This past weekend was our first camping trip of the year, and it was full of firsts. It was Baby’s first time camping, the first time the older 2 kids slept in their own tent, and the first time I baked over a campfire in my dutch oven. Even with all the new experiences, it was a pretty smooth weekend.
Since it was the first time we were camping with Baby, I booked a campsite just a few miles down the road so we could bug out if things were not going as planned. Well, things didn’t go as planned, but it still went okay, we just ended up camping in the rain. Husband got the tents set up while I started the fire and got dinner cooking. Brickman and Fancy kept an eye on Baby while they all played at the park…I planned ahead an booked the campsite that backed right up to the playground because I knew that’s where the kids would be spending a lot of time.
After I got the fire going, I put the cast iron dutch oven on the grate to preheat while I dug out the rest of the food. Once there were some nice hot coals, I put the bread dough I made at home into the dutch oven and had to find a way to transfer hot coals to the top. I had packed a pair of grilling tongs which did the job…at least until they broke later in the weekend. I only opened the dutch oven once to check on the bread to make sure it was rising and baking, and I think not fussing with it is important. I did have to move around the cast iron dutch oven a bit so that I could cook up the rest of our dinner. Along with the bread, we had zucchini, summer squash, and mushroom foil packets, sweet apple chicken sausages, and a box of shells and cheese for dinner…all cooked solely over the campfire. The bread was smelling delicious, so I knew it was time to take it off of the fire. For my first time, it turned out pretty well. The bottom was a little burnt, so next time I will have to add more hot coals to the top to get a more even bake. I can’t tell you exactly what I did, but here is the bread dough recipe I started with. I did let the bread rise a long time, but punched it down twice during the day before throwing it in a well oiled zip-top bag for transport to the campground. Once the dutch oven was ready, I just dumped it in, put the preheated lid on it, and hoped for the best. With the burnt bottom of the bread cut off, it was some of the best bread I’ve ever eaten. My family agrees, and Brickman has asked me multiple times to make it again.
Once we got dinner cleaned up, we had a lot of fun hanging out with some new friends making s’mores around the campfire. I saw a new s’more recipe on Pintrest and decided to give it a try since it only had 2 ingredients…marshmallows and fudge striped cookies. I liked them better because it eliminated the crumbly graham cracker, plus the chocolate next to the marshmallow was thin enough that it melted slightly. I didn’t snap a picture because it was dark and we had 6 littles 8 years old and under with hot sticks around a fire.
When the fire finally died down, I had some dirty but exhausted kids. They all fell asleep quickly, even though the big kids had some apprehension about sleeping in a tent without us. I could only drift off before worrying about baby co-sleeping in our double sleeping bag. To make sure she was okay ( and had full access to her “milkies”), I didn’t have a blanket to cover my upper half most of the night. Did I mention the temperatures dipped into the 40s? I was quite chilly, but enjoying the sounds of the outdoors and the steady sound of rain hitting the tent.
When we got awake, everything was soaked and it was still raining. I was exhausted and Husband was a little under the weather from partaking of too many libations the night before. We decided to head home to make breakfast and grab a nap. It stopped raining in the afternoon, so we decided to go back to camp…only to have it start raining again on the drive. Luckily, it was only a light drizzle that only lasted an hour. We toughed it out and I cooked dinner for my family and some of our friends over the campfire again. This time I baked up a peach cobbler in the cast iron dutch oven. It tasted pretty good ( Hey, it wasn’t burnt!), but would have been better with some ice cream. I really need to look into getting one of those camping ice cream ball things. We decided that Baby and I would go home to sleep and that the kids’ friends would sleep in the tent in our place. I would just go back and pick them all up in the morning.
Overall, I think it was pretty successful. I want to do more dutch oven campfire cooking, the kids were happy, and we made some great memories. Hopefully, next time the weather will cooperate more, but we do live in the Pacific Northwest, so I won’t bet on it!