Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Old Camp Coffee Percolator

This poor old coffee percolator needed some TLC.
The outside was stained with what I imagine was years of delicious camp breakfasts fried up next to it:
The inside was nearly black:
"Buzz, your basket! Woof!"
First, I worked on the inside by percolating a water and baking soda mixture. This is what the water looked like afterward:
Disgusting, right?! So, I thought I'd percolate another batch of baking soda soup. It wasn't quite as bad that second time around, but that water is still a bit too gross for me:
Next, I percolated a 50/50 mixture of water and distilled vinegar. I didn't see a visible difference, so I can't say if it actually did anything. 
After all of that, it was time for some elbow grease. Using just baking soda and water, I scrubbed everything nook and cranny I could get my fat little paws into. Things started looking really spiffy! Well, except for the rag I used--that turned from white to black pretty quickly.
Here are the results:

Next, I need to learn how to use this puppy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Our Chuck Box...No, Not THAT Chuck

Here's a look into my make-shift chuck box.
I've played with it, and it was fun! However, I have no clue how well it's going to work in The Real Outdoors.
To function as a camp kitchen, the footlocker has to be laid as such:

In this way, the lid can be used as work space. ...First, however, I need to secure it with some jack chain, like the lid in this Boy Scout patrol box:

placed four screw eyes: 
Now I just need to purchase some jack chain, and I will--theoretically--be all set.
Okay, now it's time to pack 'er up for a pretend camping trip!
I placed some screw eyes in the bottom of the box, so I can secure liquids with a bungee cord:
Next, I purchased a 12x24 camp grill for 10 bucks. It fits nicely in the bottom:

Now it's time for the dishpans, plates, bowls, mixing bowl, and cutting boards:

We can't forget our camp mugs for camp coffee!

And our mess kit and spatula:

There is still a decent amount of room left for another item or two, such as a frying pan, dutch oven, or percolator. Unfortunately, there's not enough room for all of those things, but that's really okay. I don't think I would be able to lift the box with all that stuff in there.

And now we are left with the two trays that rest on the top of the box. I created some dividers within the trays using paint stirrers that I "cemented" in with wood glue:

In go the trays...

The trays are even deep enough for me to add a second layer:

And, when we get to camp, we will unpack the box and put it in position (that is the one drawback of my improvised chuck box--we can't just open it up and go to work). 

Our handy-dandy trays will set on "top."

Inside the box, we have room to set supplies:

And extra work space!

Now the hard part...we have to wait until August to use it.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Restaurant Style Salsa

  • 1 14.5 can whole tomatoes, liquid included
  • 1 14.5 can fire roasted tomatoes, liquid included
  • onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 jalapeños or Fresno reds, roughly chopped 
  • 3 heads garlic, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 T apple cider vinegar 
  • Jalapeño Tabasco sauce, several dashes
  • Cilantro
  • Salt
Layer ingredients in a food processor in the order listed. Pulse. 

Friday, April 08, 2016

Honey Mustard Pretzels (testing)

12 ounces Snyder "Sourdough Nibblers"
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
A bit of white vinegar?
Pinch of salt

Mix together oil, butter, honey, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Pour mixture over pretzels and toss. Let the mixture sit for -----?. Line cookie sheet with foil, spray with Pam. Place pretzels in an even layer. Bake @ 275 for 30 minutes, stirring half way through baking.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


The recipe for these Christmas cookies comes from the bakery Rischart in Munich. 


12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
14 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
12 tsp. kosher salt
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted
Multicolored nonpareils, to decorate


Heat oven to 400°. Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add flour and salt; beat. Transfer dough to a floured work surface, form into a disk, and roll until 13" thick. Using a 1 34" star cutter, cut out cookies; transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spaced 2″ apart. Bake until brown, 6–8 minutes; cool. Dip top of each cookie in chocolate; decorate with nonpareils. Chill until set.


Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

Servings: 26 macaroons
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes


  • One 14-ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut (such as Baker's Angel Flake)
  • 7/8 cup sweetened condensed milk (just short of a full can)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces chocolate (2 parts Hershey's Special Dark to 1 part Hershey's milk chocolate)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Use a large rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
  4. Using two spoons, form heaping tablespoons of the mixture into mounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden and the bottoms and edges are deeply golden.
  5. If dipping the macaroons in chocolate, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at medium power, stopping and stirring at 30 second intervals, until just smooth and creamy. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water.) Dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the chocolate, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, and return to the lined baking sheets. Place the macaroons in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to set. The cookies keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Orange Cranberry Muffins

Follow recipe for Blueberry Muffins, substituting the lemon zest and blueberries with the zest of 2 navel oranges and a 5-oz. bag of craisins (that have been reconstituted in hot water for 20 minutes). Also, skip the coconut oil. Use unflavored oil.


  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP oil
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed, tied in cheesecloth
  • Celery and carrot sticks (optional)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
Add all ingredients to a sauce pan. Bring to gentle simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered. Towards the end, salt to taste. Remove vegetables. Set aside.

  • Ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan, grated in food processor
  • One beaten egg
Combine and set aside.

  • 9 oven-ready lasagne noodles
  • 1 lb. cheese (I like provolone slices and shredded Italian blend)
  • Additional grated Parmesan.
  1. Spray casserole pan with cooking spray
  2. Spread a small amount of sauce over the bottom of the dish.
  3. Place three noodles side-by-side.
  4. Spread 1/2 of the filling over the noodles 
  5. Spread 1/3 remaining sauce over the filling
  6. Place 1/3 of the cheese over the sauce
  7. Repeat steps 3 - 6
  8. Place the last three noodles, remaining sauce and cheese.
  9. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with Pam.
  10. Bake at 375 for thirty minutes.
  11. Remove foil, sprinkle with additional Parmesan and bake for another 5 -10 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and let lasagna rest at least 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Kettle Corn

Kettle Corn

From The Kitchn
Makes 6 to 8 servings (About 10 cups)

3 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt


  1. Prep the baking sheet: Line a baking sheet with parchment and set it near the stove. You will pour the popped corn out onto this sheet to cool.
  2. Warm the oil: Pour the oil into the pot and drop three kernels of corn over the top. These three kernels will be your indicator for when the oil is hot. Cover with the lid and set over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the corn kernels, sugar, and salt: When you hear one of the kernels pop, uncover the pot and pour in the rest of the kernels, sugar, and salt. Use 1/4 cup of sugar if you like slightly sweet kettle corn and more if you like sweeter. Quickly stir everything together to coat all the kernels and replace the lid.
  4. Shake the pan while the popcorn pops: Shake the pan occasionally as the popcorn starts to pop, and then more frequently and vigorously as the popping increases. Rest the pot on the burner every few seconds to maintain the heat. → Some wisps of steam toward the end of popping are normal — don't confuse this with smoke! However, if you smell smoke, stop popping and proceed with the next steps.
  5. Remove from heat when popping slows: Listen closely — when you hear the popping begin to slow, 1 to 2 seconds between pops, remove the pan from heat. Don't wait for every kernel to pop or you'll end up burning the popcorn; as soon as you think it might be starting to slow down, take it off the heat. Total popping time is about 2 to 3 minutes on my electric stove.
  6. Pour the popcorn onto the baking sheet: When the popping slows, immediately uncover the pot and pour the popcorn on the prepared baking sheet. Use the long-handled spoon and your fingers to spread the popcorn into an even layer to cool and pick out any burnt pieces (there are always a few in every batch!).
  7. Cool the Popcorn: Let the kettle corn cool for at least five minutes — the popcorn will crisp as it cools. Eat immediately or store in an airtight container for several days.

Recipe Notes

  • Cleaning the pan: Unless you have a Whirley Poppopcorn maker, I've found that you'll always get some burnt sugar on the bottom of the pan. This is normal. To clean the pan, follow these instructions.
  • Kettle corn with other sugars: Kettle corn is usually made with plain old white granulated sugar, but this shouldn't stop you from experimenting! Try any other granulated sugar, like turbinado or muscavado, or experiment with liquid sweeteners, like honey and maple syrup.
  • Unpopped kernels: Look out for unpopped kernels, which can get stuck to in the clusters and give your molars a nasty shock when you bite down. This is a good candidate for this trick for separating out unpopped kernels.