by Holly on July 28, 2013

in breakfast,dessert,happiness,rambling,recipes,summer,vegetarian,Wisconsin

I feel a deep and constant pull between the city and the country. Except if I am being honest, I know the truth of those realities. There is likely no way I could withstand living on a farm far from the urban shuffle despite the earthly promise of a large vegetable garden and sedative quiet.

And so perhaps, the best solution for me is camping.


It never ceases to plop me right to the earth and ground my attention to the forces of creation. Those that have sprung the lush, green trees high into the air and carved out the deep lakes which wash the sand ashore. The noises are few – mostly chirping birds, rustling winds and the incessant noisy cicadas – but the gratefulness is deep. The more I am outside in it, the more thankful I am to be alive. To be living and enjoying and witnessing and saying, yep, this is my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you for it.

That’s the best reason I can give to all those non-campers out there for why I do it.

When I am outdoors (with the manfriend in tow, who I must credit for bringing camping back into my life), I don’t feel anxious despite the worsening anxiety and panic attacks I’ve experienced lately. I feel relaxed, fully relaxed with my smoke-infused hair, dirty fingernails and the same clothes I’ve worn for three days straight.


That’s not to say I don’t have my camping standards. A stocked cooler, padded sleeping mats, access to clean water and an escape plan (umm…bears) are all part of the deal for me. And good food. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re in the city or country, good food is a non-negotiable.

While the manfriend demands his tofu hot dogs + toppings for our camping ventures (he is a vegetarian, after all), I worked to cook us up a greater array of campfire options on our trip last week to Rock Island State Park. Most of them I learned in the two summers I spent as a daycamp counselor, which remains to this day, one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.


First, breakfast burritos.


Armed with a pan I nearly donated to the Goodwill until the manfriend + I christened it “our camping pan,” I whipped up these Campfire Breakfast Burritos and by the last day of vacation, had them perfected. They’re rather simple to make but feel super fancy when you’re eating them nestled in the middle of nowhere along with a cup of homemade iced coffee.


And for dessert, banana boats.


Bananas stuffed with dark chocolate chips, peanut butter and walnuts are a great dessert (or breakfast…or lunch…or whatever) and super easy to make. Just stuff a banana with whatever you want, roast it over the fire and eat up the delicious gooey resulting mess.

The whole process of campfire cooking is slow, but that’s exactly the point.

Light your fire. Give it fuel. Prep your food. Drink your iced coffee. Look around you. Assemble your burritos. Pause. Look up. Pause. Pick up your trash. Get dirty. Devour your banana boats. Sit down. Say thank you. And take a breath.

Take a long, fucking I’m-grateful-to-be-alive-today breath.

And enjoy yourself a bit of camping.


prep + cook time: 15 minutes

flour tortillas
black beans
cheddar cheese
other add-ins: chili, precooked bacon, sour cream, avocado

Cook eggs (I suggest 1-2 eggs per burrito) in a pan, whisking occasionally with a fork, directly over campfire until cooked through. Over the heat of a big fire, this should take mere minutes.

To assemble the burritos, place one tortilla on a piece of aluminum foil larger than the tortilla. Top with scrambled eggs, beans, cheese and salsa. Fold the burrito like a pro, and wrap firmly in the foil. Place on a grate over the campfire (or in the burning embers), turning halfway through. Cook until cheese is melted. Over a direct flame, this should take only a minute or so per side while the embers may take up to five minutes per side.

It’s probably smart to bring tongs to take the burrito off the fire when its ready, although you can use two sticks to accomplish that task. And yes, I am speaking from experience here.


prep + cook time: 10 minutes

tin foil
fillings: chocolate chips, peanut butter, almond butter, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, dried fruit, cinnamon (essentially, anything you like)

Cut a small slit in the back of the banana stem, and peel it so just a small 1-inch section of the banana is showing (see picture above). Cut the banana down the middle, and stuff with your choice of toppings*. Wrap in tin foil, and place on a grate directly over the campfire or in the burning embers, turning halfway through. Cook until the chocolate is melted or banana is soft, almost gooey, to the touch. Depending on the strength of the fire, this can take anywhere from two to 10 minutes.

*I like to stuff my banana with meltables first (i.e. chocolate, peanut butter) then add the dry toppings after its done cooking (i.e. walnuts, coconut flakes)


Jessica July 28, 2013 at 11:07 pm

YES banana boats! The best camping food ever!!

Karis July 28, 2013 at 11:08 pm

I love camping in Wisconsin but am terrified of camping in my soon-to-be-new home of Florida. I’m used to bears and raccoons but not snakes and alligators. Love the look of your breakfast burritos and would love to try them if I ever muster up the courage to go camping again.

Danielle July 29, 2013 at 3:35 am

Ah, this makes me want to go camping! For the food alone. And then for the great outdoors and all that jazz ;) sounds like a great time.

Alison July 29, 2013 at 5:45 am

How how HOW have I never heard of banana boats before?! Can’t wait to try this on our next outdoor adventure! (My jaw is still hanging open. Too bad I don’t have a banana boat to stuff in there…)

sofia July 29, 2013 at 7:27 am

what fun! your description makes me want to go camping again… even though i’m “camped out” as i call it from years of camping… i want this burrito and that feeling. lovely!

Uncle Tommie Timbertoes July 29, 2013 at 7:52 am

Gayle wants to know more about Manfred (her name for your man-friend).

I, on the other hand, tell her to mind her own business and focus on top notch journalism.

MammaE July 29, 2013 at 8:00 am

Great writing, great pics, great food & “grate”ful life:)

Livi July 29, 2013 at 10:08 am

yum! those bananas are so good! also pudding in orange peels- to cook or not! easy, portable, delicious!

Kaya July 29, 2013 at 10:13 am

Go to a thrift store and get an old fashioned frying pan (cast iron) and throw that poisonous non-stick pan away! It is bad for your health. Loved the gooey banana idea.

Jennie July 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Ah, those banana boats look incredible! Being an avid camping hater, I wonder if a microwave version would work…

Laura Rieckmann July 29, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Wow that’s crazy, cause I went camping this weekend too – despite the freezing temps! I totally understand the gratefulness you feel when you are in the great outdoors. The food you made looks awesome…our food was a little less gourmet…ever hear of pudgy pies? :P I was all over the pudgy pie this weekend – and beer can margaritas! Sounds like you had a great time :)

Aly @ Return to Your Root July 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I feel like we are on the exact same wavelength here when it comes to being divided over country v. city living. I’ve loved being in Chicago thus far but I will admit if I don’t visit Wisconsin every couple months I start to get antsy and anxious for space and trees. I can see myself living in Madison, the perfect median between the two extremes, in the near future (if only the bf would agree!)…
Also, this camping thing? Amazing! I never really had a “true” camping experience as a kid (or adult) because my mom’s version of camping was staying at a Best Western :P But I know I would love it :) Especially if I could have banana boats all day long :) Throw in some mini-marshmallows and I’m game!

Gretchen July 29, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Your beautifully written first few paragraphs mirror my own feelings on both city vs. country and camping!

Also! I love that you made banana boats. I worked at resident camps for years, and that was one of the favorite cookout desserts among staff and campers. Have you tried dump cake? It involves dumping (hence “dump cake”) two cans of pie filling (my favorite is apple) into the bottom of a disposable aluminum pan, dumping some cake mix (usually yellow, unless you have cherries or something) on top, and finishing it off with some pats of butter. Cover it with foil and stick it on the coals until it’s nice and bubbly…amazing.

Claire @ Health Nut Claire July 30, 2013 at 9:07 am

Those burritos look damn delicious!

Megan (Braise The Roof) July 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Man, this post makes me want to be outdoorsy. :) You are so good at life, Holly.

Amanda July 31, 2013 at 11:55 am

Yummm. I need to make those bananas right now…

Hillary July 31, 2013 at 4:41 pm

I hardly have any desire to go camping. Then I read this, and I start to change my mind. Especially if camping = this kind of food in abundance!

Teri [a foodie stays fit] August 3, 2013 at 8:39 am

well this is just perfect timing because I’m going camping in 4 days! But can you just come and cook for me? k, thanks. <3

Colleenbean August 6, 2013 at 9:14 am

This post makes me happy. :)

Susan August 8, 2013 at 6:44 am

Totally bookmarking this. I miss camping!

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