Archive for April, 2016

Things to Consider when Setting Up a Winter Campsite in the Snow

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

Winter camping can be a challenge and this is especially true when it snows before you can get your campsite set up.  What to do, what to do?  Well, the tips below will help set up a safe and functional winter campsite in the snow.

The very first thing you will need to look at when selecting a winter campsite in the snow is if it is safe.  I know safe, really seems simple but there are a few things that you may not of thought of that could cause you harm.  First, take a look up at the trees.  Are there dead branches hanging over your possible campsite?  What about the condition of the trees? While this may sound a little odd, a dead tree hanging over your campsite can give way anytime and if you are under it, well, bad things can happen.  

winter.campsite

The other safety issue is the snow.  Are you considering building your camp near a mountain covered in snow?  If the answer is yes then you need to think about the chance of an avalanche.  When in doubt, relocate your camp.

The next thing you need to consider is where your water source is.  Yes, you can melt snow but if it is not very deep and/or it is contaminated, this water source is not a choice.  You meet this need by selecting a reliable water source near your planned campsite. 

While this may not sound like a necessity, the need for a windbreak is very important when you are cold weather camping.  Having this protection can keep the fire burning and allow your tent to work the best it possible can to keep you warm.  But……there is a fine line between having trees around and having a situation on your hands. 

Speaking about trees, not any tree makes a great windbreak.  Look for trees that have needles.  These are called evergreens and the needles that remain on the tree year round create a wonderful windbreak. 

Another consideration is landmarks.  When things are green, it easier to find your way back to your camp but when there is snow on the ground, this task becomes harder.  When selecting a campsite, make sure that it is unique enough that you can find it again when you walk away. 

Finally, once you have picked the best site by the recommendations described above, make sure you note in what direction the sun comes into the campsite.  Solar radiation is free and a great way of warming up the campsite.  To wake up on the right side of the tent every morning, make sure that the door of your tent opens up to the sunlight in the morning.   It will put a smile on your face and make getting up in the cold warmer.

Campfire Recipe: Easy Corn Chowder

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Yes, this recipe says easy but it does not say tasteless.  This easy corn chowder is one of my favorites and when people eat it, they think I have spent hour over the campfire.  Well, surprise.  This dish is trouble-free and quick.  It is a great choice to put on the camp menu for a day that you want to get out and explore the great outdoors verses being chained to the camp stove or fire.

Campfire Recipe:  Easy Corn Chowder

Ingredients

Spray or liquid oil

1 Tablespoon of butter

1 ½ cups of ham cut up into cubes

1 medium onion

1 rib of celery

3 cups of milk

16 ounce package of frozen corn

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

¾ to 1 cup of instant mashed potato flakes

easy.corn.chowder

Steps

  1. Begin to prepare the coals by building the fire.
  2. Take your 14 inch Dutch oven and grease the inside with spray or liquid oil
  3. Put the butter in the Dutch oven and place the Dutch oven on a grilling rack above the fire.
  4. Add the ham and stir.
  5. Peel and chop the onion.
  6. Add the onion to the Dutch oven.
  7. Mince the rib of celery and add to the Dutch oven.
  8. Stir the ingredients in the Dutch oven until the onion is clear and the celery is soft. 
  9. Add the remaining ingredients to the Dutch oven expect the instant mashed potato flakes.
  10. Move the 14 inch Dutch oven to a heat resistant surface.
  11. Place a large amount of coals on this heat resistant surface and top with the Dutch oven.
  12. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and completely cover it with coals. 
  13. Cook the chowder for 20 minutes.
  14. After the chowder has cooked the prescribed time, knock off the coals from the lid.  Add the instant mashed potato flakes but do not put the full amount in at one time.  Doing this will cause it to clump.  To prevent this, add about a ¼ of a cup until the chowder is as thick as you would like.
  15. Once thickened to your liking, serve with some crusty bread. 

While this dish is delicious, there are a few things that you can add to the chowder to enhance the dish.  First, you can add sliced carrots and/or bell pepper to the dish when you add the onion and celery.  Lastly, if you really want creamier chowder, consider adding grated cheese to the dish when you add the instant potato flakes.

Camp Fire Recipe: A Simple Swedish Apple Cake

Monday, April 25th, 2016

When my grandmother was around, she used to come up with “dump cakes” before they were so popular.  This simple recipe is one she came up with when she was cleaning out her cupboard.  While the recipe below calls for store bought apple pie filling, you can use your own canned apples or any other fruit you would like.    

Camp Fire Recipe:  A Simple Swedish Apple Cake

Ingredients

Spray or liquid oil

18.5 ounce box of lemon cake mix

Ingredients noted to prepare the cake mix

21 ounce can of apple pie filling

Whipped topping, optional

swedish.apple.cake

Steps

  1. Build fire to prepare the charcoal briquettes.
  2. Take a 12 inch Dutch oven and lightly grease the inside.
  3. Line the inside of the Dutch oven with parchment paper.
  4. Open the can of apple pie filling and spread evenly on top of the parchment paper.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the lemon cake mix according to the cake mix directions.
  6. Pour the prepared cake mix over the apple pie filling layer and smooth the surface.
  7. Place the lid on and carry the Dutch oven over to a heat resistant surface.
  8. Take 12 charcoal briquettes from the fire and arrange into a circle.
  9. Place the 12 inch Dutch oven on top of these coals.
  10. Top the Dutch oven with 22 charcoal briquettes.
  11. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes.
  12. After the time has passed, knock off the coals from the lid and remove the Dutch oven from the heat resistant surface. 
  13. Allow the Dutch oven to cool for 30 minutes.
  14. Once that time period has passed, place a plate on top of the Dutch oven and turn upside down.  If the cake does not fall out, simply give the parchment paper a little tug. 
  15. After the cake is on the plate, pull off the parchment paper and serve.

If you really want to make this dessert special, whip up some fresh heavy cream for a topping or pour a little caramel sauce over the top.  Looking for something that is unique for an apple pie topping, consider adding sliced cheese to the top as soon as it comes off the coals.  Yes, I know the cheese will be on the cake layer but in this case you will have to serve right off the parchment paper.  While I love all the toppings, the extra sharp cheddar cheese is my favorite plus it gives me a little protein with my cake.  This makes eating more of the cake fine, just kidding.