Weekend Camping Menu For Two

Pop-Up Camping

This weekend was absolutely perfect! The hubby and I packed up our three dogs and our pop-up camper and headed out of town for a quick Friday night through Sunday afternoon trip. We went to one of our favorite places, called Collins Lake. It’s one of our favorites for a few reasons – one, it’s relatively close being only an hour or so away, two, we’ve been going for several years so we are familiar with the campground layout and where our favorite fishing/swimming spots are, and three, we are always able to get lakefront campsites. Lakefront camping is awesome because you have less neighbors and you’re right next to the water when it’s time to go swimming or fishing. Also, being able to sit with a cup of coffee right outside the camper and see the sun rising over the water in the mornings is divine. These short trips are the perfect getaway that don’t take too much planning or effort while still making it so we can come home refreshed and ready to start the week (well, sort of).

Menus for weekend camping trips can be tricky. A couple years ago I would always make the mistake of bringing way too much food usually meaning much of it went to waste. More recently I’ve figured out a pretty perfect combination of items to bring so that there is plenty to eat without any waste. This camping menu is for two adults, who eat a mostly vegan/vegetarian diet. You could sub out the meat-substitute items for meat items if you prefer, but if haven’t tried vegan hot dogs or burgers yet I highly recommend checking them out. This menu utilizes things like hamburger buns for breakfast, so make sure you don’t skimp on the quality of the bread. We like to buy the artisan rolls and use them for burgers and then use them for toast the next morning with avocado. The only thing we had left at the end of our trip was hot dog buns and hummus, which we ended up not even opening, so all in all I’d say this menu was a success.

Weekend Camping Menu for Two (meals below)

1 package of Beyond Meat burgers (includes 2 patties)

1 package of Lightlife Jumbo Smart Dogs (includes 5 links)

1 package of artesan hamburger buns (includes 6 buns)

1 package of hot dog buns (includes 8 buns)

1 package of brown rice cakes

Peanut butter

Jelly

2 ears of corn

1 summer squash

1 can of vegetarian baked beans

3 avocados

1 tomato

1 melon or melon platter

Condiments

Vegan butter

Salt and Pepper

Meals

Dinner 1 (Friday night):

  • Smart Dogs + condiments
  • Squash skewers
  • Baked beans (store leftovers for Saturday’s dinner)

Breakfast for both days:

  • Toast hamburger buns, top with avocado and salt and pepper
  • Melon

Lunches for both days:

  • Rice cakes topped with peanut butter and jelly

Dinner 2 (Saturday night):

  • Beyond burgers with avocado + condiments
  • Corn on the cob with vegan butter
  • Baked beans

Instant Pot Vegetarian Potato Soup

Recipes

Cooking during the colder months is one of my favorite parts about winter. During the summer, having the oven or stove on feels counterproductive to the air conditioning blasting, and really food just doesn’t taste as good. But in the winter, every dish I can concoct feels so comforting and snuggly. Especially when I make soups. Soups are one of those things that you primarily eat in winter (unless of course you’re eating a cold soup). You might bundle up in a big comfy sweater and hold your warm bowl of soup close, ready to dive in with an equally warm and comfy piece of bread or a melty, satisfyingly cheesy sandwich. It’s the perfect picture of winter – and it’s making me hungry.

Last Christmas, my dad gifted me an Instant Pot. At first, I wasn’t sure what it was and thought maybe it was just a fancy digital version of a slow cooker. Boy, was I wrong. Basically, an Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker, meaning it uses high pressure to force heat into your food. It’s similar to a traditional slow cooker in that you add your ingredients, set the time and leave it to do it’s thing, but it cooks your food much faster. When I used it for the first time I made this potato soup recipe and was floored by how quickly I was able to have dinner on the table. The chopping and slicing of ingredients actually took me longer than it took the soup itself to cook – no joke. The results were amazing too. A perfectly balanced soup in texture and flavor in about 30 minutes (this would include the time it takes for the pressure cooker to preheat). You could also make this in a slow cooker if you don’t have a pressure cooker. It will take much, much longer, but would still be delicious. (I’ll include those directions at the end of this blog post.) Also, this recipe is perfect for about 4 large servings – my husband and I can eat it for dinner and still have leftovers for lunch – but it can be doubled if you need closer to 8-10 servings.

What are your favorite meals to make when it’s cold outside? What is your favorite soup?

Instant Pot Vegetarian Potato Soup

2.5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 small shallot, minced

3 cups of vegetable broth

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

3 Tbsp cream cheese

3 Tbsp sour cream, plus some for garnish

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, plus some for garnish

1 cup almond milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Green onion, for garnish

  1. Add shallot, potatoes and vegetable broth to pressure cooker.
  2. Seal lid and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes with the pressure valve set to seal.
  3. When ready, release pressure valve to venting to release pressure (be careful on this part because the valve will sputter a bit and be VERY HOT).
  4. Once the pressure is fully released, remove the lid and mash the potatoes to desired consistency. I like mine very mashed for this soup, but if you wanted larger chunks you could always mash less.
  5. Add the butter, cream cheese, sour cream and cheese – stir to combine.
  6. Add the almond milk slowly until you reach your desired consistency. If after a cup of milk it is still too thick, you can add more milk.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheese and green onion. Bread is also a delicious side with this soup. I love dipping mine in! I’ve also purchased the Morningstar bacon to sprinkle on top which is a nice addition.

For the slow cooker, you’d basically follow the same steps, but instead of pressure cooking, cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 or until the potatoes are tender enough to mash. For a vegan option, substitute the butter, cheese, cream cheese and sour cream for your favorite vegan alternatives. I recommend using a vegan cheese that melts well.

Enjoy!

MelissaRose

Easy Homemade Granola Nut Bars

Recipes

This week has been a lazy one filled with late mornings, take-out dinners and lots of free time. Not having to work has been a blessing and a curse when it comes to sticking to my New Year’s resolutions. It’s a blessing because I don’t feel the need to take smoke breaks or have a drink after a long work day, but a curse in that I find myself with a lot of free time and the desire to go out instead of staying home. In an effort to spend less money eating out, I finally went grocery shopping today. I sat down and planned out meals for the week that I can prep on Sunday and set a guideline for dinners and extras that will be needed in between. Meal prepping is part of my New Year’s Resolution #4: Become more self-sustainable when it comes to food (you can read a full post about that particular resolution here).

Shopping went fairly smooth with list in hand, and I actually decided to wait to buy my vegetables and herbs until tomorrow when I can hopefully find everything I need at my local farmer’s market (rain and farmers willing). Things only went slightly awry when I realized I had forgotten to include any sort of snacks or in between foods for my husband and I to take to work – things like granola bars, nuts, crackers, etc. Thankfully, I remembered (because I cleaned out my pantry recently) that I had a bag of raw almonds and a bag of raw peanuts at home. This lead me to the idea of making homemade granola nut bars. I’d never done it before, but how difficult could it really be? All you need is some of your favorite healthy ingredients, some oats, and something to make it all stick together. I hit the bulk section of my local grocery store and picked up some more items to throw into the mix. I love this section of the grocery store because it feels like you can get the exact amount of everything you need without all the extra packaging. You could even bring your own bags to cut down on waste. The prices can look a little daunting – the cashews were marked at $11.99 a pound – but considering you only need about 1/2 cup of each ingredient for this recipe doesn’t make the cost too bad. What I ended up with was a bag of raw cashews and a bag of dried cranberries (I got about 3/4 lb of each and still had enough leftover to make this recipe a couple more times). I knew I had a pretty exciting thing going so I headed home to start on my creation.

Many of the recipes I looked up online had way too much sugar for my taste, others used vanilla and that’s not really my thing either. I wanted these to be as natural and close to the flavor of the ingredients as possible. Eventually, I was able to come up with my own mixture, which I think worked out pretty well and was easy to do. My husband enjoys the dark chocolate drizzle over the top (which took me a thousand tries to get just right) and I love the tart snap of the cranberries mixed with the assortment of raw nuts. It should also be mentioned that this recipe could work with any multitude of ingredients. I would just be aware with chocolate or marshmallows (if you’re more into sugar) to add them when the mixture is closer to room temperature so your ingredients don’t melt all over the place. Let me know what I should try as my next combination and if you’re taking any steps to live life more frugally or sustainably when it comes to food!


Easy Granola Nut Bars

2 1/2 c. Oats, old-fashioned

1/2 c. Almonds, chopped

1/2 c. Cashews chopped

1/4 c. Pumpkin seeds, sprouted

1/4 c. Peanuts

1/4 c. Dried cranberries

1/4 c. Honey

1/4 c. Brown sugar

1/4 c. Butter, unsalted

1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

1/2 c. Dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and place oats, almonds and cashews on a baking sheet. Once oven is preheated, bake them for 9 minutes or until lightly toasted.
  2. Line a 9” square (or round if you don’t have square) baking pan with parchment or foil.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine honey, brown sugar and butter. Stir over medium-low heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add the oat/nut mixture, honey/sugar mixture and the rest of the remaining ingredients to a large bowl and stir until well combined.
  5. Once the ingredients are combined, press the mixture into the prepared 9” pan with a spatula making sure there are no large air bubbles in the mixture. This was the most challenging part for me – I thought I pressed enough, but will press twice as much next time to really make sure the ingredients are firmly stuck together.
  6. Place the pan with the mixture in the freezer to set – about 20 minutes or so depending on how thick your mixture is and how well you pressed.
  7. To make the drizzle, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until melted. Be very careful not to overheat, if you have tiny pieces of chocolate left I suggest heating at 10 second intervals and stirring until completely melted.
  8. Remove 9” pan from freezer and cut granola/nut mixture into desired shapes/sizes.
  9. Drizzle melted chocolate over the top of your pieces and let rest until chocolate sets/hardens.
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