There is nothing that says real simple living like the times we take ourselves completely out of our element. For some, our home is in the urban jungle, for others it’s the suburban safari, and others the country zoo. No matter where you are or where you live, we all need to unplug and unwind and take time to be what we were born to be – the human. Just like every other animal, we were built to sustain in this world. Our problems lie in the struggle between how we were made to live and how we want to live in this world. Many people believe living like a human is beneath them – the Jones’ would’ve gotten take out tonight right? In our world where being busy is somehow a gauge of success (although I am not sure why), in my natural rebellious way, I did the opposite. I took a long weekend with some of my favorite people and animals to spend in the woods. Tents, a campfire, and nature are all you need to put life in perspective at times. Although I didn’t completely unplug because I am a part of the world just like everyone else, I took the time I would have spent checking emails to get in touch with myself and others. I have always noticed that most people today (myself included) spend more time inside than outside – even kids (what happened to “Kick the Can” or making mud pies?) Camping throws the normal mundane out of whack – 90% of the time is spent outdoors and blends work, exploration, and comfort. But there is something to say about the work, it feels right and it’s rewarding having to gather wood for the fire. The outdoors provides the opportunity to see something new all the time – an odd bug, a pretty bird, a steep incline, whatever it is – it’s new. Finally, the comfort. Comfort lies in the cool breeze when the sun is beating down. Comfort lies in sleeping after a long day’s work. Comfort is the campfire itself, there is nothing that matches the warmth and ambiance of a campfire. But most of all, the comfort for me is the food. Cooking over a campfire results in the most simple, delicious, and heart-warming food. These recipes are not normal recipes. You toss in what you need, it’s hard to go wrong!
Bacon – 1/2 pound bacon
Eggs – Usually 2 per person
Milk – Just enough to turn the beaten eggs to a softer yellow
Parsley, to taste
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Cheddar Cheese – estimate about 1 Tbsp per 2 eggs (chop up or buy shredded)
Home Fries – 1/2 potato per person
2 slices onion per person, diced
1-2 Tbsp per 2 potatoes
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1. Over an established campfire, heat 2 cast iron skillets (10″ and 12″ work best).
2. Separate the bacon between the two pans and cook until crisp. (TIP: I usually start with the pan I will be cooking potatoes. Potatoes take longer than eggs.) Place the cooked bacon in foil and place near campfire to keep warm.
3. In one skillet, add potatoes and onions with butter for home fries. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir frequently to avoid burning.
4. In the meantime, add eggs, milk, parsley, salt, and pepper to a small bowl and combine with a small fork. Chop up cheddar or use shredded. After potatoes have cooked for 5 – 10 minutes, add eggs to other skillet. Let edges just set and add cheese to center of eggs. Cook one minute. Pull eggs in from edges and allow uncooked eggs to run into new open spaces. Allow to cook until eggs are set but not dry. Potatoes should be done at this point – serve and enjoy!
2 lbs. beef cubes
2 potatoes, cut into chunks
3 carrots, sliced
2 onions, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn (optional)
3 beef bouillon cubes
3 – 4 cups water (eyeball it!)
1. Preheat a dutch oven over an established campfire. Brown beef cubes. Add carrots, onions, garlic, and corn (if used). Stir. Cook for a few minutes.
2. Add water, bouillon cubes, diced tomatoes, and potatoes. Stir and cover. Let cook about 1 – 2 hours, stirring frequently. Cook through and serve!
1 Pork Loin, about 4 pounds. (Marinated 24 hours before with favorite marinade.)
4 Poblano peppers
Cheddar and/or Pepper Jack cheese.
Sauce (optional) – good picks are enchilada or marinara sauce, or salsa
1. Place marinated pork loin directly onto preheated campfire grate. (TIP: Use rotisserie skewers to help turn during cooking).
2. In the meantime, cut poblano peppers and deseed (only cut one side enough to remove seeds. Place peppers in a smoker or over a grill. Let cook for about 10 minutes to soften. Turn frequently if placed directly on grill.
2. Remove peppers. Turn pork (you will want to turn pork every 15 minutes for about 45 minutes. Then turn after 30 minutes.) Stuff peppers with cheese and place each on individual foil wrappers. Cover with desired amount of sauce if used. Place back on grate. Ensure pork loin has nice char but not burned on surface. If char is as desired, wrap lightly in foil to avoid further charring.
3. After about 1 hour of cooking total, check temperature on pork (we are looking for 145F.) Gauge cooking time according to current temp. Our 4 pound loin took about 1-1/2 hours. Ensure peppers do not get too soft. If need be, close up the foil and place along the campfire to keep warm. Serve when ready!