My husband and I love mountains, rivers, and anything nature. We enjoy hiking through the mountains or forest. Camping under the stars, sitting by the fire while we enjoy a drink, cooking over a fire. So of course it makes perfect sense that we would end up living in Florida, where there are no mountains, where there is as much water in the air we breathe as in the ocean, where the other alternative to the beach is swamp… Where there is only one season; HOT.
Life is funny that way, sometimes you end up in a place that you don’t particularly like. But instead of getting bitter and depressed about it we try to make the most of it by finding local spots to do the things we love. That is how we found Quiet Waters Park, which gives you the opportunity to camp right in the middle of the city. It isn’t anything like the real deal of being “one with nature” but it is a fun activity that we like to do with the family.
So we rented two tents next to the lake in a corner of the campground so that we had as much privacy as possible. On Friday afternoon we arrived for check in and to set up camp. This meant unloading a car full of supplies and sleeping bags and such (you know, it doesn’t matter how long the stay is, if you have a toddler you need a truck full of things). Meanwhile my two year old daughter discovered her love for nature and she decided that this was the best thing ever. She ran around non stop, exploring the “wilderness.”
After setup was complete, and the sunset was fast approaching (which, by the way, was beautiful) it was time for me to make dinner, I had been dying to try making campfire chicken, and let me tell you, it is delicious! We had a large group of people joining us for this “adventure” and the one thing they loved consistently throughout the weekend was the food. They hated sleeping on the floor, the weather, the “bathrooms” (pfff, city folk, am I right?), but the food, that they loved!
Campfire Chicken —
-10 Chicken thighs, bone-in
-4 onions quartered
-3 packages of baby carrots
-10 mid-sized potatoes quartered
-10 pieces of corn (one frozen package)
-10 garlic cloves
-2 beers or chicken stock
-salt and pepper
-your favorite spice rub
I seasoned the chicken thighs the night before. Just rub them with oil and any spice rub you like. I made mine by mixing garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and herbes de provence. After they are seasoned you can freeze them if you are going to need them to be out in a cooler all day, if you are going directly from home to campground to cook then you don’t have to freeze them.
In a piece of aluminum foil put a little bit of oil, place one chicken thigh, one piece of corn, one quartered potato, one garlic clove, one or two onion quarters, and 6-8 baby carrots. Season all with salt and pepper to taste. Finally raise all the edges of the foil and add 1/4 cup of beer (I recommend beer, it adds a lot to the flavor and all of the alcohol will be cooked off, so it is safe for children) or chicken stock before completely closing your little package of goodness. Just repeat this until you have made a package per chicken thigh.
Place on your campfire. Be careful that it isn’t placed directly on top of the fire, you want to create a circle around the fire so that all the packages are getting a good amount of heat, but are not getting scorched. Cook for about an hour, keeping an eye on the fire, so that you can move the packages away from any direct fire contact whenever necessary. After the hour get a package and check the doneness of the thigh, it should be cooked through and falling off the bone. You can serve immediately or if some of your group has not arrived yet, because they run on Cuban time (always an hour behind) then you can put your packages farther away from the fire so that they remain warm, without getting burned or overcooked.
After dinner we made s’mores, played a couple of games, had a few drinks, and in my case, slept like a baby after a full day of activities. That concludes our first day of this camping trip. In my next post we will go over how we made a breakfast casserole on a charcoal barbeque grill and our experience at the Renaissance Faire!