Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dutch Oven Delight & Afternoon Explorations

This morning I woke up early and set to work on creating my first solo meal in my new Dutch Oven. The plan was to make Apple Turnovers- I figured that it sounded easy enough. I read through the recipe and noticed that the only thing we didn't have on hand was Mt. Dew. After a quick trip down the hill to the store I was ready.

Above Step 1, Steps 2 & 3 below. 12.18.11
First thing I attempted to do was to light the charcoal. This wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I started in a traditional charcoal starter with newspaper and lighter fluid but it wouldn't catch. After two failed attempts I pulled out a metal cake pan, lined up my charcoal and hit it again with the lighter fluid. There seemed to be some hope of it igniting but I still wasn't having any luck. It was becoming ridiculous. What was I doing wrong? My neighbor, Monte, stopped in to deliver a load of wood and miraculously was able to get the charcoal to light and stay lit. I was on my way.

Josh and Nate were still sleeping at this point so my plan was still on track. I really wanted to surprise them with a sweet and delicious breakfast. I foiled and sprayed the DO and set to work on the recipe. Rolling the apples in the croissants was easy and after doing about 12 I realized that there wasn't any way I was going to fit all 16 my 4-quart Dutch Oven. So I prepared a 8x8 pan that I would be able to bake in the oven.

Once I had melted the butter I mixed in the sugar and cinnamon. I poured it over the croissants in the DO and the 8x8. It was a gooey delight. Then I topped the whole thing off with a bottle of Mt. Dew.

When the coals were ready I counted out the number I needed for the top and the bottom and got it situated on the gravel. It's amazing how much there is to cooking in a Dutch Oven. I really learned a lot in the Dutch Oven Cooking course I took at the Becoming An Outdoor Woman Workshop and this was my opportunity to put it to use.

After 15 minutes I turned the top 1/4 clockwise and the bottom 1/4 counter clockwise. I did this two times to make sure that the heat was even. Then it was done.

Apple Turnovers! 12.18.11
By this time Josh and Nate were awake and making coffee. They were starting to split wood when I came out with bowls, forks and a spatula and served up golden brown Apple Turnovers. They were perfectly cooked and incredibly sweet. It was really satisfying that they came out so well.

After eating breakfast, the guys split and stacked the wood and I set to cleaning the house. After a couple hours and some serious team work we had all the work done. It was adventure time!

We hopped in the Jeep and headed out to Camp 5 Road to check the status of our geocaches. The road was snowy but we weren't the first ones to travel this way. After checking the first cache we headed up to our second one. The road here was a little more tricky and we couldn't make it all the way so we parked close and hiked up through the snow, making our own path. Wu blazed the trail, then Josh, then me, then the new pup, Samsquanch before Nate. The puppy was on his first real adventure and he was having fun. He would later take a long, satisfying nap to recover.

Josh & Nate at Cache #2. 12.18.11
Both of the caches were in good shape and unaffected by the snow. Awesome. Getting to each had been easier and quicker than we had thought and we wondered what to do with the rest of our day.

We headed towards I-90 and turned onto Cooke City Road. It's a small back highway that leads to Whitewood. It winds through prairie and forest all the way there. It was a perfect day to drive with the windows down and enjoy the fresh air. While on our cruise we decided to find a couple geocaches that other people had put out. There were quite a few that would be on our loop home.

The first geocache was west of Whitewood and located across from the Frawley Ranch North Entrance. It was a small cache and a fairly easy find. Before we knew it we were back in the car and on our way. Our next stop was at a small bridge a few miles down the road. With the sun quickly setting we checked the hint; nuts. We were thinking that it was in a tree until we saw all the hardware on the bridge. All three of us were looking with our eyes wide open. We finally found a tiny micro cache and were delighted when we realized it was disguised as a nut and bolt. It was the coolest container we'd ever come across. After logging our visit we headed home.

It had been a long and busy day and it was time to fill our bellies and watch a movie or two!

Today's Recipe.... 
Courtesy of The Patrick Sisters

                                    Apple Turnovers

               2 large granny smith apples (big enough for 16 apple slices)
               2 10oz cans crescent rolls
               1 c butter
               1 ½ c sugar
               1 tsp cinnamon
               12 oz can 7 up or mountain dew

     Cut apples into wedges. Separate dough into triangles and place 1 apple wedge on each piece of dough.  Seal the edges of the dough and place in 14 inch Dutch oven that has been sprayed with Pam, lined with tin foil and sprayed again with Pam. Stir butter, cinnamon, and sugar and heat until warm. Pour butter mixture over turnovers and then pour can of soda over all. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes at 350 degrees (17 coals on top and 11 on the bottom). Top with powdered sugar icing after baking.

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