Camping Bread Sticks

 

 

 

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This past weekend we celebrated my mom’s birthday with spice cake and camping.  My mom loves camping. Well maybe I should say, RV’ing. It’s not really camping-camping where you poop in the woods but rather pull up to electric. But it reminds my mom of childhood and she likes hearing the symphony of campfires and children whizzing by on bicycles. Now too it is nostalgic for me, walking the paved circle around the sites to survey the hanging lanterns of neighbors and smell what each family or group of friends is making for dinner.

 

 

 

It is indeed relaxing, even for my dad who is charged with the labor of setting up the camper and fire pits. Usually he will end up napping in a hammock too low to the ground with his hat tipped over his face.

 

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My parents were very sweet and made the trip East so that Kevin and I could more easily join in the fun. And so, recalling all the fun camping cooking traditions that my mom had taught me when I was a kid,  I brought along a new one.

 

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This recipe is very slightly adapted from green kitchen stories, to make it more portable.

This recipe assumes you have the ability to heat some water to slightly warm to activate your yeast. You’ll likely have many of the ingredients in your camping arsenal anyway. Further, this recipe serves a bunch of people and makes use of an entire yeast packet for ease of use, but we had a bunch of waste with 4 people and just having it as a side, so I would recommend cutting the recipe in half if you’re not serving a ton of people.

 

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Packing List:

measuring cup and spoons

a lightweight towel or saran wrap to cover the dough

3 tsp dry active yeast

1 tsp honey (I had a tiny bear of honey that was the perfect travel size.)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

In a small ziplock or jar:

1 cup shredded carrots and/or apples (optional)

In a large mason jar or ziplock:

4 cups flour of your choice (I used 2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cup spelt flour)

In another small ziplock:

1 handful dried fruit (cranberries and chopped dates would be good) (optional)
1 handful seeds or nuts (I used pumpkin seeds ) (optional)

Dump your flour in a large bowl and use your now empty mason jar (with measurements on the side) to warm your water. (Microwave if you’re parents RV, set beside fire if not.) Add yeast, honey and salt and swirl your jar to dissolve. Add the shredded carrots/apple, dried fruit, and seeds to the flour, mix to combine. Once the water has foamed up, add to the flour mixture and gentle knead it into dough. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or until double in bulk.

Meanwhile prepare the campfire (or grill).

Find a thick stick from a non-pine tree. You don’t want a skinny marshmallow stick, look for something about the diameter of your thumb. Take a handful of the bread dough and form into a log with both hands. Start from the tip of the stick and wrap it tightly around. Bake the bread by holding the wrapped stick over the hot fire and slowly rotate to get it evenly baked and golden brown. It can take from 5 to 15 minutes. To test it, tap the bread. It should sound hollow and be crispy and brown on the outside. Put some olive oil or butter or jam on your warm bread stick and enjoy.

 

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Roasted Green Beans with Sage and Almonds

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I just realized that only one out of my five last posts have been about food. Whoops. Well I think we are about due. On that note I present to you a side dish that sings ‘fall.’ And it doesn’t even include pumpkin or butternut squash. (No offense to those fall players;  I made pumpkin gnocchi just the other day.) I usually will just saute my green beans with garlic, olive oil, a little butter, and almonds, but I had some sage to use up so this sort of fell into place and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It’s actually easier and tastes even better.

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I love the idea of saving money by eating at home so I asked my husband how much he thought a restaurant would charge for the whole dish. He got brownie points for reasoning that only a fancier restaurant would go to the trouble of serving roasted green beans with sage and guessed “For two sides? At least $9.” I don’t really care if he was only trying to stroke my ego because the dish cost less than $2.50 to make and 5 minutes hands-on time.  I chalk that up as a W.

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Adapted from Finger, Fork, and Knife.

Preheat oven to 395 degrees.

Line a roasting pan with parchment paper.

Toss:

2 big handfuls of trimmed green beans

about 5 fresh sage leaves

a little less than a 1/4 cup of almonds, roughly halved

with enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the ingredients and sprinkle with sea salt.

Roast for 15 minutes. If you need to buy yourself some time whilst attending to more attention demanding dishes, turn off the heat and leave the beans in the oven. They aren’t anything to write home about once they cool.

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bubble smoothie

As a replacement to soda I’ve been drinking a lot of fruit juice and seltzer water. It’s been awesome. Apple is the clear winner with some ginger and lemon thrown in to kick it up a notch. I don’t miss diet coke at all. I’ve got the fizzies and the sweet- it’s a perfect combo with no aspartame induced hang-over.

bubbles

This past weekend I had a juice at a fairly local juice bar/cafe that blew my mind. I’ve been trying to capture that flavor but with the added bubbles of my beloved seltzer water.

So, may I suggest two dynamite flavor combinations.

strawberries on towel

1.) orange, strawberry & grapefruit <- seriously will blow your mind.

2.) strawberry, peach, pineapple, small grating of ginger and lemon.  Add tons of seltzer water to taste.

strawberry, peach, pineapple

 

Note: Seltzer water is also known as sparkling water. Seltzer is just water and carbon dioxide whereas club soda has sodium bicarbonate and mineral water has other minerals added. Tonic water has quinine in it, and in my not so humble opinion, is the grossest thing ever. The quinine was originally added to stave off Malaria and that’s why gin and tonics became popular in tropical regions, but now it’s just in there to disguise the even grosser taste of gin. Pick your favorite, the flavors are surprizingly different from one type to the next.

Raw Rainbow Pad Thai

I have written and taken pictures for about 4 posts that I have deemed not good enough for your kitchens. Each dish was good enough for dinner, but left me wanting to tweak and experiment once more before giving it to you- and I just haven’t had time. Plus I’ve been working on a game plan for some of my friends that are going to do a sorta-detox with me. So there are a few recipes I want to try before including in the game plan.
 
However there is one recipe I’ve tried since the last post that is indeed worthy of your kitchens. But because my photos were crudy and because the recipe is perfect as-is, I am only going to direct you to Oh She Glows.  This conncoction is not going to make it to the cleanse menu because it contains tamari, but it is delicious and wayyyy healthy. I was holding the recipe until I can get my mitts on a spirilizer someday but couldn’t wait and instead used my julian veggie peeler and a trusty pairing knife. Get thee some peppers, zuchinni, and red cabbage; then try this recipe that certainly lives up to it’s name.
 
isn't it beautiful!

isn’t it beautiful!

planning a sort-of detox

Last Friday I sent the following email to some of my local friends and got a surprizing number of takers. We’ve since changed the dates to Sunday, July 28th to Thursday, August 8th, but essentially, here’s a preview of what’s to come. Drop a comment if you are interested in participating!

Also, click the picture to get the recipe for this beautiful fresh side. It will definitely be making it to the sorta-detox menu. Had it last night and will vouch for it’s bright, delicious flavor.

ribboned-summer-squash-salad

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grilled eggplant & green curry

grilled eggplant and green curry (8 of 8)

I’ve been working on a week-long game plan for you. I’m aiming for a list of each meal, snack ideas, occasional deserts, and tips for preparing ingredients ahead of time. But I’m testing it out as I go. One of the meals I wanted to included was a total flop. It was a recipe I cut out from a real simple magazine years ago and had stowed away in the little photo album I use as a recipe binder: “Thai ginger chicken.” The image was this beautiful dish that was much more inspiring than the above image.

grilled eggplant and green curry (1 of 8)

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Almond Apricot Bars

It is wedding season. Today is my two month anniversary. Last weekend we drove 7.5 hours to see a beloved friend get hitched to her perfect match and today I leave for my hometown to be maid-of-honor for the only girl who would be my friend when I changed schools in second grade.  I am indeed honored. Last weekend I packed snacks and a to-go dinner that served well… until the tofu, which apparently sat too long outside the refrigerator, decided to wake me up at God knows what time a.m. and make me feel like I was going to pass out instead of fall back asleep.

But I still wanted to pack some nutritious options for this weekend’s trip – so I don’t end up ordering a kid’s meal of  chicken (?) nuggets and a jr. frosty. {I may have made some poor decisions last weekend! Don’t judge me!} Preferably one that doesn’t have the opportunity to go bad and force the hubs to play Florence Nightingale. Cliff bars were great for our honeymoon because they needed zero care and allowed us to share a bar when we a little hungry, but were trying to get through a very bumpy dirt/rock road before sundown. Plus we could save a little money by having a big (included with our hotel) breakfast buffet late in the morning, have a bar for lunch, and then have a nice dinner out.

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budget-minded minestrone

Eating healthy is expensive. The hubs and I have been working on a budget and trying to track our expenses. We gave ourselves a generous grocery budget because we decided at this point in our lives eating healthy, varied, and often organic meals was important to us. Yet we admit that when we have to start buying diapers, that priority will likely change. But for the time being, the hubs supports me wanting to cook with fresh and fun ingredients that cost more than subsidized Cheetos and such ilk.

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But even with that generous budget, we went over… substantially. This blew my mind.  I really try to plan our meals. Sundays usually entail me sitting down with my cookbooks and a notepad where little arrows swap meals around avoiding food waste. “Okay, so the mushrooms are about to turn so we’ll have mushroom risotto tomorrow night and then Tuesday I’ll make minestrone to use up the kale, cabbage, and celery with enough leftover for lunches.”  And while we try to buy organic, hormone/antibiotic free (or local where it’s used when needed and not as a standard process), which is undoubtedly more expensive, we try to off-set the expense by having meat only a few times a week, instead opting for more vegetarian meals.

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Thai Veggie Burgers

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The Hubs and I decided last week that enough was enough. The clutter was driving me crazy. We bemoaned our own failure to hang up pictures and curtains. We succeed in keeping our kitchen clean,  but when it comes to clutter, we are both guilty of letting things accumulate in the living room.  So what do you do when you are ashamed of your filth? Invite people over! We decided that we needed a deadline and a potluck was just the enforcer.

While I did prepare an unhealthy potato salad,  (who can turn down a special request?) we also served organic, grass-fed hamburgers and homemade veggie burgers. Our guests brought all sorts of omnomery including homemade ice cream (avocado lime for the adventurous, chocolate and strawberry for the faint of heart) and corn bean salad. I planned on taking all these cool pictures, but I got stuck at my job late and guests were actually beating me to my house- so I had to kick it into gear and leave the camera behind.

The veggie burger came from my favorite food blog, Cookie + Kate.  I love my usual lentil burgers, but turns out lentils give the hubs stomach aches, so I was excited to try this new recipe.

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