Autumn Traditions: Campfires at the Lake

Campfire Chili | Freckled Italian

At least once every summer and fall, my brother and Rob and I try get together at the lake for a fire. Summer is always fun, but I'm totally into fall campfires. A few weeks ago, we made some turkey chili, grabbed a couple of blankets, and headed outside for a cozy dinner by the fire.

I don't know if there's anything more comforting on a chilly night than a bowl of, well, chili! There's just something about the way it takes all day to simmer away on the stove that makes it feel so special. My brother and I came up with our own recipe and I'm going to be making it all fall and winter long.

Campfire Chili | Freckled Italian

Sean usually builds the campfire while I finish up the food inside, but since the chili is pretty low-maintenance, I decided to help him outside and see if I could learn a thing or two about building a fire. Here's what I learned, in case you are ever in need of a campfire but without the help of an Eagle scout:

  • Keep buckets of water or, ideally, a hose nearby. Spray down the edges of your campfire circle and any trees or bushes that are within close proximity to the fire pit.
  • Start small. Begin with thin, dry branches no larger than the size of your pinky finger. Use newspaper or dry leaves to get it started.
  • Move on to larger pieces of wood, this time the size of your thumb, twice that size, and then to the size of your wrist. Make sure you let the fire catch up before moving on to larger pieces of wood.
  • Once you get the fire going, don't be afraid to let it die down so you have a good bed of coals to work with--this is especially important if you're going to be heating up food in a pot, like our chili. If you're doing hot dogs or s'mores, though, you'll want to keep some flames going.
  • When you've decided that you're done, spread the fire around with a large stick and spray it down with water until there's no more smoke. Don't ever leave the fire unattended until it's totally out and you don't see any more embers or smoke.
Campfire Chili | Freckled Italian

Don't forget to visit the La Crema blog for my turkey chili recipe

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of La Crema. The opinions and text are all mine.

Photos by Sarah Gatrell for Freckled Italian.