The Gracious Girl

by Mindy Lockard on February 11, 2016

Looking for me?

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You’ll find me over on @BobsRedMill IG account as I’m taking it over today! I know, so fun. It’s an honor.

I hope you’ll visit me there where I am sharing all of the gracious ways I like to treat myself and add love to my family table! After all it is Valentine’s Season and love is in the air.

Oh, and before I forget…

When you do visit @BobsRedMill IG feed today, you can enter to win this amazing little prize pack by commenting on a photo!


See you there soon and swing back by this afternoon for my #GlutenFree Heart Calzone recipe. XO


I don’t know about you, but I’m a little challenged to find delicious ways to get the daily 2-3 cups of veggies into my family’s diet. After my brother-in-law’s battle with cancer, the way I feed my family has been front of mind. So I’ve really tried to put in more effort to make eating veggies easy for us—and especially my two girls! Sunday afternoons are spent chopping and preparing easy-to-grab veggies for my girls. Our salad spinner is full of chopped lettuce or kale for simple salads, and we always have a container full of cut broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes for after school snacks.

Even with this extra effort, I still feel like we are coming up short and that my family is on the verge of a cucumber burnout.

So, I’m constantly on the lookout for fun, fresh ideas to make veggies not feel like punishment. You can imagine my delight when I was invited to try the new elevĀte pre-packed salads.

A moment of honesty. I like to keep things fresh, so I’m always a bit skeptical when a veggie is pre-packaged. But because elevĀte salads are organic and/or non-GMO, I knew I couldn’t pass up the chance to see if this might be a solution to our veggie woes.

Let’s just say, it was love at first bite!

As a working mom, I’m not always afforded a lunch hour, or even 10 minutes. Having elevĀte in my refrigerator has become a life-, I mean lunch-saver. It was almost like going out for lunch, but not actually leaving my desk. It’s the little things, right? And all the Mamas said, “Amen!”

SIMPLE SIDES I was pleasantly surprised that elevĀte has added new flavors to our family dinners, too. I make a big salad every night, and I’m embarrassed to say that many evenings, I end up tossing veggies out after the meal. With elevĀte, the sizes are so filling that one go•go•goji Superfood Salad serves our family of four perfectly and adds a fresh look to leftover pasta. So fresh, my family almost doesn’t realize we are eating leftovers. True story.


This week, rather than spending 20 minutes chopping veggies, I tossed up an elevĀte blu•rugula Superfood Salad and was able to squeeze in a few extra minutes of family time. Not only was the extra time with my family great, but it’s not every night we add chocolate nibs and chia seeds to our salad. And by not every night, I mean we never have. We loved the new tastes and textures, and they made a perfect partner to parmesan roasted cauliflower on Meatloaf Monday. In case you’re wondering… Yes! Our family has themed weeknight dinners. We live on the Type A edge like that.

LUNCHBOX LOVE The struggle to get veggies in the girls’ school lunches is real. My daughter Maggie loves having a salad bar bento box. And while I always desire to make her lunchbox dreams come true, time to chop and assemble isn’t always on my side. Another reason why I love elevĀte… there are so many delicious options! Maggie gets her salad, and I save time while enjoying the peace of mind that comes in knowing she is getting organic, non-GMO goodness. Win-Win!

ON THE GO! Finally, we spend most of our weekend on the road with my tween’s traveling basketball team. I have a lot of food intolerances, so eating on the road is hard for me. For those with special diets or intolerance, you know how tricky eating out can be. It was so nice to be able to grab a few salads to enjoy while we are away and not have any guilt or side effect. However, you must be warned that these salads can make others on the road with you, who may have just eaten a strip-mall deli sandwich, very jealous. So just be prepared, and maybe pack an extra fork for sharing.


I have peaked, I mean elevĀted many of my friends’ interest thanks to the cute packaging and delicious ingredients. You may have the same questions too…

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Happy to toss-in some details:

Where can I guy them? elevĀte salads are available at Wal Mart nationwide, Amazon Fresh, Costco, Bristol Farms, Safeway and other local locations!

What is the price point? $3.99 – $4.49

Interested in learning more? Pop over to the elevĀte website and while you are visiting the site, enter to win a fun prize such as great fitness gear + 4 GRAND prizes including gym memberships, gift cards and an Apple watch.

*this post was sponsored by elevĀte, how I used the salads and love of them are all my own. Honesty, is always the most gracious policy!


Organize your Pantry Part II

by Mindy Lockard on October 16, 2015

Inspired by #TheGraciousGirlsGuide pantry makeover but not sure how to get started this weekend? Here are a few simple solutions to spruce up that space you’ve been dying to organize.

  1. Just get started! Don’t wait any longer. While the task might seem daunting most of the time we spend more time thinking about the process then it actually takes.
  2. Enlist the help of your family! Make it fun. Turn on the music, pour a cup of hot cocoa and just get started. Not only will the process go faster, but everyone will fill ownership in it.
  3. Talk to the experts! Whether it’s a small space, a closet or a pantry our friends at The Container Store are here to help!

Here are a few simple pantry solutions from Alli and Organization Experts at the Portland Store.


And here’s a complete list of items used in Beret’s pantry:

Platinum elfa Utility Pantry Door and Wall Rack Solution

Rectangle Hogla Open Front Bin Natural

Large Square Hogla Bin Natural

8 Bottle Iron Stacking Wine Rack Pewter

Large Expand-a-Shelf

Large Navy and Ivory Rugby Bins

Large Store ‘n Pour

Montana Glass Canisters

Large Silver York Stacking Basket

Avery Decorative Removable Chalkboard Labels


White Chisel Tip Chalk Markers


Organize Your Pantry Part I

by Mindy Lockard on October 13, 2015

Today on The Gracious Girl’s Guide we are talking pantry organization and a recent #TheGraciousGirlsGuide project on FOX 12 MORE Good Day Oregon!

My dear friend Beret is taking us to a place where very few have been allowed before. Her pantry.


Beret is a busy mom of four children and like many of us, her pantry has become a place where items have gone in but haven’t always come out. Over time the space became a place that added more stress to her life than made it easy. Well today all of that’s about to change!

The first thing we did was we took an inventory of the space, identifying what she had and how she wants to feed her family. We tossed food that had expired, made a bin to take to a food bank and then categorized the food she wanted to keep. This allowed us to see exactly what type of organizational solutions she would need.


Next, we got the kids involved cleaning out the space. They loved watching the transformation happen and felt a sense of ownership in the process.


The real magic happened when we partnered with The Container Store to make Beret’s pantry dreams come true! We spent time chatting with their experts, finding solutions that fit Beret’s taste. After all, the best spaces are those that work with our lifestyle and are beautiful. Can I get an amen?

Then we walked the aisles at The Container Store to see exactly what solutions fit both her lifestyle and her sense of style. This is what we found together with The Container Store Organizational Experts.

Glass jars that fit all of her dried goods and labeled with chalkboard stickers…


Baskets so her four children can help themselves in packing lunches and with after school snacks and Rugby bins to hide reusable grocery bags and some other items that she needs but doesn’t always want to look at…


Expanding Tiered Shelf to organize her canned goods…


and creating space where there wasn’t any with an elfa door and wall system.


This is an inside peek at our #TheGraciousGirlsGuide to Pantry Organization with the Dahm family! Stay tuned for the video and more tips and tricks from Organization experts at The Container Store!

In the meantime don’t forget about The Container Store’s Annual Shelving Sale through October 18th!!

This post and segment were sponsored by The Container Store, my love for the products shown are totally my own!




Cheers to National Vodka Day!

by Mindy Lockard on October 4, 2015

Cheers to National Vodka Day!

To know me, is to know my love of the extra dirty vodka martini with three olives. It’s one of the only times I can say “extra dirty” and have it be appropriate.

Anyhoo, whether you’re a lover of martinis or not, here are a couple of tasty vodka cocktail recipes from our friends at Van Gogh Vodka.  The perfect way to raise a glass to National Vodka day… or another day of the week for that matter.


Spiced Appel

Spiced Apple

Created by Jonathan Pogash, The Cocktail Guru
1 Jalapeño slice
1/2 oz. Fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. Honey syrup1 1/2 oz. Ginger Liqueur
1 1/2 oz. Van Gogh Wild Appel Vodka
Muddle the jalapeño slice in the lemon juice and honey syrup. Add remaining ingredients with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with another jalapeño slice.

Classic Martini

DIRTY MISS MARTINI by The Cocktail Diva, Dee Brun {WifeStyle Conference}
2 oz. Van Gogh BLUE Triple Wheat Voka
1 tbsp. Dry Vermouth
1 tbsp. Olive Juice
Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice, shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with olives.


Rosemary Sings the Blues
1 1/2 oz. Van Gogh Blue Triple Wheat Vodka
1 oz. Elderflower syrup
3 oz. Club soda
2 Rosemary sprigs
Add vodka, elderflower syrup and a sprig of rosemary into a mixing glass with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice and top with soda. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.