Beauty in the Ozarks


Brilliant blue skies enhance the rusty tin roof of this old house that catches my eye every time we near our favorite campgrounds on Beaver Lake. I wonder what memories these weathered walls hold, and I’m saddened to see such a wonderful structure wasting away. But then I think of the beauty it still brings to all who pass this way.

The Ozarks certainly do not lack for beauty this time of the year. Our camping neighbors from Maine were traveling to Jackson Hole WY, planning to make this an overnight stay along the way. After experiencing our little corner of the lake and surrounding area, they extended their stay to four nights. With these sunrises…


And these views…


Who wouldn’t want to stay longer?

I, too, love the changing, colorful foliage, but the rocks cry out no matter the season.


And when you happen to capture a scene like this, how can you not worship the Creator?


DSC00320And finally, a heavenly recipe that I should have shared with our Maine neighbors, but they had driven to Eureka Springs…for pizza.


Do you notice that our Coleman Camp Stove is almost as old as the house at the beginning of this post? Well, not really, but we’ve had it since we first got married, and we recently celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary! They don’t make them like they used to, so we keep this one.


Pair this with a little smoke from your campfire, and you have a quick, easy meal with a gourmet flair lakeside! We loved it, and it tasted…mmmmaybe even better reheated for lunch the next day. I’m sharing this recipe with campers everywhere because it is worthy! And I must give credit to The Midnight Baker blog where I found this recipe and modified only slightly.

Mushroom Asiago Chicken

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (I actually used breast tenders to save cutting them into thirds)

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 springs fresh thyme (bruised and torn)

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper

2 Tbs butter

2 Tbs olive oil

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Asiago cheese (use more if you love the flavor)

Directions: Pound chicken breasts in heavy duty zip lock bag until flat and uniform. Dredge…I just pour the seasoned flour right into the gallon sized bag with the flattened chicken and toss it around to coat.

In your iron skillet, heat butter with 1 of the tablespoons of olive oil, reserving the other. Add chicken and saute until brown on each side. (About 5 mins on the first side and 3 or 4 on the other.) Remove from pan and cover with foil. To the hot skillet, add the other tablespoon of olive oil and mushrooms and garlic until they begin to brown. Add wine to the skillet to deglaze, scraping all the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet…that’s where your flavor is hidden.) Add thyme and put the chicken back in. Allow the chicken to simmer until almost done. This didn’t take long when using the tenders. Add cream, cooking and stirring to thicken. I sprinkled the cheese on before I removed the chicken from the skillet because I like mine melted and blended in. You may add it as you plate it if you prefer. With a simple fresh salad, this makes a wonderful campsite dinner.


So sorry about the quality of this picture, but we were starving! Saint said I should make this even when we are not camping, but you know it just won’t be the same. Enjoy!

And speaking of the Saint, here he is cutting and splitting wood off our lake property. I loved all the textures and crunchy leaves, but that was the stinkiest fire he’s ever built.



Soon, we hope to be camping here, and I can’t wait to show you our new view of the lake.






















































































































































Fall Colors…and Textures

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Fall is my favorite time of year for camping. It’s my favorite time of year, PERIOD. The leaves were just beginning to turn last week when we spent a few days at Beaver Lake. Much of our time this trip was occupied with doing business, but we managed to snag a few bass and enjoyed a boat ride or two before the rain fell…and fell…and kept falling. The rain was much needed, and predicted, so I made plans for that before we left, and this blog is sort of combining a Thymeless Sage and Random Rants post with a Camping Capers post.

It started with a frozen turkey breast I’d bought on sale this summer. When I rediscovered it in the basement freezer, I realized it would soon be time for turkey to go on sale, again…for Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s what I said. Where has this year gone?

I’ve wanted to try cooking a turkey breast in the crock pot for a long time. I know, right? Who hasn’t already done that? Uh, this girl! So I thawed it in the fridge for a couple of days, placed it cavity side down in the crock pot, slathered butter on top, threw on a few sage leaves, some course salt, and freshly ground pepper. I let it cook for about 8 hours on low, basting it a couple of times, but, looking back, I don’t think that was necessary. It remained very moist.

So, then, what do you do with a crock pot full of turkey breast for two people? Being the frugal cook that I am, you don’t let anything go to waste; especially when you can make 5 or 6 easy meals at one time. Here’s how we consumed it:

Meal # 1-Sliced turkey with gravy made with the juices, of course. Served with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans. Nothing fancy!

Meal #2-  Turkey and stuffing Casserole

2 cups chopped turkey

1/2 small onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

T butter

1 c chicken broth

dried sage leaves (optional)

8 oz  Stuffing mix

1 can cream of chicken soup

Chop turkey and set aside. Saute onion and celery in butter until translucent. Add chicken broth, sage, and stuffing mix. If mixture is too dry, you can add more broth, water, or a whisked egg. Pour into a buttered casserole dish. (Use the size smaller than 9X13…I’m not good with numbers.) Top with turkey pieces and then spread the cream of chicken soup over the top. Bake at 350 until heated through…about 25 to 30 minutes.

Meals #3 and 4

Turkey Pot Pie    DSC00284

I actually made two of these. This small one we took camping. Boy was it great to heat up in the microwave on that rainy night when we couldn’t have a campfire. I took it out of the foil pan, of course, and heated it on our paper plates, served it with some sliced tomatoes and red bell peppers from the garden.

2 cups diced turkey breast

1 cup pan drippings from the crock pot

1 large can mixed vegetables. (I like Veg-all chunky)

1 cup frozen peas

2 cans chicken broth

1 T cornstarch

1 T flour

1/2 cup water

1 package pie crust (Store brand in dairy case and the box contains two individually wrapped rolls)

This recipe makes two medium or one very large 13 x 9 pot pie.

Directions: Put pan drippings, drained vegetables, and chicken broth in sauce pan. Heat to almost boiling. Mix corn starch, flour, and water until no lumps are noticeable. Add the mixture to the saucepan, stirring until mixture begins to thicken, then remove from heat and add turkey.. Roll out pie crusts and cut or shape to fit bottom and sides of dish or dishes. Pour in the filling. (No more than 3/4 full) Use the remainder of the pie crust to top the pie. You may cut strips and lattice, cut shapes, or just place the pieces randomly across the top. Bake at 375 degrees until crust is golden brown.

We still have the second pie in the freezer to eat at a later date.

Meal #5-Turkey salad

2 cups diced turkey pieces

1/2 cup diced celery

3 green onions, chopped

1 cup grapes, washed, dried, and halved

1/2 cup cashews or toasted pecans


1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon tarragon

Toss first 4 ingredients together, Mix dressing ingredients together and add to turkey mixture. Add in cashews and serve on lettuce leaves with a croissant or crusty bread.

Turkey breasts, especially during sale season, may just be your best bang for your grocery buck.

So, what does all this have to do with camping? Not much, really, except that having the pot pie and turkey salad already prepared came in very handy as we made trips to the electric company, planning and zoning, back hoe/excavating guy, and all that business we needed to do to get our lake property ready for our camping trailer and possibly an out building with bathroom facilities. Speaking of which, I am obsessed with galvanized metal. I just want you to look at all these rustic ideas we’re hoping to employ in that out building…eventually.



If you have rustic design ideas using reclaimed barn wood or old barn tin, please share.