Category Archives: Outdoor Meals and Snacks

4 Ways to Make Pizza While Camping

As I mentioned last week, it sorta felt like we were short on adults for our camping trip last week. I had a feeling this would be the case so I tried to think up really easy meals.

As I walked past a boboli crust display in the grocery store I got an idea… Turned out it was actually a pretty good idea.  Pizza while camping is totally a lazy man sort of meal.   Also turns out Olivia had a few more lazy-man pizza ideas to add.

All these recipes are similar in that they involve your basic pizza toppings. They differ in that there are 4 different ways you can make the crust depending on how much time you want to put into it.

First some thoughts on a few key toppings. (more…)

Planning a Backpacking Menu for Picky Eaters

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We’ve talked before on the blog about feeding children while backpacking. But today we have a new perspective from someone who’s dealt a lot with feeding a wide range of appetites in the backcountry. This is a guest post from Lauren Caselli, a Manhattan desk-jockey-turned-wilderness-junkie and former guide for Alpengirl Camp. 

Backpacking with kids and teens can be a rewarding experience. They think that every sweeping mountain vista is super rad, they have good energy, and they are surprisingly strong enough to carry most of their own weight.

But at the end of the day, when they’ve hiked miles with heavy packs in all kinds of weather, they’re still kids. They still get tired and cranky. And they definitely still hate spinach.

So what’s an outdoor mom to do when she’s got picky eaters in her tent?

Here are a few tips that I’ve learned as a guide for an all-girls adventure summer camp to keep even the pickiest of pack-carriers happy, and gives enough variety for everyone to go home and still appreciate pasta. (more…)

The next best thing to granola bars: home-made snack bars!

We’ve talked on this site before about making the perfect granola bar.  (We are still looking for good recipes, by the way!)  While these aren’t technically granola bars, they are pretty darned good!  My mom has been making these ‘bread sticks’ for years.  They’re wonderfully filling and so easy to make, but (even better), they’re also incredibly versatile.

What you’ll need:

1)  5 cups of various flours:  white flour, whole-wheat flour, oats, flax seed, millet, whatever suits your fancy.  The whole wheat makes them denser, the flax seed gave it a slightly nutty taste (which I liked).  Try your own combination and see what you like best!  This weekend we made them with 2 cups each of white and whole-wheat flour, 1 cup of oats, and a few tablespoons of flax seed. (more…)

5 recipes for turning fresh snow into an icy treat

I didn’t’ grow up in a place where it snowed, but luckily my Grandparents lived in an icy wonderland. Every winter we’d make the trek to their house at least once, tie plastic bags around our feet and head out into the snow. Every trip was accompanied by a cup of hot chocolate and a ‘snow cone’. I remember the snow cones being this amazing delicacy that only my Grandma could make.

A few years ago I asked her for her secret recipe. Her reply: 1 heap of snow and a handfull of sugar. That’s it? I tried it one year. It wasn’t as delectable as it had been to my childhood self.

So I came up with a few of my own recipes. I make these à la carte style. I have a big bowl of snow and all the toppings lined up and let my kids pick out whatever they want me to mix in. (more…)

Best. Hiking food. Ever.

Back in September Lindsey took me on a hike for my birthday.  The hike was wonderful for so many reasons:

1)  I got to spend six uninterrupted hours with Lindsey.  We never worried about getting eaten by a mountain lion–we blathered and laughed loud enough to scare away every bit of wildlife within 45 miles.

2)  We got to hike down in the dark, by full moon, and it was exhilirating.

3)  She brought us ‘dinner’ for the top.  While snuggled into a rock shelter to stay out of the frigid wind, she pulled out a birthday brownie, complete with a candle and birthday song.  And she pulled out Chicken Puffs.  I have concluded that these Chicken Puffs are the tastiest possible hiking treat.  Comfort food in a ziploc baggie?  Yes, I think so.

I’ve since made them for my husband on his hunting trips and he concurs.

Rather than keep this yumminess all to ourselves, today we are sharing Lindsey’s Amazing Chicken Puff Recipe, complete with two variations on the theme.  Enjoy.

*** quick note:  Lindsey and I used butter croissant dough from the can… like Pillsbury or Great Value brand…  you could also use real puff pastry dough and cut it to the size you want***


The incredible haystack: life’s most versatile meal

Haystacks are my most favorite of camping meals.  Not too long ago I was camping with some friends and lo, they had never heard of the Haystack!  This most easily manipulated, picky-eater-friendly, camping-masterpiece of a dinner is my go-to meal several times a month.  Perfect for the lazy chef.

Here is the idea behind a haystack: you need a starchy base, covered by a protein, topped with something fatty, and piled with any toppings of your choosing.  The  ‘toppings’ of your choosing part is what makes this meal easy when camping (many of the toppings travel well), and fun for little mouths that seldom get a say in what appears on their plate each evening.  Building your own haystack is an art form and a matter of personal preferences reflecting the unique taste buds of each eater… and over time the gourmand will learn how small to make the base in order that the haystack still fits on the plate after the last topping is added.  The down-side to a haystack?  You’ll need several small serving dishes…

Just in case there are others who fall into the unfortunate category of Those Who Have Never Had a Haystack, we are today sharing Four Variations on the Theme of Haystack. (more…)

Backpacking meals your kids will like

One of the things I love about backpacking is the challenge of creating a tasty and filling meal at the end of the day, without lugging an extra ten or twenty pounds of food in with me. Backpacking with kids adds even more to that challenge, as they are discerning little folks, with taste buds as sensitive as a New York food critic.  They can sense the dehydrated food in your pack before you even pull it out, and steer away from powdered milk like cats from water.

The thing is, those little ones need a good meal filled with fat, a little protein, and plenty of calories.  Even better is if you can get them to drink enough to stay fully hydrated.  Bring lots of drink mixes to encourage imbibing, and think about starting dinner with a soup–Ramen noodles are easy, for example.

Here are a few meal suggestions to satisfy the little connoiseur, giving him or her the energy to get through a few days of long walks in the back country.

A note before we get to the recipes.  As with car-camping, there are ‘kits’ that I like to prepare when I go backpacking…  The Olivia Bag covers most things, but I also have a little kitchen bag for backpacking.  In it (along with utensils, etc.) are a few things that I know I’ll need no matter what meals I decide to make.  I’ve got a tiny container of olive oil, some commonly used spices (salt, black pepper, red pepper, cinnamon, paprika, oregano, taco seasoning or chile powder… curry is also fun). (more…)

HELP! In search of the perfect granola bar

If you saw my new years resolutions you already know of my quest for the perfect granola bar. What makes the perfect granola bar you ask?

  • Easy to make: Yes, I want to make them, so I’m in search of a recipe. Preferably one that’s quick and easy.
  • Healthy: A lot of whole grains, not a lot of sugar.
  • Packability: I need to be able to individually wrap and store them (in the freezer). Also need them to hold up relatively well even if shoved at the bottom of a backpack.
  • Chewiness: I don’t want them to fall apart when you pick them up (so they can be eaten in the van or a while walking on the trail), nor do I want something that turns into a jaw breaker after 4 days.
  • Kid approved: My kids need to love them as much as they love Honey Graham Z-Bars and Quakers.

Over the weekend I tried this recipe for Kati’s Granola Bars (as suggested by Amelia from Tales of a Mt. Mama). The recipe involved: rolled oats, whole wheat flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter, honey and whatever else you want to mix in (I added craisins, sunflower seeds, almonds and coconut).

Overall I’d say these were great tasting chewy granola bars, but had a few kinks I’d need to work out:

1. They fell apart pretty easily when eaten by a small moving child.

2. My oldest thought were “too sweet”! But I have to admit, they were a bit sweet for me too.

3. I need to make them a little less dense. But how…?

HELP! As I try to create my own perfect adventure worthy granola bar, I want more suggestions. Do you have a favorite recipe I can try? Favorite ingredients? Tips? Thoughts? Ever added something like rice krispies?

In return I promise to share my recipe once I’ve created the perfect granola bar!

The Day After: What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers

Turky Pot Pie

When I was growing up, the days immediately after Thanksgiving were as fun as the Big Feast itself (which, for the record, is one of my favorite holidays—what’s better than focusing on the things in life that make you grateful?  Focusing on the things in life that make you grateful while eating).

We’d head out camping.  Seems like no one else went camping after Thanksgiving and we usually had the whole backwoods to ourselves.  A warm fire, lots of hot chocolate or apple cider, and a new place to explore—life was perfect.  We’d always bring along the Thanksgiving leftovers, and cook them up in the Dutch ovens.

So, looking for something to do in the days after you’ve filled your belly?  Forget the Black Friday sales events and crowds, I’ve got the perfect cure for a Turkey-induced hangover.  Head outside to work off the extra calories you and yours ingested the day before.  And bring the leftovers!

Here are two Dutch oven recipes that use up common Thanksgiving leftovers (and one that follows the Thanksgiving theme, but starts from scratch).  (more…)

10 Best Foods to Pack on Outdoor Adventures

Note: A version of this article was also published last week as a note by Nature Rocks via their Facebook page. Thanks go out to Nature Rocks for featuring tips from OutsideMom.Com.

Summer is officially here—the longest day of the year has already come and gone, and now it is time to hike in earnest!  Quick before winter shows up again!  Each summer I empty out my well-worn pack of all the junk has accumulated in it over the last year, turn it inside out and shake out the debris, and re-stock it for the year.  I have a food pouch in my pack.  In it there resides a constant supply of (mostly) non-perishables that are (always) tasty.  Today I’m sharing with you my list of favorite hiking foods; like a good wardrobe these items are cheap, and can be mixed and matched in any combination to create delectable moments in your mouth (ummm… that last part should actually never happen with your wardrobe…). (more…)


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

    I don't blog alone! Meet outsidemom contributer Olivia