Lake Bistineau dates back over 200 years. It began in 1800 when several thousand acres of land were flooded due to a gigantic log jam in the Red River. Gradually, however, as the area was dredged, the lake began to drain. Then in 1935, a permanent dam was built across Loggy Bayou, creating the present-day Lake Bistineau. The dam has since been enlarged, giving the reservoir a surface area of 26.9 square miles, with an average depth of seven feet and a maximum depth of 25 feet.
Area 1 is located in the main section of the park, with cabins, and a group camp. Picnicking along the lake is tremendously popular at numerous sites equipped with tables, grills, and nearby restrooms. Several picnic pavilions are also available for larger groups. The park’s trail system encompasses nearly 10 miles of woodland trails and an 11-mile canoe trail, for visitors who want to see the park’s beauty from the water.
Combine the berries and the sugar in a bowl and let sit until the juices start to release, 10-15 minutes.
Place a grate over hot coals (or you can use a grill). Add the butter to a 12” cast iron skillet and allow to melt. Cut the pound cake into 1” cubes. Add to the hot skillet and cook, turning often, until all sides are toasted. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Sprinkle the berries over the top of the cake cubes, then sprinkle the Rolos over the top. Cover the skillet with foil and allow to sit until the berries are warm and the chocolate is melting, 5-10 minutes.
↠ Cheese selection can be highly subjective, but we prefer a mix of Sharp Cheddar, Colby, and Monterey Jack blend. You can do this yourself or pick up a bag of Shredded Mexican Cheese.
↠ If you’re using fresh ingredients like chiles, onions, or uncooked meats, you’ll want to saute them first and make sure they’re cooked thoroughly before building your nachos.
↠ The fresher the ingredients the better your nachos will taste, but this meal can also rely heavily on canned pantry items like fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans, roasted green chiles, or black olives.
1tablespoonneutral flavored oil
1(7.75 oz)can El Pato hot tomato sauce, or equivalent
1cupshredded Mexican cheese blend
1(14.5 oz)can black beans, drained
4-5green onions, sliced
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1smalllime, cut into wedges
Lightly oil the bottom of a large dutch oven, to prevent the nachos from sticking.
For the first layer, evenly spread ⅓ of the chips into the dutch oven, topped with ¼ can El Pato, ¼ can black beans, ¼ cup cheese, and a handful of avocado, green onions, and cilantro. Repeat for the second layer.
For the third and final layer, use the remaining ⅓ portion of chips, ½ can El Pato, ½ can black beans, ½ cup cheese, and the remaining avocado, onion, and cilantro.
Cover the dutch oven and place on a metal grill over your campfire for about 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Serve with the lime wedges.
Unfiltered Apple Juice: Not to be confused with spiced cider, which already has all the spices blended into it. Unfiltered apple juice is just cloudy looking apple juice. The ingredient list should say apple juice (and maybe water), but nothing else.
Cinnamon Sticks: Whole cinnamon sticks can be expensive at conventional grocery stores. We’ve found Trader Joe’s to have the best prices of all the chain-grocery stores. Many Mexican and Indian grocery stores will have them in bulk for super cheap.
Mulling Spices: You can assemble your own mulling spices using whole cloves, nutmeg, star anise, and allspice, but it can get expensive. We have found many grocery stores sell pre-mixed mulling spice blends, which can be far more affordable.
Orange: Orange in apple cider? Yes! The citric acid cuts through the sweetness of the cider and really brightens the drink up a lot.
Whiskey: We used bourbon for this recipe but rye bourbon, Irish whiskey, or Canadian whiskey would all work just fine. Use a good drinkable bottle, but not too good. There are a lot of flavors going on in this cocktail and a really nice whiskey will get lost in the sweetness and spices. Our go-to bourbon is Bulliet Bourbon. It’s relatively cheap and dangerously drinkable.
Insluated Mug: While the classic blue enamel camping mugs look cool in photos (guilty!), they don’t do a great job insulating from the heat, so your mug can be too hot to hold while your drink gets too cold to enjoy. An insulating mug would be a better choice. We recently picked up these Hydroflask insulated mugs and love them.
Pot: The size of the pot depends on the size of your group. Since it’s just the two of us, we use a small saucepan. If cooking over a campfire, a Dutch oven or large pot would be a good bet too.
Strainer: Unless you want to be drinking around floating cloves and star anise all night, then it’s a smart move to bring a strainer.
Ladle: If you’re using a large pot that would be too cumbersome to pour individual mugs, then you will want to ladle to the liquid out and into the strainer.
Five Can Chili
Recipe and picture by: freshoffthegrid.com
14ozcan black beans, drained
14ozcan red kidney beans, drained
14ozcan diced tomatoes, with their juices
1canchipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeds removed (see below)
Begin by prepping the chipotles. Most of the heat in the peppers are housed in the seeds and ribs, so we strongly recommend scraping out all of the seeds before adding the peppers to the chili, especially if using the entire can. Using a fork, remove the desired number of peppers from the can. Reserve the adobo sauce. Slice them open, and then using the back of your knife, scrape out and discard the seeds & ribs. Roughly chop the peppers and set them aside.
In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and saute until they begin to soften and turn translucent. Add the drained kidney and black beans, tomatoes and their juices, chopped chipotles and the adobo sauce, beer, salt and spices. Stir to combine.
Cook the chili until thickened to your liking, about 20 minutes was perfect for us. Serve immediately with your choice of toppings (cheese, avocado, green onions, etc) and cornbread on the side!
Campfire Skillet Cornbread
Recipe and picture by: Freshoffthegrid.com
1cupcornmeal, medium grind
1cupmilk, (if using dry powdered milk: 3 tbsp powder + 1 cup water)
1/2tablespoonoil, (we used coconut oil and loved it)
In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt to combine.
Add the milk, egg, and honey to the dry ingredients. Mix with a fork until fully incorporated.
Over your campfire, heat the oil in your cast iron skillet. Swirl to coat the bottom (be sure to use something to protect you from the heat – the skillet will get very hot!). Pour the batter into the skillet, ensuring that it is in an even layer. Cover the skillet with foil, crimping the foil around the edges, or cover with a lid.
Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, then move off the head and let the bread rest (still covered) for an additional 5 minutes.
Cut into slices and enjoy with a big bowl of chili!
Easy S’mores Bars
Recipe and picture by: foodnessgracious.com
FOR THE GANACHE
1 1/2cupssemi sweet chocolate chips
FOR THE CRUST
4ouncesgraham crackers whole
2tablespoonsplus two teaspoons melted butter
1 1/2cupsmini marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly butter an 8×8 baking pan and line with parchment paper.
In a small pot warm the cream over a medium flame.
When the cream starts to bubble around the edges turn of the heat.
Add the chocolate chips and slowly stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until it becomes a thick and well combined.
Set the ganache aside to cool a little.
Crush the graham crackers to fine crumbs and transfer to a bowl.
Add the sugar and melted butter.
Mix well until all of the graham crackers are moist.
Transfer the crumb mixture to the prepared baking pan and press the crumbs down gently with a cup or any flat bottomed vessel.
Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes and then let cool.
Once the crumbs are cool, pour the ganache on top of the crumbs and spread out evenly.
Place the pan in the fridge until the ganache becomes firm.
Place the marshmallows on top of the ganache making sure to cover as much of the ganache as you can. Pack the marshmallows in but keep them to one layer.
Place the pan under a preheated broiler and broil until the marshmallows turn toasted golden in color. Do not leave them because they only take a minute or less to brown.
Cut the bars into squares and serve at once or keep in the fridge for easier cutting later or next day.