Archive for December, 2016

Creating an Emergency Heater for Camping

Friday, December 30th, 2016

While watching a show about a father and son camping, I realized that the characters never had a time when they could not get a fire going.  Through rain, sleet, high winds, and snow the fire started with not much effort or at least not real world effort.  What do I mean by real world?  Well, I have camped through a hurricane, snow, and even rain that was blowing sideways.  Through it all, my campfire never seemed to light up like the one on the show I was watching.  While a fire is very important, it is extremely important anytime you get cold and/or wet.  These two conditions can quickly end an enjoyable camping trip but what can you do if you cannot get your fire started?  Learn to be prepared by educating yourself on how to create an emergency heater.


No, you do not need a bunch of fancy equipment nor do you require a lot of supplies.  Everything you need should be at your campsite and/or in your backpack.  To begin the process, you will first need to gather a few items.  This includes a large metal can such as those that you need to carry out with you.  A roll of toilet paper and 70% isopropyl alcohol are the remaining supplies.

Next, place the toilet paper inside the can.  Once that is done, pour the isopropyl alcohol over the toilet paper and then light. The toilet paper acts as the wick while the isopropyl alcohol is the fuel.  Since the alcohol that is exposed to the air is the only thing burning, you do not have to worry about the bottom of the tin can becoming hot.

While this is a great little emergency heater, you will need a couple to really heat things up.  Also, if you plan on moving the heater to your tent be very careful.  This should only be done in a dire emergency and the heater itself should be put up on a table.  It should also be place in the center of the tent to keep the tent material itself from catching on fire. 

Part of being a responsible camper is learning skills that will help you survive in an emergency.  While I wish all camping trips were like the movie I was watching, the fact is that sometimes you end up wet and cold without a fire.  The simple but effective emergency heater described above, now gives you the basic skill to stay warm even when the fire will not light.

It’s great if you are able to create an emergency heater when camping, but when it comes to installing or maintaining a heater at home, it’s best to leave this to professionals. Check out for professional services in Manassas.

Campfire Recipe: Cottage Cheese Sweet Rolls

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Ok, I know you cannot believe cottage cheese in sweet rolls but believe me these rolls are out of this world when it comes to flavor.  The best part beyond the taste is the fact that they only have to rise once and then you can bake them. 

Campfire Recipe:  Cottage Cheese Sweet Rolls

Ingredients for bread

Spray liquid oil

3 cups of all-purpose flour plus some extra

¼ cup of granulated sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of small curd cottage cheese

¼ cup of softened shortening

¼ cup of butter softened

2 packages of Active Dry Yeast

½ cup of water

1 egg

Ingredients for filling

¾ cup of chopped nuts, optional

¾ cup of packed brown sugar

¼ cup of granulated sugar

3 Tablespoons of softened butter

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon, optional

Ingredients for glaze

2 cups of confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup of milk or buttermilk



  1. Lightly grease a 12-inch Dutch oven with spray or liquid oil.
  2. Build the fire to heat the water to 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Drain the cottage cheese and place in a large bowl.
  5. Add the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, salt, shortening, and butter to the large bowl.
  6. Mix with fork.
  7. Add the egg to the large bowl and mix.
  8. Add the yeast mixture to the large bowl and stir.  At this stage the dough will be sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour and stir.  Continue with this process until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  9. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and place the dough on top.  Roll out the dough so that you have a 10 by 18 inch rectangle. 
  10. Combine all the ingredients for the filling and spread onto the 10 by 18 inch rectangle.   Make sure though that you leave a ½ inch border around the edge of the dough.
  11. Roll up the dough starting at the narrow end. 
  12. Once the dough has been rolled up, cut the dough with dental floss into 10 pieces or rolls.
  13. Place the pieces (rolls) of dough into the 12-inch Dutch oven.  Make sure to leave about 1 inch between the rolls. 
  14. Cover with plastic wrap and put the lid on the Dutch oven.
  15. Let dough sit for 1 hour to rise.
  16. Remove the plastic wrap and carry the 12-inch Dutch oven to a heat resistant surface.
  17. Arrange 12 prepared coals in a circle on the heat resistant surface.
  18. Place the Dutch oven on top and cover the lid with 20 prepared coals.
  19. After 5 minutes remove the coals from the center of the lid and move to the outer edge of the lid.
  20. Cook for another 15 minutes.
  21. Once that time period has passed, knock off the coals from the lid and remove the Dutch oven from the circle of coals.
  22. Whisk up the glaze and top the rolls with the glaze.


Campfire Recipe: Dutch Oven Buttermilk Bread

Monday, December 26th, 2016

Who said you could not make homemade bread while you are camping?  Well, it was not me and the best part is the fact that this is not a quick bread but a truly delicious yeast bread that your camping family will ask for again and again. 

Campfire Recipe:  Dutch Oven Buttermilk Bread


Liquid or spray oil

5 ½ to 6 cups of all purpose flour

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 envelopes of Rapid Rise Yeast

2 teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon of baking soda

1 cup of buttermilk

1 cup of water

1/3 cup of butter or margarine



  1. Put 3 cups of all purpose flour, granulated sugar, undissolved yeast, salt, and baking soda.  Stir.
  2. Build the fire to prepare the coals.
  3. Put a grilling rack above the fire.
  4. In a medium sized fire-proof saucepan combine buttermilk, and water.
  5. Cut butter or margarine into small pieces and add to the small saucepan.
  6. Place saucepan on grilling rack and heat until 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Do not worry if the butter is not melted.  Once the temperature has been reached, remove the saucepan from the grilling rack.
  8. Add dry ingredients from step 1 and stir until to mix.  Continue to add flour until you have a ball of soft dough form.
  9. Sprinkle a hard surface with flour and place dough from step 8 on top.
  10. Knead the dough until it is no longer sticky, and smooth.  This should take 6 to 8 minutes.
  11. Cover the dough with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  12. Grease the inside of 2 12-inch Dutch ovens with liquid or spray oil.
  13. Once the time has passed from step 11, divide the dough into two balls.
  14. Using one ball, roll out the dough into a 12 by 7 inch rectangle.
  15. Starting at the narrow end, tightly roll up the rectangle and seal the seams as you go.
  16. Place prepared dough from step 15 in one of the Dutch ovens seam side down.
  17. Repeat with the process with the other ball.
  18. Cover each Dutch oven with a towel and allow the dough to double in size.  This should take about 30 to 45 minutes.
  19. Once the dough has risen, remove the towels and place the lid on each Dutch oven.
  20. Move the Dutch oven to a heat resistant surface.
  21. Make two circles of 10 prepared coals each.
  22. Put a Dutch oven on one circle of prepared coals.  Cover the lid with 26 prepared coals.  Repeat with other Dutch oven.
  23. After 15 minutes have passed, move the coals from the center of each lid to the outside of the lid. 
  24. Continue to cook for another 15 to 20 minutes more.
  25. Once the time period has passed, knock off the coals from the lids, move the Dutch ovens from the circle of coals, and remove the bread from each Dutch oven to cool.

Serve once the bread has cooled down.