I am an avid camper, and love to take off to Huntsville with the blue-eyed
wolf we found up near Wireton a few years back. Most of what I do is relax
and cook, so it's always a challenge...especially since I am off meats,
most dairy products, and wheat...and trying to do it all fat-free!
So, how does one plan for meals when camping?
First, plot out your two or three meals for every day you will be camping,
with two snacks a day. Go down the list below and decide what you would
like to prepare, and when. Grab your favourite cookbooks, a pad, and a
Dehydrated foods are good...I blenderize peeled oranges, add unsweetened
coconut and a squirt of vanilla, and make fruit leather in my dehydrator.
Banana quarters in strips are good, but may take a little longer. Berries
are good - try for a couple of different types (we buy large bags of frozen
strawberries, drain them, rehydrate them, then padlock them or they won't
last until the trip). Toasted nuts and sunflower seeds are good, too - just
use them sparingly if you are watching your fat intake! Pistachios are
excellent snacks on tricky trails...you can retrace your steps if you make
a wrong turn -- just follow the shells!
This is the one time culinary snobs should ease up and allow instant potato
flakes. For a side dish, add some milk powder before reconstituting, and a
bit of balsamic vinegar with the boiling water, and serve with a sprinkling
of good-tasting yeast. Or make potato pancakes by adding onion powder,
dried parsley, and water, then dropping them by the spoonful on a griddle.
Don't forget to dehydrate tomatoes, onions, carrots, and peppers for soups
and pastas. Also your favourite herbs in season. But first wipe down the
racks with a mix of vodka (1 c.) and liquid lecithin (1 t.) run through a
blender for homemade non-stick pan coating...just wipe it on with a tiny
piece of paper towel. Makes getting the dried goodies off your racks much
I leisure camp, so I take white wine along for cooking. If you can, too, it
will really improve the flavour of savouries otherwise sauteed in water
(which in the wild can be rather tasty in a way you don't particularly
like). Or you could use grape juice and a few drops of balsamic vinegar as
a wine substitute.
Pancakes are no problem. Find a recipe you like, and on a large zip-lock
bag, write the liquid ingredients to add, then measure out the dry
ingredients into the bag and zip it up...you can toss in your dried
berries, and add a pinch of spice to make it special (cinnamon or nutmeg -
yum!). If you are taking a griddle, you can make tea biscuits this way, or
cookies. Then put a tablespoon of batter on the griddle, and flip them when
they're done and toasty brown on one side.
Don't forget that you can add your liquid ingredients to the bag, and
making sure it is sealed, gently work the mixture together until it is
smooth. Snip off one corner, and pour the batter by squeezing the bag!
Make your own hot cereal with equal parts of course ground grains (wheat,
oats, barley, rice) and flax seeds. Write on the zip-lock bag how much
water to add, etc., and measure your cereal into the bag. You might want to
add dried fruits to one package, and sweet spices to another.
Rice pilaff can be made the same way...write on the package how much
boiling water to add and how long to cook, measure out your rice and
spices, and add some powdered boullion.
You can make up a stove-top stuffing...bread cubes, dried spices and
vegies, and a little packet of broth inside. At the campsite, saute your
dried ingredients, make up the broth, add it, and toss the stuffing until
it's all heated through...turn down low and cover it for a few moments
Skillet dinners can be made with pasta, dried vegies, and spices. For a
creamy alfredo sauce, toss in a packet of milk powder (2 T.) , cornstarch
(1 t.), and powdered boullion (1 t.), which you can cook by adding a cup of
boiling water, a few drops at a time, while the pasta is boiling. For a
cheesier sauce, add 1/4 c. good-tasting yeast. Use oregano and basil for an
Italian flavour. Or chili and cummin for Tex Mex.
Salads can be wonderful if you can find the greens...buy or prepackage
herbs and seasonings such as dried mustard, for vinaigrette salad
dressings, and even powdered soy milk or skim milk powder with onion and
garlic powder, for ranch or cesar-type dressings, to which you can add a
bit of water and balsamic vinegar later.
If you have 45 minutes, make lentil soup. In your zip-lock bag you need 1
cup of dried lentils, 2 T. dried onion, salt, pepper, and spices to taste
(curry, or chili powder and cumin is nice). At the site, add 3 c. water to
the mix, and toss in a carrot or piece of celery if you have any.
For a nice stew, saute some onions and garlic, add TVP, add tomatoes and
green peppers, and split peas. Add herbs and spices toward the end, with a
half cup of good-tasting yeast.
Roasted bananas and chocolate are good for a treat if at some point you can
have fresh food...just mix up a bit of cocoa in honey, split the banana,
and instead of sprinkling in chocolate chips, spread the chocolate honey
down the middle of the banana, wrap back up, and roast in foil. You can
also stuff bananas with berries, peanut butter, or marshmallows.
Another treat is finely ground fruits and nuts (do this before you leave
home) with a few seeds like sesame or anise, coconut, and carob mixed with
enough honey or jam to make it sticky, and rounded into balls for a sweet
treat...this usually works well with bored kids and adults.
Instant coffee or substitutes can be put into zip-lock bags to ease up
packing weight, but have another zip-lock full of zesty herbal teas.
Now that you have some ideas, it will be very easy to plan what to prepare,
and when. Try to work some way of getting fresh fruits and vegetables into
the plan. It will help to plot out how much time you need for dehydrating
everything you will need, and listing what ingredients you will need to
purchase from the store. By packaging as much as possible in zip-lock bags,
you can stack them and pack them easily, with a minimum of weight. And if
they should get wet, provided they are well sealed to begin with, the
contents will stay dry.
For a "camper's washbasin", take a clean plastic gallon jug, and make a pin
hole about an inch from the bottom. Fill it with water and a drop of
chlorine bleach, and run a hand towel through the handle. Set it someplace
convenient to where you will be cooking, and when you need to rinse off
your hands, merely unscrew the cap...a tiny stream of water will shoot out,
enough for you to do a quick, clean rinse. To turn it off, just screw the
Need to do a laundry? Try a bucket and a plunger...fill it up with hot
water and some dish detergent with a drop of bleach, and plunge
away...rinse well with a few drops of vinegar, and hang to dry. For stains,
brush in a bit of meat tenderizer before washing...or white toothpaste.
Sylvia 8-) +
Sylvia Genders LeReverend <>< <>< <>< Tel (416) 978-7206
ITRC ><> ><> ><> ><> ><>><> ><> Fax (416) 978-7207
6 King's College Road <>< <>< <>< <>< sylvia@xxxxxxxxxx
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Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H5 <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
"The ones with whom you should try to get even are the ones
who have helped you." --Anonymous