How to Make No Mess/No Cleanup Camping Meals

Sometimes I like to fuss with camping meals. When it’s raining or the fish aren’t biting and there’s nothing better to do, I’ll work on a new recipe or spend some time preparing a big meal, but mostly, I’m all about the easy stuff. I still want it to taste great, but I want it fast and over so we can move on.

We camped in late winter-almost early spring this year and we needed a fire. But I wanted to enjoy the fire and the warmth without having to stand over the Coleman cook stove making breakfast. This was a perfect time to try the “no clean up” breakfast I’d been pondering.

It started with a couple of oranges. I cut away the top and scooped out all the pulp and juice and saved for the beverage.no clean up breakfast oranges unwrapped

Once the oranges were empty, I opened a can of cinnamon rolls and placed one in each of the oranges. I replaced the top, wrapped each in foil, and put them on the grate over the open fire. Saint had raked hot coals under the grate and the wood outside the grate was still flaming.

no clean up breakfast oranges wrapped

Next, I took an empty tin can (I try to keep a couple of empty BPH free cans in the camper. You will be surprised at how often you can use them…dumping grease, holding water to sprinkle on too hot coals) and filled it 2/3 full of water. I added two eggs and then poured in more water to cover the eggs. I placed them on the grate closer to the flame. They were boiling in no time. In fact, it took less time for Saint’s soft boiled eggs than it does on the stove at home, so these were a little less soft than he likes.

I then put him to work on the bacon. Onto the hot dog roaster fork, I threaded six slices of bacon. Saint held the fork over the fire. I knew this would work because I had done it before, but luck would have it, Saint got it a little close to the flame, so there were no complaints about my overcooked eggs.

no clean up breakfast cooking

father daughter blog bacon

I don’t have a picture of the finished product because, well, it was ugly wasn’t pretty plus a neighboring camper visited all through the cooking process and finally asked what we were doing. I explained we were having a no mess/no clean up breakfast, and he told me his wife just made scrambled eggs in the microwave. Well, sure, but how much fun was that? He had knocked the wind right out of my sails, so I didn’t dare take a picture lest he think it was some big deal or something.

At any rate, breakfast was somewhat successful. The cinnamon rolls were a little doughy as it is hard to judge the doneness over an open fire. The eggs and bacon were a little too done. The meal was much better than a rubbery scrambled egg from the microwave. With a little tweaking, I think it will be perfect. And best of all, there really was zero clean up! I didn’t even need to wipe the table.

Next post, I promise a meal that was a bit more work, but so worth it!

Chasing the Stripers

father daughter blog campground lakeI ❤ Arkansas campgrounds! Seriously, we have only found one Corp of Engineers’ campground in AR that we didn’t love. When I planned a guided striper fishing trip as a birthday present for Saint and our daughter, Tiffany, the guide wanted to meet at Rocky Branch Campground near Rogers. We usually camp at Beaver Dam Site when we fish on Beaver Lake, but E & C Striper Guide wanted us to meet him at 5 in the morning and it was an hour drive from Dam Site, so we decided to set up camp at Rocky Branch. We were glad we did. It was a lovely place. It was opening day, May 1, when we set up camp. Since it was our first time there, we drove through the camp looking for the perfect spot. We were amazed that no one had claimed that little peninsula already, as several of the campsites were filling up around it. It was such a beautiful spot on a point with water on three sides.

Finally, the weather seemed to cooperate for us to set up all our camping equipment…chairs, hammock, table, lantern, stove…even the canopy with the shabby chic lights I had made and never really gotten to enjoy.

father daughter blog camper 2

And we had time to hike and explore the site. We found an upper camping area with limited views of the water and lots of wild flowers, bluffs, and dogwood trees.

father daughter blog phlox                                                father daughter blog delano on bluff

The trouble started when we decided to drive the few miles into Rogers to pick up a few groceries I hadn’t packed. That’s when we discovered why the camp site was NOT already taken. The gentle breeze that we enjoyed while hiking turned into a gale. When we returned to the campsite, our brand new awning was on top of our camper, my new table was on the rocks with a glaring divot in the top, our lantern globe was beside it with a broken globe, and the tablecloth and place mats were dangerously close to drowning in the lake. Lesson: Never, ever leave your campsite on a windy day without putting the awning down. The metal arms had snapped and broken. We were fortunate that the fabric had not torn. Saint wondered if, had we secured it with anchor stakes, it might have been okay. The lady at the RV supply store said it would possibly have been worse. She said customers have reported that, when anchored, the winds catch it in the middle and snap it in half. Bottom line: If in doubt, roll up the awning. Fortunately, the salesman suggested something Saint had considered. Instead of buying replacement arms at about a hundred bucks, just cut off the broken part and re-rivet the arms. So, with a little ingenuity and a few bucks, Saint was able to restore it to a fully functioning awning…which gets rolled in when the winds come up!

Morning came early at 4 AM when Saint rolled out of bed, excited about this fishing trip. It came even earlier for Tiffany, her friend, Melissa, and her dad, who were driving to Rocky Branch from Fayetteville, but everyone made it on time. My job was to stay at camp and prepare breakfast for the fishermen/women.

I can’t seem to get the open fire cooking down to a science. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t, but this gave me time to try something I’d seen on Pinterest and wanted to try. YES! Yes, you can cook bacon over the open fire on a sharpened stick, or in this case, a hot dog roaster.

father daughter blog bacon

It was not all success, though. The egg casserole that I had made over the open fire before, did not adapt well to the fire I tried to keep going for the four or five hours of fishing. It burned on the bottom. And I didn’t do all the bacon on a stick. 🙂 I fried 2 pounds of bacon, fried hashbrowns, and made gravy and biscuits while the troop fished. I added the freshly baked WalMart muffins and fresh fruit.

I could see the father/daughter combos on the boat in the distance, and they shouted on their way in so I’d have everything ready. They sent a few pictures of their catches during their time on the water.

father daughter blog rif and fishfather daughter blog delano and fish

father daughter blog in boat

They didn’t catch the BIG one, but they had a great time with lots of laughs. And how often to you get a guide whose wife bakes you homemade chocolate chip cookies? Ed, with E&C Striper, made every effort to accommodate this crew. Making memories.

And, I think they enjoyed coming in to a campfire breakfast with stories to tell…seeing Uranus.

father daughter blog breakfast

God’s handiwork…wonderful people, beautiful campsite, spectacular sunsets. What could be better?

father daughter blog reflection of sunset