School’s out. It’s camping time!

16 Jun

You may have noticed it's been a week since I blogged. That's because the last day of school for my kids was Friday, June 11, and we left that afternoon for an extra-long weekend of camping at Pokagon State Park in Indiana. What a fantastic five days! My parents drove up from North Carolina and my sister came down from Romeo, Michigan, and we camped, hiked, biked, canoed, built sand castles, and enjoyed tasty food.

I think I mentioned that my sister and I go all out when it comes to birthday cakes. Well, my family kind of does the same thing when it comes to camping food. We all love to cook, so we don't generally go the burger/hotdog route. We've done everything from ribs to shrimp to crab legs over the campfire. This weekend was not much different.
Because we ate so many delicious things, I'm going to focus on one day's worth of food and recipes each day for the next five days. 
We arrived Friday night right at dinner time, so I brought my vegan cheesy mac and we just popped it in the oven in the camper so we could concentrate on getting the campsites set up and unpacked while it cooked. My mom made a fabulous salad that had tender greens, avocado, sliced radishes, cucumbers and a tangy vinaigrette (recipe to come). We also had a big bowl of mixed fruit. 
After dinner, we spent the evening getting organized while the kids rode bikes. Then we sat around the fire catching up with my parents and enjoying the fresh air. Once the kids had crashed in their beds, we hauled out a few fireside snacks. I brought a new recipe for a vegan cheese spread made with raw cashews, basil and cracked peppercorns. It was similar to goat cheese and pretty good on crackers, but I want to work on that recipe a bit before posting it here.
The other spread I made was Wild Mushroom Pate. It was so yummy! We spread it on sliced French bread and a variety of crackers. My mom had hers with a glass of wine, the guys had beer (of course!) and I sipped on a Zevia.
After stuffing ourselves and scaring off a handful of raccoons, we decided to call it a night and headed to bed. (If you've ever been to Pokagon, you know the raccoons there have no fear of people and love that they live in a campground!) 
WILD MUSHROOM PATE
makes about 16 servings
1 cup pecans, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
12 ounces mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used 2 ounces morel, 2 ounces shiitake and 8 ounces cremini)
1 tablespoon roasted garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt substitute
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
Place toasted pecans and olive oil in food processor and puree to a thick paste. 
In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Saute onions and minced garlic until translucent. Stir in mushrooms, garlic puree and thyme. Cook until mushrooms are tender and the liquid has evaporated. Stir in parsley and white wine. Allow to cool slightly. Spoon mushroom mixture into the food processor and process to desired texture. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate several overnight for best flavor. Enjoy!

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