Camp Towanda Culinary Favorites- Mexican Fiesta!

Camp Towanda Culinary Program

Camp Towanda is very excited to partner with “Kids Cook Mondays“, using some of our Camp Towanda Culinary Favorites to encourage family time in the kitchen! We experience at camp firsthand, that when kids are involved in making and preparing their food, they are more likely to try new things, broaden their horizons and eat more healthfully.  We look forward to another summer at the Camp Towanda Farm Kitchen, where our campers will improve their cooking skills, learn kitchen ettiquette and safety and create new and exciting foods and ethnic dishes.

Here is one of our favorite meals from last summer–The Mexican Fiesta! Please send us photos of your family’s own fiesta making these dishes…and think fondly of camp!

Camp Towanda Mexican Fiesta!

Refined Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

1 bag dried pinto beans
1 1/2 cups of sautéed onion carmelized
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 package of corn tortillas
2 cans of enchilada sauce
3 cups of cheddar cheese
Soak beans…preferable over night…then boil till cooked strain …reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid from the boiling

  • Sauté onions till browned…in a food processor add beans,onions , salt and pepper …pulse slowly add liquid slowly to incorporate all items
  • In fry pan add enchilada sauce heat till warm …take corn tortillas and lay in heated enchilada sauce one at a time to loosen the tortilla to roll
  • Add about 2 tablespoons of refrained bean mixture and about 2 teaspoon of cheese in center of the tortilla and roll
  • Place in a Pyrex pan…continue till filled pan…add remain enchilada sauce to top of rolled enchilada and cover with cheese…
  • Bake in over at 350 for 20 mins

Homemade salsa

2 ripe tomatoes cut in quarters
1/2 of a medium cucumber cut in quarters
1 green pepper cut up
1/2 of a piece of jalapeño
1/2  red onion..cut in quarters
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
1 teaspoon of cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to food processor and and pulse to chopped…pour in to bowl and enjoy

You can add fresh corn or beans to this recipe…and make bean or corn salsa


3 ripe avocados
1/2 cup small diced tomato
1/2 cup of small diced red onion
Juice of a half of lemon

Mix all items together mushing the avocado but leaving some chunks of avocado.

About Kids Cook Monday

The Kids Cook Monday is a project of The Monday Campaigns, a non-profit public health initiative encouraging people to use Mondays to integrate healthy behaviors into their weekly routines. When kids pitch in to make meals, they’re empowered to learn more about what they eat and make healthier choices. And since the family that cooks together eats together, the initiative encourages regular family dinners to benefit kids and help parents stay connected to their children’s lives. The Kids Cook Monday offers a wide variety of free family dinner recipes and educational resources. Visit for more information.

Past the Tipping Point

IMG_5996January 18, 2014 was the exact balanced date of number of days since camp ended until the number of days until camp will restart.  As we now start TIPPING towards the upcoming summer of 2014 (the 92nd year of Camp Towanda and our 25th year as Owners and Directors), it’s fun to reflect on some memories of 2013 and look forward to “what is IN STORE, in 20-14”! Here are some of my favorite memories from last summer:

  • Seeing everyone at line-ups
  • Dancing in the mess hall
  • On the surfboards in the lake
  • Entering the amphitheater to great music
  • The first 10 days of camp we had a thunderstorm every afternoon followed by 3 weeks of an average of hot & humid 90s.
  • The Goat Alert Alarm system was activated for the goats (actually the horses named chipmunk and donkey), rabbits and chickens (who are now producing at least 4 eggs a day). The Feng Shui of the CIT girls.
  • Trying to convert from the old wooden outdoor tables to testing the poly recycling wood tables and chairs (a big and not easy consideration).
  • Many porch and outdoor Buffet breakfasts
  • How about the Olympic scenery (from the faulty cloning factory to the fun graveyard of zombies and all the shredded paper on the floor)!?
  • They “…started at the bottom, now we’re here…” shouted the C –L- U- B, while the CITs responded with a “we started at the bottom and now we are back”!’
  • The bird dropped during Girls Sing, just moments away from possibly wrecking the Dorm’s appetite!
  • Those scary clone pictures.
  • The CITuation.
  • Yo- Yo class (Dan will be back for more in 2014).
  • Did anyone ever eat the gefitile fish and matzo supply that is in the Canteen?
  • Melton Levine pronouncing “TMF”= Too Much Fun!
  • Mitch still owes B-3 a story!
  • The YES girls from the Dillies. T
  • The Root beer Mug Club from the Wayne County Fair.
  • And, of course, more Tiki Barber Lollipops than you can eat.

As for 2014, what records will we break? What memories will we make? We can’t wait! We’re getting ready for more in 20-14.




Why kids actually EAT at camp!

Last weekend we had our “Group Scoop” orientation, which welcomes new campers to the Camp Towanda family.  It is a great opportunity for parents to get comfortable and most importantly for campers to get psyched for their best summer yet!

One question that gets raised every year by new parents is “What do I do if I have a picky eater? I’m worried he or she won’t eat.” We totally get why this issue concerns you.  Food is what keeps our kids from running on empty.  It fuels their day and can dramatically affect energy levels and moods. As parents, we cater to our kids’ eating quirks, become short-order chefs, manipulate meals and jump through hoops to keep our kids happy and their tanks FULL (we’ve all been there)!  But how can we do that at camp when we have one chef to feed over 700 people? Believe it or not, that’s where the “magic of camp” comes in!

IMG_3424Michael Thompson said it best in his book, “Homesick and Happy”:

“Family-style dining teaches patience, respect, cooperation, and skills. A communal table creates both personal flexibility and powerful-shared meanings, just as Thanksgiving and a Seder do.  The counselors, who may be twenty or twenty-one, play the traditional roles of parents; the children act as one another’s siblings. The novelty of eating with others at camp expands a child’s awareness of eating itself; learning about one another’s food quirks throws your own fears into perspective. Does a child want to be the only kid in the cabin who doesn’t eat a generally popular item? When children see other kids their age eating stuff they’ve never been willing to try at home, and they know there is no Plan B, they may be willing to try the very thing their mother has been unable to get them to eat for years.”

watermelonIt’s true! We’ve seen it happen first hand at Camp Towanda  Yes, the first few days and maybe even weeks, kids grapple with food choices.  Counselors are made aware of eating issues and “food schtick” to help them navigate the process.  Our Camp Mom Laura (also known as “Food Mom Laura”) sits with a different group at every meal.  She encourages campers to try each of the choices prepared by the kitchen…our staff does too! They put each item on their plate and encourage campers to do the same.  There are no “yucks” and “eews” allowed.  Our camp moms also walk through the dining hall, checking on campers who may need help making good choices (which is also good to help manage over-eating).

health-nutrition1Our salad bar is a great place for ‘picky eaters’ to find something they can enjoy and they are pleasantly surprised to see there is so much more than salad at the salad bar!  Reliable back-ups like plain pasta, plain bread, yogurt, fruit, granola, tuna, hard boiled eggs and PB&J are always there! We even see campers getting creative, making egg salad, tuna salad sandwiches, and cheddar cheese pasta.

When parents aren’t around to manage their kids’ quirks, kids grow leaps and bounds, conquer new fears, try new things, get out of their comfort zones and thrive.  If your kid is a picky eater, this is why you send your kid to camp!

Still nervous? Here are “Food Mom” Laura’s Tips for preparing your child for camp life:

  • Teach them how to butter a piece of bread, spread peanut butter or jelly, or butter their own pasta (a counselor will always be there to help, but this may give them confidence and feel in control that they can always have something ‘safe’ to eat)
  • Schedule a family-style meal 1x a week in your home with a food you know they like (and some foods that they don’t—they don’t need to eat them, but it’s good to keep them on the table).
  • Parents can encourage children to taste foods on the parents’ plate. Did you know kids need to try the same food at least 3x before they like it?  You can also place a small portion of a new food on their plate.  Encourage them to taste it.  Repeat this in a couple of weeks with the same dish.
  • For salad lovers out there- take them to a salad bar and have them make their own…they will love this part about camp!
  • Don’t worry…there are always fruit and pretzels available throughout the day at camp (and did we mention canteen, milk & cookies?).

IMG_9133While we know how much you LOVE being a short-order chef, we think you will welcome your NEW and IMPROVED eater with open arms in August and be surprised to hear all the foods they tried and liked.  And if they say “nothing”…well, we’ll never tell their secret about the time they ate sloppy joes at camp!




About Camp Towanda:

Camp Towanda is an independent, traditional, co-ed sleep-away camp in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. It is privately owned, operated and directed by Mitch and Stephanie Reiter (who are celebrating 25 years as owners and directors).  For over 90 years, Camp Towanda has continued to define what camp should really be. Our program offers state-of-the-art facilities, an excellent and professional athletic department, waterfront, extensive arts, drama and adventure programs, and special events.  We are highly regarded and respected as an industry leader and are involved in giving back to various organizations throughout the year.  Camp Towanda is accredited by the American Camp Association and a member of the Camp-Alert-Network, Wayne County Camp Association, Camp Owners and Directors Association and the Pennsylvania Camp Association.

To learn more about Camp Towanda, visit our website here.