Monday, August 22, 2011

Tin Foil Dinners vs. Hobo Bundles

Here we go with my favorite no fuss recipe which really isn't a recipe at all - more a collection of whatever you've got in your fridge thrown together in a tin foil pouch and cooked in the coals until its steamy and delicious!

On our most recent excursion, an investigation of the fridge revealed:
1. Chicken
2. Potatoes
3. Onion
4. Carrots
5. Cream O' Chicken Soup

Wrap it all up in evenly portioned tin foil pouches (double foil just so you don't lose the goods during rotation), then add your favorite seasoning. Heat the coals to a nice grey and place the pouches on top! Rotate them every 7 to 10 minutes and soon you'll be biting into a delicious hobo dinner that is the epitome of camping fare.

Note to Self:  Bring along some leather gloves and tongs so you aren't fishing these little gifts out of the coals with your bare hands.
Now I've been told you should pre-cook the meat so all you're really doing is re-heating.  However, I have a strong aversion to re-heated chicken.  Soooo.... I just ignore that rule and put everything in raw.  It takes a bit longer to cook, but the result is divine. Moist and delicious chicken, tender and perfect veggies - ooh I'm getting hungry. 
Now I know this is not a revelation in cooking.  Many folks do tin foil dinners many ways.  My friend Andrea made a custom dinner for each member of her family using hashbrowns, hamburger, cheese, corn or even sliced hot dogs - whatever each person likes!  I've also made them with summer squash, tomatoes, cheese, rice and veggies. The hooligans cooked their freshly caught rainbow trout in a foil packet with butter, salt and pepper, and I thought I died and went to heaven! Really anything you can imagine can be cooked in a tin foil pouch.   

I was delighted to see that Sunset Magazine had an article this month on "modern" hobo dinners!  They call them Hobo Bundles...not the kind that are wrapped in a red bandana and tied to the end of a stick. Very Chic, vegetarian friendly, Hobo Bundles.  Check them out here Sunset Magazine Hobo Bundles.  
So here's my question to you - What do you include in your favorite Tin Foil Dinner / Hobo Bundle?  Leave a comment with your recipe. I'll try them out and award a prize for the best one. You don't have to be a hobo to cook like get cooking!

Boss Lady Campout 2011

We finally escaped!  Last Wednesday we loaded up the hooligans, Mr."F" and the Boss Lady and joined a caravan of our best friends to enjoy a few days of freedom in the great outdoors.  
We traveled just 10 miles away from the every day into the extraordinary. It was our first campout this summer, and sadly, the weekend before school started- so we made the most of it! 

The boys spent most of their time fishing. Our friend McKinley taught the eldest hooligan how to clean the fish and prepare it for dinner - delicious! At last count, I think the total catch from all the children was nine and somewhat like the loaves and the fishes, it miraculously fed 26 people.  It's a camping miracle!   
We spent the rest of the time taking walks through the campground, wading in the river, taking a few naps, and "eating delicious hot shmoes!" Grandma and Papa Mick even came for a tin foil dinner. 

Oh if we could only make it last all summer.  I love spending time in the mountains with the hooligans and our friends.  These are an awesome bunch of camping buddies, inspired chefs and fine entertainment! 10 Adults, 16 Kids, 2 Dogs and hundreds of memories. Camping at it's finest.
L-R:  Mr. Vintage, The Calls, The Freemans, The Labrams
And the best part of all?  When we got home, Mr. Vintage parked the trailer (with no help from me) on the first try! Now that's a camping miracle - way to go Mr. Vintage - You ROCK!

Until next year...keep camping, my friends.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Meet Mr. Fredrickson

We've got a new baby at our house! Our sweet 6-week old Jack Russell, Mr. Fredrickson.

Isn't he the sweetest little thing you've ever seen? The eldest hooligan and I went out to buy school shoes and came home with a new baby! He has a wrinkly little face and lots of extra skin. His namesake is the grumpy and sweet man on the movie "Up." See the resemblance?

Ollie is thrilled. He is so happy to have a friend he can sniff and sit on. Mr. Fredrickson likes to bark and pounce on Ollie's head. It's true friendship right from the start!

See them laughing? It was an internal joke.

Welcome to the family, Mr. Fredrickson!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pulling Forward? Yes! Backing up? Not so much...

A few days before my birthday, I told Mr. Vintage "For my birthday, I would like to learn how to pull the trailer by myself."  Mr. Vintage replied " Ooh...I don't know if we can afford that." Ha Ha.  Isn't he clever? 
You see, pulling the trailer has always been scary for me because...well, for a number of reasons which include, but are not limited to the many quirks associated with our elderly truck, the boss lady's girth, the scary construction on every single Utah highway, side street and on/off ramp and the ill-conceived notion that trailer pulling is best left up to the male species.
I finally came to the realization that Mr. Vintage doesn't like lengthy road trips and as such, if I don't take matters into my own hands and "cowgirl up," my dreams of taking my boys to every national park in the US will never come true.  I decided to gird up my loins and fresh courage take... lots of girls pull trailers, I can too!
The Boss Lady in the Country
So last weekend we headed down to retrieve the Boss Lady from her summer vacation spot in the country. Due to the current state of the highways referenced above, we took the old road through the towns of Santaquin, Goshen and around Utah Lake.  Mr. Vintage pulled over in front of the cutest vintage Sinclair station you've ever seen on a remote corner in the little outpost of Elberta, Utah.  Look how cute she looks in front of it!  I love vintage things together.
Elberta, Utah
Oh and check out Mr. Vintage's new wheels! Not vintage, but much more reliable and comfortable to ride in.  The first day we were out for a joy ride, the eldest Hooligan commented on how nice it is to be able to run the air conditioner without it spewing dirt in your face. Isn't he clever?  and also correct...
After we stopped for the photo op at the Sinclair, I took the driver's seat.  I was quite nervous, but soon found that pulling is not very hard at all!  Thanks to our 400 lb. sway bar, The Boss Lady pulls quite smoothly and doesn't wiggle a bit!  I felt so accomplished as we drove over the rolling hills of the lake road and all the way home through our little town of Lehi.  I slowed down around corners, stopped well in advance and even went through the european round about!   All while holding on to the steering wheel while still permitting blood to flow through my fingers. 
When we got home, we decided to go to the church parking lot to practice backing up.  Hmmm... that got a little intense and I got a little nervous and ...well,  Mr. Vintage took back over the driver's seat.  Party Over.

Before moving on, let us take a moment to reflect on the beauty of the Boss Lady in the Country.
Ah...Breathing Deeply
Let the insanity begin!  You see, backing the Boss Lady into her slot at the side of the house involves "the right angle", some super good backing skills, some excellent direction from one who can "see both sides" and an obstacle course around the flower bed, utility boxes, the side of the house, the fence and our best tree.   Needless to say, it's turned out pretty ugly on more than one occasion that we are careful not to speak of. 
This was to be the crowning jewel of bad backing nights.  First, the angle was way off..several times.  My direction was way off...several times.  The fence and the house were way too close together... well,  you get the picture.   After several attempts, some yelling, some naughty words (by Mr. Vintage) and lots of tears (by Vintage Trailer Lady),  we accomplished getting the Qwest phone box, our best tree, the flower bed, the new truck and the Boss Lady mixed up into one big nasty bowl of stew.   "We're in a pickle, Dick."
A couple of hours later...after some more tears, threats of "For Sale" signs and taking up separate corners, Mr. Vintage disconnected the truck from the trailer, hooked it back up at a different angle, and pulled the Boss Lady away from said phone box, tree and flower bed.  Now we were all exhausted and in need of therapy,  the Boss Lady was moved to the OTHER side of the house, along the road, where she's now been for a week.  (Be warned- she is quite good camouflage for Boss Hogg and Roscoe Pico Trane to conduct stake outs.) 
And as we prepared to gather up the broken remains of our vintage trailer experience and buy the aforementioned sign,  we discovered that in all the commotion, we failed to notice that the Boss Lady has lost a very important appendage - perhaps even more important than the ability to be backed into her storage slot - she no longer has a door knob!  
This is the night the lights went out in Georgia.  This is "he who must not be named."  This is "keep rowing... I hear banjos!"