404 Error - page not found
We're sorry, but the page you are looking for doesn't exist.
You can go to the homepage

OUR LATEST POSTS

delicious grilled salmon meal

Tired of the typical (rather dull) lemon and butter grilled salmon dish? We’ve got great news: these 4 zesty, fresh grilled salmon recipes will make you fall for fish all over gain. But wait, it gets better: we’ll show you how salmon is packed with health enhancers … from mood boosting brain benefits and wrinkle-free skin to cancer prevention and heart health!

 

Salmon meals don’t have to be predictable. Bring this classic fish staple to life with surprising tastes of brown sugar & soy sauce, lemon & dill, ginger, and more!

Before we get into the mouth-watering details, we’d like to share why salmon is one of the healthiest foods out there, as well as which type of salmon to choose to avoid contamination.

Health Benefits of Salmon

Just one 4 oz serving of salmon contains:

  • 2 grams of omega- 3 fatty acids (see below for the mind-blowing benefits of omega-3s)
  • full day’s worth of the optimal Vitamin D dosage for adults
  • Over half of the necessary daily intake of B12, niacin, and selenium
  • High levels of B6 and magnesium

Salmon has an unusually high concentration of the omega- 3 fatty acid, DHA. Many researchers consider DHA to be the most important fat in the human brain! This incredibly potent boost of DHA makes salmon the #1 healthiest fish in the sea and a powerful addition to your diet.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Health Benefits:

The health boosting benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are so extensive, we should really write a full article on the topic! We know you’re eager for those tasty grilled salmon recipes, so we’ll do our best to give a short and snappy overview.

Adding omega-3s to your diet, via fish or supplements, significantly improves brain function, nourishes hair, skin, and nails, keeps your heart healthy, protects your eyes, prevents cancer, and soothes the symptoms of PMS in women. Whew! With such outrageously positive health claims, it almost seems too good to be true. We’ve got news for you: it’s the real deal, and it’s an essential component to attain your happiest, healthiest self.

1) Brain = Improved memory in Alzheimer’s patients, mood regulation for bipolar disorder, recovery from depression, lower levels of aggression, and improved learning and focus for children with ADHD.

2) Beauty = Nourishes hair follicles and dry scalp for shiny, flake-free locks, reduces acne, and prevents wrinkles.

3) Heart, Eye, and Women’s Health = Decreases the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart arrhythmia, macular eye degeneration, and dry eye. Reduces pain of PMS and menstruating.

4) Cancer Prevention = Helps prevent onset of colorectal cancer, prostrate cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Why it’s SO Important to Buy Wild Caught Salmon

Farmed vs. Wild Caught Salmon

Farmed fish are not only fed artificial, unhealthy diets, but are also much less potent in omega- 3s. Here are the super-important reasons you should choose wild caught salmon over farmed salmon:

According to nutrition expert, Dr. Mercola:

  • Farmed salmon are fed grain products, such as corn and soy (most of which are genetically modified), artificial coloring and chicken meal. This diet is extremely unnatural for fish, and so makes them sick (whenever you eat something sick, you are harming your own body!).
  • Due to overcrowding, farmed fish are exposed to more diseases (and so, are given more drugs).
  • Farmed salmon have low levels of omega-3s while wild caught salmon’s levels are very high.

For Mercola’s full article on farmed vs. wild salmon, click here.

Choose wisely when selecting the type of wild salmon, too!

The absolute cleanest, purest type of wild salmon is wild Alaskan salmon. When tested for contaminant consumption risk, wild Alaskan salmon was found to be in the lowest risk category for wild caught salmon.

4 Deliciously Easy Grilled Salmon Recipes

So, now you’re totally hooked on the astonishing health perks of salmon and armed with the details on choosing the wild caught variety. Let’s get you those scrumptious grilled salmon recipes!

soy sauce grilled salmon

#1 Soy Sauce & Brown Sugar Marinated Grilled Salmon

This recipe is both salty and sweet.

Use 1/3 cup each of the following ingredients:

  • Soy sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Water

To add flavor:

  • Lemon pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt

Directions (makes 1 ½ pounds of fish): 1) Dust your fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder and salt on both sides. 2) Stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water and vegetable oil in a small bowl. 3) Pour your soy sauce and sugar mixture you created into a shaking bag. 4) Put your fish in the bag with the sauce ingredients. 5) Refrigerate your marinated fish for at least two hours. 6) Preheat grill and oil the cooking grate. 7) Place salmon on the warm grill and cook for 6-8 minutes on each side.

Tip: When done, the fish should easily flake with a fork. Be careful not to overcook it.

#2 Dill and Lemon Grilled Salmon

A surprising twist on the classic lemon and butter salmon dish, this recipe adds dill for a refreshing burst of flavor.

Good- to- Know Cooking Tip: You can use salmon steaks instead of fillets to avoid them falling apart when cooked. If not, be sure to avoid a mess by cooking grilled salmon in foil or on a seafood cooking rack.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest,
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced.

Directions: 1) Preheat your grill. Combine the lemon juice, zest, oil, dill and garlic in a large shaking bag. 2) Add salmon into the bag and mix it around while rubbing the fish. 3) Refrigerate to marinate for two hours. 4) Make sure all salmon fillets or steaks are thoroughly covered with the rub.5) Wondering how long to grill salmon? When you place the salmon on a hot grill, you need to cook it about 4-5 minutes on either side.

Tip: You can tell your fish is done when it easily flakes with a fork and is light in color.

grilled salmon steak

# 3 Brown Sugar & Mustard Glazed Grilled Salmon Steak

The brown sugar coating of this grilled salmon steak recipe makes it seriously sweet, while the mustard adds a pop of tangy tastiness.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons hot mustard or Dijon mustard

Directions: 1) Fire up your grill until your coals are red-hot. 2) Wisk together the brown sugar, hot mustard and soy sauce in a medium bowl. 3) Transfer 1 tablespoon of the first three ingredients into a second smaller bowl. 4) Then, add the rice vinegar to it and set it aside. 5) Brush one side of the steaks with half the glaze in the medium bowl. 6) Place the fish slabs glaze down onto the grill. 7) Cook until slightly charred, approximately 4 minutes. 8) Brush the unglazed side the same way you did the first side. 9) Turn fish steaks over and cook for 5 minutes longer than you did on the first side. 10) Once salmon is slightly opaque in the center, remove it from grill. 11) Remove the cooked fish from heat and place on plates. 12) Spread the remaining glaze over each steak and let them stand for a few minutes.

#4 Ginger Grilled Salmon Fillets

The hint of ginger in this grilled salmon dish creates a touch of zesty spice.

Note: It’s highly recommended that you use a grill basket to prepare this dish. Otherwise, cook it in a broiler.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder and ginger
  • 1/3 cup each cup of soy sauce and orange juice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 green chopped onion
  • Use this on approximately 1 ½ salmon fillets
  • If you like, grease your grill with olive oil

Directions: 1) Mix together the ginger, garlic power, soy sauce, orange juice and honey. 2) Place the onions in a separate bowl and chill until you need them. 3) Cook the salmon on the grill for 10 minutes on each side after you coat the grate with olive oil. 4) Periodically brush the pieces of meat with the ginger sauce you prepared. 5) Remove the fish from the grill when done. 6) Sprinkle chopped green onion over the top.

Friends eating grilled salmon

Remember, practice green grilling!

Yes, you’re doing a huge favor to your health by eating salmon, but grilling food creates some sneaky health hazards. Read our Top 4 Tips for Green Grilling to find out how to make grilling healthy (and eco-friendly … we need to keep the environment healthy, too!).

We hope you enjoy these delightful grilled salmon dishes and the perks of those omega-3 fatty acids: hello, sharp brain, shiny hair, and healthy heart!

woman buying organic vegetables

We here at The Good Life are avid organic food enthusiasts. The truth about non-organic veggies is downright scary:

 

  • They are sprayed with insecticides, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides in order to reduce crop damage due to bugs and pests.
  • Rinsing and scrubbing the vegetables doesn’t remove the residue.

 

Yuck! We’d really prefer not to ingest these sneaky, unwanted chemicals. We know we can always trust organic veggies to be clean and safe. Certified organic vegetables must meet a list of requirements, including:

  • They cannot be sprayed with any type of chemical.
  • The use of human waste as fertilizer is forbidden.
  • The crop cannot be GMO.
  • The land must not have been sprayed with any pesticides, herbicides, insecticides or fungicides for at least three years.

 

Still, sometimes it just isn’t possible to be 100% perfect. That’s why we are simplifying your organic shopping checklist by bringing you the 12 most important vegetables to buy organic. If you fall off the wagon a bit on the others, so be it!

 

Buying Organic Veggies Doesn’t Have to Cost You a Fortune

How to make organic grocery shopping affordable:

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of high grocery bills. Major super stores, such as Walmart and Target, now offer a selection of organic produce. No one should sacrifice his or her health due to lack of funds. Lower prices mean everyone can afford to make optimal nutrition a priority.

 

12 Vegetables To Always Purchase Organic

organic celery

1) Celery

  • More than 90 %  of all non-organic celery stalks contain 60 or more different types of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.
  • These include: 13 chemicals that are known to cause cancer, 31 hormone disrupting chemicals, and 14 chemicals known to cause reproductive or developmental problems.

 

2) Cucumbers

  • Non-organic cucumbers can contain as many as 35 different chemicals.
  • It is not known how many of those chemicals penetrate beyond the skin, which means peeling may not remove all the residue.
  • Popular chemicals include Endosulfan Sulfate, o-Phenylphenol and Methamidophos.

 

3) Green Beans

Non-organic green beans can contain this toxic residue:

  • 8 known carcinogens
  • 22 hormone disrupting chemicals
  • 11 different neurotoxins
  • Even after multiple rinses, these chemicals do not completely wash off.

Tip: to find organic canned green beans, try Amazon.

 

4) Hot Peppers

  • Hot peppers are susceptible to blister beetles, cutworms and tomato hornworms.
  • To keep pests away from hot pepper plants, traditional farmers spray multiple powerful insecticides. 
  • These chemicals can remain on the pepper even after performing a triple-wash.

organic cherry tomatoes

5) Cherry Tomatoes

  • Non-organic cherry tomatoes are one of the 10 dirtiest foods available in grocery stores.
  • Non-organic farmers use a variety of chemicals to increase crop yields and prevent pest damage.
  • Chemicals remain on the skin of the tomatoes even after processing and shipping.

Tip: you can find organic cherry tomatoes at Whole Foods.

 

6) Imported Snap Peas

  • Imported non-organic  snap peas rank in the top 10 of the most chemically-laden vegetables.
  • Local snap peas contain fewer chemicals, but to avoid pesticide residue entirely, it’s best to purchase organic snap peas.

 

7) Kale

  • Traditionally grown, non-organic kale contains several different pesticides, herbicides and insecticides (in spite of being naturally pest resistant).

Luckily, it is very easy to find an organic version. Walmart has several organic kale options.

 

8) Lettuce

  • All types of traditionally grown, non-organic lettuce contain pesticides to deter cutworms, snails, and slugs.
  • Tests have identified up to 50 different chemicals on lettuce leaves
  • These include: 12 carcinogens, 29 hormone disrupting chemicals, and 10 toxins that interfere with reproduction and human development.

 Tip: you can buy organic lettuce at Target.

 organic potatoes

9) Potatoes

  • Potatoes are susceptible to leaf-hoppers, potato beetles, cutworms and grubs.
  • In order to deter these pests, non-organic farmers spray up to 35 different chemicals onto the leaves, stems, and surrounding soil.
  • Pesticides remain on the potato even after commercial processing, packaging, and home washing.

 

10) Spinach

  • All forms of non-organic spinach, except canned, can contain up to 50 different chemicals.
  • These include: 8 chemicals known to cause cancer, 25 hormone disrupting chemicals, and 8 neurotoxins.

 

11) Squash (Summer and Winter)

  • Summer and winter squash can contain up to 41 different chemicals.
  • These  include: Endosulfan Sulfate, Dieldrin, and Phenylphenol.
  • Each of these is known to cause cancer, disrupt hormones, and damage baby and child development.

 
12) Sweet/Bell Peppers

  • Bell peppers can contain as many as 50 different pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.
  •  These include: 11 known carcinogens, 26 hormone disruptors, and 13 neurotoxins.

 

Organic Veggies for Chemical-Free Bellies

No one wants a belly full of chemicals and toxins. We aren’t meant to consume such high levels of these poisons. If pesticides are tough enough to kill off masses of insects, you can bet they’re tough enough to hurt your body.  With these 12 must-be organic vegetables in your grocery cart, you’re sure to fill up in the healthiest, cleanest way.

party in solar powered tent

The solar power movement is making a serious splash amongst eco-friendly individuals, and we have the scoop on the latest sunny trend: the solar powered tent.

Designed to bring convenience and connectivity to your camping experience, the solar powered tent essentially allows the outdoorsy to have as much internet access in the great outdoors as is available in the not-so-great indoors. This tent will do you the favor (or hindrance, depending on how you look at it) of charging up all those techy devices we so heavily rely on – iPhones, laptops, you name it.

It does subtract from the earthy, wild experience just a tad — picture this: you’re huddling around a toasty campfire, enveloped in a blanket of expansive starry skies, soaking up the tranquil orchestra of rustling leaves swaying from towering trees – when, you’re jolted by that familiar interruption – that dull vibrating and buzzing noise. Text messages and email alerts snap you right out of your trance.

All technology bitterness and back-to-nature advocacy aside, we do see some perks to this innovative gadget. Here, we’ll break down how it works, features of the most popular brand, and the pros and cons of following the trend.

What is a Solar Powered Tent?

Solar powered tents are traditional tents with a tech twist. Equipped with a solar panel, these tents allow you to charge all your devices (mobile phones, tablets, laptops, cameras, speakers, and mp3 players), so you never have to truly unplug. That’s right: any low-voltage device is chargeable from the energy of the sun.

The tent’s solar panel must be facing the sun as much as possible throughout the entire day. As the panel brings in the energy from the sun, the lithium solar storage bank stores it for use later. This energy transfers directly to your device.

friends in solar powered tent

How It Works – A Simple Solar Solution

Intimidated by gadgets? Don’t sweat it. The setup and application of the solar powered tent hardly varies from that of your typical regular old tent. Here, we’ll outline how a major brand quickly growing in popularity, Bang Bang Tents, harnesses the sun’s power.

Popular Brand: Bang Bang Solar Powered Tent

Bang Bang Solar Tents were originally designed for a target audience of outdoor music festival go-ers. The trend has since caught on as an option for campers of all destinations. The details:

  • Inside each tent is a small 5w solar panel which captures the energy from the sun during the day and a lithium solar storage bank which stores the energy until you need it.
  • How-to: place solar panel in pocket located at the rear of the tent. Make sure the solar cell is facing direct sunlight. Plug the solar panel into the power bank. The energy of the sun will charge your device.
  • Each tent comes with: 5w solar panel, lithium solar storage bank, and mobile phone/USB charging adaptors.
  • What it can charge: mobile phone, laptop, speakers, mp3 player, and camera.
  • Size: Sleeps 4 people.

laptop in solar powered tent

Perks of the Bang Bang Solar Powered Tent

Quirky colors make tent spotting a breeze. Seasoned campers are all too familiar with the frustration of losing one’s tent in a sea of grayish blue or brown look-a-likes. With Bang Bang Solar Tents, this will not be an issue. You may even get a few odd looks, but you certainly will have no trouble standing out. Bang Bang tents come in a variety of flashy styles, some of which include: geometric shapes, jellybean pattern, butterflies, chopped wood, and grass.

These durable tents are made to last, set up quickly, and can withstand anything from a downpour to the scorching sun thanks to waterproof polyester fabric.

The Plus Side 

Sadly, vacation doesn’t always mean leaving work responsibilities behind. Family camping trips to Yellowstone or romantic Yosemite backpacking adventures are often forgotten and dismissed because fully unplugging from work feels unrealistic. In such cases, solar powered tents are highly convenient for people who crave nature but can’t afford to flee to the woods with reckless abandon.

We wouldn’t suggest wasting days cooped up inside the tent, laptop in hand. Still, one could argue that the ability to check in and connect with the “real world” makes long treks in the wilderness easier for the tech-reliant.

On that note, you could potentially extend your trip now that you’ve released the need to hurry back. You know what … if this makes camping so ridiculously convenient and comfortable, why not pack up for good and just live in a solar powered tent? We could certainly get on board with working from Sequoia Nat’l Park or Zion Nat’l Park.

Downside: Isn’t the point of camping to disconnect from tech?

woman in solar powered tent

Like it or not, our fast-paced, tech-hungry society lives and breathes convenience and distraction. We must be plugged in and reachable 24/7. Have a few moments of silence? Better fill it with music, texting, facebook, instagram, twitter, pinterest, or insert your preferred go-to distraction.

The daily demand to be  hooked up to our devices is relentless. Until now, trekking out to peaceful, undisturbed, untouched, untarnished nature – the only place resistant to our materialism and petty problems – has been our 1 and only escape from it all. Our last chance to cut free from the clutter, clear our busy minds, and gain a fresh perspective on what is truly valuable and beautiful in this lifetime.

So, now we’re hauling our clunky, cumbersome devices out to the place we’re meant to escape from it? You may as well just stay at home.

“Experiencing nature is about recharging our souls, bodies, and minds. Not about recharging our iPhones.”

Think about it: when you’re tuned into screen time, you’re tuning out from the world around you. This moving short film makes the sad, raw truth very clear: when we choose to focus on our tech devices, we are choosing to disengage from experiencing the actual moment.

Many of us head to the mountains to restore, relax, and heal. There is nothing as detoxing and cleansing as crisp mountain air and the fresh scent of pines. But hold up: screen time in the mountains? That doesn’t cut it. A study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden found that heavy technology use has been linked to fatigue, stress, and depression in young adults. Pitching a tent and chillin lakeside with your laptop doesn’t negate the effects.

One last thing: you know how annoying it is to overhear someone’s loud cell phone conversation at a coffee shop? Meet, your new fellow campground neighbors.

couple in solar powered tent

Still interested? Fair enough -Where to buy a solar powered tent:

We won’t judge. We are big fans of solar power, and we don’t want to downplay the eco-friendly strides being made by the solar powered tent. We see the convenience perks, and if it helps more people get outside and enjoy nature, then there is a lot of good in that!

Just make sure you only use it for brief moments of tech time. Be strict with yourself – 10 minutes to check your work email is one thing. Watching an episode of Modern Family (and missing the sunset because of it) is another.

To find a solar powered tent, check out: eBay, REI, Backcountry.com, and Amazon.

kids with beach packing list

Deeeeeep breaths – family trips to the beach will never again leave you tangled in towels and draped in heavy diaper bags; we’re bringing you the ultimate beach packing list.

 

With this meticulously organized checklist, you will finally spend more time splashing in the waves and reveling in the sunshine than arguing over who forgot to pack Jimmy’s swim goggles.

Deciding what to pack for the beach when you have boisterous young kids to keep tabs on can be, at the very least, incredibly overwhelming. That’s why we want to cut out the whole frantic process entirely and make your packing system efficient and swift.

We’re breaking down this beach packing list checklist into bite-size pieces, so you can easily individualize your own version. Our categories: clothing, safety, toys, must-haves, skin care, lounging, food + drinks, and misc. accessories. While we go into intricate detail regarding absolutely anything and everything you may need, feel free to narrow it down and apply it to your children’s age ranges.

 

Your Go-To Beach Packing List:

Clothing:

 

1)  Swimsuit Cover-Up

  • Avoid the hassle of changing clothes in a public restroom by dressing your kids (and yourself!) in swimsuit cover-ups.

2)  Sandals

3)  Sun hats

  • Children have especially delicate skin. Hats will shade their faces.

4)  Sunglasses

  • A full day squinting in the bright sun can really strain you and your little one’s eyes. Look for pairs with UVA and UVB protection.

5) Swim Goggles

  • Children often like to open their eyes in the water. Prevent the sting of salt water and resulting red eyes with swim googles.

6) Jackets

  • If you plan to extend your beach day into the early evening, be prepared for temperature drops and chilly winds.
  • Pack a jacket for yourself and each child to stay cozy while you enjoy that beach bonfire!

7) Swim Diapers

  • If you have a baby or toddler still in diapers, you’ll want to dress them in swim diapers at the beach. Your little swimmer will stay comfortable and clean. Brand we like: Little Swimmers at Huggies.com.

TIP: Find swimsuit cover ups at Nordstrom, The Children’s Place, and JCPenney.

 

Safety 

Be ready-for-anything by adding these safety items to your beach packing list:

 

8) First Aid Kit

  • Whether it’s a burn, a cut from a shell, or a jellyfish sting … beach adventures sometimes require a little first aid care!
  • Pack bandages, aloe vera, calamine lotion (for sunburns or itchy insect bites), and Neosporin.

9) Life Jackets or Arm Floaties

  • Life jackets are a great choice for young kids who are still working on their swimming skills!
  • Arm floaties can be a good swimming safety solution, as well, but first check the beach’s regulations to make sure they are allowed.

10) Backup Caretaker 

  • If you have several young kids (or your kids are bringing their friends!), consider either taking another adult with you or hiring a babysitter as a helper.
  • As you know, kids love to run off on their own! To make sure each child is accounted for, you’ll want another pair of eyes and hands.

beach toys from beach packing list

Beach Toys & Games!

While splashing in the water and covering themselves with sand may just be enough to keep your children entertained all day, consider adding in a few of these favorite beach toys and activities!

11)  Sand Toys

  • Popular items include: shovels, buckets, and sand castle molds.

12) Boogie Boards

13)  Kite

14) Frisbee

15) Boomerang

 

Shopping Tip: Toys “R” Us has an enormous selection of sand toys! Other places to look: Target, Walmart, and Kmart.

 

Beach Packing List Must-Haves

16) Beach Bag

  • Make sure the bag is durable and provides enough space to hold all of your beach essentials.
  • Best fabrics: mesh bags, canvas bags, and straw bags.
  • Find beach bags of all shapes, sizes, fabrics, and colors at Target.

17) Portable Baby Changing Pad 

  • As a parent of a little baby, you are well aware of diaper changing emergencies! The same goes for the beach.
  • Just in case there are no nearby bathrooms (or they don’t have changing tables in them), bring a portable changing pad.
  • We like these ones from Amazon.

18) Diaper Trash Bags

  • Keep your beach lounging spot tidy and clean by disposing diapers in a trash bag.

19) Front or Back Child Carrying Pack or Sling Style

  • If you have an infant and one of more older children to chase after, you’ll find a baby carrying backpack or sling to be incredibly convenient!

20) Small Plastic Bags for Valuables

  • No one wants a sandy cell phone and wallet! Even worse, we’ve all experienced those sunblock explosions.
  • To protect these valuables, put them in ziploc baggies.

21) Cash

  • Many beaches have food stands with yummy treats the kids may enjoy (think ice cream sandwiches!). Often these only take cash.
  • On that note, consider bringing quarters for parking meters.

sunscreen for beach packing list

Skin Care

 

22) Insect Repellent

  • Unfortunately, many beaches attract pesky insects.
  • In addition to insect repellent, consider bringing anti-itch creams and allergy medicine.

23) Sunscreen

  • Sunscreen is a very important item on our beach packing list, but many brands have toxic ingredients.
  • Be sure to look for natural brands to protect your skin from the sun and harmful chemicals.
  • Our favorite safe, natural brand for children (and adults!) is Badger Sunscreen. You can find it at Whole Foods and Walgreens. Check out Vitacost.com for more natural sunscreens.

24) Cleansing Wipes

  • All this fun in the sun can rapidly turn into a mess!
  • Bring cleansing wipes for a speedy way to clean up your kids before snack time.
  • We like: Earth’s Best Toddler Wipes from Diapers.com, Seventh Generation Baby Wipes from Staples.com, Pampers Natural Clean Wipes from Walmart, and Burt’s Bee’s Baby Bee Chlorine – Free Wipes from Drugstore.com.

25) Hand sanitizer

  • Gathering up all the kids for a journey to the beach bathroom can be tricky to pull off. Skip the hassle with hand sanitizer.

26) Lip Balm

  • Long days enjoying the sun’s rays and the salty breeze can lead to seriously chapped lips.
  • Choose a soothing lip balm with SPF to keep the children (and yourself) comfortable and protected.

27) Soothing Body Lotion

  • Sunburn or not, your child’s skin will be dry and possibly irritated by day’s end.
  • Choose a calming post-sun lotion with coconut oil and/or shea butter.

 

Lounging

 

28) Beach Blankets

  • While towels are a must, you might enjoy spreading out even more with a comfortable beach blanket.
  • This is especially helpful when you’ve planned a picnic lunch!

29) Beach Chairs

  • While kids most likely can go without these, why not treat yourself to a folding chair for extra comfort?
  • Tip: Folding chairs make for easier eating if you are bringing food!

30) Beach Umbrella

  • If you and/or your children burn or overheat easily, a beach umbrella is an excellent way to stay cool in the shade.

31) Towels

  • If you can fit them, try bringing 1 or 2 extra backup towels.
  • You’ll be glad to have a clean, dry spare when you see how covered in sand, water, and potato chips  your little one’s towel is!

food from beach packing list

Food & Drinks

 

32) Cooler + Ice

  • Keep your snacks, meals, and drinks cold and fresh with a cooler.
  • Tip: a cooler with wheels makes for easy handling.

33) Water

  • Water bottles – every person should have his or her own water bottle. Busy beach days mean fast dehydration!
  • Tip: Plastic water bottles leach harmful chemicals into your water. For a safe, clean option, choose reusable water bottles made of glass, like the Lifefactory Glass Bottle available at Amazon.

34) Beach Snacks

  • Popular snacks include: grapes, apple slices, trail mix, watermelon, string cheese (keep in the cooler!), chocolate covered raisins, and carrot sticks.

35) Tupperware or Lunch Bags

  • Avoid sandy food!

36) Paper Towels and/or Napkins

37) Plastic Cups

  • Only needed if you plan to bring extra drinks in addition to your water.

38) Plastic Utensils 

  • Most likely unnecessary for snacks, but a must for meals.

 

Beach Packing List Misc. Accessories 

On the chance you’re not overwhelmed quite yet, these extra accessories can be nice to have!

 

39) Soap/ Shampoo

  • Heading somewhere straight from the beach? Clean everyone up at the beach shower.

40) Disposable Camera

  • Yes, your cell phone is an option … but use it at your own risk! It’s all too easy to get grains of sand stuck inside.
  • For a worry-free experience, choose a disposable camera. That way, you won’t stress if it’s damaged.

family with their beach packing list

Discounts & Savings for Beach Packing List Shopping

Now that you have a thorough beach packing list with absolutely everything you will ever need for those blissful beach days, we’d like to help you save on your shopping. We gave you quite a long list here, so the least we can do is lighten your load with these top-notch discounts for the best stores to stock up on supplies!

Click on these links to find coupons for each of these stores: Nordstrom, The Children’s Place, Amazon, Vitacost, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, Drugstore.com, Toys “R” Us, Staples, and Kmart.

See you at the beach!

home canning veggies

Does home canning sound like a chore? A task reserved for only those flawlessly organized and pulled-together? If so, you better prepare yourself for this – wait for it – canning is so easy and even (dare we say it?) downright fun.

Everything tastes sweeter when it’s had the chance to ripen under the summer sun. While true, it’s less than pleasant to find yourself up to your ears in zucchini, peppers, and cucumbers.

A flourishing garden may provide a welcome bounty of food, but sometimes we just can’t eat it fast enough! Don’t let those fresh flavors go to waste: home canning is a wonderful way to preserve your favorite summer veggies.

Why it’s Superior to Buying Commercially Canned Foods

Store-bought canned goods are often loaded with preservatives. DIY canning ensures you enjoy the most nutritious produce all year long.

Another downside to buying canned food in stores? They are expensive! For a frugal summer, stock up on jars and jars of homemade canned vegetables at a fraction of the price. 

canning vegetables from garden

Safety

You might be familiar with traditional water bath canning. While it is great for fruits, it’s no good for veggies. High-acid foods will kill most bacteria, but vegetables are low-acid foods. To can low-acid foods safely, you’ll need a pressure canner:

  • Pressure canners heat food to 240-degrees Fahrenheit, destroying bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
  • They’re easy to use, but be sure to read their instructions and safety information.

A Note About Salt

Salt isn’t necessary for safe home canning, though it will preserve your food’s fresh flavor. Table salt will work fine, but canning salt keeps your food’s color bright.

Getting Started: Must-Have Supplies

You will need:

  • A pressure canner with canning rack
  • Quart or pint canning jars
  • Enough vegetables to fill your jars
  • A jar lifter for retrieving hot jars
  • A timer
  • A pressure canning recipe for your vegetable of choice
  • Table or canning salt (optional)
  • A canning funnel (optional)

12 Simple Steps to Flawless Home Canned Veggies 

canning tomatoes and cucumbers

1) Clean your pressure canner with a quick swipe of vinegar and inspect it.

  • Pay special attention to the pressure gauge. If it has been dropped, cracked, or submerged in water, it might not be accurate.
  • Your local agricultural extension office can test it for you.

2) Wash and inspect jars, lids, and rings.

  • Unlike with water bath canning, you don’t have to sterilize your jars before you pressure can.
  • Fill your jars with hot water to keep them warm and set them aside.
  • Filling a cold jar with hot canning material can cause jars to shatter.

3) Add water and rack to your pressure canner.

  • This step varies based on the canner. Follow your own canner’s directions.

4) Put canner on stovetop over low heat to get water started while you fill jars.

5) Prepare your vegetables according to your recipe.

  • Most pressure canners come with recipes, but you can also find instructions online or in books on canning available at Amazon.

6) Empty the warm water from your jars and fill them with vegetables.

  • Always allow at least one-inch of “head space,” the empty space between the top of your canning materials and the jar opening, to allow for expansion.
  • Use a non-metallic spatula to eliminate air bubbles and wipe the jar edges clean.

7) Put lids on your jars.

  • Make sure the sealing compound, which is usually an orange, slightly tacky ring around the inner edge of your lids, is facing down.
  • Then screw on the lid rings.

8) Place your jars in the canner on the rack.

  • Make sure your canner’s lid vent pipe is open before closing up your pressure canner.

9) Process your jars according to the canner’s instructions.

  • Be mindful of adjustments needed for high altitudes.

10) When processing is complete: move canner away from hot burner.

  • Wait for pressure to drop.
  • This can take an hour or more.
  • Afterward, open the pressure regulator and vent.
  • Allow your canner to cool another 10 minutes before opening it carefully.

11) Use jar lifter to remove jars from canner.

  • Place them away from drafts to cool.
  • Make sure not to tilt them.
  • This can take up to 12 hours.
  • When they have cooled completely, check the jar seal.
  • The tops of your lids should be sucked downward and not click when pressed.
  • Any unsealed jars should be stored in the fridge and eaten immediately.

labeled canning

12) Label your jars and enjoy!

  • Canned foods will stay tasty for a year or two and remain safe even longer. Always check your seals before eating.

Enjoy the Taste of Summer –  Anytime, Anywhere!

With home canning, you can hang onto those feel-good summer vibes all year long. This winter, you may not be basking in the sun, but you sure will be soaking up summertime veggie sweetness. For more inspiration, you can check out these canning recipes at Whole Foods.

You can pick up a pressure canner at Bed Bath & Beyond and Walmart. To save money, check out our Bed Bath & Beyond discounts and Walmart discounts.

guacamole recipes

There’s nothing like a creamy, salty, freshly whipped bowl of guacamole. Add some warm tortilla chips to this classic appetizer, and you have a dish sure to please any hungry guest. While guacamole is a treat you know will be a hit time and time again, the standard recipe isn’t exactly original.

With our 3 totally unique guacamole recipes, you will wow your guests with the sweet surprises of these unexpected flavors: bacon, pineapple, and sun-dried tomato!

Health Benefits of Avocado

avocado guacamole recipes

Many appetizers are, unfortunately, often served with a large dose of guilt. Lucky for you, guacamole is not one of them! Avocados are packed with an abundance of nutrients:

  • Rich in essential fatty acids and healthy, monounsaturated fats.
  • Supercharged with high amounts of potassium, Vitamins B6, C and E.
  • High in fiber and a good source of protein (both balance one’s blood sugar levels).
  • Holds a variety of trace minerals that replenish the body when depleted.
  • Supports a healthy heart.

Classic Guacamole Recipes

Traditionally, guacamole recipes contain this rather predictable set of ingredients: mashed avocado, chopped onion, lime (or lemon) juice, salt, and pepper. To spice it up, some add fresh garlic (or garlic powder), jalapenos, diced tomatoes, chile peppers, and/or hot sauce.

Now, we’re not saying we’d necessarily turn down a bowl of this tasty tradition, but we could certainly go for some unanticipated, savory additions!

guacamole recipes with chips

Guacamole Recipes with a Creative Twist

Bust out the pita bread, tortilla chips, and tacos! It’s fiesta time.

1)  Guacamole with cotija topped with bacon bits

A famous bacon- guac recipe calls for 4 strips of bacon. To cut down on the fat content, you can use 2 minced strips and still keep the flavor.

Add to 3 mashed avocados:  ½ tbsp fresh cilantro, ½ cup cotija cheese, 1 tablespoon of finely-chopped serrano chile pepper, juice from 1 lime, coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Serve with soft flour tortillas, chips or pita bread.

2) Pineapple cilantro guacamole

This tropical dip adds a tasty touch to your summer picnic buffet.

Add to 2 mashed avocados: ½ juiced lime, 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, and ¼ cup minced cilantro. Mix all ingredients and sprinkle on a dash or two of sea salt. Try spreading it on a bagel, dipping tortilla chips into it, or adding it to a veggie pita sandwich.

tomatoes for guacamole recipes

3)  Sun-dried tomato guacamole

This recipe, known as “California guacamole,” has a hint of Italian flavor.

Add to 4 mashed avocados: 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves, and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese. Add ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (but drain and chop them before you mix them into your guacamole dip). Optional: sprinkle in toasted pine nuts and 1 ½ tablespoons dried basil in place of the fresh leaves. Throw on a pinch or two of sea salt. Enjoy it with Italian bread, chips, or pita bread.

Inspired? Where to find more guacamole recipes

If you’re loving these unconventional recipes, check out AmazonBarnes & Noble, and AbeBooks for cookbooks that include new and fresh ways to make guacamole. (Find Amazon discountsBarnes & Noble discounts, and AbeBooks discounts here).