Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Flapjacked Carrot Spice Protein Pancake Mix Review

I usually make my pancakes from scratch.  My boys favorite are my Pumpkin Pancakes with Hot Cider Sauce. We eat a lot of pancakes in this house, so I was thrilled to be picked as a winner of a protein pancake mix in a Facebook contest held by Flapjacked. I've tried their protein smoothie mix and found them to be delicious. I was excited to try another product.

I'm picky about the food I buy. I won't buy it if I find the ingredients list is full of artificial junk. There is nothing but good stuff on the ingredient list for Flapjacked Carrot Spice Protein Pancakes; whole oat flour, whey protein, pea protein, carrots, coconut flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, and monk fruit.

You can mix the pancakes a couple different ways, according to your taste and dietary requirements. Just adding water, the protein content is 20%. Substitute the water with milk and gain another 5% protein. Or, like I did, use milk and add an egg to the mix for a whopping 34% protein.

The consistency of this mix is perfect. I've tried another protein pancake brand and their mix is always a bit runny by the package directions. These pancakes fry up nice and fluffy. We topped them with cinnamon honey pecan cream cheese and a little real maple syrup. The flavors complimented each other nicely. Everyone in our household gobbled them up. It was almost like eating carrot cake for breakfast.

While I have yet to see Flapjacked pancake mix sold locally, you can get them on Amazon or directly from their website Flapjacked. In addition to their protein pancakes sold in different flavors and their smoothie mixes, they also sell cookie mix and mighty muffins.

With the ease of use, protein content, and quality of ingredients, I will be purchasing their products again. But on slow Sunday mornings, I'll still be making up a batch of my homemade pancakes.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Keeping Backyard Chickens Cool in the Summer Heat

It's hot in Texas. Really hot. Our high today was 99 degrees Fahrenheit with a heat index set on broil. People are talking about baking cookies on the pavement. We are still in June, people. We still have to get through July and August. This just might be a long hot summer.

The heat can be especially dangerous for your backyard flock, but there are several ways you can help your chickens stay cool.

  1. Add ice to their water. I freeze a large block of ice and plop it into their water when the temperature starts to rise. Who doesn't like a nice, cool drink of ice water on a hot day? I know I do.
  2. My chickens love cold watermelon. Watermelon is great for keeping them hydrated in addition to  cooling them off. You can also feed them frozen corn, peas, or blueberries. But provide these as treats, not as replacements for their feed.
  3. Make sure their coop is well ventilated. If air is unable to freely circulate, the coop is going to be miserably hot. Add a fan for extra air flow, if needed. Just make sure the fan is properly secured so your chickens don't get hurt and make sure any electric cords are safely plugged in and away from any water or fire hazards. 
  4. Spray down a dirt patch where they can take a mud bath and cool off. I'm thinking I'm going to try this with my girls this week. 
  5. Make sure they have plenty of shade. My coop is under a tree and stays mostly shaded all day. I also free range my hens. On hot days they usually hide in the overgrown shrubs under the trees on the side of my house. 
  6. Provide electrolytes. Mix 1 cup of water with 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda. Provide 1 cup electrolytes to one gallon of water. If your hens appear stressed from the heat, give it to them full strength.
  7. Freeze bottles of water and place near nesting boxes. 
  8. Mist down the chicken coop or run. 
  9. Partially fill a small kiddie pool with cool water. You don't want to lose any chickens from drowning so only fill it about an inch or two. 
  10. Have several sources of water for drinking available. I have dog bowls and a large plastic dish tub I fill up and leave in several places so they have easy access to water.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Healthy Eating on a Road Trip

I recently drove from south Texas to Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, and back home to San Antonio in a trip that lasted over two weeks. We had to skip out of the school year a little early after ok'ing it with the kid's school so we could get to his older brother's graduation, so our major summer road trip is already over. But it took some major planning because we were not only attending a graduation, but visiting my parents, planning a backpacking trip and a trip to Virginia Beach, alongside visiting my daughter in Virginia. I was packing for several different scenarios. Plus, I was determined that we not eat out or grab junk to snack on at the gas station while driving from destination to destination. It turns out that the weather sidelined our backpacking and beach plans much to our disappointment. I also didn't plan for enough food on the return trip, especially with my oldest son joining us in Kentucky. But we made it from Texas to Ohio and on to Virginia without eating unhealthy. On our home trip we stopped twice for fast food, but only because my planning fell short when prepping food for one extra person.

Proud Momma moment. 

Summer is here, and many people will be heading out on the road to visit family or head to vacation destinations. It's so easy to rely on the drive through for a quick bite on the run, especially if you are in a hurry to get to your destination, but with a little planning it is possible to eat healthy on the road.

I ordered a set of meal prep containers from Groupon and used them to prepackage meals for lunch and dinner. Our breakfast menu consisted of boiled eggs, peeled ahead of time, bagels with cream cheese, and fresh fruit. Dinner number one was lemon chicken over brown rice and spinach salad. Dinner number two was a Mediterranean salad with chicken, feta cheese, black olives, garbanzo beans, and fresh red pepper slices with whole grain pita bread. I also prepared fruit on the bottom yogurt cups in jelly jars for an easy snack. Lunch our first day was peanut butter banana tortilla wraps using low carb tortillas. I made sure to have a healthy assortment of snacks handy like dried fruit, protein bars, hard cheeses, fresh berries, and nut mixes. I have two coolers, a large one I put our main meals in and a smaller one I kept within reach so we could have easy access to the coconut water, mineral water, and protein drinks I packed. We also had water bottles well within reach.

Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt
Breakfasts were eaten in the hotel, while dinners were either eaten at a roadside rest area or at the hotel. (By the way, Texas has some awesome rest areas with mini history museums, modern playgrounds, and clean restrooms.)

One of the best things I purchased for this trip was a Bodum travel coffee press. I packed premeasured coffee grounds so all I had to do was add hot water and press. I don't use sugar or creamer in my coffee, but I do like to dilute it with a little milk, so I brought a little container of milk, too. If you are a coffee aficionado I highly recommend you pick one up instead of relying on hotel or truck stop coffee.

Are you heading out on the road alone or with friends or family this summer? I challenge you to healthy eating on the road. No fast food and no Starbucks. It only takes a little planning. If you are already meal prepping for your work week, it will be easy peasy.

Ready, set....go!