• Taylor Glenn

A Campsite Thanksgiving

What are you thankful for?

Thanksgiving is a holiday built around that very question. And after my trip to the Grand Canyon in October, I felt extremely grateful for all the beauty that surrounds us in the natural world outside our doors.

So I felt it would be appropriate to spend Thanksgiving in Sequoia National Park! The experience did not disappoint

Lemon and I packed our bags and head north towards the giant redwood trees. Most of the campgrounds are closed for the winter, so we first stayed in a campground in the lower Foothills section. It was a sketchy road to get to it, but once we did we settled in nicely and laid our sleepy heads to rest. 

We woke up the next day to fresh air on a wonderful Thanksgiving morning.

Now, normally Thanksgiving day is filled with tons of food preparation. Multiple people milling around a house, trying not to step on children as you anxiously cook the turkey, pies, and sides to delicious perfection.

Our simple Thanksgiving on a campground was a totally different story. Since it was just me and Lemon, we didn’t need to feed a whole family of 

mouths. So without the crazy food prep taking up our day, we headed out towards a beautiful hike instead!

The Dinner

We all know one of the most important parts of Thanksgiving is the food. So I was determined to make a quality campground version of a Thanksgiving feast. To make it feel complete, I wanted to make sure I had:

-Mashed Potatoes and Gravy -Sweet Potatoes -Green Beans -Stuffing -Turkey substitute (I don’t eat meat, but I wanted something close!) -Apple Pie

Looking at this list, I realized something: A lot of these are usually baked. Crap.

Luckily, cooking while camping is one of my favorite things to do, and I knew exactly how to make it work. Here’s how I did it:

Let’s start with the sweet potatoes. With my little condensed pots n pans set in hand (which is adorable by the way, you can get it here

I boiled the sweet potatoes with a little cinnamon. Delicious!

Green beans are easy. They come in a can, so I just heat those suckers up on the stove the same way. Boom. Showed them who’s boss.

As I already said, I don’t eat meat, so turkey was out of the question. Instead, I figured I could cook some tofu on the stove. Pretty simple and with some spices and the gravy it did the trick for me! Now, if I had been a hardcore turkey fan, this would’ve been much harder. I would’ve probably tried to do something with a dutch oven. But for me, I was happy to have tofu instead! 

Next, mashed potatoes. I knew I already had sweet potatoes, so I wanted to mix it up a bit. Instead of making regular mashed potatoes, I decided to substitute in mashed cauliflower. Some of you may be scoffing at the sound of that, but believe me, when I make them they are delicious! I make them all the time at home, and the process is basically the same:

I boiled the cauliflower just like the sweet potatoes. They don’t take long to become nice and soft. Then I mashed them up with my fork (At home I stick them in the blender to make them extra smooth, but the fork did just fine at the campground).

You could stop there, but to make them a bit creamier, I added a scoop of greek yogurt. It makes a huge difference! Finally, I topped them off with some delicious Ranch seasoning from Flavor God (seriously worth it, but you could easily substitute garlic salt instead!)

Mashed potatoes are nothing without gravy, and mashed cauliflower follows a similar rule. I had a pretty difficult time figuring out how to make gravy while camping, especially as someone who doesn’t eat meat. I’m also not a big fan of mixes. So I improvised.

I sautéed mushrooms and onions for a bit using my little backpack full of cute cooking utensils (seriously, how cute is this?)