How to plan a road trip

Mignon Dunbar shares her latest!

Now that school is out for the summer and gas is cheaper (relatively), enjoy a break and go on a road trip. Here’s how to plan an exciting adventure:

Step 1: Pick your end destination.

This is the most important because it will determine the length of time you’ll be driving. For example, if you only want to be on vacation for a week, traveling across country may not be the best idea, since you may be too time crunched.

Step 2: Pick the places that you may want to see on the way to your final destination.

Consider visiting not only the big well known sites (like the Grand Canyon), but also unique sites (like seeing the biggest rubber band ball). Both can make interesting experiences.

Step 3. Plan your route.

Remember to use both the forward trip and return trip to see the sites. Also consider traffic times and rush hour so your not wasting time on the road.  Also research traffic laws where you are traveling through. For example, lane splitting is not allowed in some states.

Step 4. Eat and rest.

Don’t ever drive tired! While you plan your route, remember to pick rest stops and where you will spend the night. Also research eateries in the areas in order to enjoy the local fare.

Step 5. Car maintenance.

Don’t forget to get your car checked before you embark on a long road trip. Prevention is better than breaking down in the middle of nowhere and no cell phone reception. If you don’t have one, consider signing up for some sort of roadside assistance.

Of course don’t forget your camera, phone, and all your personal necessities. Drive safely and enjoy your trip!

 

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Divine Deviled Eggs

Mignon Dunbar shares her latest!

The one thing that I love more than making deviled eggs, is eating deviled eggs. This easy recipe will add a little zip to those traditional deviled eggs.

Ingredients:

  • Eggs (hardboiled)
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • sugar
  • Mayonnaise
  • Paprika

Method:

First hardboil your eggs.  Once the eggs are hardboiled, peel off the shell and discard the shell.  Cut the hardboiled eggs in half.  Separate out the yolk into a separate bowl.  Mash the egg yolks.  Mix in mayonnaise (the amount that you put in will depend on your own taste and how many eggs you are making).  Sprinkle in some Old Bay seasoning and sugar.  Again, the amount depends on how much you are making.  For example, for 7 eggs add about half a teaspoon of sugar and a quarter teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning.  The sugar will give the deviled eggs a slightly sweet taste, while the Old Bay seasoning will add the zip! Mix well.  Spoon the mixture or pipe the mixture back into the egg white.  Sprinkle with a dash of paprika.  Enjoy!!!

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Relax in Bodega Bay

Mignon Dunbar shares her latest!

One of my favorite local get-a-way locations is Bodega Bay. It makes a great place for a relaxing day trip. Take a Friday off of work and drive there in the morning. Enjoy the view and make a stop at the beach! Have lunch at the Boat House restaurant. On http://www.sonomacounty.com/restaurants/boat-house  .The BBQ oysters, clam chowder, fish and chips are the best!
After that, head to the UC Davis Bodega Bay Marine laboratory. http://bml.ucdavis.edu/ They have tours on most Fridays from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. It is a wonderful experience for the whole family!

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Best banana bread ever!

Mignon Dunbar shares her latest!

1491696246891-1440840386When life gives you overripe bananas, make banana bread! Here’s a recipe for quick, easy, and delicious banana bread. This will become a fast family favorite!

Ingredients:
3 or 4 ripe bananas (mashed up)
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg (beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Method:
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 4x8in loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas. Mix melted butter into the mashed bananas. Mix in sugar, egg, and vanilla. Next, mix in the baking soda and salt. Finally, mix in the flour. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for about 1hr (check to make sure the banana bread is done by sticking a knife in the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Otherwise, leave it in the oven for longer). Remove the banana bread from the pan and cool it on a rack. Slice to serve.

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The easiest lemon tarts you’ll ever make!

Mignon Dunbar shares her latest!

These lemon tarts are the easiest dessert I have ever made!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup lemon curd

1/2 cup spreadable goat cheese

Mini fillo dough shells

Method:

Mix the lemon curd and goat cheese with an electric mixer. Fill ready made fillo dough shells with lemon cheese mixture. Serve and enjoy!

The fillo dough shells that I got were in the freezer section of the grocery store and already baked. They only had to be defrosted!

Recipe courtesy of Redwood hill farm.

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7 Back to School Recipes for Parents

 

School is well underway and what better way to bring in the new school year than to share some of the best “back to school” recipies for parents.

Below is a full list of easy to prepare lunches, dinners, and snacks that will last you all school year.

Chicken Quesadillas

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This recipe is sure to be a favorite with your kids; it’s delicious and is great hot or cold. Your child will be thrilled to find this in their lunch box!

The ingredients you’ll need are:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (1.27 ounce) packet fajita seasoning
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon bacon bits
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Check out the full recipe here.

 

Broccoli and Tortellini Salad

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A broccoli and tortellini salad is a healthy option to put in your child’s lunch and it’s pretty simple to make!

Check out the list of ingredients below:

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 20 ounces fresh cheese-filled tortellini
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 3 heads fresh broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped

Find it here.

 

Spinach Roll-Ups

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These are easy to make and little snacks or an entire meal. Make a lot the night before and you can use them for multiple lunches!

The ingredients include:

  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup bacon bits
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onions
  • 10 (12 inch) flour tortillas

Get the recipe here.

 

Chicken Chili Soup

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If you want to make some soup for your kids, here’s the recipe for you!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 pounds diced chicken breast meat
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans with liquid
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Add all ingredients to list

You can find the recipe here.

 

Mini Frittatas

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These cute bite-sized pieces of food are reminiscent of muffins and will be a hit with your kids; they won’t want to trade them for anything!

Check out the ingredients:

  • 6 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 3 tablespoons salsa

Recipe is here.

Peanut Butter and Apple Sandwiches

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The simplest recipe you’ll find on this list, but also nutritious and tasty!

Here’s all you need to make it:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter, or to taste
  • 1 small apple – peeled, cored and shredded

Here is the recipe.

 

Rainbow Rotini Salad

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Another favorite pasta salad, your kids will adore finding this salad in their lunchbox!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 (16 ounce) package colored rotini pasta
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (8 ounce) bottle Italian-style salad dressing
  • 1 cup black olives, pitted and sliced

Get this recipe right here.

 

7 Items You Should Pack When Going on a Family Cruise

Mignon Dunbar shares her latest!

It’s that time of year again when many of us begin to plan our next big summer vacation! Whether you’re taking a trip close to home, or venturing out into open waters, there are a few things that you should pack that will make your trip more enjoyable.

For those of you who are planning on going on your first (or second) cruise this summer with family and friends, this list of 7 items to pack is for especially you!

  1. Travel Documents

Bringing your travel documents seems like a no brainer right? Well, you’d be surprised how many times the simplest documents like your driver’s license or even your passport gets lost in the packing process. Along with your passport, other travel documents that you should bring along before embarkment include:

  • Cruise confirmation info
  • Airline tickets
  • Rental car confirmation
  • Hotel reservation details
  1. Medical Cards/Medication

Many of us forget to pack important medical insurance cards or even common cold medicines. Remember that even though you’re going on a nice vacation, illness can hit you at any time and it’s always best to be safe than sorry.

  1. Casual/Formal Clothing

The amount of clothing that you bring when going on a cruise will depend on the length of your trip. For starters traveling light will always be your best bet. Packing clothes that are both appropriate for family dinners and outings is always best. If you’re traveling with children, packing their clothing along with yours will eliminate any access bags or carry-ons on board.

  1. Comfortable Shoes

If you’re into high heels and fancy shoes you might want to rethink your shoe selection when packing for a cruise. You want to keep in mind that you’ll be onshore doing many activities that involve walking. Many places that you visit when going on a cruise will not have an Uber service to get you from place to place, even on vacation.

  1. Sunscreen

Getting sunburn is not a good way to remember your summer getaway, therefore, you might not want to forget this essential item!

  1. Cabin Organizer

If you’re sharing a cabin with 3+ people then bringing along a cabin organizer will be to your benefit. This can be used to store shoes, cameras, sunglasses and much more to free up space and clutter.

  1. Camera

What would a vacation be without the ability to capture every special moment? Many of us forget to bring a camera because we think our mobile phones will do the trick. On your next cruise, invest in a sturdy camera that is preferably waterproof so that you can take pictures even in watery conditions.

 

For more related articles on travel visit my personal blog here.

 

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