What’s for supper? Vol. 90: We put the “amp” in camping

Hoop de doo! Here we go.

SATURDAY
Meatball subs, fruit

On Saturday, armed with only a sledgehammer, a reciprocating saw, and a thirteen-year-old boy, my husband built a new floor for our gutted murderboat, tentatively named “The No Regerts.”

Still ahead: sealing the wood and dragging it down to the stream. I SAID NO REGERTS. So I thought we could all use a hearty meal.

***

SUNDAY
Beef cabbage stir fry, rice, roasted rustlebutts

Here’s a nice recipe from Budget Bytes I make every six weeks or so. It’s easy and tasty and pretty cheap, and you can easily adjust how sweet or spicy it turns out.

Brussels sprouts were very cheap, so I got a ton and cut them in half and spread them on one of my fabulous new giant pans with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and just roasted ’em up under the broiler.

Corrie recoiled in horror and angrily refused . . . RUSTLE-BUTTS. So let it be written.

By the way, the best purchase I’ve made in a long time those two 15″ x 21″ baking sheets (affiliate link). I measured my oven and bought the biggest pans that would fit, and they make life so much easier. You can just cook everything up all at once, rather than trying to Tetris various small pans in there. They also double as serving trays for parties, and are useful for moving board games intact when we need the table.

***

MONDAY: Camping, day 1
We packed ever so slowly, and then had to go to urgent care for an ear infection, and had to stop to tighten the canoe that wanted very much to become a wild, wild canoe that hops on the nearest jet stream and resettles in Canada, so we didn’t get to the campgrounds until late, and then it turned out the lake was closed because of bacteria.

HOWEVER, the yurts were still airy and cool, and dinner was pork spiedies, watermelon, and Pringles, with S’mores for dessert. The spiedies were insanely delicious.

 

even though I forgot to pack tongs, and Mr. Husband had to make ridiculous BBQ chopsticks with a hair rubber band

I had made the meat at home the night before and packed it in ziplock bags along with the marinade, which leaked all over the inside of the cooler. I also forgot soap.

Faced with these realities, I decided pretty early on that I was going to take a three-day break from believing in cooties, and so what if the baby wanted to paddle around in the puddle under the spigot where I washed not only the pork juice with no soap but also her poopy bathing suit? I don’t want to hop on a jet stream and resettle in Canada! Not at all. Hey look, a yurt! So airy and cool.

I actually spent most of my time putting my feet up and complaining, while my husband made fires, told ghost stories, read Treasure Island to the kids, and grabbed flying children out of mid-air before they burned or impaled themselves.

Oh, and we took turns being fruit ninjas.

and I did get some rare photographic evidence that Corrie’s brain is, indeed, on fire.

***

TUESDAY: Camping, day 2
The kids had their hearts set on roasted apples for breakfast, but they ate most of the apples on day 1, so with a heavy heart I threw a box of Honey Buns at them while Damien went to Dunkin’ Donuts and got us coffees. Just kidding about the heavy heart part. Whatever it was in me that once relished the idea of waking up early and building a fire before breakfast, it’s dead now.

Lunch was sandwiches and cookies on the beach (a different beach, without water cooties), where we swam in the rain. Then the sun came out, so we bought a ton of candy and went to see Wonder Woman. Look, I never said we were good at camping.

Dinner was walking tacos, which taste so much better than is reasonable. I cooked ground beef and seasoned it at home, and we heated it up over our lovely propane stove. Each person got a personal little bag of Doritos, into which went meat, shredded cheese, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and salsa.

We also had grilled corn on the cob. You cook it in the husk over the coals until the husks are blackened, and it comes out so sweet.

For dessert, I couldn’t resist these cute Little Debbie brownies with animal tracks in them.

WEDNESDAY: Camping, day 3
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bagels, hot chocolate with rainbow marshmallows!!!!
Next time, I’ll remember to pack a real pan. And butter. And a decent cooking utensil. I did, however, remember the salt!

Never, ever forget the salt.

Lunch: Candy.
I would say we had something else, but really we basically had candy. And then we went home. Some more more pleased about this than others.

 

Supper (at home): Bagel, egg, ham and cheese sandwiches. I had to run to the convenience store for more eggs, and since I was already conveniently paying top dollar, I ponied up a little bit more for local eggs. This is one “fresh, local, organic” food that truly lives up to the hype. The yolks are darker and more flavorful, the whites are fluffier and lighter, and it’s very charming to see how many different egg sizes find themselves together in one box.

But lorramercy

I feel like they could wash them.

We’re home again. Cooties are real.

***

THURSDAY
Pork ramen, broccoli

On Thursday, my true love took the sledgehammer we found in the murderboat and smashed up my kitchen, just liked I’ve been asking him to do.

So I made dinner on a dining room chair.

I browned up some sliced garlic in olive oil using the saute function of the Instant Pot, then browned up a bunch of pork ribs. I took them out and sliced them, sauteed them some more, then took them out again. In the same pot, I hard boiled a bunch of eggs, then took them out, peeled and halved them. Then I added water and scraped up all the yumminess that was in the bottom of the pot, and cooked ramen noodles in it with the flavor packets, then added the pork and some chopped spinach. I served the noodles and pork with the eggs, some scallions, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and crunchy noodles on top.

Not an especially sophisticated or complex taste, but it was fine and filling. And I cooked it all on a chair! And that’s why people love the Instant Pot.

***

FRIDAY
French toast casserole, I guess? I think Damien and I are going out for pizza. A full week of family togetherness is about enough for now.

17 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 90: We put the “amp” in camping”

  1. Okay–
    I forgot to add that we are also camping tonight. Every year our snitty HOA allows everyone that lives in our community to camp on the beach for the weekend.

    I bought a stand up paddle board on Monday. The beach caretaker just installed a nice sized raft like the kind they had when I was a kid. (Swimming to the raft was a rite of passage). I ran to the store to buy charcoal, water, beer, sausages and firewood. The cashier looked at me, looked at the firewood and said, “really?”

    There’s a big fire here, and people are getting evacuated a bit north of us. The sky is orange, and the sun is blood red. People get really excited about the fires here, but it’s not our first rodeo. If you’re smart you have a contingency plan for the photos, a good exit strategy/ins. policy. If it burns, you might get to update from a 60s track house to villa.

    I haven’t been totally up front about camping. I might slink off and get into my own cozy, fluffy, sand-free bed. I’ll bring coffee and danishes in the morning if I do.

  2. That picture of the two of you is so cute!

    A few years back we loaded up all the kids for a one-day canoe trip out to a tiny island, accompanied by a picnic basket stocked for a woodfire BBQ. My husband even thought to bring a handful of kindling to be sure we could start the fire with something dry. On the island, we unpacked the basket with anticipation, built a fire pit, and laid out the wood – and discovered that our box of matches, so carefully protected in its plastic baggy, was empty. No matches, anywhere, and certainly no convenient store nearby. So…we ate cold buns topped with cheese and lettuce. Disappointing!

  3. I got to spend last Thu-Sun. at a conference/retreat. So nice; prayer, silence, brain food, conversation (with adults!), lovely lake to sit by, and my husband even came out with the kids one evening so I could get some hugs. It was the best. It also gave me hope for the Jesuit order since there were a bunch of brilliant, orthodox little scholastics who chanted beautiful Latin and French. The movie “Ignatius” was part of the activities and was good (though not for children), while also making me realize how little I really know about Ignatius.
    Mon: brother/sil babysat (so glad we live close enough to trade that reasonably often) so husband and I could go out to dinner.
    Tues: dressed everyone up as cows and went to Chick-Fil-A for free sandwiches.
    Wed: Finally forced to cook again, so went the easy route with rotini, choice of white or red sauce (the former from scratch, the latter a $1 can), and pork sausage.
    Thurs: sweet and sour beef, but with venison which tastes just the same but is killed and canned by my husband so it takes nearly zero time on my part. Had it with those garlic-parmesan green beans someone posted the link to a couple weeks ago. I’ll be making those beans again!
    Fri: pizza.

    1. I really get what you are talking about. How lovely of your husband to give you that oasis of peace. I love the Jesuit dark horse thing. Who would have thought?

  4. oops to see ******HER come striding out of her building! I’m neither young, nor competent. (Nor am I a good editor.)

  5. Yurts were on my mind this week too. Or giant TeePees. I didn’t cook all week. My Mom watched four of my kids while I drove by MYSELF (still can’t get over the difference between driving with/without kids) to San Francisco. I had the music cranked up for four straight hours, (and actually heard my nephew’s band on KiiS FM). There’s this temptation to drive really fast because its mostly rural until you hit San Jose. I hit 100 a couple of times and realized that it was probs a sin so I cooled my engines.. but my inner Colombian took over and I found myself saying bad words about people driving like girls. It’s amazing what living with a spouse for decades can do to you.

    My husband wanted me to visit him at the company headquarters in Mountain View, where he is still learning the ropes. So get this–I’m asking Siri to get me to an address WHERE SIRI IS ACTUALLY FROM and she very perkily gave me directions to El Paso Texas. I curse at Siri sometimes too. At my husband’s office, they practically scanned my retinas to get into the building. Never laugh foolishly when a robot tells you it’s going to take your picture, because you will need to wear that picture above your left boob with your name on it. That was interesting. I pigged out on all of their yuppy snacks because I’d only had a cup of coffee that day.

    We drove to San Francisco after that, and then across the Golden Gate Bridge to check out a couple of houses. We looked at an old, tiny house that was under 1000 sq. feet listed for almost a million bucks. “Nobody’s going to want this” I told my husband hopefully. “It’s tiny, it needs a ton of work, and the lot is too skinny and irregular. We can offer them much less!” I surveyed the lay of the land to see where the yurts/teepees would go for when our other five kids would come to visit, mentally starting to redecorate it, expand the tiny kitchen, and building out onto half the deck. We went to dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant, were greeted by friendly old faces, and toasted each other with Pinot Grigio. The Cesar salad with ample shaved Parmesan was the real deal. We split the pistachio encrusted salmon, on a bed of tiny little mushrooms, peas, and corn. They serve olive tapenade with crusty french bread and walnut bread…(we blissfully went for seconds). Locking arms, we strolled across the square, and shared a cup of coffee and salt caramel, artisan ice cream. Heading back across the bridge to the city practically made me giddy. Were we actually going to be able to come home again? I said it out loud, but then took it down a few notches fearing that the hope would be somehow jinxed. We shamelessly got into bed with wine, and settled in to watch our new Spanish series called “The Boat” on Netflix. Our daughter called wondering if we’d like to go out for drinks with her and her friends (translation: pay a $250 tab). She told us we were “poops” when we laughed and said no. I made it up to her by surprising her and driving her to work the next morning, which saved her the money for an Uber, because she’d baked a cake for her co-worker’s birthday. It thrilled me to come striding out of her building –so young, so competent, so together. (She’s in charge of designing skirts for a billion dollar company, and barely out of college!)I made a tiny bit of fun of her avant garde dress and asked her if it was a Harry Potter robe. She told me I was mean and then asked me if I thought she was mean for telling the guy she is dating that his hair looked disgusting on their last date. I explained to her that insults should always be cushioned with honest compliments.
    Ahhh mother-daughter bonding.

    I drove around San Francisco and simply marveled over the difference of navigating that city with a polite voice telling me where to turn, where the red light cameras are, with music on in the background instead of a screeching toddler, or a frantic infant. The the listing agent called. The little blue shack on the hill above the forest with the path to the pink Art Deco school, next to the woods, was no longer available. Poof. It had gone for “over asking” in just days.

    Hopes dashed. Mental remodeling for naught. I drowned my sorrows with a couple of fish tacos and some See’s candy. I ate half of what I bought my husband. I don’t think I’ve ever sat alone in a restaurant. Ever. As I thought the thought, my third son who has been blowing us off, called me from Rome. He’s coming home! Soon! In hours actually. The prodigal returns.

    The next day, I drove over to see another house. It’s cute. It needs a ton of work. Original 1906 or something like that. There are a million steps to even get to it. That’s why it’s so “cheap”.
    https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Mill-Valley-CA/pmf,pf_pt/house,land_type/19254650_zpid/19379_rid/pricea_sort/37.946498,-122.436448,37.802866,-122.670937_rect/11_zm/

    But the setting is magical–like there should be fairies and magical toads smoking things on toadstools next to the river.

    I’m starting to paint everything white inside and redesign the kitchen. I’m building a giant deck over the forest. I wonder if there’s a spot for a big Yurt. Forests and Yurts go together! Like tech companies and robot receptionists!

    1. Well, at least the property taxes are low! And with a third of an acre, hopefully there’s somewhere flat you can put a Craig’s list trailer for the older kids. But yikes! California is expensive. I think that house would be about a third to half the price in our neighborhood, (although the taxes would be at least double). I have in my head that California has some law where taxes increase when a property changes owners – hopefully I imagined that, because even in this low rate environment that mortgage would be a bear!

      1. Ha! That law is proposition 13, and my Dad played a huge part in getting it passed. –Sucks for the under-60 reg. people in high profile areas that just need to find basic housing. I’ve heard of techies living in vans in San Jose. I bet my Dad regrets what he did 40 years ago now. At least he built his house to accommodate refugees. (Us.) I call it “Noah’s Ark”–but I didn’t picture it as a long term solution. Sigh. Pass the tequila.

  6. Jacob has been talking about doing the corn in the husk for about a year now-He read it in a Nero Wolfe book and has been wondering if it lives up to the hype!

  7. I laughed so many times I’ve forgotten what all I laughed at. Mostly in recognition. We camp each summer and we are going next month.

  8. It’s funny, but I can’t taste the difference between them homegrown organic tree-hugging eggs and the cruel, cruel factory farm eggs. I know perfectly well that my daughter and son-in-law’s chickens have delightful lives scratching in the grass, eating bugs, eating leftovers, eating non-GMO chicken feed, etc., but I can’t see how their eggs taste any better. Weird.

    There is a reason they don’t wash the eggs. If you do (or if you wash them too hard), you wash off the protective coating that keeps them granola-fed eggs fresh for longer than the dreadful horrible Wal-Mart eggs. Heck, they even stay fresh if they’re on the counter for a couple of weeks. And they probably gave you the pretty eggs, so you don’t have to deal with some of the really yucky stuff that chickens leave on their eggs. So now you know.

    1. My husband can tell the difference and way prefers the fresh ones; I can’t tell except that the fresh ones are super yellow and make me queasy during first trimesters because they’re just… so bright, I guess?

      1. I’m a bit of an egg snob. Years ago, I read that cheap eggs are loaded with estrogen in order to increase egg output per hen. Because we eat so many eggs in our house (easily 6 dozen a week these days), I switched to the pricey eggs. A few years back we were taking a vacation with the cousins. I cheaped out and bought eggs by the gross at Costco. Blech. Not much flavor at all. Since then, I’ve been very cognizant of the difference in flavor in the hormone free eggs.

        Sometimes eggs that claim to be high in omega3s have a bit of a fishy smell. They make me gag even when I’m not pregnant. I’ve noticed the smell especially with those really orange eggs – I think they must be giving the chickens some kind of fish oil supplement. I know all the hormone free egg brands they sell around us. My kids don’t seem to notice, so I buy the fishy tasting brands when they’re on sale but I won’t eat them.

        1. Whoops! I’ve been reading now that US eggs have been hormone free for years. But it still doesn’t change the whole flavor thing for me. I’m not sure what the cheap egg chickens eat, but we don’t like their eggs. Fancy Eggs were the first luxury food we introduced in our house. Organic meats are expensive and still only a sometimes thing. Organic eggs are relatively expensive when compared to store brand eggs, but very doable.

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