I have always had a deep love for nature, whether it be my inner Taurean or my appreciation for simplistic beauty, nature has always helped me become grounded again. My father loved being out doors too, I definitely attribute my adventurous spirit to him. When we first moved to the States, he would drive us all over the country, experiencing all the beautiful landmarks and scenery that America had to offer. We would go camping with a couple other families and I always remembered it being a wonderful time. We'd go fishing, hiking, play hide and go seek, and most importantly -- eat.
I often hear the common complaint from friends that camp food is "gross". I never understood what they meant because everytime I went with my family, not only was I well fed, but I'd eat to the point where my stomach hurt. There was just always such a large variety of choices -- tea eggs, numerous cold appetizers, , dumplings, beef noodles, endless fresh fruit, freshly baked cookies and cake, the list goes on and on. Granted the choices were quite Asian, I always ate like a king. I never really learned what American camp food was til I joined girl scouts in the third grade, where the only thing I found really edible was s'mores (I was not a fan of hot dogs back then).
A few things to keep in mind when preparing a menu for camping:
- Choose recipes that are simple and quick to make
- Prep as many ingredients as you can beforehand to maintain minimal waste when you reach the actual camp site (i.e. beat your eggs before hand and store in a ziplock bag or plastic container so you do not have to worry about crushing your eggs or disposing the shells)
- Grilling is one of the easiest techniques to make simple, fast and great tasting food
- Pre-marinate meats the day before you leave so they will be ready to cook once you set up your food station
- Buy ALOT of ice! This is the only way your perishable food will survive
- Aluminum foil is crucial (I actually forgot to pack this and we had to stop at Wal-mart to pick some up) and metal pans to put your cooked food in (They are reusable if you line them with foil and rinse them out afterwards)
- Keep cooking untensils to a minimum you only need the essentials: knife, cutting board, spatula and a medium pan
I was so busy taking pictures of the scenary that I didn't get any notable pictures of the food I made -- skillet potatoes, breakfast tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches, grill chicken and vegetables and fajitas. For the post I will do the Mexican Breakfast Tacos -- they were so easy to whip up and it was probably one of my favorite meals of the trip.
Ingredients for Mexican Breakfast Tacos (for 6)
- 24 corn or flour tortillas
- 1 dozen large eggs
- 3 poblano peppers, seeds and ribs removed
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 can black beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup queso fresco
- kosher salt to taste
For the Mexican Breakfast Tacos, coat the peppers with oil and place on the grill. Sprinkle with salt and cook until the skin on the peppers are wilted and the flesh becomes soft, about 15 minutes. Be sure to turn the peppers over half way through cooking time so both sides are evenly cooked. Remove chiles from grill and set aside. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Heat oil in medium sauce pan over grill and scramble the eggs, about 5 minutes. Set eggs aside and keep warm with aluminum foil. Grill the tortillas, 30 seconds on each side, just enough to where it leaves grill marks and tortillas are heated through.
You can assemble the tacos any way you like, I've made two combinations: Grilled Poblano and Egg breakfast taco with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa and a Black Bean and Avocado breakfast taco with Queso Fresco and Spicy Habanero Salsa. You can find Queso Fresco at your local Mexican market, if you do not have one near you, I am sure Whole Foods would carry it.
Overall, it was such a wonderful camping trip. It was nice to have a relaxing weekend out in the open Brazos river and taking in the beautiful colors of fall. My dog Layla tagged along and was a complete angel through the entire canoe ride and even managed to help me catch some fish! But most importantly, it was a great time with friends where we had great laughs, yummy food and lots of fun appreciating and exploring the wonders of nature together :).