When Life Gives You Storms…

First it rained. And rained. We were camped at Beaver Dam River site during Spring Break week in order to burn some huge brush piles on our lake property.

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And we had hoped to do a little fishing in the down time. With the cold and the rain, the thunder and the lightning, plans changed. We did have one short period of time to throw our hooks in the water and managed to catch a couple of small mouth bass.

A mid-week commitment to an After School Good News Club prompted us to leave the trailer set up and return home for a day. After the club meeting, we drove back to the trailer and got it ready to move the next morning. We had arranged to join a group of Campers on Mission at The Great Passion Play grounds in Eureka Springs. This was our first experience working with the volunteer group, and we thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the fact that the storms continued.

We had a good work day on Wednesday, with Saint helping tear off a roof and prepare it for re-roofing.

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And I helped this fun crew with painting around the entry statue and pool.

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It was a windy, warm day, allowing us to accomplish a lot. Good thing, because just about dinner time when we were all back at our campers, the sky turned ugly.

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The minute I got dinner on the table, our phones alerted us to impending danger. A knock at our door announced that other campers were heading to an unknown building to take shelter from a possible tornado close by. Rain drenched us all as we scrambled to first one building and then to the other across the street and down below. Hail pelted our vehicles and echoed through the concrete structure that now housed 26 humans and 8 dogs.

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Remember that dinner we left on the table? Other than one couple who brought their potato soup in mugs and might have been taking their lives in their own hands, we were all in the same boat, um, so to speak. That day week maybe year old popcorn was looking pretty tempting. Most campers had grabbed cell phones and two had weather radios, so we had a continual symphony of beeps, buzzes, and robotic voices accompanied by a few thunder booms and relentless hail.

I’m not certain how long Saint and I were there before we finally consulted with all the radar pictures from every station and decided we would be safe to go back to the trailer. All warnings were not off and the rain had not stopped, but we determined that we would monitor carefully and return to the shelter room if needed.

A tornado was reported on the ground in nearby Barryville and other storms were boiling up in Oklahoma, but by ten o’clock, flooding was the greatest threat for Eureka Springs. Before the night was over, a car had been swept away into Leatherwood Creek and three streets were closed. We were high and dry wet, but safe. Thank you, Lord!

The rains put a damper on our work the next day. The men found a few projects to work on inside, and the faithful sewing ladies continued making costumes for the Passion Play.

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And if you follow thymelesssageandrandomrants.wordpress.com, you know I don’t sew much. Since it was too wet to paint and do the outside projects, I volunteered to turn the sashes after they were sewn, so I did help a little, but mostly I visited and got some great camping tips from the ladies who have been roaming with Campers on Mission for a long time. I asked them to name ONE little thing they couldn’t live without while camping and got some really good suggestions to share with you:

  • Small hangers-buy them for your RV closet. Another camper added that she bought the good ones at the RV store. They are guaranteed to stay put. Another says the cheaper small ones from WalMart work fine for her.
  • Tableware-Buy a light weight set (like Nordic or Corelle) that can be used in the microwave.
  • Tervis cups/glasses are guaranteed for life. They are sold at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and I just saw there’s a new Tervis store at The Landing in Branson. 🙂
  • Minimize-Find one cleaner that cleans everything! The same goes for shampoo and body wash if you can find one you like that can be used for everything; less to store and less to carry if you use a campsite shower.
  • Collapsible mesh laundry totes. (That’s my hint.)They lie flat when not in use, and open up to hold dirty clothes. Even opened and filled, two or three will fit across the end of the top bunk, out of sight. The mesh allows you to put damp clothes in and they won’t sour and smell like they do in plastic or canvas bags. And did I tell you you can buy them for a buck apiece at Dollar Tree?

Well, that was an afternoon well spent, wouldn’t you say?

The next day was chilly but sunnier. The men were able to work on several projects and the ladies finished their costumes. I got a tour of the Holy Lands grounds and took some pictures.

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Our first experience with Campers on Mission was a good one, despite the storms. The volunteer campers were friendly, hard working examples of faith. The people associated with the play were accommodating and appreciative. The Passion Play is set to open later this spring. If you are in the Branson/Eureka Springs area, stop and visit. There are lots of things to do and see in one place. And if you’re a camper, there are lots of places to camp on the grounds and surrounding area.

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Take Your Garden Camping

Gardening seems to be an enjoyable hobby…to those who gladly accept those beautiful, free vegetables you share. In reality, gardening involves a lot of hard work. Rewarding, but still labor intensive. Fishing and camping, on the other hand…oh, wait. They’re a lot of hard work, too, but so worth it!

After a couple of weeks of hard work in the garden, we were ready for a break; a week of camping at Beaver Lake was just what we needed. And after all that garden work, we had the fruits of our labor all over our counter tops. So why not take them camping?

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Washing, slicing, and bagging the veggies before you go saves water, time, and work at the campground. Here are some of the ways we used them:

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Pictured here are balsamic glazed chicken breasts, beefy-cheesy stuffed poppers, and grilled okra. By having the chicken pounded and tenderized before bagging and freezing, I was able to go out fishing while the bag of chicken thawed. When we returned, Saint started the charcoal while I rubbed it with olive oil and salted it. It cooked on the grill in less than 15 minutes and then I basted it with balsamic glaze that I prepared before we left home. I microwaved the glaze in the glass storage container, stirred, and it was ready for brushing.

For the okra, I made a foil tray, drizzled olive oil in the tray, sliced the okra length wise, tossed it in the oil, and salted it. I placed the foil directly over the charcoal, and stirred it occasionally. This was my first attempt at grilling that particular vegetable, and I was pleased with the result. The smokey, caramelized taste was great with the chicken.

Saint’s favorite part of this meal was definitely the jalapeno poppers. This was an original recipe using an old favorite dip/spread as a stuffing.

Beefy-Cheesy Stuffed Poppers

Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

1/2 small carton Hiland’s French Onion Dip

1 jar dried beef-torn or cut into small bits

1 tsp. minced onion

1-2 tsp. garlic salt

jalapeno peppers

bacon

Directions:

Mix first five ingredients to a smooth, spreadable consistency. Split jalapeno peppers length wise, remove seeds and membrane. I recommend using plastic gloves for this. Spoon filling into a jalapeno half and top with the other half. Wrap the stuffed pepper with a strip of bacon (you may want to use half a strip depending upon the size of your pepper) and secure with a toothpick.

Grill over hot charcoal, turning or rolling as needed, depending upon how charred you prefer the pepper to be.

Other meals included fresh corn microwaved at home for a couple of minutes and then finished by rubbing with olive oil and sea salt before grilling, and yellow squash and zucchini that had been sliced and marinated in Zesty Italian dressing at home and only needed to be placed on the grill and turned as needed. These accompanied bacon wrapped filets and grilled avocados.

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The avocado (not grown in our garden 🙂 was prepared by halving, removing the seed, making criss-cross slits through the fruit, not the peel, rubbing on a couple of drops of hot sauce, sprinkling with coarse salt and Parmesan  cheese, and grilling peel side down. I never turned the halves, the browning of the cheese occurred when I placed the lid on the grill.

I’ll share the great make ahead low carb quiche recipe we enjoyed before fishing when I find the pictures.

It really is easier than you think to eat healthy and use your fresh garden or Farmer’s Market produce when you camp.

Space Saving Tips for RVs and Camping Trailers

Organization is KEY to successful RV travel. With cabinet space at a premium, you want to make the most of every available space. The old adage, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, just doesn’t apply, here.

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Practically everything you need to prepare, cook, and store (except for microwaving) is contained in this tiny, under-the sink cabinet space behind a closed door.  There’s a stainless steel skillet for cooking on your camper stove, an iron skillet for the campfire, and…drum roll, please.

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Inside the big red pasta pot are all, yes ALL of these! The wonderful nesting bowls can be used to heat or cook on top of the stove, as mixing bowls, for food prep, or even as salad or storage bowls since they have plastic lids. The two sizes of pasta pots with lids can be used to cook almost anything. Look for these sets at flea markets or garage sales to outfit your camper. Serious space savers!

Who says you can’t be a gourmet cook in a camping trailer? If you want to, that is. With this storage solution, you are ready for anything!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Top Ten Freebies, Upcycles, and Dollar Items to Make Your RV Camping Easier

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If I were going to be a full time RVer, I would no doubt probably be willing to shell out the big bucks for quality items for my cabinets. Since I’m not…yet…I like to find things that make my camping trips easier, more fun, and convenient. I occasionally lose misplace things along the road, and I don’t want to have to worry go back and get them. That’s why I made this list of things that are indisposable very helpful, and best of all, they are all free or cost one buck. I’m serious. When you try these ideas, you’ll never go searching for that perfect dish, pot, or accessory again. You’ll just do what I do and go through your trash recyclables, scout out garage sales, and/or head directly to your local Dollar Tree. Here’s the list…sort of in order of importance.

  1. Foil pie pans and microwavable individual meal trays-  Start saving them NOW. Every Weight Watchers’ meal you eat will leave you with the perfect little tray that you can reuse to heat things in the microwave. These are particularly helpful when you prepare food in advance for traveling across country from campground to campground and don’t always have time for the fun cooking outside. When you do have the time, the foil pie pans are perfect; better than foil pouches because they are sturdier. You can cover with foil OR put one pie tin on top and clothespin together or tie with kitchen string. Very little clean up is involved. You can wash them if you want, but since you have already reused it, you don’t have to feel guilty about tossing it.
  2. Shower caddies from the Dollar Tree-Buy two or three of these because you can use them everywhere. One of the most pinned postings from my camping board is the one I use in the cabinet to separate plates and cups and hold things in place as you travel. They also work great for carrying directly from your trailer or RV to the outside picnic table…paper products, condiments, cutlery.
  3. Crystal Light type drink containers-These are the perfect size to hold your silverware, fit inside a drawer, and keep the implements separate. I put forks and spoons in with handles down, but since I keep sharp steak knives in them, too, I put the knives in with the handles out.
  4. Mesh Collapsible Hamper-Dollar Tree-one buck. I love mine. I used to stuff dirty clothes in a big trash bag. Trust me, this smells is so much better! You might need more than one. Five days of camping, for Saint and me,will fill it up. I like that it is not shapeless like a trash bag and it is breathable. I put it on the top bunk, which we never use, and it is totally out of our way.
  5. Mt. Olive Pickle Jar- If you haven’t eaten Mt. Olive dill pickles, well, I’m sorry. You should eat them just for the jar, but no! These are the BEST dill pickles. Almost like getting them out of a pickle barrel. And the jar is the perfect size for sun tea and other drinks. A  gallon sun tea jar takes up too much space in the cabinet, takes too long to make the tea, and makes too much for two people to drink before it gets old. This one is perfect. If you have more than two people, get two of them because they still fit in the cabinet better and give you a choice if you want a jar of sweetened and another of unsweetened tea or a jar of tea and a jar of lemonade. ALSO, you can put a candle or solar light inside for your picnic table ambiance. Aren’t you glad I used also? Way too many twos in this paragraph, but totally necessary.
  6. Reading Glasses and Tinted Reading Glasses-Once again, a dollar. “What!?” you say. Yes, if you pay $35-$135 for a pair of stylish reading glasses, you don’t want to leave them at a fast food stop along the way or lose them overboard trying to get your fish netted. I buy 8-10 pairs of these and keep them everywhere-one in my purse, one in the truck, one stays in the trailer, one in the boat, and one in practically every room of my house. They work just as well as the expensive ones…well, the earpiece doesn’t last as long, but what the heck…you can just throw them away. If you leave them, lose them, sit on them…it’s okay. One less thing to worry about…or two.
  7. Foil Grill Covers-Once again, Dollar Tree, where everything is a buck. When you have too much for your portable BBQ and you need to cook over the fire pit grill at the campgrounds, these fit right on. They have holes already reinforced so the juices get out and the smoke flavor gets in. Just another way to make your meal faster and easier. Throw away after one or several uses. They come in a pack of two.
  8. Solar Lights-Dollar Tree sells these for a dollar apiece, of course. You can attach them to your tent or awning stakes or rods so visitors don’t trip, screw the stakes off and put them in jars for table lights, or replace bulbs in a vintage chandelier to make an awesome outdoor light fixture. You can mark paths, make games and obstacle courses for the kids, as well.
  9. Screen Colanders- Stackable on top of your pots and pans, these wire mesh colanders wash veggies or kids’ toys, but my favorite use is to turn them upside down over a bowl of potato salad or a plate of cookies to keep the flies off! You can fancy them up by attaching a drawer pull as a handle, but why would you? Just pick it up from the bottom. They store much easier without a cumbersome handle.
  10. Collection– I know, I know. This is a cheat. I couldn’t narrow it down to just ten, so I lumped several other things into this last point. Butter tubs and  plastic deli meat containers that you have in the trash or recyclables work just as well as a matched set of covered bowls. Save them. They are dishwasher safe and perfect for the fridge. Use them for pickles, olives, sliced onions, mushrooms…things that come in a jar or can and take up too much room in their original containers. You may notice a couple of bottles in the above pictures that look like water bottles for toddlers. These are from Dollar Tree. I use them for mustard and mayo. No, I don’t suck either one, although I do like Miracle Whip almost that much. I transfer mustard and mayo from the big jars I have in my kitchen at home into these. The “straw” makes a perfect spreader and these fit into the door of the camper fridge. I also find that a quart milk jug fits much better so I save those, wash them, and pour the milk in from my gallon jug at home. Also, I have glow stick bracelets for putting around a toddler’s wrist…easier to keep track of, and to place in the bottom of a cooler or tub of ice. Such cuteness you’ve never seen, and it makes it easier to select your cold drink. I have tiny command hooks to use everywhere I want. One goes in the space behind the hide-a-bed, and I hang the fly swatter on it. TaDah! Out of sight, yet accessible.

There you have it! Long post, I know, but good grief, there’s a ton of helpful information here. How do I know? Just look at how many times I used words like easier, perfect, easier. Yep, camping’s about the fun and the food. Anything that makes your life more fun, more delicious, and easier has got to be worth a 1290 word count, right?

 

Caddo Lake Camping

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.

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.

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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

Ingredients:

Sour Kraut

Corned Beef slices (I used Budding, a package for each sandwich)

Swiss Cheese

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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

After several essential purchases, we drove on to the Caddo State Park and looked around, determined to return the next day for fishing.

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And we still got back to the campground in time to fix dinner.

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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 egg

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?

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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.

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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.

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Our daughter and son-in-law were coming for dinner the next day.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

Kamping at Katfish Katy’s

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Not our typical camping experience, but the reason for this trip was threefold. First, we wanted to celebrate our forty-second anniversary. Next, we wanted to visit family in the area, and finally, we wanted to see the Mizzou Tigers wrestle gators. Katfish Katy’s is on the Missouri River about ten miles from Columbia. The river is just over the berm from our trailer, and we could view the river from our breakfast table.

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This is the stage for the live blues bands that were coming for a Sunday afternoon concert.

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Saint got to watch a big barge coming down the river, but the picture is on his phone. And we walked the Katy Trail, which was right at our doorstep, nearly, in the mornings.

We celebrated our anniversary at Les Bourgeois near Rocheport. The views of the river from there are spectacular.

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And the harvest is ready.

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The historic buildings in Rocheport…a church and and old school turned into a B&B.

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On Friday evening, My brother and his wife came through on the way to the ballgame. My niece, her husband, and delightful daughter came down from Columbia for dinner. Of course the beautiful weather turned ugly just about dinner time. Good thing Saint persevered through the ridiculousness of setting up a screen room over the picnic table. I think it was Miss Olivia’s first camping outing. She was a great sport and indulged us in roasting a marshmallow for a s’more, but she really liked the “pacorn” better.

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And was smart enough to warm up inside the trailer.

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She was even more comfortable at home the next day when I gladly gave up my ticket to the football game to help entertain Olivia and her cousin, Owen, who came from KC so his dad could enjoy the game.

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Olivia’s Grandpa (my brother, Carl) ready for the big game.

 

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Sharon gladly shared both her grand kids. Owen and I golfed, cooked, and hot-rodded around.

 

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And I still had a great seat to watch the Tigers whip up on the Gators when the kids went down for naps. Win-Win!!

They all went to a celebration party at one of the coaches houses, but Saint and I needed to get back to the campground and tear down that consternation of a screen room before dew settled in and we had to put it away wet.

Sometimes, the prettiest scenery is found in the most unusual of places. This time, on our road home. This old barn. By next weekend, the leaves should be at their brightest, but this is a pretty sight!

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I didn’t try a lot of extraordinary cooking this week. We were too busy and the weather wasn’t cooperating. I did try a new breakfast casserole that I baked in the oven inside the trailer.  I modified a bit . It was tasty. Can’t wait to try it on the campfire. I used to have a camp oven, and now I’m toying with making my own makeshift one. For now, I’ll share the recipe. It was good enough to make at home…and easy!

Bubble Up Breakfast Casserole

1 lb Sausage

6 eggs

1/2 c. milk or cream

1 can crescent rolls

1 can green chiles (small)

1 sage leaf

2 c. shredded cheddar

1/2 c. sliced mushrooms

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook, drain, and refrigerate sausage until ready to use. (I did this at home before we left for camp)

When ready to assemble, lightly grease or spray 9×13 casserole dish. Pinch off nickel sized pieces of crescent rolls and drop them randomly over the bottom of dish. Add cooked sausage. Dice fresh sage leaf finely and sprinkle across sausage. Beat eggs and milk together, add salt and pepper and mix in green chiles and mushrooms (optional). Pour over sausage layer and  top with shredded cheddar. Bake in 350 degree preheated oven until eggs are set and cheese is melted. (30 -40 mins and allow to rest an additional 5 to 10 .)

The crescent roll pieces will bubble up nicely, making this a pretty and tasty casserole. And, oh, my! How easy!

 

 

 

Camping recipes

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Nope. That foxy lady on the motorcycle is not me. I’m the one in the mirror trying to take a picture of the reason we camped at a different campground last camping trip.

I’m not a motorcycle enthusiast, but if you are, I encourage you to check out Bikes, Blues, and BBQ held in Fayetteville, AR every fall. On our trip from Ozark to Fayetteville, cyclists were EVERYWHERE! Our son-in-law and daughter took us downtown to see the beginning of the festivities, because, even if you’re not a fan, you should experience it just once. I have never seen so many Harleys in one place in all my life! And we were very close to the South Dakota event several years ago.  I didn’t have my camera as we were going to lunch at Hugo’s…my favorite black and bleu burger in the world! (Thanks, guys, for the tour and lunch.)

After all that noise excitement, we were ready for a few quiet days of camping and watching football games. We settled in at Lost Bridges Campground with all the supplies for trying a few new tailgating recipes.

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All settled in, but no signal to watch either the Razorbacks or the Mizzou game…which left us listening to the radio and focusing all our attention on the food.

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The GRILLED NACHOS turned out great.

1 lb. Velveeta (melted in microwave

1 can refried beans

1 can black beans

1/2 package Ranch Dressing seasoning packet

1/2 can Rotel

Sliced jalapeno peppers (to taste)

Shredded cheddar

Tortilla chips

Combine melted Velveeta and next 4 ingredients. Place a row of tortilla chips around the outside of pan. Pour mixture into center of pan. Top with shredded cheese and peppers. invert another pie pan over the top and seal the edges. This recipe made two pans full. If you are preparing for a tailgating crowd, double the recipe and heat it in a larger foil casserole pan. Heat over indirect heat until cheese is bubbly.

This was a no mess/no fuss dish that I will definitely do again.

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Black and Bleu Brisket Sandwiches

1 Package precooked brisket (I used the Jack Daniels kind from WalMart)

1 onion, sliced thin and carmelized

Horseradish sauce (I used the prepared kind)

Bleu cheese crumbles

Hawaiian sub rolls

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I added some grilled peppers to this. I carmelized the onions and peppers at home and all I had to do at the campground was heat everything over the open fire and assemble the sandwiches.

This was another great camping/tailgating recipe that I will make again.

The last thing I tried needs some tweaking, to say the least.  It was a breakfast recipe…cream cheese monkey bread. If any of you have “baked” over the open fire other than in cast iron, I would love to hear about it. I’m not giving up on it because the taste was wonderful. After we peeled the burned scorched blackened bottoms off. 🙂

Latest Curtain Caper for the Camper

DSC00097        BEFORE

I’ve been putting off doing anything about the curtains in the “guest” bedroom area of the camping trailer because…well, I didn’t quite know what to do with them. Curtain panels were attached to a plastic strip containing evenly spaced gripper- things that made them slide along a track. When I don’t know what to do about something, I usually get Saint involved. If he were a sign holder, this is what he would say:  HAVE DRILL, WILL WORK FOR FOOD.

He had little trouble taking the strips off. Evidently the previous owners did not know how easy it was because these panels had not been washed in years forever. I decided to hand wash them since they had all that plastic hardware still attached. I knew I didn’t want to rehang them, but none of the other ideas I had for curtain rods would work since the second door/emergency exit area which contained the windows left us very little space.

Then, I had another brilliant idea! Why not simply recover the old panels with new fabric? I wanted more light filtering/blocking curtains, anyway, to help with privacy, heat, and light. I also wanted to continue the nautical/coastal theme. I chose some navy fabric with white stars. Here are easy DIY directions:

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  1. Remove curtains, retaining all screws and hardware. (I put them in baggies and labeled them “top” and “bottom window.”) Leave the plastic strips and clips attached to the curtains.
  2. Lay each panel, right side down on the wrong side of the new fabric. Cut your new fabric an inch larger all the way around. This will be the fabric that you turn down for your hem.

DSC00127You can see here that I’ve turned it down at the top already.

3.  Turn the fabric down and pin baste it all the way around.

4. Sew a shirt tail hem all around the edge, being careful to avoid the little plastic grippers.

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It should look like this when you finish. You can now slide it back onto the track that you removed from the window. The back side still looks just like the original curtain. (See photo above.)

5. Do the same to all the panels. When you have them reattached to the track, it is time to get the Saint involved, again. Screw the tracks (with curtain panels attached) back into the door.If you don’t have a Saint, you can do this yourself. It’s not rocket science.

DSC00147Here’s what the curtains look like on the bottom window. For the top bunk, I wanted to add a shabby valance. I made this one by cutting scrap fabrics (all from the coastal theme) into strips and loop-tying them around a standard curtain rod.

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Isn’t that just cute? And all for a yard and a half of fabric!

More Successes

I think I was on post overload when we returned from our camping trip. Still, I managed to omit a couple of good camping tips.

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Does this look familiar?

Probably not, unless you’re a seasoned camper reading all the camping blogs you can find. This is certainly not your typical door decor for a camping trailer-not that there is a typical decor for a camper door. But this worked! I swear it did! I would not have believed it had I not tried it for myself.

A simple baggie filled with water and a few pennies will keep the flies away. Don’t ask me why. That may fall under rocket science category, I don’t know. What I do know is that I saw flies gathering on the screen door. I remembered seeing this trick somewhere on the www…odds are it was Pinterest. I had a bag and a few extra pennies, so why not experiment? Not a single fly entered our camping trailer through the front door. We did have one fly inside but it came in when Saint opened the storage space at the other end of the trailer. All the flies that had gathered by the front door disappeared like…well, flies.

Don’t believe me? You try it, and let me know your results.

Oh, and I’ll get to the other success in the next post.