Working Traveling Mom

Mixing Business with Pleasure

Quick & Easy Black Bean Soup Recipe

Black bean and sweet potato soupLoaded with fiber and protein, this black bean soup is easy enough to make on a weeknight when time is limited. It makes about 6 servings so there’s enough left over for lunch (or dinner) the next day.

Black bean sweet potato soup  PinterestQuick & Easy Black Bean Soup Recipe
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped to 1-inch cubes
3 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1/2 tsp. dried cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried parsley
4 cups stock (I used turkey, but vegetable or chicken would also work)

Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, and sweet potato, and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, until onions soften. Raise heat to medium-high and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn down heat to simmer for 10 minutes.

Serve hot with cheese, avocado or sour cream on top.

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Where to Eat 3 Meals in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Cindys Diner Fort WayneFort Wayne is often called the City of Restaurants for its wide variety of eating establishments, and my family and I made an effort to check out as many as we could during a recent weekend trip. It’s also a highly walkable city, with many restaurants and attractions within a few blocks of each other.

We set off on foot from the downtown Hilton and walked a few blocks to Cindy’s, a (very) small ’50s-style diner with a big following — and, unfortunately, big crowds for early Saturday morning. Outdoor seating was available by way of picnic tables in front of the diner, but it was a little too chilly to eat outside.

Instead of waiting for four spots to open up at the counter (which seats 15 – tiny, right?), we decided to keep walking and soon came across Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island.

Fort Wayne Famous Coney IslandNow, being a southeast Michigan native, the Coneys I know have encyclopedia-sized menus spanning several ethnicities and meals of the day, as well as a plethora of desserts. I soon learned that this characteristic does not carry over to other regions, as this one had a very short menu board on the wall and very few diners inside the restaurant. OK, there was one. And he was drinking coffee and chatting with one of the workers. My four- and six-year-old happily made do with a donut each for breakfast, while my husband and I each ordered a cheeseburger and a side of chili. We often have breakfast for dinner — why not dinner for breakfast?

Cheeseburger Fort Wayne

After spending a few hours at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art (highly recommended, especially for families with kids — the new Early Learning Center was created with the young ones in mind) we decided it was time for lunch. This time we walked back toward our hotel and found King Gyros, a sort of Greek fast food restaurant with a wide selection of gyros, chicken, burgers and ribs.

King Gyros Fort WayneWe went with traditional gyros, stuffed with meat and wrapped in pillowy soft pitas. Even the kids finished theirs! Our timing was great — we nabbed four stools in the front of the restaurant and had just started eating when a charity walk began right in front of us. Lunch and a (free!) show!King Gyros in Fort Wayne

The next morning, we decided to try our luck again with Cindy’s Diner. We had heard great things about the tiny diner, and especially about the “Garbage” breakfast entree, so we thought we’d give it a try. We should have bought a lottery ticket because, when we drove up, there were only three diners sitting around the counter! We hurried the kids out of the car and made our way inside, grabbing four seats at the end of the counter. A few minutes later, the little diner was full again and we watched people drive or walk up and peer inside, hoping for a few empty seats.

My husband and I each ordered the Garbage (described on the menu as “A special blend of eggs, potatoes, cheese, onions, and bits of ham prepared our special way”).

Garbage for breakfast at Cindys Diner Fort Wayne

The kids played it safe with stacks of hot cakes, and my son also ordered — and devoured — a blueberry muffin. Best of all, their juice came in adorable kids’ mugs.Cindys Kids Meals Fort WayneThe food came quickly and the portions were large. (We had to “help” the kids finish their hot cakes, although they both enjoyed the sides of raisin bread that came with my husband’s and my entree.) Sitting at the counter also helped to occupy our two hungry kids — plenty of people watching both inside and outside of the diner.

Fort Wayne lived up to its status as the City of Restaurants — and my family and I are already talking about when we’ll be going back, if only for the food!

Disclosure: Our stay at the downtown Fort Wayne Hilton was hosted by Visit Fort Wayne; all other expenses were on our own dime.

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Exploring Pittsburgh’s Children’s Museum

Children's Museum of PittsburghDo children and museums mix? They do when it’s the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, a three-story building on Pittsburgh‘s North Side. The building connects historic buildings in the city: the Allegheny Post Office Building and the Buhl Building, and is adjacent to Buhl Community Park (I’ll tell you more about that in a bit — first, the museum).

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An Evening at the Southside Works Pittsburgh

View from terrace Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh

When was the last time you spent an evening with just one kid? I’ve spent time with my daughter, having tea with Hello Kitty and even traveling to LEGOLAND Florida, but time with my son has been sparse. We recently had a chance to change that, by way of a media tour of Pittsburgh. Read the rest of this entry »

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Business Travel When a Kid Is Sick

Boy sleeping in bed


It never fails — you’re getting ready to leave on a trip (be it business or fun) and suddenly the throat gets scratchy. Maybe there’s a cough or two, or sneeze. But it’s not you who’s getting sick — it’s your child.

What’s a parent to do when a kid get sick — and that same parent has travel plans? Being a working mom who travels for work, most times I don’t have much of a choice but to go anyway. Here’s how I cope with leaving a sick child behind.

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Spending the Day at Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor

Nichols Arboretum and the Huron River in Ann Arbor

Nichols Arboretum and the Huron River in Ann Arbor.

Summertime means spending time outdoors; without a huge backyard for the kids to run around, my husband and I often take the kids to local parks or the botanical gardens. We recently spent a warm Saturday afternoon cooling off at Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor, where I was able to get in a little cross training as part of my half marathon training, and the kids could run around to their hearts’ content.

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Easy Weeknight Chicken Fajitas

Easy homemade chicken fajitas in tortilla

Top fajitas with sour cream, guacamole or fresh cilantro.

Chicken fajitas can be a surprisingly easy weeknight meal — and I don’t mean by trekking out to your local Mexican restaurant. In about 20 minutes, you can be filling tortillas (a little longer if you make your own tortillas) with sizzling hot chicken and peppers and enjoying a homemade meal. Don’t worry if you don’t own a wok; a large skillet (preferably cast-iron or nonstick) works, too.

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Visiting Michigan Railroad History in Tecumseh

Downtown Tecumseh Michigan Hobby shop

Look! A train!

Kids love trains. It’s no secret that mine do — whether it’s a Day out with Thomas the Tank Engine, catching a train ride at an amusement park, or admiring a painted sign (above), they’ve never met a train they didn’t want to ride. So when I saw that the Southern Michigan Railroad Society was having a free “Trains, Trucks and More!” day in Tecumseh, Mich., I knew we had to attend.

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Easy Flour Tortilla Recipe

easy homemade flour tortillas

Easy homemade flour tortillas for a quick weeknight dinner.

Full-time job, two kids, half marathon training…. I’m as busy as the next lady. So I often don’t know what’s for dinner on any given night –  but need to figure out something quick. When this happens, I often make tortillas and let the kids decide what to put in theirs (usually PB&J, sometimes with banana or apple slices as well). They whip up pretty quickly (a little over a half hour) and have just five ingredients — all of which I keep on hand.

home made wheat tortilla

This homemade tortilla recipe uses wheat flour, but white AP flour could be used as well.

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Family Fun at Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park

With young-ish children, I sometimes feel like Goldilocks when it comes to amusement parks — some are too big, some are too small, and a handful are just right. We were recently invited to spend the day at Michigan’s Adventure in Muskegon, Mich., and found that it was just right for us and our four- and six-year-old. In fact, they were able to ride some of the rides by themselves — a first!

Coasters Drive In Diner Michigan's Adventure

Take a step back in time at Coasters Drive In Diner.

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