Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gluten Free Camping

Let's face it. My idea of roughing it is staying in a hotel that doesn't offer room service; but sometimes a Mom's gotta do what a Mom's gotta do. In this case, that meant a camping trip with my husband, two kids, and both dogs.

A side note -- my dogs are huge. I mean really huge. The weigh 85 pounds each and are taller than any other dog at the dog park. And did I mention that they are still puppies? Once the van was loaded up with kids and dogs, there wasn't room for anything else. As a result, we took TWO cars for a one night camp out. I long for the days when Mark and I could pack an overnight bag in less than 15 minutes and head out for the weekend on a whim.

One good thing about camping, though; there's no problem finding GF food. I just bring it with me. For lunch the day we arrived, I brought deli turkey and a loaf of Udi's sandwich bread. Now Udi's bread is darn good, but it still really needs to be toasted for optimal enjoyment. Since that wasn't am option, I brought along some butter and spread it liberally on my sandwich. Not only was it tasty, but also helped keep the bread from crumbling. I also had Cheetos and K-Too cookies (a sort of gluten-free Oreo made by Kinnikinnick). This was not one of the healthiest meals ever, but I feel that if you are going to eat outside, you might as well eat Cheetos. Cheetos are banned inside our house for fear of covering the walls in little orange fingerprints, but in the great outdoors... bring on the Cheetos! I did bring blackberries in an attempt to make this meal healthier, but my son ate both pints. At least someone had some nutrients during this meal.

Dinner on Friday night was hot dogs, which I wrapped in another slice of Udi's bread, mostly to have a way to hold onto it. We also had carrots and fruit cups, which the kids ate reluctantly in order to earn their s'mores.

Now the kids ate theirs on regular graham crackers, but I brought along some S'morables and had my first real s'more since going GF. They hold together really well, which is good because the structural integrity of a s'more is key to getting it into your mouth instead of all over your fingers. I managed to get only minimally sticky, while my daughter had chocolate all over her face and both my son AND husband had a sweet marshmallow coating.

Breakfast in the morning was a greater challenge. We have a portable electric griddle, so I wanted to make pancakes; however, Mark wasn't keen on my bringing along eggs which are both breakable and perishable, so I went looking for a "just add water" GF pancake mix. I didn't have a lot of success, so I bought Ener-G Egg Replacer and added that to Pamela's pancake mix. I have a cool little Blender Bottle, which has a whisk-like ball in it. You add the pancake mix and water then shake, then pour the batter out of the spout directly onto the griddle. Neato! I have to say, though, I think I'd rather have brought the egg for the batter -- the pancakes cooked up nicely, but the Ener-G left a bit of an after-taste.

I also bought Oscar Meyer pre-cooked bacon and put those on the griddle as well. The only time I had tried pre-cooked before this, I heated it in the microwave and wasn't impressed; but cooking it on the griddle was actually great. It was all crisp and sizzle-y like bacon should be.

The camping trip was a success -- the weather was perfect, the dogs behaved well, and the kids had a ball. It was like a Norman Rockwell painting. Still, I think I'd rather have room service.


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