Tag Archives: vacation

What’s in the Box? Recipe Roundup #13

What's in the Box?

Our last week in Branson was a blast!  We made sure to hit up all the local attractions before we headed out west.  Branson is known for their live shows and we were lucky enough to check out a few of them including The Price is Right LIVE.

The Price is Right LIVE

Harper could care less about winning a new car, she was all about the pretty model’s sparkly dresses :)

Branson also has a fun theme park called Silver Dollar City.  They have everything from rides, to live entertainment to crafty souvenirs.  It’s a great place to run around and enjoy yourself for the day (even when it’s 102 degrees!).


Finally, no trip to Branson would be complete without a ride on the ducks.  And I’m not talking about the ones that go “quack”.  I’m talking about the amphibious vehicles that were made famous during WWII.  This is Harper’s second time this summer riding a duck.  First as a viking during our trip to Ireland…Viking Duck

and now as a duckling herself…Ride the Ducks

Being a tourist is fun!

And of course we spent lots and lots of time with family.  Including, Harper’s new BFF, her Great Uncle John…

Holding hands with Uncle John

Harper and I are sure going to miss Branson, but are looking forward to another visit real soon :)

But enough about me, let’s talk veggies.

Last week we had a total of 13 link ups.  And to be frank, it’s summer produce at it’s best.  One of my favorite summer veggies is sweet corn.  And when you throw fresh kernels into a fresh batch of batter and deep fry it, the result is pure bliss.  (Speaking of deep frying, did you check out these crispy fried shallots?  The Angels are definitely singing for this one…).  Or you could toss it with some zucchini, leeks and a handful cheese and you got yourself an awesome summer pizza.  Oh, the possibilities :)  A big thanks to everyone who participated.  I just can’t get enough or your CSA goodness.

And because I am feeling extra sweet today (and in need of a sugar fix), here are some of my favorite CSA inspired desserts (in alphabetical order…).  Enjoy!

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp - In Her Chucks

Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Beet Cake - In Her Chucks

Carrot Cookies

Carrot Cookies - In Her Chucks

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars - In Her Chucks

Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes

Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes - In Her Chucks

Your turn: What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate your CSA fruits and veggies into simple and sinful desserts?  Looking forward to drooling over your ideas.  

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!

PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post and grabbing the official “What’s in the Box?” button at the bottom of my blog.  Thanks!

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What I Ate Wednesday #9

I just got home from an amazing birthday weekend.  I have to say, if this year is any reflection of all the good times we celebrated over the last few days, 30 is going to be pretty darn cool.  I am so grateful to my husband and the rest of the family for making this birthday one I will never forget.  Look forward to a blog post of our activities coming soon.  But for now, let’s focus on the food.

This month, Jenn from Peas and Crayons has us all excited about the yummy festive treats Halloween has to offer.  October seems like the perfect time to eat pumpkin for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  While I didn’t’ quite get the chance to fit it in to all of today’s meals, I was able to start my day off with a short stack of pumpkin pancakes smothered in butter and pure maple syrup.  Yum!


Before heading home from our lovely mini-vacation, we made a stop at one of our favorite breakfast spots, Uncle Bill’s Pancake House.  I couldn’t help but start with a refreshing ice tea on such a warm morning.  My mom and I decided to split a short stack of pumpkin pancakes, a side of bacon and a veggie omelet (stuffed with spinach, onion, avocado and cheddar cheese).  Everything was delicious!  And the view wasn’t bad either…

After filling our bellies with quite the breakfast smorgasbord, we hit the road to run a few more errands.  Whenever we are in LA we have a list of things we must do.  One that tops the list is getting our nails done.  Freddie and I have been going to the same nail salon for years so whenever we are in town we like to indulge in a little pampering.  Before we knew it, a few hours had passed by and it was time for a snack.  We ran across the street to Starbucks to pick up some munchies and an iced beverage.

Snack #1:

While I was pregnant with Harper I got very familiar with this Cheese and Fruit Bistro Box.  It’s a great snack to pick up on the go and always satisfies.  Apparently Harper is still a fan because she pretty much ate all the cheese on her own.  I was able to snag a few bites of the brie to eat with the apples and chomped on a few nuts.  To wash it down, I decided to try a Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher, which I wasn’t too pleased with.  However, Freddie enjoyed it to the last drop.  Next time I’m sticking with my regular iced green tea.

After sitting on the freeway for over an hour in Sig Alert traffic, I was ready for some lunch.  We needed something that was convenient and easy so we settled on Baja Fresh.


I just love these fish tacos.  The fish is light and flakey, the cabbage gives it just enough crunch to make it interesting and of course, what taco isn’t complete without a few slices of fresh avocado.  I paired it with a side salad and a few chips dipped in guacamole (not pictured).

I often find myself craving something sweet after such a flavorful lunch.  So during our car ride I cracked open a package of these chewy mango snacks to tide me over until dinner.

Snack #2:

They hit the spot and are by far the best dried mango I have ever had!  I am officially hooked.

We didn’t quite make it home in time for dinner so we did a quick sit down at Souplantation.


I love nothing more than a huge salad packed with everything but the kitchen sink.  I will throw pretty much anything in the mix as long as it qualifies as a fruit or vegetable.  The sweet potato was a great addition to the meal as well.  I actually ended up eating 3 more.  I just can’t get enough of baked sweet potatoes.

Road trips are always fun but finding a way to eat healthy on the go can be rough.  For the amount of running around we did today, I am pretty proud of most of my food choices.  The fact that we were able to steer clear of fast food drive-thrus is a huge success.  Thank God for smart phones and the ability to search for healthy and convenient restaurants in unfamiliar territory.

Now that we are home and settled and I am sitting at my computer typing up this post, I realized I needed one more yummy snack before I hit the hay.  So I grabbed some of Harper’s dried fruit and shoved a few handfuls in my mouth for good measure.

Late Night Snack:

If you haven’t tried these amazing toddler snacks, you are missing out.  This is a new flavor we picked up at Whole Foods this weekend but the Strawberry & Mango is fantastic too.  I am pretty much obsessed with these things.  And Harper likes them too (or at least that is what I am trying to convince my husband of so that I can continue to splurge on them at the grocery store…).

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite spooky snacks and healthy Halloween treats?  What are your tips for eating healthy on the road?  Looking forward to reading your responses :)

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Weekend Getaway

When your weekend starts with a view like this, you have no choice but to be grateful.

Hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, joy filled weekend.

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Have Baby, Will Travel

Traveling with a baby can seem daunting. Or at least it did to me. But after a successful maiden voyage, I realized that it’s not such a big deal after all :)

As we were preparing for our first plane trip with the baby, I received some very helpful advice from my well-traveled mommy friends and family members. I was so grateful for the experiences that they shared with me. Now it’s my turn to share some of our tips with you.

1. Give them a heads up: Babies are very observant and are aware of everything that is happening around them. Going on the plane for the first time can be a scary and uncomfortable experience. But, if you let them know ahead of time what they can expect, I believe that it can help them adjust more easily.

Leading up to our trip, I was telling Harper about what was going to be happening in the next few days. I let her know what we were planning on doing, who we were going to see, and how long we would be gone. Once we were at the airport I was explaining to her the different stages of traveling and reassuring her that this was a fun and exciting new experience. Involving your little one in conversations and keeping them up to speed about what is happening around them will help to put their minds at ease.

2. Packing: When traveling with a baby it is important to be prepared for any possible situation. And I am not just talking about your final destination but for the plane ride itself. You never know when you may be stuck in an airport somewhere because of a delayed or cancelled flight. So it’s a good idea to make sure you are fully stocked with all the essentials. When we travel with Harper we always pack her own little suitcase. It is carry on size so that way we can have it with us at all times. We use this in place of a diaper bag so that we eliminate an extra bag all-together.

So what are the essentials?

  • Blankets: Since we like to go on road trips and stay at hotels often, we started getting in the habit of bringing along receiving blankets to put on top of the sheets where Harper sleeps (had to find some sort of use for them…). Hotels tend to use harsh detergents on their bedding so this is our way to help limit the amount of chemicals Harper may be breathing in or getting in contact with her skin. As she is growing up and moving around more in her sleep, this method doesn’t seem to work as well but it was a great solution in the beginning. Plus, it also gave her a familiar scent to sleep on which may or may not have helped her sleep better in an unfamiliar environment.
  • Clothes: When I pack for Harper I always make sure I have a variety of different options. As much as I would like to trust the weather forecast, it can change in an instant. So its best that you come prepared with clothes for any type of climate. I normally pack enough outfits for the days we will be gone as well as a few extra outfits just in case. I always pack a jacket and plenty of socks (since Harper’s not too keen on shoes yet). It might also be a good idea to bring a hat too for sunny or cold weather.
  • Diapers/Wipes: Depending on how long you are going to be gone, it might be easier to purchase diapers and wipes once you reach your destination but I always bring my own. I tend to overpack because I would rather have more than not enough. Because Harper uses the toilet we go through very little diapers so I packed 5-7 diapers/day just to be safe. I also pack a few full packs of wipes in addition to a small supply that gets left in the diaper bag.
  • Pajamas: Even though I try to reuse the pajamas Harper wears nightly since she gets such little use out of them and usually puts them on after a bath, I always pack enough pajamas for each night we will be away. I like to pack a variety of different styles (footies, short sleeves, two pieces) in case the weather changes. That way I have all my bases covered.
  • Toiletries: I purchased a very inexpensive first aid/hygiene kit for Harper that I always bring with us when we travel. I don’t bring everything that came in it but I do make sure I have a pair of nail clippers, snot sucker, saline, camilia drops, soap, comb, toothbrush, lotion. I like to take the snot sucker and saline just in case because with the dry air on the plane or change in weather in your new destination, there is a chance that your little can develop a slight runny nose. It’s never a bad idea to bring a thermometer either. Having these simple tools at your finger tips can help you deal with any issue immediately.
  • Toys/Books: You don’t want to go overboard in this area but I would recommend that you bring some type of activity to help keep them busy. Small items that you can throw in your purse or pockets might be enough to keep your little one entertained. On this trip we brought Harper’s Violet and a magic wand we were told we couldn’t travel without (similar to this). To be honest, we didn’t need to use them, but I was glad to have them just in case.

3. Car Seats/Carriers/Strollers:

  • Car Seats: If you are going to a place where you will be driving, you will have to bring your car seat with you. The good news is that the airline will check it for free! Some people choose to bring their infant seats on the plane with them but because Harper is in a convertible seat now, which is too big to fit on the plane, we checked it through at the ticket counter.
  • Carriers: I wore my ERGO the entire time (but then again, I always do). I find that carrying Harper around in it is the easiest way to travel. I would suggest using a carrier over a stroller because it takes up less space, is light weight and then you have one less thing to worry about.
  • Strollers: If you do decide to travel with a stroller it is best to use an umbrella stroller. They fold up easily, are light weight and get the job done.

4. Diapering: We all know how much space airplane bathrooms don’t have. On long flights you won’t be able to avoid changing your little one and chances are you will have to make do with the itty bitty space (unless you are lucky enough to get your own row). But if you are only taking a short trip do your best to make sure your little one gets on the plane with a dry diaper. I changed Harper right before we got on the flight and changed her as soon as we deplaned and it worked out well.

5. Feeding: Because of the cabin pressure, I was advised to nurse Harper during take off and landing to help clear her ears. So I timed my feedings accordingly. To be honest, she wasn’t interested in eating because she was too excited about what was going on outside. But I was glad to have that information in my back pocket should she have become uncomfortable.

Having a successful first plane ride under our belts, makes me extremely grateful. I couldn’t be more proud of my little girl. She is just a super trooper. Truth be told, leading up to the trip, I had some extreme anxiety going on. But as they say, “you don’t know, if you don’t go”. And now that I know, that I can go, I see that the possibilities are endless. So next stop? Who knows?

For more details on traveling with your little one, including packing lists and airline information, check out these helpful blogs/websites:

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

After a wonderful vacation filled with fun, food and family, we are finally home.  I couldn’t be more proud of my little girl.  She was a trooper through it all.  I am not a bit surprised by how well she did, but it feels good to have a successful maiden voyage under our belts.

Since we were having technical difficulties with the internet (guess that is what you get when you vacation on a horse ranch in the boondocks) and have been out of touch, I thought I would give you a quick run down of all the wonderful and exciting things that have happened over the last week.

Sunday December 18:  After staying over at our aunt and uncles for the night, we enjoyed a yummy breakfast at Mimi’s Cafe before heading off to the airport.  We lucked out by getting our own row on the plane and were grateful for the extra room.  I was told to nurse Harper during take off to help with her ears but she was too busy looking out the window at all the exciting new sights.  After a while she decided it was time for a nap and went to sleep on her daddy’s shoulder, her favorite spot.  Harper woke up just in time for us to get off the plane.  My sister and nephew were waiting for us at the airport to give us a ride back to her house.  Harper was so pooped from the busy day that she slept a whole 12 hours without a peep!

Monday December 19:  Vacation is all about rest and relaxation and so we weren’t shy about sleeping in.  But once we were up and adam we were excited to spend time with our niece and nephews.  The kids had a blast playing with their baby cousin.  It was so fun to watch Harper interact with them.  It brought out a whole new side of her.  She looked like such a big girl playing with the big kids.

Tuesday December 20:

Harper turned 10 months!  After working on my usual monthly post for hours on end only to have it delete multiple times because of the internet issues, I decided to give it a rest.  Sharing my thoughts and feelings with you all on this blog is supposed to be enjoyable.  Fighting with the internet made my blogging experience while being away not very enjoyable.  So I decided to let go of the things I can not control and spent my free time with my family.  So Harper’s 10 month review may be a few days late, but it will be posted soon :)

Wednesday December 21:

All dressed in our jammies (well the kids anyways) and heavy in the Christmas spirit, we enjoyed an evening ride on the Polar Express.  My nephews are huge train buffs so it was the perfect family activity.  We snacked on snickerdoodle cookies and sipped on hot chocolate as we rode on a steam engine train to the “North Pole”.  We were lucky enough to see Santa and receive a small gift of a bell from his sleigh (Harper’s favorite part!).  On our way back from the North Pole the entire train sang along to Christmas carols.  This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

Thursday December 22:  With Christmas just around the corner, there was much shopping to be done.  Since we were traveling for the holidays, we decided to do our shopping once we arrived instead of hauling all of our stuff on the plane.  So we were ripping and running with the rest of the last minute shoppers.  But luckily everything got done and no one go hurt :)

Friday December 23:  One of my favorite things to do when I visit my sister is to shop at Central Market.  So I couldn’t wait to get all of the ingredients for our big Christmas feast.  If you are ever in Texas, you have to check it out.  It is by far the coolest market I have ever seen.  And the quality of their food is unmatched.  It is a good thing they don’t have a Central Market in my neck of the woods.  With as much as I love fresh produce and gourmet ingredients, it might be dangerous.

Saturday December 24:

“All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”…even if it is one on the top and one on the bottom :)  Almost two months after getting her first tooth, Harper finally got her second tooth.  Only, instead of getting her other bottom tooth, one of her top teeth popped through.  It was a perfect way to start the holiday festivities.

Sunday December 25:

Harper’s first christmas.  What a special day.  After opening up the presents from Santa, we all munched on a family breakfast of scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and a fresh batch of Hootenannies (recipe will be posted soon).  We lounged around in our PJs all day and had fun playing with the new toys Santa had brought for us.  Leftovers from our Christmas feast were enjoyed for lunch and dinner.  Our plates were full of roasted turkey, grilled tri-tip, corn pudding, stuffing, green beans, ambrosia salad, mashed potatoes and more.  Needless to say, we were well fed!

Monday December 26:

After a wonderful time spent with our family, it was time to say goodbye.  The week went by so quickly, it felt like it was just yesterday that we arrived.  Harper did another wonderful job on the plane ride back.  Once we grabbed our bags and loaded up the car it was time for a another 2 hour drive home.  As good of a time as we had on our vacation, there is nothing like being home and sleeping in your own bed.  Harper always gives a big sigh when we walk in the front door.  And I have to say I echo her sentiments.  After a long day of traveling, it was nice to finally get comfortable.  It was a big trip for such a little girl, but she was aces the entire way.

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Learning to Bend

Sorry to be out of touch but the Internet access where we are is a bit shoddy. So I am attempting to write a quick post on my iPhone to do a short check in. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown getting a tad frustrated from spending time on my posts only to have them deleted after losing the wireless signal. But then I chose to reframe my thinking and realize that the time I normally devote to blogging can be spent with my family, get some much needed rest or work on getting all my Christmas errands done.

I hope to get some reliable Internet access soon… But just in case I don’t… I wish you all a wonderful Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas and beautiful holiday season :

Here is a quick pic taken from my iPhone of Harper with her cousins. Holidays are all about family and we are so grateful for ours.


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