Posts Tagged ‘Camp Food’

Our first camp of the year (we had two!) was a winter camp that was a roaring success.

We had fantastic weather, lots of snow, a great group of girls – the perfect number , not too much to do for program, and enthusiastic/mostly well-rested Guiders.  It was a fun camp.

Highlights and Notes:IMG_1341

  • There are some definite advantages to holding a winter camp (vs. the usual summer/spring camp).  There are no bugs, the weather is going to be cool – so you dress for it, you’re not sweaty and gross all the time (and dreaming of a shower).  As long as you’re dressed for it, you can stay outside all day.  And there are some really interesting things to do (snowshoeing, fort building, sliding, etc.).  We got really lucky and overnight (while we were in buildings) it was around Zero Celsius, but it was as high as 10 degrees in the day.  You don’t always get that lucky.
  • Our camp had snowshoes to borrow and we had a lot of fun on a trail.  Some girls loved it.  Some had a lot of trouble.  It gets better with practice.
  • We often pack bins and bins of supplies for just-in-case.  This time we specifically planned not to plan.  We’re not crazy… we had lots of colouring supplies, a few planned crafts and activities, and Snowy Owl had Origami paper – but that probably represented two grocery bags worth of stuff… not three bins of it.
    • Yarn hat craft – took about 40 minutes. Required paper towel roll rings, and yarn pre-rolled into small balls.  Girls cut yarn into strips on their own.  The kids are still remarking on it.  They loved it.
    • Outside Wide Game – In teams, collect string that the Guiders have hidden in the woods – tie it together using reef knot to make the longest knot.  Supplies – yarn (I used bright orange so we’d see it all) cut into strips.
    • Origami- we had paper and a pattern for Monster Bookmarks.  Very popular.
    • Ice Hangings – these were really cool.  We had the girls collect treasures from nature for their pie plates.  Then we poured water over them overnight – we made art that just melted after we left.  Cool.patrol2
  • Patrol Bandanas – each patrol got a different coloured fabric ring (I cut up old men’s XL T-shirts making rings from the bottom of the shirt up)  Note – XL shirts were too big to make a good hairband – next time I’ll try men’s L shirts.

I get lots of questions about meals.  Here’s what we ate (Thanks Guider Jen!):

  • Friday Mug Up – Homemade soup with cheese and crackers.
  • Saturday Breakfast – Homemade pancakes with breakfast sausage and lots of fruit.
  • Morning snack: homemade granola bars.
  • Lunch: Grilled cheese using flour tortilla instead of bread, with humus and veggies.
  • Afternoon snack: Marshmallows on fire.
  • Supper: Chicken Stew.  With birthday cake and ice cream for dessert.
  • Evening snack: we were prepared with popcorn, but didn’t need it.
  • Sunday breakfast: Muffins and fruit
  • Snack: leftovers.
  • 11 AM departure.

It was a really good camp.  I think we need to plan another one for next year.

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This is the menu planning part of the EverythingforCampFile and the Camping Page.  Updated Feb 2013.

Here are the things you should know about our camps…

  1. We’ve found a menu that works.  It is cost effective and kid friendly.  And pretty adult friendly too.
  2. We repeat the menu with little variation for almost every camp.  If we are going to modify the menu, we’ll change Saturday’s lunch.
  3. We only go camping once (sometimes twice) a year and have had no tantrums because of the repetition.
  4. When we do a camp planning meeting with the girls, we do brainstorming with big sheets of paper asking “What would you like to do, eat and bring?” Inevitably, someone always suggests what is on our menu.  We usually don’t have to interject with spaghetti, pancakes, waffles, veggies, or hot dogs.  Sometimes we have to remind someone how good the soup was last time, but not usually.
  5. NEW for 2012 – We recognize that our original menu was not great from a nutritional standpoint and our newer menu has a better balance.  I’ve left the old menu notes here for your reference (fun/not entirely healthy options are good for sometimes) but we’re better now at better food. Notes:
    • Better food is not difficult to make.   We have an awesome camp cook who has shown us the way to make better food, but you don’t need a gourmet chef to come to camp to make pancakes from scratch (which are way tastier than frozen eggo waffles).
    • Edits below are made based on the good advice (and extremely welcome hands) of Guider Jen.  (We love that Jen wants to do this – we were fine with the neon yellow soup – but are thrilled to be given the option of the real thing). Real Food = Jen’s Modifications

Here’s the gist of different options we’ve tried over the years.

Friday Evening Supper for Guiders (and Guider Children if there are any)

  • Option 1 – Frozen Pizzas – Consider the number of people, the fact that you’ll be using an unfamiliar oven, and that you don’t know how much time you’ve got to cook before kids start arriving.  Tough to schedule – risk that people will get cold pizza.  (or burnt – there are LOTS of distractions at camp)
  • Option 2- Individual make your own subs.  Get cold cuts, cheese, mustard and mayo plus buns.  Everyone gets stuff they wanted to eat and you could make it when you had time.  I think we’ll do that again.  Huge Hit!
  • Option 3 – Jen’s Modification  We always make soup for the 8PM snack so why not make some good soup right off the start?  The Guiders will eat it early, and there will be a nice big pot of it ready for the girl snack too.  Served with nice crusty bread, etc.  Very big hit, but timing was an issue.  The camp cook got caught in traffic and soup was a little late.  I think a combo of option 2 and 3 will be my recommendation next time.  (it is hard to wolf down HOT soup before the girls get there)

Friday Evening Snack – Guiders to prepare.  Served around 8PM.

Jen’s question was, why such a substantial snack at 8PM?  Well, girls are meant to arrive at camp with full tummies, but it doesn’t always happen.  Soup, cheese and crackers will mean that nobody goes to bed hungry (and/or wakes up in the middle of the night).

  • Option 1 Lipton Chicken Soup (packets)  OR
    Option 2 Jen’s Modification Homemade soup made at Camp.  Like the Yarn Harlot Emergency Soup (scroll to the bottom).  It is easy and will meet most dietary needs.  UPDATE – we tried this and it is by far our favourite.  We’ll do this again.
  • With slices of cheese or Jen’s Modification Shredded cheese – it can be sprinkled on the soup/or crackers – and they’ll take less.
  • Crackers or torn up pieces of pita bread.

Saturday Breakfast – first cooking patrol activities (see template for patrol organization (Google Doc – I’m aware that these don’t work… I’m working on it.  ERG!) for details).

  • Eggo Pancakes or Waffles.  Cook them in the oven like cookies. OR
    Jen’s version – Pancakes from scratch (aside from being horrified by Eggos Jen points out that it is very cost effective to make real from scratch pancakes – we knew that but we never had a cook to execute it).
  • optional Whip Cream (we used a big screw top water jug and had the girls shake it), berries, Maple Syrup…
  • Breakfast sausages.
  • Seasonal Fruit

Saturday Snack

  • Quaker Granola Bars (Peanut free)  We’re usually out on the trail so this is nice and portable. OR
    Jen’s version – Homemade granola – we have a great recipe from Loblaws that is delicious.  Baked the night before so there’s time for them to cool.
  • Water from own bottle

Saturday Lunch options we’ve tried over the years. 

  • Over Fire – Spider Dogs (hot dogs cut lengthwise – but not all the way through – so when cooked they curl).  Everyone cooks their own.
  • OR Toasted sub sandwiches
    1. Making a sandwich.
    2. wrap Sandwich in tin foil.
    3. Wrap newspaper OVER tinfoil.
    4.  (I think this might be wrong..???) Wrap more tinfoil over newspaper.  Put whole thing in a 1 Litre cardboard milk container.  Light it on fire.  When it stops burning, carefully take the thing out of the fire.  Cool a bit.  And enjoy a warmed up melty sub sandwich.
    Fire Ban Option:  we were at camp this weekend and were faced with an unexpected fire ban (erg!) so our toasted sub idea needed a quick re-work.  It turns out that it takes about 8 minutes to cook a tin-foil wrapped sub in the oven at about 375 F.
  • Jen’s Option -Tortillas with hummous, veggies, meat, etc filled by the girls.  We can wrap them in tin foil and put them in the fire too.Almost always served with cut up veggies and dip.
  • Jen’s Option 2 – Grilled Cheese in tortillas (baked, I think?)


  • Roast Marshmallows after lunch.  Brown Owl’s tip: roasting marshmallows in daylight is always preferable.  And by having marshmallows early, the girls have time to digest and work out any sugar.  (we usually put a limit of 2 per girl).  We talked about doing a grand dessert, but really, the girls want to toast something over the fire, and it is part of the whole Brownie thing that they get to do it – and I want to show them how to do it safely in daylight).

Saturday afternoon snack is almost never needed… the roasted marshmallows at lunch usually are enough… but we pack a bag of Girl Guide cookies Or white Oreos (they’re peanut free) just in case.  Or seasonal fruit.

Saturday Dinner

  • Traditional Option – Spaghetti and sauce (usually meat sauce)  Jen suggests whole wheat pasta – it didn’t taste any different.
  • NEW THOUGHT!  One of the issues with our beloved Spaghetti is that it is tough to cook pasta for a big group.  Next time we’ll bake it!  Like this: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/baked-spaghetti-3/
  • Jen’s suggestion for 2013 winter camp – Chicken Stew.  Oh.  Yum.  And the girls are going to help make bread through the day for the meal.  Heaven!  (I’ll get the recipe).  Cooking - Stew Prep2
  • We’ve done frozen Lasagna a few times (high in sodium though…but we could make it!)
  • Garlic bread and Caesar Salad.  Cook patrol to make garlic bread, cut up salad, and stir sauce.  Very popular!

Saturday evening snack – Microwave or air popped popcorn.  Just keep it coming.  (Have you popped corn in a paper bag???  So Good – and Jen’s suggestion).

Sunday Breakfastcooking breakfast Sunday

  • We make muffins (sometime on Saturday) and put anything out that is left over.  Emphasis on leftover fruit, milk, juice, etc.

Going home morning snack (we usually end at 11AM).

Drinks – we get lots of milk and frozen concentrate juice.  Oh!  And Hot Chocolate.

Extras – throw in a kit of birthday candles and a bag of cookies (we used these for our Saturday afternoon snack when we couldn’t roast marshmallows and have S’Mores.)


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