Camp Cookery - Jambalaya


1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 pounds sliced sausage

1 pound shrimp

1/2 onion diced

1 cup diced bell pepper

1 cup diced celery

1/2 teaspoon cajun seasoning

1 cup rice

14.5 once can diced tomato

1/4 teaspoon diced thyme

2 cups chicken broth

bay leaves

first things first, i totally disregarded the portioning i had planned on using. this is one pot meal cooked in a cast iron dutch oven, it is very forgiving, and when cooking for a big group; the more food the better.

start your fire well before you plan on cooking, you'll need a solid bed of hot coals to get this dish cooked. it'll take a while for the fire to get to this point so i used that time to start chopping the veggies and slicing the sausage. when the coals are ready place the dutch oven on a stable portion and pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom. 

once the oil is good and hot throw in your sliced sausage and let that cook for two minutes or so. next up, toss in celery, onion, bell pepper and cajun seasoning.

cook until the vegetables become tender. then goes the rice, tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and chicken broth.

the only issue i ran into was at this point was needing to constantly add more chicken broth while the dish cooked. whether it was because i payed no attention to the amount of ingredients i threw in or because the fire was hotter than it should have been, i'm not sure. either way, constant stirring and tasting will let you know if more liquid is needed or not. at this point everything is cooked so i was just waiting on the rice. 

when the rice seems just about done (ten minutes for me) throw in the shrimp, cover and let cook for an additional two minutes. that's it, pull that sucker off the fire, remove the bay leaves and serve!

lessons learned: wash the oven immediately, with the libations flowing i neglected to clean it right after cooking. i spent a fun hour the next evening scraping caked on jambalaya off the bottom of the cast iron.

*sure is nice being on the other side of the camera sometimes. big thanks to lauren simpson for the bulk of these shots(click for portfolio)*

Mustang Island State Park

"you can't be your best self until you find your tribe."

i have never felt more a part of something in my life than i have with this group of people. i have never felt more care come from people than i have with this group. i have never felt more concern come from people than i have with this group. i have never felt more enthusiasm come from people than i have with this group. i have never felt more love come from people than i have with this group. 

these folks took me in when i needed it the most and they didn't even know it. no questions. people who were genuinely interested in what i had to say, and more importantly what i didn't have to say. people who would sacrifice their own time to make sure i was having a good time.

people who would bear their souls to me with no expectation that i would do the same (even though i did). people who are always ready to have a good time, but understand the importance of embracing sorrow and heartache when it comes around. people who are nothing but sincere with their words and actions, sincere, so sincere. 

i have found my tribe in these people; and everyday they help me become my best self. 

*shot with the help of lauren simpson (click for portfolio)*

Mustang Island, Texas

we had high hopes of camping at padre island national seashore this weekend, at seventy miles it is known for being the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world. unfortunately as soon as we drove up to the beach we were greeted with deep soft sand, something we couldn't tackle with our small car. so we turned around and headed to the always reliable mustang island, but we shall return someday when we have a four wheel drive vehicle. 

after cruisin' the packed beach for a suitable spot we set up camp and cooled off by jumping right into the waves; well as much as you can cool off in the waters of the gulf coast in the middle of summer. 

the night was spent swimming under the star filled sky and around the camp fire where hot dogs, s'mores and stories were shared.