Part II: Banana Boat S’mores

Assembling these delicious banana boat s’mores is a cinch.  Start assembling the bananas when dinner is cooking. Or, set out your ingredients for all to see.  Each family member or guest can put together their own dessert creation.  15 minutes in the coals and their work of art is ready!  (many fire pits in our national parks have grills on them). If you prefer, you can also wrap the stuffed bananas in foil and place them just off center of any glowing coals — just turn them once so they cook evenly all the way through. By the time we are finished eating dinner, dessert is ready.


Campfire Banana Boat Chocolate Caramel S’mores

YIELD.    Serves 4

·       4  ripe bananas. (depending upon how many you wish)
·       12  marshmallows (3 to 4 per banana), or a handful of mini marshmallows
·       12  squares dark chocolate (3 to 4 squares per banana)
·       1/4 cup  caramel chips
·       8  graham crackers (2 per banana), crumbled

Other ideas: dried fruit, nuts, granola, crumbled cookies, hot fudge, etc.

1.     Cut a slit in the each banana, and open the skin up slightly. Scoop out a few small chunks of banana (and eat!).
2.     Stuff 3 to 4 marshmallows in the scooped out sections of the banana, then tuck a square of chocolate beside each marshmallow. Sprinkle a few caramel chips over top.

3.    Close the skin of the banana as much as you can, and place the bananas directly on a campfire grill. Alternatively, wrap the bananas tightly in foil and place directly on coals. (Be extra careful when pulling them out of the coals and opening.)

4.     The banana skins will blacken as the bananas cook. Grill until the chocolate and caramel melt, and the marshmallows begin to look squidgy, 5 to 7 minutes.

5.     Using metal tongs, carefully transfer bananas on plates. The bananas might release some water, if they do, use a paper towel to wipe off.

6.    Sprinkle the crushed graham crackers over top, and serve with a spoon for scooping.

Bananas cooked directly over the grill will have a slightly smokey flavor. When wrapped in foil, they have less smokey flavor and will take a few more minutes to cook.

When camping it is so easy to use plastic continuers to keep things organized.  Ingredients and tools can be stored together so they are at you finger tips when needed.  You might want to find a few opaque containers to hide the treats.  Or they might have been raided by the time you are ready for dessert!!!

You may have noticed a couple of beginner camping posts here at The Kitchn, and in the second one, I talk about how I pack my food while camping. I usually put together a little box of treats, like the one pictured above, and I can get quite a few desserts out of it. Plus it keeps everything in one place, which is very handy while camping.


Easy Summer Camping Meals You Can Do on Your Stove, Oven or BBQ, Just for Fun!

Now that summer is upon us we are all hoping to get back to normal!!!  Camping is one of the best good weather activities available.  Being out of doors is invigorating!  Our kids can run to their hearts content!  Yeah!!!  The following out door meals can be done at home, if you desire.  They are made with things you will most likely have in you fridge and can be lots of fun to do just for the heck of it!!!

I hope these outdoor cooking ideas add some fun and variety to your family’s time at home. It would also be so much fun to deliver one of these meal kits to a friend or loved one, especially if they have kids.

Hobo Dinner Packs are so simple to make and everyone raves about them! Comforting veggies like potatoes, carrots and onions are topped with a seasoned hamburger patty and grilled or baked to tender perfection.

This Hobo Dinner recipe offers a simple fun way to share dinner in a different format! Not only is this a complete meal in one simple packet, but it is so easy to prepare and even easier to clean up making it the perfect meal to serve to your hungry family!

  1. Foil Packet Dinner by Spend with Pennies

This simple Hobo Dinner recipe uses seasoned ground beef, potatoes, carrots and onions. It can be made on a campfire, grill or in the oven. I especially like that foil packet dinners can be made ahead of time and each person can customize to his or her preferences.

This meal is easy to transport and clean up too. We have made these at home in the oven or even on the out door BBQ.  My kids label each packet with their name to be certain they receive their own custom creation.

Hobo Dinner Foil Packets

PREP TIME 15 minutes
COOK TIME 45 minutes
SERVINGS 4 servings
CUISINE American
Hobo Dinner Foil Packets combine lean beef, tender seasoned veggies and a simple gravy to create a simple meal cooked to tender perfection!


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • 4 small potatoes peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups carrots chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • condensed mushroom soup


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Combine ground beef and dry soup mix in a bowl. Form into four patties and set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine all remaining ingredients except mushroom soup. Toss until well mixed.
  • Spray a 12″x18″ piece of foil with non-stick spray.
  • Place 1/4 of the vegetable mixture in the center of the foil. Top with 1 beef patty. Add 2 tablespoons of condensed mushroom soup on top of each patty.
  • Seal foil packets well. Place beef side up on a large baking sheet and bake 35-45 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.

Recipe Notes

These foil packs can also be grilled at medium heat for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender and ground beef reaches 160 degrees.



For many, the pie iron is a nostalgic piece of campfire cooking equipment that brings back memories of family trips, summer camp, and wholesome fun outdoors. It is also the easiest way to enjoy your own personal pizza pocket. So, what are you waiting for?

While there are endless iterations of things you can cook in a pie iron, we decided on a classic pizza pocket to start off with. For this recipe, we made our own pizza dough (included below), it would work just as easily with pre-made store-bought dough. You can use the Bridgeford Frozen Bread Dough.  Let it thaw overnight according to the instructions.

Fun Family Recipes to Make Outside

(This photo is of a topless pocket)

Start by lightly oiling the inside of the pie iron. Shape a piece of dough roughly into a square that is slightly larger than the size of your pie iron. Pie irons have a concave shape to them, so you will need a little extra dough to run it up the sides. Place the dough, add your cheese, then sauce, then toppings, then more cheese, then your top piece of dough. Be sure to tuck the top piece of dough on the inside of your bottom piece of dough (creating an enclosed “pie”). Close the lid and you’re ready to go.


Pizza Dough

  • 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup low-moisture shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 oz can sliced black olives, drained
  • 16 slices pepperoni
  • Oil


Make the dough (can be done ahead of time!): In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the oil and water. Using a spoon or fork, mix the ingredients until a dough forms. Add additional flour if it seems too wet, then knead until a ball forms. Cover and let rise 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Working with two pieces at a time, stretch and flatten the dough into roughly 4 ½ x 4 ½ inch squares.

Our next entry will have a few more fun “at home camping meals”.  Hope you enjoy!



When Should I Freeze My Pumped Breastmilk?

  • Freeze your breast milk as soon as possible after expressing.

Freezing your breastmilk immediately after expressing retains the most nutrients possible.

Which breast milk storage method is best?

Breast milk is better for your baby than formula – but freshly expressed breast milk is preferable to refrigerated, and refrigerated is better than frozen. That’s because freshly expressed milk has the best bacteria-fighting properties and is higher in antioxidants, vitamins and fat than milk that has been refrigerated or frozen.

How long to store your expressed breast milk

If you have expressed breast milk cleanly and safely, you can store it at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer, depending on how soon you want to use it. Follow these guidelines:

Storage guidelines for freshly expressed breast milk (for healthy term babies)2,3

Storage place Room temperature
16 °C to 25 °C
(60 °F to 77 °F)
4 °C (39 °F)
or colder
-18 °C (0 °F )
or colder
Previously frozen
breast milk thawed
in the refrigerator
Safe storage time Up to four hours is best

Up to six hours for milk expressed under very clean conditions*

Up to three days is best

Up to five days for milk expressed under very clean conditions*

Up to six months is best

Up to nine months for milk expressed under very clean conditions*

Up to two hours at room temperature

Up to 24 hours in the refrigerator

Do not refreeze


* Very clean conditions means rigorously following the guidance in our article on cleaning and sanitising your breast pump.These guidelines for storing and defrosting breast milk are a recommendation – contact your lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist for further information.

If your baby is in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or special care ward, your hospital may have stricter recommendations for cleaning and storage.

If you’re refrigerating or freezing expressed milk, always label the bottles or bags with the amount and the date it was pumped, so you can track and manage your stored milk.

Guidelines for using expressed breast milk

Stored breast milk tends to separate into layers, with the fat (cream) rising to the top. Gently swirl the bottle to mix the layers before feeding your baby. Vigorous stirring or shaking can damage some of the milk’s nutritional and protective components.5

When your baby feeds on expressed breast milk from a cup or bottle, bacteria from his mouth can naturally end up in the milk. For this reason, it’s best to throw away any leftover, partly drunk milk within one to two hours of his initial feed. To avoid wasting expressed milk, it’s always a good idea to store it in small amounts, and only use what you need.2

How to store breast milk in the refrigerator2,3

Follow these guidelines to store expressed milk safely in the fridge:

  • Refrigerate your breast milk as soon as possible after expressing.
  • Store your milk in clean breast milk bottles or storage bags  made from BPA-free materials. BPA is a chemical that was previously widely used in plastic containers and coatings, which many manufacturers are phasing out due to its uncertain long-term effects.
  • Small amounts of expressed milk may be added to the same refrigerated container, provided the milk you want to add is cooled in the fridge beforehand. Don’t add body-temperature milk to already cooled milk.
  • Store breast milk in the coldest part of the fridge – at the back, on the shelf above the vegetable compartment. Don’t keep it in the fridge door where the temperature is less consistent.

How to store breast milk in the freezer2,3

Read on for how to freeze breast milk safely:

  • Freeze your breast milk as soon as possible after expressing.
  • Expressed milk may be added to already frozen breast milk, provided the milk you want to add is cooled in the fridge beforehand. Don’t add body-temperature milk to frozen milk.
  • For easier thawing and minimal wastage, store your milk in small portions (less than 60 ml). These can be combined after defrosting.
  • Check that your breast milk storage containers can be used in the freezer – some products (such as glass bottles) may crack at very low temperatures. Medela breast milk storage bags are ideal for storing frozen breast milk as they’re freezer-proof, ready to be used and easy to label.
  • Don’t fill bottles or bags more than three-quarters full, as breast milk expands during freezing.
  • Store frozen breast milk at the back of the freezer where the temperature is most consistent. Keep it away from the walls of self-defrosting freezers.

Using frozen breast milk2,3

Take care when defrosting breast milk to make sure it’s safe for your baby:

  • Breast milk can be defrosted in the fridge, normally in around 12 hours. Alternatively, hold the bottle or bag of frozen milk under warm running water (a maximum of 37 °C or 99 °F). Don’t leave frozen breast milk to defrost at room temperature.
  • Once fully thawed, previously frozen breast milk may be kept at room temperature for a maximum of two hours or in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  • Don’t thaw or heat frozen breast milk in a microwave or in boiling water. These can damage its nutritional and protective properties and create hot spots that could scald your baby.
  • Thawed breast milk left at room temperature should be fed to your baby within two hours or thrown away.
  • Never re-freeze breast milk once thawed.

How to warm your stored breast milk2,3

Healthy, full-term babies can drink breast milk at room temperature or warmed to body temperature. Some have a preference, others don’t seem to mind.

  • To warm your milk, place the breast milk bottle or bag into a cup, jug or bowl of lukewarm water for a few minutes to bring it to body temperature (37 °C or 99 °F). Alternatively, use a bottle warmer. Do not allow the temperature to go above 40 °C (104 °F), and do not use a microwave, as this can overheat your milk.
  • Gently swirl the bottle or bag, without shaking or stirring, to mix any separated fat (see above).

Why does my stored breast milk smell odd?

You may notice that your refrigerated or defrosted breast milk can sometimes smell different. This is because an enzyme called lipase breaks down fats and releases fatty acids – a process that helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Some mums report that their stored milk has a soapy or rancid smell. But if you’ve followed all the safe-storage guidelines in this article, it will be perfectly fine to use.2

Breast milk storage on the go

If you have to transport your milk between work and home or daycare, use a cooler bag with ice packs.2 For more on pumping and storing milk on the move, read our article on travelling and pumping.

Related articles

Breastfeeding while you or your baby are sick

Breastfeeding while you or your baby are sick

Tips and instructions for hands-free pumping

Tips and instructions for hands-free pumping

Getting help with breastfeeding from a lactation consultant

How to get breastfeeding support

Getting to know your newborn baby

Breastfeeding and bonding with your newborn

Relevant products

A Medela breast milk storage bag with expressed breast milk inside itBreast milk storage bagsThe convenient way to store, carry and warm expressed breast milk, Medela breast milk storage bags are easy to use and hygienic. …

Breast milk bottlesThe Medela breast milk bottles are a perfect complement to your breastfeeding experience. Medela’s breast milk bottles are compatible with all Medela breast pumps and …





A NewYork-Presbyterian pediatrician explains the new illness and the symptoms parents should look for.


Below please find three separate organizational articles discussing a possible link of Inflammatory Syndrome in children related to COVED 19.  Know that of literally hundreds of thousands of cases worldwide there have only been an handful of deaths related to this complication.  Personally, I would prefer not to pass this information on to you in that the occurrence is so rare the odds are you will never know someone affected. However, with the doom and gloom prophets abounding, you will hear of this somewhere.  Each article begins with the disclaimer that this complication is rare as to  not raise fear.

You are doing your very best for your little ones.  They are at home in quarantine, they are healthy and happy and raring to get back to normal.  They are a bit stir crazy, as are all of us.  In addition, they are eager to be with friends, on the beach, with their teams, and back to normal.

Good work!!  The last few months have taken an enormous toll on all of us.  Parents are stressed, kids are too.  Our creativity has met it’s limits and we are all eager to return to life as we knew it!!

Stay on course.  Summer is here.  Our immunities grow and expand when challenged.  Know being out of doors around others builds immunities.  Staying at home diminishes them.



Inflammatory Syndrome and COVID-19: What Parents Need to Know

Stanford Children’s Health




COVID-19 and Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children



New York Presbyterian

Health Matters  Stoies of Science, Care, & Wellness

A NewYork-Presbyterian pediatrician explains the new illness and the symptoms parents should look for.

Life is a Whirlwind!!!!!

It is wonderful to be coming out of quarantine and moving into real life again!!!  I pray you and your family are healthy and feeling great!!  In California the sunshine is out.  Yesterday, Mother’s Day, was the first day we have been out on the beach since this whole thing began.  Yeah!!!!!  It feels like we have been in a time warp where everything stood still.

What do you have planned for the near future?  Have you accomplished every home project you ever thought of???  My kitchen cabinets have been painted, our teak patio set has been re-oiled, the lemon trees have been pruned as well as the rosebushes.  We are ready for summer.  It feels great!!

In California we are moving out of quarantine at breakneck speed.  People are raring to work and eager to get back to normal.  Hopefully we all have a much greater appreciation for our normal lives!  We are fortunate to live in America at this place in time.  We are looking ahead to fantastic things!!!

It will be interesting to watch the fallout from COVED.  Once things have settled down and everything is analyzed, what will the powers that be decide?  This was a massive reaction to a flu.  Will it be decided that the cost of the quarantine was worth the damage?  Souplantation, one of our favorite restaurants says they will be going out of business.  It is difficult to consider the thousands of jobs lost.  Neman Marcus, a high end clothing chain is filing for chapter 11, bankruptcy.  There will be major changes.

We will walk this path together, learning how to cope.  Best wishes to you and your family.  Reach out if you need help.