Is the Internet ruining your Travel Experience before you even go?

The Internet can provide a great wealth of information to us about destinations around the globe. All you need to do is log onto any travel-oriented website to find reviews, photos, videos, guides and advice all at your fingertips. But is this preconceived knowledge ruining the excitement of travel in the 21st century? We seem to be so caught up in having a good holiday that we forget the best experiences and surprises can happen when we least expect it.

Many people I talk to speak of “the surprising delight factor”. These can best be described as unexpected events which enhance your overall holiday experience. This could be visiting a city while a festival or a movie premiere is in town or seeing a natural event such a volcano erupting or a meteor shower.

These events can really make holidays and leave you feeling like you have got real value from your trip because you saw something special that people generally do not see. I wonder if we did not plan our visits so severely or do so much research beforehand, could we encounter more “surprising delight factors”?

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Feeding a Crowd for Pennies

When you’re faced with a big group heading your way for dinner, it’s easy to go overboard with your menu- you don’t want people to go hungry, after all. If you want to stay on budget, though, you need to reach for a crowd-pleasing recipe that is tasty, filling and cheap to make. So let’s see how we can be feeding a crown for pennies!

Veggie chili, lasagna, and pot pies are all entertaining staples in our house, but we wanted to mix it up for this spring-like celebratory meal. I’m making this awesome meal for my study group, a great bunch of folks all working towards their Master’s degree in nutrition.

After heading to the farmer’s market, we scored a few butternut squashes on the cheap (about $2/each) and decided to incorporate them into a meal that would be veggie-friendly and delicious.

Enter: Butternut Squash Enchiladas. Unconventional? Yes. Authentic? Probably not. Delicious and cheapy cheap? Check and check.

We intended to serve this with a spice-rubbed pork tenderloin we grabbed on sale at our local butcher for about $3 but ended up just serving the enchiladas because the recipe yielded twice the amount we intended to make.

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Why Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein is The Best

The human physique is the temple of the soul. A healthy physique will radiate confidence that can encourage admiration from others. It’s not that I’m into bodybuilding so much but as you probably know, keeping my mind healthy in a healthy body has always concerned me and Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein really helps.

Ever since the daybreak of time, human figures that possessed a buff physique have been idolized as what the proper physique ought to appear to be, with muscle groups in all the appropriate places and curves that further defines the physique.

However, making an attempt to attain the proper physique is a frightening job that takes time to materialize. Champion bodybuilders spend countless hours figuring out within the fitness center and comply with a strict weight loss program designed to gain muscle. Well, I’m definitely not that kind of girl, but health and healthy foods are, of course, among my fields of interest.

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Delicious Food in Chicago

As you probably know, I live in a small southern Illinois town, but over the holidays, I visited a few friends in Chicago and we explored some of the city’s fine restaurants. Now that’s quite a challenge, not because there aren’t any good restaurants, but because the city is literally FULL of top places to eat! So our problem was choice (but with a little help from my friends and a newspaper, we managed to make a fine selection).

Chicago, Illinois, is one of the busiest city in the United States. Chicago is also the place to be for gourmets and culinary enthusiasts as I’ve said before. Most of the top-rated restaurants in the Chicago area are expensive for some people but out there in Chicago, you still can eat well in the all budget level of yours. From USAToday.com, here is a list of restaurants that will not disappoint you. Loosen your belt, and prepare to gorge the delicious foods served there.

ALINEA

Applying science, molecular gastronomy for example, in the cooking and culinary will make nonsense to some people. But chef Grant Achatz combines it with a creative design and a wild imagination in seasonal, multi-course menus. Next, the chef’s follow up restaurant changes concept three or four times per year. Both of them sell pre-paid tickets (or dinners) well in advance. My stay in Chicago, and especially here in Alinea, will definitely be helpful for completing my Master in Organic Nutrition Master’s degree.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

We love a good taco. And especially now with Christmas approaching and living in a neighborhood that has a huge immigrant population, we are lucky enough to try foods from all over Latin America. But we always come back to the humble taco even now I’m almost done attaining my Master’s in Nutrition degree!

Not the Americanized, ground-beef, cheese-covered, crunchy shell kind of taco either. These babies are stuffed with tender chicken, homemade guacamole and pico de gallo, hot sauce and fresh cilantro all nestled inside a warm, soft corn tortilla. Oh my. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Okay, now comes the not fun part. As part of our new 2019 budget, we’re slashing our restaurant spending even further. That means, our beloved tacos (which we treated ourselves way more frequently than we care to admit) are going to have to become a rare treat. So, we decided to try and re-create them ourselves. Here goes:

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The Frugal Girl – Backpacking Tips

When travel is your passion, you may consider backpacker travel to diverse regions around the world. Backpackers don’t use a travel agent to direct them to certain destination places. Life is already expensive enough so this post includes some tips from me, the frugal girl – with some frugal backpacking tips. The following video explains pretty well what you should bring and what not:

Every backpacker realizes that excursion is about passion. Hence, they count on their personal confidence to enjoy the many attractions offered by a country. It seems interesting to find new places, people, customs, and traditions. Most backpackers believe that a journey should be accomplished in different steps and ways.

There can be different sites which backpackers love to visit. These may include mountains, wildlife, rainforests, caves, and other natural attractions. When you want to try a different way of traveling, backpacking is a great option. At the moment I’m working toward my Masters in Nutrition but I remember very well the days I was roaming around so much that I had to quit my high school education.

Fortunately, with the help of some great online GED practice tests, I managed to earn my GED fast and I made it to college. I guess I’m clever enough as my Bachelors didn’t pose any real obstacles. Just a lot of studying! Well, like so many other students, I need to make ends meet so let’s see what the frugal backpacker needs to do.

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Honey Select

Man’s love for honey travels back to the beginning of recorded history. Cave drawings of early cliff dwellers harvesting honey have been discovered dating from 6000 B.C. Stone Age man probably enjoyed his honey from wild bees, as opposed to the domesticated varieties of today. So let’s take a closer look at Honey Select and the History of Honey.

Drawings of bees on the Egyptian pharaoh’s tombs date back to the Old Kingdom, some 4000 years ago. Mummies in these tombs were often interned with large urns of honey and honey breads. Surprisingly, honey from the Egyptian tombs, although crystallized, still contained all of the vitamins and properties of fresh honey today.

Aristotle, in 334 B.C., and Virgil, in 40 B.C., both recorded detailed observations of honeycomb and bees in their recorded texts. The Bible mentions “The Land of Milk and Honey,” in several places, as well as honeycomb, being the first food that Jesus ate when exiting his tomb.

Honey rapidly became a luxury for only the wealthy to enjoy. Egyptian writings mention honey bees being carried in baskets made out of straw. Cleopatra used a formula of honey and milk to keep her skin soft and beautiful. The use of honey as a commercial trading item took the place of money in early biblical days, where taxes to Rome were sometimes paid in honey.

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Urban Beekeeping and Tales of Food

Susan Brackney has about 150,000 friends living in her backyard in Bloomington, Indiana. She’s a beekeeper. And she wrote the book for anyone interested in getting started in the hobby, or just learning about who’s who and what’s what in the hive. So let’s check out this story about Urban Beekeeping and Tales of Food. Amazing!

Plan Bee: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Hardest-Working Creatures on the Planet is part of the new movement toward food self-sufficiency that also has a positive impact on the environment. In the introduction to “Plan Bee,” Brackney says she could just as easily have started raising chickens in her backyard, except that at the time, the city did not allow DIY poultry.

Now Bloomington has joined towns across the nation in permitting homeowners to keep a limited number of hens on the premises. The relaxed regulations extend to beehives as well, with New York City lifting its ban in 2010.

“It used to be that most people … kept hives of honeybees right alongside the vegetable patch or the home orchard,” Brackney writes. “Partly to pay homage to that more self-sufficient time, I thought I might try beekeeping myself someday.”

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Money Saving Mom and Making Meals

And it is dinner time again! Now that D will eat chicken (though only free range) I am trying to cook it more. Last week, when he first consumed chicken after many years, I was unprepared, having made dinner for myself as he was in class. So check out this post about me, the Money Saving Mom and how I make my money-saving meals.

Once I knew chicken was a possibility, I knew exactly what recipe to make: Sandra Lee’s Guava and Rosemary Glazed Chicken! I found this recipe in one of her cookbooks that I had taken out of the library. When D was at a conference late last year, I made it for myself and my mother.

My mother, I might add, who is not a huge chicken fan. She couldn’t get enough of it.  And actually asked for seconds! My father was shocked! (My father is an incredibly picky eater so I had to make him a hot dog.)

So tonight I told D I knew exactly what I was making for dinner and he agreed! On Sunday when we went grocery shopping, the free-range chicken was buy one package, get a second package free! So naturally, I purchased two. If we act as though we are on an episode of Money Saving Meals, that means my package of chicken’s total cost was $3!

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Fueling your body for success

Nutrition has recently been a topic of conversation at our house.  And the more people you talk to, the more it seems that everyone has a different idea of what constitutes a healthy diet. Well, to stay happy and healthy, fueling your body for success is key!


One person says that all carbs are bad; others say to avoid fat and sugar, while others still say that meat (especially red varieties) should be avoided.  The only thing that seems consistent across the board is that vegetables are good for you—but even at that, there are discrepancies as to which vegetables are the best.

The gist is simple:  Eat predominately whole foods, eat a variety of foods, and eat enough to fuel your body. Two weeks ago, one of our triathlon coaches gave a talk on nutrition.  And I just have to say, it was a breath of fresh air!  Her words of wisdom were very reminiscent of Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules.”

Eat Predominately whole foods

If you can grow it or raise it, then you’re good to go.  If your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it, think twice.  The fact of the matter is that as American’s we have created a highly-processed diet, and consume foods that are high in flavor, but also high in sugar, salt, calories, fat—basically high in most everything but nutritional value.  If you read the label and don’t recognize or can’t pronounce the first three ingredients, that should tell you something.

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