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Gourmet camping: from survive to thrive




Last weekend I decided, on a whim, to join my husband and my dad on one of their saltwater fly fishing trips to the barrier islands off of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They go on these survival camping trips to Horn Island several times a year, and when they return from their adventure it takes them days to recover from the sunburn, bug bites, chaffing, and general malnourishment and dehydration. Sounds fun, huh?  


Of course, their gear consists of the bare minimum: fly rods and reels, hand-tied flies, a tent and sleeping bags; sun screen and bug spray; water and Diet Coke; poptarts, nabs, and Vienna sausages. Apparently being stranded on a deserted island is not what they make it out to be in the movies. Enter Leah. 


Two days before our trip I called my dad to make our plans and to see what I should bring. I was most concerned with the food situation as I must confess, I am a tad high maintenance about my sustenance. As soon as he got "Vienna sausages" out of his mouth I knew I would have to take our menu into my own hands since I would sooner die than put any variety of potted meat into my body. Yuck! 


I spent the whole of Thursday afternoon and evening cooking and preparing for our trip. And let me tell you, making everything ahead of time was well worth the extra effort. I was able to enjoy my island time because everything was already done, and Ryan and I ended up eating just as healthily as we do at home, plus my dad ate better than his standard daily diet. (If you know my dad, you know that he'll eat anything that won't eat him, yet miraculously stays fit as a fiddle.) They've both informed me that I now have to accompany them on every trip whether I want to or not. Hmm. 




Island cuisine 


This is how it went down: In a big Coleman cooler (wheels are most helpful), first I put down frozen bottled waters to keep everything cold and to drink. Then in goes frozen coffee with Stevia and 2 percent milk in pint-sized mason jars for iced coffees in the mornings. Then my frozen green monster smoothies for breakfast in quart sized mason jars. A layer of ice goes on top of that.  


Now for the good stuff. On top of the frozen waters I put in a container of my skinny pimento cheese (my dad's favorite), a container of Lighthouse Jalapeno Ranch, and roasted red bell pepper humus with celery sticks, baby carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and mini tricolor peppers for dipping. I also packed a container of homemade salsa, a few avocados to whip up guacamole, and a whole cantaloupe and watermelon to be sliced on site. 


For lunches I made an array of sandwiches with wholegrain breads or wraps with grilled chicken, real ham, or veggie burgers; light 2 percent cheeses; and Dijon mustard, Miracle Whip, or light ranch dressing. Each sandwich got wrapped individually in cling wrap, and then several were stuffed into gallon ziplock bags. Sandwich toppings like romaine lettuce, tomato slices, and pickles had their own ziplock bags so as not to make the bread soggy.  


For dinner the first night we had foil packets with wild rice, bolognese sauce stuffed portabella mushrooms topped with a sprinkle of 2 percent mozzarella, and sautéed green beans from the farmers market.  


On the second night we had foil packets with blackened sweet potatoes, skinny squash and onions, and cheesy turkey burgers. Foil packets are so easy and great for camping. Everything is already cooked; all you have to do is throw them on the campfire until they're piping hot. Everyone gets their own packet, opened down the middle, and all you need is a fork to dig in.  


You can find all of these camp-friendly recipes and more on the {Nourish} Facebook page.



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