Camping Downeast (with a Southwestern flare)

Well, here we go again with two weeks elapsing between posts.  Suddenly I'm getting what everyone always said about grad school being crazy and hectic and crazy.  Yeah, that.

Anyway, waaay back in the middle of August, we headed out with a group of friends to camp in Maine!  We found a campground on the coast, and enjoyed a wonderful long weekend there.  Here's a recap of our shenanigans!

The first night, we set up before the rain came, and decided to head out to the closest college town for dinner and investigations!

NES and I have decided that Brunswick, ME is definitely on our list of places to go again soon!

I had been craving ramen for a week or so at this point, so when I saw two Japanese restaurants, I was excited.  Thankfully everyone else was happy to give into my ramen craving, and we got Japanese!  Of the two Japanese restaurants, one was packed the other somewhat empty, so we headed over to the packed one regardless of the wait.  Always go with the popular restaurant!  We were in no hurry, and it was actually a good thing we did wait, since NES and JB ran into one of their former professors from college who now lives in the midwest.  How cool is that?

I got a house noodle soup (the closest thing they had to ramen) and boy was it good.

I also tried bubble tea for the first time!  It was tasty!  The people across from me enjoyed watching the bubbles disappearing up my straw.  We are amused by the simple things.

Then came time for gelato.  NES, RMB and JAB had been to the Gelato Fiasco before, and knew immediately we'd be back someday.  There was no question.  And here we were, in a Japanese restaurant next door.  Perfect.

The first night (yes, I do need to specify), I went for a "baking" theme: brownie batter, cake batter and cookie therapy (a.k.a. cookies and cream).  Because themes are always the best way to go, obviously (and the best way to remember what you ate!).

We also wandered around downtown, and I found my new favorite store ever.  But while there, we discovered that Brunswick has a 2nd Friday event with food/wine tastings, so we left, knowing we'd be back the next night.  More on that later.

We went simple for breakfast.  We have learned over the years that making a big breakfast for 15 people takes just about until lunch time.  We did want to have adventures besides food, so we opted for easy breakfasts.  NES and I had our favorite overnight oatmeal every morning.  KEB had been my guinea pig and frozen it earlier in the spring, so I knew I could freeze the oatmeal and have it for all weekend.  It was really perfect.  And the best part was that I could save all the dishes for when we got home!

We spent the day on a long walk and relaxing around the site.  I was supposed to be reading for my exams.  I think I got 5 pages read all weekend.  Oops.

RMB, ZNS and I went walking out on the mud flats that appeared down the hill from our sites when the tide went out.  That was a pretty nifty experience.

We ate KEB and JB's lunch: veggie wraps with black bean hummus and feta cheese.  We ended up using the leftover hummus (leftover food was the name of the game for the weekend, oops!) all weekend on tortilla chips!

In the afternoon, we did indeed head back to Brunswick for 2nd Friday fun!

We got gelato again, since not everyone was there the previous evening.  We (1) couldn't deny them tasty gelato, and (2) couldn't resist getting it again ourselves!

As I said, themes make it much easier to remember what you ate . . . I think I had some sort of mint Oreo and . . . chocolate of some sort.  That.

Then we headed to my new favorite store in the world.  It's called Local.  Just Local.  They had the best assortment of cookbooks, fun kitchen supplies, gourmet groceries, fresh produce, candies, homemade bread, meats, a deli, blue and white Oriental style pottery (one of my weaknesses) and everything good.  This evening they also had a tasting of deli salads, curries and other Thai sauces, and wine.

See that pie cookbook in this shot?  I got it, intending to have it for a gift in the future, but upon looking it, I decided to keep it for myself.  I have already made chocolate pie dough from it.  But that's another story for another day.

I found another shop two doors down that was also fun.  I didn't have time to explore it fully though.  Next time.

NES, KEB, JB and I headed back early to get ready for dinner.  Our dinner was beef barbacoa tacos. I made the barbacoa ahead of time in the crockpot.  We ended up eating it cold, since I was too lazy to pull out the stove to heat it (and I was going for easy).

I brought cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, and avocados mashed with tomato pieces and lime juice (my quick and easy way of making guacamole).  

I also made a GIANT batch of Mexican orzo salad.  I doubled it, since it claimed to serve 8, and we had 15 people.  I think that one recipe would have fed 20 people.  I had so much salad.  I used my biggest bowl (think the bowl I put halloween candy in) and still just barely fit it all.  I brought some to school the week after, so they ate a bunch, and I still ended up eating it for lunch for at least a week afterwards.

I didn't add the kidney beans because I'm not a huge fan.  I also cut back on the lime a little, because 10 limes seemed a little over the top.

So that was dinner.  And lunch for more than a week.  However, I added salsa and cheese and heated it up for a couple days, and added tomato and avocado a couple others, and it really made it taste different!

Around the campfires, we mostly ate s'mores and the occasional Oreo moonpie (cresent roll dough stuffed with fillings and cooked over the fire in pie cookers) made by ZNS.

The next morning, we went out kayaking in the bay before the tide left us again.  It was beautiful out there.

RMB and JAB supplied us with Italian sandwiches.  And these were MEATY sandwiches.  They were so big they barely fit in my mouth!  Again, RMB ended up with all sorts of leftovers.  They were tasty, though, and kayaking made us hungry!

In the afternoon, we explored the peninsula and island we were on.  We found a cute little gourmet grocery store, then, to our surprise, found a lobster pound/ice cream place out at the end of the road!  We, of course, got ice cream and wandered around the rocks.  What a beautiful place!

The final dinner was PB and KS's quesadillas, to round out the southwestern theme!  They brought the makings for quesadillas: cheese, chicken, sour cream, salsa, peppers and the works.  PB was the official chef, and just as he was finishing his own, it started to rain on us.  Oops.  We scrambled to get the food covered and then under cover.  But, meanwhile, we noticed that there was a rainbow starting right in front of us in the bay.  How awesome!

So that was our camping adventure.  Most of the rest of the story involves  packing up and mini golf.  It was a fun weekend, and there was much good food!

Mexican Orzo Salad

1 16 oz. package orzo pasta
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed
1 8.75 oz. can of whole kernel corn, or the kernels chopped off of 2 ears of cooked fresh corn
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 5 limes
6 tbsp. oil

Cook the orzo according to package directions.  Drain and allow to cool.

Add the orzo, red pepper, yellow pepper, green onions, chickpeas, black beans, and corn to a large bowl.  Toss.

Add salt and pepper, oil, and lime juice.  Toss to coat.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Serves at least 8, but more likely 10-14.


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