When was the last time you went to a local park, campground or National park for the day or over the weekend? Camping, hiking and spending time outdoors is a great way to get some quality family time without breaking the budget. It can also be a healthy way to get active and get some exercise as a family. This is the perfect time of the year to share in the creation of many memories. The weather is cooler, but the hustle of fall activities and the holiday season is not quite upon us. Whether you plan to sleep in a tent, you rent a cabin or just go on a day trip, there are several places in this area easily within driving distance. Here are a few tips to help you and your family have a healthy and active trip to a local park: 1 . Come prepared. Know exactly where you are going and what activities you plan to partake in before you leave home, as well as predicted weather conditions. Having the right equipment for activities helps reduce the risk of injuries and illness. Make sure to pack a first aid kit. 2 . Plan your meals and snacks. Know which foods need to be refrigerated and pack a cooler if necessary. Plan at least one extra snack per person per day if you are going to be engaging in excessive amounts of physical activity. 3 . Pack non-perishable foods when you can. Trail mix made of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and granola makes a wonderful addition to any hiking or biking trip. If you are cooking your meals, make sure you follow all food safety rules and bring plenty of anti-bacterial wipes for your hands and equipment. 4 . If you are planning to take raw meats to cook on the campfire, make sure you pack them in a separate cooler. If you plan to fish, make sure you have a separate cooler to store your day’s catch. Pan-Fried Fish:
1 pint homogenized milk 6-8 ounces beer 1 egg, beaten well 2 tablespoons prepared mustard Salt and pepper, to taste Creole Seasoning, to taste 10-12 catfish or trout filets 2/3 cup cornmeal 1/3 cup flour Salt & cayenne pepper, to taste Creole seasoning, onion powder, and garlic powder, to taste ¼ cup extra light virgin olive oil ¼ cup butter Mix well the first seven ingredients; add fish filet and marinate at least 4 hours. Drain filets in a colander. Mix cornmeal, flour, and seasonings. Dip fish filets in cornmeal mixture and fry on medium heat, adding more oil as needed. Drain well and drizzle with lemon juice. Makes 4-6 servings. Zesty Tartar Sauce:
1½ cups mayonnaise 1 pickled jalapeno, diced 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish 2 tablespoons green onion tops, chopped fine 1 tablespoon celery, chopped fine 1 tablespoon capers 1 teaspoon dried dill, optional Mix together all ingredients; chill. Simple Slaw:
1 (l-pound) bag shredded slaw mix 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped 3-4 stalks green onion tops, chopped ¾ cup mayonnaise ¼ cup bottled Ranch dressing Salt and pepper, to taste Garlic powder, to taste Crispy, fried bacon, crumbled, (optional) Combine slaw mix with hard-boiled eggs and green onion tops. Mix mayonnaise and Ranch dressing; toss with slaw mix. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Blend in crumbled bacon, if using. Makes 6 servings. Note: For a change of flavor, substitute Italian dressing for the Ranch. :Tomato Pie
4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced Salt, to taste 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped 1/2 cup chopped green onion 1 (9-inch) deep dish pie shell, baked Salt and ground black pepper, to taste 1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese 1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese 1 cup mayonnaise Place tomatoes in a colander in the sink in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes. (If tomatoes are still juicy, place them between layers of paper towels to absorb remaining moisture.) Layer tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine grated cheeses and mayonnaise; stir. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes. Garnish top with additional chopped green onion and basil, if desired. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Makes 8-10 servings Hushpuppies
Vegetable oil for frying 2 cups yellow cornmeal 1-1/2 cups flour 3 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon garlic powder Black pepper and Cajun or Creole seasoning to taste 1 egg 1 (15-ounces) can cream-style corn 1/2 cup finely chopped onions Hot pepper sauce to taste Worcestershire sauce to taste Heat vegetable oil in large frying skillet. Mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Mix together the wet ingredients in a small bowl; blend until well mixed. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until well blended. (If consistency is too thick, add milk, a little at a time) Form batter into small balls and drop into hot oil. Cook until lightly brown. Serve with your favorite fish and fries. Sausage Biscuits:
1 pound bulk pork sausage 2 cups biscuit baking mix 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1 egg, beaten 1/2 cup water Make sausage into patties , fry in non-stick skillet ; test for done , remove to paper towel to drain. Mix all ingredients; drop by spoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350-degree oven until brown, approximately 25 minutes. These will keep well in a sealed container for several days. Note:1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese may be added.
Words of Wisdom : Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from. Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over.
Have great weekend camping trip : be prepared. A proud grand-poppa G.