You may have noticed the See Me@CampBlogAway badge on my sidebar, announcing that I am sending myself off to food blogging camp. It was really a no-brainer for me, registering early for a long, three-day weekend in the mountains of Southern California, jam-packed with classes and workshops about various blogging topics. Although I've come a long way since launching There's a Newf in My Soup last June, I have so much more to learn. I'm confident this conference will provide me with some valuable tools of the trade designed to further develop and sharpen my blogging skills, as well as an opportunity to mingle with the panel of experts, form friendships, and partake in some good, old-fashioned summer camp activities. There's still limited space left for this Premier Bootcamp for Food & Recipe Bloggers, scheduled for May 14-16, and I encourage you to check out the details, here.
I caution you, however, as I understand our accommodations are a bit on the "rustic" side. We aren't sleeping on the ground, in tents, but we may as well be. Envision multiple bunk beds per bunkroom, with multiple bunkrooms per cabin. We must provide our own linens and towels, and are discouraged from fussing over hair and make-up. I don't know about those who are flying in for the conference, with baggage restrictions and all, but my little Z's trunk will be stuffed to the brim with all of the comforts of home - feather bed, Italian sheets, down pillows, faux fur throw, and my Hotel Del bathrobe! I may be sleeping in a bunk bed, but my bunk bed will be properly and cozily adorned.
As far as hair and make-up, I'm fine with throwing on a baseball or cowboy hat to disguise the bad hair days, and I'm also willing to limit my make-up to a flick of the mascara wand and a smidgen of lipstick..just in case a rugged cowboy in tight jeans happens to ride across my hiking trail.
Ok, here's the scoop, and this is where I NEED your support. Registered Camp BlogAway attendees were recently challenged to a little contest. Winners of this contest receive a PRIVATE room, with a SOLO, full-sized bed. The rules of the GIMME A PRIVATE ROOM & BED competition require us to publish a blog post, showcasing our take on going to camp at this stage of our life, referencing Camp BlogAway in the post, and linking to Camp BlogAway's website, here. If you haven't clicked on the numerous links provided thus far, please do so now, here. Thank you!
Judging is based on two elements: 1) Creativity/Entertainment value of the post, and 2) Number of hits to the Camp BlogAway website, here, referred from the attendee's blog. Patti Londre, the force behind Camp BlogAway, and her husband, Larry, are marketing pros, can you tell? Larry will be judging the posts. Hi Larry! What a great idea to get the word out to as many foodies and food bloggers as possible and fill up those sought-after bunk beds, one of which will be mine because I will be snuggled in a PRIVATE room, with a SOLO, full-sized bed!
I have a few faded memories of my childhood, Girl Scout camping experiences. When I think of down and dirty camping in the woods, sleeping in sleeping bags on the ground, and cooking over a campfire, I think of a pot of beans. Even as an adult, I often find myself craving foods I enjoyed while growing up. So, in honor of those memories, and Camp BlogAway, my cowboy and I recreated a childhood favorite to share in this special GIMME A PRIVATE ROOM & BED post: Beanie Weenies! I plated these special Beanie Weenies with beautiful, antique Graniteware pieces from my friend Julie's collection...
Gourmet Beanie Weenies
Double Batch, serves 6-8
2 14-oz. packages Lit'l Smokies
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chile powder
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1/4 cup stout
2 28-oz. cans Bush's Best Bold & Spicy Baked Beans (these are already flavored with cilantro, cumin, brown sugar and bacon)
5 oz. baby Spinach
In a large saute pan, brown Lit'l Smokies over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add olive oil and saute shallot for a minute or two. Add cumin and chile powder and saute for another 30 seconds. Add vinegar and stout, then add beans. Bring to a simmer and return Lit'l Smokies to the pan. Continue simmering for another 10 minutes. Just before serving, add spinach and gently incorporate until wilted.
Ok, back to the contest at hand...
My idea of going to "camp" at this stage of my life has taken on new meaning since discovering "camping" at two luxurious guest ranches, The Home Ranch in Clarke, Colorado, and Triple Creek Ranch, in Darby, Montana. According to Merriam-Webster, one definition of camp is "a place usually in the country for recreation or instruction often during the summer." Ha! These ranches technically qualify as "camps" in my book, the kind of "camping" vacation I can do over and over, and the kind of "camping" I deserve at this stage in my life! These camps are all about luxury, food and wine, and connecting with nature, all while savoring the finer things in life!
The Home Ranch offers fly-fishing recreation and instruction, and the chef will even cook your catch of the day for dinner! My private fly-fishing instructor provided exceptional instruction, enabling me to land this nice rainbow trout.
Triple Creek Ranch offers wine weekends, wine-pairing dinners, and artist and photography workshops. Here I am enjoying a little after-dinner wine tasting recreation...
And, most importantly, here I am savoring a bit more wine tasting recreation before retiring in a plush, king-size bed...No bunk beds at this place!
So, I beg of you, don't send me off to Camp BlogAway, destined for a bunk bed with a cardboard mattress, in a bunkroom full of bunkmates! Besides, what if I decide to bring one of the Newfs along for the ride up the mountain with me? Dooley will definitely require that private room and larger bed!
All kidding aside, I'm sure the accommodations at Camp BlogAway will be just fine and I look forward to a memorable weekend of learning and slumbering amongst the gals! Besides, there are hot tubs, massages, AND we can bring our own wine, so I don't anticipate a problem in relaxing enough to fall asleep ;-)
Thank you for indulging me! See you at Camp BlogAway! Please click here!
What is your ultimate "camp" destination at this stage in your life? What food comes to mind when you think of camping?