And…we’re off! Three weeks, two avid explorers and one big, beautiful province waiting to be discovered. That’s right, we have almost one month off from work and we are taking advantage of it. It’s funny how little I’ve explored my home province of BC. At least Tal has an excuse because he’s literally from the other side of the world. I guess when it comes to vacation, the time always seems so precious that I want to make it worth my while. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a good amount of time in places like Central America, Mexico, Israel, and the UK. However, I’m now realizing that Canada has its fair share of breathtaking landscapes that can certainly compete with the best.
After much debate, we decided to head east and focus our trip in the Kootenays. This region seemed right up our alley because it is heaven for photographers (aka Tal) and has enough hiking to wear us both out. We decided to take our VW Rabbit and pack it to the brim with camping gear, camera gear, and of course, food! Honestly, about half of the bags we took were filled with food and kitchen related gadgets, but hey, if we’re going to be on the road for three weeks, we might as well eat in style!
We’ve done a lot of camping throughout the Southwest of BC, but it has typically been paired with long days of hiking or biking. For these types of adventures, our gear needed to be compact, lightweight, and durable. We have never really camped with a car before so we don’t own any of the “luxury” camping equipment. Seeing as we didn’t want to invest in another set of gear, but we were wanting to travel more comfortably, we went shopping at the superstore of all stores - my aunt’s house. She is the queen of all sizes, shapes, colours, and brands of camping gear, as well as really ANYTHING you could ever want to borrow. Seriously.
With our Coleman grill and stove top now in tow, a whole new level of camping recipes was at my disposal! Since we were looking at upwards of 60 meals on-the-go, having a variety of different dishes to eat was important for us to create a good camping experience. Typically, my recipes are also compact, lightweight, and durable. Meals like oatmeal, rice and beans, and sandwiches are usually at the top of our go-to list. There is nothing wrong with these classic dishes, but if we have room for luxury camping equipment, we certainly have room for a little balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard to take things up a notch! So far this trip we have enjoyed many combinations of the following: a veggie or two + grain + legume. For example, are menu has included black beans with tomatoes, corn, and zucchini with a slice of toast, as well as lentils with rice, carrots, and raisins. All these meals have been topped with a combination from my spice collection of cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper; these spices do a nice job of enhancing any meal! Now having said all of that, it’s also nice to have some super quick meals handy for times when the weather is bad. Seeing as we are smack in the middle of June-uary, we have already had our fair share of thunder, rain, and hail (YES I SAID HAIL). It’s those times when you are debating whether or not you’re really THAT hungry or if you can manage on a handful of nuts until the rain subsides, that you want these quick meals on hand.
So, here is my handy dandy list of car camping essentials to fill up your bellies on some hearty, healthy, and delicious meals.
Veggies: Think durable, versatile, and quick to cook or eat raw – carrots, zucchini, peppers, celery, peas, cucumber, cabbage, onion. Pre-wash and chop if possible.
Grains: Rice, quinoa, couscous, cornmeal, oats, pasta, bagels, bread, tortillas, naan.
Protein: Bring protein that can be kept out of the fridge – eggs, beans (canned or dried), lentils, canned fish, hummus, skim milk powder, nut butters, firm cheese (e.g. Aged cheddar). If you’re only going overnight and have a cooler, go crazy and bring some meat and yogurt!
Snacks: fruit (durable, requires little preparation), granola bars, nuts, dried fruit.
Extras: herbs and spices (fresh/dried), oil, butter, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, coffee, tea, alcohol.
I love to cook and I love to camp! Spending time preparing a meal in the wilderness and enjoying it with family and friends is really what it’s all about. However, being prepared with the right ingredients can really enhance your experience in the outdoors. There are many more posts to come on our kick-off to summer adventures! Stay tuned for brilliant mountain-top meals and inevitable mishaps along the way.
Have any camping meal suggestions? I’m all ears!