Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How to do Glamping

It's all over Pinterest...Glamping.  Glamorous Camping.

This is often interpreted by the person doing the glamping, but basically it involves taking bathtubs with you to your campsite, candles, gauzy fabric, doilies and a tricked out 1950's camper that you have glamped out with vintage inspired curtains, lots of cushions and cutesie touches that add an air of comfort to your camp out.

I asked The Mister if I could bring a bathtub with us camping this last weekend, and if he would kindly heat water over the fire and fill it up so I could enjoy a bath in the wilderness complete with bathsalts, a frothy beverage and a nice book...let's just say the answer was no.

So, let me show you how I do glamping.

Glamping for me is all about ease of camping.  When I camp, I want to do minimal cook prep-work and minimal clean up afterwards.  So what's a girl to do?

Do whatever I can to prep food the day before we leave.

1.  Homemade veggie dip.  Just buy the sour cream, the packet of dressing and mix them up and put them back in the sour cream tub.

2.  Par-cook a pile of potatoes.  Potatoes take a long time to cook, so if you give them a quick 4 or 5 minutes in boiling water, you will be rewarded with time.  I just sliced and par-cooked.  Then I was ready to put them in the tin foil dinners and for home-fries for breakfast...or breakfast burrito...or...well, there are lots of options with potatoes.

3.  Dice an onion.  Again, to be used for many things.  For me, the onion was going in my tin-foil dinners and my potato salad.  It seems an easy thing to dice an onion, but not while camping.

4.  Mince some garlic.  Yup.  That too.

5.  Cook the veggies for the potato salad I made, thanks Sweet Little Bluebird Here's what I did: I had all the potatoes in the same pot.  When the ones I was par-cooking were done, I just scooped them out, put them in ice, and kept the rest of the potatoes at a boil, dumped in the green beans and let them finish cooking for another 10 minutes or so.  I waited until we were eating the potato salad to put the onions and garlic and dressing all together.

6.  Slice up a melon.

7.  Slice up cucumbers to eat with said dip.

Bag everything up, all ready to go.  You will be so much happier to just reach into the cooler and grab out whatever you need, no knife required! It might be a good idea to double bag the onions...they can be a bit pungent.

Pre-make your tin foil dinners, people!!  I loved this.  Here's what I did, now I have 4 people to feed as well as whoever was going to mosey over and want a bite of what I made, so I made plenty.

1.5 lbs ground chuck
carrots, chopoped
par-boiled potatoes, sliced
onions, diced
1 C. rice, boiled
Worcestershire Sauce
Lipton Onion Soup Mix
4 Tbl. Butter
Salt and Pepper

Lay out 4 very large rectangles of tin foil.  Ready and waiting.  Combine the chuck and rice in a bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Form into meatballs and place evenly on the foil.  Throw on the carrots, potatoes and onions, as much as sounds tasty.  Sprinkle on some Worcestershire sauce over everything, 1/4 of the soup mix and 1 Tbl. butter cut into smaller pieces.

Fold up neatly.

Place packets into zipper bag, safe and sound until you have some blazing coals ready to cook your dinner, then cook for approximately 45 minutes until the meat is done.

Yup, I don't even want to mix the pancake batter because that means a big bowl to clean.

Also bring plenty of beverages for you, your kids and anybody who wanders over to your campsite eager for a drink.  Also, lots of snacks!!  Fresh air makes everybody hungrier.  Jerky, grapes, pita chips and hummus all makes for a tasty treat.  We designate one cooler for food and one cooler for drinks, that way we're not constantly opening the cooler with the food, so it stays at a safe temperature.

And finally...the most important thing to bring glamping...

Bug spray.  And lots of it.  Nobody is happy if they're being nibbled on by insects.

So, no bathtub for me, but R&R and minimal cleaning makes Heather a happy Glamper.

Thanks for reading.

Shared here:
Kitchen Table Art


Heather

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Picnic Rice Salad

If you're ready for a new salad to take to bbqs or picnics, I think you will love this one.  It's light, thanks to the rice...unless you count the bacon grease in it.  It's refreshing, thanks to the vinegar and it's fresh thanks to all the veggies.  It's also great if you need to make something gluten free, dairy free or vegan (you can omit the bacon).



Picnic Rice Salad
4 cups combo of cooked brown rice and wild rice.  Don't overcook!
4 Slices cooked bacon, cut into chunks, reserve 2 Tbl bacon grease
1/2 red onion, diced
Handful of mushrooms, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives, chopped
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/3 Cup walnuts, chopped
1 Can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
White Wine Vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
****these ingredients are just estimates, change according to your tastes, add more or less of something****

Place rice into large bowl, set aside.  Set chopped bacon aside.  Saute onions, mushrooms and garlic in 2 Tbl. bacon grease until softened and tender.  With the rest of the bacon grease, make a bowl out of tin foil and pour the rest of the grease into the foil bowl.  You can let this sit on your counter and cool and then throw it away.  Great solution to the bacon grease conundrum!

Pour sauteed veg mixture (and any of the bacon grease in the frying pan) into the rice.  Add the chopped Bacon, Kalamata Olives, pepper, walnuts and artichokes to rice.

Make a vinaigrette using a 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 ratio if you prefer, of olive oil to white wine vinegar.  I prefer the 2 to 1, I like the tang of vinegar.  I would say you need approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of vinaigrette.  Just taste as you go.  Salt and Pepper to taste, let cool in fridge before serving.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading.



Heather

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I meant what I said...

My kids took it literally.  Once upon a time it had such a bright future ahead of it...  And now, well, I guess it's being well used.

But, let's look on the bright side of things...

Head Groundskeeper keys...still there for when I need to unlock the gate to the secret garden so Master Colin and his cousin Mary Lennox can play.

Brads I mistakenly bought, not knowing they were brads and deciding to make do anyway...still attached.

Stickers and twine...still firmly affixed to bucket.  Guess the super glue I used to adhere things...and glue my fingers together with, worked very well.

So, I guess it's nice to know that even though I very inexpertly put this together, it is holding up to hard use, perfectly.

Thanks for reading!



Heather

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gooseberry Pie Time

If you're not related to my Grandma Evelyn...then you may not know what a gooseberry is.  But today I made a gooseberry pie...and it rocked.  So, I am going to encourage you to get out to your farm stands and farmers markets, and if they are selling gooseberries, snatch them up. 

homemade gooseberry pie
I would compare this pie to a tart cherry pie...but better.  Trust me. 

Now for a tip on gooseberries.  You have to pick them over.  Say what? 

Let me introduce you to a gooseberry.  See, there's a fluff end and a stem end.  Just using your fingernails, pinch them off at the berry base.  That's it.  You don't want these in your pie.  Yuck.  So take the time to pick em over.

Now....for the pie.

Step 1. Make your favorite pie dough for a two crust pie. If you need a good pie crust recipe, please use my favorite recipe located...here... as it will not fail you and is tender and flaky and all that is good in a pie crust. Plus, you can choose to use Crisco or Lard with your butter. Options are so nice. Put the crust in the fridge as you make the filling. A nice cool dough will cook up so beautifully.


Step 2.  Filling time.  Recipe as follows...



Fresh Homemade Gooseberry Pie
3 cups ripe gooseberries (remember to pick them over)  I used two half pint cups and ended up with close to 3 cups
3/4 Cup Sugar
3 Tbl. Honey
3 Tbl. Cornstarch
Pinch of Salt
2 Tbl. Butter

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Put all the ingredients except the butter into a saucepan and cook over medium heat.  While cooking, smoosh the berries with the back of your spoon.  You don't have to crush them all, but get most of them.

Just bring to a light boil and when mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat.  Stir.  You don't want this to burn.

Now, pour your filling into the bottom crust.  Dot the filling with the reserved 2 Tbl of butter.  Top this with the top crust.  Crimp the edges.  Cut slits in the top crust for steam to vent.  I use the 3 slit method.

Top pie loosely with foil and place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes have passed, turn temperature down to 350 F,  remove the foil from the pie and cook until the crust is a lovely golden brown.  This took me approximately 20 minutes.  Pay attention, a burnt crust might be the end of the world.

Let pie cool.  This is an important step.  While it is cooling, the pie is finishing its cooking and thickening up and becoming a thing of beauty.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.  Yum!





Thanks for reading.  Hope you can find some gooseberries and give them a try.  They're an old timey food that I think are fun and unique, and definitely due for a comeback.  Check out your local farmer's market because chances are they won't be at your super market...unless your super market is the raddest.

Shared here:
Cheerios and Lattes
Create With Joy
The Chicken Chick

Heather

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dresden Plate Mini Quilt...Picture Tutorial

Sometimes quilting tutorials can be so darn wordy!!  I am going to give you the tutorial that's worth a thousand words.  Click for Dresden Plate Ideas and  Dresden Plate Tutorial...with words and pictures

Maybe the only thing I'm going to say in this tutorial is this:  Cut 20 blocks, 6" by 3"

Proceed...


















Shhhhh....this isn't me...I cut my bottom fabric, bat and top fabric 19" x 19". Make it as big or small as you like, though.






















:)

Thanks for reading....errrr...looking.


Heather
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