Girl Scout Camping
3/28/06 2:15 PM
<sslug> I won't see you all for the next two chats. Going on Camping trips.
<@chefmomster2> emoticon We'll expect the complete story of the trips when you return.

We went troop camping this past weekend with 10 girls, 2 teenagers for aides, and 5 adults. We signed up to use one of the buildings rather than tents because of the iffy weather at this time of the year (we had snow on Wednesday!).


What we spent the most time doing: Meals; the girls planned a very big menu and wanted to cook outdoors.

Favorite foods: fruit salad, pigs in a blanket, eggs in a bag, chicken packets (always a hit!), and chocolate cherry chip cake.

The surprise for first-time campers: baking in a foil-lined cardboard box (a box oven). :occasion6: (Yes, it really works; this particular oven has been used once or twice a year since 1999.)

The best new technique/food: Individual pineapple upside-down cakes made in tuna cans and baked over a bed of coals with a pan placed over them to hold in the heat.

The most disappointing: It rained Saturday evening and our flag retirement, wish boats, star gazing and night games had to be canceled. :toothy2:

Best girl made surprise: A talent show :toothy1: that showcased every girl; it ended with a request from my co-leader for me to lead everyone in "Three Chartreuse Buzzards". [Note: this totally shocked the high school senior that was with us; she has known me from school for 6 years and could never imagine me doing something as crazy as that!]

Easy entertainment Friday night: A hot-air popper :happy1: ; these girls only know microwave popcorn.

Priceless moment: Watching 4 of the youngest girls try to fold a flannel-backed table cloth. They'd drop it in the leaves, the leaves would stick to the flannel, they'd try to shake the leaves off but they were stuck, so they'd try to shake harder and drop it in the leaves again when it slipped out of someone's hands. :scratch: They eventually figured out that someone had to actually PICK the leaves off then they could fold it.

Worst thing: I let myself get dehydrated. Terrible muscle cramps/pains while driving back on Sunday. Luckily the leftover orange juice was traveling in my van; started to perk me back up within 20-30 minutes.

Aaah, camping - gotta love it! emoticon

Next weekend I'm the trainer for a group of 8 adults and the theme for the weekend is "Wild, Wild West". Should be lots of fun!

Yours in Scouting,
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Re: Girl Scout Camping
3/28/06 2:35 PM as a reply to Sherri.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I loved the entire tale and I want the recipes for the foods you describe- especially the chicken packets and upside-down cake! they sound wonderful! And directions for the box oven too, of course!

I'm so pleased you had a great experience and I'm even happier for the girls who were camping for the first time.

Thanks for the post.

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Re: Girl Scout Camping
3/28/06 8:27 PM as a reply to Sherri.
Ah Chef, you don't want much do you! I belive ElinaMaria said something about your curiousity... :roll:

Here goes (this may take several posts). emoticon

Box Ovens
In this council the standard for cooking is contained charcoal fires. Most of us like aluminum turkey roasters lined with foil (lightweight, can be used many times, disposable when the bottom burns through). We start the charcoal in tin can chimneys and a chimneyful covers the bottom of a roaster nicely. A grate can be set right across the roaster resting on its lips. I am currently using some cheap cookie cooling racks for my grates (just make sure they are not coated with any sort of plastic).

The council standard box oven is a box with 4 sides, a hinged lid and no bottom. The box should fit over the charcoal bed (i.e. the roaster) with a little room to spare between the box and the pan. The box is covered with several layers of heavy duty aluminum foil inside (always) and out (sometimes - but does help protect box from the heat of any other fires that might be in the pit at the same time). Use only foil tape (found in the hardware section); plastic packing tapes melt and duct tape glue can't withstand the heat. Use empty cans to control height of grate/baking pan from the charcoal. An optional feature is to make a double lid: use an oven roaster bag as a window in the inside lid - this prevents heat loss when just looking at the food. Use small rocks or balls of foil to prop up the bottom of the box to get air flow.

A similar idea to leave the lid totally attached to the box (no hinge). Lift the box straight up when checking the food as not to lose the trapped hot air. Replace box as quickly as possible to keep food cooking.

My oven is a "deluxe" model. My box has 4 sides, a bottom and a hinged lid. Tip the box over; the bottom is now the back and the hinge is at the top of a side door. In addition to the inside of the box and lid being covered with several layers of foil, my oven has some foil covered inserts; pieces cut from a second box that double up all the sides and bottom providing some extra layers of insulation.. Every time a piece gets a hole in the foil, it gets covered with a new layer. The foil is pretty thick in some places now!

I use a 9x11 aluminum cake pan as my charcoal pan and it is lined with many, many layers of foil. I use four empty soup cans as the supports for my grate (one of those cookie-cooling racks). My oven will hold a 9x13 baking pan with a small gap around the sides for air circulation. The door does not shut tightly at the bottom to allow for airflow into the oven.

I don't like the box oven designs that call for punching holes in the box to mount wires, coat hangers, or sticks to act as your rack. They are not adjustable for height and heat can conduct into the interior of your corrugated cardboard and possibly combust your box = flaming oven! Also avoid using any of the charcoal presoaked with a firestarter and do not use liquid firestaters - too many fumes, the food will taste funny and sometimes they burn too hot, another cause of flaming ovens. (Our council recommends solid fire starters so not a problem for us.)

Start the charcoal in a separate pan and add the number needed for your oven when ready. You will find lots of # of degrees per briquette information and none seems to match. I've seen numbers of 30-40 degrees with one source as high as 50. It actually varies from oven to oven. How much air space is there to heat in your box? How hot an oven to you need for your particular recipe? At first it takes a little experimentation to see what works. Too little charcoal is better than too much - you can always add more but it is too late to take any out if you have already burned your biscuits! I originally had one of those little oven rack thermometers that I put on the grate next to the food to help me adjust the temp. My oven only needs 9-12 briquettes at a time but you do need to add more as the original pieces burn down and lose their heat.

You can cook anything in your box oven that you would in your oven at home.

Here is a link to a page that I thought was the best representation of the kinds of box ovens I use.

The "more complex" one is very similar to mine although that one does not appear to have the double wall inserts that mine has.

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Re: Girl Scout Camping
3/28/06 8:51 PM as a reply to Sherri.
And now the recipes if you can really call them that. Maybe should be called "how we throw the ingredients together"!

Pigs in a Blanket
Pre-cooked sausage links
Crescent roll dough
Skewers or dowels or sticks

Pinch 2 triangles of dough together to form a rectangle. Cut rectangle into four strips. Put sausage on your stick, wrap with dough, and toast over the coals.

Eggs in a Bag
(a troop favorite - even kids that don't usually like eggs eat them when cooked this way)
zip-top sandwich bags
zip-top small freezer bags
permanent marker
eggs (1 or 2 per person)
cooked breakfast meat in small pieces (ham, bacon, sausage - whatever your crowd likes; we used cubed ham this time, have used bacon bits in the past)
diced onion
diced green pepper
shredded cheese
whatever other things you might like in with your eggs - black olives, mushrooms, etc.

Start large pot(s) of water boiling. Each person gets a sandwich bag, writes their name on it, and cracks in their eggs. They add whatever other ingredients they personally like with their eggs. Seal the bag and mix it all together. Make sure that all the air is out of the sandwich bag, put it in a freezer bag, squeeze out all of the air and seal this bag. Add the bags to the boiling water. CAUTION: do not let the bags touch the part of the pot that is out of the water; the bags will melt creating a mess! Use tongs as needed to move bags in the water and to squish the contents of each bag during cooking to make sure all the raw egg gets cooked. Dump cooked eggs out of bags and enjoy. Bonus, as long as there were no accidents, you've already got hot water for cleaning your dishes!

Roll-a-can/ Kick-the-can Ice Cream
Large can with tight fitting lid (we use 2 pound coffee cans)
Smaller container with tight fitting lid that will fit into your large container with some space for ice (we used peanut butter jars, the screw-top lids made them better than the 1 pound coffee cans we used to use)
Rock salt
1 quart half and half
1 quart heavy whipping cream
2 cups sugar
Vanilla to taste (couple teaspoons)

Wrap the large cans with newspaper and fasten in place with tape. Be sure that you can still get the lid on and off. Mix together half &amp; half, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour into small containers (it makes 3 peanut butter jars for us). Fasten lids onto small containers TIGHTLY. Put small container into large can. Layer space between containers with ice and rock salt. Put lid on large container. Let the kids roll or kick the can to make the ice cream; only takes about 20-30 minutes as long as the can is in motion.

Chicken Packets
(Another troop favorite - kids WILL eat vegetables when they get to pick their own. This is just foil dinners by another name; use the ingredients that your group likes. We also like to get things the girls need to cut into pieces so that they can practice knife skills.)
Chicken breast strips - fresh or frozen
Potatoes (we use canned, sliced; that way you don't need to wait for them to cook!)
Corn - canned or frozen
Broccoli - frozen
Carrots - baby carrots cut into thirds
Celery - cut into small pieces
Green pepper - cut into small pieces
Onion - cut into small pieces
Any leftovers from other meals you want to use up - shredded cheese, bacon, ham, black olives, other veggies, etc.
Seasonings - salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper, etc.
Extra heavy duty foil (only need one layer; if you use heavy duty usually have to double-up)
Some way to identify everyone's packet (permanent marker, marker and foil tape, or just remember whose is whose based on shapes and folding)

Everyone gets a large piece of foil. Put in chicken (1-3 pieces for girls, 2-4 pieces for adults). Season the chicken as desired. Add anything else you want in your dinner. Add piece of butter/margarine. Seal tightly, put on coals. Takes about 30 minutes on a good, hot coal bed.

Chocolate Cherry Chip Cake
(my favorite)
1 box devil's food cake mix (the kind that takes 3 eggs and 1/2 cup of oil)
Water (amount indicated on box)
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 can cherry pie filling
1 bag chocolate chips

Line 9x13 pan with foil and grease with some oil. Mix cake as directed on box, mix in cherries and chips. Pour into pan and cover with foil. Bake until set, consistency will be very soft (like spoon bread).

Individual Pineapple Upside-down Cakes
Brown sugar
Pineapple rings
Maraschino cherries
Yellow cake mix (plus needed ingredients)
Greased tuna cans

Put small amount of butter/margarine in bottom of each can. Sprinkle in some brown sugar. Add a pineapple ring and a cherry to each can. Mix yellow cake batter according to package directions. Add scoop to each can. Cover each can with foil and bake. When finished, run knife or spoon around edge of can to loosen and turn cake onto a plate.
NOTE: We used 2 boxes of cake mix, but that was probably too much. We had 16 tuna cans that were filled almost to the top. Some of these ran over while baking and all rose enough to push up the foil covering. There was enough batter left over to make a 8x8 plain cake. Next time we think we are going to try just 1 cake mix split among 18-20 cans (to use all pineapple rings).

Whew! That's a LOT of typing for this hunt and peck slug! Anything else? emoticon

Now need to start making swaps for the wild west weekend. (Chef, you DO know about Girl Scout swaps, don't you?

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