31 May 2008

Watermelon Milkshake

Easy and awesome for a warm evening cool off.

2 C. watermelon [substitute with fruit of choice]
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. ice cubes
3 T. instant pudding powder

30 May 2008

Dutch Oven Vegetables

This recipe is dead-simple and easy to modify to your liking. We simply throw a couple of steaks on the BBQ and dinner is done.

8 cups of vegetables, cut into bite size pieces (broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots, mushrooms, onions, squash, green beans, red pepper)
1/4 lb. butter
1 envelope Dry onion soup mix
8 oz grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Add vegetables to Dutch Oven and replace lid. Put 24 coals under Dutch oven until steaming and then pull away half the coals. When veggies are tender but no overcooked remove most of the excess liquid and sprinkle on the cheese.

The cheese combined with the onion soup mix and veggie water make a very tasty sauce.

We also tried this recipe in foil packs, directly on the fire and it worked beautifully.

25 May 2008

Dutch Oven Pie

Our camping buddies brought a yummy, pre-made cherry pie that needed to be baked. To turn our Dutch oven into a simple 350° oven, we put 8 glowing briquettes underneath the oven and 12 on the lid. Like magic, baked pie for dessert, around an open fire.

24 May 2008

Mountain Babe Camping Brunch


OK. So it started to sprinkle on our last day of camping. I planned on having this breakfast before we left on that day but it turned out to be more prudent to pack up and head into town for the nearest Tim Hortons instead. So, we made this recipe using our Dutch oven inside our regular oven (350°) at home, the following night for dinner. We followed all the below instructions except the whole briquette-thingy part. You can try almost any Dutch oven recipe at home this way. Here is the recipe in its traditional form:

1 – 1 C. bacon or sausage pieces leftover from previous meals
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 C. mushrooms, sliced
1/4 C. red peeper, diced
1 C. potatoes/yam/cauliflower combination leftovers, cut into bite-sized pieces
S + P
8 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 C. Cheddar cheese, shredded

Combine the meat and vegetable ingredients in Dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake using 6 briquettes bottom and 10–12 briquettes top for 30 minutes.

Pour eggs on top. Cover for another 20 minutes until eggs are done. Sprinkle cheese on top and replace lid until melted.

23 May 2008

Dutch Oven Pull Apart Bread


I found this gem on Byron's Dutch Oven Recipes. This is a labour intensive endeavor. It couldn't be more of a contrast to the Pineapple Dump Cake posted earlier in terms of the effort required. But if you like the idea of hanging around the campsite, chilling at the picnic table while kneading dough and making individual bread balls ... it's all worth it in its delicious end.

5 C. bread flour
3 granny smith apples; peeled and chopped
1/2 C. sugar
3/4 C. raisins
2 T. active dry yeast
3/4 C. walnuts, chopped
2 t. salt
1 1/2 T. ground cinnamon
1 3/4 C. warm milk
1/2 T. ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. butter, melted
3 T. butter, melted

1/2 C. butter, melted
2 C. powdered sugar
3/4 C. sugar
2 T. hot water
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. vanilla extract

DOUGH Combine 2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add milk, eggs, and butter, beat until smooth. Mix in remaining flour, 1 cup at a time. Knead dough for 5-7 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Place dough in greased bowl, cover and place in a warm area until dough has doubled in size.

FILLING Combine apples, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and melted butter. Stir until brown sugar has coated fruit.

COATING Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

IT ALL COMES TOGETHER Punch dough down and cut into thirds. Cut each third into 16 pieces. Make a small 2-3" circle. Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the center and wrap dough around pinching edges together to form a ball. Dip in melted butter and roll in cinnamon/sugar coating. Place in 10" Dutch oven starting around the outside working towards the middle until bottom of oven is covered. Spoon 3/4 cup filling over top of balls. Repeat. Cover and let raise for 30 minutes.

Bake using 8-10 briquettes bottom and 18-20 briquettes top for 30-40 minutes rotating oven and lid every 5-10 minutes until bread is golden. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes with the lid on before flipping onto a serving platter. Drizzle frosting over top and sides of bread.

Good luck. Have fun. Happy kneading.

21 May 2008

Lovin' the Oven: Camping with a Dutch Oven

This is our Dutch oven. [Note: it doesn't have anything to do with you and your husband under a blanket]. You can also see the handy dandy lid lifter that doubles as a fire poker and tongs which we use to move the coals around.

Key features of our dutch oven are:
· 3 feet on the bottom so we can put coals underneath it
· lip on the lid so the coals won't roll off
· 10" across. It seems that most recipes assume a 12 inch and so we modify the number of briquettes required appropriately.

In this photo, you can also see our briquette lighting tower. Put a handful of paper in the bottom, the number of briquettes you need for your recipe in the top, light the paper, wait about 10 – 15 minutes and your briquettes are ready to go.

This is what it looks like in action. The cast iron gets very, very hot, which is why we like lid lifter. We also have a pair of welding gloves that come in handy.

We've been testing all kinds of Dutch Oven recipes and I can't wait to document them here, such as Pineapple Dump Cake and Mountain Babe Brunch. So much fun!

You can see all the recipes and activities we do camping here.

Check out Back Woods Home for the Seven Secrets of Dutch Oven Cooking.

15 May 2008

Time Capsule

Spud noticed this on the shelf the other day. I explained to him that we sealed it after his first birthday and it's not to be opened until he's 18 years old. "Is that a long time?" he asked, and "What's in there?". I tried my best to explain but it's definitely time to tuck it away.

So, what's in there? Shhh. It's a secret. And actually, I've tried to forget so it will be a little bit of a surprise for me too. But, among other things, I know that we had some baby keepsakes from the hospital, his first pair of shoes, and a guest book from his first birthday party where each guest wrote in a little message to his future self.

Only 14 years to go.

14 May 2008

Saving Birthday Cards

Simple. Oh so simple. And tidy. If it were any more complicated I just might not get around to it year after year. So it suits me fine. After each of Spud's birthdays, I collect his cards, punch a hole in the same corner of each one, and tie a ribbon. It holds them all together. And each one is still accessible. Done.

10 May 2008

Maritime Museum


For the boat buffs. Climb aboard the RCMP's St. Roch, the first boat to completely circumnavigate North America. It's housed inside this triangular building, the Maritime Museum, near the Space Centre.

And there are loads of models to admire.

And interactive displays.

Spud's favourite part was playing captain of a container ship.

Check out this post for some links and details on lunching at nearby Granville Island.

06 May 2008

Camping Orange Muffins

We're gearing up for camping season. Our first trip is in 2 weeks and it's time start the meal planning. This one's a fave from last year.

· Oranges [bigger is better in this case and thick skins will serve you well]
· Muffin Mix [store bought or from your kitchen at home]
· Foil wrap [The foil helps keep it all together and gives you a handle for rotating around the coals]

1. Slice off the top of each orange.

2. Scoop out the orange flesh [you can add to a fruit salad later]. Keep the skin as intact as possible.

3. Spoon in muffin batter into each orange. Allow room for rising; about 3/4". Replace the orange lid.

4. Wrap in tin foil in such a way that you can make a handle at the top of each orange.

5. Place in the coals of your campfire for 20 minutes or so.

6. When done, peel open your moist and delicately orange-flavoured muffin and enjoy.

04 May 2008

Fort Langley


Less than an hour away from downtown Vancouver, Fort Langley is a 150 year old fur trade post and ultimately where the province of British Columbia officially became a colony.

We enjoyed running about the grounds and exploring the insides of the various buildings, each one sporting all kinds of period items.

The staff, dressed in period attire, love to answer questions. The blacksmith was most entertaining, as he demonstrated his craft using 150 year old technology. He also has plenty to say about the politics of the time.

And then a little panning for gold.


We packed a simple picnic of crudité and PB+J sannies. There are picnic tables outside with a view of the train tracks. We counted 118 cars in one of the trains going by. If the weather isn't cooperating then there are several eateries in the little nearby town.