Hiking vs. Walking

I have to get this off my chest and apologize to anyone who does not want to hear me gripe. If that’s the case, STOP reading now!

As you all know we are an active family. We often ask others to join us in our outdoor activities. The individuals that are asked are people we see often, enjoy each others company and typically have a good time together. When we ask them to stop over and share dinner, watch a movie or just to chat, they are all in. When we suggest a walk they start getting somewhat nervous, although at times, have joined us. But ask them to step out of their comfort zones and take a hike with us and excuse after excuse start to pour out of them.

Why I ask? I need some insight on this…please help me understand what is so scary about the word “hike” compared to the word “walk”. It is literally the same activity!!!!

I have thought about this many times. What dictates the difference between the two? Mileage, shoe of choice, elevation(if any), surroundings, terrain, duration, etc.?

I am well aware that we live in Wisconsin, the home of brats, beer and cheese. This should get me some dandy comments butttt ….are people in Wisconsin that lazy?

We all wonder why our kids are getting larger with every generation that passes. We wonder why health care costs what it cost. I’ll tell you why.  It’s because as parents, we are not good role models if all we do is sit on our rumps! It’s because our bodies were designed to move, not sit still.

The weather is finally getting nice. After two weeks of trying to make plans for a fun activity with some friends that would take place somewhere other than a couch, I have just given up.

I’ve decided to toss out an offer and let active people come to us instead. So,if you happen to be in the Wisconsin area and are ACTIVE, let us know. Many of my followers are hikers and we would not hesitate to get together for a hike, paddle, walk, or anything else for that matter.


Brie with Carmelized Onions

While my son was home for Thanksgiving I asked him for a suggestion on what to do with the Trader Joe’s brie that I had purchased. Knowing his love for cheese, I knew he would come up with something fairly quickly. He suggested caramelizing some onions, adding some bacon and putting this on a baguette covered in brie goat cheese. Which is exactly what we did.


Brie with Caramelized Onions

1  crusty baguette cut into 1 inch slices

one round of brie

two medium onions thinly sliced

1 tbsp. smart balance butter spread

1/2 package real bacon salad toppings

balsamic glaze

Cut your baguette and lay the slices on a baking pan. Spread a small amount of brie on each slice.

Preheat your oven to 425. Saute your onions in a pan with the butter spread. Add your bacon pieces when the onions are about half done.

Keep your onions over low heat to keep them warm and place your brie covered slices into the oven to melt. Watch them closely, this will only take 3-5 minutes.

Remove the slices and place a small amount of the onion topping onto each slice of bread.

Drizzle with balsamic glaze and enjoy.

Meatless Tortilla Stack

In my quest to try and have one meatless dish every week, and not have my husband go through severe meat withdrawl, I have become creative.

This I made one day after searching through the pantry for anything that caught my eye. My husband would truly eat tacos every single night. So I thought, maybe I could get this past him and he may not notice there was no meat in it. The best part was that I used mainly all canned ingredients that are commonly found in most pantries.

Here is what I started with:


Here is what I did:

I prepared one cup of rice according to the directions. To the cooked rice I added one can of fire roasted tomatoes, and half the packet of taco seasoning. I left this simmer for about 10 minutes to combine the flavors.

Next, I took an 8×8 baking dish, sprayed it with non stick cooking spray and layered a thin  layer of the rice mixture on the bottom. I then took 4 small tortillas and layered them on top. Then I put about half the rice mixture over the tortillas, sprinkled half the can of black beans, half the can of corn and half the package of cheddar cheese.


I then repeated the same layer, but before I put the remaining cheddar cheese on the top, I poured one can of enchilada sauce over the entire dish. Topped with cheese and baked covered at 400 for 20 minutes and then uncovered and baked an additional 10 minutes.

I served it with a side of shredded lettuce and sour cream.


The results were quite wonderful. Although, the first words out of the hubby’s mouth were,”It could use some ground turkey!!!!” I should have known he would notice there was no meat, but he did say it was tasty and I could prepare this again. That is enough for me to claim success on this meatless meal.

Easy No Boil Lasagna Recipe

As I have mentioned, this week is kind of crazy. So, I rely on easy, throw in the oven meals that I can prepare ahead, and not worry about tending to later in the day. Many times I will throw this recipe together in the morning before we leave for a day on the river. When we return, I turn on the oven, throw it in, and by the time we have all the kayaks put away, and the supplies rinsed off, it is ready to enjoy.

Many of our friends and family have tried this and commented on how tasty it is. And best of all, it’s healthier than your normal lasagna, with some ingredient substitutes I use.

No Boil Lasagna Recipe

9-12 Creamette Lasagna noodles(enough to make three layers in your pan)

22 oz. 1% cottage cheese

26.5 jar/can pasta sauce of your choice

14.5 can diced fire roasted tomatoes

7oz mushrooms

1 lb. ground turkey

medium onion diced

handful of fresh baby spinach

1- 8oz package of shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Brown the turkey burger and onion together until done. In a large bowl, mix pasta sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms, and the cooked turkey onion mixture all together.Spray your 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a food processor, blend the cottage cheese until it is smooth and creamy. Now for the construction. Layer in the pan just a bit of the sauce mixture.


Then a layer of noodles, top with 1/2 the blended cottage cheese, then 1/2 the spinach, then 1/2 the parmesan cheese. Then about 1/4 of the sauce, it does not need to cover this whole layer! Next, another layer of noodles, the remaining cottage cheese,


the remaining spinach, and the remaining parmesan cheese. And then again 1/4 of the sauce.Then one more layer of noodles. On top of this layer, you will pour the remaining sauce over these noodles.You should have enough to easily cover the entire top of these noodles. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. When your ready to cook, put it in a preheated oven at 400 for 45 minutes. The uncover, top with the bag of mozzarella cheese and bake an additional 15-20 minutes. Or until the cheese is melted.


Let the cooked lasagna sit for at least 20 before serving.


QUESTION: What is your families favorite “go to” meal when life is hectic?