The End of the Camping Season….

We had an awesome summer of camping in our new-to-us trailer this year, and we ended our season on Thanksgiving weekend with a grand finale trip to Cape Breton to travel the Cabot Trail.  I can’t believe that after nearly 15 years of living in Nova Scotia, this is my first time really exploring the Trail.

And what a gorgeous place to celebrate Thanksgiving. 

 Cabot Trail | www.purplehousecafe.com

 Cabot Trail | www.purplehousecafe.com

At the beginning of the summer I figured I would try my hand at some new and interesting recipes that were camping-friendly. 

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Camping food – Twisted Skillet Chili

We’ve been camping in our little new-to-us circa 1980 8-foot pop-up trailer four times so far this summer.  Considering that our weekends often get booked up weeks in advance with volleyball tournaments and doula clients due and BBQ’s etc., I’m actually pretty proud of the number of times we’ve packed our life and a pile of diapers into the car and headed out to sleep under the stars.  Having the trailer already packed with most of what we need has limited the number of excuses not to go and the time it takes to gather everything up after work on a Friday and head out.  

Camping Food - Twisted Skillet Chili | www.purplehousecafe.com

We’ve stayed in Kejimkujik National Park where we slept in a grove of trees, ate dark chocolate by the fire till the stars came out, and turned our little space heater on high to ward off the May chill.  We found ourselves nestled in amongst huge satellite dish-sporting RVs in a kind of soulless campground at Parlee Beach, New Brunswick, where we only made it to the beach for ten minutes and spend one of our nights smothering the dog with love and comfort after a fireworks-related anxiety attack.  

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Gourmet S’mores…peanut butter, white chocolate, chai, haskap jam….

We spent our weekend camping.  Finally, after what seemed like an entire month of rainy weekends, we were able to take our new-to-us tent trailer out for another spin.  And so, as promised quite a while ago:  my first (of what will hopefully be many!) camping food post.

The weekend was exactly what we needed:  time to focus on just being together as a family.  No schedules, no chores to do, and no electronics.  Just a handful of toys, some books, our beach towels and a camera.  Also: copious amounts of hot dogs, corn on the cob, and s’mores.  

I’ve been experimenting with some new s’mores flavours that I wanted to share with you.  

Have you tried any different twists on classic s’mores, or do you prefer the old standard graham wafer, chocolate and marshmallow kind?

Gourmet S'mores | www.purplehousecafe.com

Here’s what I experimented with:

Chai marshmallows with ginger cookies and dark chocolate

Gourmet S'mores | www.purplehousecafe.com

Vanilla marshmallows with peanut butter cookies, white chocolate and haskap jam

Gourmet S'mores | www.purplehousecafe.com

I’m going to share with you my recipe for marshmallows ASAP.  They’re not too difficult to make, and contain no ingredients that you can’t pronounce (always a good thing!).

These s’mores were incredible, and taught me a few lessons:

  • Homemade marshmallows melt faster than store-bought marshmallows.  Act accordingly.
  • You know how you always want your s’mores chocolate to melt but it’s hard to get the marshmallow hot enough to actually melt it?  And how that’s totally frustrating and somewhat dissatisfying?  Here’s a tip:  use those chocolate bars with the mousse-y filling.  Brilliant.  Total gooey melty-ness.
  • Make your own damn cookies.  You don’t need me to tell you that graham wafers are not actually that tasty.
  • Alternatively, use Ritz crackers.  This was a revelation to me when we were out camping and forgot cookies for our s’mores.  We’d picked up a box of Ritz at a gas station along the way to quieten the chimes of “cacka! cacka!” coming from the back seat, and I’m not sure I’d want my s’more any other way now…

Enjoy!