Browse Category by Rambles

Using Facebook’s “Save” Function – A Recipe Seeker’s “Must Have”

 I’ve been using the “Save” function on Facebook a lot – its easy to do and then you have a list of things that looked interesting but maybe you weren’t at home (ie – on a mobile in the bathroom) or didn’t have time to look at that moment.

We’ve all tried to go back and find that thing you saw 2 or 3 days ago – its impossible, and frustrating….but with the “Save” function it’s a click away.  Save it for later so you can read it in depth, save it so you can pull it up while you’re grocery shopping, save it to share with Mom later.  

Here’s how you use the save function:

Continue Reading

Menu Planning, Rambles, Reviews

Menu Planning Made Easy

I love to plan my menus out a week ahead of time, and I’ve been asked for menu planning tips so I thought I’d share a few.  Planning makes grocery shopping and figuring out what’s for dinner so much easier!  I’ve employed a variety of tools over the years but have found a decent combination of products and services that keeps me on track.  I thought I’d share a few tips with you – you can use all of these, or just one or two – whatever fits your situation and motivation!

Continue Reading

Outside Projects, Rambles, Wanderlust

A Big Ole List of Camping Hacks

We bought a new camper this summer.  This is big for me. We’ve had a small popup that has served as hunting base for about 8 years – but it was frightfully small – and has no bathroom.  That means Carrie had to go in the woods….no likey.BIG OLE LIST OF

But we live in Colorado – in the mountains.  Sitting in our home every weekend seems like we’re wasting or taking things for granted…after all – Colorado is extremely gorgeous!
So our new camper is NOT a popup – and it DOES have a bathroom – a real one with a shower…… oh happy days!  Since Maddie was headed to college this fall – I suspect Todd has been trying to tempt me into a love of the woods and fly fishing.  I’m in love with fly fishing already – I thought the woods would be a harder sell. Continue Reading


Friends and Family Sabotaging your Weight Loss? Tips for Coping.


Gird your loins – because this is going to be a mini rant/helpful tips post.  I’m not quite sure yet what order they’re going to come from my fingers, so it will be a surprise for all of us.

First – lets set the scene.  I am about 80 pounds overweight.  That’s the long and the short of it.  My husband, not overweight – and tends to lose weight simply by adding a few more glasses of water to his daily routine.  My kids? Perfect in every way. Seriously – they’re just fine weight wise, and still growing – so my biggest goal with them is to NOT convey my issues and coping mechanisms when it comes to food upon their healthy little bodies.

But here’s the deal.  Trying to lose weight in a house with folks who do not have the same need, is miserable.  Lets be serious, if I had willpower, I wouldn’t be in the position I am now, needing to shed quite a few pounds.

So here are some tips for you who are trying to lose, and you who should be supporting those who are trying to lose – because doing it alone, with no support, sucks.

Family member losing weight? Pay attention to these tips!

  1. DO NOT BRING HOME JUNKFOOD.  Yeah, I did use capital letters, because this is common sense – but you’d be surprised how many people DON’T think it’s a big deal.  It’s not that we want to deny those who can handle it in moderation, but we cannot handle it.  Meet for your donuts at the shop – or leave them in the car until work tomorrow.  It’s cruel to leave them spread across the counter when you know we’re doing all we can to resist temptation.
  2. Support with the offer of a walk, or a yummy looking low fat recipe.  Comments about how you “could never cut such-and-such out of my day” or an offer of happy hour at the local greasy spoon do not help.  I want to hang out with you – but how about a picnic in the park or a hike? If overweight folks had enormous stores of will power, we wouldn’t be overweight.
  3. Losing weight is not just a fight with food. Its a fight over emotions and depression.  It’s a war – to be honest. Sometimes a hug and a quiet “I’m proud of you.” is all it takes to shore up the walls, so to speak.
  4. Don’t complain about the food put on the table.  I get it, you might not like it.  Pretend you do.  It’s hard enough to find recipes that sound like something EVERYONE in the house will like, we don’t really need your comments about not enough butter, salt or meat.  Learning to change HOW you cook is just as hard as learning how to change WHAT you cook.  If you’re still hungry, get something to eat later after the table is cleared.

Here are some tips for those of you trying to lose weight without a ton of support.

  1. Not everyone understands your struggle.  I run up against this one constantly. Comments like “Just have a salad for dinner” or “drink some more water” are good advice. But if it were a cure, I’d be a friggin’ super model by now.
  2. Be flexible – let family pick a meal 1 day a week and compensate by eating a smaller portion
  3. Pack your own snacks – if you’re going on an outing, pack healthy snacks so you can go to lunch, dinner or a movie and not be hungry.
  4. Don’t be a nag – it only brings down your mood.  To be honest – I’ve started just putting things people bring home out in the garage. They’re slowly getting the hint.
  5. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Halloween candy is coming up – buy it ON Halloween – and buying something you DON’T like helps keep you from eating it!




My First Paleo Lunchbox

Today is Monday – Paleo day for Maddie and I – I mentioned before that we’re trying out paleo eating, but only one day a week to see what we think.  I usually jump into things with both feet, torso, arms and my brain – but this time – I’m giving it a trial run before I do that.  I’m not 100% sold on paleo eating, and I’m aware that only doing it 1 day a week isn’t really going to give me the purported benefits, but I’m sticking a toe in the water mostly to see how we like the foods and the “restrictions.”

I’m impulsive, I’m not a big fan of restrictions.

Today I packed Maddie a 100% paleo lunch, and made her a paleo breakfast.  Breakfast actually isn’t that hard, farm-fresh eggs and nitrate free bacon – check.  Today though, I went a little different and made her a smoothie

Throw frozen peaches, blackberries, raspberries and some almond milk in the blender, voila!  I like using almond milk because the protein content is high – and protein and breakfast go hand in hand.  No protein for breakfast means you’re hungry an hour later.

photo (10)

For lunch I made her a salad with lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, some bacon crumbles and Paleo Balsamic Dressing – using a quart mason jar and my cool BNTO inserts from the Cuppow folks.  LOVE those things!

I also sliced up an apple and tossed with lemon juice, put some raw walnut butter in a plastic container and added a sliced orange.  I am a bit worried about being light on protein in this lunch – but I think she’ll be okay.  She has to work tonight so I’ll take her a snack to tide her over until dinner – Asian Lettuce Wraps – YUM YUM!

bentgoI also ordered the kids some real live Bento Boxes last night – I ordered this version from  They had a few features that were important to us.

  • Divided upper tray
  • Spot for silverware, not just chopsticks
  • Microwave, Freezer & Dishwasher safe
  • Didn’t cost a fortune

You’d be surprised how many cheaper bento boxes are NOT microwave safe.  Our schools provide microwaves for the kids to heat up lunches, which makes packing lunches MUCH easier.  Leftovers, anyone?


How to Get Kids To Eat – 8 Tips for Success

howtogetkidstoeat-lookslikehomemadeI have been seeing quite a few friends on Facebook post in the last months about trying to get their kids to eat.  Either they’re just not interested, or they’re picky and only eat mac and cheese and chicken nuggets.  I am blessed with some pretty adventurous eaters.  Both kids love brussels sprouts and asparagus, they both will try just about any type of fish, they like game meat and will eat most vegetables if they’re cooked correctly.

Here’s how I did it – and some things I learned along the way – hope they help!  Please feel free to share your tips or share your challenges in the comments, maybe we can help each other out.

  1. Don’t make a huge deal out of not eating.  Kids have weird metabolisms and sometimes they’re just not hungry.
  2. Don’t offer snacks if they’re not eating meals.  Snacks will fill a kid up fast, so snacking could be a HUGE reason why they won’t eat when they sit down.  If your kids are eating their meals and need a little extra protein here and there, apples or celery and Peanut Butter are good – hard-cooked egg whites, a granola bar or something similar can do the trick.  Do not give free access to snack foods if the kids aren’t eating meals
  3. You are not a short order cook.  Don’t cook special meals for your kids, and don’t try everything in the kitchen to just get a bite in.  If my kids wouldn’t eat what was for dinner, either because they were picky, or not hungry, I wrapped up their plate and put it in the fridge.  If they came and said they were hungry later, I warmed up dinner.  Sometimes they had dinner for breakfast – but the message was, you eat what’s put on the table.
  4. Many kids have texture issues, and those can be difficult to overcome.  My kids hate the texture of cooked pinto-type beans and onions.  How do I get around this?  I do two things 1) I don’t get mad if they pick them out.  I wont cook without them, but they don’t have to eat them; or 2) I use my mini chop or immersion blender and make sure the onions or beans are pretty much reduced to mush.  The veggie mush trick works with carrots and celery and tomatoes as well.  Chunks seem to be a deterrent, so get rid of that barrier.
  5. Pack their school lunch and make sure it’s nutritious and filling with GOOD foods.  School hot lunches are packed with crap – preservatives and junk – and they think potatoes are vegetables.  My kids are 12 and 16 and I still pack their lunch every morning.  They take leftovers, or a PB&J, or soup – if they don’t eat it, that’s their problem and they can eat when dinner is put on the table.  A small snack of fruit or high protein after school doesnt hurt, but no closer than 2 hrs before dinner
  6. Eat on a schedule.  This also helps kids learn to tell time.  Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner are at set times – this helps them get into the routine of eating.  This also means YOU have to be diligent and get the food going and done on time.  Things come up – so don’t be afraid to teach kids flexibility, but don’t be upset when they’re STARVING at dinner time and you’re not ready.  A small cube of cheese can get them through to dinner.
  7. Get them in the kitchen with you.  The more they cook, and see what goes into what they’re eating, the more likely they are to eat what’s on the table.  Let them try all of the ingredients separately (if it’s safe) and then encourage them to try it all together as it cooks.  A little taste of sauce off the spoon at the stove can make them feel like a grown up.  Praise their efforts and make sure everyone eating knows who helped or made the meal.
  8. If you’re still not getting the kiddos to eat, snacking is not an issue – talk to your pediatrician about protein meal replacements.  Some of these have crap in them, so be sure you’re using a good one.  I’ve never had to do it, but if the kids are underweight and LOSING weight, that’s a larger issue.

I’d love to hear your tips for picky or slow eaters.  Please share below or on our Facebook page and I’ll add more to this post with credit to you!

Update: I thought of one more tip after I posted this – ONE BITE RULE.  Even if they say they don’t like it – they need to take ONE BITE before they leave the table.  My son has discovered a bunch of foods he thought he didn’t like using this rule.

From Jenette Keese via Facebook:  Set manageable goals – don’t load up a kid’s plate and expect them to eat it all.  When they think they’re full – give them a goal – 4-5 more bites and divide out the bites on the child’s plate.  If you just say “eat more” or “clean your plate” they become overwhelmed and tend to dig in their heels.

 My mom always said “if I dish it, and you can’t eat it all, that’s fine – but if YOU dish it, you eat it – so only take what you can manage.”  This took a few stops and starts because kids don’t understand spacial relationships and how much food = full – but it does teach them to take 3 SMALL scoops and eat it all instead of 1 GIGANTIC scoop.