Friday, October 25, 2013

Butternut Squash, Kale, and Ground Chicken Soup with Link-Up

Yesterday I tried a new soup/stew and was really proud that I didn't use a recipe! It's probably safe to say that stew is just a word that means "throw it in the pot". It's kind of like when George Lopez says, "Menudo! It's the whole cow, sometimes still alive!" Man, I miss my hometown and eating menudo on the weekends.

I didn't really measure anything, so you may have adjustments to make to better suit your needs.

The soup I made contains kale, purple cabbage, butternut squash, carrots, celery, red potatoes, green onions, vegetable broth, and ground chicken. This is the second time I've been able to use my new, turquoise enamel dutch oven and I'm completely in love with the color and the way food doesn't stick as much as in my camping cast-iron oven.
My new enamel cast-iron dutch oven
This batch made a ton! Scroll down below to see how many cups of leftovers we have. Hope you enjoy the soup and try some variations! Let me know how it goes!

 Butternut Squash, Kale, and Ground Chicken Soup

1 lb ground chicken
3 large handfuls of kale, chopped
4 carrots, sliced diagonally
2 celery stalks, sliced diagonally 
2 medium red potatoes
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1/4 head of red cabbage, sliced thinly
3 green onions, chopped
1 can vegetable broth (14.5oz)
garlic powder
onion powder
season salt
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Monday, October 21, 2013

Trip Report: Dinosaur Valley State Park

Who isn't fascinated by dinosaurs? Have you ever thought about how big they actually were? Have you ever wanted to see evidence of their existence? I'm a science nerd, so this park completely fascinates me!

You can see some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world just by traveling a little over an hour south from Dallas or Fort Worth! Dinosaur Valley State Park is full of history and also offers a family or group of friends the chance to hike, camp, fish, and stargaze. This video has great information for when you plan your next road trip!

The Paluxy Rivers runs through Dinosaur Valley State Park
and contains preserved dinosaur tracks!
My first time visiting Dinosaur Valley was during a random road trip in the February of 2011. My favorite thing to do is take a road trip when time and funds allow! I was getting restless studying and decided to put my new Texas State Park Pass to good use and visit a park I had never been to before. That Saturday was chilly, but it was a perfect day to do a little exploring by foot. Upon entering the park, you are greeted with two HUGE models of dinosaurs - a 70-foot Apatosaurus and a 45-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex. From there you can head to one of  three sites where dinosaur tracks are visible. Track Site #2 (see map for more info) is the main site where you can get a glimpse of Theropod tracks and Sauropod tracks.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day of the Dead Festival - OCT 26 - Denton, Texas

Next Saturday, October 26th, the Denton community will host Denton Day of the Dead Festival. The Denton Community Market is hosting a Salsa Cook-Off competition, so get ready for some great food and family fun!
Photo Credit: Denton Community Market
I find the celebration of Dia de los Muertos to be comforting and a time to celebrate life. I'm also a huge fan of the calacas, or skulls, you often see during the celebrations.

My festive phone case
In a high school Spanish class my junior year I was able to create an altar honoring my grandpa on my Mom's side. He passed away when I was in middle school. My altar contained items that reminded me of him, like chocolate candies, toy sodas and cervezas, an Army jeep, and flowers.

Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a celebration with origins in the Mexican and Aztec cultures. The celebration focuses on the gathering of family and friends to pray for and remember those who have passed away. Children and infants are honored on November 1 and adults are honored on November 2 with altars that contain flowers, favorite food and drinks of the beloved, trinkets, photos, and other decorations to honor loved ones. Many families visit cemeteries to decorate grave sites with ofrendas, or offerings, and marigolds because those flowers are thought to draw souls to the offerings.

Reference: Day of the Dead

Friday, October 18, 2013

Holidays in your Texas State Parks

Overlooking the camping area at Garner State Park
How about you and your friends and family start a NEW tradition for the holidays and make the outdoors a part of the festivities? No matter where you are in Texas, there are holiday events and activities going on at a state park near you!

You can go on a night hike, learn how to survive the Zombie apocalypse, get some photography skills under your belt, or participate in a Thanksgiving Dinner at Big Bend Ranch State Park!

When we were just dating, my Cro-Magnon man and I took our dogs up to Eisenhower State Park on Lake Texoma to enjoy the 2012 Thanksgiving weekend. The trees are changing color in late November and it's a beautiful sight!

I am going to continue to search the web to find upcoming events to share with you!

Here are some activities going on in October, November, and December. Click on the blue links below for more information. Original Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Site

October 2013

October 19Spooky Science Fest: Survival The Zombie ApocalypseEstero Llano Grande State Park
Zombies are eating the flesh from our outdoor experiences. Do you have the knowledge and skills to survive?

October 24
Halloween at the HatcheryTexas Freshwater Fisheries Center
Free candy and lots of Halloween decorations!

October 26
Photography in the Park: Holiday PhotographyDinosaur Valley State Park

October 26
Pumpkin Carving ContestRay Roberts Lake - Johnson Branch Unit
Bring a carved pumpkin to our annual contest!

October 26
Annual Trunk or Treat and Ghost WalkFort Richardson State Park & Historic Site / Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway
Come Trick or Treat in costume through our campsites at 5:30pm to dusk and then go for a Ghost Walk around the historic site. Free admission to the park after 5:30pm.

October 26
Haunted Hike and Fall FestivalDinosaur Valley State Park

October 26
Martin "Creak's" Haunted IslandMartin Creek Lake State Park
Who's watching who? Can you see them before they see you?

October 27
Sea Center SpooktacularSea Center Texas
The 7th annual Halloween Spooktacular. Children and adults are encouraged to dress up in their favorite costume and participate in craft activities, face painting, games, picture taking in our creepy cemetery and trick-or-treating throughout the visitor center.

October 31
Critter Costumes & CamouflageMustang Island State Park

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