Gone Camping

I love everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, about fall.  Some of my fondest memories are during this season.  When I was 8, my father started taking me canoe camping to the Boundary Waters near Duluth, Minnesota.  We went every fall until the end of high school.  The canopy of red, orange and gold leaves serenaded you as you portaged and canoed from lake to lake. The cool crisp air as you paddled across the lake on a sunny day…it makes me feel so alive. My husband and I met 9 years ago this October. We were married October 25, 2009.  We try to do everything we can during the fall season.  Camping, hiking, fishing….anything to get us outdoors. Even it is a simple campfire outside, we love spending this time together.

A friend from work invited us to go camping up in Northern Michigan last weekend.  We jumped on the opportunity.  It was 30 degrees at night, so we did not do a ton of fancy cooking.  Basic campfire food was prepared, which was absolutely delicious. I called the weekend “no carb left behind”.  I literally felt I was eating everything that wasn’t good for me…and it felt fantastic.  I kept telling myself, and my friends, that we were eating important calories to help keep ourselves warm.   :o)

My husband and I kayaked, fished, hiked and sat around the campfire enjoying a nice glass of wine and a cold beer.  The perfectly clear nights we had with a billion stars didn’t hurt either.  Wish we could have stayed for a week…

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The foods you see in the pictures:

*Bacon cooked over a fire…best idea ever.  We got tired of cleaning up bacon grease while camping, especially with all the critters.  By cooking it on our tripod that fits right over the fire, the clean up is a breeze!  Plus, you can’t beat the smoky flavor. There was also has browns with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion and cheese.  Nothing too fancy.  One of the other campers also made eggs with boursin herbed cheese.  We also toasted our bread and English muffins over the fire.  It leaved the outside crispy and inside soft…so delicious!

*My friend decided to make campfire nachos.  She took all the chips, put them on foil with re-fried beans, cheese, salsa, onion and jarred jalapenos. We cooked it over the open fire on top of the grill grate.  I don’t know if I was just super hungry, but these were some of the best nachos I’ve ever had. I think it was the smoky undertones it had from cooking over the fire.

*There is also a picture of my cheesy potatoes. (*Last 2 pictures in gallery were from a different time, same recipe) I’ve been making these “foil pouches of love” for years.  You can add what you wish inside depending on taste, but this is what I did. I’ve done several variations, but the cheese potatoes seem to be a family favorite.  First, take one large rectangular piece of foil and lay it on the counter.  Place a second layer of non-stick foil on top.  Add a lot of sliced potatoes, a couple pats of butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion (if you want it), and cheddar cheese.  Roll into a tight long burrito so no juice can leak.  Cook on a grill or over an open fire until the foil gets dark on the outside.  When you open the foil, the cheese should have started to caramelize and crisp up.  The crispy cheese is the best part!  On a side note… I know this sounds fancy, but I usually bring a small mandolin to slice potatoes when camping.  It makes it go SO much faster.  I usually keep one with my camping gear.

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10 Minute Apple Sauce

My husband and I bought a ton of apples at an orchard last week. We have been extremely busy, but I wanted to make sure I used them to bake/cook before they go bad. I have made this 10 minute apple sauce several times but never with the seasonings below. This is Alton Brown’s recipe, but it is so easy to change ingredients and vary the recipe depending on your tastes. I’ll explain my changes within the recipe.  After making this apple sauce at home, I honestly will never buy apple sauce from the store again. It lasts a long time in the refrigerator as well. The ingredients for this recipe are items I always have on hand (huge bonus).  

Materials:

  • 3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and quartered (I used 3 Cortland)
  • 1 cup unfiltered apple juice (I used apple cider)
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or more depending on taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger Continue reading

The Autumn Drive

My husband’s family introduced me to an event held every year called “Autumn Drive”.  It is held in Woodstock, IL once a year. There are apple orchards, farms, antiques, ceramicists, apple cider donuts, kettle corn…need I say more? You go from barn to barn for several miles. We had such a great time and I plan on going back next year.  I picked up some fabulous foods and a neat pair of gloves with a matching “sock monkey” hat.  The hat was purchased, not only to continue my skills as a “fashionista” (oye), but to keep me super warm as I supervise my 6th graders at recess this winter. Anyway, my favorite was the selection of foods at the various farms.  The pumpkins were super cheap too!Helloooo kettle corn! 🙂

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