Campfire pizza log


It’s almost Labor Day -a busy camping weekend- so I wanted to share one of my new favorite camping meals.

Over Memorial Day weekend, we went camping at our favorite place to travel to and camp at, Shenandoah National Park. This time we went with a co-worker of mine and his family. We decided ahead of time to share some meals, so I started researching online different yummy meals for camping. I wanted to up my game since I was cooking for people other than my family!

One meal I came across was the campfire pizza log, but I couldn’t find a site that gave step-by-step instructions. Without instructions, we had to wing it, and we definitely have some lessons learned, which I thought I’d share.

To make the pizza logs, I used:

  • Refrigerated pizza dough (the kind you roll out from a can)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Pepperoni
  • Shredded cheese
  • Olive oil spray (okay, I didn’t actually use this, but I should have, and I will next time)
  • Nonstick foil

The logs are pretty simple to prepare. I made three large pizza logs (three cans of the refrigerated pizza dough), which is what you’ll see in my photos; HOWEVER, because the larger logs didn’t cook evenly, I recommend doing smaller pizza logs, so two logs from each can. I’ve written the directions below to reflect what I will do next time.

Directions for two small pizza logs:

    1. Cut two large pieces of nonstick foil. They should be large enough that you can completely wrap up the pizza logs. It’s better to cut them too big than too small. You can always trim off the excess with some kitchen shears or scissors!
    2. Have the nonstick side facing up off the counter (you’ll want the pizza logs on the nonstick side) and spray the nonstick with an olive oil spray or something similar. This will help keep the pizza log from sticking to the foil when you unwrap it after it’s been cooked.
    3. Before rolling out the pizza dough, cut the dough log in half. You’re going to make two smallish pizza logs from each can of dough.
    4. Place each piece of dough onto its own piece of foil.
    5. Roll out the pizza dough on the foil until each piece is in a rectangle.
    6. Spread the pizza sauce on top.
    7. Layer the pepperoni and cheese. (Obviously you can use whatever toppings you want.)
    8. Roll the pizza back up into the shape of a “log.”
    9. Fold the foil over top of the log and secure all the edges by rolling them in.

Camping Food

Camping Food
I didn’t do it, but cut this in half! Make two pizza logs from this sucker.

Camping Food

Corn and Pizza Logs
The smaller rolls to the left are pieces of corn on the cob. The three long rolls on the right are the campfire pizza logs.

That’s it! I actually froze ours in the freezer since we didn’t intend on eating them the first day of camping. Once they were frozen, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in our camping cooler with ice. I was hoping that as the ice melted, the plastic wrap would help keep any water out of the logs, and it did seem to work.

Camping Food
The two longer rolls are the pizza logs. The small and medium rolls are corn on the cob.

When it was time to cook the pizza logs, we got a nice fire going, and then we placed the pizza logs on the flat griddle above the fire. As I mentioned above, the pizza logs didn’t cook evenly. The logs were getting a nice char in the center within 20 minutes, but these larger logs that I made were so long that the edges were too far away from the fire and weren’t picking up heat. That’s why I suggest making two pizza logs from each can of refrigerated pizza dough. That will get you a more evenly cooked pizza log, and they should be done around 30 minutes.

Camping Food
You can see that the center part of the pizza log is a little more cooked and charred than the edges. That’s why I recommend making smaller logs, so the edges can also reach the fire.

The cooking time is going to vary depending on how hot your fire is and the proximity of the pizza log to the fire, so keep that in mind. You’ll want to peel back the foil about every 10 minutes to check the logs. Use tongs to help you check safely, and if you wear fabric oven mitts … keep them away from the flames!

Camping Food
So tasty inside!

The three cans of refrigerated pizza dough ended up making enough pizza logs to feed 4 adults and 3 small children with leftovers. I also served up some fire-grilled corn on the cob.

Have you ever made a pizza log? What is your favorite camping food?

 

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A Family Outing: Camping at Shenandoah National Park

The View
A view from one of the many lookouts in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Can you believe it’s 2016 already? I feel like this year has flown by. I probably say that every year, but I think the weirdly warm weather we’re having on the East Coast this year makes it feel even less like it’s winter. If you read my last post about camping with kids, then you know we started camping this year. We’ve gone three times- once with just our little family (me, Hubby and Little J) and twice with my SIL, her husband and kids. One of those two times was to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. We went during Labor Day weekend, and unless you have reservations (which go fast, months earlier), I wouldn’t recommend just showing up. That’s what we did, but it was risky. I took Thursday afternoon off from work, and we arrived at the Big Meadows Campground around dusk. We were able to get one of the last 5 spots. The other 4 were gone within 45 mins or so. People get arriving all day Friday and were turned away, because they didn’t have a reservation and there weren’t any first come, first served spots available. So we were lucky.

Tent Stuff
There’s always fun stuff to do around the camp site or nearby. We keep toys and games in the tent too in case of rain!

There are other campgrounds at Shenandoah, and some of them are exclusively first come, first served. Ours was the mostfamily-friendly campground. I say that because it had hot showers, laundry facilities and a camp store down the road with gear and food. Roughing it? Not exactly, but if you have three small kids with and-thistime- two dogs…having some luxuries available seemed like a good idea. We did end up going back and forth to that store at least once a day. We also made a trip down the mountain toWalmart once. That was about a 45 minute or longer drive one way, so I wouldn’t recommend doing that often if you camp at Big Meadows.

The sites themselves seemed nice. They have the typical paved spots with a bit of grass that work for either tents or campers. They also have tent-only sites, and we ended up in one of those spots. Each of the tent-only sites had a metal bear box to put your food inside and out of the reach of animals. To reach the tent-only sites, you have to park your car in a little lot and walk up a short trail to your site. It’s really not far at all -maybe 50 feet- but that makes it inconvenient to keep your cooler and food in your car, hence the bear box.

Outdoorsy Stuff
We had a chance to hike several trails including the famous Appalachian Trail. Bike riding on the path through Big Meadows was a blast too. And, yes, I might be wearing a fanny pack in one of those photos…

We didn’t see any black bears while we were there, but the park rangers and other campers told us about sightings. A park ranger at the visitor center down the road gave a talk about black bears. He said that if you see a black bear, don’t run! That’s the worst thing you can do. Just stand still, and if they get close, then make lots of noise, and it will scare them away. The kids were hopeful the entire weekend that they’d see bears but no such luck. We did see bear scat when we were walking on the Appalachian Trail, and it was interesting to see the berries inside the scat. Apparently the bear had been foraging on plants, which bears like to eat.

We went hiking on quite a few trails and rode our bikes on the paved paths. There was a playground at the nearby lodge that the kids played on a couple of times. There was a restaurant at the lodge at which we ate. I know…definitely not back woods camping. 🙂

There were deer everywhere. They’d even walk by our tents in the middle of the night! We also saw your smaller animals like squirrels, rabbits and lots of birds.

One thing worth noting…Hubby and I have AT&T as a phone carrier, and most places in the park we did NOT get a signal. We did get a signal at the lodge, and there’s also free wi-fi there.

Conclusion- the views at Shenandoah Park were beautiful; we had a great time; and we will definitely be going back!

Note: This is not a sponsored post, and the opinions expressed are my own.

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A Family Outing: What to Take When Camping With a Preschooler

Camping with Kids

Note: This blog post contains affiliate links.

As a child, I went camping with my family numerous times. We even spent an entire summer camping one year, traveling from state to state. And although for years now I’ve lived in a city or suburb, a good chunk of my childhood took place in small towns of Ontario, Canada. I used to play in the woods -sometimes with my brothers, sometimes with my friends, and sometimes by myself. That was normal, and it was amazing.

I want my son to have some of those same memories: digging in the dirt, watching bugs crawl over tree bark, a rabbit gnawing at some plants, tossing rocks in a creek…good times.

Over the last few years, Hubby and I have talked off and on about going camping at some point, but with his work schedule, our camping trip just hadn’t happened yet. This Father’s Day I bought this six-person tent for a great price, so we finally decided we were going to take the leap and go camping.

For a couple of weeks before the trip, I researched online and compiled a list of things to pack and take with us camping, especially with a kid (or kids). Listed in no particular order, we brought:

  1. 3 pillows
  2. 3 sleeping bags
  3. 2 air mattresses
  4. air pump
  5. car charger power converter (for the pump)
  6. portable chargers for our phones
  7. tent and stakes
  8. mallet
  9. tarps
  10. trash bags
  11. paper towels
  12. toilet paper
  13. hand and face sanitizing wipes
  14. dish soap
  15. hand soap
  16. toiletries
  17. bug repellant (spray and wrist bands)
  18. rainwear
  19. hats & sunglasses
  20. variety of clothes and shoes, including hoodies and pants for the evenings
  21. sunblock
  22. citronella candle
  23. propane lantern
  24. laundry detergent
  25. quarters
  26. folding event chairs
  27. utensils (including spatulas, etc.)
  28. dish towels
  29. empty Ziploc bags
  30. GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper 2-4 Person Cookset (This was awesome!)
  31. GSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip for our coffee (I’ll talk more about this in another blog post.)
  32. Coleman Triton Series propane camping stove
  33. 6 cans of propane (we didn’t need this many)
  34. potty seat for Little J (We love our OXO seat. I’ll write more about this in another post.)
  35. slip-on diapers and wipes
  36. allergy medication for adults
  37. fever-reducing medication and an antihistamine appropriate for Little J (Since these need to be kept cool, I initially put them in a small bottle cooler with an ice pack until we purchased a bag of ice for the big cooler.)
  38. flashlights
  39. headlamps
  40. 2 plastic/vinyl table cloths

I also packed dry food like a box of pre-seasoned quinoa, several packages of dry soup, peanut butter, whole wheat bread, graham crackers, marshmallows, etc. I normally try to make healthy choices with what we eat, but I also didn’t want to make our first family camping trip difficult…so overall, yeah, we ate a lot of processed food.

When we were close to the campgrounds, we stopped at a grocery store and bought:

  1. hot dogs
  2. bread
  3. firewood (You’re not supposed to bring firewood from state to state, because you could be bringing foreign pests with it.)
  4. butter
  5. eggs
  6. milk
  7. fruit
  8. veggies
  9. water (two large jugs)
  10. ice for the cooler
  11. chocolate (for the s’mores!)

If we were going straight from our house to the campgrounds, I may have bought some of these ahead of time (I did mean to get the bread ahead of time but forgot), but we were stopping at a theme park on our way. I didn’t know how hot the car was going to get, so I thought it would be better to stock the cooler with perishables when we were almost to the campgrounds.

Next time we go camping, if we go straight from our house to our campsite, I think I may make pancake batter ahead of time and freeze it in large Ziploc bags.

We did buy a new bag of ice every day. It was about a 15-trip from our campgrounds to a Wal-Mart, so that wasn’t too bad. The drive there and back was actually a great way to get Little J to fall asleep and actually nap! I’d wait in the car while Little J slept and Hubby ran inside for the ice.

Things we should have packed:

  1. rope
  2. more trash bags (Three was barely enough.)
  3. more refill bags for the OXO potty seat. (We used a paper towel shoved into the bottom of a plastic grocery store bag, but that didn’t work as well as the actual bags they make for the seat. We had some leakage problems with the grocery store bags.)
  4. Our bikes, including Little J’s, for riding around the campgrounds

We nearly filled up the back of the SUV, and we used our cargo carrier. Yes, it was a lot of stuff, but we ended up using everything or nearly everything. I would enjoy bare bones, backpack camping, but probably not with the 3-year old.

When we got to our site, we kept all the food in the back of the vehicle, and we hung the trash bag up from a tree branch stub. Next time we’ll use a rope, just to make sure we get the trash up out of reach of any potential furry visitors to our camp.

So that’s about it for the preparation. I’ll follow up with posts about where we camped and some of the equipment that we used.

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