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Camp Recipes

6 Tasty Trail Mix Recipes

September 26, 2016
trail mix
trail mix

©istockphoto/epantha

Put the store-bought trail mix to the side and mix up your own easy and delicious snack! Visit your local grocer’s bulk food department and try out one of these tasty trail mix recipes. Just mix the ingredients in a large bowl, store in an airtight container and enjoy!


Super S’mores Trail Mix
Makes 6 cups
– 1 cup chocolate chips
– 1 cup mini marshmallows
– 1 cup Annie’s Honey Bunny Grahams
– 1 cup mini pretzels
– 1 cup chocolate covered peanuts

Be careful to not leave this mix in a warm car or in the sun or you’ll have a gooey, chocolaty mess on your hands (much like a traditional s’more)!


Black Forest Trail Mix
Makes 6 cups
– 1 ½ cups dried cherries
– 1 ½ cups dark chocolate chips
– 1 ½ cups unsalted almonds
– 1 ½ cups unsalted cashews

Again, don’t leave this mix in the heat or the chocolate will melt!


Spiced Pumpkin Trail Mix
Makes 6 cups
– 1 cup pumpkin seeds
– ¾ cup cinnamon glazed pecans
– 2 cups dried cranberries
– 1 cinnamon granola clusters (such as Nature Valley or Mamma Chia)
– ¾ cup Blue Diamond Pumpkin Spice almonds
– ½ cup of chocolate covered espresso beans

It’s not fall without a little pumpkin spice, right? Take advantage of the autumn flavors and make this much healthier version of your favorite fall beverage.


Power Trail Mix
Makes 6 cups
– 1 ½ cup shelled pistachios
– 1 ½ cups dried cranberries
– 1 cup unsalted walnuts
– 1 cup dark chocolate chips
– 1 cup toasted coconut flakes

This nutrient-rich trail mix will give you the energy you need to get through your next hike.


Kid-Friendly Trail Mix
Makes 6 cups
– 1 cup Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies
– 1 cup M&M’s
– 1 cup mini pretzels
– 1 cup air-popped popcorn
– 1 cup Cheerio’s
– 1 cup dried blueberries

Lots of kids dislike or are allergic to nuts, so try this nut-free mix full of treats they love. Better yet, let your kids help by mixing up their own trail mix; just don’t let them fill the entire bowl with candy!

Camp Recipes, Camp Tricks

Tips for Telling Spooky Campfire Horror Stories

September 6, 2016
campfire story
campfire story

©istockphoto/franckreporter

Much like s’mores and sleeping bags, a great campfire story is something you simply can’t do without if you’re going to be spending a night out in the woods. Not all stories are equal however, and if you’re going to impress you need to learn how to properly tell one. Next time you’re huddled around the fire and want to spook your friends, keep these tips in mind.

Set the Scene
Every good horror story needs the right mood. Terror requires a somber atmosphere and a bit of uncomfortable silence, much like you might find in the forest in the middle of the night, with only the rustle of leaves and the hoot of an owl to keep you company. People are more receptive to stories when they’re tired, so wait until late into the night to start spinning your tale.

Choose Your Story
Whether you’re pulling from a tried and true local legend or plan on spinning your own yarn, it’s important that you come prepared. Know the story like the back of your hand so you don’t find yourself stumbling over important parts in the middle. Nothing ruins a good story like leaving out facts or tripping over your words. Research ahead of time and find local news stories, the more recent the better, that you can transform into something truly frightening for your friends. Remember, the truth is always more terrifying than fiction.

Use Your Surroundings
When you hear a constant rustle in the woods around you, try to incorporate it into your tale. If it fits with your story don’t be afraid to use your surroundings to enhance details as you go, but try to be subtle about it. You don’t want to pretend the story happened in your location, but throw in descriptions of things around you to remind your listeners of the area they’re sitting in. That way, they’ll feel like the horrible things going on in your story could also happen to them.

Use Your Acting Skills
Nothing kills a story faster than telling it in a monotone voice. You need to practice your acting skills ahead of time to find just the right amount of fear and anxiety in your voice without going over the top. Your listeners have to believe that you believe what you’re telling them otherwise your story will fall flat. If need be, run the story by someone who isn’t going with you on the trip so you have it down before the actual event.

Use Props
The man holding the flashlight beneath his face as he tells the story is a common trope in movies for good reason; it makes the storyteller look more frightening. There’s also another reason that it’s a great prop some people tend to forget about. In a dark environment a light will draw the listener’s attention toward it, making the surrounding area not touched by the light seem even darker than before. Using the flashlight makes the woods around you appear more ominous.

Plant the Seeds
If you really want to be thorough and make your story effective, start planting the seeds a few days before the trip. Drop hints about some strange happenings going on in the area where you’re camping, like disappearances or attacks, to make them think they’re not entirely safe. You’ll sow a little fear into their hearts and make them ripe for a great tale of horror.

Keep It Close
Eye contact is essential when telling a good story. It helps keep your listener’s attention on you while also establishing a feeling of trust between you, so they’re more likely to believe what you’re telling them. It also helps to sit close together and create a sense of claustrophobia if you can. If your listener doesn’t like small spaces, try telling the story to them in the tent after you’ve already put out the fire.

Camp Recipes

Recipe: Campfire Enchiladas

August 29, 2016
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart_spivack/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart_spivack/

Campfire cooking doesn’t have to be restricted to the basics of burgers and hotdogs. Why not spice things up with a few flavors from south of the border? These Mexican Campfire Chicken Enchiladas are simple to make and require minimal preparation for a great fireside meal.

What You’ll Need

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 package corn tortillas
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can green chili salsa
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 1 diced bell pepper
  • 1 diced small onion
  • 1 bag grated cheese of your liking (we use cheddar and American)
  • Like any good enchilada recipe, feel free to add any extra veggies you want!

What To Do

1) It’s important to cook the chicken ahead of time, as attempting to do so over a campfire is risky business and could easily lead to you getting sick. Bake your chicken at home before your trip in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Once done, cube the chicken and pack it a container with ice to keep it cold.

2) Place a grill overtop the fire to place your enchiladas on while they cook. Line a piece of foil overtop the flames and place your chopped onion, bell pepper and green chilies on top to let them cook. Wrap them up to trap the heat. Leave them for about five to ten minutes, depending on how tender you like them.

3) You may have noticed the recipe calls for a combination of green chili peppers and green chili salsa, making it a tad spicy. Feel free to add and subtract these ingredients to make it your own if that’s not to your taste.

4) Lay out another strip of foil and coat it with a light layer of cooking spray. Place your tortillas on top. Add the vegetables, cubed chicken, chili salsa, a smattering of cheese and the sour cream to top it off. Fold the edges of the tortilla around the mixture. Coat the top of the wrapped tortillas with the rest of the cheese then wrap the foil around them. Alternatively, you can add a little bit of the chili salsa overtop the tortillas before adding the final layer of cheese, but it’s not necessary if you don’t want it very hot.

5) Flip the foil every four to five minutes for a total of 20 minutes cooking time, longer if you prefer, but try not to go over 30 or you might burn the cheese. Be careful when unwrapping, as they will be hot. There you have it! They tend to get a little messy so be careful when taking a bite, or maybe bring along some forks to help things along.

Camp Recipes

Recipe: Hearty Turkey Stew

August 22, 2016
©istockphoto/AvatarKnowmad

©istockphoto/AvatarKnowmad

Whether it’s early spring or the autumn leaves are turning red, this easy to make hearty soup will keep you warm in the chilly evenings. This recipe works great with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving but is just as delicious any time of the year. Tip: this recipe is even more delicious with smoked turkey!

What You’ll Need

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 4 cups diced, cooked turkey
  • 6 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • 2 cups diced yellow potatoes
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 ½ cups of frozen green beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 6 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1) To make things even easier at the end of a long day of hiking or fishing, do the prep work at home: cook your turkey ahead of time and chop all your veggies and put them in ziploc plastic bags. Then you can simply pull the ingredients out of your cooler and get to cooking (and very little clean up after)!

2) Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat and add onion, sautéing until transparent, about 10 minutes.

3) Add all remaining ingredients except half and half, flour and parsley. Cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

4) In a separate, small bowl, mix half and half and flour until smooth. Add mixture to soup slowly, stirring constantly until thickened. Do not boil!

5) Garnish with parley and enjoy!

Camp Recipes

Recipe: Campfire Flatbread Pizza

August 12, 2016
©istockphoto/https://www.flickr.com/photos/jsalita/

©istockphoto/https://www.flickr.com/photos/jsalita/

While the typical hotdog and s’mores diet of most camping excursions is great and all, sometimes you want a little bit more with your fireside meal. Why not try a little Italian while you’re out in the wild? This easy-to-follow recipe for campfire pizza is a favorite among adults and kids and won’t take up much room in your pack.

What You’ll Need

Ingredients

  • 1 flat bread per person
  • ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano

For this pizza we prefer focaccia flatbread, but naan and pita work just as well; or you can go the traditional route and try and prepare your own pizza dough at home. The flatbread is just easier, as you can prepare it ahead of time and pack it along, wrapped in foil, and it won’t make a mess or take up much room.

With the pizza sauce, there are plenty of premade varieties available at the grocery store, but it’s so easy to make at home you don’t even have to bother. Simply mix together the tomato sauce and paste in a medium bowl until smooth, then slowly blend in the garlic, paprika and oregano and allow them to mix. Voilà!

Campsite Directions:

While it’s a good idea to come to the campsite with everything pre-prepared, you’ll also need to kill time while the fire gets going, so you can always chop your vegetables while you’re waiting. We chose onions and green peppers for our toppings but, obviously, you’re free to add or remove anything you’d like!

This recipe doesn’t require a grill and can be done over a campfire, as long as you have a grate or some other way to hold your pizza above the fire without it falling into the coals.

1) Open up your aluminum foil packages of flatbread and spread the foil open with the flatbread in the middle. You’ll need enough foil so that when you wrap it back up it won’t lie flat against the top of the pizza, otherwise your cheese and sauce will stick.

2) While your flatbread is lying on the foil, spread your homemade pizza sauce overtop. One great way to transport the pizza sauce to the campsite is with a tightly sealed baggie.

3) Add on your cheeses and then your chopped onions and green peppers. Adding meat is a great option, but will take longer to cook and have to be carefully monitored so you don’t undercook and get sick.

4) Fold the foil back over the flatbread, covering it completely. If you used enough foil you should be able to make something of a pyramid shape to keep it from falling onto your pizza. Just pinch the top together to keep it in place.

5) Place it on the grill and let it cook until the cheese is melted to your satisfaction. Once it’s cooked to your liking, and the flatbread hasn’t burned, you’ll be ready to chow down!

Camp Recipes

Super S’mores: Easy, Next-Level Treats for Your Next Campout

July 7, 2016
©istockphoto/ethanfink

©istockphoto/ethanfink

S’mores are synonymous with camping. They’re the iconic outdoor treat: gooey, sticky marshmallows and warm, melty chocolate smashed and oozing between crunchy graham crackers. You may think this classic treat can’t get any better, but here are a few recipes to take your s’mores to the next level.

Campfire Cones

Not only is this s’mores derivative fun and delicious, it can also be less of a mess and it’s great for kids. Just get a package of waffle cones and fill them with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips, wrap them in foil and let them sit over indirect heat. Be careful when you unwrap them as they will be hot! You can even add small pieces of candy like M&Ms or mini candy bars to your cone, or top it off with some whipped cream and caramel syrup for a decadent treat.

 

The Peanut Butter Cup

Forget the chocolate squares and grab a peanut butter cup instead! The salty peanut butter will add a new level of delicious to your s’mores. If you’re camping where it’s hot and the candy may melt, swap it for a jar of your favorite nut butter or cookie butter and simply smear some on your graham crackers before adding your perfectly roasted marshmallow.

 

Nutella S’mores

Similar to the peanut butter method, but far more decadent, the Nutella s’more will make you feel like you’re glamping. For an even richer treat—and to make it “healthy”—add some fruit such as sliced bananas, strawberries or raspberries. You probably shouldn’t eat too many of these, though you’ll want to eat the entire jar, with or without the marshmallows.

 

The Grasshopper

Fresh breath and a delicious dessert? Instead of plain chocolate, upgrade to a peppermint patty and you’ll never go back to plain s’mores again. This s’more is especially great around the holidays, and you can swap peppermint patties for peppermint bark if grandma got carried away this year and gave you five pounds of it in your stocking.

 

Banana Boats

Another “healthy” option, the banana boat is easy to make and has endless variations. Take an unpeeled banana and make a slice along the inside curve, but do not cut all the way through. Open the slit and fill with chocolate chips, marshmallows, candy or cereal. Wrap it in foil and place in the fire with a long pair of tongs. Let it cook for about ten minutes, then carefully remove it and enjoy!

 

Cookie S’mores

Whether you just want to knock everyone’s socks off or you hate graham crackers like me, break from tradition and use cookies instead. Snickerdoodles, Oreos, gingerbread, you name it. And if you use classic chocolate chip, you don’t even need to use a chocolate bar—though we would never suggest using less chocolate.

 

S’mores Dip

If you’re feeding a large group and don’t have enough marshmallow roasting forks, s’mores dip is a great way to keep everyone happy. Just get a fire safe dish such as a cast iron pan and fill the bottom with chocolate, then top with marshmallows. Let it sit over the fire and get good and melty before serving. You can kick it up by adding peanut butter, candy or fruit to the dip, and using cookies and pretzels for dipping!

Camp Recipes

How To Spice Up Your Favorite Hike

June 30, 2016

photo-1414542563971-94513793d046We all have favorite hikes that we know well: close to home, scenic, familiar timeworn trails where your boots know the way almost by themselves. Sometimes they’re like old friends we know well…and they can also become routine. Here are some ways to make your favorite spot a new experience.

1. Go Dark
Get to the top before dawn, or watch the sunset from the peak and head down after dark. Challenge yourself to not use your headlamp at all. Let your mind and feet remember the trail and let silhouettes and sounds guide you. Start easy by picking a full moon, or challenge yourself with a moonless night. In addition to snagging a sunrise or sunset, you’ll change night from a time to hunker down to a time for exploration.

2. Run It
If you’re a trail runner, ditch the boots and run your favorite trail. You’ll have the advantages of being on your home turf. And nothing invigorates like a giant pile of endorphins.

3. Become a Nature Nerd
This is your home turf, so you’re the best person to notice subtle changes. When do the glacier lilies poke through the snow? When do songbirds appear in spring? When do the leaves start turning and what’s the first day that you feel the nip of all in the air? This information is more than just fun for locals to collect. It’s becoming a vital way that scientists can study the effects of climate change all over the world.

4. Capture the Seasons
Bring your camera along. Capture photos in all seasons—the first dusting of snow, summer heat and winter’s icy lockdown. Go beyond the big scenics and focus on the details.

5. Have a Sleepover
You’ve done this trail a million times—but have you made it an overnight? Bring your sleeping bag, pick the most scenic spot, and stay overnight. Sure, you could be home quickly, but we all do this this outdoor so we can sleep out under the stars.

6. Share It
Don’t try and protect your favorite spot so nobody will find it. People protect places they love, and the more who love your favorite spot, the more likely they are to do what it takes to keep it wild, from helping with trail maintenance, managing invasive species, or raising their voices when a threat arises. As Edward Abbey said, wild places don’t need defending so much as they just need more defenders. Share “your” spot with your pals.