Conquering Cooking: Holubky

One of my favorite things about the holidays is TRADITION. I’m a big big fan of it. I don’t typically care for trying new things on the holidays. (Think: White Elephant). I love every bit of family coming together, laughing, enjoying home cooked meals that everyone brings to the table whether it’s a sit down dinner or a bunch of different items to graze on throughout the day.

Growing up, my grandmother would always make what our family calls “Holubky. It’s the Slovak word for Stuffed Cabbage. It was a staple at every family holiday so when our grandmother passed a lot of our family members tried to replicate the recipe from memory because she never wrote it down. She was great like that. She could just get up and make just about everything from scratch without having to refer back to a recipe. I knew this because growing up I would spend my summers there while my mom was at work and would go there right after school so around 4:00 pm every day, she would get up and start making dinner. Something different, every day, from scratch. We’d eat promptly at 5:00 pm at the dinner table.

Anyway, eight years have passed and we still don’t have the exact recipe. So we’ve all tried our hand at it as best as we could. For me, this past weekend was my first time making it. My cousins and I got together and spent a few hours prepping, boiling, rolling and laughing. My Uncle said to me yesterday “That’s what making Holubky is good for, getting together catching up and laughing”. Not to be too sentimental, but you get kind of a great feeling being able to continue someone’s tradition after they’ve passed, keeping their memory alive.


With that said, what’s your favorite family tradition? Cooking, decorating? I’d love to hear it!

But seriously, if this is a “Nestle Toll House” moment from friends I’ll just kick myself. #NestlayTolhouse’ About 0:50 seconds in.





Conquering Travel: Hocking Hills

A couple weeks ago, the Husband and I had our second vacation for the year. Typically, we take a weeks vacation time in June for our anniversary and a week in the fall near Halloween. It’s his favorite time of year, Halloween! We haven’t always gone away but were able to find a quick cheap vacation spot only a couple hours away.

We’ve known about Hocking Hills for some time now, we’ve just never gone. If you’ve never been, it’s a great trip especially in the fall when the trees are in full fall color. There are a lot of caves, cliffs and falls to see. Enough for a full day plus of hiking. Personally, we thought a full week (Arrive Monday afternoon – leave Friday morning) was a bit too long for us, there’s still plenty to do.

We decided to grocery shop instead of eating at restaurants for a week. We still ate too much. Oops.

Tuesday, we hiked for the day. Thursday we rewarded ourselves with a winery!

We managed to cover almost all of the Cave’s except two. Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Cantwell Cliffs and Rockhouse. I think my favorite had to be Cantwell Cliff’s with the cave. Neither of the area’s were very crowded. Might be because it was mid-week.


Hocking Hills Winery was not anything that we expected. We didn’t check out their web site, but they were the only winery in town and we like to check out wineries in any place we travel to. The winery is tucked back behind a long gravel road next to the highway. Smaller spot, but packs a lot inside. They even gave us a tour. I wish I got photo’s of their interior. It was beautiful there. They even had a heated patio it was perfect to relax outside.


All in all, it was a nice getaway, barely any cell service, no wi-fi in the cabin so it was quiet. Like I said, probably better for a couple day trip instead of an entire week.

Last but not least, this little SOB gave us a nice heart attack. We almost walked directly into it while it was webbing down from a tree in the middle of the woods.


Have you been to Hocking Hills? What did you think and how long did you stay?

Conquering Cooking

It’s no secret that I’m not the best chef in all the land. I go in waves of cooking, trying new things and back to “wanna just go out to eat?” for weeks at a time. When I do cook, it’s important to me that the food not only tastes good but looks like the picture if I use a recipe.

For the month of September, I used a couple guinea-pig weeks and tried shopping via recipe ingredients rather than just buying a bunch of Chicken breasts, veggies and fruits with the “i’ll figure out what to make later” approach to see if I’d save money and not waste as much fresh food.

My findings were that I definitely cooked what I had and used what I bought, however, I’m sure I could have done way better saving money. When I’m actually IN the store, I tend to get overwhelmed looking for best-price and just end up sticking with what I know. (I still think I have PTSD from when packages of hot dogs were buy one get one free and I only bought the one. The husband gave me so much shit for this, but I stick firmly to the fact that we only needed one package for the two of us!)

My favorite recipes were:

Unstuffed Cabbage” by Jamie Callahan at Adventures of a Shrinking Princess –  My friend, Farrah recommended this one. It was easy to make (read: I wasn’t able to fk it up! Yay!) and it lasted me the entire week for lunch/dinner and then some. I really expected this to be completely bland. It wasn’t and I can’t wait to make it again.

Chicken & Noodle Caprese” by GINA at  – Any Chicken Caprese dish has become a favorite in our house. I’ve been trying different variations. With this particular recipe, I used Rotini noodles instead of Zucchini noodles (Zoodles) because I still can’t get into Zucchini.

I have a long way to go to get picture perfect but it’s been fun cooking for him and learning along the way. Can’t beat that for someone who loves to eat.  Also, I should have my husband practice taking food photo’s for me. He just took a few photography classes for his job promotion. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to do that for me… #crickets

If anyone tries the recipes, be sure to tweet me @thatsVeryKari and let me know what you think!

Conquering Kari

I’ve always been one to go from one extreme to another and then completely fall off the wagon, hard, until I can find something to go all in on again. I was never able to acquire that balance.

Eight months before I turned 30, I started a goal list appropriately titled #30B430 . I wrote down 30 things “goals” I wanted to accomplish before I turned 30.

I completed three quarters of that list and I was pretty impressed with myself and it felt like a good motivator. So I kept with it. I started doing goal lists each year. #31in31 and so on.

Every year, however, I completed less and less and added more and more to my lists. Being overwhelmed with the list, life and everything else I just allowed my purpose to go to the wayside.

For the better part of 2016 I spent it stressed out, anxious and not giving thought or effort to my goals, my health and the worst part? My husband.

I sat down to really think about what to do for 35. I don’t feel that 35 in 35 would motivate me and it’s basically the same things rolling over from the previous years.

Having said that, I came up with “Conquering Kari”. I struggled with the name at first because I thought that “Conquer” would require an end date. Eventually I accomplish it and then what.

So I looked up the definition and it said:



overcome and take control of

synonyms: triumph over, be victorious over

successfully overcome (a problem or weakness).
“a fear she never managed to conquer”

So, with that said, I am here to Conquer Kari. I will make a commitment to myself to set goals, smash them and find purpose in through the process in an effort to strengthen myself and my relationships as time goes on.

Enjoy the ride while I’m #ConqueringKari!