Solar Oven S’mores

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Happy National S’mores Day! Travis and I celebrated with a STEM take on this classic summer treat: s’mores cooked in a solar-powered oven made from one of his recycled Kiwi Crates!

To start, cut the flaps off the top of the Kiwi box (or an old shoebox). Line the entire inside with aluminum foil, and secure with clear tape.

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Place 4 graham crackers on the bottom; we love the vegan and gluten-free grahams from Kinnikinnick.

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Top two of the graham cracker pieces with dark chocolate squares and the other two pieces with Dandies marshmallows.

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Cover the top of the “oven” with plastic wrap and tape down; you don’t want any bugs in there! We placed our oven on the patio in hot sunshine.

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82 degrees ought to do it!

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After 20 minutes, we took a peek. Our chocolate was so hot and melty and perfect.

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The Dandies had softened up, although they didn’t melt all the way down. But these made fantastic s’mores!

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S’more Brownies

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Want s’more fun with summer’s favorite trio of chocolate, graham cracker, and marshmallows? In addition to our s’more energy bites (which have all been gobbled up), we made these easy s’more brownies. Hint: the recipe starts with a mix!

Mix together one package of your favorite vegan brownie mix according to package directions. Spread half of the batter into the bottom of a 9×9-inch baking dish.

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Top evenly with graham cracker pieces, then spread with the remaining batter.

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Sprinkle the top with Dandies mini marshmallows – the more the gooier! You’ll notice that Travis was too busy licking the batter from the bowl to help sprinkle on the marshmallows.

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Bake according to package directions.

If brownies aren’t your favorite, try this twist on the s’more trio:

Layer chocolate pudding, broken graham cracker pieces, and mini Dandies marshmallows in a glass. Repeat the layers, and top with a final layer of pudding. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (this will help the graham cracker pieces soften).

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S’more Energy Bites

 

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Camping out and making s’mores got us thinking about other ways to combine the timeless combo of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows. My husband loves these before a run, and my son loves them for dessert. Sure to be a family crowd-pleaser!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy mini chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life)
  • 8 to 10 Dandies mini marshmallows
  1. Combine all ingredients except the marshmallows in a large bowl; chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Shape the mixture into balls, placing a mini marshmallow inside each. You’ll have enough for 8 to 10 servings, depending how large you make them.

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Fun to make and fun to eat!

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Green Time: Camp in Your Backyard

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I’ve given our Ranger Rick Jr.¬†subscription credit before for getting us outside and inspired, but this time the magazine really hit a home run. Never in a million years would I have taken Travis backyard camping, until it¬†was the magazine’s summer Green Time suggestion. We pledged to join the Great American Campout at National Wildlife’s Federation’s website, originally aiming for the start day of June 23. Rain delayed us by one week, but we’re so glad we got out there!

Let’s start by saying I’m not a camper. Luckily we were able to borrow a tent from a friend, leading to instant excitement once it was up in the backyard.

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Folks, I’m here to say backyard camping is the way to go! Easy access to bathrooms if needed, popping inside to cook vegan s’mores over a cast-iron pan, and a cozy bed if kids decide they can’t make it a full night outside.

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We headed out at bedtime (8 pm) with the sun still setting. Travis popped up with his flashlight for every sound, enamored with nature.

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“I heard something! Let’s check it out!” We loved seeing birds and the setting sun in the clouds.

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And fireflies! Can you spot the pinprick of light in this picture?

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Stories by flashlight once it as completely dark were especially fun.

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Around 10 o’clock, Travis decided he was unable to get comfortable so we headed inside. But this was easily the most magical night of the summer so far. I asked Travis what his favorite part was, and he said playing with the zippers on the tent flaps – ha! Thanks NWF!

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