Not Quite Camping

For the last “official” weekend of summer (oh no!!), B and I went camping. Well, not really. We rented a house in the wilderness (40 acres of land!) with 2 other couples (plus a dog and an almost-2-year-old). We had gone camping with them a few years ago, and decided to keep the tradition alive – this time, with a large house. In West Virginia.

Here it is!


Some photo highlights from the weekend: (linking up with Her Heartland Soul)

Friday night dinner – made by B and me (marinated flank steak, grilled veggies and a corn/bean/tomato/avocado salad) and dessert (custard bars with a fruit compote)


Roasting marshmallows by the fire (See, it’s like camping!)


Hiking around the surrounding area – including a river and some waterfalls

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The rocks and lake (we weren’t supposed to swim in it)






The whole group


4 random facts from the weekend:

The Tygart Lake Dam is not open to the general public.


You can’t go swimming in Tygart Lake after August 27. So we put on our bathing suits and went to go swimming but we couldn’t. (So instead we went for a “hike” down to the “beach” and back up)


One pair of Chubbies will fit three different sized men.


Asking people to make a funny face produces a pretty good photo.


Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to Tygart Lake?
  • What do you like on your s’mores?

WIAW #28: Camping Eats

It’s Wednesday…which means it’s not only Hump Day but it’s also What I Ate Wednesday!

I’m pretty excited to share with you something completely different for me – today, I’m sharing food from Saturday, when B and I went camping! That’s right, all of these meals are from my time in the woods.

For breakfast, B made some bacon and eggs over the campfire. Plus some freshly “toasted” bread. And grapes. Not a bad way to start the day!


i ate these grapes all weekend

i ate these grapes all weekend

We took a pretty long hike and by the time we stopped for lunch, i was starving!  We ended up stopping along the route and eating on a rock with a great view. Bread, cheese, veggies and meat sticks for lunch. Easy, and packed in a backpack!


Here’s a pic of our lunch WITH the view:


Dinner was once again over the campfire. While B was preparing it, I snacked on some more veggies and cheese and grapes. Come on, you didn’t think we ate ALL of that for lunch, did you?




camping dinner

And dinner was SO perfectly cooked. I don’t know how he did it, but we had potatoes, onions and steak – all made over the campfire. Such a good dinner!

Oh and don’t worry – we also roasted marshmallows over the fire for dessert. I had two…or four or five.


Some questions for you:

  1. Do you like s’mores?
  2. What is a typical “camping” meal for you?
  3. How do you like your steak? I like mine rare 🙂


That Time B and I Went Camping

B & I went on a camping trip this weekend with just one another. That’s right, a solo* camping trip. And we survived… As did our marriage!

Let me start by saying that for those of you who know me, this will come as no surprise, but I am NOT an outdoorsy person. Yes, I had my stint at Girl Scout camp and have gone camping a few times over the years, but it is never something that I would choose to do just for fun. Sleeping outdoors? No showers? Having to walk to bathrooms? Bugs? Animals? You get the idea. But I know be has been wanting to spend some time outdoors for a while, and since he bought a new tent and hasn’t had a chance to put it to use, I openly suggested we go camping this weekend because it was honestly the only weekend we had free for the rest of the summer.

Guess what? It was fun! Would it be something I’d want to do every weekend? Definitely not in the near future. But hiking with B, roasting marshmallows and enjoying homemade campfire meals were pretty great. Some highlights:

first meal there. Grilled turkey burgers (on the fire!) and salad and bread. Starting off great :)

first meal there. Grilled turkey burgers (on the fire!) and salad and bread. Starting off great 🙂

Making breakfast. Bacon!

Making breakfast. Bacon!

We're dressed for our hike!

We’re dressed for our hike!

Cucumber falls

Cucumber falls

Made it to a great viewpoint.

Made it to a great viewpoint.

B, taking in the view (shh he didn't know i was snapping a photo!)

B, taking in the view (shh he didn’t know i was snapping a photo!)

Selfie along the river

Selfie along the river

<3 Water


On an old train bridge

On an old train bridge

Cooking dinner

Cooking dinner

If you’ve never been to Ohiopyle, I’d definitely recommend it. We stayed at the state park and close enough that we were able to just do a big hike along the trails. We hiked the Great Gorge Trail to Cucumber Falls. Then we took the Meadow Run Trail around the river to downtown. And eventually we made it to the Laurel Highlands Trail. After we made it to our viewpoint, we stopped for lunch and then turned around and hiked back to the park. We had a great day – it was hot (88) but in the trails we were mostly covered and had some great shade. My legs were tired – I had run 12 miles on Friday morning – but really enjoyed the natural scenery!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like camping? Any tips for me the next time that me, a non-outdoorsy person, has to go camping?
  • Are you an outdoorsy person?

Linking up with Her Heartland Soul today again for this weekend update. Have a great week!

*I know this is technically a “couples” camping trip (since it was B AND me) but I think I like calling it a solo camping trip because couples sounds like a few couples and not just one. So a solo couple camping trip is the most correct I guess 🙂

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oreo Bars

Last weekend, B and I went camping with a few friends. Each person was in charge of bringing a specific food item, and in addition to bringing lunch for Saturday, we were slated to also share in bringing dessert. In fact, next to desserts, the list read, “Snacks & Desserts – Everybody bring some, but I have high expectations for Melissa’s desserts.”  Yipes! So the pressure was on. So not only did I bring the AMAZING cookie dough balls  (which were a hit) – but also decided to bring some Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oreo cookie bars! Who doesn’t like peanut butter AND Oreos?

peanut butter chocolate chip oreo cookie bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oreo Bars

(Inspired by Picky Palate)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg (per usual, I used 1/4 c. Egg Beaters)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 c mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c peanut butter chips
  • 2 cups mini Oreos

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar and peanut butter. Mix well.
  3. Add egg and vanilla; continue to mix.
  4. Add flour, baking soda and salt to wet ingredients, and combine until a sticky yet firm dough forms.
  5. Add chips and mini Oreo cookies and stir lightly with a spatula so the Oreos don’t crumble.
  6. Transfer dough to prepared baking dish. Dough will be sticky – I had to use my hands to spread it out on the baking dish.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  8. Cool before cutting. Serve with milk – or if you’re like me, bring on your next camping trip because they definitely traveled well!
peanut butter chocolate chip oreo bars!

it almost looks like a square pizza!

Oreo peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Ready to enjoy!

The weekend where I slept in a tent

I’m not an outdoorsy type of person. Yes, I love hiking, running, sunning myself, going for walks – but there are also a lot of things that I don’t like about the outdoors, like bugs, wildlife, dirt and nowhere to plug my phone. So when B and I hit the road Friday for a weekend of camping at Tygart Lake State Park with two other couples (Steve & Emily; Dave & Anson), I wasn’t sure how I would do. We were sleeping in a tent, on a campsite with no lights or even electricity – and no bathrooms!  How would I check Twitter and Facebook if I couldn’t charge my phone? How could I use Instagram if we had no reception?

So Friday night, I turned off my phone and unplugged – literally – for the weekend. And of course, it was amazing. The weather was perfect – cool, crisp and clear – and the campsite was great – not too crowded, had great hiking trails and a beautiful lake within walking distance.

So what did we do to keep ourselves occupied without our phones? Friday night we got in late, B put up our tent (in the dark!) and we got to Steve & Emily’s campsite just as dinner was ready. They had made dinner (yes, cooked over the campfire!) and we spent the night eating, drinking and catching up by the campfire. I slept like a baby in our tent and sleeping bag – but it wasn’t a completely uneventful evening, as two raccoons invaded Steve & Emily’s campsite, fought over a closed box of Halloween Oreos, and then destroyed it. Whoops!  Good thing I had brought some peanut butter chocolate chip Oreo bars (recipe posted soon) to share … plus we still had our s’more supplies.

Tygart Lake Hiking - Group Photo

the group – minus B and Lily – during the hike

Saturday morning we all cooked breakfast over the campfire – eggs, bacon and pancakes – and then set out to explore the campground by hiking the various trails. We probably hiked about three trails and spent almost two hours checking out the area on foot. After hiking, it was B and my turn to make our meal – we had brought chicken sausages from the West Side Market and peppers & onions. Most of us passed out after lunch, and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening doing some more walking/exploring, playing games, drinking and then cooking dinner (hot dogs!) and roasting marshmallows.

Tygart lake photo collage

Sunday, after another campfire prepared meal of pancakes, bacon and breakfast sausage (notice a pattern in our meals?), we hit the road. I survived my first real tent camping experience – including two days without my cell phone, one day without showering (this is a big deal for me), and four campfire cooked meals (I’m really impressed with everyone’s campfire cooking skills).We all had a fabulous weekend and I hope we make it an annual thing! A weekend where I can’t religiously check emails and I can wear yoga pants the whole time? Count me in.

The entire group .. including Lily the Wonder Camping Dog

Hike to Tygart Lake