I must confess that I’m not much of a camper, it’s not something we did when I was growing up in a family of 4 females and one token male. I’m really not sure why we didn’t go camping either. Afterall, my parents met when they spent their college summers working at Roosevelt Lodge in Yellowstone National Park. I suspect that the one time my dad took my middle sister and I camping in Wisconsin Dells could have had something to do with it. I was 10 and Gretchen was 6 (my mom had stayed home with our newest little sister, Mandy, who wasn’t quite 1 yet). We had a great time on that trip, well, up until it was time to sleep in the tent. Gretchen was petrified of all the wild “beasts” that she was convinced would come and attack us and she had extreme difficulty falling asleep…until she finally asked my dad if he would sleep by the opening of the tent. When my dad, no doubt delirious from estrogen exhaustion at that point, asked her why, she responded with, “If the bear eats you first, then he will be too full to eat me.” I had been totally fine up until that point, but now the idea of my dad getting eaten by a bear kept me (and as a consequence, my dad) up the rest of the night, LOL!
The next time I would go camping was when I was 15 and went with some friends to Alum Creek State Park, nearby where I grew up in Ohio. Gluten must have already begun affecting my brain by this point because my adolescence with filled with moments of downright stupidity. Case in point, have you ever heard of (or played) the game where you essentially make yourself hyperventilate then someone bear hugs you until you pass out? Well, I found myself in a group of slightly older kids who were discussing this “game” and trying to goad some unsuspecting youngster into taking the bait. Guess who bit?
As if the pass out game weren’t stupid enough, I found a way to make it even worse by failing to step off of the pavement and onto the grass before I chose to participate. Just so ya know, pavement hurts. I cracked my skull open when my head met the ground and got to take a not-so-lovely trip in an ambulance to the nearest hospital where they had to shave a big hole in my hair in order to stitch me up.
So catch up to 11 years later. In an attempt to woo my future husband by catering to his sense of rugged male outdoorsmanship, I decided to go camping again. Keep in mind, my husband is an Eagle Scout and his best friend Todd (who be along on this little adventure) was at the time a shotgun toting stand in for Grizzly Adams (I think he once killed a bear with a pocket knife). As we arrived at the camp site it began to rain, so while they pitched the tents and started a fire, I waited in the car, safe and dry (I think this was their first “sign”). When the rain stopped and we began to finish the camp, the dumbfounded look of disbelief on their faces as I unpacked my Aerobed, make-up, battery powered hair dryer, and foam pillow was palpable. They chuckled in a way I was unfamiliar with, letting me know that we would be doing a different kind of camping. It was at that moment that I realized I had crossed through a giant wormhole and landed in an alternate reality that I couldn’t quite understand, but would come to know all to well.
My future husband is lucky that I didn’t break up with him on that little camping adventure (or better yet, whack him over the head with my hairdryer). And I’m sure Pastor Todd’s congregation would be very interested to know about his “devilish” side. Little did I know, but those two had a few mischievous plans up their sleeve for me on that camping trip.
The week prior to going camping, the three of us had gone to see the movie, The Blair Witch Project, have you ever seen that movie? If you haven’t, here’s a little piece of advice: do not watch it before going camping!
I love horror movies, at least those of the Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers type. I can easily watch those and not have nightmares because really, how likely are they to happen (knock on wood)? Movies like the Blair Witch Project (and Open Water) on the other hand, have an eerie essence of realism to them and those movies scared the bajeekers out of me!
Anyhoo, Beevis and Butthead (I’ll let you figure out who’s who) decided to have some fun at my expense and recreate The Blair Witch Project that weekend. Mike went for a run in the woods at dusk looking for firewood (video camera in hand to capture his shenanigans in the night-vision mode) and came back 30 minutes later all “scared and winded.” Meanwhile, Todd was collecting rocks and sticks to set up those little Blair Witch rock piles and stick figurines outside my tent, just waiting for me to have to pee in the middle of the night.
Needless to say, I’ve not been camping again since and the day I’ve been dreading for the past 12 years will soon be upon me. I’m going camping again this weekend and I’m already afraid of what will happen this time! But rather than dwell on my next guaranteed camping misadventure, I’m going to focus on gluten and allergen-free camp food this week. I found a neat little cookbook called Fix It In Foil on Amazon and it’s full of ideas for simple (and for the most part, naturally gluten-free) foil meals, each recipe even includes instructions for cooking the meals either in the oven, on the grill or in a campfire. If all goes well, I think I will start using the foil dinner approach at home too, just imagine the amount of time we could save by preparing a weeks worth of foil dinners on Sundays to just throw in the oven (or on the grill) throughout the week…and no cleanup!
But first, let’s giveaway some cereal!
The 3 winners of the Freedom Foods Cereal Giveaway are:
#22: Michelle Key
#68: Alison St. Sure
Congratulations ladies! I will email each of you for your shipping information.
All the main entree recipes I’m trying this week are from the book “Fix It In Foil” and I’ll be tossing them in my backyard fire pit for a little authenticity…I’ll take a few photos along the way to share in an upcoming post, hopefully with a few ideas for incorporating foil dinners on a regular basis at home for those super busy weeknights.
Weekly Menu Plan – Gluten Free Camping Food
Monday: Basic Beef Hobo Dinner and Fruit Salad
Tuesday: Cod Fillets and Herbed New Potatoes
Wednesday: Ham and Yams, Homemade Sugar-Free Applesauce
Thursday: Beef Stew
Friday: Hobo Chicken and Baked Cinnamon Apples
Saturday: Camping (and you better believe I will be taking along some of Shirley’s Bourbon Banana Coladas, LOL!).
For more gluten-free camping fun, check out Melissa’s post, Make Me A Happy Camper over at Gluten-Free For Good, she’s a bonafide camping extraordinare…a few summers ago, she and her son backpacked half the Colorado Trail – nearly 250 miles!
What are your gluten and allergen free campfire favorites? And while your at it, have any camping misadventures of your own to share (so I feel like less of an idiot)?
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