Campfire One-Pot Macaroni & Cheese

We’ve been road tripping through the blistering hot Niagara region of Ontario for the past week, visiting friends, picking stone fruits and enjoying plenty of beach time.

This easy pasta has come in handy for a quick meal when we have returned to our Airbnb hungry after a day of exploring. In the past I’ve always relied on the one-pot dish for camping trips, but it is a good recipe to have in your back pocket for any time you need a fast – and comforting – meal.

Here I’ve included photos of the Dutch oven campfire macaroni & cheese, but you can also prepare it in a heavy bottomed pot in your own kitchen.

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Homemade Instant Maple Oatmeal with Chia Seed

Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in the pot, nine days old. And so goes the ditty about porridge.

Our family happens to like our oatmeal hot, especially when we’ve just crawled out of a tent in the middle of the forest. Sometimes I like to go all out with my campfire breakfast, but most days we’re looking for something quick and comforting.

Instant maple oatmeal is a simple breakfast my children beg for both at home and at the campsite – and I’m not talking about the packaged variety. This homemade version of a grocery staple is a recipe to keep in your back pocket year round. It yields a tasty breakfast that is easy to prepare and replaces a popular supermarket item with something much more nourishing.

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Cousin Camp Out (Recipe: Sour Cream & Onion Potato Packets)

I‘ve been camping ever since I was about ten, when my sister and I would sling a backpack of food and blankets into a canoe and paddle off to spend the night on a nearby island.

We’d build beds out of moss, sleep under the stars and wake up early for a dip in the lake. It was completely magical – and I still can’t believe my parents let us go! Nowadays, I camp with my young family, crash in a tent and stick to provincial campgrounds over wilderness, but our camping trips are every bit of an adventure as my childhood excursions.

This past weekend we invited a couple of the cousins and grand parents over for a backyard camp out on the summer solstice. It gave us a chance to test out our gear before we head next weekend for two nights of country camping with friends.

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Four ideas for campfire-roasted fruit (recipe: Caramel Peaches with Pecans)

We are camping folk in the summer. Be it on a beach in Maine or lake-side in rural Quebec, we pitch a big tent and cook foil dinners and hash browns over an open fire, gaze at the stars until bedtime is long past, and wake up at an unmentionable hour with the sun.

This summer, however, has been a bit different. We have a relatively-new-but-growing-up-fast baby in the family, and although I have camped in the past with a wee one, I just couldn’t find the motivation this time around to pack up all five of us and hit the trail.

Fortunately we have a big yard with plenty of space to pitch a tent, and at the far end of it, there’s a fire pit suitable for both a roaring bonfire or a marshmallow-toasting bed of coals. We took advantage of our urban homestead last week and played at camping on our own turf.

Danny and the boys pitched the tent while I tossed a salad, shucked corn, and wrapped up these peaches for dessert. Yes, there were marshmallows and s’mores, too, but I wanted to highlight some of the fruit that’s plentiful now and ripening all over my counter tops.

Our campfire-roasted caramel peaches with toasted pecans were smokey and sweet, sticky and soft – and made a lovely little seasonal dessert.

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Ideas and Tips for a Winter Picnic in the Snow

A recent article in my local paper touted a few local shopping malls as great destinations to get exercise in the winter. It claimed one could get a good workout by walking their sprawling real estate. Uh, non merci. Even though I happen to live ten minutes from the largest mall in the province, you could never convince me to go there for any other reason than a quick one-stop-shop and that is it.

Whatever happened to getting fresh air? Exercising and window shopping may appeal to some, but I’m guessing a couple times around my mall would only leave me hankering for a Starbucks, — and six new pairs of shoes.

We’ve had a mild winter so far, and if you dress for it, the cold does much more help than harm. Brilliant sunlight, crisp cool air, and a peaceful blanket of white snow – now that is the mix for an invigorating, yet calming work out. We’ve been getting outdoors every day out of sheer necessity; it’s far too easy to go bonkers when you’re snowed in! Sometimes we go sledding, sometimes skating, but all the kids really need is a snow bank to have fun.

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