Sunday, July 29, 2012


"Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,there's always laughter and good red wine. At least I've always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!"~Hilaire Belloc 

 So it's been a while since I've posted anything. This probably means no one (except maybe my kids) will probably read this. You know what, I am totally okay with that. In order to perhaps entice a few others to read this, there will be a recipe at the end that you should definitely try.
The three oldest kids and I (Brian stayed home & Mary is working up at Camp Howard this summer) just spent an amazing weekend with a group of about 65 others from St. Joseph's on a Knights of Columbus-sponsored camp-out. This was a Cove Creek Campground on the south shore of Detroit Lake about 1 1/2 hours out of Salem. We arrived Friday, promptly (well, pretty it was pretty prompt) set up the tent & headed to the group spot where our friends Bill & Ann had dinner ready for us. After eating an enjoyable spaghetti dinner, we got to meeting the others who were there for the weekend. This would be done over the ever-popular camping tradition of s'mores. About 12 families were represented with ages ranging from 2 up to ??? (I'll never ask). 
With full stomachs, we settled down for the night. Before I knew it, morning came with birds singing, children laughing and boats motoring on the lake. The kids and I lit a small fire to start the day in our site, along with some chai tea. Heading again to the group spot, a delicious breakfast of an egg/ham/onion/pepper scramble plus sourdough or buttermilk pancakes and fruit was ready for us.
After breakfast, most everyone went for a hike- 5 miles round trip up the side of a mountain. Needless to say, I stayed back at camp with a few others to "guard everything". The hikers had a great time, and we all gathered for a lunch of sandwiches with all the fixings plus watermelon and yummy brownies made by one of the younger girls, Emma. The afternoon was spent in the water of Detroit Lake- not too cold plus sunshine and blue sky made it almost idyllic.
Cleaning up ourselves after that (with a few of us trying the coin-operated showers), we headed over to celebrate Mass with Father Pitstick in the "group spot". It was really wonderful, and the towering trees made a beautiful backdrop. We also had some more families be able to join us for Mass and dinner which made the evening even more special. Dinner followed- hot dogs, 3 kinds of sausages & numerous salads plus pies that the Fordyce's brought from their farm. These were enhanced with a selection of beers, including Ellie's Oatmeal Stout from Seven Bride's Brewing (my favorite libation with sausage) and a bottle ofDi Majo Norante Sangiovese that Josh had chosen at Roth's Vista on the way out of town.
Another round of s'mores followed accompanied by Serena on guitar and singing from my oldest, Cari. We also brought out the makings for banana boats, one of our favorite camp specialties. How fun it was for me to share these with a group of people who had never tried them.

 After the younger kids headed off to bed (of which there were a large number), most of the adults and teens stayed at the campfire talking and discussing things from the artwork of Caravaggio and Bernini to Napoleon Dynamite.

Those of us who were old enough to imbibe also enjoyed some raspberry cordial (or raspberry-infused vodka) made by our "resident Kiwi", Paul. It was a wonderful way to end the evening before heading back to our tent and my comfortable air mattress.
This morning was the Keatley's family turn to cook breakfast. We had decided to volunteer for this since the kids are all old enough (Cari reminded me that this was the first time we had been camping with all of my kids being adults- remembering, of course, Mary wasn't with us). We chose to make eggs, bacon and Double-Berry Buckle. It's a take off on "Nora Richards' Huckleberry Buckle" recipe that I first got when the West's invited us to go huckleberry picking many years ago. Due to my low supply of huckleberries, I decided to use a blend of huckles & blues or huckles and kotatas that I still had in the freezer. I made six 9x13 inch pans full (using disposable foil pans which worked great) plus one 9" round gluten-free buckle for Cari and anyone else that needed it. She ended up being the only one, so she is happy with her "ready-made" breakfast for the next couple of days. The whole breakfast turned out great & everyone really seemed to like the buckle. 
We then packed everything up. Cari, David and I helped at the "group spot" while Joshua packed everything at ours into the suburban. Saying goodbye to those we had spent this pleasurable time with, we headed off towards home and the "real world". Making a stop at the Stayton Dairy Queen for a treat~ which we recommend for both their goodies as well as the great service~ we drove into Salem, deposited Cari at her apartment and arrived home to unpack while already looking forward to next year's camp-out!

I did have quite a few requests for the buckle, so here is the promised recipe to try~
Not my buckle, but a reasonable facsimile.

Double-Berry Buckle
1 cup of sugar                         1/2 cup of butter                     2 eggs 

1 cup of plain or vanilla yogurt (I like to use homemade plus you can use milk, sour cream or 1/2 & 1/2 if that's what you have)
4 cups of flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt 
4 cups berries- can use a combination of huckleberries, blueberries, Kotata or other blackberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup butter

Mix all batter ingredients well in mixer or by hand. Spoon into 9″ x 13″ pan that's been sprayed with non-stick spray. 
Combine the topping ingredients in mixer or by hand.  Sprinkle over top of batter. 
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes at 375 degrees. Sometimes this takes a bit longer to bake, so be sure to test for doneness with skewer or chopstick.