Happy Camper Food

“I’m starving.”

“Me too.  What kind of food did you bring?”

“Well, we’ve got some almonds, dates, prunes, chips and salsa…”

Food is always a big deal when we travel.  I abhor trying to find food in an airport.  Hmmm….ready-made tuna sandwich sitting in a refrigerated case?  No thanks.  Nine times out of ten I end up eating a grilled cheese sandwich which then lubricates the intensity of my motion sickness.  Why is it so hard for airports to offer decent, healthy food?  I’ve been wondering this for ages…

Same goes for car trips.  When you’re starving and on the road, it is no picnic.  If you know ahead of time where you’ll be and at what time (ie: we try to hit The Grove in Albuquerque for lunch on trips due west), then you can plan accordingly.  But driving through long stretches of desert for most of the day with only a gas station Subway to offer sustenance, cry “Help!”  I suppose you could do what my sister-in-law has been known to do: plan a meal in the crock pot and plug it into a converter while you drive.  But…I’m not as hard-core as Sunny!

Since we do a fair amount of camping and traveling (I get grumpy otherwise),  I’ve come up with a list of go-to foods that we take on the road.

food on the go

The above photo shows many of the foods that are old standards for us.  I make them all the time before hitting the road.  That way we don’t have to figure out where to eat once we get into town (often it’s late) and we don’t have to spend money on food we don’t really want to eat during the daylight hours.

Take for instance our last trip to Las Vegas.  We were tired by the time we rolled into Gallup, NM.  And if any of you have been to Gallup, then you know your choices for eating are slim.  Matt was like, “Thank you, THANK YOU honey for making this food!!!”  It didn’t take a ton of time to prepare and we had plenty of space in the ice chest.  Hummus + carrots, kale salad, boiled eggs, tuna salad + crackers (the BEST ONES YOU’LL EVER EAT!!!)…and chocolate of course.  It dissipates the HANGER after a long day in the car!

Same goes for camping.  By the time you get to your destination, it’s often about time to eat, and who wants to dig out a bunch of stuff that takes hours to make?  Not me.  I like to make simple food when we camp (so unlike how I cook at home all week-long!)

happy camper food

Actually, this is a go-to meal for us a lot.  Most Sunday afternoons you can find me making this for lunch:  Veggies and noodles.  This is an easy camping food.  All you need to do is heat some water up on the camp stove or over a fire.  Bring water to a boil and add pre-chopped veggies (I do as much prep work as possible before camping so there are less dishes and I can spend more time enjoying the camp fire) Bring to a boil again, and when veggies are almost done, add noodles of choice to water and cook until noodles are doneStrain everything and mix a dressing or your favorite Asian-inspired sauce over it all and mix well.  You could add pre-cooked chicken or tofu too if you want.  Here are some ideas on how to dress this dish. 

Easy camp dinner

Or maybe you prefer to spend the entire morning cooking breakfast like our friend Jon:

Camp cooking

Last summer we went to Red River and camped with friends before heading to Taos for a concert.

Red River Camp sites

It was beautiful, but poured rain the day we got in.  Not much cooking happened that night.  Actually, I don’t remember even eating dinner…

Red River Camping

If someone else wants to cook for me, I’m all about it. (Thanks Jon)  But when I’m in charge of the food, easy breakfasts are my game.

scrambled eggs for camping

camping breakfast

I saw this “hack” on Pinterest for scrambled eggs when camping.  Simply put your eggs into a disposable bottle and shake to scramble (or pre-whisk) when you pack your ice chest-no messy “egg-cidents,” like the time my friend was trying to beat them and they spilled in his lap:

eggs in the lap

Nobody wants to deal with that kind of mess when showers are not an option!

camping breakfast burritos 2

Scramble some eggs, heat up a can of black beans and chop a baked potato.

camping breakfast burritos

BAM!  Breakfast burritos!

Another Pinterest camping hack I decided to try was this kitchen organizer:

Camp Kitchen Hack

I just happened to have cleaned out an old shoe holder in my craft room.  This is a great idea, as long as you have a place to hang it and as long as it doesn’t rain.  It has pretty much rained every time we’ve gone camping over the last year and a half, so it’s kind of a pain to clean out after that.  BUT, having towels, trash bags and all essential camping needs at your fingertips is advantageous.  I like that we can just roll it up and tuck it away into one of our Rubbermaid camping boxes!

I’ve got one more great recipe for you to consider making before you head out on your next travel adventure.  My mother-in-law, Karen, made this dip for our Yosemite camping trip 2 summers ago, and EVERYONE loved it.  She broke it out after a long car ride through the valley and we were all grateful!  I made it for a party and our friend said he didn’t normally like bean dip, but thought this one was yummy.

black bean dip recipe 1

black bean dip recipe 2

What kind of foods do you make when YOU go camping?  I’d love to have some new ideas!

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