Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Take a Break: Enjoy a “fire pit” and S’mores

It’s pretty hot out, but at least our nights are cool in the Northeast. Consequently, many have a fire pit of one sort or other and spend hours sitting around it, late into the night. So today’s “take a break” is all about relaxing with fire on a summer night.

First things first, you need a fire or a facsimile of one. Depending on where you live, some of the ideas below will work better for you than others.

• Fire Pit Container: It’s after the 4th of July, so check garden stores and other such places to see if they’ve put their fire pits on sale. However, there are scrap items that work well as fire pits, such as an old tire rim. Check out other fire pit ideas.

Beach Fire

• Float lit candles in a large bowl. Even better to float them in a swimming pool, lake, stream or river. For an “open water” fire, make a small raft using sticks, twigs or even craft sticks and glue a votive to it. Make sure to collect them after you’ve finished.

• Group candles together or a set of lanterns

If you live in the city, and think this isn’t possible for you, group some candles together, and turn off the lights. You can always enjoy the virtual campfire. Be sure to click the full screen button. In a dark room it’s quite effective.

So you now have a fire to stare at, which is enough for many people. However, what’s a fire without s’mores?

The traditional way is to roast the marshmallow over an open fire (I’ve even used my gas stove for this) and layer it between graham cracker, chocolate and graham cracker. It’s a very decadent sandwich. You can make them in your microwave if you are going the “virtual” route by layering the items and setting the timer for 10 seconds, depending on your microwave.

Some ideas for creating different s’mores:

• Use different types of marshmallows-they come in all sorts of flavors now.

• Yes graham crackers are traditional, but they too now come in a variety of flavors-chocolate, cinnamon and even gluten free. You can use something other than a graham cracker, such as Nature Valley Granola Thins or a crispy mint or other type of cookie.

• The chocolate is where you can really mix it up by using things like peanut butter cups, mints, Nutella or a very good quality chocolate. You can also add peanut butter or caramel

• Add some sliced fruit, such as banana, apple or strawberries. Elvis would probably approve of a marshmallow, peanut butter and chocolate s’more. Guess he’d want bacon. Not so much.

• Try the adult s’more, which includes dunking your marshmallow into your favorite liquor.

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