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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How to make soft whole wheat hot dog buns

June is the month when we air out our camping gear and study the calendar for the perfect weekend to pack up and spend a few days in nature.

Whether you are pitching a tent in the backyard or camping on a pebbly lake shore, cooking over an open fire is such a fun family experience. We generally stick to real food camping meals, but once in a while it’s fun to roast a sausage on a stick and wrap it in a soft bun. For our (mostly) whole foods family, this takes a bit of planning, but here’s how I prep for a cook-out.

We’ll go to a nearby farm we know of that sells lamb sausage, or we’ll pick up organic, all-beef hot dogs at our local market for the excursion, so finding whole-food sausage is fairly easily done. But then there is the problem of the buns, as I refuse to buy pasty, all-white buns that are filled with sugar and who knows what else. I’ll consume these at the occasional hockey game, but I sure am not stocking up on them for a camping trip.

Homemade Whole Wheat Hotdog Buns on Simple Bites | www.simplebites.net

Our local health food store sells some decent unprocessed hot dog buns, but they cost a pretty penny, and around here we’re all about eating well and spending less. In fact, it’s my theme for this post, along with summer food to go.

So, for the past two summers I’ve been making my hot-dog buns and they are so, so great. A bit of butter and an egg in the dough keeps them soft, buttermilk gives the buns a nice tangy flavor,  and the whole wheat flour makes for a substantial roll that can hold up to the heftiest sausage.

Read on for the recipe and more suggestions for the best camping foods EVER!

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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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The Beauty of Foil Dinners and My Essential Camping Kitchen Tools

Sunburned, sleepy, and more-than-a-little sandy, we are home from our family camping trip. I’m pleased to report it was one of our better excursions as nothing major was left behind (save for our Bodum; but there are ways to get creative when making coffee), the bugs were few, and we had a lovely campsite near a small beach.

Fortunately, the rain stayed away, despite some violent thunder crashes that sent Noah scurrying back to camp from wherever he was exploring, and as I sit down to type these words I can hear the skies opening up. No matter now, as my boys are fast asleep in their own beds and there’s a roof over us all. Let it rain.

I find the weather always directly effects how much food we consume during a 60+ hour camping trip. If the sun is shining and we are busy hiking trails or swimming, food takes a backseat until about six pm, when we regroup around the fire pit and devour a hearty dinner. If it’s drizzling or cold, much time is spent stoking the fire and eating our way through provisions. Either way, food is always an important part of a camping trip, I think we can all agree on that!

Here’s a recap of our menu, plus a recipe for our favorite dish of the trip.

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