Kentucky: The Bluegrass State

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Ah, Kentucky: The Backroads Bluegrass State!

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Our first official stop on our road trip across the United States of America was in the beautiful state of Kentucky.  We were privileged to stay in a home located on a private ranch in the Kentucky countryside.  The first thing I noticed about Kentucky is that is really didn’t look a whole lot different from my own home state, but I soon found there were some vital differences.

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For one, the roads in Kentucky are akin to driveways back home.  I wish I was joking.  There are highways, but you have to go a bit out of your way to travel on them, which now I highly recommend doing just that!  We used our gps to navigate to various locations in Kentucky and found many roads simply have no shoulder.  That, in itself, wouldn’t have been much more than a passing thought except that the roads were only big enough to support 1 1/2 cars.  Yes, if another car came down the road you had to practically pull off to the side to let them by.  This posed no problem to the native drivers of Kentucky because as we meticulously slowed down to move over, they just drove on at regular speed veering onto the grass and swerving.  It was if I was back in a foreign country again and for those who have traveled, you know what I mean!

If only this was the worst of the driving.

In fact, the more we tried to take the direct route to our destinations the smaller the roads got until we were diminished to the point of road so small our van was almost too big for it.  The tree branches were enveloping us and the road turned to dirt as it carelessly spun around corners and dipped into ravines.  Ok, so there were no ravines, but it felt like there could be at any moment!  Visibility around corners was so bad that if something had come our way we would have certainly crashed unless the locals have cars equipped with flying gear or some sort of early warning system.  I wouldn’t be surprised.

We were all quite on edge to say the least.  And at one point we had to fight for our lives hold on tight as a huge delivery truck fought for passage with us across a small and crumbling stone bridge.  Our tire was literally on the verge of slipping into a small creek as it bravely straddled the line between concrete and a gaping hole.

With that said, I am sure now you are ready to flock to Kentucky!

But, this is only part of the story.  We learned our lesson after that first day and went out of our way to take the highways.  To be honest, we didn’t lose any time because the backroads are so harrowing you have to crawl at 10mph.

Now, let us take a look at why I actually LOVE Kentucky and why it was and is one of my most favorite places.

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After that day of death defying driving we landed ourselves at the Creation Museum.  Say what you like, but this place was amazing!  I would recommend any family go whether it be for a faith infusing look at what and why you believe or for exploring an alternate view for our reason for being.

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It was beautifully laid out, exciting, informative, and cutting edge in technology!  They served amazing food, gave awesome tours, have a beautiful botanical garden, and zoo.

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You get two days to explore the museum for the price of one 30 dollar ticket per adult, and 15 per child, except this year (2014) kids go free with paying adults!  We took in a 3D special effects movie, were amazed as we viewed the planetarium show, and had a great time at the huge bookstore.

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There is also a stunning display of dinosaurs handcrafted by Buddy Davis and an equally stunning insectatorium where a man donated his whole collection of insects to the museum!

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Another highlight was seeing the recently donated Allosaurous named Ebeneezer!

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After two amazing days of visiting the museum, I got to reconnect with a childhood friend that I hadn’t see in 14 years.  She saw me posting about my adventures in Kentucky on facebook and messaged to inform me she was only 15 minutes away!  It was a great surprise to get to go chat with her and see her again after so many years.

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We returned to our beautiful and oh-so-temporary country home on the ranch to celebrate my oldest sons 11th birthday with cake and presents we brought on the trip with us.  His big gift was a geocaching gps!

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Through all the excitement, I find that the thing I love the most about Kentucky is its simple beauty and its serene atmosphere in which I found myself living while on the ranch in those three days.

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We saw does and bucks right in our backyard and followed trails and paths to discover the wildlife flourishing all around us.

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We watched the sunset on the Kentucky horizon as I have never seen it before and when night fell it was lit with thousands of fireflies dancing about.

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It was pure magic.  We walked and talked, explored, and shared the adventures, but most memorable is that for three short days I truly lived in Kentucky and now I find since leaving, that Kentucky lives in me.

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I often find myself thinking about this most unusual state with its contrasts of scary small roads, but wide open peaceful countryside that makes you forget you were ever worried about anything.

In my mind I want to go back again.

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In my heart, I never left.

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Finally, the day has come!

I have finally gotten around to sorting and organizing my photos from my two week summer trip around the United States and I am so excited in the coming days to start sharing with you the beautiful places that touched my heart and soul as well as some travel tips!  For now, I will leave you with this little teaser…

 

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The beautiful Colorado River.

Low Carb Meal Plan

One of the fastest ways and in my opinion healthiest ways to lose weight is to limit processed carbohydrates.  I lean toward low-carb, high-fat paleo diets.  Limiting carbs has been the easiest way to maintain weight-loss in my experience.  Here is a sample menu to get you started:

Breakfast:

1 Cup Cottage Cheese with 1/2 Cup Peaches mixed in

1 Apple, small handful of Kale, water and ice blended into a juice

 

Lunch:

2 Cups at least of Spinach or Romaine Lettuce with 1/2 Cup Grape Tomatoes, 3oz Organic Turkey Breast served with Annie’s Organic Lite Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing.

1 Cup Whole Milk or Half and Half and 1/2 a banana Smoothie

 

Dinner:

3oz of Meat: Beef, Chicken, Fish, etc.  Get Organic and Grass-fed/free range where possible.

1 Cup Green Vegetable such as asparagus, broccoli, or brussels sprouts

1 Tablespoon of butter on veggie

 

Snacks:

1/2 cup carrots

1 Tablespoon Butter on an Organic Graham Cracker

 

This roughly equals 1400 calories.  I hope this helps you get started.  The great thing about this diet is you don’t get hungry or famished as on other diets because the extra fat keeps you satisfied!

Hiatus

Hey everyone, I am still here!  I took a little unannounced personal hiatus from blogging to focus on some other activities and hobbies for a little while.  I can’t wait to share with you the things I have been learning and doing!

I recently opened an instagram account which I plan to use to update with pictures of my travels and everyday things that I find beautiful and inspiring.  In my next blog post I will share with you how you can connect with that.

I took up some running/walking recently that turned out to be not the greatest idea and set my health back a little bit, but things seem to be improving now!

I’ve been doing a lot of freelance writing which is awesome and getting back into photography and bird watching.

I have become a HUGE fan of National and State Parks, especially those in the western US such as the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park.  Find them on facebook because the photos they post are just amazing!

Well that is just a sample of what has been filling my days and I will fill you in on more in the coming days!

What’s been keeping you busy?

Almond Joy Oatmeal Cookies

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Create.Live.Dream:

These look so AMAZING! So going to try these! #notpaleo #notdiet #butohsogood

Originally posted on My Foray Into Food Storage:

Before I begin, here’s a quick reminder to enter my 2nd April giveaway here.  Simply visit Emergency Essentials’ website, find something you’d like to try, visit this post, and tell me what it is.  It’s a Quick, Simple, and FREE entry!

Yesterday, as I was preparing to go to a surprise birthday party for a dear friend, I was trying to think of some yummy treats to bring along with me.  I planned to bring some homemade artisan crackers to serve with goat cheese and vanilla pear jam (click here to learn how easy it is to make these delicious crackers!), but I wanted to bring something sweet like a cookie.

Yummy homemade crackers served with Vanilla Pear Jam over goat cheese.  YUM!
Yummy homemade crackers served with Vanilla Pear Jam over goat cheese. YUM!

I took a look in my baking cupboard and found that I was running out of chocolate chips.  Not too great for a so…

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Gluten Free Coconut Crusted Chicken

I decided to try something a little new when I was making chicken this week.  I am a huge coconut fan.  I thought maybe I could give my chicken a little island flavor with some coconut.  Also, if you like chicken that is a little crispy like shake and bake but you don’t want to have to put a bunch of processed/carb-filled breading or seasoning, this works great!

 

Coconut Crusted Chicken

Ingredients:

I used bone in and skin on pieces of drumsticks and wings, but you can use which ever you prefer.

2 Tbsp Unrefined Coconut Oil melted (I used unrefined in this recipe because it retains more coconut flavor than refined)

1/2 a cup Coconut Flour

2 Eggs

1 Tbsp half and half

Shredded Coconut

 

Procedure:

Whisk the eggs with the melted coconut oil and half and half until well combined.

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Place the coconut flour in a separate bowl.

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Coat chicken pieces in the coconut flour.

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Then dip and coat in the egg mixture.  Dunk it in the coconut flour again and then back in the egg mixture.  Follow this for each piece.  Doing this helps the flour and egg to stick on the chicken and coat it better.

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Place coated chicken pieces on parchment paper on a baking sheet.

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After the chicken is all coated, sprinkle and pat shredded coconut all over the chicken. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this part of the process!

Bake the chicken a for 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees.  Some bits of coconut may turn brown which is fine and gives the chicken it’s crunchy texture.  If your chicken is taking longer to cook and you are worried about the coconut coating becoming burnt, simply cover the chicken with aluminum foil.

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This was one of the best recipes I ever came up with!  I hope you enjoy it!

This website has some awesome gluten free recipes: http://glutenfreehomemaker.com/