Well, howdy! It's me, your friendly neighborhood burnt chicken nugget!

Yes, it happened again. I didn't heed the warnings of my mother Mary, my childhood best friend's mother Samantha, my boyfriend's mother Mary, my work mother Tracy or my work father Ryan.

Sunscreen was once again ignored and I regret everything. Please use sunscreen, folks. It makes life a heckuva lot easier when it's time to put clothes on for work. (I was hurting so bad I even made the three-hour drive back to Moorhead pants-less. Shoutout to the wonderful state trooper that issued my speeding ticket for not saying anything about my bare thighs in my car!) Moral of that story: sunscreen.

However, the process of achieving my extra-crispy thighs and shoulders was glorious. For the first time since the summer of 2017, I got to spend two wonderful days at my family's lake cabin on Lake of the Woods.

Saturday was fairly rainy so it wasn't much good for swimming activities, however Sunday was sunny and 75 degrees and I was in my happy place. Floating on the lake in inner tubes with my best friend and a few others was the best way to spend a Sunday — even if we did crisp up. BRING ON THE ALOE VERA!

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We've already talked about sun safety in this column, haven't we? Let's see, what else happened this weekend...

Ah yes, my dentist's worst nightmare. Along with the sunny, warm days comes bonfires. And with bonfires come one of the greatest treats ever invented: s'mores. I had five this past weekend. It was terrible for my body, but so, so good for the soul.

But when the days cool off and the snow starts flying, it can be hard to justify hosting a bonfire in the great outdoors. So what do we do? We use one of these five ways to make that classic summertime treat.

OG s'mores

Before we get to the more "unique" ways I have found to create my favorite summer food, we need to address the original.

Now, everyone knows how to make the ideal s'more, right? You take your 'mallow and carefully roast it over the fire until the golden brown outer layer becomes just slightly crunchy and the inside melts enough to stick to every possible surface it comes in contact with (and several that it doesn't come in contact with). After it's perfectly cooked, it's gently and lovingly placed atop three squares of Hershey's chocolate and a graham cracker. The top graham is used to slide the mallow off the stick and squashed down to create the best sammich in history.

If you're feeling a bit wild, add a smear of smooth peanut butter between the first cracker and the chocolate. I promise, you won't regret it.

Things to keep in mind :

  • When your mallow begins to burn, DON'T PANIC. Waving around a fiery hunk of sticky sugar is a surefire way to get burnt.
  • Don't you dare use a Fudge Stripe cookie. It does not taste the same and you need to quit lying to yourself.
  • When trying the peanut butter s'more, do NOT use a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. The peanut butter-to-chocolate ratio is way off and you will be sorely disappointed.

OG s'mores are the way to go. But any method you use to create that sticky-sweet goodness is acceptable. Getty Images / Special to The Forum
OG s'mores are the way to go. But any method you use to create that sticky-sweet goodness is acceptable. Getty Images / Special to The Forum

Microwave s'mores

The microwave s'more, for me, was born out of a need to create a snack for the kids I was babysitting and as a form of entertainment. Listen, I am not really the biggest fan of children, at least not ones who think that they are allowed to wreak havoc when their parents are gone. The microwave s'more saved my bacon that day, and those kids were the greatest to hang out with.

One of those children graduated in 2018 and is a union worker with Charps Pipeline Construction and Maintenance, and the other will be a senior in high school in the fall. Time flies, and I now feel really old.

The trick to this one is to cook the mallow on a graham and add the chocolate after. Slap that beautiful white pillow on your graham and pop it in the microwave for 17 seconds. Why 17 seconds, you ask? Why not? Seventeen is a good number. Don't ask too many questions. Just trust me.

Once that's done, immediately flip the melty mallow and warm graham over onto three squares of Hershey's chocolate and the other graham. Smoosh and enjoy.

Things to keep in mind:

  • You will not get the same campfire flavor as a normal s'more. That's because you are cooking it in a microwave, silly.
  • Do not cook your s'more with any metal devices or utensils. Things will spark and smoke and it really is just not a good deal.

Stovetop s'mores

Ahh, the stovetop s'more — the ultimate rainy-day solution to getting your fix.

This alternative method of cooking requires precision, skill and attention to detail. However, once you've mastered the stovetop s'more, you will be unstoppable. Neither rain, nor snow, nor terrible fire-building skills will stop you from that sweet s'more-y goodness.

You even get to use a utensil for this one! Grab a fork, turn that burner on high and roast your mallow like the champion you are. Once it's done, you know the drill: Slap that baby on your crackers and chocolate (three squares of Hershey's, remember that) and smoosh. You just made yourself a stovetop s'more.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Stovetops are hot. Don't touch the stovetop.
  • These s'mores can burn easily. Please be careful and watch your mallow.

Candlelight s'more

The candlelight s'more is exactly the same as the stovetop s'more, just s'more romantic. Because of the candlelight.

Grab your utensil (I use a fork because that's easiest to find), light a candle and slowly roast away. Cue the graham cracker and chocolate and you are sitting pretty, my dear. (Wasn't that romantic as heck?)

Things to keep in mind :

  • Don't use scented candles, unless you like your mallows to taste like summer breeze (which you won't, trust me).
  • You're dealing with fire here. Fire burns. Remember that.

Grilled s'more

The grilled s'more is a relatively new concept I had not previously heard about. However, I am very much willing to try this one at home.

Stack your s'more ingredients together and wrap in aluminum foil. Place on the grill, which should be set to medium heat, and cook for four minutes. Boom. Grilled s'mores.

Things to keep in mind:

  • I shouldn't have to tell you that grills are hot, but I am going to — grills are hot. Be careful.
  • Aluminum foil can be sneaky and stick to things, including your s'more. Please proceed with caution when diving into that chocolaty-mallowy goodness.


Friday 5 is a weekly column featuring quick tips, tricks, ideas and more — all in bunches of five. Readers can reach Forum reporter Emma Vatnsdal at 701-241-5517.