It’s FALL!!!!

I don’t know about you but when I think of fall I can’t help but think of a few iconic activities that go with it like football, falling leaves, halloween, and camping. Yes, CAMPING! You know the act of sleeping, cooking, and pottying outdoors? Real camping. I’m not talking about staying in a 3 star hotel instead of a 5 star resort, that would be Glamping. I am talking about tent pitching, campfire building, no cell phones, sleeping bag bedding kind of camping. C A M P I N G.

My childhood adventures are full of camping trips and each and every outing has provided me with the most amazing memories. From torrential down pours trapping us in our tents, thieving raccoons mistaken as coyotes, or the amazing star filled skies at night, I hold each memory with such fondness and love telling the tales of my roughing it days.

Camping has to be altered for us now due to our daughter and all her medical issues but that isn’t going to stop me from trying to pass on this epic experience. We may have to look into RV rental or cabin renting for her accommodations but I can still build a campfire and cook my meals on it while we sit around with no electronics just enjoying the lost art of conversation. Of course s’mores will be used as bribes, but who can’t be bought by the ooey gooey sweet mess of toasted marshmallows and melted chocolate?

I want to encourage all families to add camping to their “must try” list, at least on some level. Whether you take part in the “Every Kid in A Park” initiative, go to the closest camping grounds, or just pitch a tent in your back yard I think it is something that provides a chance for families to connect and create some memories while working together. To help get you started I have included my favorite camping recipes, a few new ones I will be trying, a list of supplies, and some links to campgrounds both near and far.

Never Fail Camping Recipes:

No Mess Frito Pie

  • Heat your favorite chili in an open can over fire
  • Open individual bags of Fritos
  • Spoon chili into bag and top with cheese and onions if desired

Pie Pan Dinner-

  • Place shredded potato hash-browns in a tin pie pan for each person
  • Make ¼ pound patties out of ground beef or turkey and place on top of hash-browns
  • Add diced onions, peppers, and spices as desired
  • Cover with foil and place inside fire pit next to flames, rotating ¼ turn every 10 minutes
  • Or Place on grill 6 inches above low flames checking at 20 minutes and every 10 minutes after
  • Once cooked to desired doneness remove from heat discard top foil and cover with shredded cheese if you want.

Twice baked Potato Meal

  • Cut previously baked potatoes in half but do not separate
  • Use fork to scrape and mash inside potato leaving skin intact
  • Add your choice of meat and shredded cheese (I use shredded chicken and shredded cheddar)
  • Drizzle Olive oil inside or add a tablespoon of butter
  • Wrap potato in two sheets of foil securing insides
  • Place next to fire
  • Turn around, not over, after 15 minutes
  • Cook another 15 minutes and then remove from heat
  • Discard 1st layer of foil before serving as there may be ashes on it
  • Add any extras like sour cream or bbq sauce that you may want

Oreo S’mores-

  • Roast large marshmallows and sandwich between two oreos
  • Easy and delicious!

Pancakes in a bottle

  • Prepare dry ingredients ahead of time and pour in an old washed out squeeze bottle
  • When ready to use just add milk/water and egg and shake to mix
  • After preheating cast iron skillet squeeze amount of batter to make desired size pancake out
  • Cook to golden brown and flip. (Tip: When batter stops bubbling it is usually ready to be flipped)
  • If feeling adventurous cut strips of bacon into smaller pieces first and cook them in skillet over fire
  • When Bacon is ready squeeze pancake batter on top to cover bacon pieces
  • Follow directions for non-bacon pancakes

Must Try New to Me Recipes:

Omelet’s in a bag

  • Per Bag
  • 2 eggs 1 Tbsp milk or water
  • Additional ingredients such as but not limited to
    Shredded cheese, cubed meat, crumbled sausage, diced veggies or whatever you like
  • Bring large pot of water to boil
  • Mix 2 eggs per bag plus additional ingredients and seal bag
  • Place up to 6 bags in pot of boiling water and leave for 12 minutes
  • Remove and carefully open bag then pour omelet on to plate

Onion Bombs-

  • Take 1 pound ground meat beef/turkey and 1 pound ground sausage place in bowl
  • Add 1tsp garlic, 1tsp onion powder, 1Tbsp Worcestershire, 1 egg beaten, ½ cup bread crumbs, ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste
  • Gently mix ingredients until just mixed
  • Cut ends off 2 large onions and then cut in half.
  • Peel the layers and match up pieces then stuff each side with meat mixture
  • Place matching pieces together and wrap in two sheets of foil
  • Cook in the hot coals of the fire for 15 minutes and flip cooking another 15 minutes
  • Unwrap and serve with ketchup

Easy Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler-

  • (Seriously you had me at easy)
  • Toss 1 box of yellow cake mix, 1 can of sprite, and 2 30oz cans of peaches into the dutch oven and mix.
  • Place lid on Dutch oven and place over hot coals.
  • Put enough hot coals on the lid of dutch oven to cover and wait 30 minutes.
  • Then Eat!

Here is my list of must have supplies. Adjust accordingly. I pack in tubs separating by need.

Kitchen/cooking tub

  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Dutch Oven
  • Kettle for coffee and hot chocolate
  • Tongs
  • Large spoon
  • Sharp Knife
  • Plastic Ware
  • Paper towels
  • Wet Wipes
  • Foil
  • Ziploc Bags Quart and Gallon
  • Paper plates not plastic(Burn after use)
  • Spices
  • Reusable Water Bottles
  • Disposable Coffee cups with lids for hot beverages
  • Bottle of environmentally friendly dish soap
  • Matches
  • Small bag of instant light charcoal
  • Toilet paper rolls stuffed with laundry lint to start fires

Tent tub
• Flashlights for each person and a Lantern for the tent as well as one for the campfire
• Inflatable air mattresses
• Extra flat sheet for each person
• Battery operated clip on fans and/or HotHand toe warmers
• Sleeping bags and pillows for every person
• Kleenex
• Fabric softner sheets to place under bedding for bug deterrent
• Small broom and dustpan to sweep up leaves and grass

Medical tub
• Acetemetaphin/Ibuprofen for both children and adult
• Benadryl
• Antibiotic ointment
• Oral Gel (Works wonders on bug bites. Trust Me)
• Gauze/Bandages/Band-Aids/Medical Tape
• Antacids/Anti Diarrheal medication
• Coughdrops
• Alcohol and Peroxide
• Tweezers
• Fingernail clippers and small scissors
• Bug Spray and Sunscreen and Aloe

Play tub
• Various Balls
• Flag for capture the flag
• Several headbands in different colors to use for showing teams
• Cards

Toiletry tub
• Toilet paper
• Bar of soap stuck down in the foot of panty hose so you can tie it to your water source
• Wash clothes
• Towels (1 for each person but get the cheap thin ones so they pack easier)
• Toothbrush for each person
• Toothpaste
• Shampoo
• Body wash
• Deodorant

If I am being honest I usually drive away from the house and remember what I forgot and turn back at least two times. So these are definitely not a complete checklist.

1. Inks Lake State Park
2. Bastrop State Park
3. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
4. Big Bend Ranch State Natural Area
5. Blanco State Park
6. Pedernales Falls
7. Dinosaur Valley State Park
8. Garner State Park
9. Caprock Canyons State Park
10. Emma Long

Fire pit publish


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