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Transporting Eggs for Camping

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It’s great fun to be the Deerslayer’s Wife when I get out to the hunting camp with everything I need to rustle up some delicious meals.  However, it all hinges on my ability to get the necessities out there intact! For me, a successful and enjoyable trip requires some planning; groceries, menus, and strategies for getting everything to its destination unscathed.

How can I make breakfast tacos or cornbread or huevos rancheros if the huevos don’t make the journey intact? Because we always pack up all of our perishables in our Yeti coolers, I know that our perishables will not perish.  Those coolers work better than anything else we’ve ever used. I know I can count on them to do the job.  Eggs are tricky, though.  Just keeping them cold is not the only issue.

The camping aisles of most sporting goods stores offer a few options for egg armor; rigid, hinged contraptions that, in theory, protect the eggs from breaking.  Mine was yellow.  I was so excited as I closed it over my beautiful blue, green, and brown farm fresh eggs.  They cracked as I secured the clasp!  My beautiful eggs were various sizes as farm fresh eggs often are.  Most of them were too big for the camping egg carrier.  I made an emergency omelette!

Strolling around the grocery store recently, I came across some egg packaging that I thought was pure genius.  The eggs were nestled in a clear plastic carton that was more rigid than the usual styrofoam and mroe water-resistant than cardboard that would dissolve in a cooler.  I was intrigued.

I purchased the eggs just so I could sample the travel-worthiness of the carton.

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Here’s a picture of the 6 eggs that Deerslayer and I needed for the trip, arriving after the journey, unscathed!

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Tah Duh!

The carton was rigid enough to protect the eggs, pliable enough to accommodate various sizes, and could withstand getting wet.  I bought two dozen eggs in those containers so that I could reuse the cartons.  Since it was just Deerslayer and me on our weekend camping trip to the ranch, I staggered the six eggs that I planned on using for balance and additional protection.

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In a pinch, I’ve improvised.  A container such as this also works if you need just a few of eggs, packaged up with paper towels in between.

The next time you stroll through the egg department of the grocer, see if you can find a brand packaged in these clever carrying containers. You can use the eggs and get a free “special camping travel receptacle” for them, as well.

Camp on and have an eggsellent trip!

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2017 in camping, Hunting, Uncategorized

 

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Cool and Spicy Coleslaw

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Recently, during our annual camping trip to Wyoming, I offered to make a side dish for one of the dinners for the 44 campers in our group.  I brought all the ingredients to make a coleslaw recipe that’s pretty popular in the Deerslayer household.  The feedback from the camping crew was positive.  All the coleslaw was gobbled up and I was asked if the recipe was on my blog.  So I was happy to oblige.

There are soooo many varieties of coleslaw.  Some are quite sweet and others lean heavily on a mayo base.  Still others have an almost sauerkraut vibe.  My recipe is creamy, without relying on too much mayo.  There are layers of flavor that come from rice vinegar, greek yogurt, a tiny bit of sugar and some cayenne pepper.

This has become my go-to side dish for BBQ sandwiches and pulled pork, too.  It’s actually pretty good plopped right on the sandwiches  I always have to prepare more than I think I’ll need because it really disappears.  The cool, creamy sauce plays well with the main course. The rice vinegar adds a pleasing tartness and the cayenne brings a subtle, yet surprising, heat.

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½ cup Greek Yogurt

2 tbs. Ranch or Caesar dressing

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tbsp. milk

1 tbs. sugar

3/4 tsp. ground  black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

16 oz. shredded cabbage (Add carrot, slivered fresh jalepeño, radish, jicama, or something else crunchy and delicious if you like.)

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Combine all ingredients (except cabbage) in a bowl.

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Whisk ingredients together.

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Notice the delicious spices!  That’s what makes this coleslaw special.

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Add cabbage and toss together. Set in the fridge or in a cooler (if you’re camping) to allow the flavors to combine.

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Done! Enjoy!

Feel free to add fresh, sliced jalapeño, jicama, or radish to change things up.  Make it your own.

The dressing could be prepared in advance, poured into a jar, and taken on a camping trip.  I wouldn’t advise tossing the coleslaw up ahead of time, though, unless it’s gonna be eaten within a few hours.  You  want the cabbage to stay nice and crisp.  Camp on!

 

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Hash Browns for Camping! Genius!

I have to admit that my level of excitement over these hash browns that I just discovered bordered on embarrassing. One morning during our recent Deerslayer Clan camping trip, I walked down to the camp kitchen to the following sight.  A gorgeous mound of hash browns, sizzling away on my Camp Chef griddle, enough for our crowd of 44 (many of them teenagers). It brought a tear to the eye!  What angel fluttered down from heaven to prepare this delicious camp breakfast?  As it turned out, a dear friend of the Deerslayer Clan had rustled up this mess of hash browns.  How did she do it?  This was a mess of potatoes.

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She shared her secret.  She told me that she used dehydrated potatoes that come in pint cartons, like milk cartons.  Because their dehydrated, the hash browns weight practically nothing.  The small, sealed containers are easy to store in a camper or storage container. They are available in 8-packs at Sam’s Club and Costco.  DSC_0203

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It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Our friend, Lisa, used my Camp Chef griddle (best investment ever), hot and liberally oiled for the potatoes.  The hash browns sizzled happily until browned and crispy.  They were flipped and sizzled some more.  This was an amazingly simple and camp-friendly breakfast side.  Thank you, Lisa, for sharing.  You are the most extraordinary camper I have ever known.  You have everything a camper ever needs, you know every camping secret.  Our annual trip wouldn’t be the same without you.

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Here’s a picture of my Camp Chef griddle on my two burner Browning cook stove. Perfect for pancakes, tortillas, bacon, and, of course, hash browns!

 

Camping with Knives

It’s time for the annual camping trip to Wyoming and we in the Deerslayer household are busily preparing.  There’s much to be done; checking out the camper (greasing the bearings, checking all the seals, topping off the propane, and such), planning the meals, packing bedding, towels, paper plates, cutlery.  We’re driving from the southern-most tip of Texas to Wyoming and there will be no running home for stuff we forgot.

Part of a successful camping trip is being prepared.  Having fabulous food is the most important thing.  And appropriate beverages.  But nothing can throw a damper on the occasion like starting to slice some beautiful tomatoes, a mouth-watering steak or sausage, only to discover that your knives are dull and won’t stand up to the job. There are three things to consider when packing knives for a camping trip:

  1. Choose the knives you will want to have with you.
  2. Be sure that they are sharpened to perfection.
  3. Transport them in a way that no one gets hurt.

Before you leave for a camping/hunting trip, you should have, to a certain degree, your meals planned out.  Are you planning to grill steaks, prepare some cuts of venison, chop any veggies for salad or pico de gallo?  Slice some bolillos, baguettes, or banana bread?  Keep these things in mind as you choose your knives for the trip.

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Because we spend a good deal of time camping (not as much as we’d like!) I keep duplicates of all my most used knives in our camper.  Starting on the left, I chose a medium all-purpose knife, a small chopping knife for onions, jalapeños, garlic, and such, a larger butcher knife for meats, a huge heavy butcher knife for ribs and the like (Deerslayer is roasting a couple of small wild pigs on this trip), two sizes of fish fileting knives which are my favorites for removing fascia (silver skin) and sinew from cuts of venison and wild pork.  I particularly like these two knives because they have very thin blades, a long, sharp tip, and their own leather sheaths. I also keep 4 steak knives to use with our meals. There’s nothing more aggravating  than trying to cut into a delicious steak with a plastic knife!

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Sometimes, the Crock Sticks come with a plastic, protective shield to help prevent cuts.  If you are sharpening many knives with gusto and exuberance, as Deerslayer often does, it doesn’t hurt to provide a little added protection, thus the oven mitt. (Trust us on this!)

Once you’ve decided which knives to bring, be sure that they are perfectly sharpened.  It’s not that hard to do at home and, ohhhh, so worth it.  Deerslayer always sharpens my knives to perfection. He uses Crock Sticks which are available from various sources on the internet. He’s used the same sharpening apparatus for years.  The ceramic rods, while very breakable, can be cleaned with abrasive cleanser to remove the metal dust that accumulates during the sharpening, allowing the Crock Sticks to be used for many years.   YouTube provides several tutorials on using the Crock Sticks sharpening system. DSC_0204 Deerslayer learned the importance of keeping all our knives razor-sharp from his dad, who knew a knife was sharp enough when he was able to shave the hair from his arm with it.  I’ve really been spoiled when it comes to having perfectly sharpened knives at the ready.  It’s important to note that it isn’t necessary to pay a fortune for “designer knives” to have professional quality tools. A sharp edge can be achieved at home.

Once you’ve decided which knives you’ll be needing, choosing a safe way to transport and store the knives can be tricky.  There are fabric and leather pouches available that have pockets for each knife.  The pouch rolls up and ties closed. In my book, that’s money that doesn’t need to be spent plus the pouch doesn’t allow me to grab what I’m looking for.  I stumbled upon this method that keeps my knives at the ready while not taking up space in my camper drawers.

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The cardboard cylinders from paper towels and gift wrap make safe transport sheaths for my knives.  Rubber bands keep everything in place.

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Knives can even be stored in the concocted sheath in a shoebox or drawer of a camper. No cuts while rummaging through the knives! 

Trip to Wyoming:

  • menus – check
  • food and beverages – check
  • camper – check
  • towels and bedding – check
  • knives – check

It’s gonna be a great trip!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2016 in camping, Uncategorized

 

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Jalapeno/Wild Pork/Bacon Snacks

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It’s time to gear up for the annual Deerslayer Camping Trip.  Every year the entire clan (three generations) converges upon southern Wyoming for two weeks. We’ve been doing it for years. In its heyday, there would be sixty-plus people coming and going during the two-week stretch.  Now, all the kids are growing up. Many are going away to college.   I have a feeling that the group will continue to gather, with the younger ones bringing their own families.  My generation will become the one that all the kids roll their eyes at, the group that everybody brings drinks and food to.  Sounds like fun! Can’t wait!

I have to admit that, for me, the preparation is part of the fun. I love the list-making, the planning, the menu-planning, and the cooking for the whole group. This year we’ve decided to prepare:

  • Steak tacos with fresh flour tortillas, pico de gallo, beans with smoked wild pork shank, and Mexican rice
  • A whole roasted pig, roasted corn, and coleslaw
  • Venison and nilgai enchiladas with creamy poblano sauce, beans, and  Mexican rice.
  • Pulled pork on toasted buns, potato salad, coleslaw.

In addition, we decided to try our own version of jalapeno poppers that would include some of our ground wild pork. Sadly, due to my busy camping  prep days, my post is coming out after my dear friends, Patrons of the Pit, who beat me to the punch with their own version of a stuffed jalapeno recipe. Theirs is absolute perfection with a glorious glaze of maple syrup.  You go, guys!

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I used about 18 jalapenos to make 36 delicious, bacon wrapped portions.

18 jalapenos

1 lb. ground wild pork

4 tsp. LEM sausage seasoning

1/8 cup water

36 strips of cheese (I used a strong cheddar)

18 strips of very thin, inexpensive bacon, cut in half

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Mix 4 tsp. of seasoning mix with water and blend with ground pork.

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Cut the ends off the jalapenos.

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Call me a wimp, but I’ve learned over the years that wearing rubber gloves results in a lot less pain and discomfort.

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Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and white membrane.

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Slice cheese into strips the length of the peppers.

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Add a slice of cheese and some pork sausage to each pepper.

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Wrap each pepper with a half slice of bacon.  This is why the bacon should be the cheapest you can get.  The thinner, the better.

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Once the peppers are ready to go on the grill, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for every possible scenario!  I filled two 9 x 13 pans with the jalapenos.  One batch went on the grill, the other went into the freezer for the camping trip.  I wanted to make a test batch first, in addition to seeing how they would freeze for later use.  The frozen ones will be transported in a Yeti cooler with dry ice.  They will stay frozen for up to a week if we’re careful not to open the cooler too much and store it in the shade once we’ve arrived at our destination.

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The peppers were cooked for about 45 minutes on a sheet of foil on the grill over indirect heat.

A nine, tasty morsel for a camping trip!

 

 

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Trash Can Turkey

trashcan turkey, pheasant phantazmagoria 021Preface:  My enthusiasm was greatly deflated when, on a whim, I checked the internet on the off -chance that someone in the blogosphere had also had the mind-blowing experience of preparing a turkey without the use of electricity or a bbq pit.

I discovered, much to my dismay, that apparently every other person in the civilized world not only prepares trash can turkeys on a fairly regular basis, but writes up their experiences and findings on their blogs.

However,I refuse to be daunted by this newly discovered revelation.  Keep in mind my innocent enthusiasm as you read my thoughts… and know that I’ll try to get out more.

I’ve just gotta say that this is the coolest idea I’ve seen in a long time.  It’s the perfect solution for preparing a holiday feast without the use of a conventional oven.  Imagine a power outage, Thanksgiving at the hunting camp (as in this case), or perhaps having the family over during a zombie apocalypse. This brilliant idea allows a deerslayer’s wife to come through in the face of disaster or just impress the pants off everyone, gaining the admiration and awe of all.

Trash Can Turkey

a 10-12 pound turkey

brining and/or injecting ingredients of your choice

extra wide, heavy-duty foil

a pointed, wooden stake about 24 inches in length and at least 1″x1″

enough rocks or bricks to hold the foil down

a small, galvanized steel trash can or ash bin

10 pounds of charcoal

a shovel

1. Prepare your turkey.  You can brine it, inject it, or just season it the way you prefer.

This turkey was brined and injected with Cajun Injector Hickory Grill Seasoning (from Academy Sporting Goods).  While the turkey rests, set up your outdoor cooking area.

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Either in a pit or on a grass-free area of dirt near where you will set up your cooking area, start 10 pounds of charcoal.

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Lay and overlap foil in about a three foot square on a relatively flat area that has enough soft soil to pound the wooden stake into the center.

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Place rocks or bricks around the perimeter.

Pound wooden stake into the center of the square.  It needs to go about 4 or 5 inches deep.

Wrap stake with foil. “Insert” turkey onto the stake thusly.

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Make sure the turkey is comfortable!

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Place inverted trash can over the turkey.

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 Shovel white coals around the outside edge of the trash can and on top.

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After about an hour and a half, the turkey should be ready to eat. Carefully use the shovel to pull the coals from around the trash can and from the top.

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Using heavy gloves, lift the trash can and check the turkey. The meat should be starting to fall from the bones.

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The meat literally was falling off the bone!  Once again, excuse my excitement.   Not to be outdone by everyone in the civilized world, I want to try this method on a wild turkey and maybe a goose, adjusting the times based on the size and leanness of the meat.  Wish me luck.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Last year, I didn’t get my Thanksgiving post finished in time for the holiday…which was a shame ‘cuz it was a real corker.  As I reread it, I still agree that I am blessed beyond measure, and my writing was inspired!  My apricot, pecan, and cornbread dressing is still pretty darn good, too.  This year, I’ll be adding fresh wild pork maple sausage with a touch of sage.

I’m reminded of a Thanksgiving many years ago, my first spent at a hunting camp.  I didn’t cook much of anything back in those days, nor did I enjoy “nature” in any way, shape, or form. However, I was in a position where it was necessary for me to establish myself as having some worth in the Deerslayer hierarchy. I hang my head in shame as I remember those days.

It was only by the grace of God that I was not responsible for preparing the turkey.  It’s funny that, now, I can’t remember what my contribution to the Thanksgiving feast was.  I’m guessing that no one else remembers either because I’m pretty sure that it was rather lackluster at best.

We had an old Airstream camper, back in those days.  It wasn’t the cool, retro kind.  It was really old and it leaked, when it rained,  right over the spot in front of the stove.  Did I mention that it rained cats and dogs that Thanksgiving?  And it was really cold?  And it dripped on my head and down my back as I prepared the lackluster side dishes that were all I had to offer in those days?  They were seasoned liberally, though, with angst, pouting, and misery.  Kinda bitter.

I believe the feast was good.  The turkey and the family were wonderful.  The desserts were delicious, as were the stories around the fire that evening.

I think it might’ve been that Thanksgiving many years ago that inspired me to become a Deerslayer’s wife, happier, rolling with the punches, able to see the humor in situations that can cause crankiness or a chuckle.  Remember those moments.  Use them to become what you want to be.  Use them for a chuckle.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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