Sunday, October 5, 2008

Camping With Mandy

I’m back! In the next few post you won't be Home With Mandy but I will show what Camping With Mandy is all about. Jim and I had a great camping trip to Inks Lake this weekend and I have some fun campground cooking ideas to share with you. Here are the meals that I made “out in the wild”

  • Campfire Steak and Potatoes
  • One Skillet Breakfast Tacos
  • Frito Pie
  • Fajitas
  • Camping Doughnuts

First let me share with you some pictures from our mini-vacation. I’ve never been a camper, unless you count La Quinta. When Jim and I met two years ago he took me camping (to Inks Lake actually) and I took to it like a fish to water. When we aren’t taking trips from our “to visit” list, we go camping and on this past weekend we traveled only an hour from home to an oasis far from the city.

It all started on Thursday afternoon when we raced from work and I ran to the grocery store to pick up fresh produce and meat for the trip. When I got home, Jim had the car mostly packed, we grabbed the dogs and hit the road. On the way to Inks Lake State Park we stopped and dropped the dogs off at our friend John and Sherry’s house. Now we are kid free!

Jim and I have setting up camp to a science. We each have our set task - as soon as we arrive to the campsite he begins to unload the heavy items from the car and my job is to set up the living/kitchen area.

I like the food cooler and the beverage cooler at one end of the picnic table and the supplies bucket, dry goods bucket and kitchen tools bin at the other side along with the stove.

Here is a tip. If you love camping as much as we do, purchase rubber tubs, lable "camping" and store all the essentials so that when you want to go camping you don't have to remember to pack the sunscreen, bugspray, lantern, lighter fluid. It's already in there. (I have a camping supply list in excel format and if anyone is interested in having a copy just shoot me an e-mail homewithmandy {at) gmail [dot} com)

I always bring a plastic tablecloth that I duct tape to the table and usually I grab a silk floral arrangement for the centerpiece (unfortunately this trip was so fast and furious I forgot to grab the camping d├ęcor) but trust me it makes a difference.

My tablecloth at this trip was a CreteSheet. John and Sherry have a unique product called the CreteSheet that they are selling online and trying to get out on the market. This light sheet of plastic can mix an 80 pound bag of concrete in less than two minutes. No wheelbarrow and shovel required. It saves your back and a lot of time…I’ve worked with them on this project before and absolutely believe in it. In fact I poured a 4x8 concrete extension to my patio for the bbq pit. It’s a neat tool to have in your garage.

This CreteSheet was the perfect makeshift tablecloth because I could wipe it down before dinner and first thing in the morning before breakfast and I like the cheery splash of yellow in lieu of a floral centerpiece.

Jim finishes putting up the tent, and as the sun was starting to go down I began to prep for dinner. Not any dinner however, but Jim’s favorite camping dinner. Here is how I do steak and potatoes campfire style.

Before I leave on our trip I scrub the potatoes down and pick off any unsightly spots. I’ve even done the butter, seasoning, foil prep at the house. I didn’t have the time this trip so I did this onsite.

Take your clean potatoes and smear some butter and seasoning on the outside.

I’m in love with this Salt Grass Seven Steak Spice and sprinkle it all over the baked potatoes and then wrap tightly in foil like little candy wrappers.
I set these aside until the campsite is set up and Jim starts the fire.
I brought two New York Strip Steaks that I put in a shallow Tupperware dish and seasoned with – none other than – Salt Grass Seven Steak Spice and then sprinkled with worcestershire sauce for an extra kick of flavor and some moisture.

While everything is marinating, Jim finished the tent, blew up the air mattress and I helped him get the bed made. I call this “Glamping” because we bring all the comforts of home when we rough it. This is glamorous camping! We sleep on an air mattress that I top with two egg crates, then an open sleeping bag. Next I enclose all that with a fitted sheet, top with a flat sheet and our comforter is either a down comforter from home or another sleeping bag for warmth.

Jim started our fire and I placed our potatoes right at the base of the fire and turn every 20 minutes. They cook for a total of one hour (then poke with a knife to test for doneness).

A co-worker of mine gave me this durable plastic wine glass from REI. The stem stores inside the glass, and then screws onto the base of the glass when you are ready drink out of it. I love it!
Our campsite was just a short climb from a great view of the lake so Jim poured us some wine and I cut up some manchego cheese.
We walked to the tip of the hill to watch the sun go down. Ahhh, I can feel the stress of home and work slip away in this moment.

This is what glamping looks like people!

I wish I had better pictures of the steak dinner but it got dark and when you are out in the middle of nowhere, its DARK! I brought the steak to room temperature – or the outside temperature which was somewhere between 60 and 70 degrees.
The steaks went on the fire for about three minutes each side – perfect. The potato, perfect. I topped my potato with butter, cheddar cheese, sour cream and a sprinkle of Salt Grass seasoning.

For dessert. Smores!


  1. "Glamping" THAT is toooooo funny!
    I am NOT a camper unless the tent comes equiped w/ 1000 thread count sheets!!!LOL

  2. You are so cool Mandy! I need to take you camping with me...I would not be able to pull any of this off...camping or cooking! I'm not very experienced in the camping department...thanks for sharing, love the pictures!

  3. What brilliant food for a camping trip! Very beautiful.


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