Thursday, June 25: We’ve been looking forward to and planning for our first camping trip for weeks. Our plans were to head to Turquoise Lake early Friday morning. Picturesque Turquoise Lake is about 2 1/2 hours west of Denver, near Leadville. An every summer destination. We love the trails for hiking, and the area is unique to add a couple of birds to our year list. Most years we find a Fox Sparrow in a marshy area on the North side of the lake and regular campground flyovers of Red Crossbills are always a treat. A carefully planned menu, a couple of hours of pre-cooking camping food for travel and lots of packing found us stranded in Denver. The state is a quagmire. Rain….rain….rain. We’ve decided it too risky to pack up the dogs and tent camp in this weather. We even had visions of sliding down the mountain in a huge mudslide. All dressed up and no where to go. RAINED OUT. I even have a new camera ready to photograph the beautiful scenery and the culinary events of the trip to share on my blog. So guess what! I’m going to pretend we’re camping and report in anyway. I might be rained out, but I’m not blogged out. Friday: June 26: We’ve been pouting all day, feeling sorry for ourselves because we’re not frolicking in our beautiful majestic Rocky Mountains. By now we would have had the tent up, a long hike under our belts and settling into our camp chairs looking at the view over the lake with Mt. Massive as a back drop. (pictured above)
We just watched the Denver weather report and now feeling much better after seeing a report of flash flood warnings until midnight for the exact area we had planned to go. Overnight low 39 degrees. Whew, we made the right decision to stay home. We’re also feeling the high country flavor with a news report of a Black Bear found in a tree today in Highlands Ranch. Who needs the high country! Since I’ve prepared meals for three days, we’ll be cooking these at home and reporting what I would have done at the campground. So for some great camping menu ideas and recipes, please click on the “read more” for the whole story.
This evening’s plans were for beef kabobs. I purchased a good quality sirloin steak at Whole Foods, cubed the steak and prepared this marinade:
- 1/3 C. Olive Oil
- 1/4 C. Beef Broth
- 1/4 C. Lemon Juice
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced
- 1 t. Curry Powder
- 1 t. salt
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 8 Whole Peppercorns
- 1/2 Pound Sirloin
- 1 Orange Bell Pepper (washed, cubed and placed in plastic bag for transport)
- 6 green onions, tops cut off, tough green ends cut off (washed, and placed in same plastic bag for transport)
In a large plastic bag, place beef and marinate overnight. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade to baste while cooking. The beef and vegetables can be placed in good air and water tight plastic bags and tossed in the cooler and easily transported to your destination. I put the basting marinade in a small container and remembered to pack a brush. At the campsite, skewer beef, bell pepper and green onions and cook over charcoals or campfire until done. EASY! And delicious.
Prepackaged salads are wonderful for camping. I packed a bottle of Italian Dressing because I need the dressing for sandwiches tomorrow. I packed a tomato and used some of the bell pepper chunks. Voila a delicious salad.
We enjoyed a bottle of Snoqualmie Merlot. Dots for dessert is kind of a camping tradition for us. Did I just say that outloud????? Serves 2
Saturday, June 27: Plans for breakfast are Biscuits and Gravy. Again, preparation at home makes this an easy meal at the campsite. I purchased slices of smoked bacon at the meat counter at Whole Foods, one breakfast sausage patty, one chicken cutlet and a package of cream biscuits. I fried the bacon at home and placed in a plastic bag for the cooler. With a tablespoon of the bacon drippings, I made a creamy gravy. I like to use canning jars to transport food in the cooler. I fried the sausage in a separate pan to crumble into the gravy. Whole Foods sausage just doesn’t produce enough fat to make a gravy, but sure does add flavor when tossed in. At the campsite flour and cut the chicken in half. Sautee the chicken cutlets in olive oil. Heat the gravy. Half the biscuits and layer with a chicken cutlet, a couple slices of bacon, plenty of gravy and serve open faced with a nice helping of colorful organic berries also purchased at Whole Foods. Not to worry, a long hike will ease the guilt.
Since we devoured such a large and heavy breakfast, I planned for a light lunch. A shared Club Sandwich. From the deli counter at Whole Foods, I packed some shaved ham and turkey. I packed an avocado and tomato to slice and had already pre-cooked a few slices of bacon. On your favorite whole grain bread spread some mayonnaise add slices of ham and turkey, top with some sliced avocado and tomato. At this point pepper the avocado and tomato and then sprinkle with some Italian Dressing. Top with bacon and place the top piece of bread. Slice sandwich in half and serve with an assortment of Whole Foods olives from the anti-pasto bar. We never leave home without them. Quick, easy and healthy.
Whole Foods had some great looking apricots, so I halved one and served it on the side.
Saturday Night Dinner is a camping staple for us. My Spaghetti. I always make my own Marinara Sauce in advance at home. If you don’t make your own sauce, grab a jar of your favorite at the store. The secret to my spaghetti sauce is Caninos’s Italian Sausage. You just can’t beat the flavor. Serve with the remaining salad makings and you’ve got a great meal.
We usually break down camp on Sunday morning to get a head start back to Denver. I-70 traffic becomes quite heavy in the afternoon. Breakfast was granola, yogart and berries.