Dreaming of Spring Break Along the North Shore

As North Central Iowans were digging out from the 10 inches of snow on Monday morning, I couldn’t help but notice the irony.  You see Monday was the start of our kids’ Spring Break, but it felt more like Winter Break!

The view from the top of Lookout Mountain was worth the trek through the muck and the mud!

This time last year, however, our family was hoping for fresh powder as we loaded our SUV and headed to Lutsen, Minnesota.  We were looking forward to meeting friends for a few days in the Caribou Highlands where we could literally ski out the back of our rented condo and catch a gondola to the slopes.

Each morning we hit the trails early and were able to enjoy two or three hours of ski time before warm temperatures turned the slopes into slop; conditions were better suited for building snowmen and tossing snowballs than boarding or skiing.

On the third day, we totally abandoned our skiing plans and took a hike.  The sun shined brightly overhead, and temperatures reached the low 70s.  Conditions were nearly ideal for a 2.25-mile trek to the top of Lookout Mountain in the beautiful Cascade River State Park.  Although melting snow made for muddy trails – and we hadn’t really packed gear fit for this expedition– the view from the top was worth it!

Last year our family enjoyed Spring Break in Lutsen, Minn., where we hiked through the beautiful Cascade River State Park.

Lutsen ranks as one of my favorite family vacation spots.  I know our experience was enhanced because of the company we kept.  Our family has fond memories of playing board games and eating at Sven & Ole’s Pizza in Grand Marais with the Luchsinger family.

It’s funny how we often associate good memories with good food…  That’s why I headed to the kitchen when my heart was yearning for northern Minnesota.  This week I literally got a taste of the North Shore, using the wild rice and maple syrup that I had purchased during our visit there.  I also served homemade bread topped with strawberry rhubarb jam, which I had purchased in Grand Marais.  Today I’m sharing not only sharing my North Shore menu, but I’m sharing my recipes on TheFieldPosition.com.  I hope you enjoy this meal as much as my family did!

What’s your favorite family vacation spot?  I’d love it if you’d share a related recipe with me at shannonl@lathamseeds.com.

Wild Rice with Pork Chops



  • 1 cup raw wild rice
  • 1½ cup water
  • 2 cans, mushrooms, stems and pieces
  • 3 Tbls. granulated instant chicken bouillon
  • 1 can, cream of mushroom soup



  • Grease a casserole or a 9x13 pan.
  • In the bottom of the pan, sprinkle wild rice.  Add water and mushrooms with the juice.
  • Sprinkle chicken bouillon over the top.  S
  • Spoon mushroom soup over the mixture.
  • Remove fat from 6 or 8 pork chops that are cut about 1” thick.  Brown and season the chops; place on top of the rice mixture.
  • Cover casserole with tin foil, sealing the edges securely.
  • Bake in 350-degree oven for 1 ½ or 2 hours until rice I done.
  • Serve on a platter, arranging pork chops around the rice.  Garnish with red apple rings and parsley.

COOK’S TIP:  Complement this casserole with a side of Warm Apple Salad with Maple Whipped Cream.  Real whipped cream with a hint of maple is a real treat – more like dessert than a salad!