:
tortilla shells – I like the soft taco size which pack easier package of Fantastic Foods dried Black Beans packets of taco sauce
cheddar cheese, diced peppers (if in first 2 days on trail) (a dinner for 2 uses 1/2 package beans and 6-8 tortillas)

 

How to Prepare:
Boil water for beans according to package Add beans, stirring well, and turn off burner*
Cover and let sit 5 minutes
Warm shells if desired (makes folding easier)
Make burritos and enjoy
*do not cook the beans – just let them sit, or else you will have a very messy pan.  Use an extra tortilla to wipe leftover beans from pan.
You can also make the beans, and then make quesadillas if you have a big enough fry pan.

 

Angel Hair with Fresh Vegetables

Rating:N/A
Backpacking: No
Effort: easy
Serves: any
Prep time: 1-30m

 

Ingredients:
Angel Hair Pasta
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Garlic
Fresh Tomatoes
Broccoli
Basil
Shallots

 

How to Prepare:
Simple dish with no set quantities.  Cook enough pasta for the number of people in your group and eyeball the rest to your liking. Prepare the pasta al dente.  In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and add minced garlic, and shallots.  Remove the pan from heat and toss oil mixture into pasta.  Add finely chopped basil, tomatoes, and broccoli.  We like to find fresh vegetables for our camping meals at roadside farm stands.  Easy and filling.  Enjoy!

 

Cream of Vegetable Casserole

 

Rating: 9.5
Backpacking: Yes
Effort: average
Serves: 1-2
Prep time: 1-30m

 

Ingredients:
1/4 C dehydrated broccoli
1/4 C dehydrated shredded carrots
1 (0.6 oz) package Creamy broccoli soup mix
1/2 C herb stuffing mix
2 Tbsp margarine/oil (opt.)

 

How to Prepare:
Rehydrate the broccoli and carrots in 1 1/2 C water.  Stir in the soup mix and margarine/oil.  Bring to boil, and then remove from heat.

Add the stuffing mix.  Toss lightly, cover and let stand 5-10 minutes.

 

You will find that in most cases any vegetarian dish you cook at home can be easily converted to a camping or backpacking dish and many dishes in which you include meat can be easily modified with the addition of tasty seasonal vegetables.
 

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March 10th, 2010 | in NJ Camping, Site Reviews | 1 comment

Sea Pirate Campground is one that prides itself on putting lots of effort into being entertaining both for the kids and adults who camp or stay there. This makes it a great choice for families who are looking to camp. The Sea Pirate Campground features crabbing and a stocked fish pond so your kids (and the adults) can get their fill of both fishing and crabbing. The Crab Fest happens there every September so if you like crab even a little bit (and how could you not) you should definitely check it out for both the food and the live entertainment. Many other annual events happen nearby including a chili cookoff and an antique car show in June, and a Halloween Parade in October.

 

During the peak times of the year (mostly summer) the campground features a wide variety of planned activities to help entertain both kids and adults. These range from arts and crafts activities to Pilates classes. For teenagers who think they’re too cool for fishing and arts and crafts, the Sea Pirate Campground also offers areas where teens can play basketball, softball, and volleyball. There is a wide variety of restaurants nearby if you don’t want to cook over an open fire, and plenty of antique shops available if that suits your tastes. If you’re more interested in studying nature you’ll be happy to know that the Sea Pirate Campground is surrounded by the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. This makes it an ideal spot for birdwatching or other environmental studies.

 

The $32 nightly fee for camping is a good deal considering all of the activities and amenities that the campground offers. Overall this is a very family-friendly place and the Sea Pirate Campground works hard at making sure all of their guests are happy and enjoying themselves. It is definitely worth checking out if you have small children or teenagers and want to make sure they will be entertained and having a great time.

 

For More Info: Sea Pirate Campground

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March 1st, 2010 | in NJ Camping | Leave a comment

Looks like I missed a campground in New Jersey when I was creating my "Places To Go" section!

 

Windy Acres Campground was inadvertantly left off my list! I sincerely apologize.

 

You can check them out at: Windy Acres Campground

 

If you come across a campground that isn't on my list or one that has ceased to function please don't hesitate to let me know so I can keep my site current.

 

Thanks

 

Eric

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February 21st, 2010 | in Camping, Recipes | Leave a comment

An energy bar is the outdoor equivalent of throwing softwood on the fire.  They are designed to provide quick energy when it is needed while camping or participating in other outdoor activities.  They are easy to carry, last in heat and cold and easy to eat.  The only downside is that commercial energy bars can be expensive and some leave a great deal to be desired in terms of taste.  Some would even leave one to believe that the main ingredient is sawdust.  The solution to these problems is to make you own.  Below are a couple of recipes for doing just that.

 

This energy-packed recipe is so easy to make, and requires no baking!  Whether you decide to wrap the bars in individual wrappings and take them on a hike or just keep them in the fridge for a post-workout boost, these bars are a delicious way to keep you going throughout your busy day.

 

I prefer to use a basic organic crispy rice cereal from the bulk section of my local health food store, but any crispy (not "puffed") rice cereal that is dairy-free will do.

Makes 16 to 20 bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

 

Ingredients:
5 cups dairy-free crispy rice cereal (see Head Note)
¾ cup rolled oats
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/3 cup finely chopped dates
¾ cups dark, dairy-free chocolate chips, divided into ½ cup and ¼ cup groups.
¼ t. salt
2/3 cups soymilk powder
¾ cup honey or agave nectar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
¾ cups tahini
1 t. vanilla extract

 

Preparation:
1.  Lightly grease a 9” x 13” baking dish with dairy-free soy margarine or oil or you’re your baking dish with parchment paper.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the crispy rice cereal, rolled oats, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, dates, ¼ cup of the dairy-free chocolate chips and salt.  Set aside.
2.  Place the soymilk powder in a small heat-proof bowl and set aside.
3.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey, brown sugar, tahini, vanilla and the remaining chocolate chips.  Stirring constantly, cook until the chocolate chips have just melted, the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is combined, about 1-2 minutes. (Alternatively, you can simply place a heatproof bowl in the microwave and microwave the mixture until just melted.) Gradually mix the tahini-chocolate mixture into the soymilk powder, stirring vigorously to avoid clumping.
4.  Pour the tahini-chocolate mixture into the rice cereal mixture, mixing well until evenly distributed.  Using your hands or a wooden spoon, press the mixture into the prepared dish.  Cut the mixture into bars while still in the pan and still warm.  Allow the bars to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before removing from the pan with a spatula. Serve at room temperature or cold.  Bars will keep for 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

 

Ingredients:
4 ripe organic bananas
3 cups organic rolled oats, not quick
2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup coconut flakes or shredded
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Coconut oil

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

 

Preparation:
Mash the bananas well in a mixer then add all other ingredients and blend well.
Place dough on a 12×16 inch jellyroll pan that’s been greased generously with coconut oil.  Pat out the dough into a rectangle about 1/3" thick.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 18 ? 20 minutes.  Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting the bars.  Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate.
Note:  Before or after baking you may brush or drizzle a generous amount of melted coconut oil on top of the bars for an extra energy boost.

 

If you are not into cooking and experimenting then try this.  There is a website,
http://www.elementbars.com  this allows you to design your own energy bar.  Though more expensive it may be fun and will make great gifts for your outdoor friends.
 

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February 7th, 2010 | in Camping, Recipes | Leave a comment

Kids love to cook while camping, and a humble box of aluminum foil, some non-stick cooking spray and you’re ready to go.  No other gear is necessary.  And the kids are involved and therefore more apt to eat since they had a hand in the preparation.


The beauty of foil cooking is that kids literally just have to spray with non-stick spray (or you can use non-stick aluminum foil), assemble the package and fold it closed.  You can cut up the ingredients at the campground or even before you leave home and keep them all in separate containers in the cooler.  It's also ideal to let each child create his or her own foil food, so that each one can get in on the fun and create a meal designed to their specific taste.  For larger groups or the family a large foil package may be made. 


Foil cooking should be done on coals, not on an open flame.  Start your campfire early and let it burn down to a nice bed of coals.  The coals will hold their heat long enough to allow for the entire cooking process.  Another method that can be used is to place some charcoal briquettes in your campfire.  Once they are started, spread them out and use them as the base for your foil cooking.


A classic recipe for a foil meal is to flatten a portion of hamburger, add some sliced potatoes and onions, double wrap it in foil and lay it on the coals of your campfire. Cook for about 7 minutes on each side.


Remember, when using these recipes with children, always help them turn the foil packet while it’s on the fire and take care when removing it from the fire.  A long set of tongs can be helpful in safely accomplishing this task.  Also, be careful when you unwrap the packet as hot juices may run out and these can cause burns.
 

Foil Roasted Veggies
If you think kids won't eat vegetables, you might be surprised how they change their minds when the fun of some foil and a campfire are involved.  Pick their favorites (they must like a couple, right?) and add a couple others.  Give them the diced veggies and the foil, and let them have fun.  Place closed foil wrap onto campfire or camping stove, and cook for 30-45 minutes.


Campfire Foil Fries
Spray foil liberally, and spray cut potatoes lightly.  Place in center of large piece of foil, and sprinkle seasoning like Old Bay on top.  Close and roast over fire or stove for 45 minutes.


Foil Apple Cobbler
Take sheet of foil and spray.  Place several diced apples inside, and add granola.  For fun, toss in some caramel or peanut butter chips.  Close and roast for 20-30 minutes.


Foil Family Pot Roast Dinner
Take a much-needed break from making dinner, and let the kids take charge.  Brown some diced beef for them in a pan first, and then let the spread out a couple large aluminum foil squares.  Add the beef, some small roasting potatoes and mini carrots. Toss a packet of Lipton onion soup mix, and close.  Roast over strong camp fire or stove for 1.5 hours.

 

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January 31st, 2010 | in Recipes | 1 comment

1 15-16oz can tart cherries (not pie filling)
1 15-16oz can blueberries (not pie filling)
1 smaller can crushed pineapple
1 small package of chopped walnuts
2 boxes Jiffy cake mix
1/2 stick butter pats

 

Add ingredients order, spread fruit and nuts in bottom of Dutch oven. Sprinkle cake mix over all and put butter pats on top. Cook 20 -30 minutes or until "cake" is done.

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January 29th, 2010 | in Recipes | Leave a comment

Dutch Oven Calzone

 

Dough:

2 cup warm water
1 Tbs. sugar
1 packet yeast (approx. 1 Tbs..)
1 tsp salt
6 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil

 

Filling:

Pepperoni

Sausage

Mozzarella Cheese

Peppers

Onion

Your choice


Mix water, yeast and sugar and let bubble. Add salt, 2 cups flour, olive oil and mix. Add approximately 4 more cups of flour 1/2 cup at a time till you have a workable dough. Let it rest. Divide into eighths. flatten into pizza thin rounds on floured board. put 1/4 cup pizza filling of your choice on each round. fold over and seal.

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January 27th, 2010 | in Recipes | Leave a comment

Grilled Pork Chops

1 c Soy Sauce
1 tsp Garlic Salt
1/2 c Brown sugar
1 tsp Molasses
1/2 c Sherry Family pkg Pork Chops (8)
2 tsp Cinnamon

 


Combine all except pork chops for a marinade. Pour over chops and marinate overnight in refrigerator. Place chops about 6"-8" above fire. Turn frequently and baste with marinade while cooking. Done in 35 to 45 min.

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January 22nd, 2010 | in Camping, Recipes | Leave a comment


No camping trip would be complete, especially with children, without the campfire classic “S’mores”.  Although many adults would say “Oh no, not me, I’ll just make one for the kids”, take a good look; long after the children have left the campfire the adults are still hanging around recounting endless camping stories from their youth and chowing down on those long forgotten gooey treats. 

 

The origin of S'mores dates back to the 1920's where it is believed the recipe was first discovered by the Girl Scouts.  S'more folklore suggests that they got their name right by the campfire.  After eating one, the young campers chanted "gimme some more! gimme some more!".

 

S’mores have become so popular that August 10th of each year has even been designated as National S’mores Day and while not an official National Holiday declared by Congress it is still a day to be celebrated by children and adult alike.  Of course S’mores can be enjoyed at all times of the year and in all places.  I find they are especially good around a campfire built while the snow is still on the ground.

 

The classic S’more recipe is quite simple:

 

Ingredients:
* Chocolate candy bar (Hershey’s plain is best because the squares are divided and not to thick)
* Honey Graham crackers
* Marshmallows (large)
Instructions:
* Break off two squares of graham cracker
* Place a piece of chocolate on one of the graham cracker squares and set aside
* Toast a marshmallow over the campfire
* Place the toasted marshmallow on top of the chocolate and graham cracker stack
* Immediately top with the second graham cracker square and press lightly to melt
* Eat, savor and enjoy!

 

I believe that the key to a great S’more is found in the toasting of the marshmallow.  It should be done slowly and patiently, and preferably over an open fire, until the marshmallow is golden brown on all sides.  This method will insure a creamy center.  When working with children, where patience is not high on the agenda, the flaming black marshmallow seems to be more to their liking as it gets the S’more to the mouth much faster.

 

The true purist or maybe those individuals working with Girl Scouts or other groups who require a project may elect to make their own marshmallows and graham crackers.  The recipes listed below are not difficult and are fun to do with children in preparation to your camping trip. 

 

Making your own marshmallows:
* 1/4 cup cornstarch
* 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
* 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
* 1/3 cup water
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup light corn syrup
* Pinch of salt
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*
1. Sift the cornstarch and confectioners sugar into a bowl.  Lightly grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch-and-sugar mixture onto it (set the rremaining cornstarch-and-sugar mixture aside).  Tilt the pan to coat the sides and the bottom. Leave any excess in the pan.


2. Using a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin into the water and allow to soak for five minutes.  Add the granulated sugar and stir over a low heat until the gelatin and sugar dissolve.


3. In a large bowl, combine the gelatin mixture, corn syrup, salt and vanilla and beat for 15 minutes on high speed, until peaks form.


4. Spread the fluffy mixture in the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Leave for two hours or until set.
5. With a wet knife, cut the marshmallow mixture into quarters and loosen around the edges.  Sprinkle the remaining cornstarch-and-sugar mixture on a baking sheet and invert the marshmallow blocks onto it.  Cut each quarter into nine pieces and roll each one in the starch and sugar.


6. Place the marshmallows on a cake rack covered with paper towels and let them stand over night to dry the surface slightly.  Store in an airtight container; the marshmallows will keep for a month.

 

Making you own Graham Crackers:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup light rye flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into pea-size bits
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.  In a food processor or large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Add the cold butter and mix or process until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add the honey, molasses, water, and vanilla.  Mix until the dough comes together in a ball.
Place the dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap and roll the dough to a thickness of 1/2-inch.  Chill for 1 hour or until firm.  Remove plastic wrap, lightly flour the dough and roll to a thickness of 1/8-inch.  With a sharp knife or cookie cutter, cut into 2-inch squares.  Arrange the cracker squares on a nonstick or parchment lined cookie sheets.  With a fork, prick several holes in each cracker and bake for 10 minutes.  Rotate, and bake about 7 more minutes, until lightly browned at the edges.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan.

 

Enjoy your S’mores and remember to celebrate National S’more Day on August 10th. or any time you go camping. 

Till Next Time

Eric

 

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