Tag Archives: cooking

Planning a Backpacking Menu for Picky Eaters

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We’ve talked before on the blog about feeding children while backpacking. But today we have a new perspective from someone who’s dealt a lot with feeding a wide range of appetites in the backcountry. This is a guest post from Lauren Caselli, a Manhattan desk-jockey-turned-wilderness-junkie and former guide for Alpengirl Camp. 

Backpacking with kids and teens can be a rewarding experience. They think that every sweeping mountain vista is super rad, they have good energy, and they are surprisingly strong enough to carry most of their own weight.

But at the end of the day, when they’ve hiked miles with heavy packs in all kinds of weather, they’re still kids. They still get tired and cranky. And they definitely still hate spinach.

So what’s an outdoor mom to do when she’s got picky eaters in her tent?

Here are a few tips that I’ve learned as a guide for an all-girls adventure summer camp to keep even the pickiest of pack-carriers happy, and gives enough variety for everyone to go home and still appreciate pasta. (more…)

Backpacking meals your kids will like

One of the things I love about backpacking is the challenge of creating a tasty and filling meal at the end of the day, without lugging an extra ten or twenty pounds of food in with me. Backpacking with kids adds even more to that challenge, as they are discerning little folks, with taste buds as sensitive as a New York food critic.  They can sense the dehydrated food in your pack before you even pull it out, and steer away from powdered milk like cats from water.

The thing is, those little ones need a good meal filled with fat, a little protein, and plenty of calories.  Even better is if you can get them to drink enough to stay fully hydrated.  Bring lots of drink mixes to encourage imbibing, and think about starting dinner with a soup–Ramen noodles are easy, for example.

Here are a few meal suggestions to satisfy the little connoiseur, giving him or her the energy to get through a few days of long walks in the back country.

A note before we get to the recipes.  As with car-camping, there are ‘kits’ that I like to prepare when I go backpacking…  The Olivia Bag covers most things, but I also have a little kitchen bag for backpacking.  In it (along with utensils, etc.) are a few things that I know I’ll need no matter what meals I decide to make.  I’ve got a tiny container of olive oil, some commonly used spices (salt, black pepper, red pepper, cinnamon, paprika, oregano, taco seasoning or chile powder… curry is also fun). (more…)

Three Simple Dutch Oven Recipes to Impress

Now that your dutch oven is ready to go (or perhaps yours already was…), here are a few of my favorite recipes to make when camping.
Note: Pictured here is a variation of the Green Chile Cheese Cornbread and White Bean Chili recipe (minus the cornbread, plus black beans).

Also a note on dutch oven cooking:  So that you don’t lose heat, I often place my dutch oven in a shallow hole in the ground over some coals.  HOWEVER if the ground is wet, this doesn’t work at all.  You can also use a metal pail that is slightly wider in diameter than your dutch oven.  Put the coals in the bottom of the pail and place the dutch oven over the top of them.  If it is windy, you’ll need to rig up something to keep the heat around the dutch oven; I find the pail to work well, but I’m sure there are other solutions.  Wind is one reason why yesterday I wrote that dutch oven cooking is at its best on a sunny beautiful day! (more…)

Dutch Oven Cooking 101

Note: As per the discussion on facebook, this article does indeed end with the photo of a dog eating out of Dutch Oven with a cone on it’s head.

For me, cooking outside is either a complete nightmare or a wonderful delight.  It all depends on the weather (want a little food with your sand? Anybody feel like stepping out of the car and into the rain to see how the chili is doing?), your mood (who wants to make fajitas after coaxing kids to walk three miles in seven hours?), and the mood of those who will be eating your food (come on, son.  One more bite and then you can roast marshmallows).  For those moments when the stars align, the children are happy, the cook is motivated, and the weather is gorgeous, consider the dutch oven.  Why?  Let me tell you. (more…)

My 3 Favorite Camping Dinners

After the post on assembling a mobile kitchen I had several questions regarding what to cook. (PS I appreciate questions so thanks!)

You’ll notice these are all things you could/would cook at home. I do this for the sake of ease, if you know HOW to cook the meal, and you know your kids will eat it, it’s much less stress. Think easy. A jar of pasta sauce, some noodles and sautéed zucchini. Burritos. Homemade soup (made ahead of time). Or the ever popular hot dogs and hamburgers.

If you have something you love to cook when your camping please leave a comment. I would love to hear your ideas. In the meantime here’s three of our most frequently cooked camping dinners: (more…)

Make Camping Less Stress: Build a Mobile Kitchen

There are two things that usually deter women from being enthused about camping. Food Prep and Hygiene. As women it seems like we’re born with this innate need to have a well stocked kitchen, to make sure everyone is well fed…and to go to bed clean. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but I’m not a fan of packing up the kitchen every time we embark on a camping trip. I’m also not a fan of getting out in the middle of nowhere without something like, utensils (trust me, this has happened, it’s hard to eat spaghetti with a pocket knife).

To remedy this I’ve assembled a ‘kitchen box’. Everything in this box STAYS IN THE BOX. Always! Having a mobile kitchen makes the packing process seems much less daunting knowing you don’t have to pack up your kitchen.

Most of the stuff in our box (list below) came from thrift stores, surplus wedding gifts, Ross, things my Mom was throwing out when she upgraded her cooking ware, etc. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Once you have assembled your wares, buy a plastic tote from the local whatever mart, throw everything (I mean neatly stack) in there, and whala! Your mobile kitchen. I know it looks like a lot, but trust me, it fits snugly in a 66 quart tote.

Here’s what’s in my kitchen box: (more…)


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

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