Tag Archives: Camping

Update on leaving vegetarianism

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It has been a little over two months since I stopped being a vegetarian, so I think it is time to evaluate the results. Spoiler alert: they are all pretty positive.

Here are a few things I have noticed:

  • I don’t have that unfillable hunger I used to have; I get hungry, but then I eat and I feel better, unlike before, when I would feel burstingly full of stomach, but still not satisfied
  • I have more energy
  • I have less breakouts on my face
  • I haven’t lost any weight, but I haven’t gained any weight either; all of my clothes are looser, and people ask me all the time if I have lost weight, so something is going on here

I have not turned into a full carnivore, eating meat all the time. There are still nights when we have a vegetarian or vegan dinner, and when we do eat meat, it is usually more in the ingredient role rather than the star of the plate. I am still focused on getting as many vegetables crammed into a day (and into my children) as I possibly can. We are still reducing but not eliminating carbs, especially simple carbs.

The transition has been easier than I anticipated. I have found lots of good recipes online, as usual, and I have been enjoying trying some different things. It certainly makes eating outside the house a lot easier. People can feed me, and I can go to just about any restaurant. I am still somewhat appalled by the whole situation, because I thought I was doing what was best for my health. How could it all be so wrong? But I am adjusting.

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In other news:

  • I made it to 1027 words of fiction for the week last week. That number includes notes, but those notes were important, because they led to the decision to throw out a bunch of what I have and start over. I know, that doesn’t seem like huge progress, but it is, because now I feel that I can move forward with a draft, and not edit anymore until I am done, because I have a good direction. I will re-use some of what I have, I am just restructuring a bit and changing the timeline of the world building (I was going to be doing the story post-big-political-change, and now it will be mid-change).
  • I need to add a note to my camping planning: I must do menu planning for the week after the camping trip either as a part of the planning for the trip or during the trip itself. This week has been pretty random on the dinner front, because I had no plan, and I am out of the habit of worrying about this during the week.

Camping Report, part 2

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I am pleased to report that the second night of camping was a success! It rained again, but we didn’t have to flee the campground, and our new tent kept us all dry. It didn’t start raining until we went to bed for the night. In fact, it started almost immediately after we made the last trip the bathroom, checked to make sure nothing was left outside, and stepped into the tent and zipped up the door. Perfect timing! There was a period between midnight and 2 AM when I kept checking the radar to see if the storm would get worse, then making sure it was going away for the night, but once I pried myself away from the phone, it was a good night’s sleep.

Although I have been taking my kids camping for many years now, since the boy was not quite one (he’ll be 9 next month), I am getting organized all over again. There was a time, before I bought the house, when I had my camping stuff fairly organized, but it all got scattered in the move. Plus, there is the whole ADHD medication issue, so I am better at this sort of thing in general now.

I started a bin of camping dedicated supplies for this trip. My goal is to have just about everything we need in that bin so that we can come home from one trip, refill anything that needs refilling (like paper towels, spices, cooking oil, batteries, and the like), and set it aside, ready to go for the next trip. We didn’t have everything we needed for this trip, so I had to borrow some things from the regular kitchen, but I am planning ahead now, so that we can build up the camping kit. Every time I wished I had something that wasn’t in the bin this weekend, I whipped out my phone and made a note, so that there is a good chance I will actually bring these things next time.

Stuff we have in the kit already (the big bin, plus bigger things just stored next to it, on the shelf:

  • Tent
  • Air mattresses
  • Air mattress pump
  • Tabletop grill
  • Lanterns and a flashlight
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Spices: salt, pepper, garlic salt, everyday seasoning
  • Plastic cups
  • Can opener
  • Wine bottle opener
  • Extra batteries
  • Deck of cards
  • Bug spray


Things I want to get to add to the kit:

  • Serving platter
  • Reusable plates, bowls, silverware
  • Plastic wine glasses (or maybe stainless steel)
  • Cutting board
  • Overhead fan for tent (battery operated)
  • Dish tub
  • Pots
  • Aluminum foil
  • Set of BBQ tools
  • Serving bowls
  • Moist towelettes
  • Water bottles
  • Cots for sleeping
  • Sheets dedicated to camping trips
  • Notebooks, sketchpad, notepads
  • Pens, pencils
  • Sunscreen
  • Plastic baggies


Things we will continue to pack from home:

  • Pillows
  • Clothes
  • Food
  • Books
  • Games


Lessons learned in this trip:

  • At 13, almost 14, the girl is finally a useful camping partner; she helped a lot with the packing and unpacking
  • Simpler is better when it comes to meal times; if I must do an elaborate meal, I should have most of the prep work done already
  • I have got to prepare these kiddoes better for the idea that camping involves *actual exercise* like hiking, not just sitting around at the campsite
  • I really want to find a way to buy myself a new bike and get a bike rack for the car before the weeklong trip in July; stupid need to eat every single day
  • Planning ahead is key! But once I have a good camping kit, I won’t need as much planning time
  • Don’t let the girl pack the car–she did put the tent on top for easy retrieval when we got to the campsite, but the rest of the stuff was kind of random, and it was hard to keep organized.


All in all, it was a good trip. I think we could even manage a weekend with just me and the kids sometime, which would be fun.

Misadventures in camping

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Wednesday afternoon: Decide to go on a short weekend camping trip. There’s not much time to plan, but it’s only a couple of days, so it should be fine. There is a chance of rain, but the forecast could change. My friend and I decide to make a final decision based on the weather forecast Friday morning. She and her daughter are already at the campsite, because she is a teacher and has the summer off.

Wednesday evening: After work, I head for my parents’ house, where the kids have been hanging out all day. The boy has his summer mohawk, and he is suitably smugly pleased about that. Both children are ridiculously excited about camping, because my daughter and my friend’s daughter have been texting about the possiblility. I decide not to point out that we are not sure to go because of rain, instead telling them that they have a lot of cleaning to do before we can think of leaving for the weekend. After dinner, we head to Target and purchase a new tent, air mattresses, a tabletop grill, bug spray and smores forks.

Thursday: I am working from home, so I am able to do a lot of laundry and shop for food over lunch. I make a couple of things ahead: tuna salad, marinate onions for avocado salad. We can do this, right? Even though I am heading out for a pre-scheduled Mom’s night out that will take me out of the work all evening? The children will work on this while I am gone, right?

Thursday, 10:00 PM: Wrong. So wrong. As far as I can tell, the children watched TV, played on the computer, and ate granola bars while I was gone, shedding wrappers throughout the house (and when I say throughout the house, I definitely do NOT mean into the various trashcans placed in nearly all rooms in the house) as they went. I lose my mind, threaten the children with no trip unless they work like fiends the next day, send them around to pick up granola wrappers and make gazpacho. Upstairs before bed, I do most of my clothes packing. I don’t need much, it is only two days. Maybe this will work out fine.

Friday morning: This is an office day. I wake up the girl before I go, so that she can get right to work. I pick many mint leaves from the garden while I take the dog out, so that we can have mojitos with the Cuban themed BBQ I have planned for Saturday. Before I leave, I start to make the marinade for the cuban roasted pork and realize I forgot to get lime juice. No problem, there is a store a block away from my office, and I need to get rum anyway–all of my rum is being used to make homemade mint liqueur.

Friday work day: Throughout the day, I text the girl to keep her on track. She seems to be moving along, cleaning the kitchen, getting a lot of packing done. This won’t take long, right? All I have to do is get out of work a little early, finish the pork marinade and trim the roast, pack the food, finish my stuff and we can head out.

Friday, 3:00: Damn! I finished my financials, due today, but I only did half of the financials for the guy on vacation I am covering. No problem, I will dive in now.

Friday, 3:50: Wait, what is this? I have no idea what he is doing on this screen, and I don’t want to mess it up. I want to leave at 4:00, but I call my team lead for help anyway. I can’t get someone else in trouble. We get it straightened out, and I doublecheck everything, only to find that some things have gone out of whack in the hour since I balanced them. I re-fix them, knowing my detailed notes for the regular guy are screwed, but figure we can get this ironed out when he returns. By the time I wrap everything up and head out the door, it is 4:39, approximately 21 minutes earlier than I would normally leave, and I still have to go to the store. Well, we can make it up, right?

6:00: I make it home with all stuff, ready to swoop in, approve the kids’ cleaning activities and finish up. The kitchen does look a lot better, but the kitchen floor is still sticky.

Me: “The floor is still sticky.”

The girl, surprised: “I mopped!”

Me, starting to lose my mind: “But it is still sticky! It isn’t enough to just run the mop over it, you have to check and see if it worked!”

7:10: After much arguing and reminders, we make it out the door. We need to stop for gas and ice, then pick up some fast food and we will be on our way. Sun down is 8:28, so I point out that we need to put the tent up right away when we get to the camping site, before it gets dark. Overall, though, I feel pretty good. We are going camping!

8:15: We arrive at the camp site, and take out the tent right away. The girl announces that she needs to go to the bathroom. I suggest we put the tent up first, but she threatens to have an accident, so I tell her to hurry, it is starting to get dark.

8:45: It is really getting dark. Where is that girl? My friend, who is much more experienced with tent installations than I am, has been helping me, but the girl was supposed to hurry back. I text her: “Get back here now.” She replies: “we r on r way bak” I reply: “Run”

She returns, and we only have the rain flap left to install. I show her the directions and head for the bathroom myself. I ask my friend if there is a closer bathroom than the main one the girl went to, but she says the one two camping sites down was damaged in a recent storm and has been closed. Oh well, more exercise, right?

The rest of evening goes pretty well. We play travel Pictionary, the kids have smores, and we get a little bit of reading done. The pump for the air mattresses runs out before my mattress is fully inflated, but the girl spends some time inflating it with her lung power, too. Surely it will be fine.

11:00: The girl and I head to the bathroom for a last trip before bed. She tries to convince me to just let her use the trees, but I say we should walk up. I am so tired that I try to convince her to carry me back, but we make it back without incident. The boy proclaims he is not tired, and I decide to let him play on his DSi for a bit while I read. The mattress really isn’t inflated enough, but it will probably be fine for one night.

12:00: Okay, boy, close the DSi, it is time for sleeping.

Boy: “I have to go to the bathroom.”

Ugh, I am so close to sleep now. Me: “How about you just go behind a tree?”

Boy: “I’d really rather go to the bathroom.” Why didn’t I make him go with us at 11:00?

Me: “You are lucky I love you.”

We make it up and back, with only a little bit of dramatic pretending to fall asleep while standing up on my part. This is good anyway, because he is sharing my air mattress and we don’t want any accidents.

12:30 AM: I hate those people at the end of the street. This is not the time for throwing things at your friends so that they will yell at you, and talking loudly. God, will they ever SHUT UP?!?

2:30 AM: The trip to the bathroom was not enough. He is off the edge, and there is a huge wet spot on the sheet. Fortunately, it doesn’t come all the way over to me. I go back to sleep.

3:30 AM: The girl: “What? What? I don’t know!” She has done this before, so I know not to compound the problem by talk ing to her. She is asleep throughout, but I am awake. It passes quickly, though, and I go back to sleep.

5:00 AM: The girl wakes me up. “Are those tornado sirens?” Me, sleepily: “Hmmf? Yeah, but we are fine. We can still sleep.”

5:02 AM: My friend, outside the tent: “Do you hear that? What does the radar look like on your phone?” Damn, I have to get up. I check the radar, and there is a giant line of storms headed our way. We start loading our stuff back into the car, trying to decide whether to abandon the whole trip or just leave during the storm. My decision making skills are seriously hampered by the lack of sleep, but we decide to empty the tent, but leave it for later, go for breakfast, and reavaluate later in the day.

7:00: Several cups of coffee are keeping me awake now, but it won’t last. We decide to head home and nap before the final decision.

7:30: Driving home down the corridor of concrete that is Highway 40/61. I understand why the people in the surrounding houses want the sound buffering, but 8 lanes of highway hemmed in by 10 foot high concrete walls? My god, that is bleak.

8:00: Stagger in the house, give kids directions to put the food in the fridge, wash my sheet, and charge the air mattress pump then head up to bed. Sleep, glorious sleep!

8:38: “Girl! Stop singing!”

After a couple of hours of sleep, I feel much better. We are getting ready to head back out, despite a 60% chance it will rain again tonight. We can always hang out and then leave before bed if the radar looks menacing. Wish us luck.

You learn something new every day…

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Like, my last post? I posted that on Wednesday, March 19. But I started it on March 6, like the publish date says. I did not know that Blogger could pretend like that…

Anyway, a camping update:

Not totally vegan this time, so I’ll skim over the first night, when we had salmon and sugar snap peas cooked in a foil packet with teriyaki sauce.

The second night, I went with the best kid-pleaser, beanie weenies, made with soy hotdogs. My friend made new potatoes, carrots and onion roasted in foil, and the kids devoured grapes with the beans.

The third night, it rained, so we had Taco Bell. Oh, for a larger town nearby with a Qdoba!

Breakfasts were largely fruit and whole wheat bagels with tofutti cream cheese, and lunches consisted of a lot of general snacking. I brought a bunch of guacamole this time, and whole wheat tortillas, and the boy ate some leftover hot dogs. Oh, and we had leftover beanie weenies. Hmm, we weren’t very organized this time.

We did get some beautiful hiking in before the rains hit. We went down on a Saturday and stayed until Tuesday, so we were practically alone on the campground after Sunday morning. Monday night, when it was raining, we were the only camper there. We saw a lot of wildlife, though–probably 6 or 7 deer, some of them fairly close up. We saw a beaver on our way back from town on Monday, which was pretty cool. We played a lot of Trivial Pursuit and got a lot of reading done.

Wednesday night we had friends over and I made Curried Stir-Fried Noodles with Vegetables. Andrea requested it last time she came for dinner, but I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I got it all when I went to the store to buy some supplements after returning from the campground.

Last night we went to my parents’ house for pizza, and I got to feed S something other than plain cheese pizza. She eats too much plain food, so we are experimenting with more complex flavors. We had pineapple pizza, and it was a big success! We used rice milk cheese, and it was very good, melty and delicious.

Now the kids are at their dad’s so I expect some eating out this weekend, but I am going to try to make some healthy stuff this weekend to prepare for next week.

Camping menu

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We went camping from Monday, June 4 to Friday, June 8. That’s four nights of vegan food, plus 4 breakfasts and lunches. We camped in a tent this time, so we had to keep our cooler stocked with ice, but it turned out pretty well.

For lunches, I brought tofurkey lunch meats, peanut butter, and tortillas for the kids. We had a lot of fruit all around, and some baby carrots, too. For myself, I made a curried chickpea salad to replace my old favorite of curried chicken salad. It was good, but I added a bit too much curry powder. Next time I know how to make it better. We also took some Lara bars–oh my goodness, these are so good! Cashew cookie is my favorite, and they have only two ingredients, cashews and dates. Convenience food made out of real food and nothing else? Heaven. The kids loved the cherry pie and apple pie flavors. Checking out the website, I see that they have even more flavors that I didn’t know about. I am definitely going to have to hunt down a Key Lime Pie bar to try. Oooo, and ginger snap. And cinnamon roll. (I’d link you directly to these flavors so that you can easily see the wonderfulness here, but they have one of those websites that I hate, where you click around and it puts up content, but the page address never changes. I don’t get their blog, either. The description makes it sound like if you click on their link to launch their blog, you will be generating the content–“A new window will appear and you will be bloggin’ in no time at all!”–but it seems that they do in fact write the blog themselves. Maybe you can email them stuff to post, or maybe they don’t get that blogging means writing a blog, not any generic activity associated with blogs, like reading them. Odd for a group of people writing a website.)

For breakfasts, it was mostly whole wheat mini-bagels and Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese. I know, that isn’t terribly healthy, but the kids love the stuff, and it is vegan. We also ate a lot of fruit, and I brought some cereal and rice milk.

Dinner menus:

Monday: Pizza! I made the Basil-Tofu Ricotta from Vegan with a Vengeance before we left, and brought along a premade whole grain crust and some pizza sauce from Trader Joe’s. When we got there, I assembled the pizza and wrapped it in aluminum foil and cooked it over the fire. It turned out pretty well, but we are thinking about bringing charcoal next time to get a hotter cooking fire. We had salad on the side with this. Well, the kids didn’t, but I shared with my friend.

Tuesday: Tofurky Italian sausages on whole wheat buns with a little cream cheese, new potates and asparagus roasted in a foil packet with olive oil, thyme and parsley

Wednesday: Beanie Weenies, recipe from my McDougall Quick and Easy cookbook, leftover asparagus and potatoes, fruit

Thursday: Falafel, tahini sauce that I made before we left, roasted garlic hummus, all wrapped in whole wheat tortillas and served with grape tomatoes on the side, salad, fruit

The kids weren’t as thrilled with falafel night as they were with all the other choices (especially the beanie weenies, when they eagerly sat at the table and ate seconds), but they were fairly content with the choices. As always, I wish they would eat more vegetables, but they did eat a LOT of fruit. One day for lunch, we did whole wheat tortillas spread with peanut butter and wrapped around bananas, which is one of their favorites. Overall, I’d say this longer vegan camping trip was a success. The key was planning ahead, and making the basil-tofu ricotta and the tahini sauce at home before we left. That way I had everything I needed and didn’t need to spend a lot time sitting at a picnic table getting the meals ready to be cooked.

If anyone has any other great ideas for vegan meals while camping, please let me know–we will be doing this again!

Camping

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I survived my first camping trip as a vegetarian this past weekend. The only part that was bad, really was that I couldn’t share the cooking with my friend that we went with. Usually, we will bring our own stuff for breakfast, lunch and snacks, and we will trade off on the dinners. This time we did our dinners separately, too.

I brought a bunch of sandwich stuff for lunches, and for dinners, I brought Quorn hot dogs, since the boy loves hot dogs (which, as an aside, I thought were gross even when I ate meat), and Tofurkey Italian Sausages for me. I threw the hot dogs and Italian sausages on the grill over our fire for dinner the first night. Predictably, the boy loved the hot dogs, but the girl just ate the (whole wheat) bun. My Italian Sausage was awesome!

I also got some vegetable masala burgers from Trader Joe’s. Oh my goodness are those things yummy! We camp with electricity, so I was able to microwave them, but they would have probably been good wrapped in aluminum foil on the grill. I brought along Thai Garlic Chili sauce to put on top, because nearly everything is better with hot sauce. Lots of fruit rounded out our choices.

Camping without meat was easier than I feared. Our biggest problem was what to do Saturday night after a day of wet snow made all the wood wet and fireproof. We cheated and went for the fast food–chicken nuggets from McDonald’s for the kids, and bean burritoes with no cheese for me. Still, we would have been fine if the weather had cooperated. Truthfully, we could have coped with just the microwave, but my friend didn’t want to throw her chicken in the microwave, and hey, we were on a mini-vacation.