Mom Things, Snacking, Travel

Those Costco Blueberries…

I’m sure this has happened to you. You get to the grocery store and the produce looks amazing, so you over buy?

Yep. {Raises Hand} Guilty.

Maybe it’s my crazy, creative left brain that just goes nuts with how beautifully displayed everything is {ahem, HyVee + Metcalfes Sentry for sure}. So perfect + colorful.

Generally, we do a good job eating up our produce. Its summer, so eating fresh is absolutely more enticing. This week we purchased jumbo boxes of blueberries, grapes and strawberries for the 4th of July festivities and recipes.

WELL…it was a little overboard.

Strawberries and grapes are gone; however, the blueberries! They were just chilling here in the fridge and the guilt set in {uh-oh, sad panda face}.

We can’t possibly eat all of these + it’s a waste if we don’t do something with them.

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Today we baked with blueberries. First, an old favorite. Blueberry muffins that I have talked about before. Don’t forget Quaker Rolled Oats and Quick Oats are safe for PN/TN allergies.

Dig in there and make em.

Most of the ingredients are pantry items, with the exception of the blueberries and oats, maybe? Feel free to change out the flour to whole wheat flour by King Arthur, made in a nut free facility. Also, Add in an extra 1/4 to 1/2 more blueberries. It wont change the consistency that much!

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Lastly, we did make a new recipe, Blueberry Bread. It was easy to whip up since the ingredients were THE SAME AS THE MUFFINS, sans the oats. I also added a topping before I popped it into the oven….just sprinkle some brown sugar evenly over the entire loaf before baking. It gives it a nice crunchy crust. A twist to this would be to add 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and zest. Poppy seeds would be amazing too! Here is the recipe. Enjoy the pics.

It’s a gorgeous day, so we’re heading back OUTSIDE!  WOOT! WOOT! Pop over to my IG to see more pics of what we’re up to!  nutfreemomblog

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Mom Things, Travel

Olbrich Botanical Gardens – Madison, WI

June, the beginning of summer in the mid-west and it is always a busy month in our household. It’s usually the last week of school, followed by the beginning of pool season, backyard play times, neighborly hangouts and the one big event I still help plan, Olbrich Garden’s Rhapsody in Bloom! This fundraiser is important since it helps keep the gardens fee for the public to enjoy. Yes, Olbrich is amazing + gorgeous + free!

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What is Olbrich Gardens?! It is a botanical garden that sprawls 16 acres with an array of paths and stone trails to stroll. It is host to the only Thai Pavilion in North America, which was a gift to the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the Thai Government and the Thai Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. UW-Madison has one of the largest Thai student populations of any U.S. college or university. Olbrich is continuously voted #1 on Trip Advisor for being the #1 attraction in Madison, WI. It overlooks beautiful Lake Monona + is directly across from the new Olbrich Bier Garten.

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Olbrich has brought me peace and happiness on some of my hardest days. It is home to some of my favorite memories of my family; from picnics on the great lawn to the train show + blooming butterflies, Olbrich has been my place to go from reflection to celebration. Over the past 10 years, I have really gotten to know this place and the people that make it so beautiful. It really does take a village to maintain this luscious space, and they work extra hard in June to make sure the gardens are in tip-top shape for this grand reveal of the Rhapsody in Bloom. This event is held anually and is the PEAK of the garden blooming. Breathtaking is probably the most accurate word used to describe its beauty.

This year’s event was held on June 16 (the hottest day of the year so far in WI) and the theme was Ebb & Flow.  It was a water / nautical twist that incorporated mermaids through out the gardens, motorboat races, steel drums, games, themed cocktails & amazing catering from the delicious and well-known Underground Food Collective. The presentation of the food was gorgeous; from the taste to display, Underground nailed it.

While I did not confirm nut-free options for food allergies since my daughter was not attending (its adults only), we did not have nuts in any of the main dishes. There were many gluten free options as well, making this event + catering “allergy friendly” and easy for many to enjoy.

I’m so grateful for Olbrich and this hidden gem we have here in Madison. If you haven’t visited Olbrich yet, put it on your list. Even in winter, the Conservatory is open and helps with those winter blues! What a wonderful event – I’m excited to see what next year’s theme will be!

 

Mom Things, School Safe List, Snacking, Travel

Nut Free Mom Box

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The wait is OVER! Nut Free Mom Box is available now. This is personal. From me to you.

Let me help you reduce the stress for your next family vacation, trip to Disney, Grandma + Grandpa’s house. Wherever you are going, let me help take that “extra snack packing” element off your shoulders. There is already so much to do before traveling, the allergy kit doesn’t have to be something you worry about.

The Nut Free Mom Box is 100% customizable. The pre-packaged box includes the items shown on my etsy shop, but we can make it fit you and your family perfectly.

My daughter has severe nut allergies, and I know first hand the extra steps and anxiety that comes along with traveling to even short distances. You always have to be prepared for the “what if they don’t have a safe snack or meal” – Nut Free Mom Box has you covered.

Order a Nut Free Mom Box

Mom Things, Weeknight Dinners

2 Week Summer Slimdown Challenge

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know how much I love Cara Clark Nutrition’s healthy eating plans. Occasionally, I get into a cooking / healthy eating rut. Lazy, I don’t want to plan my own menu or search for new recipes. I also need a gentle reminder to keep my body moving every single day.

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Cara Clark’s plan fits my lifestyle so well. There are no games, counting, or crazy diets to follow. This is all real food – stuff you normally get at your local grocery store with some guided work outs and easy to make healthy snacks. The part that I love the most is the team of people I get to work with to help me stay on track with eating well and staying active ala Facebook groups and Instagram.

This summer, I’m full time with my two kids (and their friends, of course!) and they won’t necessarily keep me thinking about quinoa for dinner and smoothies for breakfast, this is why I joined the Summer Slimdown with Cara.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

For me, this plan is 100% worth it. I see results each time, and every time I do a challenge with her (this is my 3rd one), I take away something new + gain a ton of new recipes. Summer Slimdown 2018 includes :

  1. meals-at-a-glance menu
  2. daily menu plans
  3. extra smoothie recipes
  4. weekly recipes
  5. complete pre-printed grocery lists.
  6. workout options (no gym needed)
  7. step-by-step guidance

It takes effort though, MEAL PREP! If you don’t meal prep, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and “behind” in your healthy life stlye. No pressure 🙂

I can already tell you my favorite items coming up that I WILL be blogging about since I’ll need to make some nut free substitutions.

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Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com
  • Cherry Rhubarb overnight oats
  • Summer Lovin Crunch Salad with jicama
  • Blackbean Tahini Dip with Sunbutter

I’m so pumped about this challenge!!! The recipes are amazing, she also includes healthy adult beverage options, and antioxidant flavored fruit water recipes (perfect for a day outside with friends + kiddos).

If you think this sounds cool – and want to join me, you still have time! The two-week summer slimdown starts on June 11. That’s next Monday. So click on over to her website and join with me. Sometimes her instagram has discount codes so check that first, caraclarknutrition.

Have a great day, and enjoy my peonies 🙂

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Mom Things, Travel

Girlfriends Guide to a Weekend in Door County

This past weekend was glorious. It’s the kind that I dream about, work really hard toward and cross my fingers it works out. And it did. Two of my very good friends and I planned a weekend away to Door County and it was the most delightful weekend I’ve had in a really long time.

As a Mom of a kiddo with food allergies, the feeling of being ON is enhanced a bit. And it’s important to realize this, and take a break from time to time. It’s hard. I know. But with a little planning and some good luck, you’ll be on your way to some much needed R+R as well. Here’s what we did, maybe you can try some of these spots out too.

Friday, June 1

Here we are! We drove from Madison, WI, to Door County, WI, after work on Friday in my super stylish Honda Odyssey and made in record time, before sunset. After checking into our hotel The Bridgeport we walked over the bridge to grab some late dinner at Root Bistro + Wine Bar. 

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Root was cool – it was a long bar in the front with a few tables in the  back. They have live jazz on Fridays, so it had a great atmosphere while we were there.  We sampled a bunch of appetizers for our dinner and it worked out well. Their scallops were great! Their GEWÜRZTRAMINER was also fantastic if you like that type of wine.

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After dinner, we wandered over to the candy store to get some homemade, fresh fudge for dessert. This place was super charming. Old school candy stores are my favorite. The smell. The colors. The candy from my youth. How can you not love a place like this?! Not only did we buy a copious amount of candy, we found these finger puppets that made us laugh out loud. I HAD to get the unicorn for my Chloe, of course.

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Saturday, June 2

We woke up a little early to head over to our spa appointments at Saguaro Day Spa in Sturgeon Bay. I’ve been to this spa many times before and they do a wonderful job. The three of us had a relaxation massage and we ALL LOVED IT.

After the spa, we cleaned up and decided to just drive through a bunch of the little towns that make up Door County.

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The wines were quite tasty for being 100% Wisconsin grown grapes and there were a few that I would have purchased if we already did not have wine club wine coming.

2. Door County Distillery

The flight we sampled was delish – but I really loved their 2nd floor sun deck and catching up with my friends the most. Very cool atmosphere. Next time I think I might take the tour. It reminded me of Sonoma County in California.

3. Kyle + Faye’s Peninsula Pub – Lunch

We drove north some more and stopped in Bailey’s harbor for lunch. The fried cheese curds were amazing. They actually still squeaked, even though they were fried. That was amazing. I ate a 1/3# burger and it did not disappoint. Actually, we needed these burgers after the fun morning we had at the wineries.

4.  Fish Creek – Shopping and Coffee

If you stop in Fish Creek, find a place to park and just walk. The entire town is about 6 blocks long, all along the water. Its very beautiful and there is a lot to see and do here. There is access to a public beach if you feel like putting your toes in the sand 🙂 Some of the boutique shopping is really great, so bring your extra big wallet.

5.  Sister Bay 

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If you only have time to stop at one Door County town, it should be Sister Bay. This is probably my favorite place to stop. It’s the CUTEST town I have ever seen, nestled in the bay with its adorable, trendy shops, new restaurants, and of course Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant. Al Johnson’s is classic. There are goats on the roof + there is a goat cam in case they are hiding! They serve traditional Swedish food and breakfast all day long. Half the building is a store full of authentic Scandinavian goods. Hard to find stuff.

We also raced some fun go-carts after our day of Door County stops. This was non-stop laughter.

We didn’t make it all the way to Washington Island, but we made it pretty far North in Door County. We decided to head back to our hotel to watch the sunset in the Bay since it was a clear day.

Our backpack picnic set came in handy. We brought some brie, crackers and fig spread along with our bottle of Kim to the front walking trail at our hotel. Sturgeon Bay is lovely since you get these AMAZING sunsets. Although, we were in the Bay at this place, and I usually stay at Westwood Shores where you’re not as far nestled in the bay, the sunsets were a little tough from where we were situated. It was still pretty and very fun to be outside picnic-ing with these lovelies.

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We wrapped up our night with Sonny’s Pizza located next to our hotel. It was tasty and perfect with our girls night movie, Mean Girls.

Sunday, June 3

We got up early Sunday and hung out a bit before driving back. We had a great time in Door County and found it very relaxing. There is something for everyone in Door County.

We found a lot of playgrounds and family fun parks along the main highway that I’d love to take the kids back to another time. Our hotel was very family friendly.  Our room was a two bedroom with a full kitchen, dining and living room. It was great to have the space and just veg out. Bridgeport also has three bedroom condos available for rent. The pool was spacious and there was also a splash pad indoors. The outside pool was spacious and located right on the water. Very pretty. I highly recommend Door County for your next long weekend get-away!