I have not planned what my family is eating this week. It has been a busy but fun, long weekend! We were able to find a place halfway between Minneapolis, MN and Kansas City, KS to meet up with good friends from the Army that we have not seen in more then 4 years.
Billie and I met in the Army, both of US in the same unit while we were stationed in Germany and spent a couple deployments together to Iraq. My brother and Jon(her husband) were stationed together on the other side of Germany. Once my brother found out how many Ladies were in my Army unit he said that I needed to bring them over to his area for a get together. Soo. . . I have to take a little responsibility for two of my friends meeting two of my brothers’ and both couples end up getting married.
I am so thankful to have met both of them. As most Army families know, Army bonds go deep but I never imagined how deep until we became mothers years later and both of our husbands had very busy jobs, traveling or deploying, while we were stay at home moms. We have known them for more about 14 years and now have 7 kids in total and I think between the two families must have 14 moves. That makes it really difficult for us to get together. So when we talked about how we could split the drive 4 hours each family, we needed to make it happen before we move 20 hours away in about 15 days from now to Fort Bragg, NC.
We met up at a fantastic camp ground in Iowa, just outside of Cedar Rapids. We spent 3 nights/4 days camping in a mix of heavy rain, humidity, wind, and sun but we had a wonderful time. It was so nice to also cook with Billie because she is an incredible home cook. We made some great, easy food, not only for a camping weekend but for anytime. I think most people think that because you go camping you need to eat junk food all weekend. That’s not necessarily the case, a great mix of camping junk food, along with everyday food is a wonderful mix.
Here is what we ate! We brought a combination of food semi prepared, made ahead at home, or made on site.
Day one dinner: Pan Seared Chicken Breast – Seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, chopped Romaine and carrots, sautéed peppers and onions, feta, and dijon garlic dressing.
Breakfast: Egg Muffins (cheese, eggs, ham) I discovered that Aldi had a wonderful jalapeño cheddar cheese, amazing heat to the cheese that is perfect on an egg sandwich.
Younger Kids: Microwaved oatmeal, blueberries, yogurt
Lunch: Ham or turkey sandwiches, leftover salad, veggies and hummus, pita chips
Dinner: Bratwurst (From Aldi – the best) and Apple Slaw Salad (shredded green cabbage, apples, carrots, cranberries, dijon cider vinaigrette)
Breakfast: Egg Muffins. . . again. . keeping food consistent while camping is the way to go!
Lunch: Added romaine to the apple slaw salad to change it up a little. Otherwise sandwiches, veggies, hummus, and some chips and a really great mid western dip called, Top of the Tater! It was my first time having it and was amazing!
Dinner: Pulled Pork, Cole Slaw, Boston Beans(made at home by Billie), Watermelon Mint Blueberry Salad.
Breakfast: Kodiak Brand Pancake Mix – I love this the buttermilk and honey. Kodiak is made from real ingredients, and nice and hearty with whole wheat and oat flour. All you really need to make them is water but I beefed it up a little with some eggs, milk, and butter. Topped with berries, sautéed apples, and mini chips! A kid favorite.
Snacks – Tip for the kids, have lots of triscuits, cheese sticks, fruit, veggies, peanut butter, and hummus prepared. Oh, not to mention a carton of cream cheese, you cannot go wrong with cream cheese and cracker! Those all store well, not much prep if you do some of it ahead of time and will keep them full. Of course bringing S’mores is a camping requirement!
I brought a lot of fruit, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and grapes. Ahead of time I washed and cut them if needed then put them in a ziplock bag. If you put a paper towel in the bottom of a ziplock bag that helps with moisture and keeps them fresh for longer. You can do the same with fresh greens. Wash and chop them, before leaving the house and put in a ziplock bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture. That way there was less packaging and less washing and prep to do on site. Billie had prepped a bunch of carrots, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower and stored them in ziplocks as well.
A few other tips:
To save on bowls, ziplock bags make great containers to toss a salad in. Then you can also store the leftovers in the bag. If you are going to buy meat, buy them already trimmed in individual packages. It is more expensive that way but it saves time and cuts down on any bacteria contamination. If you need to cut meat, try to line your cutting board with a couple layers of plastic wrap or foil to help contain some of the meat juice.
Here is a list of some of the recipes that we used over the weekend!
Here is the recipe from Billie. She is pretty sure it is from her mom, hand written by her sister (All of that just makes me smile, food and family, with everyone involved). This is the version she brought, which is very similar to the one from Our Heritage of Health. I just love seeing hand written family recipes!!
I still have not planned for this week! When we came in from camping I made toast with butter and jam and a cherry chocolate banana smoothie. Which was really yummy and I need to share the recipe.
I am behind so today from camping recovery, first day with all the kids off of school at home with me, and a morning spent at speech. I have very limited food in the house! I threw together a salad with a bunch of veggies I had leftover in the fridge for lunch. Happy that there is enough for a couple days for lunch. I made a salad similar to Fatsoosh – a middle eastern salad. Mine was not exactly traditional but inspired by it. This is what I used – 1 bunch of parsley, romaine, multi colored peppers, tomatoes, carrots, celery, green onion, leftover farro (was in the freezer) and a dijon lemon garlic vinaigrette.
Fatoosh by The MediterraneanDish — Feel free to use recipes like this as an inspiration or guide. Remember you don’t need to follow recipes exactly. Add or subtract ingredients as you like them!
For dinner tonight I am going to throw together some turkey breast that is prepackaged already cooked, with green beans, and some potatoes.
Maybe tomorrow, I will get a chance to sit down and plan the rest of the week!