Spontaneity is the best kind of adventure
We were camping about an hour west of the SW entrance to Mount Rainer National Park for 4 days. We hadn't really talked about going to check the park out prior to being at our campground. After talking to one of the rangers at our RV Park Thursday evening we decided to make the trip Friday morning and put our work stuff on hold.
The drive into the park and towards the area that we hiked was pretty amazing in itself. We made a couple stops at some overlooks.
We pulled off at the first pull out that had a really good view of the mountain. That is Eli telling us that he wants to climb that mountain! After that we came to Narada Falls. It took a little bit of a hike to get to the overlook but was worth it. The falls were probably a few hundred feet tall and flowed down into a gorge that ran down the mountain.
After that stop we made our way up to the area called Paradise. We stopped a picnic area just down from the lodge and had some lunch. Salads have been our go to travel lunch. They are so easy to pack up and we know what we are getting versus leaving ourselves open to museum and park cafes, which who knows if I'll be able to find any gluten free options.
Now that we were fueled up, we made our way up a bit further to the official Paradise Visitor Center and Lodge. Looking at the map our initial plan was just to do about a 1 mile round trip hike out to Alta Vista. We made it that far and then decided to keep going... then keep going!!! Our 1 mile hike turned into about 4 total. We made it all the way out to Panorama Point which was totally worth it. The view were incredible and absolutely breathtaking!
Almost 4 miles later....we snacked on coffee, ice cream and protein bars and Eli was wiped out!! We did check out the gift shop and I think for the first time in our 9 year marriage we bought matching shirts!
This unexpected trip was such a treat. We aren't really the hiking outdoorsy type but really enjoyed this adventure. Who knows... we might end up becoming more of true campers as our adventures continue!
We try our best to share our life with you guys....and I know social media makes it seem like it's all glamour, beaches, fun stuff all the time and no work It's not. I promise.
BUT there's a big difference between what our days looked like last year compared to now.
Now...we choose what our days look like. As coaches, as business partners and life changers with Beachbody...we STILL wake up with an alarm around 6 or 6:30, because we WANT TO...with goals of getting up even earlier.
Some days we work a lot...some days we don't....sometimes we work on the weekend...and we stop when we'd like!! Sometimes we work at the beach or a coffeeshop or at home in the RV...the location doesn't matter.
Yoga pants...no showers...no pants...no shoes...no problem. HA!! Every day is a new day to make a choice. To set some new goals. To grow.
It's a NEW day to connect with people that want to join a movement...and want to spread the message of health and life to their friends and family!! If you want more CONTROL of your life...more flexibility or more control of your health and you love to serve people and help them, we'd love to chat with YOU!! ️
It was a strange feeling after our Beachbody Coach Summit in Nashville. In years past that event comes to an end and we go back to Minnesota and go back to our normal lives. So it was strange when this year we just packed up the RV and moved on to our next location. Slowly this full time traveling thing is starting to feel like the norm.
One place that was definitely on our radar that we wanted to check out was Niagara Falls. From Nashville we plotted our course to get there and it took us through Kentucky. We did just an overnight stay at a little park in Renfro Valley. It was actually a cute park that hosts a bunch of country music concerts.
After Kentucky we had heard great things about West Virginia and how beautiful it was. Our original plan was to stay at a state park or Army Corps of Engineers park called Bulltown Campground for 4 days. It was up in the mountains and right on a lake, everything looked fantastic. Well... we didn't think about cell phone coverage. We didn't have any on our ATT phones or our Verizon hotspot. Had we known that we could have planned for us to be unplugged but unfortunately we had some business commitments that we needed to be a part of which meant we needed to find some service. So our 4 day stay turned into 1 night.
It actually didn't turn out to be so bad that we left West Virginia. Our plan was to drive up to Pittsburgh for a quarterly Beachbody event anyways that Saturday so it did save us some mileage and time in the car. The spot we moved to was a fun little park with a lot of full-timers a little southeast of Pittsburgh. We spent a decent amount of time at the playground in the park and met some pretty cool people, even some fellow Beachbody coaches.
We spent a great day in Pittsburgh. Our morning was filled with our Beachbody event where we got to hear some amazing stories from fellow coaches. Laura and Eli got to meet Autumn Calabrese, the trainer behind 21 Day Fix and Country Heat. After our event we walked around downtown a bit. It happened to be Regatta weekend and we were in the neighborhood so we checked out some of the boat races.
After our 4 day stay in the Pittsburgh area we made our way up to Niagara area. We stayed at a great campground literally right Lake Ontario. Our view was looking out at that lake. Here's one at sunset, pretty incredible!
I was a little worried Niagara Falls was going to be underwhelming. Let's just say it wasn't. Such a cool spot and awe inspiring to see that kind of power in nature. We only walked around on the US side of the falls but walked all way from the horseshoe falls down to the US falls and up on the observation deck that hangs out over the river.
We did drive the road that runs parallel to the river and falls on the Canadian side. It definitely looked like you would get better views of all the falls from that side! Now we know!
Our travels went international at this point too. We decided to make a day trip up to Toronto. We had heard great things about the city. We wish we would have done a bit more homework ahead of time and it would have been fun to spend more time there. We spent most of our time in the distillery district. It had some fun restaurants, coffee shops, and boutique style shops.
One mistake we made due to poor planning was walking to Cherry Beach Park. Let's just say Canadian beaches don't really compare to others we have visited. We wish we would have went and checked out some market areas of town instead. I wish we had more time but we tried to get out of downtown before rush hour. We left downtown around 3:00 and our 2 hour drive turned into 3. Who knows how bad it would have been had we stayed another hour or two.
We did all of that in just over a week! Are you tired just reading about all of that? Yeah it was pretty exhausting moving that fast and doing as much as we were doing. We had one more stop in central upstate New York before we would settle into a campground in southern Massachusetts for 2 weeks. We did pretty well in keeping the whirlwind going. We spent some time in Rome, NY, a petting zoo, washed the RV, and spent an afternoon checking out a local lake town. I almost forgot we also celebrated Eli's 2nd birthday!
We had such a good time during this part of our trip. This is really why we wanted to go on this adventure. To be together as a family, see places that are popular spots and quite a few that are off the beaten path.
Do you ever try to plan your life out? Yeah we do too. Back in May we felt pretty awesome that we had booked parks all way up to the first week in July....and we wouldn't have to stress about where we would be staying. Our plan was to stay on the east coast, then make our way to Asheville for a few weeks before we would end up in Nashville for our Beachbody Summit the end of July.
Well...in comes a curveball. We found out Laura's entire family was coming to Minnesota for the 4th of July. Hearing this, we laid out the pros and cons of making the trip back or sticking to our original plan. If the title of the blog didn't give it away, we chose to head back to MN. All those plans we had, were now up in smoke :) Instead of heading to Asheville, we went to New Jersey for a couple weeks to explore NYC and that area!!
Our first stop on our way back to Minnesota was Hershey, PA. Since we love chocolate as much as we do, this was a no brainer. Although Hershey doesn't exactly make healthy chocolate, we still wanted to check it out. Eli's favorite part was the singing cows on the ride that we went on. So that made it all worth it. We also indulged in a few chocolate treats.
We left Hershey on a Saturday and since most parks are either full or make you pay a premium for a weekend rate, we opted to stay at a Walmart outside of Cleveland. We don't mind doing this as long as it's a quick stay. On our way through Pennsylvania I made Laura a little nervous since we ended up on a bit of a detour due to construction and weight restrictions on the road we were supposed to go on. The roads were a little narrow, a little curvy, and a little hilly. We took it slow and made it through unscathed, other than upsetting a few locals that got stuck behind me.
After our Walmart stay we got on the road fairly early, which was a blessing and a curse. Our plan was to stay on the east side of Chicago since that would have only been about a 4-5 hour drive from where we were but we didn't factor in the time change and also the difference of driving through Chicago on a Sunday vs Monday. The blessing was we opted to push through the to the North side of Chicago but the curse was that meant spending almost 9 hours traveling that day. Which gets to be A LOT with a toddler.
This made our drive the next day super easy though, only about 2 hours to Wisconsin Dells where we stayed for a couple nights. Of course we chose the two coldest days of the summer to be in the Dells, so that meant no waterparks. We did have a nice pool and splash pad at our campground so Eli was able to spend some time in the water. I was even able to sneak in a round of golf one morning since it was only 55 degrees when we woke up. Great golf weather, poor pool weather.
Before heading out, we made our way to a train museum to indulge Eli's new fascination with choo-choo's. They had a legit coal powered mini-train that we could ride on. Eli loved it, even thought at times it got kind of loud. We also got him his first choo-choo set which he still loves! After that we made our final push to get back to Minnesota.
Our first couple of nights back in Minnesota we spent at Baker Park, just west of Minneapolis. When we make it back to MN from now on, this will definitely be a home base for us. It's a great park, tons of room and nice playgrounds. We even had some visitors one night for dinner. We miss our friends and family and seeing them made our 1,200 mile journey home SO worth it!
After a couple nights at Baker Park we moved to Laura's brother's empty lot which was conveniently located right on Lake Minnetonka. We were pretty spoiled! We parked on his lot for 5 days over the 4th. Definitely one of the best views we've had in our RV adventures so far.
It was also super fun to get to be "RVing" with Laura's sister, Sara and family again. They parked right behind us on the lot. Over the weekend we spent time on the boat, swimming in the lake, eating delicious food, but most importantly spending time with family. It was fabulous!!!
Look for a blog post in the next couple weeks where we can catch you up on the rest of our adventures in Minnesota, along with our travels down to Nashville for our Beachbody Coach Summit.
Currently we are in New Orleans. When we travel we like to eat what the locals eat. We avoid chain restaurants and try to find the off the beaten path places to grab some food. A couple places we checked out while we've been here are Blue Line Sandwich Co. We did breakfast here last week and it was really good. Definitely was a local hangout. Cochon was another place we checked out which I believe is in the Uptown area. This place was great, we shared some oysters and their traditional dish and namesake, the Cochon. Both were great!
We also checked out John Besh's restaurant Lüke for breakfast yesterday. A little bit on the spendy side but the food was fantastic. I had the southern breakfast and instead of the grits they gave me some roasted potatoes that were just awesome! Laura had the egg white frittata which was also delicious! We also made a stop at Cafe Du Monde and had some coffee and Laura and Eli had some beignets.
As you can see a big piece of what we like to experience when we travel is FOOD!!! Both of us would rather spend $100 on an awesome dinner, then go to a concert or a show. We don't mind those things but we just love food and experiencing the different preparations and flavors is so fun. This has definitely helped me in the kitchen too. I get to see how dishes are made and assembled. I get to taste different combinations of that I would never have thought of on my own. In the traditional version of gumbo, you make a roux from wheat flour, so I had to modify that a bit and I think it worked pretty well.
My goal with a lot of the food we come across is to find great local ingredients, do a little bit of research on what the base of a dish is, then make it your own! For those of you that follow us on Facebook you might have actually seen me make this entire dish on a Live Broadcast. If you want to watch that you can click HERE, then go the videos section. We've also had a lot of people ask about how they can Live Subscribe and get notified when do our live videos. I finally figured it out! If you click on the image below, it will take you to our page, from their click on the videos section, then then in the upper right hand corner click the arrow then choose Turn On Live Notifications. This works if you are on your desktop. From a phone, go to our page, The Cook and the Coach, the select to Follow Us, not just Like our page, then scroll down a few posts and find our last live broadcast and in the upper right hand corner you should see an option to Live Subscribe.
From a Computer
From a Phone or Tablet
So finally the recipe! If you are like me, you probably just skipped to this section! Hope you enjoy this recipe. If you want, you could certainly modify it to your taste, by adding things like shrimp or crawfish. You can also tailor the spice level to what you like and how spicy your andouille is that you buy.
I've never considered myself a baker. There is just too much measuring and too many dishes to clean up afterwards. On top of that most baked goods don't exactly line up with healthy eating. What are the cornerstones of baking; usually a combo of white sugar, flour, and poor quality fats. Basically the worst combo when it comes to health and maintaining a healthy weight.
Now that I've poo pooed bake goods let me tell you about the super tasty muffins I made, lol. This recipe by no means qualifies these muffins as health food but I did remove those poor quality ingredients that cause inflammation and hormonal havoc in your body and replaced them with friendlier ingredients. The recipe that I based my recipe off of is one that my mom passed down to me. She would always make it as a bread loaf instead of muffins and I remember just loving it. Probably because of the amount of sugar that was in it!
So here were my "healthy" swaps. Instead of white sugar I used dates that I pureed with a little almond milk. Instead of regular wheat flour I used a combination of coconut and arrowroot. Instead of vegetable oil I used coconut oil. As you will see in the nutrition facts below I reduced the sugar by 18 grams per serving, which is huge and when it comes to weight loss and the insulin response that you would get from eating it. Swapping out the flours will help with GI issues that people have from gluten, along with the high Glycemic Index that comes along with regular wheat flour. Coconut oil versus vegetable oil is a no brainer unless you are still living in the 1980's and think saturated fat will kill you.
This are super simple to make and fairly guilt free as long as you don't eat 6 of them. They are a great kick snack for our 16 month old son too, which is super convenient. Hope you enjoy them!
Paleo Pumpkin Muffins
Mom's Pumpkin Bread
Last Call for The Master's Hammer & Chisel Test Group
Carrot cake is straight up my jam! Hands down, best cake! I love the sweet and spice! I would eat it all the time if it was available.
Given my new gluten free life, I have had to make some sacrifices and cake is one of them. Just this past weekend at my nephews birthday party I was forced to pass on the delicious Mickey Mouse cake. As hard as that was I was just glad I didn't have to say no to carrot cake. That would have just been tough. Avoidance has been my main course of action. Recently though I just had a craving for carrot cake. Maybe it was the fall weather but something made me think of it and that led to a google search... "Gluten free carrot cake recipe"
Low and behold I found a really good one and we had all the ingredients so I decided to do some baking. I usually don't bake, that is more Laura's area of expertise! Measuring is tough! I did it though and this muffins turned out awesome! The recipe that I found and tweaked was on a website, Primarily Inspired. Hats off to Kelly for the inspiration for this recipe! We just did the muffin/cupcake recipe but she has an icing that goes along with these too if you want it to be even more desserty, that's a word right???
The following morning Laura was scrolling her IG feed and stumbled across a pic from a local coffee shop and how they do a Orange, Maple Latte. She tried hard to convince me to drive 30 minutes to go get a coffee. I fought hard and told her I would just make her one instead. Since we don't really do dairy either we opted for a "keto coffee." Although given the maple syrup in it, we probably can't call it a "keto" coffee but oh well you get the idea, it has butter in it and other delicious things. This was super simple and super tasty. I have no idea how it compares the the coffee shop latte but we will do this again. It paired perfectly with the carrot muffins too. Pure breakfast bliss!
The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.