Our latest camping adventure had three purposes, hence, three campgrounds in seven days. Sounds exhausting, but it was really a fun trip.
First of all, Saint’s doctor scheduled a procedure for him in Little Rock that required an overnight stay…during spring break. Secondly, we had planned a trip to an interesting looking lake in Texas a couple of years ago and had to cancel. Little Rock was almost half way there, so why not? Finally, we store our trailer near Beaver Lake in Arkansas during white bass season so that we can pull our boat back and forth and the camper will be there when we need it. By coming home a different route, we could drop the camper off…and spend the weekend before at our favorite camping spot.
I also planned to show you how we put the new awning on and the cute shabby cottage lights I made to go on the awning. In part III of the trailer makeover, I was going to show you my new camping table and share some recipes.
I made all the plans, the grocery lists…I’m a planner like that, but, as I have learned in the last couple of years, the most important rule of camping is: ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B.
We were pleasantly surprised with the Willow Beach Campground in Scott, Arkansas. It was about 10 miles from Little Rock and served as a great base for us. We drove there on Monday, with plans to tour Little Rock on Tuesday, and finish up the medical test on Wednesday morning. There were plenty of vacant spots right on the Arkansas River.
Second cast into the river and I caught this big Drum.
We fished an hour or so and caught a couple of small bass, also, but the wind picked up, and we decided not to put all our camping stuff out. Also, we were going to be away from the campsite all day the next day. We built a charcoal fire and I used my new pie iron. I’m going to post the recipe because it was delicious, but I can’t say my pie iron experience was totally successful. I made a huge mess. Even though I added foil to prevent it.
The plan was to try as many low carb camping recipes as possible. This was the first, and worth sharing the recipe.
Low Carb Ruebens in the Pie Iron
Corned Beef slices (I used Budding, a package for each sandwich)
Thousand Island Dressing
Low Carb tortillas (I used a large one and folded it in half between the pie iron-6 carbs)
Butter or Olive Oil
After lining both sides of the pie iron with foil, I buttered the tortilla and placed it in the pie iron with the buttered side toward the foil. Next, between the fold of the tortilla, I layered a couple of slices of corned beef, a slice of Swiss cheese, a heap of kraut, a dab of TI dressing, and then repeated the layers. I closed the pie iron, and Saint had a nice hot fire ready. We grilled it about 5 minutes on each side, just long enough for everything to melt and blend and the tortilla to brown. I made one for Saint using bread, but I was absolutely delighted with the way the low carb tortilla browned and crisped. I’m not a huge Reuben fan, but this was really yummy!
And then we enjoyed this sunset before turning in for the night.
The next morning, we visited the state capitol building, the Clinton Center, the MacAurthur Military Museum, the Riverfront area, and other historic sites in Little Rock. My favorite part was driving through old neighborhoods looking at the variety of houses…no cookie cutter rows of houses there. So many unique and quirky details.
After a day exploring and having a late lunch at the restaurant at the Clinton Presidential Library, we were ready for a pleasant night at the campgrounds. The only complaint about Willow Beach is that it is close to the airport and the planes were noisy the first night.
After finishing with the medical business, we were on the road to..hermetically sealed in a mayonaise jar…Karnack, Texas. I had tried for reservations at Caddo Lake State Park, but they were full of spring breakers. It was a beautiful place and the fishing was free there with a day use fee. But, it was full! Luckily, I found a place called Backwater Jack’s. At first, I was dubious. It was definitely backwoodsy. And the campsites were very close together…just not the kind of spot we were used to, but the river was pretty, surrounded by live oaks with hanging moss.
The proprietors were friendly and helpful, there were full hookups, and the river was beautiful. We lost our sewer hose somewhere along the road. I know, right? How could we not see that? A resident camper at Backwater Jack’s told us about a shortcut to Marshall, TX. We Are Marshall, Texas? With a WalMart. We were on our way!
several essential purchases, we drove on to the Caddo State Park and looked around, determined to return the next day for fishing.
And we still got back to the campground in time to fix dinner.
Low carb meatloaf cooked on the grill. This was probably the best meatloaf I’ve ever eaten. It was definitely the best I’ve ever made. I did all the prep work at home, wrapped two “loaves” in foil packets, and froze it. (This made four servings.) I put them down in the refrigerator to thaw the day before. Yum! There is nothing better than caramelized yellow squash and asparagus tossed with olive oil and a little sea salt and cooked on the grill. Here’s the recipe for the Meatloaf:
Low Carb Campground Meatloaf
1 package lean ground beef. (Mine was slightly more than a pound)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (Kraft shaker kind)
1/4 cup oatmeal
2-3 green onions-sliced
1/2 of a green pepper-diced
1/2 cup tomato sauce +more for topping
dash of garlic salt, salt, and pepper to taste
Peppers for slicing into rings.
Mix all together, divide into 4 round “loaves. Cut peppers into 4 rings. Place an individual loaf in each ring and smooth it out. Add a little tomato sauce to the top and sprinkle a bit of Parmesan, if you like. I used foil wrappers and wrapped two loaves in a packet. When ready to use, thaw and place on the grill. I’d say it took about five minutes before flipping and another five after flipping.
We each had a meatloaf with the asparagus and squash for dinner and saved the other two to heat in the microwave. I topped it with a slice of cheese and made a sandwich for Saint and ate mine without bread. It was
just almost as good leftover.
The next day, campers started filling up the campground…most from one family. It reminded me of family camping trips to Aunt’s Creek on Tablerock Lake when I was younger. When Saint and I returned from a
wasted almost useless trip to Shreveport for a Cajun dinner, the family had gathered around the fire right outside our trailer and laughed and told stories well into the night. That, my friends, is what camping SHOULD be. We were putting stuff away and getting ready to leave early the next day or we would have been right out there with them. I did get a couple of pictures (with permission) the next morning. Don’t you love Miss Terry’s chair?
And Grandma’s boy! What a cutie!
Saturday was mostly spent driving back to Beaver Lake Arkansas where we planned to fish and cook all the food we didn’t have time to cook along the way, and put up our awning, and put out our new table, and just enjoy a couple of days before leaving our camping trailer at the storage facility. We tried.
We really tried. Just when we got the new table set up and Saint started building a fire, he looked at the weather app on his phone and declared that we could probably get everything rolled up and put away before the rain started…if we hurried.
Our daughter and son-in-law were coming for dinner the next day.
We have all this food left because plan A for cooking just wasn’t working so much this trip. And that nasty little leprechaun wasn’t finished. Not only did it rain…
There’s the new table that didn’t get put away. Four inches of snow before it was over and no grilling dinner for the family. On to Plan B! We had heat, covers, food, basketball on TV, books, and sparse phone coverage. The oven, which we almost never use, set off the smoke alarm, but, with the door open, we managed to cook the cowboy chicken grillers for lunch.
Along with the orange roll we had tried to cook over the open fire at Caddo. We won’t be doing that again, but it heated up fine in the microwave on a snowy day.
And we are not to be defeated! S’mores by candlelight on Sunday night.
Monday morning, we threw in a couple of hooks, but it was too cold to fish. We packed up all that food and dirty clothes, cleaned up the trailer, and left it there for the next time, when, hopefully, we won’t need that plan B, but, first rule of camping…always have one!