Dirty Girl

I am a flag-waving girly girl. Ruffles and all. So, those who know me well think the fact I went camping past weekend is pretty hilarious. I am not a fan of getting dirty, but, as a mom of little boys I feel like I need to suck it up and be more outdoorsy. More importantly, I have figured out ways to make camping fun for me and still give the littles the opportunity to experience some nature.

View from the campsite.
It's no secret that I'm a fan of the Little House books. This is why I look to Ma Ingalls for inspiration around the campsite...particularly when it comes to cooking over the fire. She was able to stop the wagon, set up a makeshift camp, and make foods so delicious that Laura was able to recall them years later. Ma rocked. It's in her spirit that I started experimenting with campfire cuisine, with the hope of being able to create something as memorable as she did.

Camping is messy.
The tool I love most for cooking over the open fire is my big cast iron pot. It cooks so evenly that, with a little practice, you can really gauge when you need to back off the heat so things don't burn. These kinds of pots were specifically designed for the "one-pot meal" so they're really perfect for camping. Just throw it all in and let it simmer while we're swimming or fishing or doing some other outdoorsy thing.

This past weekend I made a vegetarian pasta dish that went over really well. The recipe originally called for Italian Sausage but, as you may know, we generally don't eat meat - and definitely not pork - so I've done a lot of experimenting with faux-meat options to try to get the flavor and texture just right. The best I've found is the Seitan Italian Sausage from Upton's Naturals. This stuff is amazing. I highly recommend it!

Pasta cooking next to some cornbread.

Here is my recipe:

Sausage and Angel Hair Pasta

2 pkgs Upton's Naturals Seitan Italian Sausage
1 lb of Angel Hair Pasta
Olive Oil
5-1/4 Cups of Water
2 Roasted Red Peppers (cut into julienne strips)
Parmesan Cheese (to taste)
Fresh Basil Leaves (chopped)

Warm the Italian Sausage in about a half-cup of olive oil. When the Italian Sausage is heated through and crumbly remove from oil and and set aside. Add more olive oil to pot and throw in the uncooked angel hair pasta and toast it using tongs to turn it often. It will brown a bit. Press the garlic over the pasta as it is browning.

Now add the water, bullion, red peppers, parmesan cheese and sausage. Bring to a boil and simmer vigorously for 5-6 minutes or until pasta is tender and water is absorbed.

When pasta is fully cooked, add basil. Plate and top with more parmesan to taste.

This was just one of the yummy things we ate over the course of our time in the woods. Good food, inspiring scenery, new experiences...all those memories have come home with me. There is a lot I can learn from getting out of my comfort zone once in a while. I will admit to having come home with a sense of peace that I didn't have last week.

A fisherman was born.



  1. That's an impressive looking dinner for a camping trip! I'm too much of a princess to go camping (unless it's a festival and I have no choice!) but it does look fun :)

  2. I'm a bit of a princess myself...thus the non-camping camp dinners! :)