The Ultimate Camping Food Day!

Last Friday we left the city behind and headed for the green rolling hills of Vermont for an impromptu camping trip.

A recent overhaul of our outdoor gear meant that everything I needed was relatively easy to find. Over the years, Danny and I have developed a system: I pack the kitchen gear/food while he takes care of the essential camping/sleeping gear. So if we’re missing a corkscrew, it’s on me; if the axe is nowhere to be found, that’s all him.

By now the kids pack their own items – everything from warm socks to Frisbees, bathing suits and pocket knives. Together we get the van loaded and the canoe tied to the roof. Thankfully, camping with kids has become much more streamlined the older they get.

Over the weekend I received a lot of questions about our camping experience, so I thought I’d revisit the topic here on the blog. I’ve written extensively about camping over the years, as we’ve gone every summer with our kids since they were babies. I’ll do a full round up at the bottom of the post, but before that, let’s have some fun and imagine what the Ultimate Camping Food Day would look like.

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A long weekend, camp coffee and my bannock recipe

My homemade bannock recipe is a breakfast staple and loved by all. It’s perfect for making ahead of time and bringing along to the campfire.

It’s the Friday before the long weekend and for once, I don’t have any lavish entertaining plans in the works. Instead I’m slotting in some down time for our family, preferably around the backyard fire pit.

Back to school week wiped us all out. The house looks like a tornado swept through it and everyone is a little emotional with all the changes. While it will be good to get into a routine next week, I’m taking the next three days to slow things down.

I want to savour the simple pleasures in life this weekend, like a cup of coffee brewed outdoors and a skillet of tender bannock cooked over an open fire.

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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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June camping and a Spring Green Campfire Frittata

The first camping trip of the year was somewhat of a revelation: my kids have finally grown up enough to stay out of trouble while we’re out in the woods.

At ages 5, 9 and 11 they are tearing around the trails, making new friends, climbing stuff, inventing games and working up a ferocious appetite. After a decade of keeping them from falling in the fire or falling off a cliff, I can actually relax and putter around camp – a complete novelty.

Cooking outdoors is how I hygge in summer. I love it all. The camp kitchen set up. The campfire foil dinners. Cooking an early breakfast on the camp stove. Yes, even washing the dishes. It’s a good thing I enjoy the food prep aspect of camping because every few hours my crew was famished.

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The Best Camping Foods (a round-up)

So far, the seemingly endless rains of June have kept us from packing the car, heading to a lake and pitching a tent; but we haven’t given up hope.

Weather permitting, we’ll have our summer solstice camp out again, perhaps just in the back yard, with dinner over the open fire. Then later in the summer we’ll camp for real: fish for our dinner and sleep deep in the forest. It’s our favourite family activity in summer for nine years and counting.

The weather generally dictates how much food we consume during a 2-day camping trip. If it is gloriously sunny and we are busy hiking trails or swimming, food takes a backseat until about six in the evening, when we regroup around the campfire and devour a hearty dinner. On the other hand, if we are cold and damp, much time is spent stoking the fire and eating our way through provisions. Either way, it is safe to say that food is an important part of a camping trip.

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