Author Archive | Becky Flansburg

Summer Grilling Tips: Healthy marinades add flavor to grilled foods

Guest post from Essentia Health

Healthy marinades add flavor to grilled foods

 

By Bonnie Brost, licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health.

Healthy marinades

Summer brings out the grills and healthy menu options as we grill lean meats, chicken, fish and vegetables. Marinating can add robust flavors.

Grilling red meats to the point of charring can increase the heterocyclic amines that have been connected to increasing the risk of cancer. But marinating meats first may help decrease this risk, according to the American Cancer Research Institute.

Marinades have three parts: an acidic liquid, oil and seasonings. The acid causes the tissue on the meat’s surface to break down, which allows more moisture to be absorbed and results in a juicier product. Leaving meats in a marinade too long may “chemically cook” them and cause the surface to turn mushy.  Common acids include vinegars, citrus juices, yogurt, buttermilk or wine. A variety of oils can be used. Spices and herbs add a wide variety of flavor.

A general rule is that you need about ½ cup of marinade for each pound of meat or two pounds of vegetables. About one-third of the marinade’s sodium and calories will be absorbed.

Many marinades are high in sodium, or salt. Many bottled marinades have 300 to 600 milligrams of sodium in each tablespoon. Even if only one-third is absorbed, that’s 100 to 200 milligrams of sodium.

Healthy Marinades

So, make your own marinades with fresh ingredients or choose those with less sodium. For example, Mrs. Dash marinades or World Harbors marinades have zero to no more than 120 milligrams of sodium per tablespoon.

Marinating time depends on the type, cut and size of the meat. Thinner cuts require less time. For example, steaks or chops need two to four hours while a whole roast needs four to six hours. Fish and vegetables require very little time, around 15-30 minutes. Meat that is still frozen will not absorb a marinade, so be sure to thaw first. If using a bottled marinade that is high in sodium, marinating for a shorter time helps avoid “mushy meat.”

Here are some healthy marinades to get your summer off to a great start:

Chipotle Lime Marinade

This marinade is great with lean pork, chicken, fish or vegetables. Makes about ¾ cup.

 

1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce plus 1 teaspoon of the adobe sauce

½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ cup orange juice

3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

⅛ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a gallon zip-lock bag or glass container. Use ½ cup per pound of meat or two pounds of vegetables.

 

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 12

Servings size: 1 tablespoon

Calories: 14

Total fat: 1 gram

Saturated fat: 0 grams

Sodium: 35 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 1 gram

Protein: 0 grams

 

Big Bold Marinade

This marinade is wonderful on all kinds of meat and fish as well as firm tofu. I adapted this recipe from eatingwell.com. It makes 1 cup.

2 tablespoons canola oil

¼ cup onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

¼ cup orange juice

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground allspice

¾ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 dashes of hot sauce

Heat oil in small saucepan. Add onion and garlic; cook about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add up two pounds of protein of your choice.

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 16

Serving size: 1 tablespoon

Calories: 30

Total fat: 2 grams

Saturated fat: 0 grams

Sodium: 90 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 3 grams

Protein: 0 grams

 

Lemon and Garlic Marinade

This is a great marinade for vegetables, fish and lean beef. Makes ¼ cup.

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Salt-Free Seasoning All-Purpose Blend

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Add meat or vegetables.

 

Nutrition facts

Servings: 4

Serving size: 1 tablespoon

Calories: 35

Total fat: 4 grams

Saturated fat: 2 grams

Sodium: 0 milligrams

Carbohydrates: 1 gram

Protein: 0 grams

 

Marinade safely

Follow these guidelines from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics while marinating to reduce the risk of food-borne illness:

  • Contain it. Marinate food in a container, preferably glass or food grade plastic. Don’t use metal or glazed pottery since the acid in the marinade can interact with it and may add lead. Food grade plastic re-sealable bags are convenient, but must be disposed of after use.
  • Let the refrigerator be your friend.  Make sure the container of marinating food is fully covered. Place it in the refrigerator (below 40 degrees F), not on the kitchen counter.  This will keep food out of the temperature danger zone (40 – 140 degrees) when harmful bacteria can multiple rapidly causing food-borne illness. If traveling, pack marinating meat with ice to maintain temperature.
  • Never reuse marinade. Cross-contamination can lead to food poisoning. This can occur when a marinade is used with raw meat, poultry or fish and then reused “as is” on cooked food. Used marinade needs to boiled to destroy harmful bacteria before using as a sauce, or plan ahead and set aside some fresh marinade to be used as a sauce.

Bonnie Brost is a licensed and registered dietitian at Essentia Health

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Intertwangling Science into Your Next Backyard Adventure

Let’s Get Science-y!

Your backyard is a great place for your child to get outside in play. In addition to swimming and playing outdoor sports, your child can also use your backyard as a science experiment. If you are interested in helping them achieve this, you may want to familiarize yourself with some popular backyard activities, especially those that have a focus on nature and science.

Exploring your backyard is not only a fun activity, but it is also educational. There are a large number of living, breathing creatures that can be found outdoors. All children love exploring nature, but there are some who may enjoy this exploration more than others. Those children are likely to be toddlers or elementary school aged children. Since young children may need your assistance, you will want to pick backyard activities that you will also enjoy.

One of the many ways that you can incorporate science into your backyard is by studying the plants that can be found in your yard. While all backyards are likely to have a number of different plants or flowers, yours may have more. For the best type of environment, you are encouraged to explore areas of your yard that have yet to be mowed.

Your backyard is also likely full of a number of different insects. Like plants and flowers, your child may enjoy examining these bugs. It is not only fun to see what bugs live in your backyard, but it is also exciting to learn about how they survive. There is also a good chance that your children may leave your yard with a new pet. I remember my kids would spent hours catching bugs in their little insect catchers and staring at them with mini magnifying glasses before letting let go. Confession: I still have our toy insect carrier/catcher even though my kids are way too big for that (so they say). Too many fun memories to get rid of it yet 🙂

toy bug catcher

In addition to the living things that can be found in your backyard, you and your child may also want to examine the weather and the impact it has on the yard and everything inside of if. Backyard conditions change as the weather changes. By examining your backyard after a rainy day, your child may find that many of the plants, flowers, and bugs have either changed or retreated to safer grounds. Examining the effect the weather has on the things in your backyard is not only fun, but educational.

science weather kit for kids

To make the most out of your child’s next backyard adventure, you may want to consider purchasing them some science supplies. These supplies may include, but should not be limited to containers, butterfly catching nets, magnifying glasses, picture books, and resource guides. If your child is planning on capturing a few insects, a small cage or breathable container may be just what they need. These supplies, along with others, can be purchased from most retail stores. These stores may include department stores, home improvement stores, and toy stores.

To keep your exploration focused on education, science books and nature resource guides may be a nice addition to your child’s science collection. Many books and resource guide have a focus on insects, birds, plants, and flowers. Many of these resources will provide you with information and pictures. For a large selection of science and nature books, you are encouraged to shop online or visit your local book store.

When examining the plants, bugs, and flowers in your backyard, you and your child may want to document what you see. This can easily be done with a notebook or a camera. By taking pictures, your child will always be able to remember their exploration adventures. Those pictures could also be used for other crafts. Scrapbooks and collages are a great way to turn traditional photographs into something much more. Scavenger Hunts around this topic is always a hit with kids too.

Whether your child plans on exploring your backyard or they do so without intending to, it is likely that they will interested with what they see and learn. Incorporating science into your next backyard adventure is just one of the many things that you and your child can do outdoors; however, it may be the most beneficial.

ENJOY!

**We share books and products that we love (and that you may love too) on this site. If you happen to buy, we get a small cut, which is passed along to the admins who run our site 24/7.

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Tell Fat to Fork Off-Simple Hacks To Help You Build New Habits

Tell Fat to Fork Off
Creating new habits isn’t easy. The past few posts in the Tell Fat to Fork off series has revealed just that. At 51 years-young, changing my habits isn’t as seamless as it used to be…but I am still trying 🙂

SO, for those of you who are following along and floundering a tad like me, you might appreciate these six simple hacks that will make CHANGE little easier. Use them until you’ve internalized the new habit and don’t need them anymore.

Schedule It And Put It On The To-Do List

Sometimes we forget to do that new thing we were trying. Maybe we forget that we’re supposed to be having eggs for breakfast instead of a stack of waffles, or that we need to get that daily walk in.

Schedule your new habits or make them part of your daily to-do list until they become something you do automatically. I have a Bullet Journal system that I use everyday and at the top of every page (in big, black letters) is “Do the 3 W’s.” This reminder on something eyeball everyday is a wonderful reminder of what I need to do to continue to Tell Fat to Fork Off.

My “4 W’s” are:

  • Water
  • Walk
  • Weigh

 

Make It Public and Be Accountable

Let family and friends know what new habits you’re trying to establish. They will call you out if you don’t stick to your plan and get you back on track.

You may even go as far as sharing it publicly on Facebook or write a blog about your new journey. Knowing that others read it and know about it might be just enough to keep you going when you feel like throwing in the towel.

Piggyback On A Habit You Already Have

Whenever possible, add the new habit to one you already have. For example, if you fix a cup of tea or coffee at 4pm, and you want to get in the habit of taking a daily walk, make the new ritual to go for your walk and then come back and enjoy your tea.

It’s much easier to amend an existing habit or ritual than creating an entirely new one.

Make Slipups Costly

Here’s a fun idea. Put a jar on the kitchen counter and each time you slip back into your bad habit or forget to stick to the new one you have to put five dollars in the jar. It will quickly help you remember to skip that sugary food and motivate you to go out for that walk. For extra motivation donate the money to charity at the end of the month or hand it over to your spouse to go spend on him or herself.

Find A Partner and Help Each Other Along

Find someone with the same or similar goal. This could be a workout partner or a diet buddy. Keep tabs on each other and encourage each other to keep going. It’s much harder to skip a walk if you know someone else is depending on you being there.

Make It A Group Challenge

If one accountability partner is good, a whole group is even better. And they don’t even need to be local. Find a supportive group online and challenge each other to stick to your new habit for the next 30 days or so. Not wanting to be the first one to give up will keep all of you going until you establish that new habit.

Give these simple little hacks a try. Keep using the ones that you find helpful until you have made new habits you can stick with without the help of any tools

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25 Ways to Explore the #Brainerd Lakes Area this Summer (the 2017 verision)

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1kp54wfirnx4012/25%20Ways%20To%20Explore%20The%20Brainerd%20Lakes%20Area%20as%20a%20Family%20This%20Summer%20FINAL.pdf?dl=0

25 Ways To Explore The Brainerd Lakes Area as a Family This Summer Printable Checklist (2015)

Created by the Lake Area Mom Squad

Visit a Zoo! Our area has two wonderful zoos in a 30 mile radius. Check out the Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls and Safari North Park in Brainerd.

Get Your Art On: The Franklin Art Center and Crossing Arts Alliance has wonderful programs and events happening all summer. They also have great programs for kids including Art Camps.

Learn More About Trains: The Northern Trackers Club in Crosslake has depictions on display of historic and contemporary railroad heritage of the settlement and economic development of north central Minnesota from the early 1900’s to the present. Things to see at this museum includes a 1/2 scale replica of the William Crooks loco and cars, operating model railroad layouts, museum (artifacts, photography and interpretative displays and exhibits

Croft Mine: Mining is a huge part of our area’s history and the Croft Mine Historical Park is built on 17 acres of the original Craft Mine. This park includes an interactive underground mine tour and museum.

Go Down on The Farm: The Farm at St. Matthias offers wonderful events, growing and picking opportunities, and even the Celtic Festival.

Check out some Bike Trails: Our area has several paved bike trails including The Cuyuna Lakes Trail and the Paul Bunyan Trail. The Cuyuna Lakes Trail Association exists to promote, create, and maintain paved bicycling trails connecting various communities in and around the area known formerly as the Cuyuna Iron Range.

Crow Wing County Fair: The Fair is coming! The fair began as an agricultural event for the purpose of providing a place for county residents to exhibit their products. Youth projects such as 4-H and FFA were able to enter and compete for prizes. While many aspects of the fair have changed over the years, the main philosophy remains the same, to provide opportunity for our patronage to touch base with the agricultural heritage of Crow Wing County.

Attend a Music Event: There are many chances to hear live music outside this summer in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Check out events like Bands in the Park – Pequot Lakes Trailside Band Shelter, Crosslake Outdoor Music Series 2015 at Crosslake Town Square, Iconic Music Fest and Lakes Jam.

See An Outdoor Movie: The US Army Corps of Engineers – Crosslake Campground will be the site for outdoor movies in Crosslake this summer! Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and enjoy a different family friendly movie each month. Movies like The Lorax, Ice Age, A Christmas Story and The Great Outdoors are all on the schedule (subject to change).

Experience the Pine River Duck Races: Pine River Duck Races dates are July 10 (1:30pm – 2:30pm) and Fridays June 19 through August 14, 2015 Registration starts at 1:30pm with races at 2:00pm

Mini Golf and Go Carts: If you are in the mood for some mini golf and go cart racing, there are several option to choose from. Pirates Cove Golf and Billy Bones Raceway is right on highway 371 North. Close-by is another attraction; Northland Kart Kountry. Northland Kart Kountry also has water wares and climbing walls to keep everyone active and busy!

Go Camping: Pick a campground…any campground! This area is blessed with many quality camping area. Check the listings HERE.

Pig Races: The Leader Pig Races are back! Check out the full scoop on this incredibility fun and unique event HERE.

Explore our Many Area Parks: Check out the DNR’s Park Finder or check the websites of area parks like Crow Wing State Park, Mille Lacs Kathio, Father Hennepin State park and Charles Lindberg State Park.

Join a Summer Reading Program: The Brainerd Public Library has many fun things going on during the summer months and one is there Summer Reading Program. Round up your little bookworms and get the full scoop on the activities HERE.

Learn the History of our Area: Crow Wing County Historical Museum The Minnesota Military Museum at Fort Ripley and the Mille Lacs Indian Museum are both great ways to learn about culture and history as a family.

Attend an Art Fair: Fun events like Bean Hole Days, Arts in the Park and the Little Falls Craft Show are great places to see the work of local artisans.

Explore our area Lakes: There must be something in the water! Our area is blessed with many local lakes and public beaches. Check out this list of all of our area lakes and companies like Boats & Beyond Rentals, Lake Fun Rentals and Dave’s Sportland Bait, Fun Rentals & Storage help family make their lake time even more enjoyable.

Join The Northland Arboretum: “The Arb” always has wondering family-friendly events including the Country Sampler Pinic, Gardening 101 classes and Enviromental Summer Camps for kids.

Grab a Movie: Check out these places to grab a flick: Bear Pause Theater – Hackensack, Falls Cinema – Little Falls, Grand Makwa Cinema – Onamia,Lakes 12 – Baxter,Sunset Cinema – Pequot Lakes.

Go Thrifting: Sometimes, it’s the “thrill of the hunt!” can make for a fun day of adventure! Go snooping and shopping for treasures to be had at these local thrift and second-hand stores: Cast-offs (Pequot Lakes), Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Common Goods, Goodwill, The Salvation Army and Second Time Around are all great places to hunt for treasures.

Disk Golf: Combine the sport of Frisbee and golf and you have a day of super-fun action. There are two Disc Golf locations in the Brainerd Lakes area. Lum Park has a robust Disc Golf course and so does Central Lakes College or check out the DGCourseReview.com site for more places to enjoy this sport.

A Fun Day at The YMCA: Our local YMCA has tons of great programs and day camps just for area kids. Members can also participate in swim lessons and summer sport classes.

Go Fishing: Not only is this area abundant with lakes, the lakes are full of fish! Fishing is a great sport that any family can enjoy. If you need a little guidance, check into book a pro angler to guide you and your family on a day of fishing fun to remember!

Paddle Boarding: Paddle Boarding is a newer sport that is taking this are by storm. A fun experience for all ages, families can scor3e paddle boarding lessons, equipment and opportunities thanks to local companies like MnSurf.com, PowerPaddleMn.com and The Gull Lake Yacht Club.

**Did I miss any? Email if you can think of something to add to the list! (rebeccaflansburg@gmail.com)

**Lakes Area Mom Squad was not compensated for this post in any way.

Summer is here and our kids are doing the happy dance at the thought of summer vacation, no school and freedom.
I predict that will last roughly two weeks, then the whining, boredom and bickering will set in. 🙁
BUT, as always, the Flansburg Crew will be engaging in our annual No Bummer Summer Quest. This quest involves finding new adventures, crafts and activities (preferably ones that involve the out-of-doors) to help temper the long days of summer.
This summer, we are trying something new. We are trying a creative, affordable alternative to pricey summer camp, this 8-week eCurriculum called At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum.

At Home Summer Nature Camp

This eCurriculum is packed with ideas and inspiration to keep your kids engaged and happ.y all summer long. In one easy-to-follow PDF, parents will receive eight kid-approved themes, each including ideas and tutorials for: outdoor activities, indoor projects, arts & crafts, recipes, field trips, books & media, and more. Every weekly theme is packed with summer nature fun our family can have right in our own backyard! Learn more, or plan your summer fun here: At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum.

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