Monthly Articles

Fishing in the Dark

fishinginthedark

When I started to write this article, I realized that I’ve experienced three types of camping. All three have been vastly different and it’s been fun thinking about my camping memories. Perfect camping for me is now a trailer with a tv, dvd player, air conditioning, shower and a real bed. Fuck it, I’d just take the real bed…and the air conditioning.

When I was a child, camping was filled with reading, swimming, riding bikes with  my siblings, fighting with same siblings, and fishing. Fishing was my least favorite thing to do. Unless the fish were actually biting, then I’d happily worm up my hook and catch some fish to clean and cook over the open fire. For some reason, I loved cleaning fish. Maybe it was because it was always a surprise to see if there were eggs inside or not. Plus, I loved the feeling of the fish guts. I know, fucking weird. It’s a good thing I didn’t choose to become a surgeon because it would have been awkward when asked why I chose the life of a healer to say “Because I like the feeling of your intestines between my fingers.” If the fish weren’t biting I’d read in the boat while my family fished. My parents always said that you catch more fish when it’s raining so we’d still have to fish if it started to rain. I’d sit on the floor of the boat, huddled underneath my rain poncho and read in the red light that filtered through my shelter. If you ask my parents what the worst thing about camping with me was, their answer would be my asking “How many scoops?” every damn time they asked me to make a pot of coffee. I wasn’t being sassy. Numbers will forever be my kryptonite.

Before children, camping meant my boyfriend (now husband) and I taking off in our Toyota pickup with pillows, blankets, chips, water, and a can of ravioli or some other food in a can that you could sit on the edge of the fire pit to heat up. *ALERT!! Don’t forget the can opener like we did on one occasion. We looked at the tools in the truck and the grease/oil caked on them and decided we could survive off of chips and water for the night.* We’d spend 5 minutes packing the truck, drive an hour and a half to a forestry campsite and start a fire. We were the only ones there in the middle of the week and could skinny dip and do whatever dirty things we wanted to each other while being one with nature. We slept in the truck while listening to music with the sunroof open like a portal to the stars. The song that we listened to the most and reminds me of those trips whenever I hear it is Fishing in the Dark by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Then came children. It became a lot more work to shop, pack and unpack for relaxation. I guess the work/relaxation ratio kind of evens itself out by the end of the trip. Tenting is fucking evil and if I never inflate another air mattress in my lifetime I’ll die a happy woman. The first trip with a new air mattress usually works as intended. Somehow, even if it’s in perfect condition when you deflate it and carefully pack it away (using 2 people to hold it and fold it so that it doesn’t touch ANYTHING), it has a slow leak the very next trip. Not packing repair patches, even with a new mattress, leaves one parent sleeping on the inflated mattress with the kids and the other parent sleeping on the ground. We rotated nights for ground duty. It was surprisingly much warmer sleeping on the ground but the next day my body felt like it was 80 years old.

Our pre-children forestry getaway campsite is the first place we took the girls tenting when they were little. It was on a weekend and the site was full with people wandering everywhere. My oldest daughter was using an outhouse for the first time and when she was done she yelled, as loud as her little voice would go, “Where’s the flusher??” That still makes me smile. That was also the trip with the one flat air mattress.

As much work as it is to go camping and as much as I detested tenting when that’s all we could afford to do when the kids were small, the memories that we have will make us smile (and sob quietly on the inside) and hopefully be continued on by the girls with their families. I hope they experience tenting with small children, just once, so they know how much I fucking love them because of the years of pain and suffering I endured in that asshole tent.

Check out our Top 10 Ways You Can Ruin Your Family Camping Trip.

After reading Beerlicious Volume 1, The Art of Grillin’ & Chillin’ we wanted to try a menu of make ahead, easy to prepare food for our next camping trip. We had a great evening listening to live entertainment in the park and then returned to their house at 9 pm and fired up the grill. Everything had been prepared early in the day and was ready to throw on the grill. This made for a fun, relaxed dinner with our two families. The number of planned and impromptu dinners our families have had over the years is too many to count, especially for a number-phobe like me.

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Make Ahead Menu

We also took the grilling theme to the next level (just like Cotton Weary did in Scream 3) and made two completely different campfire grills:

~C.Dolly

Top 10

Top 10 Ways You Can Ruin Your Family Camping Trip

  1. Not prepackingNOTHING will get your camping trip off to a shitty start more than leaving everything until the last minute. I’m the queen of procrastination so I have life experience with this and know what the fuck I’m talking about. You will start your magical family trip off with anger, stress and hours of wondering “Did I forget anything?” You will have even less patience to deal with your annoying husband who had everything on his list done ahead of time and lets you know it every time you mention that you’re feeling a little stressed. You will tell him to “Shut the fuck up or I’m gonna cut a bitch” and he will laugh and say “That’s okay. I have time to go to emergency because all my shit is done.”  If you have small children, you will not only be frantically rushing around but you will have to deal with: 

“I’m hungry!!!!”

“Lucifer hit me” “

“I lost my marble up my nose!” (In which case, you can tell your husband to take your child to emergency with him since he’s headed there to get stitched up anyways)

2. Not packing appropriately – Depending on where you live, rain gear is essential to having a happy camping trip. Rubber boots, waterproof jackets and waterproof pants are a parent’s best friend. Blowing through every outfit that you brought for your child in 5 hours because of a downpour is hardly conducive to a relaxing trip. Also, forgetting your swimsuit and watching everyone else splashing each other, having fun and keeping cool in the sweltering heat either leaves you swimming in your undies or damaging your children for life by skinny dipping with no fucks given.

3. Not calling ahead to make reservations – Don’t be a douche. Seriously. Pulling into a RV park/campsite and getting pissed off at the person in the office because YOU didn’t make a reservation and THEY have no room to accommodate you is a dick move. It’s not their fault that your poor planning has led to everyone in your vehicle being hot, tired, cranky and homeless for the night. When you make reservations, also ask if there are gates that are locked at night or office hours for check in. Some of the provincial parks have gates that are locked at 11pm.

4. Not packing supplies for emergency repairs – Make sure the spare tire on the back of your trailer/motorhome is in good shape. Things like tarps, extra tent pegs, tent patches and air mattress patches are essential for tenting. Also, make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit for when you or your husband get hurt from flailing around, cursing and all but throwing yourself down on the ground in a tantrum while trying to successfully repair something.

5. Food poisoning – Dealing with vomiting children while vomiting yourself is hell. Sorry, I mean it’s HELL!!! If you’re camping in a trailer, it’s pretty much like being at home except you have nowhere to hide and pretend that you’ve disappeared so your partner has to take a turn on vomit patrol. If you’re tenting, well, you’re fucked. Ain’t nobody sleeping while the air mattress is moving like the sea in a storm because someone on the other side is violently hurling over the edge.

6. Tenting – Tenting, for me, is akin to willingly taking a family road trip to Hell for a week. Fire and brimstone raining down upon you as you canoe down a river of lava that is filled with big-ass hungry spiders who have been waiting for your arrival so that they can: #1 – Eat you and #2 – Lay their eggs in your corpse to hatch. A bit dramatic? Maybe, but that’s what the definition of “tenting” should be in the dictionary. No matter what you put underneath it, the air mattress sucks up every bit of cold from the earth until you can barely sleep because your body has become hypothermic. However, once the sun even begins to rise, your tent is like a fucking incinerator. There is no happy medium.

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Dusk
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Dawn

7. Lopping off a body part – Any sort of medical emergency while camping can put a damper on the festivities. Laying back and relaxing in your anti-gravity chair, drinking wine and eating some delicious junk food that only seems to be purchased for camping trips is completely ruined by your husband or child running up to you holding a finger from their left hand in their right hand. Sometimes you’ll luck out and they’ll only lose the tip of a finger. Fingertips are like lizard tails, they grow back. At least that’s what I told my kids and they could be hand models now, so I wasn’t wrong.

8. Obnoxious neighbours – The best camping trips are those that you take with friends and family. You expect to hear: kids playing, laughing and crying; music playing in at least one campsite; and boats and Sea-Doo’s razzing around on the lake. Obnoxious parents who have 8 obnoxious kids, ranging from late teens to small children, that run around with their spawn playing hide and seek underneath your trailers and trucks, running behind the lawn chair that you’re sitting in and almost pulling you over backwards because they grab onto it so they can crouch down to hide, peeking in everyone’s windows, their kids stealing someone’s canoe in the middle of the night and then abandoning it part way down the lake at the end of a trail are the neighbours we once had and that you hope to avoid. People also need to respect occupied campsites. Don’t be a dillhole and walk through the middle of an occupied site. Take an extra few steps and follow the path to your destination.

9. Not having enough things to keep busy – “I’m bored!!!” Two words guaranteed to destroy that nice relaxed glow you’ve got going on. We always hauled the girls bikes with us when we went camping and we had a dvd player for the car so they could watch a movie in the tent/trailer before bed or if it was raining. Most kids are pretty good at seeking out others of their kind and we’d quite often see the horde of bikers grow with each lap they made around the campground.

10. Underestimating your alcoholic needs – This is a biggie. Especially if you encounter any of the above situations. You would sell your soggy, vomiting, bleeding 9-fingered children for just one glass of wine. I mean, I wouldn’t because that’s WRONG! I could probably get a whole bottle for one of my kids. This is why I love camping in places that aren’t too far from a city. You run out of booze? ROADTRIP!!!! ~ C. Dolly


Recipes

Spicy Shrimp and Sausage Skewers

Even if you prefer the taste of grilled food without dipping sauces, give this dip a try. It’s amazing!! There are some recipes that my husband instantly says, “That’s a keeper!!” This was one of those recipes. He even said it was delicious reheated at work the next day.

Spicy Shrimp and Sausage Skewers

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 16/20 count raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, you can remove the tails or leave them on, whichever you prefer
  • 7 oz chorizo sausage (I purchased mine at Costco)
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning – divided
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 6-8 bamboo skewers

Directions

  1. Soak skewers in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent them from lighting on fire on the grill. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels then mix in a large bowl with oil and 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning. Slice the chorizo sausage the same thickness as the shrimp and then tuck the sausage slices between the curve of the shrimp and skewer
  2. Combine mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning, and lemon juice in a bowl then mix to combine. Store in refrigerator (can be done 1-2 days ahead)
  3. Preheat grill over high heat for 10 minutes then turn heat down to med-high. Spray both sides of skewers with non-stick spray (I skipped using the non-stick spray and my skewers didn’t stick) then grill for 1-2 min per side or until shrimp are cooked through. Press down on the chorizo to get visible grill marks
  4. Serve skewers with dipping sauce

*I used chorizo sausage for the spice and heat that it brought to the dish. You can use Andouille sausage or, if you prefer a milder sausage, try Kielbasa.

* I used ‘The Keg’ Cajun seasoning but you could make your own Emeril’s Essence

Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning

Mix up a batch of this seasoning and keep it on hand for giving just about any savory dish a “kicked-up” flavor.

YIELD: About 2/3 cup

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

DIRECTIONS

  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container. ~C.Dolly

 

Recipes

Bannock on the Grill

15-IMG_5921Bannock is awesome. I grew up eating bannock, (as well as many other unsavoury and very unawesome things that we won’t mention here – can you say, ‘sitting at the dinner table until well after your bedtime because you just. couldn’t. do. it!’).

My dad would cook it many ways: as a big slab, propped up beside the fire; he would wrap it around a stick for us to cook over the flames (as kids, our level of expertise was low, and we would eat it black on the outside, raw on the inside) or, when we were at home, it would be cooked as biscuits in the oven. I have eaten Indian Tacos (google it, it’s an actual thing, and it’s delicious), pizza with a bannock crust and Bannock Quiche.

It can also be cooked in a cast iron pan on the grill.  My kids also grew up eating bannock at their mushum’s house and it has always been my son’s favourite treat. One time, I was taking him over for a visit because my dad had made him a bunk bed (which he had always wanted). I told him that there was a surprise waiting for him. Something that he would love. His response was, “mmm…. Bannock! With strawberry jam!”

Anyway, I digress. We could not do a camping issue and not include bannock. Bannock is basic and packable. Mix your dry ingredients together and then add the wet when you’re out there. As with all dough, do not overmix as it will make it tough.

Bannock

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 – 1.5 cups water
  • 1.4 cup melted butter

Mix dry ingredients together. Add water and melted butter. Mix until just blended. Let sit for 15 minutes. Grease a cast iron pan and cook in the coals  or on the grill on medium heat.

If you’re going to make a pizza crust or quiche, make sure the dough is thin.  Put a ball of dough in your hands, r0ll it and flatten.  I usally cook the crust for 5 minutes prior to toppings being put on or egg mixture being poured in. Dough will puff up quite a bit, so the thinner the better! – R.Dolly

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Monthly Articles

Trailer Park Princess

17861581_1526967553981178_3428384196533705647_nThe snow has melted, the ice has come off the lakes and the grass is green! It’s time to dust the cobwebs out of the trailer and put on your favorite trailer park clothes! Let’s go camping! And, in case you are confused, We don’t mean camping out in the woods, we mean camping from the comfort of our respective home on wheels with full hook ups! These girls are not using an outhouse! We both have a fairly healthy dose of germophobia, and public washrooms and outhouses are not even in our vocabulary. Road trips are horrendous and I am careful not to hydrate at all until I reach my destination. I have been known to go HOURS, sometimes even days, without going to the washroom if my only option is an outhouse or a roadside truck stop. Not super healthy, or so I’ve been told. On the flipside though, we make excellent time!

To prep for the season, we decided to throw a ‘Trailer Park Princess’ party.  We dressed in our very best trailer park style (for our version, please see our Top 10 List for this month), made ourselves some Trailer Park Princess Cups, added some personality to tank tops with fabric paint and had ourselves some typical camping food and drinks (of course). Check out White Trash Cooking  and Wot in Tarnation?? for our May inspiration.

Trailer Park Princess Menu

Most importantly, we had the opportunity to make fun of a few common misconceptions/stereotypes and take home some fun projects:

Did we mention that the Jungle Juice was really fucking potent and so delicious? More than just The Dollies ended up trashed at the White Trash Party – The Dollies