Dessert every night? That’s preposterous…unless, that is, you happen to be camping. Here’s how I became a very happy camper.
It’s when I’m on a camping trip that I lose every bit of self-control and forgo my normal, middle-aged empty-nester life and transform from a small-portioned, thoughtful eater to a ravenous glutton ingesting thousands of calories without even a second thought.
I recognize one cannot attempt to eat dessert every night without some amount of exercise (not to mention guilt) to combat ingesting a horrific number of calories, therefore, with camping comes getting out and feeling the burn. There is usually very little sitting around relaxing in my camping world but with that comes that lovely guilty pleasure of dessert.
Just upon hearing the words of an upcoming camping trip I go into some sort of altered state, practically hyperventilating as I dive headfirst into planning the menu. Where we’re going is usually secondary to my need of making sure that we have 3 squares a day.
Start the Plan
There’s the main meal, that’s obvious, but it can’t just be a ‘normal’ meal, it needs to be something I can prepare easily, preferably most of it in advance but sure to evoke long-lasting camping memories. For example, a delicious and easy Chicken Bruschetta comes to mind.
Next, the side dish. This is easy. A big salad with all of the fixings and it’s a snap to make a great balsamic vinaigrette dressing at home.
Lest we forget, it’s not a real meal until you start everyone off with an appetizer (that and an icy-cold malted beverage). The appetizer is the second banana to the holy grail of dessert and must not be overlooked.
But this is where it gets dangerous. I could forgo all of the previous courses and go straight in for the dessert. This is the part of the whole camping experience that keeps me coming back for more. And more. And more. And, uh, more.
Just like in my appetizer world, I continue to elevate the requirements for dessert to even higher levels. S’mores? Nope. Toasted marshmallows? Ho-hum. Banana boats? They were fun when the kids were with us, but no, not anymore. We’ve evolved.
Welcome the Campfire Churro. A canned biscuit toasted over a roaring fire dunked into melted butter and swirled in cinnamon sugar loveliness. Next up? Campy Eclairs molded and toasted on a wooden dowel, stuffed with vanilla pudding and slathered with chocolate icing. A thing to behold right before devouring.
Remember how I said toasted marshmallows were only ho-hum.? Well, they are until you release their full potential by soaking them in Baileys. Great trick! Need another? Toss slices of Pound Cake or Angel Food Cake on the grill and top it with sugary berries and some whipped cream in a bowl for about the simplest of evening enders.
Feeling guilty after indulging nightly in my high caloric dessert rituals I will spend tomorrow hiking or biking thereby earning my spoon at the dessert table. I deserve it. No, I dessert it.
Now I’m a happy camper.
Download my camping desserts and check out the Active site for even more delicious ideas.