Sourdough is easy to make, it just requires some preparation time and a sourdough starter (which you can find out how to make here). I have mentioned sourdough before in my post A Pretzel Attempt.
Our friends (whose blog can be found here) who got us started with sourdough, gave us a recipe that works well. I have changed a few things around, so here is how I do it:
I start by putting 4 cups water, 2 cups sourdough starter, and 8 cups whole wheat flour in a large bowl, which I then place at room temperature (or by the fireplace) for about 4 hours. This part of the process is called the “sponge.”
After that, in an even larger bowl, I mixed the sponge, 5 cups water, about 16 cups flour – I like to play around with different combinations of white and whole wheat flour; the more whole wheat, the healthier, the more white, the fluffier – and a couple tbsp of salt. Once this is kneaded together, I mix in either some molasses, cinnamon and raisins, or whatever I want to have the bread taste like.
I divide it into loaves, put them in buttered bread dishes, and let them rise overnight. The dough also works well for buns. In the morning I baked the loaves at 400° f for about 45 minutes. Sometimes it will take longer or shorter depending on the size of the loaves.
The instructions I above will yield six regular sized loaves, so be prepared for large quantities.
I made my own birthday cake this year. I doubled this brownie recipe, and added some shredded coconut to spice it up a little. I baked it in two square pans. I then doubled this recipe for healthy chocolate avocado icing. Both of these recipes are sugar free and gluten free.
I made a cake platform out of cardboard and aluminum foil, and once the brownies finished baking I put the first one down as the first layer. I then spread some of the icing on it, and lay the second brownie on top as the top layer. I used the rest of the icing to cover up the sides and top of the cake. The result was this nice simple chocolate cake.
While some friends were visiting from Thunder Bay, they gave us some of their sourdough starter and showed us how to use it. Sourdough starter is a bacterial culture (like a ginger bug) and is used to make healthy fermented bread products. You can look up all sorts of recipes on what to do with it, and you can also look up how to start one. Our starter is made from Rye flour, and I feed it a cup of Rye, and a cup of water every week to keep it going. There are other types of starters too.
Originally my sister was in charge of feeding the starter, but she moved on to some other things and passed it on to me. My first idea was to make pretzels. I found a recipe online, and prepared the dough. After following the instructions right up until I had to shape them into pretzels, I started to find that the dough was very sticky (apparently the rye starter is what made it sticky) and when I would try to make it into a shape, it just sort of morphed back into one big blob.
I was getting slightly annoyed because it wasn’t working very well, but my Mom encouraged me to try something else with the dough instead of the classic pretzel shape. So, I just cut of little lumps of dough and made bite sized pretzel nuggets, which actually turned out really well. They didn’t look very appetizing, but they tasted great. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of them to post here.
This is the pot I boiled the pretzels in.
I made about half the dough into those, and with the other half made a couple of loaves of bread (I added a bit of maple syrup and cinnamon to make it a cinnamon loaf) which were fluffy and tasty.
It’s fun to try new stuff, even though it doesn’t always work out. When something goes wrong, it can be easier just to give up, but when we try to improvise and make something good out of a bad situation, we can often end up with something really good, even if it wasn’t what we were expecting.
I went to visit some friends who live in an area where a lot of Mennonite families live. While there, some of us went for a bike/unicycle ride. We stopped at the neighbours, who have a meat and animal processing shop, where hunters can bring deer or other animals to be made into summer sausage, hamburger, or – best of all – pepperettes!
When we walked in the door we saw a moose!
Later we came back to watch them skin it. They threw the legs (from the knee down) on the floor, and when I asked what they did with them, they said they throw them out because there’s not really much meat to salvage off them. I asked if I could have them and they said sure. One of my friends (whose name is Elijah) took two legs, and I took the other two. My other friend (whose name is Scout) asked if he could have the whole hide (which they where also going to get rid of because it was not in great condition) but his mom only let him have a couple pieces.
Back at my friends’ house I skinned the two legs and put the skins in a plastic bag to take home. When I went home I looked up how to tan hides and found this video which was very helpful. I then worked on tanning them. Once I finished I called my friends to ask how their moose hides had gone. Elijah, who had gotten the other two legs had only ended up skinning one of them but the one he had skinned worked out fine. My friend Scout (who had gotten a large piece of the hide) left his Moose hide out in the sun, and sadly a sudden ice storm swept through and ruined it.
Fortunately the tanning of my Moose skins went well, and I look forward to trying to make something out of them.
One of B.P.’s (Baden-Powell) laws for Scouts is to have them do at least one “good-turn” for someone each day. Here B-P explains in his book Scouting for Boys:
“So, with the Scouts, it has been made one of our laws that we do a good turn to somebody every day. It does not matter how small that good turn may be, if it were only to help an old woman lift her bundle, or to guide a child across a crowded street, or to put a halfpenny in the poor box. Something good ought to be done each day of your life, and you should start today to carry out this rule, and never forget it during the remaining days of your life. Remember the knot in your necktie and on your Scout’s badge – they are reminders to you to do a good turn. And do your good turn not only to your friends, but also to strangers and even to your enemies.”
And that’s not just for Scouts either. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone got into the habit of doing at least one kind thing each day? Scouts are supposed to be helpful to others as much as possible. Here is another paragraph from Scouting for Boys:
“…And he is to do his duty before anything else, even though he gives up his own pleasure, or comfort, or safety to do it. When in difficulty to know which of two things to do, he must ask himself, ‘What is my duty’ that is, ‘Which is best for other people?’ – and do that one. He must Be Prepared at any time to save life, and to help injured persons. And he must do a good turn to somebody every day.”
Try to start thinking of ways you can help serve the people in your life!
When you go camping, it is good to have good healthy food to eat along the way. For breakfast it is often nice to have a piece of fruit first thing, and then have something else later. Good foods for breakfast while camping include eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, as well as others.
As a Scout many years ago, my grandfather learned a lesson about eggs. on a camping trip he had brought half a dozen eggs but they were at risk of getting cracked inside his pack. One of the other Scouts had brought his eggs already cracked and inside a bottle or jar. That’s a great way to bring eggs on a trip if you are not worried about the eggs all getting mixed around with each other.
For oatmeal, boil 1 cup of water (and/or milk) for everyone who will be eating. Add ½ cup quick cooking or old fashioned oats per person once the water is boiling. Stir until it’s nice and thick and not watery. You can shake in ¼ tsp salt and a spoonful of cinnamon if you want. You can also stir in raisins, diced apples, or whatever. Just add whatever you want and have available.
For pancakes it’s nice to use a mix that only requires adding water, but if you have all the ingredients with you, it can be healthier to make your own from scratch. You can add blueberries or mashed banana if you have them. Pancakes are best if cooked for a longer amount of time on very low heat. If they are on high heat, the outside will burn easily and the inside does not cook. Cast iron pans are best over open flame, but you have to put oil or butter on before cooking.
There are many different options for camp breakfasts, and it all depends on what you have got with you. Remember, even if you are just camping out in your backyard (see my former post “Scouting from the Cottage”), it can still be fun to make breakfast on an open fire in the morning.