Camping Donuts

Happy Camper

Recently while camping, I attempted to make donuts.  By SHEAR LUCK, it was a success.  I’ve had a lot of baking moments flop on me this last while, so I wasn’t holding my breath with these.  But the three things I had in my favor were: 1-butter 2-sugar 3-the “fry” factor!  Anything’s better fried!  jiffy donuts

There are a couple of ways to do this.  The easy way is to pack some jiffy dough, oil and frosting.  We used some vanilla pudding to make them more “eclair-like”.  But whatever suits your fancy.  I bought the croissant version which was quite heavy with oils.  Don’t get me wrong, it was gooood, but we had to sit down afterwards and work on our digestion.

cup cutter

At this point, all you have to do is roll out your dough with a cup or jar.  Cut the rounds with the same jar.  And fry them up.  If you’ve never fried dough before, check out the end of this post for frying tips.

To make the dough from scratch is really easy and a much healthier alternative.

“Healthier?  Really?  These are donuts, Ju!”

Well then, healthier… for a donut.

butter

Ok, so here’s my process:

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbs. yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Let soak and proof about 10 minutes

Then add

  • 1 Tbs rum
  • 1  cup whole wheat
  • 4 cups white bread flour
  • 1 cup room temp butter cut into small chunks

Add the flour and butter in 1/2 c. batches while mixing in between.

butter chunks in dough

Now mix the batter for a good 10 minutes helping the gluten to stretch.  The most important part is not getting your batter too thick.

It should be sticky!  See in picture below:

super sticky dough

Before any rising time.

I allow two rising periods.  Make sure it’s doubled in size (about 30 minutes) then punch down and allow to rise a second time.  These two rising periods cause the gluten to stretch and the batter will become less sticky.

After two rising periods with no extra flour added.  Notice the stickiness is stretchy not gooey.

After two rising periods with no extra flour added. Notice the stickiness is stretchy not gooey.

After it’s done rising, lay down a bed of flour, pour your dough out on top, sprinkle more flour on top and press out.  Keep the dough coated in flour being careful to not let it stick to the counter underneath.  Roll out ’till it’s about 1/4 of an inch thick.roll out doughAt this point, you can cut the dough into squares, circles, or traditional donut rounds.  I used a biscuit cutter and a decorators’ tip.

improvised donut cutter

Save the small holes for donut-hole treats!

Lay out all your donuts in sheets to freeze.  Once frozen, place in a ziplock bag and keep in the freezer ’till your ready.

frozen donut sheetsNow to take them camping:

I put the ziplock bag of prepared donuts with my frozen foods ’till I was ready.  The night before I put them in my  unfrozen cooler to thaw.  The morning of, set them out on a floured paper towel strip to rise for 30 minutes.  Place another paper towel strip over top to keep the bugs off.  Bugs like dough.

small dough in oil

I loved how quickly this enamel pot heats the oil up.  The cast irons take forever and it’s harder to cool off if the oil gets too hot.  You don’t want it too hot or they’ll burn.  So with the propane (where it’s all or nothing) keeping the oil at a good temperature was tricky.  Once I turned the heat on, I stayed with it and would throw little tester dough balls (like the one pictured above) in the oil.  Those are the bubbles you want.  Small quiet ones.  Once I get this effect, I turned my propane down as low as it would go.  That seems to do the trick.

chock stick fryersChopsticks work great for flipping the dough.  Let one side fry ’till you can see the golden color, then flip, about 1 minute on each side.  Make one, then test to see if it’s still doughy on the inside.  Don’t be afraid to let it get darker in color, so the inside can cook all the way through.

perfect homemade donutPlace on a paper towel and let cool.

donut holesThe kids loved the little donut holes.

homemade eclairSome we filled with vanilla pudding and topped with fudge frosting.

And some we left traditional.

homemade donut

Donuts and coffee for breakfast is my kinda camping!

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Tapioca Glitter Collage

results-of-the-glitter-hater

     Never, in all my years of mothering, have I ever liked a substance known to the common world as GLITTER!  It’s evil and should only be bought by responsible people with amazing hand-eye coordination.  The last time we had glitter usage in this house, my Dotty asked, opened, and immediately spilled gold sparkles ALL OVER my living room floor.  In only 10 seconds it looked like a Gnome and Tinkerbell had wrestled in my house.  So I have vowed to never allow that kind of mystical hooligan to romp where I am until I’ve reached the point of feeling somewhat sane.  I’m still recovering from toddler years and I don’t know how long it’s gonna take.  For now, here’s my approach to filling in those spaces in our hearts that need glitter.

how-to-makeSupplies:

  • dry tapioca noodles
  • gel food coloring
  • tacky glue
  • card stock paper
  • sharpie
  • paint brush’s
  • plastic baggy’s
  • toothpicks
  • weird Grover finger puppet (optional)

coloring-tapioca-noodles

Place about 1/3 cup of noodles in a plastic baggy.  Very carefully, use a toothpick to dispense a dab of food coloring gel into the bag with the noodles.  For small hands I tied the top so nothing escaped.  Now rub so that all the noodles have coloring all over them.  It doesn’t take much gel to create a very vibrant color.  Once they’re done, pour into small bowls or store for later use.

They store indefinitely.

blue-yellow-green-purple

 These were the colors we decided on.  It’s a nice color pallet I thought.

sharpiesSharpies make great drawing pens and the kids love the feeling of drawing with them.  But I’m a risk taker and my table’s old.  Usually we put down mats for messy crafts but these little balls roll everywhere.  So after the craft time, I do a good sweep.  They sweep up just fine.  Unlike my nemesis, the glitter, that creeps in all the cracks of my old wood floors.

bowl-of-tackyglueFill a small dish of tacky glue.  We went through quite a lot, so be generous.

brushWhen brushing on, keep the glue really thick so the noodles can squish in.  The more noodles the more colorful the collage.  Your hands will get a little messy from the coloring.  But it washed right off for us.

glue-your-noodleReally pack in the noodles.  After they’re all stuck, funnel them back into the bowl to get rid of the loose ones.

more-noodles-to-glueWe used both white card stock and some previously water colored paper.  I don’t know which I like better?

sharpieMake sure to sign your work.

TaDa!

Roasted Potatoes and Thyme

potatoes

Perfectly roasted potatoes!

apple slicerI’ll start by going backwards.  Do you own a apple slicer such as this?  If not, they aren’t very expensive and I’ve even found a few at garage sales.  This one in particular was from a garage sale.  Make sure to always rinse them off immediately after you use and shake it around to get the water off as best as you can.  My last slicer rusted up very quickly from being in water too much.

IMG_5429Now we’ll start at the beginning.  Use smaller’ish potatoes.  I’ve got a russet here, but any kind of potato will do.  If you want to take the skin off, skip the next step but I would highly recommend keeping the skin on.  It get’s nice and crunchy and also helps keep the potato from falling apart.

unscrewSee this little screw?  Unscrew it.  That will remove the peeler feature and thus your potato will only be sliced.

removedOnce removed, it should look a little like this.

sliceProceed to slicing those spuds.  It helped to place my hand at the tip so the spud would stay together and not break apart.

spudPlace in your pan all in-tacked.  I got a fork to help remove the potato from the spiky thing so the center would remain inside the swirl.  Make sure to not launch spuds across your counters and into deep spider web hole like I did the first one.  “Eww!” followed by a slight depression.  But I learned and the next one was successful.

Once they’re all assembled and ready to bake, put a little dollop of butter (I even gave them a little Olive oil sprinkle as well) salt and pepper.  Cover with some dry italian herbs and fresh thyme.  Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for roughly 45 minutes, or until the skins are nice and crisp.

It makes for a heavenly side dish!

15 minutes from Clam Chowder

clam chowda ingredients

Lately I’ve been really bad at meal planning or planning a head in general.  Summer just started and all planning has stopped except the here and now.  So dinner?  What dinner?  Oh yeah, I’m the mama, and they need food.  Here’s my fast soup fix.

pestoThis is my accidental pesto but it didn’t taste right.  So it’s going into the soup to use it up.

soup baseFirst finely chop a couple carrots, a couple stalks of celery and 1 onion.  Make sure they’re finely chopped so they’ll cook quickly.  Sauté in a little olive oil and cook ’till they’re wilted and soft, about 5-7 minutes on medium heat.

herbsThrow in a Tbs. of dry herbs, or fresh if you’ve got ’em.  A good bunch of dill would have been great if I’d given myself time to think about it.

liquid

Pour in a quart of the Imagine Potato Leek Soup and 1 Cup half and half.  Once it’s boiling add a can of clams.  At this point determine if you need to add a little water to thin the soup.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Let simmer ’till the kids are called.  Toast up something bread “like” (all I had was a strange array of tortillas).  I sprinkled some green onions on top.  Super easy, fast, filling, and cheap!

15 minute clam chowder

Master Mix

My shelves are full of cook books.  But the one book that I'm always reaching for is this little humble book called, More-with-Less.  It's written by mostly Mennonite women and FULL of suggestions and tips, not just a wide range of recipes.

My shelves are full of cook books. But the one book that I’m always reaching for is this little humble book called, More-with-Less Cookbook. It’s written by mostly Mennonite women and FULL of suggestions and tips, along with a wide range of recipes.  The Mennonites ladies know how to fill a family’s stomach’s and on a budget.  I grew up on this cook book and inherited my Aunt Julia’s version when she past.  My mom constantly pulls out her’s and is still unwilling to part with it. 

Every kitchen and home cook should be supplied with a master mix.  There's so many store bought kinds but this far exceeds anything you could buy at the store.

Every kitchen and home cook should be supplied with a master mix. There’s so many store bought kinds but this far exceeds anything you could buy.  This is made with the kind of luuuuve that Bisquick companies know nothing about.  And it only takes me 10 minutes.  No REALLY, 10 minutes!

mix  It goes a little like this:

Master Mix, Jubug style

10 C. flour (usually half wheat and half white)

6 Tbs. Baking Powder

1 1/2 Tbs. Salt

1 1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar

1/4 C. Sugar

2 C. Dry Milk Powder

2 C. Butter

Mix for 5 to 8 minutes making sure all the butter is evenly dispersed.

mix container

Make sure to store it in the fridge.  If you don’t want to store in the fridge, just add shortening in place of the butter.  I use a commercial kitchen container like this to keep it ready to use in the fridge.

Recipes for the Master Baking Mix:

Pancakes or Waffles

1 C. Milk

1 Egg

1 1/2 C. Master Mix

Bake on hot griddle or waffle iron.

Quick Bread or Muffins

1/3 C. Milk

1 Egg

1 banana or 1 C. Pumpkin or 2 Tbs. Poppy seeds & lemon zest or ….

1/4 C. Sugar

2 1/4 C. Master Mix

Stir until well blended.  Pour into greased bread pan or muffin tin.

Set oven at 350 degrees

Muffins bake 20 to 25 minutes.  For bread bake 40 to 45 minutes

There are more Master Mix recipes from the More-With-Less Cookbook.  So I would consider investing in this little treasure!

Jubug Jar Rack

jar rack  These jars are such a great space saver. I’ve got all my bulk pantry put into a small overhang separating the kitchen and living room. Such an amazing space saver. We looked at building a shelf to place the jars into, but the overhang wasn’t big enough.  Thus, this invention was born.  These are all 1/2 gallon jars filled with things such as popcorn seeds, dried lemons, oats, lavender, chili peppers, chickpeas, dried milk, pinto beans, pink beans, etc, etc, etc.jar rack

The jars rea quite sturdy.  We’ve had it up there for three years and have never dropped a jar or had one fall.  I’ve had a couple close calls but nothing to worry me about them dropping down.  The first year they were up, it made me nervous to stand underneath them but over the test of time, it continually surprises me how sturdy they are.

 

IMG_2427

The ends of the shelf are structured as such.  It’s not beautiful in a “hand craft” kind of way.  But once you fill those jars up… beauty is in the eye of the owner-of-a-small-kitchen!ring and screws

We used two 1/2″ screws to screw in the lid cap.  And to keep the ring from turning, we superglued the lids to the rings.  They help up their end of the bargain!under shot

It is really tripy to sit under a jar of chick peas… so stay here a few moments and get comfortable… once you can handle that, you’re half way there to building one for yourself.

Out of the box ways to sort in your box.

There really is no place like here.  No one like us is doing things like us.  Maybe people who are not like us are doing things like us but that still means that we're unique.  At least with my husband around, we're unique.  He thinks up these crazy fix-it's and not because we're too cheap to buy the real thing, (well we are too cheap to buy the real thing, but that's not the point) but

There really is no place like here. No one like us is doing things like us. Maybe people who are not like us are doing things like us but that still means that there’s no one quite like us. At least with my husband around, we are unique. He thinks up these crazy fix-it’s and not because we’re too cheap to buy the real thing, (we are, however, too cheap to buy the real thing) but because he doesn’t think normal.

Take this normal fruit basket for your everyday kitchen needs.  It was too long, so I took the bottom piece off.  But in order to attach it the the ceiling, my man needed just the right kind of object.

Take this normal fruit basket for your everyday kitchen needs. It was too long, so I took the bottom piece off. But in order to attach it to the ceiling, my man needed just the right kind of object.

And this is the object he found.  LOVE it?  LOVE it!
And this is the object he found. LOVE it? LOVE it!

Take all my necklaces and accessories, when you don't have room for fancy hands or hooks but you've got a window space.  TaDa!  Took an old towel rod and hung it across.  Also, the frame is and old chalkboard frame I found at a garage sale. Put some lace in the space.  It now hold all my earrings.  TaDa!

Take all my necklaces and accessories, when you don’t have room for fancy hands or hooks but you’ve got a window space. TaDa! Took an old towel rod and hung it across. Also, the frame is and old chalkboard frame I found at a garage sale. Put some lace in the space. It now hold all my earrings. TaDa!

We don't have a lot of space in our tiny house, so anything we can do to keep those precious, tiny, parts of life up and out of the way of my other precious tiny lives is a grand thing.

We don’t have a lot of space in our tiny house, so anything we can do to keep those precious, tiny parts of life up and out of the way of my other precious tiny lives is a grand thing.

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A rod and baby food

My husband's a smarty pants and very thrifty when we have to be.  So in our tiny house when he needed a curtain to divide between our only toilet and the sink, this is what he came up with.  It's been up for a year, so I'm guessing those baby food jar lids are holding their own.

My husband’s a smarty pants and very thrifty when we have to be. So in our tiny house when he needed a curtain to divide between our only toilet and the sink, this is what he came up with. It’s been up for a year, so I’m guessing those baby food jar lids are holding their own.

A single screw drove into a stud seems to hold them up just fine.

A single screw drove into a stud seems to hold them up just fine.

One of the circles was cut at the top just enough to pull the rod into it.  With that one screw I can pivot the lid when I remove the rod.  That way the rod can be a close to the ceiling as needed.

One of the circles was cut at the top just enough to pull the rod into it. With that one screw I can pivot the lid when I remove the rod. That way the rod can be as close to the ceiling as needed.

Morel Mushrooms have no morals!

Seriously, you can do anything with these bad boys!  Make sure you soak them before consuming and always, ALWAYS cook thoroughly.  When soaking place 1/2 lb. in quart of water with 1 Tbs. salt.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Rise off and place on a paper towel to drain.

Seriously, you can do anything with these bad boys! Make sure you soak them before consuming and always, ALWAYS cook thoroughly. When soaking place 1/2 lb. into 1 quart of water with 1 Tbs. salt. Let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse off and place on a paper towel to drain.

Delicately chop them and brown on a pan with some butter and salt.  Cast Iron skillets are one of my favorite things!
Delicately chop them and brown on a pan with some butter and salt. Cast Iron skillets are one of my favorite tools!

Sprinkle in soups, in a hash, stir fry....

Sprinkle in soups, in a hash, or a stir fry…. in a house… or in a box… with a mouse… or with a fox.

... omeletes, in a grilled cheese sandwich, cream sauce and noodles...

Try in an omelet, in a grilled cheese sandwich, cream sauce and noodles… in a car… with a goat… up a tree… or in a boat!

Seriously, these bad boys can go anywhere.  But my favorite has to be that classic PIZZA!

These lovely earthy fungi can go anywhere. But my favorite has to be that classic PIZZA!

Toward the end of my experiments I did try and dry them.  They shrunk to a quarter their original size.  I'm saving them for something special.  But I'll be sure to post that moment in the future.
Toward the end of my experiments I did try and dry them. They shrunk to a quarter their original size. I’m saving them for something special. But I’ll be sure to post that moment in the future.

Enjoy this glorious morel season!

You may like them.  You will see.  Try them and you may, I say!