The Best Time of Year for a Nature Hike

Take a hike in the woods, fish a mountain brook, and more. Since church is mostly shut down, on Sunday afternoons, Merri Ann and I pack a lunch, grab a lesson manual, and go find a quiet place in the woods for a picnic, time together, and a discussion. This was as quiet a place as you could find, tucked under the Continental Divide. It was an hour on paved roads and 45 minutes on rough dirt roads. That’s a long way for a prayer and discussion, but oh, was it worth it! A Nature Hike in a Quiet Canyon …

Continue Reading

How to Pack a Terrific Lunch for a Nature Hike

Several years ago, Merri Ann and I hiked up Burns Creek Canyon in the Big Hole Mountains and then up a side canyon called Hells Hole. (It’s not aptly named unless you’re trying to climb out the top of the canyon.) We found a beautiful meadow overlooking the canyon where we spread out a blanket and had a wonderful lunch from our daypacks. The Perfect Lunch for a Nature Hike To keep our food cool and safe in the summer sun, we packed insulated lunch bags, each with an ice a pack and then our food, and then buried them …

Continue Reading

How Long Will it Last? Keeping Food in the Cooler

With the weather warming up and cookouts and picnics coming out, it’s important to keep your food safe. The best way to keep yourself and your food safe this summer is by not eating food that has been sitting out in the sun for more than an hour and a half, sticking a kitchen thermometer at the top of your cooler to make sure the temperature doesn’t drop below 40 degrees, and considering the source of your food.

Continue Reading

Clam Chowder Recipe Made with Bacon

The Best New England Clam Chowder Recipe Clam Chowder Recipe Made with Bacon Free! Garlic and Herb Focaccia Bread MixTry this fantastic Italian bread free with your next order. Use coupon code: ZFOC at checkout. → Free! Garlic and Herb Focaccia Bread MixTry this fantastic Italian bread free with your next order. Use coupon code: ZFOC at checkout. → I got hooked on this clam chowder recipe when Diane from Gresham and Myers brought over two big pots of it to try. We loved it; none of it went to waste. So, when I asked the crew what they would like to …

Continue Reading

Live where you want…you do have options.

My father used to say, “Find where you want to live and then figure out how to make a living there.” Granted, we live in a world with two different economies; generally, people in the city make more than those in the country. And of course, there are many who love the bustle of city life.  But the calm, the friendliness of country life, has a strong pull for many of us. When we moved from the Twin Cities to Rigby, Idaho, we were amazed at the different tone in the neighborhood. In Minnesota, after ten years, we knew a …

Continue Reading

A Lunch for a Mountain Hike

(Includes how to make a sandwich wrap) Last weekend Merri Ann and I went hiking with our 9-year old granddaughter, Anna. It was delightful. Anna and Merri Ann took pictures of flowers and landscapes. We explored seldom used trails and climbed a rocky outcropping to overlook the canyon. We think we’d like togo again this Saturday. Super! We’ll pack a lunch and throw in some marshmallows for roasting. We’ll keep the perishables cool in insulted lunch bags packed with ice packs. This is what I’m thinking for a menu: Crackers and cheese. I’ll choose a wax enclosed Gouda. The wax …

Continue Reading

A Guide to German Pancakes and Pannekoeken

The Perfect Summer Fare Pannekoeken and German pancakes are perfect for summer.  It’s a great way to take advantage of the seasonal harvest from berries through apples—even though putting syrup on them like pancakes is delicious. They’re quick so you’re not stuck in the kitchen long.  In our kitchen, a pannekoeken bakes in eleven minutes.  And you don’t have the oven on long enough to heat up the house. But most of all, they’re luscious.  Your family love them.  Guests will be delighted.  And you can make a different variation every time so no one gets tired of what you …

Continue Reading

Mason Jar Salads

New Twists on a Familiar Theme -Alice Osborne The familiar theme? Salads served up in a salad bowl. The new twist? Layered, sog-free salad in a canning jar! This isn’t just a cute idea—it’s actually a very practical and a healthy, on-the-go lunch option, and you can use the same jar every day until the end of time (or until it gets dropped and breaks). So if you or a member of your family pack a lunch, you’ll love this new twist! Necessity was the mother of my invention. I learned the hard way that pre-dressed greens quickly turn soggy. …

Continue Reading

Fall Picnics | Ideas for Great Fall Picnics

This is my favorite time of year, September and early October.  I love the cooler weather, the crisp bite in the mornings.  I love the mountains in the fall, the medley of bright colors in the forests, the deeper blue sky that seems to go forever, the earthy smells of fallen leaves, and the crunch of dry leaves underfoot.  I love the crystal clear waters of gentle streams after the water has dropped in the fall with their quiet babble as they find their way over smooth stones.  It’s my favorite time for hikes and picnics in the woods. We …

Continue Reading

Breakfast Burritos Recipe

This is a quick easy breakfast or lunch dish with a Mexican flare. By altering the ingredients, you can change the recipe to suit your family’s tastes. This is a family-size recipe that makes four large (two egg) burritos. Reduce the quantities of ingredients for smaller recipes. Ingredients 1 pound country style sausage 1/2 green or red bell pepper, diced 1/2 medium onion, diced 8 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 4 ounce can diced, canned chilies, drained 8 large flour tortillas shredded cheddar cheese salsa (optional) Directions 1. In a medium to large frying pan, cook …

Continue Reading

Frosted Malt Chocolate Cookies

Sometimes you want a crisp chocolate cookie; sometimes you want a gooey, chewy cookie. This is a crisp cookie, a cookie that was meant for a glass of milk. Frosted Malt Chocolate Cookie Recipe This is a tender, crisp, melt-in-your-mouth cookie that the kids will love. The cookie is not overly sweet and has a nice balance with the frosting. The malted milk powder gives it just a touch of unusual malt flavor. No wonder this is a great kids’ cookie—a smooth chocolate cookie with frosting. Since it is a rolled cookie, you can cut it in any shape you …

Continue Reading

Fresh Veggies for Lunch Pannekoeken

Pannekoeken work for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.  You can make pannekoeken two ways:  Add the extras to the pannekoeken mix or cook the pannekoeken and then use the pannekoeken as a bowl for the extras.  Because of the cooking time involved, we used the latter method. We steamed the veggies, beginning with the carrots since they take the longest to cook.  We made a simple cheddar cheese sauce, then loaded the pannekoeken with vegetables and drizzled them with the cheese sauce. This makes a great lunch dish.  Add cooked sausage or ham or turkey and you have a full-course …

Continue Reading

Cowboy Scramble

We know, there are a million variations of this. But this recipe is very good with eggs and new potatoes and cheddar. This makes a great breakfast but don’t overlook it for lunch or even dinner. And it’s quick and easy, ready to go in maybe fifteen minutes. Ingredients 1 tablespoon butter 1/2 large onion, diced 1/2 green or red bell pepper, chopped 3 to 4 cups new red potatoes, 3/8-inch diced 8 large eggs 1/2 cup grated cheddar 1/2 teaspoon dry basil leaves 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup grated cheddar Directions …

Continue Reading

Bacon and Cheddar Corn Pancakes

We intended to make a savory pancake, one that would work for lunch or a quick, light dinner. This works but with maple syrup, we thought it perfect for breakfast or brunch. Serve these pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast or brunch. For dinner, use a milk gravy or a cheddar sauce. This recipe calls for corn kernels. You can use canned, fresh cooked, or frozen. It’s a good way to use up a couple ears of leftover corn from the night before. Ingredients 1 1/2 cups cornmeal 1 cup whole milk 1/2 of a 12-ounce package of bacon, cooked …

Continue Reading

All about Pannekoeken

We’ve made hundreds, maybe thousands, of pannekoeken in the last six months and yet we’re still learning.  We would like to share what we’ve learned and hope that you enjoy pannekoeken as much as we do. Click here to see our pannekoeken pans and mixes >> What is Pannekoeken In our classes and on line, we have described pannekoeken as a “Dutch version of a German pancake.  Then we received an email from someone in Holland, “There is nothing German about a pannekoeken.”  We’ll accept that. Pannekoeken are an egg-rich pastry with a texture similar to a crepe.  They are …

Continue Reading

Mini-Pannekoeken Lunches

You can have lunch on the table in 15 minutes with Mini-Pannekoeken. Of course, you can fill them with whatever you like but we’ll show you a super quick and easy lunch. (See more pannekoeken lunch and dinner ideas.) Three easy steps—with six minutes prep! Mix and bake the Baby Dutch Babies. Prep the filling.  Use your choice of vegetables and meats. Assemble. Place the cooked vegetables and/or meat in the warm Baby Dutch Babies.  Top them with a white sauce or cheese sauce. Veggie Alfredo Mini-Pannekoeken While you can fill your babies with whatever you like, this is super quick …

Continue Reading

How to Make Pita on the Grill or in Your Oven

How to Make Pita Pocket Sandwiches We teach a pita pocket sandwich class at our store.  So it had better be good, it better be easy, and it better feed a crowd.  That means that we tinker and tinker until we find the best way to make the best pitas in a hurry.  Here we’ll tell you how to make both the pockets and the sandwiches. How to Make Pita Pockets We had a pita party. We made pita sandwiches for the crew. (There are benefits to working at The Prepared Pantry.) Just as homemade bread is much better than …

Continue Reading

Eight Keys to Great Biscuits with Biscuit Recipes

When I was growing up in a big country farmhouse, we had biscuits for breakfast—hot, steaming biscuits that we would slap on the plate next to bacon and eggs.  We would split them open and slip in a pat of butter, putting the “lid” back so that the butter would quickly melt.  Then we would slather them with homemade jam or honey.  It was the biscuits that seemed to make breakfast special.  Actually, it was a loving mother that took the time to bake for breakfast, enough for five hungry teenage boys and a caboose of a daughter. Later, when …

Continue Reading

The Pancake Center

Martha’s Gingerbread Pancake Mix they are our all-time favorite pancakes and you’ll love them too.  They are made with sour cream and molasses and just the right combination of spices.  But they are not overwhelming, not strong tasting at all. Honey Gold Pancake Mix These are not ordinary pancakes.  Yes, this pancake mix is made with buttermilk but it is designed especially for weekends and special occasions when you would like to be just a bit indulgent. Country Wheat Pancake Mix Some days, we like our pancakes thick and hearty . . . still tender, but with a wholesome, stick-to-your-ribs goodness.  But …

Continue Reading

Candied Hazelnuts and Coconut

Candied nuts make a great snack.  Consider them as a snack at home, in a lunch box, or on a road trip.  They are a high energy food for camping and hiking trips. Instead of sprinkling chopped nuts on your next sundae or banana split, consider candied nuts.  (You may wish to chop your candied nuts a bit finer before sprinkling them on the ice cream.) 2 cups whole hazelnuts 2/3 cups granulated sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup water Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the whole hazelnuts, sugar, vanilla, salt, and water in …

Continue Reading