Monday, May 20, 2013

Love Camping But Tired Of Eating Just Beans?

Enjoying a Campfire

Enjoying a Campfire

Campfire Ideas

Whether setting up tent in deluxe campsite or heading off into the wilderness with nothing but a backpack and a camping stove, campers face many of the same problems when it comes to meal times. Food for camping needs to be convenient but nutritious and if you are doing lots of walking, it also needs to be a good source of energy which means lots of carbohydrates and proteins. It also needs to be lightweight and easy to prepare, as well as non-perishable. With all these limitations, taste is often the last thing on the camper’s mind but at the end of a long day hiking through the woods, a plate of beans and rice can seem like a very disappointing prospect. Yet, fear not as there are more options available you than you might think! Borrowing from the hunting recipes of Native American and with a few tips from South African food, you can add a bit of flair to your camping fare.

Around the Campfire

If you intend to have a campfire on your trip, be sure to check local guidelines and always follow fire safety guidance. Many campsites do not allow campers to start a fire but for those that do, you are in for a treat. If you intend to have a barbeque make sure you do so on the first night, as it is not safe to eat meat that has been unrefrigerated for more than a few hours. Make sure that you eat all of the meat you bring and dispose of any leftovers so as not to attract local wildlife.

Apart from roasting meat, a campfire is a great opportunity to try some other outdoor ideas. Make your own popcorn by wrapping popcorn kernels in tin foil with a little oil and placing over the flames. Then serve with sugar or salt. Another great trick with tinfoil is to wrap baking potatoes in the foil and place them into the fire. With both of these methods make sure that you take care when handling and opening the hot tinfoil after cooking.

Snack Like a Squirrel

Nuts, dried berries and fruit make a brilliant nourishing snack food that is full of vitamins and minerals and high in protein and carbohydrate. This is referred to by backpackers as Trail Mix. As well as being lightweight it is also non-perishable, so you should definitely keep some in your pocket and snack throughout the day.

Cereal, granola bars and flapjacks are also a great source of nutrition, whether as a snack or a handy breakfast. If you intend to take bread, choose some that is long lasting and which has a “seven day fresh” guarantee. Also ensure that you keep it wrapped in an airtight zip lock bag. Zip lock bags and tin foil are a brilliant and lightweight option of food storage when camping so make sure to pack some. Take peanut butter instead of a spread for your bread, as this also keeps longer and is a good source of protein.

Long-life Alternatives

If you want to take milk with you, make sure it is the long-life variety which stays fresh for longer, even when not refrigerated. If you only want milk for hot drinks, take some powdered milk or coffee whitener instead. A traditional British camping food is Kendal mint cake, a hardened tablet of sugar flavoured with mint and sometimes coated in sugar. This gives a great energy boost for those long walks.

Biltong, a South African dried meat, has been used for decades as a tasty and nutritious snack for hunters. It is a tasty source of protein that can be chewed as a snack or added to meals for some flavour.

Around the Camping Stove

When you can’t have a campfire, you will need to turn to the humble camping stove. Make sure you pack pasta and rice which are both lightweight and nourishing. Tinned foods are heavy so are better for those staying at a campsite but should be kept to a minimum for backpackers. Remember to take some pastes, salt, sugar and small packs of herbs or spices to add flavour to meals.

Jasmin Blunt is a blogger who understands that food when camping can often be a depressing prospect because of the limitations which are put on what you can take. She recommends taking some Native American or South African food to add inspiration to your camping meals.

 

Campfire Recipes

Campfire Recipes

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Campfire Recipes

 

Pepper Stew

Campfire Recipe

Pepper Stew or Fajitas for the Campsite

It’s easy to cook a healthy and non-processed meal even while camping.  Ingredients in this recipe are easily portable and don’t require exact measurements.  All of the ingredients pull double duty, so you can choose between fajitas or a stew.

Equipment:
For this recipe, you’ll need a large fire safe pot and a way for it to be heated over a fire. Depending on your preference, this might be a tripod or it might be a grill that is placed over the fire. Your fire should be fairly hot even as you begin this recipe. Alternately, you can also create this stew on a camp stove that can maintain heat for at least two hours. For food preparation, make sure that you have a cutting board, knife and can opener available.  Peppers can be washed before you leave home.  Optional seasonings can be dashed in or measured with the palm of your hand.  A small cupped palmful is about one tablespoon.

Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers (any colors you like)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 pound beef (can be ground beef, sliced skirt steak, or cubed stewing beef)
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes  (Alternately, you can also use 5-6 fresh tomatoes, but it will take longer to cook)
  • Canola/vegetable oil
  • Optional Seasonings:  Salt and Pepper, Garlic Powder, Cumin, Coriander, smoked or sweet paprika

 

Cooking:
Place the pot on whatever you are using as a heating element and allow it to warm up. Peel the onion and cut it up into chunks or slices. Throw the onion chunks into the pot along with a small amount of cooking oil. Cut the bell peppers into strips and throw them in the pot with the onions to soften for a couple minutes.

 

Fajitas:

If you would like to make fajitas, add sliced skirt steak and optional seasonings.  (About half a tablespoon each)

Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and place in the fire for 30 seconds to warm up.  Wrap the fajita mixture in warm tortillas and add optional cheese or salsa and enjoy.

 

Stew:

Add the meat and brown for a few minutes and then add your cans of stewed tomatoes and any optional seasonings you like up to a tablespoon of each. Cover the ingredients with about two inches of water and place the lid on the pot.
This simple stew is done when the water is cooked off. The key is to make sure that the ingredients are wonderfully soft and nearly spreadable. If you notice the pot going dry, just add a bit more water.

To serve you can simply spoon the stew into a bowl and serve as is.  Optional additions can grated cheese and a thick slice of bread.
Erica Hill is writing on behalf of Gaiam TV, a healthy lifestyle media company based in Colorado. Gaiam TV specializes in green living, online yoga videos, and workout videos online.
 

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Baked Bean Casserole

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

 

As the dish’s name implies the common way to make baked beans is in a casserole bowl or a cast iron skillet and baked. However, it is not unusual to stew them on top of the stove.
 
Just about every region has its own way of doing it. The famous Boston baked beans usually use a sauce made from molasses and pork. It doesn’t surprise us that since Maine and Quebec produce a lot of maple syrup they like to incorporate that into their sauce. Some countries use tomato sauce as the base.
 
If you like, you can use navy beans and soak them overnight. This recipe uses canned pork and beans and I think it comes out just as good.
 
I like to cut my onions and green peppers up in rather big pieces. That way if anyone is persnickety about onions and or green peppers they can pick them out easily and still enjoy your baked beans.   Try to get them as close to the same size as you can. This is a trick my Mother, Dorothy,  taught me.
 
 
Gramma Alice’s  Baked Beans
Serves about 15 people
 
6 slices thick bacon, quartered
1 medium onion, cut up size of your choice
1/2 medium green pepper, cut up size of your choice
3 large cans (28 ounces each) pork and beans
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup distilled or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon
3-4 scallion greens for garnish
OPTIONAL: cut up the other half of the onion and put them in your dish before you serve. You would be surprised how some people like that fresh onion crunch and taste in their beans.
 
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Put the oven rack in the lower-middle position
 
Fry the bacon in a large deep sauté pan until it has partially cooked and about half of the drippings are released.
Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.
 
Add the onions and peppers to the drippings in the pan to give them a rich smokey flavor.
Sauté until they are tender (about 5 minutes)
 
Add the beans and the rest of the ingredients (except the optional raw onions). Let this simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
 
If you don’t have a large enough pan to hold the ingredients and the beans, you can do the beans first, then transfer them to the casserole dish and add the rest of the baked bean ingredients after they have simmered in the sauté pan.
 
Put the simmered bean mixture into a greased 13 x 9 oven proof casserole dish or bowl. 
 
Put the slices of bacon on the top
 
Bake for about 2 hours. The beans and the sauce is bubbly and about as thick as syrup.
 
Let stand for about 10 minutes.
 
Enjoy