Healthy Road Trip Snacks and Vacation Tips

Hi hi! Just a quick note, in case you have my blog saved in a blog reader, I will be changing the domain to www.nestledandnourished.com. Just wanted to give you the heads-up!

We recently travelled 9 hours to the border of Missouri and Arkansas to spend a few days with all of Joe’s immediate family. We had an absolute blast and I already want to plan another trip for next summer. I savored being together as one big family, wiping away tears from laughing so hard, exploring a beautiful new place, and making wonderful memories together.

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Something I try to do when we travel is pack healthy and delicious snacks for in the car, and even planning ahead for a few simple and healthy meals (like breakfasts) while on vacation. We were fortunate in that we were staying in a house with a great kitchen to cook in, but I even feel like some of the things we did could be easily done with just access to a mini fridge.

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Unpictured: organic green grapes (I took them off the stem and quartered the grapes for my two year old and placed hers in the little snack size bag and the rest I split up into two sandwich bags. Also packed us turkey sub sandwiches, cheddar popcorn and kettle corn.

I sliced up those apples and placed in a bag, and we we packed our cooler full of drinks like LaCroix, water bottles, fruit, sandwiches, the cheese sticks, and the veggies (which, oops, we never ate those!).

Cecelia loves fruit leathers, bars, and fruit/veggie pouches. I usually get her Lara bars, but I was at Target and saw those Cascadian Farms chocolate chip ones and thought she’d enjoy something new—turns out she’d rather have her usual, but she still ate them throughout our vacation. Her absolute favorite snacks in the car though were the protein balls (recipe below), grapes and the Trader Joe’s dried fruit-specifically the dried mango. Pretty much any time we are in the car she asks me if I have a bar or pouch, and if say, “No, I don’t think I do,” she will ask, “can you check your purse?” haha.

These protein balls are a HUGE hit every time I make them.

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Protein Balls

Stir all the ingredients together and roll into balls. You can store them in the fridge, but I do like when they’ve sat out for a little bit and aren’t as hard.

Eating While On Vacation

Like I said, we were fortunate to have a kitchen and a grill, so we were spoiled by Joe’s parents cooking us up some wonderful meals: chicken salad, fruit, green salads; grilled marinated chicken with baked potatoes and veggies; hot dogs and hamburgers with baked beans and watermelon; pizzas and salad, etc.

My mother-in-law made a grocery run for us before we got there and I gave her a list for breakfasts. Cecelia loves oatmeal so every morning she had Trader Joe’s blueberry oatmeal with almond buter and sliced bananas. I either had strawberry or mango protein smoothies (blended with almond milk and frozen fruit), or plain yogurt with chia seeds, berries, raw honey and almond butter. I keep my chia seeds in a glass jar at home, but found a random empty sprinkles jar and packed some chia seeds in there and covered with saran wrap and rubber band around it for travelling.

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For snacks we had trail mix, yogurt, cheese and crackers etc. In full disclosure, I ate my fair share of chips and brownies too (everything in moderation?), and went to town on pimento cheese and crackers after being out on the lake all afternoon! I swear if I swim for even ten minutes I’m like a ravenous beast.

I’m so glad I also packed my Performance powder as well. This is Shaklee’s hydration drink that you mix with water-it has no artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives, it tastes so refreshing, and is clinically proven to hydrate better than water alone. The mornings that I worked out I was so happy I brought it with! I’ve also run with it before and love how it doesn’t make me feel nauseous like water alone can while working out. I’ve had the lemon-lime and orange flavors and I like both a lot, but orange is my favorite.

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The hills there were no joke!

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Another must-have while on vacation? Sunscreen.

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I love this stuff. Hypoallergenic, safe for all skin types and members of the family (ask a Dr. if your child is under 6 months old), plus it has patented Vital-Repir+, which contains antioxidant vitamins and minerals that protect your skin from premature aging by neutralizing harmful free radicals. I also appreciate that it doesn’t look white or grey (or even purple, seriously I have honeymoon pictures where Joe and I look purple because of the sunscreen!), and that it goes on easily and isn’t pasty.

One more Shaklee item that was super handy to have with us:

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A spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of Basic H2 (a wonderful organic cleaning concentrate) was awesome for quick clean ups in the car, sticky hands, a picnic at the beach, and wiping down counters at the rental house.

Oh! I completely forgot to snap a couple other pictures but I also love using my morning face moisturizer before going out in the sun since it has SPF15 in it and visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles, as well as the herbal blend multi-purpose cream, which was awesome after swimming and showering and being in chlorinated water multiple times a day. It is definitely one of my new (to me) favorite products.

What are some of your vacation or road trip essentials?

Quick and Healthy Meals

I have a few super simple meals to share with you, several of which are gluten and dairy-free, for those who need that option.

Let’s start with an easy breakfast (or snack), that looks like sludge, but tastes great!

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“Banana Split” Smoothie (serves 1)

Place ingredients in a blender in the order listed, blend and enjoy! I wouldn’t go into this expecting an ice cream shake, but it is still delicious and packed full of nutrients. And for those who haven’t tried spinach in smoothies yet, no you cannot taste the spinach at all! I love this protein powder because it contains non-GMO soy, protein, fiber, 23 vitamins and minerals, and leucine (which is an amino acid that signals your body to retain muscle), and it contains no artificial colors, preservatives, or sweeteners.

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Here’s a delicious option for lunch or a quick dinner. I’ve been making variations of this for years (it was on my old blog), and many have seen it on my instagram or facebook feed. I just love this so much and seriously “mmm” my way through it.

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Mediterranean Quinoa

  • cooked quinoa (if I make a batch ahead of time, I like to warm it up for 30 seconds in the microwave)
  • baby spinach leaves, torn into smaller pieces
  • kalamata olives
  • sliced cucumbers (I love baby cucumbers)
  • feta cheese
  • pepperoncini peppers
  • red bell pepper, diced
  • tomato, cut into bite size pieces
  • fresh basil
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil

Feel free to leave out an ingredient you don’t have/like, or add anything you think you’d enjoy, like grilled chicken, other herbs, etc.

Whenever I make this, I always wish I made more when I finish the bowl!

(Even with ugly, out of season tomatoes.)

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Here is another super easy meal that you could enjoy for lunch or dinner. This was inspired by one of the guys who works at my Trader Joe’s, but I just bulked it up a little bit.

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Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Pesto Tortellini (serves 6-8)

  • 2 boxes of roasted pepper and tomato soup
  • 1 (16ox) package of pesto tortellini
  • fresh spinach
  • fresh basil
  • black pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan, heat soup over medium heat with a few handfuls of torn spinach, and sprinkle in black pepper (we like a lot), cover, and allow to simmer & spinach cook down. Follow the directions on your package of tortellini and cook, drain, rinse with cool water, and add to pot of soup. Top with fresh basil.

This is one of those meals where I had no idea what to make that night and was happy I had the tortellini and soup in the pantry, and pretty much always have fresh spinach in the fridge. 

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Here’s a gluten-free and dairy-free chicken nugget recipe we enjoyed this week.

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Gluten-free and Dairy-free Chicken Nuggets (serves 2-3)

  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup almond meal (mine is from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp grape seed oil
  • 2 eggs

Start by heating 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat (you will probably need to cook the chicken in two batches). In one bowl, beat the eggs, and in another bowl combine the almond meal and spices. Dredge chicken pieces in eggs and then almond meal mixture, and place pieces spaced apart in the hot pan. Flip over after 3-5 minutes and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes (I can usually tell my chicken is done by it’s texture-if it seems really “squishy” it’s not cooked. Otherwise you can just cut a piece in half if you’re unsure).

Joe made us a delicious honey mustard dipping sauce to go with which was just equal parts honey, mustard and mayo.

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These were served with roasted broccoli (one package of frozen broccoli florets, placed on oil misted baking sheet, sprinkled with creole seasoning, and baked for about 20 minutes at 425 degrees). We also had it with these roasted potatoes (potatoes cut into bite size pieces and tossed with grape seed oil, rosemary, sea salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and roasted for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

I wiped down the counter after dealing with raw chicken and eggs with these amazing disinfecting wipes:

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They work 34% better than Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes and 17% better than Lysol Disinfecting Wipes at soil removal (source: Sterling Laboratories).

Friday night Joe and I attended our first Shaklee regional conference with my sister, that once again reaffirmed that I made a great decision to partner with this company to help create healthier lives.

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Saturday we plan on enjoying the day together as a family, running a few errands, and helping with the children’s ministry at our church. Sunday morning will hopefully include a long run, church, and then celebrating my BFF’s birthday! So excited for the sun and warm temps to return this weekend-I still can’t believe it was snowing today, and we were sweating on Monday. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Question: Any fast and healthy recipes you love? Feel free to leave a link in the comments!

A Day in the Life

I know my life is not glamorous by any means, but I love it. This is just a really, really sweet time in our lives, and it was actually a lot of fun to record all the little details of the day. I wish I had done this at different points of my daughter’s life to look back on (and probably cry). I feel like as a parent I just crave cementing memories in my head. I can’t slow time down, so I just want to hold on as long as I can. Ok, deep thoughts, let’s get going on Thursday’s recap:

6:57 a.m.

Wake up when I hear Cecelia. Head into her room and scoop her up from her crib. I want to bring her back into my bed to snuggle (and so I can doze back off for a few minutes since she woke me up during the night), but she is requesting oatmeal so we head straight to the kitchen. Once I get going, I’m awake and feeling good. She has Trader Joe’s blueberry oatmeal with sliced bananas and I make some coffee and wait to eat since I’m not hungry yet.

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That mug was a little memento from our anniversary trip to Sedona, AZ. It makes me happy.

I start putting away dishes and get out some steak to marinade. Cecelia sees it and asks, “Is that watermelon?” (pronounced “wagermelon.”) I tell her it’s steak and she replies “I love steak.” Haha.

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Once she’s done eating I clean her up and start a load of a laundry.

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Laundry detergent on the left, and Nature Bright stain removal on the right.

While I do laundry, C starts cooking in her kitchen. A sweet friend handed this kitchen down to us, and since our home is small, it ended up in the laundry room, which actually works out great.

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I make the bed

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and ignore the sight of the other side of the room (piles of mail, clothes to go through, bags of goodwill stuff, etc.)

8:00

I’m hungry now so I make a bowl of 2% Greek yogurt with blackberries, strawberries, sliced almonds, chia seeds and some raw honey. I think I’ve bought raw honey before that wasn’t so hard, but this just wasn’t runny at all. Can I warm it up so I can drizzle it, or does that defeat the purpose of it being raw and retaining the nutrients? Need to look into that…

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Several years ago, Joe and I put this little food station together. When you don’t have a ton of space and storage, you have to go vertical, and it is just so handy to have some of these things easy to grab (chia seeds, nuts, craisins, chocolate chips, quinoa, brown rice, etc.)

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Of course someone else wants some yogurt as well…

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So I make her a bowl with organic whole milk yogurt, chia seeds, blackberries and honey. We both take our vitamins.

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Mighty Smarts aka “fish oil chewy” and Incredivites for her. Note the tiny fingers trying to grab the bag.

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Vitalizer for me (this contains fish oil, multivitamin/multimineral/antioxidants, and probiotics). FYI if you purchase Vitalizer you automatically get membership for free ($19.95 value, no renewals or minimum purchases) and can save you 15-25% off Shaklee products. 

I get Cece dressed and notice her plant is looking dry, so I water the plants around the house.

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I need to take a shower since I didn’t take one the day before, so I turn on some Daniel Tiger for C to watch and move some laundry along as well. 

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Throw on one of my “mom uniforms” aka t-shirt and jeans (it pretty much alternates between that and yoga pants and a zip up). C and I head outside to play. Katie drops off my niece while she gets her haircut, and the girls turn my heart to mush as they play.

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Before walking to the park, I grab a bar to snack on.

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We play at the park for awhile and it is such a gift to be enjoying the warm weather, watching these two girls giggle and listening to them sing as they swing. Just so, so thankful. Also, C has her daddy’s agility and climbs up everything like it ain’t no thang. I drill in her head a million times how I need to be standing right next to her when she climbs. Oy.

The girls play for awhile and then we head back home and the girls play with bubbles and chalk. We sit and talk with my wonderful neighbors for a bit, and then head inside for lunch.

This picture KILLS ME.

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The girls have these hot dogs, frozen peas, and a pear. We do not eat completely organic so I won’t specify everything that is organic and what’s not since it just seems silly. They see me cutting up a bell pepper and cucumber and want some of those as well. I also make a green smoothie after lunch (unsweetened vanilla almond milk, plain yogurt, spinach, a banana, frozen pineapple and frozen mango). In my opinion, Trader Joe’s has the best frozen pineapple and mango. The girls love to sip the smoothies out of tiny plastic tea cups.

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Katie is back so I make us a big salad. Spring greens, cucumbers, avocado, carrots, bell pepper, pecans, feta, and turkey. I sprinkle on a little garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper, and drizzle in some balsamic and olive oil.

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1:15

The girls head home and it’s nap time. We read some stories from Cecelia’s High Five magazine and then we sing and I lay her down. She wants me to hold her hand until she falls asleep and I agree.

Once she’s down, I finish eating my salad while standing at the island and checking facebook and instagram–I know, not good. I wash the dishes from breakfast and lunch, fold a few loads of laundry, drink the leftover green smoothie, change into workout clothes, and then head outside to finish pulling the insane amount of tiny maple trees and weeds that are growing in our mulch beds. I can’t believe how just 48 hours before, we were wearing coats, and now I’m sweating in shorts and a tank top. May is by far my favorite month of the year. 

Before:

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After:

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I cannot wait to get fresh mulch down and plant some flowers! After spending a little over an hour cleaning out most of the beds…but procrastinating on the back of the house because that area has WAY more issues than a few weeds…I head back inside.

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Super refreshing iced matcha tea goes down so easily. It was 90 degrees outside!

4:30

Cecelia is awake! When I come in her room she says, “Look, you don’t have clothes on.” I had on shorts and a tank top-she cracks me up. She gets changed into more summery clothes since it’s so hot, and says “tank top like Momma.” I ask if she wants a snack and remember she had requested almond butter the other day, so we make some in the food processor.

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And take some selfies while we wait…

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Her kisses are the SWEETEST.

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Cecelia gobbles almost all of this up (plus more almond butter-she loves it). 

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5:00

Yay! Dada’s home already! He showers and then we head to the store to grab another propane tank, some guac and beer (you know, the essentials). My dad is coming over since my mom is out of town visiting my grandparents, and Katie, Sam and my niece come over as well.

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This is Cecelia’s pear tree we planted the spring she was born. I love when it blooms!

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Little tree hugger.

Papa and the boys entertain the girls and Joe handles the grilling while I put together the sides for dinner.

We have steak (that sadly, I didn’t love), grilled pineapple, barbeque chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, and a salad.

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Katie brought some treats from Trader Joe’s for dessert. I enjoy a few of these yummy banana slices.

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C takes a shower and gets into her ballerina nightgown. Papa does puzzles with C while Joe and I clean up.

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8:30

Joe gets C down for bed while I put laundry away, wash the dishes, and make his lunch for tomorrow.

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Sandwich with ham, pepperjack, spinach, mayo, and spicy mustard on whole wheat, with pineapple, blackberries, chips and guacamole, and dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Every morning he drinks a protein shake.

Cecelia is having a hard time going to sleep so Joe comes out and I take his place. For the past month or so she has not been wanting to put herself to sleep a majority of the time, especially at bedtime. I don’t know if it’s a developmental thing with having new fears (she tells me, “Cece won’t hear noises,” like she is reassuring herself). It’s tough but also a very tender time to pray with her, sit in the glider and just snuggle and sing. Sometimes we’ve let her cry it out which is really hard, and other times I feel like I’m going to go crazy–just to keep it real. She finally falls asleep, I head to the couch and work on this post for a little bit, and then hop in the shower since I was feeling gross from sweating most of the day. Joe and I head to bed and I read “Power of a Praying Wife” for a few minutes before I shut off the light at midnight and fall fast asleep. Thankfully, C sleeps through the night (yeah…not an every night occurrence), and I wake up at 7:00 the next morning while she snoozes past 8.

Life isn’t perfect, but I pray I don’t take it for granted. Some days I eat a bunch of garbage, and then feel like such. Some days I feel like I got nothing accomplished. Some days are exhausting or frustrating, or… you get the picture.

But today? It was a really good day.

 

A little intro…

Hello all!

I’m very excited to be blogging again-it’s been a long time and I’ve missed it! This site will be a mix of the type of things you could find on my previous blog: recipes, our family, little home projects, thoughts on faith and motherhood etc.

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I also wanted to share that I have taken the amazing opportunity to work with my sister and become a distributor for Shaklee. In case you don’t know, Shaklee is the #1 natural nutrition company in the United States. Since I was a teenager, I have loved growing in my knowledge of health, nutrition and green living. Working with a company that absolutely excels in those areas, (and allows me to stay at home with my daughter) is a wonderful fit for me.  I first heard about Shaklee almost two years ago from my sister, Katie. After asking tons of questions and learning a lot about the company and their products, I started off using the nontoxic cleaning line. I was so impressed with how well they worked, the price, and the fact that I could let my baby girl help me clean without worrying about her being exposed to harmful chemicals, or my homemade cleaners that reeked of vinegar (seriously, one of her favorite activities is cleaning…I hope that continues for a very long time).

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We then began using the supplements, protein, and skin care line as well. After sharing how much I loved these products with other people, I decided, why not have Shaklee pay me for doing just that?

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I am learning so much, and while I do not have the natural personality of a sales person, I am extremely passionate about living well, sharing what I’m learning, and helping others. I’ve been drawn to natural products for years because of my desire to fill our bodies and homes with safe ingredients. However, when I was looking for those products I really didn’t know anything about the companies behind them, or the validity of their claims. I was relieved knowing that Shaklee is so unique in that they test for purity, safety, and effectiveness before, during, and after production, they have abundant peer reviewed  research, they are the first company to become climate neutral (they leave no carbon footprint on the environment), and offer a 100% money back guarantee. If you’d like to see a video of what makes Shaklee different, click here and if you are wondering “why supplement?” check out this video.  Side note: I know sometimes I will sound like a cliché saleswoman (“money back guarantee!”), so please forgive me. I just want to be sure to provide important information with those who are looking, and I feel like this blog is the place to do it.

Like I said, this won’t just be a blog about Shaklee, but I will have informative posts every so often for those who desire that kind of information. Such as:

Pre and postnatal health and supplements

Cleaning the home

Allergies, asthma and eczema

Mental health: stress, anxiety, ADHD, etc.

Losing weight, joint health, increased athletic performance, gaining energy and so on…

I really hope this blog will be a wonderful resource. If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, you can subscribe to have each post sent to your email. Feel free to get in touch with me (lauren.breeden@gmail.com)  if you have any questions. You can also read more on my Shaklee page.  My next post will be filled with pictures and notes about a day in my life (meals, what my family and I are up to, etc.) Thank you for joining me!