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What is Pitaya?

What is Pitaya and why is it good for you?

Pitaya aka dragonfruit is a fruit of the cactus species that was discovered centuries ago in Central America. Now you can find the fruit in many countries across the world, but it is totally underused in the US! This superfruit is full of antioxidants, fiber, Magnesium and Vitamin B’s.

You may not find dragonfruit in your grocery store, so these Pitaya Plus smoothie packs make things super easy. These superfruit smoothie packs are 100% raw, usda organic, non gmo verified pitaya. No sugar is added to these packs and they are vegan, kosher, gluten and dairy free!

Pitaya Plus Smoothie Packs

I was sent a few of these smoothie packs, but as soon as I heard about them I knew I wanted to post.

You guys know I’m all about social good, right?

I added Pitaya Plus to my list of 150+ social good and fair trade companies. Pitaya’s goal is to create new employment opportunities in areas where they are most needed. Pitaya Plus hires single mothers to help process the fruit, in an effort to make a positive impact in the communities in which they operate. They pay them above minimum wage, and help contribute to their social security. Pitaya Plus works directly with the farmers and producers to ensure they have proper working conditions.

Pitaya Plus is commited to bringing you products in a socially, environmentally responsible and sustainable way. I love supporting brands that commit to these causes. You can purchase Pitaya Plus here! They are also available in Sprouts stores nationwide.

Pitaya Smoothie bowl.

Pitaya Smoothie Bowl
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Pitaya Plus Smoothie Packs
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 4 oz apple juice
  • Top with chia seeds, toasted coconut and fruit
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Top the smoothie bowl with chia seeds, toasted coconut and fresh fruit.

 

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa Review

I had the chance to travel to South Walton Beach (disclosure: expenses paid) to check out Hilton Sandestin Golf Resort & Spa. This was a little different than my previous travels for the blog because we were able to bring a child! This was such a great idea because I can always travel to different locations by myself and imagine bringing my family there, but it was so much easier to see how family-friendly the resort is with my son there experiencing it for himself.

So, my little man Colton and I were able to take a quick, much-needed vacation. This was the only time Colton has had a little one-on-one time since his siblings arrived. I know that alone time doing something fun is so important for each of the kids to have.

Hilton Sandestin Deluxe Junior Suite

We arrived on the beautiful Hilton grounds and checked into our Deluxe Junior Suite. It was spacious and featured a comfy king bed, sofa sleeper and bunk beds! These bunk beds were in their own little nook, which I think is a big plus. Many of the families I know have more than two kids, so it would be a great idea in the future for Hilton to add rooms with two sets of bunk beds rather than a sofa sleeper. The only drawback about the current sleeping situation is I know we would have some fighting over who gets to sleep in the bunk beds over the sofa sleeper next to mom and dad!

Hilton Sandestin Deluxe Junior Suite Bunk Bed

Hilton Sandestin Balcony View

Each Junior suite comes with a full or partial view of the clear blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The water color and clarity and white sandy beaches is something that surprised me about Fort Walton. I’ve been to Florida before, but I definitely don’t remember the beaches being this bright and beautiful!

Hilton Sandestin Golf Resort & Spa is definitely a family-friendly resort. There were many families of all ages enjoying their vacation time when we were there.

I encourage you to take advantage of Hilton’s kid’s program: Kids Krew and Kids Night Out for kids aged 5-12. I can never fully relax on a family vacation and I bet you other moms know what I’m talking about. Kids Krew allows you to relax on the beach or have a nice date with the hubby.

Colton was a little nervous going by himself to Kids Krew at first, but he quickly warmed up and was having fun with the kids and counselors (I will go into more detail about Kids Krew in a future post).

Hilton Sandestin Beach View

One of three outdoor pools at Hilton Sandestin

Hilton Sandestin Indoor Pool

There are many lounge chairs surrounding the pools, on the decks overlooking the ocean and of course on the beach. When we had free time, Colton enjoyed splitting the day between swimming in the pool and playing on the beach. We didn’t have any room to bring any beach toys so luckily they have pool and beach toys available for purchase that were pretty reasonable.

With three kids (and one who eats as much as an adult), dining at a restaurant for three meals a day every day for vacation is not an option for us. Hilton Sandestin offers several different sit down dining options, but I can imagine our family dining mostly at Barefoot’s Beachside Bar and Grill, Picnix (offering grab-and-go snacks) as well as the coffee shop in the morning for a pastry or fruit. I recommend planning what you will do for meals ahead of time because the price of food for a family will add up quickly.

Hilton Sandestin Gym

For those of you like my husband, a gym on site is a must-have. My husband likes weights and machines and many hotel gyms only offer very basic workout equipment. Hilton Sandestin’s gym is one of the best I’ve seen and I can imagine he would be in here every morning.

Hilton Sandestin

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa is a family-friendly vacation destination with beaches that rival any tropical destination, but is only a short plane ride away for most. There’s an abundance of activities for both parents and and kids and the Kids Krew program lets mom and dad have a night out or a relaxing time on the beach by themselves.

I would love to bring my whole family back and experience a family vacation! Let me know if you decide to go to Hilton Sandestin or what your experience was like if you’ve ever been.

Pecan Pork Chops with Strawberries, Bacon, Arugula & Goat Cheese

Pecan Pork Chops with strawberries, bacon, arugula and goat cheese.

I love making simple recipes for my family. I also love recipes that I can easily take away elements of a dish to cater to my picky eaters without making separate meals because I definitely don’t have the time or desire to make several meals. I require my kids to try everything, even if it’s a few small bites.

My kids loved these pecan crusted pork chops. I will disclose to you that one ate it with ketchup and they all had the salad on the side. My husband and I had the salad on top of the pork chops and all of the ingredients just go so well together. The pecans add heartiness and healthy fats and the strawberry and arugula bring the freshness and sweetness. I didn’t want to create a dressing for this because you could do one of three things: 1) use no dressing, 2) use a little bacon grease (oh my!) or use your own favorite dressing.

Now, I am not gluten-free nor is anyone in my family, but after doing a little research I believe this whole dinner is considered gluten-free depending on what bacon and cheese you purchase. Any crumbly cheese will taste good in this dish: feta, goat or blue.

Ground Pecans

Baking time will depend on how thick of pork chops you buy. If you buy the super thin ones they won’t take much time at all, but I recommend buying a meat thermometer if you don’t have one already. It takes the guesswork out of everything.

This is a great meal for entertaining as well because there’s only a few ingredients and prep is minimal. From now on I’m going to encrust everything in pecans, it’s so much yummier!

Baked Pecan Pork Chops with Strawberry, Bacon, Arugula and Goat Cheese

Pecan Pork Chops with Strawberry, Bacon, Arugula & Goat Cheese
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • (6) ½ inch - 1 inch boneless pork chops
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1½ cups strawberries, sliced
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked
  • ½ cup goat cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Grind the pecans in a food processor or blender.
  3. Place the egg in a shallow dish and the pecans in a separate shallow dish.
  4. Dip each pork chop in the egg and then cover with the pecans.
  5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. (This depends on how thick your pork chops are. Internal temperature should be 140-145 degrees).
  6. Meanwhile, mix the arugula, strawberries, bacon and goat cheese in a bowl.
  7. Top the baked pork chops with the salad