Cooking and Camping

campfire cooking 1
Using our Lodge cast iron Dutch Oven

There are different kinds of campers in this world. Some are more “glampers”, they like to have every bell and whistle and TV’s outside and A/C and every luxury when they are camping. So these kinds of campers usually have really nice campers and it feels like home away from home. The other type of campers are the more rugged type, that don’t mind getting dirty, cooking over an open fire and sleeping under the stars. I would say our family is a perfect mix of the two. We came from two different camping philosophies to find peace in a new one that works for us, together.

 

Poose and his family have always brought their own pre-packaged foods for camping. So they would use their outside kitchen on their camper and make cans beans and boxes of macaroni and cheese. Me and my kids on the other hand have always cooked over the fire for our food. We’ve made hobo dinners that we’ve thrown in the coals and roasted food on sticks, etc. So it was unique when we came together to find a way to handle our meals for camping that met in the middle.

 

For our wedding my mom got us a large Lodge castiron 14″ dutch oven.I was excited to try it out for our family of 6 on our camping trips. We read the little book that came with it and it explained how you use the coals underneath and on the lid to do the cooking on the inside. We tested it out on a few of our recent camping trips and we are hooked. It makes the most delicious meals and is very easy to do. I highly recommend using the liners for easy cleanup. I have also found the lid lifter and the lid stand to be helpful in avoiding burns.

 

campfire cooking 2
Cheese Enchilada Casserole

Our favorite recipes are easy and have become staples when we go camping. One of the easiest is a cheese enchilada casserole. You simply layer enchilada sauce with corn tortillas, cheese, beans (kidney and/or black beans) onion and some taco seasoning. It doesn’t take long before it’s bubbling and smells so delicious. We top it with some green onion and sour cream and we never have any leftover.

 

Potato corn chowder is another winner. We simply add onions, potatoes and vegetable stock with seasoning to the dutch over. It’s not long before it’s bubbling and we let the potatoes soften then we add a bag of frozen corn. When everything is cooked through we sometimes add some milk or cream. It’s delicious when served with a dollop of sour cream.

campfire cooking 3
Potato and corn chowder

We try to eat organic whole foods as often as we possibly can. Camping is no exception to the rule. We have found using the cast iron dutch oven to be the perfect helper for making delicious healthy meals that we all like. Perry is gluten free and Big Z and I are vegetarian, so we find meals that works for all of us in one pot. All of us have been satisfied with cooking this way during our camping adventures. We all look forward to filling ourselves on these delicious concoctions. I’ve not had anything turn out where we didn’t eat it. so this makes me happy.

I feel good about camping and cooking this way. We bring our own dishes, we prefer not to use paper plates because of the wast it creates. Camping doesn’t have to be about convenience food and paper plates. It can be fun to cook around the fire, as well as healthy. We have found cooking large meals in the dutch over to be a life saver for our large family.

 

What is your favorite way to eat when camping? Do you have any go to family favorites when camping? Do you prefer to cook inside a camper or out under the stars? Have you ever tried a Dutch Oven, have any  helpful hints for me?

 

 

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Cooking

PSX_20150921_205058I LOVE food, cooking and most of all eating. I am very passionate about sharing that love with my children. Food education and cooking provide an excellent example of how unschooling can work.  I feel strongly that food education is lacking in the public school system. I remember when I was in school, I had home economics by middle school.I enjoyed home economics in school because my mom had us involved in cooking at home, so I found it easy and fun. I was saddened to hear that any type of food education is often delayed until High School. Often this is after bad eating habits have already been formed and many children are already obese.

I remember watching Jamie Oliver on TV going into public school classrooms and the kids weren’t able to identify the most basic of fruit and vegetables. I thought maybe it was staged, sadly I’ve run into some children since then, that proved it was a sad reality. Trying to give children very basic tidbits when they are in a high school classroom on the importance of a good diet and asking them to color a food pyramid isn’t going to cut it. Leading by example is important, if I make healthy choices for myself and my family, hopefully, they will go on to do the same. Walking through the grocery store and asking them as toddlers to find a green vegetable, including them in my daily activities such as my trips to the market, and prepping dinner was giving them an education.
 Unschooling is it’s a great way to share your passions and knowledge with your children in a very natural way. So at an early age, my kids were given a knife and taught the safe way to use it, they were taught to be excited at the farmers market when they spotted a new fruit or vegetable they wanted to try. This isn’t because I sat them down and showed them pictures of proper knife handling or did flashcards of vegetables. It’s because it was a natural part of our life. Cooking together started at a very young age. Now with three teenagers, they all are involved in our meal planning and they are active participants in cooking, and they find pleasure in it.
I think cooking is an important skill for all people to have. Understanding your way around the kitchen can be beneficial in so many ways. Clearly so much learning happens when children are involved in cooking. They are learning skills they will use for their entire life. Reading is involved when they use a recipe, Math is involved when measuring the ingredients, clearly they are learning about nutrition and making wise choices for their health. Baking is a perfect example of chemical reactions (that sounds like science to me). That’s what’s great about organic learning, it happens naturally and joyfully.

Another Reason I love not having a Microwave

I wrote last week about our decision to ditch our microwave. I quoted some articles full of some reasons why some people have decided to live without a microwave. My reasons were pretty simple, I wanted more nourishing foods for our family, and I feel the microwave does diminish the nutritious value of your foods.
A reader commented on that article and shared some additional links on the issue of using a microwave. Health benefits aside, it got me to thinking about another benefit to a microwaveless life.
An unexpected reason that I’m enjoying life without the microwave is because it really does make you take more care when preparing your food. I love the slow food revolution going on, and I think not having a microwave really forces you to think ahead and prepare your food with a bit more love. You are definitely living more consciously when you are chopping, cutting, slicing and dicing in comparison to reheating in the microwave.
I do feel that I have more of a connect with my food when I’m taking the time to prepare it and think about it ahead of time. Our everyday lives are so full of hustle and bustle. Taking the time to slow down and prepare your family a nutritious slow cooked meal is nourishing to you body and soul. I have a real passion for food. I love eating and enjoying healthy, delicious meals, at home and at restaurants. Recently I have spent some of my time reading about and watching some documentaries about our food. It’s been so enlightening. I hope to share some of these favorites with you soon.
I am excited to be blogging on a regular basis, I hope more of you will comment and I wanted to thank Steve for his comments last week!
Photo by ScottDMoose