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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fun Camping Activities

Camping is meant to be a fun experience. However, you can only play poke-the-ant-hill-with-a-stick so many times before it gets a little boring. Coming up with original ideas for activities to do while camping can sometimes pose a bit of a challenge. Let's explore some fun activities you may not have thought to do while camping.  

Geocaching

If you are looking for an exciting adventure, look no further. Geocaching is the world's largest organized virtual treasure hunt. People camouflage and hide different size containers, called caches, some with toys and games inside, while others have just a little slip of paper.

The coordinates are posted online or on a Facebook page or other social media for all players to find. Others grab their GPS and try to track down the cache. Once you find the cache, you sign a log letting others know you found it and even trade out for some of the bounty inside.
Then hop back online and log your find when you get home.  

Test Your Survival Skills

So you think you can survive if you got lost in the woods? Why not test your survival skills just to make sure. Can you build a fire or catch a fish? How good are you at gathering berries and other edibles? Can you read a compass? What about setting up a shelter? Write down three or four tasks that you think would be important if you were lost in the woods. Challenge everyone in your group to try and demonstrate their survival skills by completing one or all the tasks. Be sure to include prizes to all who “survive.”  

Hunt for Treasure

While geocaching is a lot of fun, nothing beats the excitement of the possibility to stumble upon real treasure. Many of our state and federal parks began life as Civilian Conservation Corps projects in the 1930s. By using old maps and a metal detector, you can sometimes locate the old dumps from these camps. One man’s trash is another man's treasure. There could be some vintage tin cans and other objects that are intriguing and exciting to find.  


Make Ice Cream




 Play and Freeze Ice Cream Ball Ice Cream Maker
It’s difficult to bring ice cream on a family camping trip, but there are products that can bring the ice cream making right to your campsite. These activities usually involve some cream, sugar, and a little flavoring.

Basically, you pour the ingredients into a ball with some ice in the middle to keep it cold and begin shaking, throwing, and kicking to keep the ball moving.

After a little while of moving the ball around, you crack it open and voila!... you have ice cream to go with your grilled dessert. Try some of these homemade ice cream recipes. 



Marshmallow Toss

Because these fluffy treats are so light, trying to throw them very far can get rather humorous. This is a game that's easy to plan and play. Each member of your group takes turns standing at a marker and throwing a marshmallow as far as they can. The distances are measured and points are awarded.

You can also bring some golf clubs and tees and set up your game that way instead. Another fun, and silly, way to play is to set the marshmallows in a row on a picnic table and have each participant huff and puff and blow their marshmallow over the finish line. Use a Sharpie pen to decorate and “personalize” each marshmallow to keep track of who has which one, and for even more fun, too.

The great outdoors offers a lot of opportunities to have fun. Yes, there are campfires, fishing, and hiking, but sometimes you need to create something unusual to keep everyone interested and busy. Next time you go camping, try one of these activities for a little something different. With an adult's help campfire cooking can become great memories.

Go beyond the hot dogs on a stick or smores and try something a little fun and unique. 

Campfire Cooking Recipes
Campfire Desserts

 camping cookbook
Family Camping Recipes on Kindle


More Camping Resources

Campfire Cooking Recipes
Campfire Desserts
Campfire Games
Campfire Trout
Fun Camping Activities

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Meal Makeover Moms Interview

The Meal Makeover Moms are two dietitians, Janice Newell Bissex and Liz Weiss. They are two moms who are helping other families change their eating to healthy and nutritious fare.

Meal Makeover Moms have a weekly podcast as well as a mom's club you can join for free. You can also view many cooking videos Liz and Janice have put together. In their current book, The Moms’ Guide to Meal Makeovers you will learn their 5 step meal makeover plan to change your families eating.


They are a delightful pair who I enjoy listening to on their weekly podcast. They have shared some great healthy eating tips and ideas on getting started in this interview.


Thanks so much for the interview Janice and Liz!

You use canola oil to replace butter often in your recipes. Do you have other substitutes you might recommend for healthier cooking?
Yes! We typically replace half the white flour in a recipe with whole wheat flour, and sometimes add a little bit of ground flaxseed, wheat germ, or finely ground nuts for even more nutrients and fiber.

We use low-fat dairy and lean cuts of meat (such as 90% lean ground beef— or higher, loin and sirloin cuts, and flank steak) to keep saturated fat in check. We also tend to use kosher salt (Diamond Crystal kosher salt has half the sodium of regular table salt) and omega-3 eggs. We never throw away the egg yolks, since that’s where much of the good nutrition in an egg is found (things like lutein, choline, and vitamin D).


Do you have a favorite or a family favorite recipe you've made over?
Our makeover of spaghetti and meatballs is really delicious. We use lean ground turkey breast in place of ground beef, and add grated carrot, oats, ground flax seed, seasonings, Parmesan cheese, and egg into the meatball mixture.

We serve these meatballs with sauce over whole wheat blend pasta. One serving has 8g of fiber and 60% Vitamin A, but more importantly this meal is a big hit with families!


Can you share your process of creating new recipes?
When we go into the kitchen to create a recipe nutrition is always top of mind (after all, we’re dietitians!), but taste is our number one priority. As moms ourselves we realize that no matter how super-nutritious a meal may be, unless it appeals to kids in a big way, they just won’t eat it.

We look at recipes and see how we can tweak them to be healthier, tastier, and easier to prepare for busy families. Then, the fun begins with a panel of taste testers – family, friends, and neighbors – who taste the recipe and offer feedback. We tweak and retest until the recipe is well liked by the majority of kid testers.


Some healthy eating tips seem far fetched or hard to follow with kids. You have down to earth easy ideas to help moms in the kitchen. What is one way (I know there are a lot of ways) moms can implement healthy eating in their family diet? We suggest that moms make small changes that are not overwhelming (and have a big impact on nutrition). Improving eating habits one week at a time seems to work best. For example: Add one extra fruit or vegetable serving each day for the first week. Then in week two, serve one high-fiber grain food per day. Week three might involve cutting back on consumption of sugary beverages, like soda and juice ‘drinks’. By taking it slow, moms can make realistic changes that they can sustain for the long term.


You have available a great cookbook. Any thoughts on when your next cookbook will be out or a clue as to what will be included in your next cookbook.
Our first book, The Moms’ Guide to Meal Makeovers was released in 2004. The next book, No Whine with Dinner, was released in October 2010. It contains 150 healthy, kid-tested recipes as well as 50 moms’ secrets for getting picky eaters to try new foods. These tips are creative and sure to help moms who are frustrated trying to get their kids to eat a wholesome diet.

Every recipe in the book has been tested and approved by moms and, more importantly, kids across the country. Their feedback is included in the book along with photos of the testers and the recipe they tested.

We are confident that this cookbook will be the go-to resource for busy parents who are committed to feeding their families a healthy diet. More information can be found at MealMakeoverMoms.com. 

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Campfire Desserts Beyond S'mores

Yes, S'mores may be the classic campfire dessert. However, the great thing about camping is that you don't have to follow the rules, even the rule that says you must have S'mores for dessert when you are camping. Cooking over a campfire doesn't have to limit your dessert menu. As a matter of fact, a campfire can give you some of the most amazing desserts.

Desserts made at the campsite are some of the most down-home, hearty, delicious desserts you will ever have. All it takes is a few good tools and some simple ingredients and you can make a sweet treat that will surprise and delight your family and friends. Let's take a look at some of the fun desserts that you can create on your open campfire.

Peach Cobbler

Simple crust ingredients thrown over deliciously ripe peaches in a cast iron Dutch oven or deep skillet will be a beautiful and delicious treat. You don't need to be in your grandmother's kitchen to enjoy this wonderful dessert. Instead, invite Grandma to your campfire and show off your own version of her classic dessert.

You don't have to limit yourself to peach cobbler, either. Bring along any fruit or cans of any pie filling, cover with crumbles made of oatmeal, raisins, flour, brown sugar, and a little butter, for a classic cobbler of any flavor. The cast iron skillet or Dutch oven is the secret to success.

Banana Bundles

This is a classic foil wrapped dessert that campfire dessert aficionados love. Just lay out squares of heavy duty foil, then slice bananas lengthwise, not cutting all the way through, and stick chocolate pieces in, then wrap them up and put them on the campfire. Simple, yet heavenly.

However, you don't have to stop at a simple chocolate stuffed banana. Create works of dessert art by stuffing the banana with nuts, raisins, mini-marshmallows, and even mint leaves. And go beyond even that fun by wrapping bananas cut in half in a crescent roll rather than in foil. Put directly on a fine grate over very slow embers until the crescent roll turns brown and puffs up. Now you have a 'banana in a blanket' that will please anyone.

Monkey Bread

For the ultimate in campfire comfort food, Monkey Bread is a delicious way to end the day. You can make this classic treat easily by using buttermilk biscuits in a tube, cut up, then shaken with a cinnamon sugar mix and thrown into a cast iron Dutch oven. Melt up some butter and brown sugar and pour over the biscuits, then cover, and surround the Dutch oven with coals or embers and let it bake away.


To bump this classic up a notch or two, serve with a simple icing, just like cinnamon buns. It's easy to make an icing by mixing together powdered sugar and milk or water, then just drizzle over the monkey bread after you've opened it up. Then, dig in!


Camping can provide you with the opportunity to cook up some of your absolute favorite desserts or create something entirely different. Sweet desserts cooked over the campfire, enjoyed under the stars... what a great way to end the day.

With an adult's help campfire cooking can become great memories. Go beyond the hot dogs on a stick or smores and try something a little fun and unique.

Dive into a whole lot more camping information and 90 camp inspired recipes!
camping cookbook
Family Camping Recipes on Kindle


More Camping Resources

Campfire Cooking Recipes
Campfire Desserts
Campfire Games
Campfire Trout
Fun Camping Activities

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Sunday, July 1, 2012

4th of July Recipes

We have a ton of ideas and recipes for those in the USA who are celebrating the 4th of July.
Kids July 4th Recipes
Red, white and blue food ideas
Fun and Festive Ideas


~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~