Campfire Steak, Potatoes, and Peppers - Foil Packets

Campfire Steak, Potatoes, and Peppers - Foil Packets

The night we arrived in South Platte, most camp sites were already taken. We lucked out, and found something flat, with a picnic table, and pitched our tents. It hadn't been more than 15 minutes before someone stopped at our site and told us there had been bears in the area. 

I hear this a lot. It seems every time we go camping, someone says something about a bear. And with good reason! No one wants to wake up to a bear trampling through their breakfast supplies. But I hear the warning enough that this time I shook it off as quickly as I scoped out the best place for my camping chair. Bears do live outside, afterall. We are in their home. I've never had a bear rummage through my campsite.  We do our due diligence, locking away food and trash, and go to sleep knowing everything is going to be ok. 

Campfire Steak, Potatoes, and Peppers - Foil Packets

We eat dinner without worrying about it: food always tastes better outside, and we focus on that. I let the sun warm my back and the breeze tug at my clothes as I cook. I watch the leaves on a tree waver as I eat. I don't notice that our camping stove got too hot and seared our hash browns, or than I forgot the hot sauce (ok, maybe I notice that, but I get over it after the first bite). I just melt into my camp chair (or picnic table bench, or stump that doubles as a stool), and notice the little things: the way the fire crackles and sparks, the taste of wine when it's drunk out of the only drinking vessel in my camping kit (a mug), and the way the stars peak through the canopy of aspen trees. I go to bed early and happy. 

The night, in South Platte, I woke with a start. A bright, beaming light encompassed my tent and made it glow. It must've been 11 o'clock. Then, a voice: "If you're awake over there, there's a bear in your campsite." I sat up instantly. What I felt was excitement more than anything else. Oliver reached for his head lamp and together we unzipped the tent and poked our heads out, looking towards the rustling sound that was no more than 15 feet away. 

Campfire Steak, Potatoes, and Peppers - Foil Packets

I saw nothing. We looked the other way, and still nothing. The rustling continued, despite our bright lights, but we were unable to spot a thing. We nestled back into our sleeping bags, and fell asleep. I dreamed of bears. (More specifically, I dreamed of a bear coming to get a Snickers Bar out of our tent. A Snickers Bar of all things!). Nothing else interrupted my sleep that night, not even the dogs that barked like mad when the bear trudged through their campsite, several hundred yards away (I was only told about it in the morning). 

When I finally awoke at 6 (or 7, I had no clock), all was still. I hiked around the campground and saw no evidence of mischief (or large furry animals).

Campfire Steak, Potatoes, and Peppers - Foil Packets

This campfire meal is so incredibly easy to make: I pre-chop all of the veggies at home, and toss them in oil and spices. I keep them in a ziplock bag and put them in a cooler. When it's time for dinner, everyone can make their own meal, with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Wrap it all up in foil and light a fire: the heat from the flames cook everything up in no time. Use tongs to pull everything out of the fire (don't burn yourself!) and eat everything straight from the foil packet... no dish washing needed! 

Campfire Steak, Potatoes, and Peppers - Foil Packets

Published July 25, 2017 by
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A dinner you can make while camping or in your back yard!

Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 pound kabob beef, or beef cut into cubes 
  • 3 bell peppers, various colors
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes 
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt & pepper to taste 
  • Optional, to serve: cheddar cheese, salsa, hot sauce 


  1. Before you leave to go camping, prep the veggies: slice the peppers and onions, and dice the zucchini. I precook the sweet potatoes for a few minutes so that they don’t have to cook as long on the fire, but this is optional. To precook the sweet potatoes, simple cut a slit through the skin of each potato and microwave them for 5 minutes, on until tender. Once tender, slice the potatoes into 1/2 inch rounds.
  2. Combine vegetables, potatoes, and cubed beef in a bowl. Toss in olive oil. Add the salt, pepper, chile powder, and cumin and toss until everything is coated. Place in ziplock bag and store in cooler (or fridge) until ready to cook. 
  3. When ready to cook, cut out 4-5 pieces of foil (15 inch squares work well). Divvy the veggie and beef mixture among the foil sheets, and then fold the foil closed to make a sealed packet. If needed, use 2 pieces of foil to seal each packet.
  4. Place each packet on the fire, or a grill. If your campfire has a grill or rack, use that, if not, place the packets around the perimeter of the fire. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the beef is cooked through. Check doneness by using tongs to slightly open one packets and cut into a piece of beef.

Campfire Steak, Potatoes, and Peppers - Foil Packets

Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

Utah captured my heart this Spring. Spring in Utah is a funny thing-- not really spring, March in the desert is more like half winter and half summer.  

When the morning wakes you, you’ll find your sleeping bag pulled as high around your head as it can go, covering your cheeks and leaving just enough space so to breath. Eventually, motivated by the thought of coffee, or tea, or anything warm, you'll peek out, and see the snow, still coming down in oversized flakes that fall impossibly slow. Lighting that two-burner camping stove will never sound so good.  

Outside, there is a different view in every direction, but all of them will make you feel small — just a tiny human, standing on a slice of something far too large to imagine. Cliffs, a deep crimson color, tower above. They sit gallantly on piles of sand, like the earth's version of sandcastles, displaying layer on layer of dirt. Each layer seems to expose something about the world, every band of sand marking an era of the past. At their feet grow short and twisted juniper trees, struggling to grow.  

Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe
Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

When the water boils, and you pull it from the stove, the pot will spout a tower of steam into the air above, melting the snow as it falls. When you turn around, you’ll see a mountain range all Coloradans know well, crisp and white, capped with ice. They look bigger from Utah, surrounded by flat plains, deep rifts, and the occasional rock spire. You’ll know what I mean when you see it for yourself: it’s as if those mountains scrape the clouds off of the sky, catching them on their peaks and hanging on.  

The snow will eventually stop (it’s spring, after all), and the unshielded sun will melt every white patch away. The desert sand will suck up any moisture that remains, and by 10 the ground will be dry again, as if nothing happened. That's when you’ll sit back in a folding chair, a rich mug of homemade hot chocolate in hand.  

There is nothing to feel other than awe. Belittled by the jagged, barren canyons and cliffs on one side, humbled by the majestic peaks to the other. Small-- small and awestruck. 

Here is a beverage to drink on those chilly mornings at camp, or around the campfire in the evening — Double chocolate Hot Cocoa. It’s made with bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder (that’s the “double” part). Dehydrated milk adds creaminess, so even when you’re out exploring you don’t have to remember the milk! Though, if you are are really prepared, top your mug with a dollop of whipped  cream or marshmallows, and consider a splash of whiskey. Sitting around the campfire has never been so sweet!

(By the way — adding a scoop to your coffee is a very good idea. Mocha, here I come!)

Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

Published March 27, 2016 by
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Serves: 8   |    Active Time: 20 minutes


  • 1-3 tablespoons coconut sugar (depending on how sweet you would like your cocoa — 1 for not very sweet, 3 for more sweet)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup dehydrated non-fat milk powder
  • To make cocoa: 8 ounces of water; and whipped cream or marshmallows for serving

  • Directions:

    1. Place coconut sugar, salt, and chocolate in blender or food processor and pulse until a fine powder is formed.
    2. Add cocoa powder and milk powder, and pulse blender again, just until everything is incorporated.
    3. Store cocoa mix in a air-tight jar.
    4. To make cocoa: Bring 8 ounces of water to a boil. Whisk 2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa mix with the water until dissolved. (To get the froth shown in the images, use a hand-held milk aerator). Pour cocoa into mug, and top with whipped cream or marshmallows as desired.


    Tips for Paleo & Primal Camping

    One of my favorite things to do in the summer is pack up the car and head to the mountains. My favorite sport is rock climbing, so most summer weekends we're out in the hills pulling ropes (and our bodies!) up climbing walls. There's lots of climbing locally, but sometimes it's nice to get a change of scenery, and unplug. That's where camping comes in! Since our main objective is climbing and not necessary hiking, we almost always car camp (i.e., pack up the car, park it at a camp site, and then pitch out tent a few feet away). Over the years we've honed our camping meal strategy. This has taken time, because most of the classic camping fall backs are out when you follow a mostly Paleo diet: oatmeal, granola bars, sandwiches, hot cocoa mix, and s'mores. 

    So here is what we've tried and tested over the years! My tips for eating paleo while living out of a tent.

    1. If you're going to be camping often, you'll probably want to invest in some camping kitchen gear.

    Here's a list of the tools I bring with me to go car camping. Obviously many of these things are too heavy to take backpacking, but it's a good starter list to have in mind. (Please note that the links below are affiliate links. I have used and recommend these products!) 

    • Cooler to keeps vegetables, proteins, and other food fresh. This is the best cooler I've found (It keeps ice frozen in the desert for several days! Definitely worth the extra pocket change, especially if you can split the cost between a group of campers).

    • Camping stove - while I've used the tiny single-burner alpine stoves before, I prefer to be able to boil water for tea and cook breakfast at the same time, so I generally bring my 2-burner propane stove. We recently got an adapter that allow us to use a refillable tank of propane (goodbye little green bottles!)

    • A lighter (While my camping stove has a igniter, it doesn't always work in the wind, and back up is needed)

    • A pan or two - I recommend a cast iron skillet and a medium sauce pan, each with lids. The sauce pan is good for boiling soups, water for tea, or steaming vegetables. The skillet is good for just about everything else. While cast iron is heavy, I prefer it because a well seasoned cast iron doesn't need to be washed (that's awesome all the time, and extra awesome while camping)

    • A Metal spatula or wooden spoon with a flat edge

    • A small jar for keeping coconut oil

    • A large jug to hold a lot of fresh, clean water

    • A knife - we actually retired an old kitchen knife set and made it our camping knife set. They come with plastic blade guards which is really handy when we pack up -- we don't have to wrap the blades in a towel or anything.

    • A dish cloth (or two!)

    • A french press

    • Silverware (sporks are great)

    • Mug or thermos (if you bring just mugs, they can double as cups for cold drinks... If you bring just cups, you might burn your hand if you put a hot drink in!)

    • Large jug for water for drinking, cleaning, and cooking (fill it up at home)

    • Plate or bowl (or just eat straight out of the skillet ... less dishes!)

    • A cutting board (I bring a cheap wooden cutting board found at TJ Maxx)

    • Trash bag

    • Flexibility! (If you're anything like me, you'll forget something and will have to improvise)

    2. Breakfast is the easiest for us. 

    Have we talked about my love for breakfast? Eggs for breakfast in particular. Usually, when I'm camping, it means I'm going to spend my day doing something that requires a lot of energy so getting a solid breakfast is important. Luckily, it's pretty easy to bring eggs along when car camping. I usually pack the eggs in a sturdy egg carton and keep the carton in the cooler. 

    For me, camping is a way of getting away from everything, and part of that simplicity comes through in my meals. I almost never plan a fancy meal when we're camping. Some weekends, whatever is in the fridge goes into the cooler and whatever ends up in the cooler goes in the skillet to make a luxuriously lazy breakfast for two. And it always tastes amazing, because being in the wilderness has a way of making everything delicious

    I have also made a giant pancake in out skillet, by mashing together bananas and eggs. Yum! Add in some chocolate chips!

    Luxuriously Lazy Paleo Camping Breakfast Skillet for Two:

    1 four-ounce breakfast sausage 

    1 tablespoon coconut oil

    1/2 white onion

    2-3 cups chopped quickly cooking vegetables (TIP: If you know ahead of time what you'll be cooking for each meal, chop your veggies before you leave and put them in a zip lock.)

    4 eggs 


    1. Heat the coconut oil in the skillet. My camp stove only has two heat levels (insanely hot and off), but I do my best to get a medium sized flame.

    2. Place the sausage in the skillet and cover. Once it has browned on one side, turn it. 

    3. Slice the onion, and add it to the hot pan. Slice the vegetables. Once the onions are soft, add them. Put a lid on the skillet and allow the vegetables to cook until soft. Stir occasionally. 

    4. Once the vegetable are cooked through, use your spatula or wooden spoon to push them (and the sausage) to one side of the skillet. If the pan is dry, add a bit more coconut oil. Crack the eggs into the pan. At this point I often turn off the stove, put the lid on the skillet, and allow the residual heat to cook the eggs. 

    5. Serve hot with salt and pepper! 


    3. Lunch on the trail: Keep it simple.

    Lunch on the go has to be simple. We usually eat "at the crag" (the base of the rocks you are climbing) between pitches. I find canned fish to be the most satisfying lunch that is easy to eat anywhere. We bring romaine lettuce and make tuna (or salmon, or sardines) wraps, or packets of mustard and create tuna salad.

    On longer camping trips, I get sick of eating canned fish every day. On these days I'll bring sliced cheese and hard salami, or nut butter and celery. There are also some grain-free bar options that are great: Epic Bars are pretty dang good, and I'm a fan of LARABARs. The mini ones make for a tasty dessert. Homemade Coconut, Nut Butter, and Honey "No Granola" Bars or almond flour chocolate chip cookies are even better.

    I usually pack a bit of trail mix to nibble on, as well as an apple or grapefruit. And water! 

    4. Flex your creative muscle at dinner.

    We have some defaults when it comes to camping dinners. If we have grass-fed burger patties, that's one of the easiest things to whip up, with a side of sautéd sweet potatoes and a cabbage leaf as a wrap.  

    But over the years, we've gotten more creative with our camping meals:

    1. We've made some really satisfying curry bowls on the road. Use this Butternut Squash Coconut Curry recipe, but make things easy on yourself by combining the spice blend at home (keep in a small ziplock or jar) and chopping the veggies at home (keep them in ziplocks).

    2. Have a grill? Assemble these shrimp and pineapple skewers ahead of time, so all you have to do is throw them on the heat.

    3. Foil packet dinners are great if you are looking to cook directly in the fire. Make it fajita style by wrapping peppers, onions, chicken, and potatoes in foil with salt, pepper, and taco seasonings. Cook until the potatoes are soft (be careful around the fire!)

    4. Beef korma is easy because it only takes a few ingredients, but half the recipe if you're only cooking for two so that you don't have to deal with leftovers.

    5. My dad has been know to make Tagine at the camp site. This is a bit too time consuming for me after a day of climbing, but if you plan ahead you can mix together you spices in a single jar, and chop your veggies, making it much easier to cook once you're out in the wilderness

    5. Always end things on a sweet note! 

    This doesn't have to be fancy. My personal favorite: A bottle of wine, a bar of chocolate, and apples are perfect for passing around the camp fire. 

    But if you are looking to impress, there are some delicious campfire desserts, too:

    1. Banana Boats: get a banana, and with the peel on slice into it the ling way, and stuff it with chocolate, coconut, nuts, etc. Wrap it in foil and heat it up until the chocolate is fully melted. Unwrap and use a spoon!

    2. Plan ahead and bring brownies. You can make brownies in a skillet on the stove, too, but I have yet to test this.

    3. Bring a bowl of truffles, and pass them around.

    4. Make your own hot cocoa mix.

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