How exciting! My first camping trip! Well, I went camping once with my family when I was a kid. This was different. This time I had responsibilities! I had to cook over a campfire! I was never a Girl Scout, but I was very excited about the camp food.

We actually bought this tent for the kids a couple of Christmases ago. This was her maiden voyage.

We were all very excited about our camping trip. This was a first for the girls and me. Chip grew up camping with the Boy Scouts and such. We decided to go to Greers Ferry Lake to camp. We stayed in Choctaw, mainly because it was close to Chip’s Aunt Mary. Chip grew up on this lake. It was like home to him!

Now, this was a learning experience for me. We went on Memorial Day weekend. Apparently, everybody and their spotted dog goes to the lake to camp and do lake things on Memorial Day weekend. Why should we be any different? There are certain reservation requirements for camping on a holiday weekend. Be sure you check on those. Luckily, we had Aunt Mary nearby to kinda work things out for us. She was so sweet. She actually made the reservations for us and set up a “dummy  tent” on our site. We couldn’t get there until the next day. She made sure we had a spot though. She got us a good spot, too. We were right on the lake with a shade tree! Thanks a million, Mary!

Here is Chip with our “real” tent.

One thing we didn’t plan on happening was too much dry weather. There has not been a whole lot of rain in Arkansas lately. Unfortunately, there was a burn ban at the campsite. I heard that and I was ready to ditch the whole plan! I was not going to go camping and not eat s’mores! They did allow the use of charcoal in the little fire pit, so all was right in the world once again.

I had done some investigative prep work to see what would be good on a camping trip. I think my idea of camping food and Chip’s idea of camping food were a little different. I mentioned earlier that he camped with the Boy Scouts. I guess they ate cold hot dogs and pop tarts. I’m sorry, but that just is not my idea of yummy food.

I took some potatoes and onions and cut them up. Then I made a little foil packet with heavy duty foil (do not try to skimp and use regular foil!). I threw the potatoes and onions in the packet with a little, ok a lot, of butter and some salt and pepper. I put the packet over the coals to cook while Chip made some Chuckwagon beans. (Brown some hamburger meat. Throw in some baked beans, ketchup, and a little brown sugar.)

We had extra meat to make burgers but we saved it. Mary had picked up some barbecue from the Hickory House when she came to hang out with us. We couldn’t turn that down. Beans and taters went great with the BBQ.

I did peak and poke the potatoes to see if they were done or not. I also rotated them about half-way through. How long did I cook them? I have no idea. So sorry. The whole idea of the camping trip was to get away-to lose track of time! Mission accomplished.

They were soooo yummy!

We did have s’mores! I forgot to put the chocolate in the ice chest. Oops! Oh well, it still tasted good, messy, but good.

After we cleaned up dinner, it was getting dark, so Mary went on home.

We made sure our beds were ready for the evening, then we strolled down to the bathhouse for one last “pit stop”.

It was so hot that night!

It took me a while to get to sleep. I’m not sure what kept me up–the heat, the dogs next door barking, the generator across the street running all night, the bugs landing on top of the tent?

The sun comes up early when you are camping. Megan and I watched it as it rose over the lake.

Now for breakfast.

One of my concerns about breakfast was coffee. I’m not a junky or anything. I only drink one cup in the morning. I just didn’t want to have a headache from not having coffee.

I figured if I was going to drink instant coffee I had better get the good stuff. It was pretty good!

Chip drinks his coffee black quite often. I NEVER drink mine black. So, I sprang for some flavored cream.

Ahhh, ruffing it was good.

For breakfast, we first fixed our water for the coffee and some toast.

Things were smelling good already!

When the air was filled with the smell of bacon, I really started to get hungry.

We fried up what was left of the potatoes and scrambled some eggs.

Oh, man! Let me tell you…it was amazing!

While Chip and I were cooking the breakfast, the girls were busy making fresh orange juice. There was a reason for it, you’ll see in a minute.

The oranges were for cupcakes. Cupcakes? Cupcakes.

Basically, you scoop out the orange flesh and use the shell as the cupcake liner.

We mixed the cake mix in a zip top bag. Before we left home, we measured the oil and water into an empty water bottle. That made it a lot easier on us on the camping trip.

Then the girls did the squishing.

Snip off the corner of the bag and squeeze batter into the orange. Fill only about 2/3 full.

The oranges look so pretty in the morning sun.

Put the top back on the orange and wrap it really tightly in heavy duty foil.

Stick your foil-wrapped oranges in your fire. How long? Sorry, you are just going to have to check on them every now and then to see if they are done. You need to rotate them after a while.

Now, let me tell you about what we did.

Our charcoal was starting to burn low and we didn’t have any more. The cupcakes weren’t done yet!

Knowing our coals would burn out soon, we covered the oranges with the lid to the frying pan and left them sitting in the charcoal ash for a while.

We cleaned up breakfast and headed to the lake, joined by Aunt Mary!

The water was a little cooler than what I would have hoped it would be. I mostly floated around on the girls’ raft. What a great time!

It must have been straight up noon when we got our to dry in the sun. Mary, the girls and I got scorched! Chip had gone back to put on a t-shirt.

We came back to have our lunch. Chip had cooked up the leftover hamburger meat for us.

For dessert, chocolate cupcakes in oranges.

Now, I’m not gonna lie to you. This was the best picture we had. The rest of them showed a very black and withered orange. I guess we left them in the heat a little too long.

It was worth a try. I have to say I was a little disappointed. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I can’t believe we didn’t get a group photo. We didn’t even get a picture of the girls with Aunt Mary. What a bummer. She was there though. She has the sunburn to prove it! (She is probably peeling like the rest of us by now.)

Time to pack up and head home. We only spent one night. I think it was a good thing since we were achy from the sunburn.

My first camping trip was great! I think we are going to try it again later in the summer. I think next time we are going to dig for diamonds. I’ll miss those cool breezes off the lake.

Critic’s Corner

Chip: Peggy’s one of the best cooks I’ve ever gone camping with. She’s hired!

Megan: There is a three-way tie for my favorite camping cuisine–the potatoes and onions, the skillet toast, and the fresh squeezed orange juice. My favorite part of the whole camping trip: paddling around the swimming area on a floaty.

Katie: The love of my life was the fresh squeezed orange juice and the orange meat. I also loved paddling around on our “MPR” (man-powered rig).