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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Primus Firehole 100 Camp Stove Review - Camp Cook Week Day 2

This post is part of a series of weekly gear reviews. Check back most Wednesdays for reviews of cool gear for outdoor families.

Welcome to Camp Cooking Week! We'll be cooking outdoors all week long so come back tomorrow for more outdoor cooking tips and tricks.

Day 2 - Primus Camp Stove

As part of Camp Cooking Week we had to put in a review of our new Primus Firehole 100. We purchased this stove this summer after looking for a lighter, more compact option than the Camp Chef one we had before.

The Primus is a two burner option with built in electrical start. It takes 1lb propane bottles which are easy to find at most camping supply stores. The supply hose conveniently recesses into the base keeping it clean and not lost.




The surface area available for cooking is slightly smaller than other comparable two burner stoves, making it hard for two large pots to fit at the same time. Mostly Mountain Dad and I use a griddle when we're camp cooking and maybe our family is just getting bigger, but it's hard to cook all the food we need for a meal at the same time. I like the magnetic side panels on the stove as well as the built in handle on the front.

The Primus Firehole 100 costs $149.00 on Amazon.


Pros:
  • Cleanup is easy with a solid base below the burners.
  • Piezo electric start is super convenient, although other reviews say it can be finicky we haven't had that experience.
  • Easy set up. Magnetic side panels stay up well.
  • Compact enough for car camping. Sturdy construction
Cons:
  • Knobs need a mark to show when they are on or off. When I used it on our most recent campout I turned the knobs all the way one way to turn them off but since we had run out of propane I actually turned it all the way on but didn't know. Just a little mark on the knob would fix this issue.
  • Does not have adjustable feet, but Mountain Dad fixed that for less than $4.00. (see below)

Mountain Dad figured out a great fix to make our Primus Firehole 100 adjustable. Check it out the full article on instructables.com.

If you have ever cooked eggs on a two burner camp stove, you know how nice it is to have a nice level cooking surface. This is often more difficult than you think as seemingly flat surfaces, like this log bench I made, are not actually entirely level. Having adjustable feet on your camp stove is a nice feature and means you don't have to use rocks, wood chips, etc to try and level your stove or cooking surface. This Instructable will show you how to convert the existing feet on your Primus Firehole 100 stove to adjustable feet, for <$5...
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Other links you might like:
Dutch Oven Cooking for Beginners - Camp Cook Week Day 1

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dutch Oven Cooking for Beginners - Camp Cook Week Day 1

Welcome to Camp Cooking Week! We'll be cooking outdoors all week long so come back tomorrow for more outdoor cooking tips and tricks.

Day 1 - Dutch Oven Cooking for Beginners

Dutch Oven Cooking makes some tasty outdoor food. I mean real good. Setting a cast iron pot directly in the coals is a great way to get some delicious dinner (or breakfast or lunch) and once you know the basics it's a fairly straightforward process.

But before we get to the food, we've got to talk heat. Dutch ovens are great at staying warm for a long time, but getting them warm takes a while. We start our charcoal briquettes in a chimney, a nifty metal tube with space at the bottom for a small fire. This heats the coals quicker - in 15 to 20 minutes - just enough time to get your ingredients together.


So the coals are heating, the ingredients are prepped, now it's time to crunch the numbers. Anything you can bake in an oven or cook on a stovetop you can make in a Dutch Oven as long as you heat things up right. A quick guide I've heard for how many coals you need - take your diameter and multiply by two. One third go on bottom, two thirds on top. Our dutch ovens are 12 inches so we need 24 coals total, 16 on top, 8 on bottom. Here's a convenient chart from Dutch Oven Mania that gets more precise.

Photo from www.dutchovenmania.com
You put down some hot coals, put your dutch oven on then add more coals to the top. How long until you can eat that mouthwatering meal? Dutch oven cooking is for the patient. Most recipes require at least 45 minutes of cooking time, rotating the oven and lid every 10-15 minutes for even heating. You may not want to wait so long for dinner, but there's a benefit for having your food cooked this way - it stays warm for hours. The cast iron in a Dutch Oven holds its heat well so going back for seconds is never a problem.


You've waited patiently but now your ready to eat! How do you get those coals off without getting ash in your food? Trust me, it's happened. Dutch Oven Cooking works best if you have the right tools. We suggest a Lid Lifter, Tongs, Chimney and Fireproof Gloves to make Dutch Oven cooking a burn free, ash free process. Dutch Ovens get hot!

Dutch Oven Cooking is a great way to eat outdoors because the food is so delicious, but it takes a while and those ovens can be heavy. 

Pros
  • Baking - not many outdoor cooking options can do this easily.
  • Food stays warm a long time.
  • Delicious food. Really, really good.
Cons
  • Heavy - you'll be getting a work out.
  • Clean up can be messy, a food scraper helps.
  • Time. Dutch ovens are the original slow cookers.



Now you're ready to try for yourself! Here's our favorite Dutch Oven Potatoes recipe. We make it at our home fire pit several times every summer.

Dutch Oven Potatoes

Ingredients:
1 onion, sliced
1 lb bacon
4-6 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 T butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 c shredded cheese

Cut onion and bacon. Fry in uncovered dutch oven* until onions are translucent and bacon crisp. Add sliced potatoes, butter, salt and pepper. Stir. Cover and place coals. Cook for 40-50 minutes, rotating frequently until potatoes are tender. Add cheese and serve.

*Sometimes I cook the bacon and onions in a frying pan on my stove if I'm trying to speed things up.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Camp Cooking Week and Summer Snapshots Photo Essay

Next week is big around here with two big promotions on Mountain Mom and Tots. Here's what we have planned!


1. Camp Cooking week - Just in time for your outdoor meals on Labor Day! Mountain Mom and Tots will be trying as many outdoor cooking techniques as we can and posting recipes and tips each day from September 1 through September 7, 2015.

Have you ever wanted to try dutch oven cooking, roasting over a fire, or solar cooking? We'll be checking them out for you so you'll have all the info you need. Plus we're working on a giveaway for one lucky reader at the end of the week. Stay tuned.


2. Summer Snapshots Photo Essay. This year Mountain Mom and Tots is participating in an multi blogger photo essay and we need your help. Do you have a family photo that embodies the theme Seeking Adventure? What was your best summer adventure? 

Join Play Outside Guide, Kid Project, AdventureTykes, and Hiking Along in this end of summer photo celebration.

Share your photo on instagram or twitter and be sure to tag @mountainmomtots and add #seekingadventure.

Don't have instagram or twitter accounts? No problem, just email me at mountainmomandtots@gmail.com to be included. Photos must be submitted by September 7th and will be posted September 9, 2015.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Liberty Bottleworks Gear Review

This post begins a series of weekly gear reviews. Check back most Wednesdays for reviews of cool gear for outdoor families.

What are you willing to sacrifice in the name of beauty? It's a question every high heeled shoe wearer must answer, but when it comes to water bottles the answer is easy. Nothing.


Liberty BottleWorks is an American company with some really awesome water bottle designs. Their cute and colorful array of stainless steel bottles instantly caught my eye at Outdoor Retailer and they were kind enough to give me some samples to review.


My Hawaiian flower Liberty bottle and the kids Blue Narwhal Liberty bottle have quickly become favorites at our house. I just feel cool carrying it around because it's beautiful and eco-conscious. The factory at Liberty BottleWorks strives for a zero waste footprint, the bottle is made of recycled aluminum and 825 plastic bottles are kept from a landfill with each aluminum bottle purchased.


The cost of each aluminum bottle is $23.00. Here's the run down on these eco-friendly bottles.

Pros:

  • Amazing designs. Their display of bottles was like a rainbow in stainless steel.
  • BPA free plastic liner prevents any metal taste.
  • Cool flip top lid.
  • USA made. Their company is proud to employ veterans and previously unemployed workers.
  • Made from recycled aluminum.
Cons:
  • Not Dishwasher safe.
  • Regular cap (not flip top) requires two hands to open. Not a big deal unless you want to use it driving or while holding an infant.
 

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