Detour: Vegan Camping at French Creek State Park

Aahhh the great outdoors… hiking, campfire, bugs and nature.  It is nice to unplug for the weekend,  leave the hustle and bustle of the city, and take in the beauty nature has to offer.  Last weekend we went with our lovely friends, Martha and Stephen, on a mini campcation to French Creek State Park, located only 52 miles outside of Philadelphia, in the Pottstown area of Pennsylvania.  We kept the menu vegan-comfort-foodesque, which was only fitting for a camping trip.  Between hot dogs and s’mores, pancakes to muffins, we enjoyed it all.  I’ll now share my list and details of our semi-wilderness, outdoor living, semi-roughing-it adventure (I only say “semi” because the only wildlife we saw was one chipmunk and there were indoor bathrooms).

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We arrived around 7 pm, just before sundown, so it was perfect.  Vinny set up our tent and air mattress, I watched.  The air mattress was essential as French Creek is very rocky.  HIGHLY recommended for anyone planning to camp in the future.  Once settled, we prepped dinner.  The menu for the night: Veggie Dogs and S’Mores.  Veggie Dogs & marshmallows were perfect roasted over the fire Martha and Stephen started before we arrived.  We recommend bringing a fire starter kit or a long lighter (you know the one you light candles with at home) as matches did not cut it.

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S’mores:
1 Graham Cracker split in half
2 Vegan marshmallows
1/2 Chocolate Square (because a whole square got a bit messy)

S'mores

Note: I found the key to camp meal planning is bringing the smallest number of refrigerated items possible.  No one wants to risk eating poorly stored food or have to run back to civilization to buy more ice.

We started Saturday early.  Vinny woke up and went for a mountain bike ride.  The trails at French Creek are amazing for it!  Today was our big breakfast day(aka use what was left of the refrigerated material since the ice was melting)!  We made pancakes.  Be sure to prep the mix before the trip so you do not have to worry about carting excess items.  Vinny picked up Oreos last minute before the trip so we got a bit creative and made Oreo Pancakes as well as banana.  ::cue Jack Johnson’s – Banana Pancakes::  While I played head chef, Vinny prepped us some much needed coffee on the AeroPress, perfect for camping.

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Pancakes
Serves 4 Hungry Campers

Ingredients:
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 cups nondairy Milk buy it warm
3 1/2 tablespoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

Optional Ingredients:
Oreos
Chopped Banana

Options Toppings:
Maple Syrup
Earth Balance

  1. Combine dry ingredinents.
  2. Add milk and oil.
  3. Cook on greased heated pan until bubbles start to form on top of pancake.
  4. Optional Step: Add Orao crumbles or banana pieces, or BOTH.  Press into the pancake. 
  5. Flip.
  6. Cook until bottom of pancake is a light brown,
  7. Add your favorite maple syrup, earth balance and ENJOY!!

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Coffee: ReAnimator – Ethiopian Blend

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Post breakfast we prepped hiking snacks… Trail Mix & Fruit.  The trail mix consisted of a combination of our favorites from Trader Joe’s: Coconut Cashews, Wasabi Wow! and Go Raw Trail Mix.  French Creek has a wide array of trails we just walked and walked.  The skill level was low.  We did 6 miles over a 2+ hour time span with the hardest segment being our walk back into the park.  To see our course, go to Strava. Both Vinny and I have accounts (he does all the impressive rides).

For lunch, we ventured in the traditional route… Cookie Butter & Strawberry Fruit Spread Sandwiches. They were lovely. One was even “grilled”. We napped after enjoying some time hanging out by the fire taking soda and Chipotle.

Saturday night dinner would have to be my favorite. Veggie Dogs, Roasted Potatoes & Vegetable Skewers (and more S’mores!) We grilled everything! Hot dogs: grilled until hot. Potatoes: place in sprayed tin foil; sprinkle evenly (over all 4 packages) with salt, pepper, 2 cloves chopped garlic and half a large chopped onion; grill on low fire until soft,stirring regularly to prevent burning. Veggie Skewers: cut vegetables into large pieces; place on skewer sticks; coat with olive oil; season with BBQ seasoning; grill until hardest veggies are soft (i.e. zucchini), rotating regularly.

On our final morning we enjoyed Cinnamon Sugar Donut muffins. They were perfect. We then hiked a bit more than snack on some Quinoa Protein Bites I made in chocolate flavor for the trip!

Tent
Air Mattress + Battery Pump
Fire Starter
Long Lighter
Grill Skewers (for food roasting)
Lantern
Sleeping Bag
Pillows
Toothbrush/Toothpaste
Hand Sanitizer
Chairs
Spatula
Coleman Camping Stove
Pans
Utensils
Paper Plates
Coffee Mugs
AeroPress coffee maker
Pot or Kettle for heating water
Tin Foil
Sponge/Dish Soap

 

Food
2 packages Veggie Dogs  we used Tofu Pups
2 packages Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns
Organic Ketchup
Organic Mustard
Dandies Vegan marshmallows
Graham Crackers  any honey free crackers will do
Dark Chocolate  we used Theo 85% Dark Chocolate Bar
Pre-made Pancake Mix see recipe above
Cookies Spray
Oreos* optional
Bananas
Maple Syrup
Earth Balance* optional
Coffee
1 large Zucchini
1 large Red Onion
1 package Mushroons
1 large Tomatoe
1 large Red & Green Peppers
365 Simple BBQ Seasoning
4 medium Gold Potatoes
2 cloves onion
1/2 onion
Olive Oil
Trail Mix we used a mix of Trader Joe’s Wasabi Wow!, Coconut Cashews and Go Raw Trail Mix
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter
Trader Joe’s Strawberry Fruit Spread
Apples
Muffins
Quinoa Protein Balls

Overall, French Creek was great. It would have been better if it had a lake for swimming (which we had anticipated).

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