Veggie packets of awesomeness

Before our most recent camp excursion I did a ton of meal prep. There was the usual camp junk in my food box (Annie’s Mac & Cheese, chips, fruit leathers) but I also wanted some healthy options.

For example, I made chicken salad:

  1. Buy a rotisserie chicken at the store and break that motha’ down
  2. Chop celery (about 4 stalks)
  3. Make up a batch of The Best Sauce Ever
  4. Mix it altogether and voila!

I pre-made omelets in muffin tins for breakfast. They were a total fail. I’m going to try these again and when I get it right, I’ll let you know.

But the best of the pre-made food where veggie packets inspired by an email from my mom:

  1. Skin and cut 4-5 red potatoes
  2. Cut up 1 onion (I’m LOVING the Vidala’s in the store lately)
  3. Cut the ends of green beans and then cut them into 2 inch bites (about a pound)
  4. Throw all of this in a bowl and coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic
  5. Portion this out onto heavy duty tinfoil (a must for the campfire) and wrap into little packets.

The amounts above made 3 nice sized packets for 3 nights of heaven.


Camp Cooking

It’s coming! Our first camp trip of the season! In mid-July, which is maddeningly late for us, but there’s still a lot of snow up there. In fact, our favorite spot, where I want to go most, is likely still¬† unreachable. Sigh.

When the manfriend and I first started camping together, food was as simple and easy as we could make it. Canned soup, cereal, macaroni and cheese, pb&j’s – super healthy fare, right? Then, as we stopped eating wheat and dairy and started eating healthier in general, we started to cook some pretty grommet shit out there in the boonies. Things like talapia with tomatoes and spinach in foil pockets or beef ragout with polenta and fresh pesto. And then there are the concoctions the manfriend makes up and then throws in the pie iron. Nothing has ever come out of there that wasn’t amazing. But then again, food always tastes better when you’re camping. Am I right, or what? Honestly, if you camp and don’t have a pie iron yet, get one. Now!

In preparation for our first trip, which will include 12 meals plus snacks, I’m making a list of food to bring and meals to pre-prepare. It’s so easy to fall into the super yummy, not so healthy habits out there – chips, s’mores, Cup ‘o Noodles – but I want to avoid that as much as possible. Do you guys have any favorite camp recipes to share?

Grilled artichokes

I’ve been eating grilled artichokes almost every night for the past week.¬† I could stay on this trend for awhile. Especially when I’m paring that ‘choke with the best sauce ever! Honestly, these are really easy to make and taste amazing, sauce or not.

The manfriend likes artichokes, but doesn’t understand them. “It’s a lot of work for not a lot of yield,” he says. Spoken like a farmer in the making! No, eating an artichoke will likely not fill you up. But who cares when they taste so good!?

Here’s what you do:

  1. Buy an artichoke. Usually one per person. Try to find artichokes with tight leaves.
  2. Cut the bottom stem off so you have a level, flat base for your artichoke.
  3. Fill a pot with about an inch of water and set a steamer basket in there.
  4. Place the artichokes in, put on the top to the pot and let these babies steam (for about 40-50 minutes).
  5. The artichoke is done when you can pull out one of the leaves fairly easily.
  6. At this point, cut the artichokes in half and scrape out the hairy crap (the choke) in the middle making sure not to damage the heart.
  7. Drizzle the outside with olive oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Do the same to the inside.
  8. Place on the grill and grill each side for 5-7 minutes.
  9. EAT!

Farm to Table 2011

Man, I just love this concept! What’s more fun than eating on a farm? Eating food from that farm picked hours before, that’s what!

Last year the manfriend and I attended our first farm to table dinner at the Ollin Farms in Longmont and had a blast. So we decided to do it again this year. Same date (no better way to celebrate the Summer Solstice), some of the same people (some new ones), and another great gustatory experience.

They’ve also made some changes this year. A new wood structure replaces the large tent we sat under last year. And you can now take a tractor driven hay ride down to the dinner instead of walking. It’s pretty cute!

Mixed greens, spinach, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, feta, Bermuda onions, and Greek dressing

Chicken Mirabella (bone-in chicken braised in olive oil, Spanish olives, dried plums, bay leaf, capers, brown sugar, and white wine), slow roasted meat and napa cabbage rolls, polenta with warm cream and Gorgonzola, sauteed kale and carrots

Strawberry and rhubarb cobbler with balsamic gelato

Our appetizer was lasagna de pesto, buttered baguette with shaved radish and Hakurei turnips, and a sauteed mix of dell mushrooms, asparagus and hon tsai tai. The lack of photo is due to my crummy camera, which did this no justice at all.

I think this is going to be one of the easiest-to-maintain annual traditions I’ve ever tried to start! If you decide to go, just a heads up that tickets go fast. Three of the six dinners for this summer are already sold out.

Photo credits to Elizabeth Lock. My camera crapped out and she was gracious enough to help me out. I’m so appreciative!

Dinner of champions

When the heat hits, we do everything possible not to turn on the oven! During the winter months, the manfriend cooks a roast chicken at least once a week. Nobody, I mean nobody, can roast a chicken like that guy. It’s like his signature dish. But we won’t be having it (unless he starts doing it on the grill) for at least the next 3 months. Instead, we’ll be using the grill a TON!

The other night we had a lovely meal of salad greens and radishes from the garden, sauteed kale, and marinated flank steak. This recipe for marinated flank steak has been a family fave for years. I can take no credit, it came from my mom. I have no idea where she got it from. It’s like that with some recipes.

  • Buy a hunk of flank steak (size doesn’t matter). It’s a pretty affordable cut of meat because it’s pretty tough. You usually need to marinate it or cook it for quite a while to make it tender.
  • Trim the fat off of the meat and cut hash marks (against the grain of the meat) in the meat – one way, then turn the meat 45% and do this again. This scoring allows the marinade to work it’s way into the meat and help make it tender.
  • Next, make the marinade:
  1. 1 cup of soy sauce (we use tamari because it has no wheat)
  2. 1 cup of sugar (yikes! We use cane sugar)
  3. 1 cup of red wine
  4. 1 TBS ground ginger
  5. 2 crushed garlic pods
  • Pour the marinade over the steak (I do this in a Ziploc, my mom has this nifty marinade Tupperware thing) and put in the fridge. I try to marinate this over night so the flavors really infuse. Whatever you do, flip the meat over here and there so both sides of the meat get a good bath.
  • When you’re ready to grill, poor off the marinade in a pan. If you heat it to boiling, you’ll kill off the nasties and can use this as a gravy of sorts.
  • Grill the meat to your desired temp. Note: the end pieces will definitely get well-done. If you’re looking for rare or medium-rare, you’ll really only cook this for a few minutes a side as it’s a pretty thin cut.
  • Slice the meat as seen in the photo, drizzle the sauce on and dig in!

*As a side note: do you see the grout lines in my tiled counter top!? I’d like to find the person who did this and kick them. These counter tops are the bane of my existence. The bane!

  • About Me

    My mother is an encyclopedia of useless information (sorry, ma, but it's true) - no one can beat her at Trivial Pursuit. As I age, I become more like dear old mom everyday. I routinely tell people about resources, recipes, tips, tricks, or websites I've heard about, tried, live by, etc. until one of my clients urged me to start a blog. So here it is! My perpetual ramblings. I hope you find them useful and amusing. If you don't, you can either keep it to yourself or leave me a well constructed critique.

    I'm a former massage therapist, a freelance journalist, and a web information architect and UX designer. I enjoy yoga, the Bar Method, camping, reading, gardening, and spending time with my friends and loved ones. I live in Colorado.

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