Becoming Outdoorsy

by Andie Mitchell on August 20, 2010

I wasn’t an outdoorsy kid.

“Andrea, want to go outside?”

Putting down the remote in a frantic motion, “Wha—is the ice cream truck out there?! Jesus I thought I heard somethi-”

“No, just to play.”

“Oh ha, no thanks. Blossom’s on in four minutes.”

And so it went. Why go to summer camp when Salute Your Shorts let me pow wow in the comfort of my air conditioned den? I bet Camp Anawanna didn’t get seconds of orange sherbet. Why scuff my L.A. Lights? Why squint into the sun while NBC adjusted the screen brightness as the kids from Bayside High spent the summer in Hawaii? I already lost my Oakleys.

I just didn’t want to play a game that didn’t begin and end with a princess tiara, lime green nail polish, or fake money and a phone to dial my potential dream dates. Trees and grass were for the birds, literally.

Sure I ventured outside. To sticks and dirt and rocks big enough to pretend I was braving the rough terrain of the Oregon Trail. That damn small pox. Lost my whole wagon. I befriended animals, spied ant hills, muddied my knees. I built forts, carried walking sticks, and hid- somewhat successfully- behind trees. There were only so many trees that didn’t look like a vertical line in front of my circle shape.

But I liked the man-made space best. Nature pointed out all the ways I was different. All the bummers of my bigness. I couldn’t climb. Couldn’t run very far or very fast. Couldn’t comfortably capture the flag when sweat felt like a salt rinse in my eyeballs.

I didn’t even learn to swim until I was 7 or 8, I don’t think. Because who really wants to experiment in the deep end when you’re picturing yourself as an anvil dropping into a bed of feathers? I doubt anvils float.

Today I love being outside. I walk to and from work everyday and drive very little on the weekends. If only I could tell my younger self, the one who would have thumbed her way into an unmarked, window-less white van for a ride to school, that one day I’d relish the time spent striding to work… she’d probably laugh so hard that her second bowl of Corn Pops spilled on the rug.

I respect my littler self. She had a hard time with those red mesh pinnies in gym class, her hair frizzed upon contact with even one percentage point of moisture in the air, her legs chafed when she ran all out in tag, and she looked at a beach ball as a twin rather than a toy. I love that girl, I am that girl.

At 25, I’ve become closer Bear Grylls in my own version of Man Vs. Wild. I feel alive in nature. I prefer crisp air to conditioned, fiery red skies over fluorescence, the energy that’s sparked outside. But I still can’t climb the monkey bars, my sprint would still come in second to a tortoise, and my hair still looks like Jessie Spano in humidity. And if Saved By the Bell: The College Years is on, sister’s stayin’ indoors.

Buffalo Turkey Sliders

These itty bitty turkey burgers stay moist due to the addition of minced onion, celery, and hot sauce. I laid them on a bed of baby greens, shaved carrots, and cucumbers and topped the bowl off with blue cheese crumbles and chopped scallions. The rich and creamy cheese offsets the heat of the buffalo sauce and the crisp vegetables provide a refreshing crispness. Altogether, a perfect combination of flavors.

Barely a Set of Directions:

In a small bowl, combine 1 TBSP minced onion and 1 TBSP minced celery. Add a few drops of water and cover. Microwave to steam/soften the veggies for 1 minute.

Add the softened veggies to 1/4 lb of ground turkey breast, 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning, dash salt and pepper, and 1 1/2 tsp hot sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot or Texas Pete). Mix well with your hands.

For mixture into two small slider patties.

Cook them in a small pan coated with oil and set over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side.

Pour a little hot sauce into a small bowl and dip each side of the cooked patties to coat.

Lay the buffalo sliders on a bed of baby romaine with any vegetables you’d like, but don’t forget the crumbled blue cheese. Drizzle with a creamy blue cheese dressing- recommended: Ken’s Steak House Light Chunky Blue Cheese.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman August 20, 2010 at 10:43 am

I love this because when I was a kid we just played outside endlessly. Once I became a teen, though, that wasn’t cool. I spent most of high school indoors with friends–unless we were at the beach, which doesn’t qualify as “outdoor activity” when you’re just sunning. Now I really appreciate nature.

Oh, and I also loved when the gang went to Hawaii. They were so cool. Oh, Zach.


Kelly August 20, 2010 at 10:47 am

My mom once saw a snake in our backyard, I wasn’t as outdoorsy after that. I did enjoy climbing one big rock we had though, and sledding down our hill, I heard snakes don’t like snow.

Love me some turkey burgers!


Jessica @ How Sweet August 20, 2010 at 11:35 am

Ohhh these sound delish! My hubby would eat them up too. And I’m not really an outdoors person. Never have been. Though I did play outside when I was little with friends. But… it probably WAS looking for the ice cream truck. ;)


Megan (Braise The Roof) August 20, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Yum, buffalo burgers…how can you ever go wrong with buffalo sauce and blue cheese? It’s impossible, I tell you.

I wasn’t real outdoorsy as a kid. Come to think of it, I’m still not. Camping gives me the heebie geebies. But I love walking/running/kayaking though! :)


Can You Stay for Dinner August 20, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Haha, camping makes me nervous too! Mainly because I have to pee so often that the idea of walking in the dark woods in the middle of the night gives me the willies.


Suzanne August 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I am so going to try those tomorrow night! (doing a baked potato bar tonight).


Can You Stay for Dinner August 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

YUM! Baked potatoes have to be one of my faaaavorite foods. The bar idea sounds great and fun!


Brittany August 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm


I wasn’t an outdoorsy kid either…


biz319 August 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm

You had me at Frank’s Hot Sauce!

And if it makes you feel any better -I am 42 and still really don’t know how to swim! :D


Can You Stay for Dinner August 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Aaahh Biz, so good to know someone else out there is still doing an advanced doggie paddle with me!


Sana August 20, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I was obsessed with Oregon Trail! I am pretty sure my ten year old self read everything book related to that topic. I often wished my family could take that journey. ( We would of course survive small pox)


Stephanie August 21, 2010 at 7:34 am

I love this recipe, and my boyfriend would adore it – he loves anything buffalo and w/ bleu cheese! I’m so glad I found your blog, it is fabulous and your recipes are really great!


Can You Stay for Dinner August 21, 2010 at 9:26 am

Stephanie, thank you!!


Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) August 21, 2010 at 7:51 am

I was “technically” an outdoorsy girl when I was small because my family was into hiking, backpacking, camping, you name it. But I didn’t really like being an ‘outdoorsy’ girl. I hated even going for walks…it was like pulling teeth from a st. bernard.

But then somehow I fell in love with the outdoors and now I could spend an entire vacation going backpacking. No idea how or when this happened. :mrgreen:

This recipe sounds delicious! :D


Danielle (Runs on Green) August 21, 2010 at 1:39 pm

I was the same way! I’m a LOT more outdoorsy now than I was when I was a kid. And I totally forgot about Salute Your Shorts! Nickelodean was my life haha


runningaroundnormal August 22, 2010 at 11:40 am

I would have rather played inside as a kid too. Don’t get me wrong, I played all kinds of sports, but would rather play Pretty, Pretty, Princess then hide and seek. However, my summer babysitter had a rule of no being indoors on nice days. Hmph!
I love the outdoors now, but I’m still not too keen on camping. That’s where I draw the line LOL


Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life August 23, 2010 at 9:30 am

The turkey sliders look awesome!! I used to love Salute Your Shorts-it was such a great show!


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