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If you've been hermetically sealed away in a chamber since the mid-70s - removed from television and the melee of media - then perhaps Dian Thomas' name doesn't ring a bell.

But for the rest of us, her nationally recognized title as "first lady of creativity" is no lie. She really CAN do it all, in a no-nonsense way, with what's available.In her newly released book, "Roughing It Easy" (completely revised and updated), Thomas has combined the best from her previous best-selling books and added timely techniques and new developments in outdoor fun and entertainment.

She's no princess DI , that's for sure; just a "get-right-down-there-in-the-coals-and-stir-that-big-ol'-campfire woman!"

Thomas' book espouses simplicity, reality. This "daughter of Deseret" learned well the Mormon pioneer lessons of "making do" with what you've got. Today the idea is called creative budgeting.

Or to most of us, reality!

Reality is this: There's nothing more basic than one of Thomas' favorite recipes from the book - Baked Apple on a Stick. Just roll the thing in cinnamon and sugar, sit back, let it roast and count the stars.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Unless maybe two baked apples on two sticks!

It's difficult to one-up Mom Nature, and Thomas has harnessed that feeling in her books. She packs her respect for the great outdoors and love of the mountains into everything she does, from zipping around the valley in her red jeep, to starring in a video (filmed at Brighton) about Dutch oven cooking for Lodge Cast Iron pots.

When Thomas was 12, her father's job as a Wasatch National Forest ranger moved the family here.

Young Dian became a sort of Heidi-like kid, who dreamed of living in the mountains forever.

"I was raised in the mountains - and know them like the back ofmy hand," she says, breathing life into the simple words she says. Thomas emotes a lively love of "her" mountains and the lifestyle they envelop as she speaks about her meteoric rise to fame in the mid-70s.

After Thomas completed her master's thesis, BYU offered to publish it in book form. What originally was called, "How to teach outdoor camping and cooking in Home Economics classes" is actually today's "Roughing It Easy."

The public's interest in Thomas' no-nonsense way of getting back to nature caught hold and took off.

"1975 was like a dream," Thomas recalls.

"In one week my book was on the New York Times Best Seller List, I was on the `Mike Douglas Show,' `To Tell the Truth' and the first 17 minutes with Johnny Carson on the `Tonight Show.'

In an exciting but exhausting travel blitz in 1975, Thomas was instantly "hot." She got home for three two-day rests in a six-month period.

For the next few years, she did the media tours and taught hundreds of BYU Education Week participants her beloved "Roughing It" message.

It's difficult to describe Thomas in print. Her sparkling blue eyes spotlight her enthusiasm well. And, just as a camper's flashlight breaks through the dark, her matter-of-fact, upbeat retorts have helped her along the often-difficult world of live television.

In what she credits as a turning point in her career, Thomas recalled a live broadcast on the "Today Show" one morning.

She was showing then-host Tom Brokaw how anyone can have a barbecue in his back yard, explaining that one can use the prongs of a clean pitchfork to roast hot dogs.


Dian: "That's right, Tom, you don't even need a grill or fancy cooking equipment. You can line the bottom of a `little red wagon' with foil, put in the briquets, and have your neighbors over for a barbecue!"

Tom: "Well, that sounds great Dian, but what if one of my neighbors has a little too much to drink and sits in the little red wagon?"

Dian: "Guess you'll have rump roast!"

That same day, Thomas "carpe-ed the diem" (seized the day), marched in to the producer's office, and asked for a permanent job on the "Today Show."

For the next eight years, she was a regular on the show, demonstrating to amazed viewers everything from baking cakes in halved oranges, to playing "kick the can" while mixing up a batch of home-brew (ice cream, that is) at the same time.

For the past six years, she's been part of the "Home Show" family, continuing to create functional items from discarded or sometimes overlooked treasures, like Clorox jugs.

She's even reworked an American icon, the old camping standby dessert - S'Mores.

Curious as to the reaction of the new generation discovering Thomas' "Roughing It Easy" message, we sent a troupe of recipe testers up the canyon to test her "New Method for S'mores."

This highly technical team was lead by unofficial S'More Maven Damian Dayton, a recent graduate of Cottonwood High. Gathered with Dayton, sticks in hand, were marshmallow hole borers Brian Watkins and Trace Coccimiglio, chocolate chip surgical implant team Alyse Nygren and Liz Hawes, and graham cracker snapper-in-halfer, Ashley Stillman.

Their opinions were all positive.

But S'more purist Dayton summed up the group's highly enthusiastic opinion.

"This New Method for S'Mores really IS new!" he said.

Then he announced, "We're stickin' with it!"

A new generation has discovered Dian Thomas.

We think she has a winner - again.


Additional Information



1 cup cornflakes

1 pound hamburger

1 egg

1/2 onion, chopped

2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon mustard

Crush cornflakes and set aside. Mix together hamburger, egg, onion, salt, pepper and mustard. Add crushed cornflakes. Wrap a small quantity of meat mixture around the end of a stick, making it long instead of into a round ball. Wrap foil around the meat and part of the stick to prevent the meat from falling into the coals. Place it over a bed of coals, turning it slowly to cook it evenly, about 20 to 30 minutes. Makes about seven drumsticks. Serves 3 to 4.

- Each drumstick contains 155 calories, 9 g fat, 4 g carb, 697 mg sodium, 70 mg cholesterol.

- From "Roughing It Easy" (revised edition) by Dian Thomas


1 egg

1 small stick

With a pin or the point of a sharp knife, carefully tap a small hole in one end of an egg. Sharpen 1 small stick to an even thickness no larger than 3/16 inch. Insert sharpened stick into the hole in the egg and through to the other end. Now carefully tap another small hole to let the stick come through. Balance the stick on a rock near the fire so the egg is approximately 6 inches above the coals. Turn in 10 to 15 minutes to cook the other side. Serves 1.

- Each serving contains 75 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g carb, 63 mg sodium, 213 mg cholesterol.

- From "Roughing It Easy" (revised edition) by Dian Thomas


1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Cooking apples

Roasting stick or dowel for each apple

Mix cinnamon with sugar and set aside. Push the stick or dowel through the top of the apple until the apple is secure on the stick. Place the apple 2 to 3 inches above the hot coals and turn the apple while roasting it. As the apple cooks, the skin starts to turn brown and the juice comes out. When the skin is loose, remove the apple from the fire but leave it on the stick. Peel the skin off the apple, being careful not to burn yourself since the apple is very hot. Roll the apple in the sugar and cinnamon mixture, then return it to roast over the coals, letting the sugar and cinnamon heat to form a glaze over the apple. Remove the apple from the coals and let it cool. Then slice off pieces and eat your "apple pie on a stick."

- Each serving contains 127 calories, 1 g fat, 33 g carb, 1 mg sodium, 0 cholesterol.

- From "Roughing It Easy" (revised edition) by Dian Thomas

- Note: The best apples to use are cooking apples such as Jonathan or Rome because when they are warm, the skins are easy to peel off.


2 marshmallows

8 milk chocolate chips

2 graham cracker

With a sharp knife, cut slits in the four corners of the flat side of 1 marshmallow. In the slits, insert (sharp end first) 4 milk chocolate chips. Repeat with the other marshmallow. Fit the chocolate chip ends of the two marshmallows together, slide them onto the sharp end of a stick and toast them slowly over hot coals. When the marshmallows are golden brown, sandwich them between 2 graham crackers. Serves 1.

- Each serving contains 144 calories, 4 g fat, 25 g carb, 51 mg sodium, 2 mg cholesterol.

- From "Roughing It Easy" (revised edition) by Dian Thomas

- Note: This method guarantees melted chocolate, so you'll really want s'more!


4 cups oats

1 cup coconut

1/3 cup sesame seeds

1 cup wheat germ

1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup rolled wheat

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup orange or apple juice concentrate

1/3 cup oil

2 tablespoons vanilla

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup dried apples, apricots, or dates (chopped)

Mix together oats, coconut, sesame seeds, wheat germ, shelled sunflower seeds, cinnamon and rolled wheat. Mix together and heat honey, corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, orange juice (or apple juice) concentrate and oil. Add the vanilla and combine all ingredients. Bake at 200 degrees until crisp, stirring occasionally. Add raisins and dried fruits and bake 10 minutes longer. Serves 20.

- Each serving (1/2 cup) contains 332 calories, 10 g fat, 53 g carb, 69 mg sodium, 0 cholesterol.

- From "Roughing It Easy" (revised edition) by Dian Thomas


1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon lemon juice

11/4 cups granola with dates

Stir together and warm in double boiler peanut butter, honey and lemon juice. Add granola and mix well. Either roll balls or press into a lightly greased 8X8-inch pan. Cut into squares after drying until firm in dryer (dehydrator) or low oven (120 degrees) with door open. Serves 9.

- Each serving contains 198 calories, 12.5 g fat, 18 g carb, 72 mg sodium, 0 cholesterol.

- From "Roughing It Easy" (revised edition) by Dian Thomas


1 cup finely chopped dried apricots

1 cup finely chopped dried apples

1/4 cup instant nonfat dried milk

2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons light corn syrup

Powdered sugar

Mix together apricots, dried apples and dried milk. Mix together orange juice concentrate, cinnamon, honey and corn syrup. Add to fruit and dried milk mixture. Roll into balls 1 inch in diameter, then roll balls in powdered sugar. Dry until firm at 140 degrees. Makes 2 dozen.

- Each serving contains 42 calories, 0 g fat, 11 g carb, 10 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol.

- From "Roughing It Easy (revised edition) by Dian Thomas


11/3 cups instant nonfat dry milk

1/3 cup cocoa

2 tablespoons non-dairy creamer (powdered)

1/2 cup sugar

Dash salt

Combine ingredients and store in airtight container. For each cup of cocoa, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup dry mix to 1 cup boiling water. Serves 6.

- Each serving contains 131 calories, 2 g fat, 29 g carb, 135 mg sodium, 3 mg cholesterol.

- From "Roughing It Easy" (revised edition) by Dian Thomas


8 cups sifted all-purpose flour

11/2 cups nonfat dry milk

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup baking powder

11/2 cup shortening

Stir flour, dry milk salt and baking powder until well-mixed. Cut in shortening and mix well. Store in a tightly covered container in a cool place. The mix will last several weeks. Makes 10 cups.

- Each cup contains 677 calories, 32 g fat, 83 g carb, 879 mg sodium, 2 mg cholesterol.

- From "Roughing It Easy (revised edition) by Dian Thomas


2 cups biscuit mix (see recipe above)

1/3 to 1/2 cup water

Add water to dry biscuit mix to make a dough that is soft but not too sticky. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter or cut into squares with a knife. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 1 dozen biscuits.

- Each biscuit contains 113 calories, 3 g fat, 7 g carb, 74 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol.

- From "Roughing It Easy" (revised edition) by Dian Thomas


1 cup biscuit mix

1 egg

1/2 cup water

Put ingredients in a bowl and stir just enough to mix. Dip spoonfuls onto a hot griddle. Turn when brown on griddle side and cook until brown on other side. Serve with syrup or preserves.

- Each serving contains 125 calories, 6 g fat, 7 g carb, 157 mg sodium, 36 mg cholesterol.

- From "Roughing It Easy" (revised edition) by Dian Thomas'