Archive for August, 2007

Easy Camping Recipes

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Campfire MealDo you know the best part of camping?…..the food! I happen to believe that food tastes a whole lot better when you’re outside cooking up a camping meal. But, nobody wants to break-up the fun to go and cook a meal….groan! So, here’s a couple of easy camping meals that you can prepare that are tasty and most of all, a snap to make and cleanup.

Don’t let the name of this first one throw you, it’s very good!

Camp Hash

2 TB cooking oil
1 large onion — chopped
2 garlic cloves — minced
4 large potatoes — peeled and cubed
1 lb smoked sausage — cubed
1 can chopped green chiles — (4 oz)
1 can whole kernel corn - drained

In a Dutch oven, or large cooking pot heat oil. Saute onion and garlic until tender. (I can smell the aroma as I’m writing this!) Add potatoes. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 20 mins. stirring occasionally. Add sausage, cook and stir until potatoes are tender and well browned, about 10 mins. more. Stir in chilies and corn; cook until heated through and serve out of the pot.
Bonus: Leftovers can be put in your breakfast omelet.

I love how the sour cream gives this dish a distinctive taste!

Simple Stroganoff

2 tsp butter or margarine
1/4-cup water
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2-cup sour cream
1/2-cup onion- chopped
1 lb Round steak - cut
1/2 tsp Paprika

Melt butter or margarine in a skillet. Brown the strips of round steak. Add onions and brown. Stir in soup, water, sour cream and paprika. Cover and cook over low heat about 45 minutes, or until meat is tender. Stir frequently. Serve over hot, wide egg noodles or rice.

Simple, easy and good eating. And, the Cleanup is confined to one pot. Try these out this weekend and let me know what you think. Or, if you have a great camping recipe you want to share with all of us put it in the comments section.

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Number of People Camping is UP!

GraphIt always warms my heart to see great numbers of people using our local and state parks to get outdoors and go camping. According to Reserve USA an online service that reviews camping trends, facilities and takes reservations nationwide, they believe that the increased expense of long distance car travel is keeping families closer to home during the summer months, making outdoor activities like family picnics and camping trips the preferred choice. And I thought it was all the great tips, tricks and advice that I was giving on TheCampingGuy. ;-)

Regardless of the reason don’t hesitate to go camping. Here’s 5 good reasons:

1. The TV, video games and computer need to rest too. Leave them at home and enjoy the outdoors. I dare you!

2. It’s sooo affordable. The amount you would spend on a hotel for a couple of nights can get all the equipment you will need….and you get to reuse it. Don’t know what to bring, follow these links:

How to choose the right tent
How to choose the right sleeping bag
What stove to use

Checklist of things to bring
Want more?

3. When was the last time you were far enough away from the city lights to see the stars? I mean all the stars, like a dark sheet with millions of pinholes.

4. Your senses wake up. The smell of bacon frying and the wood burning in the campfire fill your nose with rich aromas. I even believe that food tastes better when you’re camping.

5. Capture some memories. Ones that will remain with your family forever. I can still fondly remember the campouts I went on when I was a boy. Why not give that to your kids too?

So what are you waiting for? Go Camping!

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Check for Ticks!

Picture of a TickI’m sure you’ve heard about Lyme disease and how it’s carried by some ticks so here’s a few tips on how to prevent getting ticks while camping and what to do if you get one.

First of all, let’s focus on protection. Here’s a couple of tips.

  • Wear light colored clothing so you can see the ticks on you.
  • Pull your socks up over your pant legs to prevent ticks from crawling in.
  • Wear a long sleeved shirt and a hat.
  • Wear insect repellant. I tend to spray an extra dose around my ankles when I’m hiking on trails.
  • Check yourself and others for ticks after a hike, especially around the head and ears.

If you happen to get one attached to you, here’s what to do.

  • Stay calm
  • Take some tweezers from your camp kit or first aid kit and grasp the tick close to the skin and gently pull until it comes out. You don’t want to rip it out, or you might leave the mouth parts in your skin.
  • Wash the wound with soap and water, put on antibiotic ointment.
  • After dealing with the tick make sure you wash your hands.

Watch for symptoms over the next 48 hours to week, which are:

  • A red ring-like rash may appear around the bite area
  • Flu-like symptoms like fatigue, muscle and join pain, headache, fever, swollen glands, sore throat and stiff neck.

If you experience these symptoms after tick remove, please see a physician.

Above all, check with the Park Ranger of the campground to see if ticks inhabit in your camping area. He/she will give you some advice on local conditions and possible areas to stay away from. Then you’re prepared to have a fun campout!

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Food Safety While Camping

Camping Food!The best part of camping is the food….right? I enjoy cooking some of my favorite dishes and especially trying a new recipe in my Dutch Oven. But, getting the food to camp and making sure it stays fresh without any hassles or ill affects can be a challenge that can easily be remedied if you keep a few things in mind.

While transporting the food consider this:

  • Keep cold food cold, at or below 40°F. Make up a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs, just for food and one just for drinks. This way every time you reach for a drink you aren’t going to affect the meat you have packed for dinner.
  • If possible, pack meat, poultry, and seafood while it’s still frozen so that it stays cold longer. Always keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separately wrapped (I prefer ziplock bags) so their juices don’t contaminate cooked foods or other foods in the cooler, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep the food cooler in the air conditioned passenger compartment of your car, not in the hot trunk. And try to reduce the number of times you open the cooler.

Once at the campsite and you’re getting ready to prepare one of your delicious meals…remember:

  • Wash your hands! Ya..I know, I sound like your Mom. But I know how difficult it can be to get some water, soap and wash your hands when your camping. Have someone pour the water jug over you hands, use some soap and towel off. If water is at a premium you can use anti-bacterial hand wipes. :-)
  • While “prepping” the food, keep all utensils and platters clean. All the things you would normally do at home…right? I know! I even forget sometimes in a camping setting.

If you’re grilling, here’s a few more things to consider:

  • I like to marinate and will put the meat in ziplock bags with the marinate right into the cooler. Any marinate I want to use as a sauce I put in another separate bag.
  • When grilling make sure everything is cooked. Sometimes when I grill over a fire, not a BBQ, I have to watch that some of the food doesn’t get under-cooked because the fire is not burning evenly.

Above all, enjoy your food. There’s something that happens to food when you cook it outdoors at a campout. It just seems to bring out all the natural flavors. I can taste them now, can you?

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Camping with Bugs!

Camping BugCamping and bugs kind of go hand-in-hand. You expect those pesky flying insects when you go camping and you always need to prepare for them. Mosquitoes, black flies, gnats, horse flies, deer flies…you name it they are all out there just waiting for all you tender-skinned campers to show up so they can feast! So, what do you do?

Lather on the bug lotion, spray on the DEET-based insect spray, light citronella candles around the campsite, eat cloves of garlic? These are all popular and effective remedies that are used, but now there’s another one!

How about a patch that will last for days without reapplying? A new product has come on the market for campers that you should know about to fight bugs. Just like the quit smoking patches, this patch attaches to your arm and wards off insects for up to 36 hours. “Don’t Bug Me Patch”is all natural! no DEET, so it’s safe to use on the kids, and it’s waterproof!

So you can put it on Friday, on the way to the campsite and not have to worry about insect bites all weekend. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will on my next campout. If you get a chance to check it out, let us know your experience by posting a comment, below.

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What You Ought To Know About Camping With Your Dog

Goldens.jpgGrowing up with a Veterinarian Dad we always had lots of pets around the house to play with. During my Dad’s career he got into breeding and training Golden Retrievers for hunting. At any one time we’d have 4, 5 or 6 “Goldens” in our extended family. Can you imagine trying to take all of them camping with us? Not possible. So, we would take 2 of them at a time and leave the rest in the kennel for next time, giving them all a chance to eventually come with us.

It was always a different kind of outing with the dogs. They would love to swim for hours with us. Retrievers are strong swimmers so we would hold onto their tails and they would tow us through the water. They would spend countless hours doing what they do best…retrieving. Sticks, tennis balls, Frisbees…you name it, they would retrieve it. One of our dogs would even fetch rocks! By mid-afternoon your throwing arm and shoulder was aching from throwing objects for them to retrieve.

When you take your dogs camping make sure you have enough food and water. Dogs will be tearing around, swimming, fetching and burning up more calories than usual and will be hungry often. We also brought kennel crates so when we’re cooking a meal or need a break from them, into their kennels they would go. If left unsupervised they will get into trouble or wander off. We would bring long leashes with stakes so we could restrict their movement, but still give them some freedom. If you can, put the stakes in an area where your dog can get shade and sunlight and place a full water bowl near them.

Things to watch out for are rattlesnakes, skunks and porcupines. That’s why the stakes and kennels are a good idea. Even when we were on a hike, we would carry a leash to ‘reel’ in any wandering dog. And, always on a leash when you’re walking around the campground near other campers. Not all campers are dog lovers! Hopefully, with these tips you can safely bring your dog along to enjoy the campout.

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