Reminiscing: Camping and Cabbage Soup

Camping is like second nature to my husband’s family. I’d been dating my husband for six months and was invited along for my first camping trip. I was very excited! Camping was not something I did a lot growing up, but I absolutely loved it!

His family, along with some extended family and I were headed to beautiful East Lake in Central Oregon! One full week in the middle of August filled with sun, sand, fishing, swimming and campfires!

This trip was almost 15 years ago, but certain parts of the trip I remember vividly!

Making sandwiches and drinking soda sitting on the dock, swimming in the crystal-clear water were some great memories. You will never catch me drinking black cherry soda after this trip. Sipping on a can that shared a cooler with some freshly caught fish is something that no one should ever have to experience. Let’s just say that smelling raw fish while tasting black cherry is a combination that should never be repeated. Interestingly, my now Father-in-law had no issue with this. Said he drinks them all the time. YUCK!

Having a bear walk behind my husband and I one night while were sitting outside late into the night around the campfire! Talk about having your heart stop!

Feeding all the cute little chipmunks peanuts and trail mix, and of course CABBAGE SOUP!

Now to a 17-year-old, the thought of cabbage soup was rather disgusting! We had been told earlier in the day that auntie Dorothy would be making this for dinner and we kids were just dreading it! I’m talking, binge eating snacks and sandwiches before so we wouldn’t have to eat dinner and complaining about it out of her earshot every chance we got.

But, life is funny sometimes….

Aunt Dorothy carried this HUGE pot out of her camping trailer (I remember this because the pot was half the size of her!) and walking past us to set it on the picnic table. The smell hit us immediately! Shockingly it smelled DELICIOUS! Surely this couldn’t be the cabbage soup everyone was dreading?!
We made our way over and sure enough it was a HUGE pot of cabbage soup. I remember my sister in law and me looking at each other with this unspoken look of “do we dare try it?”

What happened next surely surprised everyone just as much as it surprised us! We ate our bowls, went back for more, and ended up fighting over the last bits of leftovers!

Unfortunately, none of us got the exact recipe from her that day or after. We always smile and think of her when we talk about that trip and her soup. So even though Aunt Dorothy is no longer with us, hopefully the version of what we remember would make her proud.

Cabbage Soup


1 package smoked  turkey sausage, sliced
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. olive oil
3 large leeks, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1 small cabbage, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced (or 4 tsp minced garlic)
3 potatoes, peeled & diced
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
Seasoning salt


Set your crock pot to low. Then cut up all your ingredients. Put leeks into a bowl of cold water and set aside for 10 minutes. This will clean all the dirt off.

Then sauté leeks and carrots in the butter in a large skillet with butter until soft. Remove and place in the crock pot.

In the same pan, add olive oil and potatoes. Cook briefly on HIGH heat to brown potatoes.
You don’t want to cook them all the way, just give them a nice sear and crust. Remove and place in crock pot.

Then add in the sausage and repeat.
Add the rest of the ingredients to crock pot. Place two bay leaves on top, nestled just into the broth. You want to be able to remove before serving so don’t stir them in.

Cook for about 6 hours on low.

Serve hot and enjoy.

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