Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Tag: family

Blueberry Scones Over Melted Peaches

I have longed for summer fruit since December. The stock of homemade jams and frozen fruit vanished before the new year. I was fortunate to discover a U-Pick strawberry and blueberry field close by.  The kids went hog wild filling up buckets of fresh picked […]

July Resolution How to Have FUN

Photo: Dancing in the Rain, courtesy of Photo Bucket Someone once told me they were leery of overly happy people because they must be hiding something. I think that there are individuals out there who are genuinely happy. The faults of life roll off their […]

Family Campout Tips and Checklist

El Capitan at Yosemite National Park

Photo: El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

While I love living in our time period and the technology that we are blessed to have I feel it refreshing to escape the fast paced world of video games and internet to reconnect with nature. I feel like a day hiking in a glorious place like Yosemite resets my mind and puts everything back into a clearer perspective. Pricey decorations, the internet, cell phones, shopping and all other modern day distractions are of no importance. There is a brilliant ecosystem out there that when righteously tapped into is the best $20 stress medication one can buy.

When my siblings and I were growing up my parents took us on plenty of camping trips. It was common practice if we traveled anywhere we mainly camped. Many times that was the only way we could afford to take a family of seven to Disney World. We either pitched our tent in the campgrounds or camped out on my Aunt Sandra’s family room floor. My mom’s handy-dandy electric frying pan filled our bellies with pancakes and bacon, egg sandwiches, spaghetti and other delicious meals. Our camping trips were not as primitive as one day I hope ours will become. When the kids are older my ultimate goal is to take them on a week wilderness hike every summer.

I will confess camping with young children as inquisitive as mine may not seem like a vacation at the time as we scurry them away from the poison ivy, save them from dropping of a cliff or from burning themselves in the fire. When I see the light of childhood burning brightly in their eyes I recognize that this experience is not about me. They are free to explore, to leap from rock to rock, play hide and seek in caves, splash in a stream and even watch raccoons at 2:00 AM. They can get dirty and sticky and it is ok.

Camping with active little children or teenagers who think the whole trip is lame can be daunting. If you are new to camping or have a high anxiety level personality start out simple. Set up camp in the back yard or just plan on camping for the day. I know it sounds like a lot of work to set up a tent that morning and take it down that night. The first reason for doing this is if things are going well everything is already set up for the night. Secondly if you are easily overwhelmed the practice will help you become more comfortable and over time the children will learn what is expected of them. Also you will want to plan activities to keep the kids busy such as going on a hike, swimming, playing games, a bike ride, drawing or writing. Lastly be prepared to stay up late. Light a camp fire, roast some marshmallows and tell fun happy stories or sing songs together.

For a successful camping trip bring the necessities.

  • Tent or camper
  • Screened arbor (optional but very nice to keep the bugs away while eating and relaxing).
  • Tarp large enough to lay under the tent (to keep water at bay)
  • Sleeping bags (Choose synthetic over the bulky cotton. If your bag gets wet the synthetic will dry faster.)
  • Camp pillows
  • A portable inflatable pad or inflatable mattress
  • Portable Chairs (optional)


  • Always have plenty of water to drink
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Lantern and Fuel
  • Lighter or matches
  • First Aide kit (Calamine lotion, peroxide, baking soda (for stings), band-aides, gauze, Neosporin, tweezers, needle, thread, Dermabond, ace bandage, ice pack, Ibuprofen, eye drops, burn ointment).
  • Rope or twine
  • A bucket for cleaning and to help douse a fire
  • Trash bags
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Water filtration kit (if drinkable tap water is not available)
  • Citronella candle (optional)
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun screen
  • Toilet paper


  • Charcoal with fluid or firewood (check site regulations before starting a fire)
  • Camping stove with extra fuel or Dutch oven.
  • Pots and pans if using a grill or stove.
  • Skewers or tin foil if cooking over a fire.
  • Pot Holders
  • Can and bottle opener (if needed)
  • Cooking utensils- spatula, serving spoons, tongs, knives, measuring cups (depending on your menu)
  • Food storage containers (bear canisters or food lockers are required in areas where bears are present)
  • Mess kit for each person (or paper serveware)
  • Water canteens or bottles
  • Cooler with ice (to store perishables)
  • Dish detergent (if rural camping use sand and water from a stream if the water is not contaminated. Make sure to dry eating utensils thoroughly in the sun before using to kill any water born bacteria)
  • Hand towels
  • Oil

Your menu will depend on the area you are camping in. If you plan on hiking in a cooler with perishable food is not a good idea. Be aware that some camp sites do not have tap water or electricity. Plan accordingly.
Search the following websites for yummy enticing meal ideas: Camping Recipes, One Pan Wonders, Camping Blogger, Papa Dutch, Gluten Free Camping, Simple Backpacking,

Some of our favorites include: Hot dogs, Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Potato and Meat packets (combine onions, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, celery, butter, spices, meat or beans. Wrap in heavy duty foil then cook using indirect heat), Grilled chicken breasts with roasted vegetables, Canned or fresh soup or stew, Fresh fruits, Fresh vegetables cut up, Cereal and milk, Eggs, Pancakes with Sausage or bacon, S’mores, Banana Packets (chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and chopped nuts stuffed into a banana with the peel still on. Wrap in foil and cook in indirect heat.) and Hot chocolate.


  • Pj’s
  • Hat
  • Sun glasses
    • Extra change of clothes, socks and shoes
    • Light jack (it is always important to have a light jacket on hand in case of an emergency)
    • Bathing suit
    • Water shoes or sandals
    • Life Jacket (if needed)
    • Towels


    • Fishing poles, bucket, hooks and worms (check for licensing requirements)
    • Small backpack for hiking to carry supplies.
    • Books, camera, balls, frisbee, horseshoes, board games, cards, musical instruments, art supplies, notebook and pen and puzzles.

    Family Togetherness: Wednesday Breakfast

    “Frukostdags” by Hanna Pauli Wednesday morning breakfasts appeared one day without any solicitation on my part. On Wednesday mornings I like to make pancakes. They make for a nice variation from the typical egg burritos or oatmeal. One Wednesday morning I was surprised to discover […]

    Add A Bit of Ambiance

    I learned long ago in music appreciation class about the surreal power of music. Years later I felt that power as I sat in the front row of the music hall, with tears streaming down my cheeks, listening to a classical pianist’s rendition of Chopin. […]

    Banana Cookies

    banana cookies

    There is a never ending conundrum about what to do with old bananas. Banana bread is always a good option. It freezes well and makes nice little gifts. I did consider Frosted Banana Bars because they are oh so heavenly but decided against them because they seemed a little to fussy for a light afternoon snack. In the end the kids and I chose door number 3- Banana Cookies. They are actually called Banana Whoopie Cookies; however, on this occasion we omitted the extra sugary frosting and gobbled down two cookies each instead one.

    Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart
    Makes about 3 dozen
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
    1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

    Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.

    Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.

    Drop spoonful of dough on prepared baking sheet. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool.

    Black Bean and Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

    In the past I posted a Southwestern Chicken salad recipe and another recipe for Taco Salad. They are simple recipes with very few ingredients. This recipe for Black Bean Chicken Salad is a step up and showcases a zesty dressing that turns the ordinary into […]

    The Science of Baking Cakes

    It is said that baking is not only an art but more importantly it is a science. First let’s take a look at the science of baking a cake for each main ingredient in a recipe serves an important purpose. The basic carrot cake recipes […]

    Add the Final Touch to the Dinner Table

    Dinnertable Flare

    In many a household dinner has become a rush of events. From mine own experience with little ones crying from hunger, the baby begging to be held and the chaos that ensues now that mom is not looking can dampen any attempt for a peaceful family dinner. In a rush to console the masses plates, cups, silverware and napkins are piled on the table followed by a weary call to come to dinner.

    Make dinnertime special by adding a little flare to the table.

    – Use fun tablecloths to add color.

    – Arrange a small bouquet of flowers for a centerpiece.

    – Move dinner outside on a blanket or enlist a couple helpers to carry the table outdoors.

    – Pull out the cloth napkins.

    – Put away the plastic kid-proof plates once in a while.

    Moroccan Tajine Chicken & Lentils

    Morocco is located at the northern tip of East Africa spanning from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea to the Sahara desert. Morocco is largely mountainous with a great expanse of coastal plains and desert. It is noted that Morocco has the the most […]