Author: katyaflint

Let Them Eat Cupcakes

I’ve always been more of the “fun-hater” in our house!  I’m the “eat your supper before dessert” person or the “no sweet treats before lunch” person.  I’m ok with it!  Someone has to be that person and the boys and I have a great relationship regardless!  This past weekend however, I decided to live in the moment and relax a little!

World of Rules

Our world is full of rules today!  Eat this, don’t eat that.  Don’t do that, do this, etc.  It’s easy to get caught up in what is “right” and what is “wrong” and forget that life is happening around us each day!  When you’re raising kids, you are constantly worried that you are “screwing them up”.  Oh, that’s just me? Well, OK then! 😉  Society today has put so many expectations on us as parents or step-parents that it’s amazing our parents were able to raise us!

While I think rules are good, I also think they are an outline of how to live your life, how to make decisions, etc.  So, that being said…rules are made to be broken every once in awhile or stretched, right?!

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Tips for Visiting Branson

To say that we enjoy visiting the Branson, MO area might be an understatement!  We enjoy it so much that we have visited three times in a 1 year time span!  Planning any family vacation or trip can be overwhelming and now that we consider ourselves “pros” at visiting Branson, we thought we would share some tips to help you plan your visit.

Try VRBO

We have camped and stayed in condos while visiting Branson and we definitely recommend staying in a condo!  The main reason for our switching was that we sold our camper, but as we researched different hotels and condos, we were able to get a great space (2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with full kitchen, living room, and patio) for the same price as some of the hotels.  With two growing teenage boys, it’s important for us to have space to spread out in and our condo that we booked through VRBO definitely did this!

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A Fresh New Face

Just in case you came to this page looking for Learning As I Go…don’t worry, same page, same content, just with a new face!  Over the past three years, since I started blogging, my content and style have evolved.

When I first started, I had a strong emphasis on learning to be a step-mom, wife, and adult!  Now, while I’m always learning, my passions are food (like seriously, it’s a passion of mine), our family (gardens, taste tests, etc), and fun (our travel adventures)!  So, I thought it was time to officially make a change that makes sense to me and encompasses all of these items!  So, I introduce to you, Flint & Co – Family, Food, & Fun!  I think it’s pretty catchy and I love my new logo that Laura Meyer Design created for me!

Again, you’ll find the same content just with a different name and look!  I hope you like it!

Eagle Point Park – Dubuque, Iowa

Where do you go to slow down?  I can’t say that we have ever had a regular place, but now that we have visited Dubuque, I think we have found it!  Recently, T and I headed over to Dubuque for a quick 24 hour trip to have some time to ourselves and slow down!  We stayed at the Hotel Julien and spent many hours just “being” together!  While we explored a few fun, but low-key places, this was probably our favorite and where we will return time and time again!

Eagle Point Park

For a whopping $1 per car, you get free reign of Eagle Point Park, which is owned by the City of Dubuque.  Take your time driving through the park and enjoy the many different levels of scenery!  Stop and explore the old buildings, lodges, and shelters that can be rented for a variety of events!  While we were there, we saw a 1st birthday party, a kids birthday party, and a wedding set up!  This would be an amazing back-drop for any event!  Then, head to the Mississippi overlook!  While we enjoyed explore several parts of the park, this was by our favorite!

Dam #11 on the Mississippi River

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The Barrel House & Ice Cream – Dubuque, Iowa

Supper at The Barrel House and a snack of ice cream set the tone for our outstanding trip to Dubuque, Iowa a few weeks ago!  While we were there, we grabbed 2 full meals and a snack!  Breakfast in the morning was a Caroline’s Restaurant which is in the Hotel Julien and we highly recommend!

The Barrel House

For supper when we arrived in town, we headed to The Barrel House and what a treat it was!  It’s location is super handy when you’re staying at the Hotel Julien as it’s right across the street, which is one of the reasons we selected it!

T’s selection at the Barrel House!

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Port of Dubuque River Walk

On a gorgeous day in Dubuque, Iowa one wants to enjoy the river and the weather!  We love walking along the Port of Dubuque River Walk!  Here you can slow down, enjoy the view, some art, and history all at the same time!

River Walk & Art Sculptures

This walkway is a paved trail that runs along the port/river and is adorned by lots of art sculptures!  Enjoy the view of the different art as well as reading about them at each stop!

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Easy Instant Pot Tomato Sauce

Last year I canned tomatoes for the first time.  This year I decided to tackle tomato sauce.  But,  if you’ve learned anything about me, it’s that l like things to be as easy as possible in the kitchen!  So, when people were telling me that I needed to blanch tomatoes, take the skins off, deleted them, roast them with lots of seasonings, and other things, I thought…surely this has to be easier.

Of all the produce that our garden has produced this year, our tomatoes are some of the best.  Big, firm, and standing tall!  They may have been slow to turn, but I’ve been patient as I knew this would be worth it in the end when I have homemade tomato sauce this winter!  I’ve discovered that the older I get, the more joy I get in preserving our food through freezing and canning for use later.

My Instant Pot ready for making tomato sauce!

The Recipe

Thanks to my friend Jenny over at In the Kitchen with Jenny and my other friend Mary, over at a Natrual Soul, I talked through things and did indeed find that it could be easier!  So, between these friends and my Instant Pot, I now make what I’d like to consider is the worlds easiest tomato sauce.

Instant Pot Tomato Sauce
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: varies
 
Ingredients
  • Tomatoes
  • 1 Onion
  • Minced Garlic
  • ¼ c water
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the trivet in the bottom of your instant pot and pour the water in the bottom.
  2. Fill the pot with the tomatoes, washed and whole, along with the onion that has been cut into quarters!
  3. Drizzle olive oil over all and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the lid on with the valve set to steam and turn on to manual for 5 minutes.
  5. Once done, do a quick release.
  6. Drain all the juices from the tomatoes and onions and place in a blender and blend until smooth!
  7. Can or freeze.

 

After cooking in the Instant Pot

Cooks Notes:

  • There aren’t a lot of measurements on this recipe because it is a lot up to the cook!  Some batches I put more onions in, sometimes it was more garlic!
  • 1/4 cup of water may not seem like a lot, but the tomatoes produce so much of their own juices that you don’t need any more!
  • No, I don’t remove the skins or seeds!  The seeds don’t bother us and I believe the skins add a thicker texture!
  • Yes, it really is that easy!  I have a large drawer full of tomato sauce ready for the winter thanks to this recipe and my mom (who does my canning)!

I hope you find this recipe helpful and as easy as I did!  Enjoy tomato sauce year round!

Tomato Sauce

Other tomato sauce recipes from Iowa Bloggers:

Healthy Roasted Tomato Sauce from Farm Girl Cook’n

Easy, Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce from Simplify, Live, Love

Traditional Slow Cooker Sunday Red Sauce from Ally’s Sweet & Savory Eats

 

The Hotel Julien Dubuque: Making You Feel Special

T and I recently made an overnight trip to Dubuque and stayed the Hotel Julien Dubuque.  WOW!  The Hotel Julien knows how to make a person feel so special!  Not only do they have spectacular accommodations, but the small things add up to make you fee extra special during your stay!

Hotel Julien
The gorgeous lobby at the Hotel Julien Dubuque

The Hotel Julien Dubuque has been present in historic downtown Dubuque for over 130 years!  After a $33 million renovation, they are shining brighter than ever!  Between its historic attributes and modern finishes, the Hotel Julien Dubuque is the prime example of a sophisticated hotel!  Not many hotels can claim to be modern and historic, luxurious and comfortable, but yet the Hotel Julien does just that!

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Sweet & Creamy Strawberries – Keto Friendly 

I recently started eating Keto style and these Sweet & Creamy Strawberries are the perfect snack to satisfy my sweet tooth.  Most of you know that I have tried eating “clean”.  It didn’t work for me.  I can only eat so many stalks of celery before I need something of substance.  Several of my friends have adopted the Keto lifestyle and so after much research and talking wit them, I decided to give it a whirl!  Before I go any further, I want to say that I am not an expertise in Keto and not a professional, so before you decide to take on the lifestyle, please do research with those that are!

Finding What Works For Me

One aspect of Keo is high protein and high fat and very low carb.  I’ve actually come to discover that I love carbs, but they don’t love me.  I love cereal, muffins, and bread, but it makes me so bloated.  So, this diet has been great for me!  However, I’ve struggled to find low carb snacks to curb my sweet tooth!

We also have started a strawberry garden this year!  T has loved giving these “ladies” as he calls them extra attention and producing the sweet red berries for me to enjoy!  Next year I’ll have an abundance of strawberries and this will be the perfect way to use some!

strawberries
One of the many strawberries from our garden

Fruit is something I’ve always loved and love experimenting with recipes.  This yummy fruit recipe can be used as a side or a dessert!

Sweet & Creamy Strawberries - Keto Friendly
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 2 T Swerve
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 3 cups diced strawberries
Instructions
  1. Begin by whipping your cream until somewhat frothy
  2. Add the cream cheese, Swerve, and almond extract and mix thoroughly
  3. Fold the cream cheese mixture into your strawberries

Cooks Notes

  • Swerve is an all-natural sugar substitute.  Any natural (no calorie) sugar substitute will work for this recipe.  You may just have to adjust the amounts based on what you use.  You can also use real sugar if you aren’t worried about those calories!
  • Your whipping cream will not whip up into an actual cream.  You aren’t using enough (or in my case, didn’t have the patience) and that’s ok!  You just want to whip it until frothy!
  • Stir your strawberries real well before eating or serving.  They will put off a natural juice and you will see “water” or juice sitting in the bottom of the bowl!  This juice just helps to spread things around, it’s all good!

I love enjoying these Sweet & Creamy Strawberries for an evening snack!  They are perfect for satisfying my sweet tooth, but not getting me off track with my diet!  If you want something extra special, toss a few dark chocolate chips in with your strawberries! YUM!