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Thursday, August 29, 2013

[Breakfast Burrito & Omelet in a bag] All-in-One Camping Breakfast Menu

What is your favorite or most important meal of the day? Mine is breakfast. I can have an apple for lunch and skip dinner, sometimes. But, I can never ever ever miss the breakfast. Without breakfast, I cannot survive a day. I bake bread, cake, pie or muffins at night, not to eat those right away, but to eat for breakfast. Sometimes, it's not a really convenient habit, but many people told me it was better to eat substantial food in the morning than to indulge food at the dinner. So, I decided , long time ago, to like my habit. And my habit didn't change while camping. A long time habit doesn't go away that easily. :) 

So, we had a tasty breakfast each morning while camping, of which I'm going to share the recipes, if you can call it recipes. They are so basic and easy.

If you want to see my camping post, click the links below:

We all like to have a different breakfast, lunch and supper when camping, don't we? Or maybe it's my family specific thing. To be honest, I can eat anything for breakfast. Give me a steak at breakfast. No problem. I will finish it. I can eat a big sub sandwich for breakfast, too. :) When camping, we had a breakfast burrito for the first morning and a bagged-in  boiled omelet for the second morning. You can be creative and put whatever ingredients you like. They will harmonize as one item. :)

Here goes the recipes. References were for "method," not for the recipes.
<1> Breakfast burrito!

1 egg / person
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 onion
1 potato large
4-8 breakfast sausages
1/2 cup sour cream
8 tortilla
Salt & pepper
Cajun seasoning (optional)
Cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
Vegetable oil, for pan


1. Dice bell peppers, potato and onion.

2. Cook onion until onion becomes transparent. Cook belle peppers and potato. Season with salt and pepper, and (optionally) Cajun seasoning and transfer to a dish.
3. Cook sausage and dice.
4. Whisk eggs and scramble eggs on a medium heat.

5. On each tortilla, layer with bell pepper, onion, sausage and scrambled eggs at one end.

6. Top with 1-2 tablespoons of sour cream.

7. Fold the wings and roll it up burrito style!

It's a very simple recipe. 

You can put each ingredients as much as you want or as little as you want, it still tastes great!

<2>Boiled omelet is even simpler than breakfast burrito.
One of the reasons why we made boiled omelet one day and breakfast burrito the next day was that they have almost the same ingredients.

Here goes the recipe:
(Adapted from Boil-in-bag omelet)

2eggs / person
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 onion
4-8 breakfast sausages
Salt & pepper
Cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
Vegetable oil, for pan

** You can prepare all the ingredients, except for eggs, ahead. So, feel free to double the amount of the ingredients when you make breakfast burrito, and save half for bagged omelet!

1. Boil a large stock pot of water.

2. Divide cheese, pre-cooked meat & veggies to the zip lock bag. 
3. Add 2 eggs in each Zip Lock heavy duty (freezer type) bag and season with salt and pepper.

4. Seal (zip) the top (removing as much air as possible) and mix everything by squishing the bag.

5. Place sealed bags (zipper side up) into the boiling water, and keep an eye on them. 
6. They usually cook in about 10 minutes to be done, but it depends on how many you are cooking and the size of the pot, it may take a little longer or shorter. 

As we put 4 bags all together it took us almost 15 minutes to cook.

7. Open the bag and let the cooked omelet roll out on a plate. It has a funny shape. But, it tastes great!


Breakfast Burrito & Boiled Omelet

Monday, August 26, 2013

[2013 US Open] Draw Analysis and Picks

This year's US Open draw is at large. At least one quarter has more than its quota of favorites, i.e. No.2 Nadal and No.7 Federer. And, at least one quarter, i.e. No.4 David Ferrer's quarter, is a totally open field.
Actually, seeing Nadal and Federer in the same quarter makes me sick ;( This is too much for me to stand. I don't want to see either Federer or Nadal losing before quarter-final. But, look what happened. These two great players are drawn to the same quarter and destined to meet too early, if they both win first 4 matches each, before facing each other in the 5th match of the tournament.

The goddess of the draw were not so nice to Djokovic or Murray either. Djokovic could have had Ferrer in his half, instead of Murray who defeated him in the last year's final. Murray's bigger concern at this point would be Tomas Berdych, the second highest seed in his quarter. Berdych beat Murray just last week in straight sets.

So, let's say that each of the four favorite players has their share of burden starting the last Slam of the year.
Each quarter of the draw looks like this:

If you want to see the full draw, you can see & download the draw here.

1. Novak Djokovic's quarter

Djoker will not face any real threat until he will (probably) play No.6 seed Juan Martin Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion. Delpo's memory of the bitter loss of 7-5 4-6 7-6 6-7 6-3 to Djokovic should still be fresh. Delpo will play aggressive and Djoker would better be ready for Delpo's revenge. Still World No. 1 will prevail at the end, as he usually does at bigger challenges.

2. Andy Murray's quarter
There aren't many contenders, especially in this best-of-5-sets match environment, in the defending champion's quarter, until he would eventually meet No. 5 seed Tomas Berdych. But, one funny thing about Berdych is that he either plays great or falls at a very early stage in Grand slam events. If Berdych survives the early tests from the players like No. 31 seed Julien Benneteau or No. 9 seed Stanislas Wawrinka, he has a great potential to defeat Murray once again and reaches the semi-final at the Flushing Meadows.

3. David Ferrer's quarter
As I wrote in the beginning, this is an open field and land of opportunity. As everybody knows, Ferrer's choice of surface is not a hard court. He will still be a fighter and decent contender, but there exists so many threats in his quarter. Ferrer needs to overcome the third-round clash with No.30 seed Ernest Gulbis who can beat just about anybody on a good serve day. If No. 4 seeds survives the third round, he will probably face No. 14 seed Jerzy Janowicz, semi-finalist at this year's Wimbledon. Ferrer's challenge doesn't stop at 4th round, since it's likely to meet another young gun, Milos Raonic of Canada.

4. Rafael Nadal's (and Roger Federer's) quarter
I had never imagined that I would see Federer seeded No. 7 since I became his loyal fan in 2003. But, nothing seems impossible now. :( 
There is no doubt that Rafa is a heavy favorite after two consecutive triumphs in the past two hard court masters event. But, a Grand Slam is a totally different event and he has his own quota of worries. He will meet red-hot Canadian youngster Vasek Pospisil who stormed into Top 40 very recently, before facing John Isner who surely will be crowd favorite. Then Rafa would meet his long-time rival Roger Federer. 
Having had a somewhat wretched summer, I really hope Federer is well rested and ready to regain his power at the Grand Slams. I have wanted to see him powered by once-upon-a-time mojo and win 7 matches in a row in these coming fortnight. Before he has any chance to play against Nadal for the 32nd time in their career, he has to defeat players like Sam Querrey, or Kei Nishikori who beat Federer in Madrid Masters this year.

Here goes Colleen's picks for the 2013 US Open Men's Singles

Djokovic over Del Potro in 5
Berdych over Murray in 4
Gulbis over Raonic in 5
Federer over Isner in 4

Djokovic over Berdych in 5
Federer over Gulbis in 3

Djokovic over Federer in 4

2013 US Open

Friday, August 23, 2013

[10 things to eat when camping] Basic Camping Staples while Camping

When you make camping meal plan, you want to, or rather should accomplish two missions:
i. something easy, portable, and essential while camping
ii. something delicious especially in the wilderness
No. 2 is not so difficult since almost everything, if not absolutely everything, is suddenly so tasty in the nature. No. 1 can be tricky, since there are so many camping foods you can choose from. Camping food is not always prepared quick as you are not using all the modern conveniences. It's time to demonstrate your patience and some creativity. :) Normally, we try not to deviate from what everybody eats. But my kids are, not yet, not used to eat the same food for two meals in a row. I guess this habit would/should change once they have to prepare their own meals? :) Here are the 10 really best things we love to eat while camping: actually not in particular order!

1. (Of course) Hamburger~

When hamburger patties and buns are grilled on the griddle over the charcoal, hamburger patties are so juicy and even ready made patties transforms into gourmet hamburgers~ :)

If you bring basic condiments like ketchup, mustard and pickles, you are good to enjoy :) 

(@ Lac Simon in July 2011)
It would be even better if you have sliced tomatoes, lettuce and onion slices.

2. Crumpets/ English muffins/ bread

Crumpets  (or English muffins or bread) need to be well toasted, and then buttered. 
Toasted bread is special, not because of the taste, but more because of the camping toasting stand :)

3. Eggs

As I said above, eggs can be prepared according to your taste. Anyway egg cannot go wrong. Any type of eggs is good. One of my favorites is sunny side up because I really like runny egg yolk! 

When egg is the main ingredient, bagged omelet is also a great, but slow, option. 
It's delicious! Diced bell pepper is a must-ingredient for morning omelet!

4. Foiled meat & veggies

You dice everything and season before you divide into portions on a heavy-duty foil sheet. You seal the foil and cook on the griddle over the charcoal! 

This foiled meat & vegetables are tasty in your backyard, but especially delicious in the woods!

5. Skewers!

Same ingredients, but different cooking method! If the foiled meat & veggies are mainly steaming method, skewer cooking is a real grilling method :) It's very easy to prepare ahead or on site. I actually like both, but my kids prefer skewers~  They always call it "shish kebab" no matter how the skewers are seasoned.

6. Breakfast burrito

OMG, this is amazingly good. We tried it for the first time, and it was SCRUMPTIOUS!
 I was so impressed by its orchestrated taste, I twisted the ingredients and made lunch burritos for Mr. D and myself. 

It's "cook-and-assemble" method, but can be prepared the day before or can be made with leftover. Yummy!!

7. S'mores ~ of course, and roasted marshmallow

A good camping cannot be completed without lots of s'mores~, can it be?

I become pretty flexible for dessert while camping, because it's not something I do everyday. Kids don't have a second serving of dessert at home. 

This is once-a-year thing. They can have second s'mores, and even some roasted marshmallows.

8. Hot dog
This is a real staple for camping. 

So easy, and practical since you can use same condiments from #1 hamburger menu. 

Here, relish and olives are alpha plus. 

It is usually our last meal at camping site, because it's so convenient to eat! You don't even need a plate.

9. Corn on the cob

This is a great snack when camping where you often have either campfire or charcoal read to be used for cooking. I don't know why :(, but I forgot to take photos of foiled, then grilled corn on the cob. It's always fun to eat corn on the cob.

10. Wine & beer
Well, these are the last, but not the least :)

You'd better be sober, so a can of beer or a couple of glasses of wine are enough.

When I have a nice glass of wine while chatting by the campfire in the night, I appreciate the silent peace the wilderness offers. Well of course, I would appreciate the beauty of the nature, even without a glass of wine. :) But, a glass of good wine seems a great companion for such an occasion when you are part of the nature.

There are lots of great camping food, but the above ten foods are real essentials you shouldn't miss while camping!


Camping Staples

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

[10 Things to do when Camping] You don't have time to be bored while camping: (HÉKIPIA TENT at Sépaq)

We went camping to Papineau Labelle, Quebec, last weekend. Everything was perfect. Weather was really sunny and nice, even though it's fairly cold in the evening. As we don't have a tent or trailer :), we rent a HÉKIPIA TENT at a wildlife reserve of a Sépaq (Société des établissements de plein air du Québec ("Society of outdoor recreation establishments of Quebec", also known as Sépaq) is the agency of the Government of Quebec that manages parks and wildlife reserves)). 

At the Sépaq we went this time, we could have quasi perfect privacy in the middle of the woods. Even though there wasn't almost any civilization apart from the stove and fridge powered by propane gas - no phone, internet, electricity or flush toilet - it was a peaceful and nature friendly weekend. We didn't do any spectacular activities, but had plenty of things to do and and so much fun. Let me name 10 things I love to do while camping.

1. Make and Eat classic camping food such as bagged omelet, hot dog, and stove toasted bread.

We must have gone camping to eat! We ate well and a lot. 

Since Mr. D has been excited about cooking while camping, I didn't even bother to cook anything. 

He did everything from A to Z. I should say he is quite gifted in making camping food :)

 2. Drink a glass of a bottle of good red wine. You don't want to ruin your camping with some crappy wine. I don't know why, but to me, camping wine should be red! unless you have fish caught. We had a bottle of Gigondas.

3. Read book under the morning sunshine or flash light in the evening. You can read a book whenever you want, but believe me, you can't be more concentrated in reading in the woods than anywhere else.

4. Make a robust bonfire. 

Bonfire will not only maintain your body temperature, but also roast marshmallows for s'mores.

5. So naturally, the next one to do is to make s'mores with your roasted marshmallows.

It's so good that you would end up wanting some more, or s'mores! :)

6. Play badminton.

Badminton equipment is so light and easy to carry that you can bring anywhere including to camping. Remi and Mr. D pair's rally record was 76 while there were less than 50 rallies. Between Pablo and me, we hit the birdies about 20 times. So it's not too too bad either :) It's around 20 rallies between Remi and Pablo, too.

7. Rent a pedalo or canoe if you need more exercises. 
I can guarantee that you will spend your daily quota of energy in 30 minutes.
If you still have some energy to spare after pedaling a boat, you can fly a frisbee, of which I didn't take a photo, because I was flying frisbee fiercely.

8. Make a sand cake or a sand castle upon your taste. 

Kids love making this kind of sand cake thing and feed(?) it to the lake, Lac Echo, at the end. It is something my kids always do when camping.

9. Play chess in the woods. 

As Remi's game strategy has been enriched throughout summer camps and day camps, it's almost impossible for me to win over him. 
But, it's still fun to lose, in spite of your utmost efforts, against your 9-year-old son who makes so much better moves than you!

10. Have breakfast in your pjs (or pyjamas) before playing still in your pjs.

Kids refused to change clothes until they absolutely needed, to go to the lake.

And there is one more thing to do in the nature!
 11. Catch some fish if you can. Mr. D and Remi caught a tiny fish with only a sealable bag. I have no idea how they caught a fish with a plastic bag, but they managed it somehow. 

Oh, Remi returned the fish to the lake before we left. It's only because his mom refuses to have any pet~

Of course there are at least 88 other things to do while camping, but I'd stop at #11 today :) I'll post some great camping food very soon. :)

10 Things to Do when Camping