While most people head south for spring break, Greg and I decided to go north this year. Unfortunately, due to extensive flooding at our favourite campsite in Oklahoma our plans were changed. On a whim we decided to follow the crowds and head south to Hill Country for a night of camping.
We woke up early to pack the car, and were greeted by not one, but two dead birds and a lizard on our door step, courtesy of kitty. Every spring our cat goes on a mass murder spree, but this year is by far the worst. After dealing with her murder presents, we finally got on the road. We took the back roads there, fearing the main highway would be crowded with cars heading south for spring break and to south by south west in Austin.
The beautiful drive through hill country was easily distracting and we ended up missing one of our turns. Before we knew it, we were in bumper to bumper traffic just outside Austin, with an hour of backtracking to do.
Finally we arrived at Krause Springs and started setting up camp. Now let me tell you, I have been camping most of my life and have had some of the greatest sleeps in a tent, laying on the ground. That is not the case when you camp in hill country. The ground is rocky, uneven, and littered with cactus. To me, an air mattress is essential when you camp down here.
So I started to inflate our new mattress and immediately heard a loud hissing noise. Naturally my first reaction was to run, in my mind I just knew a snake was in the tent! Thankfully there was no snake, just a dime sized hole in the mattress! Greg was able to patch it up with duct tape and chewing gum. He is seriously Macgyver.
We had about one hour left of sunlight so we relaxed by the waterfall and had a beer. All the chaos was completely worth that one hour of rest and relaxation. Afterwards we made some dinner on the grill and started a campfire. The stars were out full force so we brought a blanket out the middle of an open field and stargazed. We were so lucky for the clear skies and managed to see Mars, Venus and Saturn in the night sky!
Despite a few minor hiccups, our first camping trip of the year was a success! It’s only been a week since this adventure, but I’m already craving more. Oklahoma, Arkansas, and East Texas are all on my camping bucket list for the season.
Before leaving for our trip, I whipped together this vegan tapioca pudding. Dairy products are a little dangerous if left in a cooler for too long, so this was a great alternative. The base of the pudding is made with light coconut milk, it is flavored with matcha (green tea) powder and vanilla beans, and then thickened using agar agar (which is a vegan gelatine alternative). The end result was a luscious and creamy pudding that made a great healthy and low fat breakfast for our trip.
Have you been camping yet this season? Where is your favorite place to camp?
- 2 ¼ cups coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. agar agar flakes
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 cup small tapioca pearls
- 2 tbsp. matcha powder
Place tapioca pearls in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Let stand 15 minutes, drain.
Add tapioca pearls back into the saucepan and cover with two cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the tapioca is translucent and no longer white. Strain the tapioca in a fine sieve. (The liquid will be fairly thick, so rinse with water and stir with a spoon to remove some of the liquid). Refrigerate until cold.
In the meantime, prepare the pudding base. Slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the beans. In a large pot, combine coconut milk, vanilla beans, vanilla pod, and agar agar flakes. Let stand 5 minutes. Slowly bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Place the pot in the refrigerator and cool completely for at least one hour.
Once cool, the liquid will have solidified into a gel. Transfer the gel into a food processor and add the matcha powder. Pulse until smooth.
Stir the tapioca pearls into the pudding and divide into four small desert bowls. Chill for an additional 5 minutes, or serve immediately. You can serve the pudding as is, or top it with fresh fruit or non dairy whipped cream.
Store covered in the refrigerator.
Note: if you plan on bringing this pudding camping, store in a cooler with ice. I split the pudding into two sealed mason jars which made breakfast very convenient. All you need is a spoon!
Serves 4 (or two hungry campers!)
Agar Agar is a natural, vegan gelatin alternative found in most health food stores. Look for it in the Asian cooking section near the dried seaweed.