Archive for December, 2015

How to Make a Camp Light in a Pinch

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

What do you do if you break your light or your light’s energy source becomes depleted?  Well, you could just sit in the dark and wait for daybreak or you could make your own emergency light.  While there are several different ways of doing this, the one I am going to describe utilizes things you can find in your camp kitchen.

The first thing you will need is a glass jar with a metal lid.  For my sample lamp, I am going to use a glass jar that was leftover from the Italian spaghetti dinner I made the night before at camp.

After I gathered the jar, I washed it out along with the lid. 

The next item I needed was some liquid oil.  Any kind will really do.  Once I had that, I tore off some of my cotton t-shirt for a wick.  While this step may sound very simple, there really is a trick to this step.  The “wick” needs to be long enough to make it into the jar.  Yes, having it reach the bottom of the jar would be great, sometimes this is not possible.  The best approach is to make sure you have some dangling inside the jar.  This will extend the life of your light.

Once you have your “wick,” the next step is to create support for your wick.  This comes from the lid.  To make this support, simply poke a hole in the center of the lid.  Now, test out your wick in the lid.  If you have trouble getting it into the hole either reduce the width of the wick and/or make the hole bigger.  After you have had a successful dry run of your wick, you can remove it from the hole and place it in the oil.  Allow it to sit there for at least 10 minutes.

The next step requires you to run the wick through the hole.  Once that is done you are ready to light but…………as simple as this light is there are a few cautionary rules that one needs to follow.  First, never leave this light lit unsupervised.  It does not take much to knock the light over and once that happens the oil will pour out.  This equates out to a spreading fire.  Also, never use this light in your tent.  It is only designed to be used outside.  Finally, since this light is made with oil, it will smoke a little bit when lit compared to traditional lights.  In doing so, do not be alarmed when you first light it.  The black smoke will dissipate over time.

Camp Fire Recipe: Pumpkin and Espresso Scones

Monday, December 28th, 2015

What could be any better than pumpkin and strong coffee (espresso)?  Well, nothing really except a beautiful sunset, a peaceful day on the trail and being with friends.  The recipe below is one that I cook up when I am having a Girls’ Camping Trip.  Why is this?  The fact that I have discovered is that men do not or do not want to take the time to make this dish.  They would rather hike and/or camp.  My girlfriends, on the other hand, like a nice scone and cup of coffee or tea to go along with a short hike. 

Camp Fire Recipe:  Pumpkin and Espresso Scones


2 cups of all-purpose flour

¼ cup of granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon of salt

¾ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice or ½ teaspoon allspice and ¼ teaspoon of ginger

½ cup of unsalted butter

1 large egg

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of canned or fresh pureed pumpkin  *Since I make this dish in the Fall I always take the time to make my own pureed pumpkin from my Halloween pumpkin.

3 tablespoons of brewed espresso or very, very strong coffee, cold

¼ cup buttermilk

Up to ½ cup of powdered sugar

Liquid or spray oil



  1. Start charcoal briquettes.
  2. Grease 10-inch Dutch oven with liquid or spray oil.
  3. In a bowl, mix flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice or spice mixture together.
  4. In a different bowl, combine egg, pumpkin, 2 tablespoons of coffee, and buttermilk.
  5. Take the butter and cut into small pieces.  Place in bowl with flour mixture and work in with two forks.  Continue to do this until the flour and butter mixture is crumbly. 
  6. Add the mixture from step 4 to the flour mixture and stir 3 times.  If you over work the dough, the scones will be tough.  This is why you should only go around the bowl 3 times.  Do not worry if the dough is lumpy.  This is what you really want.
  7. Take a tablespoon and drop spoonfuls of dough into the Dutch oven.
  8. Once that is done, move the Dutch oven to a heat resistant surface.
  9. Take 10 charcoal briquettes and create a circle on the heat resistant surface.
  10. Place 10-inch Dutch oven on top.
  11. Place lid on top and put 20 to 25 charcoal briquettes on top.
  12. Cook for 15 minutes.
  13. After the time has passed, remove the Dutch oven from its heat source and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  14. While the scones are resting, combine 1 tablespoon of coffee with powdered sugar. 

Top the cooled scones with the icing and enjoy.

Camp Fire Recipe: Glazed Pork Loin with Pears, Parsnips, and Carrots

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

My husband and I always make a point to go camping on our birthday.  His is in January and mine is in September.  While we do not always make it on the day or even in the month, we always try to create a seasonally inspired dish for each other’s special day.  Below is just one of the dishes I have cooked for my husband’s special day.

Camp Fire Recipe:  Glazed Pork Loin with Pears, Parsnips, and Carrots


2 pound pork loin



2 Tablespoons fresh sage

4 carrots and parsnips

2 firm pears

Olive oil

Salt and pepper



  1. Build fire to prepare charcoal.
  2. Grease your 12-inch Dutch oven with olive oil.
  3. Peel carrots and parsnips.  Slice vegetables into thick pieces.
  4. Place vegetables into greased Dutch oven.
  5. Wash pears and core them.  Slice into thick pieces.  Place in Dutch oven.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix 2 tablespoons each mustard and honey.  Remove sage from its stems.  Chop 1 tablespoon of sage.  Add to mixture and set aside.
  7. To the vegetable and fruit mixture, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons chopped sage. 
  8. Stir and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Snuggle the pork loin in between the vegetable and fruit mixture in step 7. 
  10. Rub the pork loin down with the mustard and honey concoction from step 6.
  11. Place 14 prepared charcoal briquettes in a circle on a heat resistant surface.
  12. Put the 12-inch Dutch oven on top.
  13. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and top with 30 prepared charcoal briquettes.
  14. Allow to cook for one hour and fifteen minutes. 
  15. Once the cooking time has passed, check the meat’s temperature.  It needs to be 145 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
  16. After the meat is done, remove from the heat source and remove the lid.  Allow the meat to sit for 15 minutes before serving. 

When taking up this dish, you may notice a nice broth in the bottom on the Dutch oven.  Do not waste this “gravy.”  Take up a generous scoop of it and place it on top of the meat and vegetable mixture.  The melody of flavors will not disappoint. 

While parsnips are a seasonal vegetable, this dish can really be made anytime with seasonal produce.  If parsnips are not available, add more carrots.  Pears not your thing or they are not in season, consider using apples.