Camping! Just the word evokes many feelings. If you already love it, you might fondly remember trips of the past — recreation with friends and family, or quiet time communing with nature. If you’re new to it, you might be excited about the mysterious forest or vast ocean vistas you’ll see.
With COVID restrictions finally easing, this is a great time to get out of our stuffy houses, head into the great outdoors, pitch a tent, light a campfire and sleep under the stars.
Here are some tips for tent campers courtesy of KOA Kampgrounds:
• New tent? Practice setting it up in the backyard before going on a trip.
• Invest in good sleeping equipment. Choose air mattresses, cots or sleeping bags that will give you adequate rest so you can get the most out of your daytime activities.
• Stay dry: Use a ground cloth under your tent as protection from rips and moisture. Use the rain fly, even if the sky looks clear. To prevent rain from leaking into your tent, apply a seam sealant to the inside and outside of all exposed tent seams.
• Keep your tent clean: A whisk broom is handy for sweeping out dirt and leaves. Place an indoor/outdoor rug in front of your tent entrance for dirty shoes. Bring duct tape for quick repairs of small tears, splintered tent poles and the like.
If you love the outdoors, but prefer the creature comforts of home, camping has kept up with the times. You can select high-end campsites featuring lodges that rival an urban hotel, complete with Wi-Fi and concierge services.
Or, choose glamping, where a large tent complete with luxury cots and furnishings are all set up and ready to go. The only thing needed is you.
No matter what form of camping you choose, one thing that hasn’t changed is the joy of a tasty meal prepared on an open fire. These recipes for Campfire Stir-Fry and Pineapple Surprise are quick and easy, and the flavors are enhanced by enjoying the meal in the great outdoors.
You also can use cubes of beef or chicken and your favorite selection of vegetables — including drained canned or frozen vegetables — in this simple recipe.
8 chicken or beef sausages
6 small new potatoes, thinly sliced
2 small summer squashes cut into rounds
2 large carrots cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, mashed and peeled
1 stalk celery, diced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons poultry seasoning or Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Put all of the ingredients into a 13-by-9-inch baking pan — a disposable aluminum pan works fine — or a large cast-iron skillet. Drizzle the ingredients with the oil. Sprinkle on the seasonings. Mix everything together until coated with the oil and spices. Place over medium coals for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sausages are cooked through and the potatoes are tender.
Campfire Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes
8 glazed doughnuts (day-old work fine)
8 pineapple rings
1 stick (8 teaspoons) butter
8 Maraschino cherries with syrup
8 teaspoons brown sugar
Prepare eight (8-inch) squares of aluminum foil; one square per doughnut. Place 1/2 of a pat of butter in the center of the foil. Place 1 pineapple ring on top of the butter and 1 doughnut on top of the pineapple. Add 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar inside each doughnut hole. Add the remaining 1/2 of the pat of butter on top of the brown sugar. Top each doughnut with 1 Maraschino cherry and a teaspoon of the syrup.
Bring the sides of foil over the top of the dessert and twist the ends of the foil together to close tightly. Place the doughnut packets on the coolest part of the campfire grill and cook over low heat, 5 to 7 minutes, until the butter and brown sugar have melted.