I love summer, because for me, it means long days and time with friends. Days of sleeping in and enjoying longer hours soaking up natural vitamin D from sunshine and being outside. Summer also reminds me of childhood, hours spent swimming in the pool with friends, homemade ice cream, sleepovers and Fourth of July! The excitement of not going to school every morning still thrills me as a parent. Sleeping in without an alarm for a few months IS vacation. Both of my daughters are busy during summer with team practice 4-5 days a week, so vacations for cheerleaders and gymnasts are few. We love to tent camp, however, and use as many weekends as we can to steal away and spend time together. It’s refreshing to get that break, so we take what we can get! Camping is one of my favorite ways to “go off the grid” and re-connect and I really do find it relaxing and rejuvenating – granted, there are a few prerequisites: showers and aero beds. I consider these my essentials when camping and with them, have a much greater success rate of friends joining us! There is something liberating about going to bed when it’s dark, waking when it’s light, foregoing the makeup and the biggest decisions of the day consist of going to the lake or hiking, what games to play with the kids, and what to cook for breakfast lunch and dinner. Bringing a group together when camping is double the fun: kids play, parents relax and visit and this past Memorial Day, Sarah, John, Jaden and Rowan were able to join us for one of our weekend getaways to kick off the camping season.
I know what you may be thinking… “What does Sarah Fragoso eat while camping?” The answer – same things she eats at home: real food, healthy food, and between both of our families, lots of food! Once we were at our site, we unloaded our supplies, set up camp and stored our ice chests of food in the “kitchen” area. When you camp with the Laine family, there is no question we aim to cook a lot of food while camping! My husband’s camping essential is his CampChef cooking stove and his favorite cast iron skillet; his “don’t leave home without it” cooking gear.
I’m not sure what Sarah expected when we told her we had her covered and not to worry about camping stoves, pot and pans, etc. just bring food, but she trusted me and better understood once at camp. This compact cooking stove never ceases to amaze and bewilder! If you are able, it’s a highly recommended, fairly inexpensive, super convenient piece of equipment to add to your camping supplies; especially when feeding a group!
Breakfast was the first meal we cooked together and I can still remember the chuckle we got when it came time to pull the ingredients from our ice chests. We opened them and peered inside. It was uncanny, both of our families had almost identical food choices: fully loaded with the similar meats, veggies, fruits and healthy fats you’d find in our refrigerators at home. Of course, we were camping…so we did bring a few extra ingredients to enjoy with our weekend; gourmet dark chocolate, sweet potato chips, plantain chips and maybe a splash or two of adult beverage “club soda and lime”. Keeping it real!
Meals were kept simple, adding quick salads or slaws to our meat selections so we didn’t spend a great deal of time cooking – but the food was epic. Being a group of eight carnivores, that camping stove was put to the test! Steaks, chicken apple sausages, eggs, chicken, burgers, even hot dogs made from grass fed beef. We had veggies and fruits to snack on for everyone, made salads or roasted vegetables with meals, and all leftovers made their way into the next meal or became additional snacking items. We ended our final breakfast of the weekend with what we call “The Kitchen Sink Scramble”.
Here’s the recipe:
- Open ice chest and evaluate what leftover meat (chicken, steak, ground beef, sausage – any and all of it), vegetables and eggs are available. Grab the GF butter.
- Finely chop all meat, veggies, and onions; whatever suits you.
- Scramble eggs and add salt, pepper, spices, herbs – whatever is on hand.
- Heat skillet (cast iron preferred and recommended for best favor) and melt a few tablespoons of butter (we love Kerrygold).
- Sauté the leftover meats until heated through.
- Add chopped vegetables, continuing to sauté until softened
- Add the scrambled eggs to the skillet and cook throughout.
That’s it – smoky, delicious, feeds a crowd and the best part if that once cooled, this meal can be stored in a Ziplock and taken home in the cooler as its own leftover (if there is any)!
Here are a few other snapshots from our camping menu:
Adults and kids alike dug in and enjoyed every bite. The kids were excited to cook and didn’t complain (much) when asked to help clean up. A bit of prep and planning ahead of time will create ease and simplicity on your trip.
The Fourth of July weekend is upon us and many of you will be out camping or barbecuing with friends and family. Remember you don’t have to break protocol to enjoy food with others. Who wouldn’t enjoy eating delicious, real food like this while camping or at home? We ate well, we rested, we kept it healthy, we enjoyed life and each other’s company, we laughed a lot and didn’t stress on a bit of dark chocolate or beverage here and there, but above all, we made memories. What are your favorite healthy summer camping menus? Please share in the comments below and have a happy and safe Fourth of July!!
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