Saturday Small Talk

Saturday! What are you up? I’m looking forward to lots of outdoor time, great views, and a good bit of reading in the hammock. Luxurious. We’re unplugging for the weekend, and I hope it will be the recharge my mind needs.

In case you missed it…the easiest and tastiest bread recipe in the world and how to pack food for your next backpacking or camping trip.

20 somethings–set yourself up for a lifetime of success.

Stunning images of females in agriculture.

We’re all superheroes on the inside.

How to create the illusion of more space in your home.

Do you lose yourself when you have kids? (And is that a bad thing?)

The most gorgeous photos and travel tips for my favorite state.

A flowchart for coffee brewers.

Women: learn to pee standing up.

A Toronto company has an unlimited vacation time policy for their employees. What an amazing perk!

I’m a sucker for royalty, and these photos of Princess Charlotte’s christening feed the obsession.

Have a GLORIOUS weekend!

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How to Pack Food for Your Next Backpacking Trip

I love backpacking. Just out of college, my dear friend Erica and I decided we want to give it a try. We bought packs, pulled together our equipment, and made plans to take on the Smokeys. Though we didn’t finish the full distance we’d planned, we challenged ourselves and chalk it up to great experience.

Since then, Bob and I have backpacked in Virginia, Minnesota, and Michigan (here and here). Soon, we’re adding another destination to our list: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

It wasn’t until Isle Royale (our most recent trip) I felt we hit our stride in packing food. We brought just the right amount, felt satiated the whole trip, and had enough left over at the end that we could have survived in an emergency situation, but not so much we were hauling unnecessary extra weight.

For our upcoming 3 day/2 night trip, here’s what we’ll bring along:


The most important meal of the day! For two of us, we pack 1 cup of oatmeal for each morning (in a ziploc), plus one extra cup in case we get stranded. We also pack brown sugar and cinnamon to add flavor. For longer trips, we’ll also bring along a jar of peanut butter and mix in a spoonful each morning.


High protein meals are good when you’re exerting as much effort as you do hiking. We bring 1 tuna packet and 1/2 a sleeve of crackers for each of us for each lunch on the trail. There are so many different flavors of tuna– change it up so you don’t get bored!


For this trip, we’re bringing two meals we love: chicken fettucini alfredo and broccoli cheddar rice with chicken. It doesn’t even sound like camping food!

For two people for two meals, you’ll need:

  • Two side dish packets of pasta
  • Two side dish packets of rice–any flavor of quick cooking rice will do
  • Two packets of chicken

To cut down on trash, transfer the pasta/rice packets into a ziploc bag, and use a permanent marker to write the cooking directions on the bag.

For longer trips, we like the Bear Creek soup mixes–each mix will easily feed four people, so we prepare half of it early in the trip, and half later in the trip.

Snacks and Drinks

This trip, we’re bringing dried fruit, trail mix, and drink mixes. For longer trips, we’ll also bring granola bars and peanut butter, and maybe some gummy bears or fruit chews.

All told for our 3 days and 2 nights….

Not too shabby!

Have you ever gone backpacking? 

If you’re interested….tips for a great (first?) camping trip and our favorite backpacking destination.

The Easiest Bread Recipe in the World

Do you dream of being able to make your own bread, but believe bread making is for “real” bakers? No longer. This bread is so easy, even YOU can make it. No kneading, no crazy ingredients, no picky, scientific processes. Just follow the directions, and you’ll have the most fresh and delicious baguettes in all of history!

When we were in Grand Haven last weekend, our friends served us some of this bread for breakfast, and I HAD to have the recipe. The crust is delightfully crunchy, and the inside is soft and chewy. As any baguette should be! Smear with butter, jam, or honey. Alternatively, use it as an appetizer and dip it in oil and vinegar or use some savory spreads and cheeses.

To make the dough, add water and yeast to a bowl. Make sure the water is roughly 100 degrees–lukewarm, just slightly warmer than your body temperature. Add salt and flour, and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is combined and there are no clumps of flour left. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

At this point, you can proceed with making your bread, or you can slide the dough into the fridge and leave it until you want to bake.

When you decide to bake, dump the dough out onto a floured surface. Flip so the outside is covered. Use a knife to cut into three strips. Roll each in flour, and cut 3-4 diagonal slits in the top.

Cover again, and let rise. While rising, put the pizza stone on one rack of your oven and a bowl of water on the other. Preheat to 450 degrees, and bake for 20 minutes.

It’s not necessary, but the bread will be tastier and the process much easier if you have a pizza stone and peel. You need it for homemade pizza, anyway. Go ahead and invest!

Homemade Baguette

Homemade Baguette


  • 1 1/2 cups water, 100-110 degrees F
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast (or 1 packet)
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 1/4 cups flour


  1. Add water and yeast to medium sized bowl. Add salt and flour. Mix until combined and there are no clumps of flour left. Cover bowl and allow dough to rise for 2 hours.
  2. Either store dough in fridge, or proceed to the next step.
  3. Dump the dough out onto a floured surface. Flip so the outside is covered. Use a knife to cut into three strips. Roll each in flour, and cut 3-4 diagonal slits in the top. Cover again, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  4. While rising, preheat oven to 450 degrees with pizza stone on the middle rack, and a bowl of water on the rack below.
  5. Once preheated, use pizza peel and more flour or cornmeal (so it doesn't stick) to transfer one loaf at a time to the pizza stone in the oven.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Recipe based on Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

P.S! For those of you trying to answer the age old question, “What’s for dinner?” more nights of the week than not, check out this FREE e-book!eBOOK Logo

This e-book contains 4 recipes to get you started making delicious and affordable meals on your busy weeknights. It also includes variations on each of the four recipes so you can avoid the “this again?” rut. Get started this week!

P.P.S. Some of the links in this post are affiliate, which means I will get a small commission if you make a purchase from this post. Thanks for supporting Balance and Blueberries!