Summer + Family = Camping!

 
Growing up, summer for me has always been associated with camping in it’s many forms. There were stories of the extended family RV trip, I spent at least a week at Ontario Pioneer Camp every year from ’92-’08, I went camping with Girl Guides, plus most years our immediate family would go on some sort of canoe trip… And one year the entire extended family did a canoe trip on the French River. 

I have so many memories from these trips, both good and bad: bug bites, bears, raccoons, digging innumerable “toilets”, chipping my teeth… Even hypothermia – though surprisingly that was not from the camping we did on Baffin Island. I’ve gotten it many times both as a child and an adult, when we had cold & rainy as well as hot & dry weather! 

 But then of course there’s also innumerable campfires, s’mores, setting up tents (I LOVE that), listening to loons on the lake, hanging out with family & friends, sewing, making random chairs out of rope,  and even having lunch on the water- my LIT trip the tripper set up the stove and cooked quesadillas with jam in the moving canoe. So, so good.

The last few years camping in the summer has been more tame. With lots of little kids, we figured maybe we weren’t quite ready for more than an overnight at a group campsite. For my part, I spent 3x more on a fancier thermarest mattress because of my back, but it’s been well worth it: actual sleep is priceless. We’ve carefully avoided my allergens as a group (for the most part), and things went well.

This weekend, however, we’re stepping it up a notch. TWO nights. 9 kids under 9 (at least). 7 adults (at least). I’m bringing all my own food though, so that prompted me to think through camping with more serious allergies…

Questions I asked myself:

  1. How long will I be driving by myself? (About an hour seems more than reasonable, and I may be able to carpool, though I’d like to visit a friend so that’s unlikely on the way there)
  2. How far is the campsite from a hospital? (10 mins. SWEET.)
  3. Does at least one person know first aid (other than me)? (Yes, and I’m pretty sure that most of them know my allergy first aid procedures by now anyways!)

Once that was all clearly feasible, I started planning food. Now I’m lucky: there is a microwave and a freezer on site, so I will probably just bring some of my pre-made meals and reheat. But if there is a campfire for a few meals, that would be fun 😀

Breakfast

About a month or so ago, I found whole powdered milk online. Medallion milk says they are the ONLY Canadian producer of powdered milk, and they don’t accidentally add sulphites with the vitamin D.

Now, I dunno about you, but instant powdered milk and I did not get along when I was camping as a kid. It was SO GROSS. Then I spent a few months in Angola, and was surprised to find that not all powdered milk is the same. Most powdered milk you find is instant  SKIM milk. I grew up on 2%, and find anything else tastes very watery and gross. It’s no wonder I disliked the instant stuff. In Angola, however, I was introduced to whole powdered milk. It’s best if you can dissolve it in advance, and then it tastes just like whole milk! But even dissolved in a hurry it’s delicious. 

So: shredded wheat, powdered milk, water, and blueberries for one morning, banana slices for the second. 

Lunches/Suppers:

I’ll eat lunch before I leave, and then I’ll probably just reheat pre-frozen dinners. But… I have some ideas for meals I could cook there and I may bring them. If there’s a fire ban then I’ll just freeze them for BBQ later in the summer. 

Idea 1: Foil wrapped chicken casserole!

The rough plan here is to cook some chicken beforehand, then cut into little cubes. Then add frozen corn, beans, minute rice, yogurt, and maybe some extra water and put it all in a foil wrapper and see what happens. I’m hoping delicious things. 

Idea 2: Foil wrapped sweet potato!

Just like a regular baked potato in the oven, apparently sweet potato can be baked in the coals of a fire as well. We’ll see… I’ll also wrap separately some golden beets and peas, and another package will be beef fast fry steaks. 

Maybe it’ll work? Maybe not. 

Snacks

Everyone else will be eating them… So I’ll bring along my sweet potato chips, and some popcorn. I made the chips by cutting thin slices, coating lightly w corn oil, sprinkling sea salt, and baking for a LONG time at low heat). The popcorn I make plain in the microwave: put a handful of popcorn at the bottom of a microwave safe glass bowl, cover with a microwave safe plate. Microwave using the popcorn setting, until you hear 3 seconds between pops, or for 2 minutes. 

Desserts

I have some no-bake cookies that I made- I started substituting milk powder instead of cocoa and they still worked 😀

But, while basically straight sugar is a lovely dessert… It’s not quite the same as s’mores! If you have never encountered a s’more… You roast a marshmallow, stuff a piece of chocolate inside, then sandwich it between graham crackers. 

Another camp favourite was cherry surprise: two oatmeal cookies with pie filling between, wrapped in foil and put in the coals. I guess I could do that: I have made both blueberry pie filling and oatmeal cookies, so… It might work!

But the really exciting recipe is a new one I found online. It suggested taking hollowed out oranges and making them into a makeshift muffin tin. Pour in muffin batter, wrap in foil (leaving top open), and put on coals (make sure it’s stable!). I make muffins by using my pancake recipe… So I’ll probably premake the batter and bring it along.

Making the campsite safer

Lastly, I’m going to bring wipes along for wiping surfaces before I make or eat food, and for washing of hands after others eat. 

I’ll most likely ask to wash my dishes first, but it’s car camping so I may also bring enough plastic dishes that i can use a clean dish for every meal. 

Of course, I’ll have an epi on my person at all times (my belt), plus two extras in my purse. Depending on the weather I may toss them into a cooler- I don’t want to freeze them, obviously… But overheating them in a closed car seems an equally terrible idea! Or… I might go buy a very cool pouch that keeps things cool with water. 

Psalm 91:9-10 “If you make the Most High your dwelling- even The Lord, who is my refuge- then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.”
 

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