Pineapple Upside Down Cake in a Dutch Oven
OK, so maybe you won't get your vanilla ice cream or fresh whipping cream with this treat this time, but a pineapple upside down cake after a late evening meal while you're sitting around the campfire will be heavenly nonetheless. It's also a great cake to make with the kids because they can stir (and lick) the bowl while you ready the fire pit. All you need is yellow cake mix, a couple of cans of pineapples, water, eggs, butter or oil, a fire, a Dutch oven, a bowl, a whisk, some tin foil and a spatula. It's not really a backpacking treat, but car or llama campers shouldn't leave home without the ingredients for this treat. If it's the right season and terrain, send the kids out to find wild raspberries, blueberries or blackberries to top this cake. Just make sure to eat every last bite because all that sweetness is likely to attract wild animals!
Homemade Trail Mix
I don't know about you, but finding a good trail mix is difficult. Instead of resorting to tiny packages of too salty, stale, store-bought trail mix, make your own. Take the kids, friends, or whoever you are camping with to the bulk isle of your local health food store and ask them to pick their favorite four or five items. Make separate bags for each camper and there won't be any "mining" of the good stuff. In these personalized trail mix bags, everything is good.
One delicious mix you might want to try includes chocolate-covered ginger for that bit of spice and sweetness, cashews for the protein and fat, unsalted pumpkin seeds for the crunch, and raisins for the bulk. A low-cost alternative mix includes lightly salted peanuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips. A good trail mix can be a great snack all day, an appetizer, or even, depending on how much chocolate you put in it, dessert. Don't leave home without it!
Curried Couscous with Veggies
This meal is perfect for the backpacker or car camper who hikes long days and wants a quick, delicious meal right when they get back to camp. Couscous cooks quickly and easily, and meals can be almost totally prepared beforehand (or you can buy one of the many packaged, flavored options). Backpackers might like to try a mix one cup of couscous and a heaping teaspoon of curry powder, with one cup dehydrated veggies in a separate small baggie. Some nuts or seeds added to this meal will offer added protein, and a small bottle of oil will make it easier to cook. Be sure to rehydrate the veggies for a bit first because they may take longer to cook than the couscous. A car camper can substitute fresh veggies for the dehydrated ones, and some tofu or chicken will really add a lot to this meal.