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[Guest Post] Fitness, Food & Fun in Costa Rica

Thank you to Ali Swank at aligoesthedistance.com for this great post and pictures about her recent trip to Costa Rica! Ali is one of my friends I met in college and she is very much into living a healthy and active lifestyle and helping others do the same. Now she has her own personal training business and teaches fitness classes in the Tampa area. If you are interested in running, workout tips, healthy recipes, or personal training definitely check out her website & blog.

Fitness, Food, Fun in Costa Rica. Read more on thetravelinggals.com

Fitness, Food, & Fun in Costa Rica!

I recently just took a vacation with my family on our first trip international trip to Costa Rica! Among a few other similar destinations, we chose Costa Rica for the many activities it offers such as hiking, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), the diverse wildlife, and their beaches and laid-back lifestyle.  The food was fresh and healthy yet simplified, and very tasty. We ate at local “sodas” known as diners. Sodas and most restaurants are known for serving rice and beans with a choice of meat or a Casada, which includes rice and beans, meat, small salad or coleslaw, plantains, and a vegetable. These sodas were found through the country so we definitely got our fill of these!

 Fitness, Food, Fun in Costa Rica. Read more on thetravelinggals.com

We started our trip driving to La Fortuna, a small kind of touristy town near the Arenal Volcano. The area has a lot of history and culture, being settled near the Volcano, of which one of the peaks is still active. We did a self-tour in the Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, a park with six hanging suspended bridges among the rainforest canopy. It was also a botanical park with a variety of plants, flowers, and trees as well as birds and insects. They had beautiful walking trails throughout for a self-guided walk or the option to take a tour.

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Ringling Museum of Art
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Guide to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL

Guide to the Ringling Museum
Post by Kary 
Welcome to one of the many very pleasant surprises of Sarasota. For those of you who have traveled the world and visited museums in Europe and Asia, you are probably thinking, what could a museum in Sarasota have to offer? As it turns out, it has a lot to offer and is definitely worth a trip!
Set on 20 acres of waterfront property, the museum is the culmination of John and Mable Ringling’s love of Sarasota, art and Italy. There are several sections to the Ringling; The Museum of Art, the Ca’d’Zan, the Historic Asolo Theater and the Circus Museum.
Ringling Museum of Art
The Museum of Art
The 31 gallery Museum of Art is modeled after the Uffizi in Florence, Italy. It is an amazing slice of Italy in the heart of Sarasota. Leading up to the Museum building is a perfectly manicured landscape with the Lygia and the Bull sculpture. As you enter, the galleries are on either side of the building and the middle is a huge courtyard with a view of the gulf in the distance.
The courtyard is adorned with replicas of Greek and Italian sculpture with the highlight of a large bronze cast of Michelangelo’s, David. The galleries are a treasure of original paintings and objects largely by the Old Masters, Velazquez, VanDyke, Rubens and Poussin. As John Ringling was amassing his collection, he began educating himself on art and collecting. To this end, he accumulated many art books which became the foundation for the Ringling Art Library. The West Wing was added in the 1960’s to house special exhibitions. It is a modern building emphasized by Joseph’s Coat. Joseph’s Coat is a skyspace by James Turrell that allows visitors to gaze at the sky through a 24 foot opening in the ceiling designed in contemplation of light and perception. There is a continuous calendar of impressive exhibits. The current, Samurai: The Way of the Warrior is a rich and wide-ranging collection of exquisite objects from when Japan was ruled by the samurai military
class organized by Contemporanea Progetti in Florence, Italy. The Center for Asian Art is scheduled to open late February, 2016. It is an exciting expansion that will support teaching and research on Asian history and society through education, exhibitions and programs.
Traveling Gals Tip: The Museum of Art offers free admission every Monday throughout the year!

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Healthy Living

Roasted Corn Salad Recipe

Roasted Corn Salad Recipe Inspired by Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Post by Kary
Florida’s corn season is just around the corner. I am always on the lookout for dishes that can be turned into healthy, plant based recipes. Disney is not always the best place for healthy food ideas, but they are getting better!
Roasted Corn Salad Recipe - thetravelinggals.com
Roasted Corn Salad
Serves 4-6
  • 8 ears corn or 1 28 oz bag of frozen corn
  • 2-3 roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • Optional 1/2 cup plant based mayonnaise *
  • Ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place red peppers on sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Roast for 20 minutes then turn peppers to other side and roast another 20 minutes or so until the peppers are softened and slightly charred. After cooling, slice each pepper in half, remove the seeds, cut into strips and peel the pepper.
Heat pan to medium and roast corn for 10-12 minutes until tender.
In a bowl whisk together plant based mayonnaise and lime juice. If you prefer to make your own plant based mayonnaise, please see the instructions below.
Add roasted corn, red peppers, green onion, green pepper and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Roasted Corn Salad Recipe - thetravelinggals.com
* Quick Plant Based Mayonnaise
Combine 12 ounces of silken firm tofu, 1 ½ tbsp. lemon
juice, 1½ tsp apple cider vinegar, 1½ tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp stevia in a blender. Blend for approximately 1 minute until smooth. If mayo is too thick, add 1 tsp of nut milk until desired consistency.
Enjoy!
The Traveling Gals

World Travel

Vietnam in Photos

Vietnam in Photos

Post by Ashley

In 2013 we took a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia on a river cruise down the Mekong River and land tour. This trip was really interesting seeing both the developed cities and poorer rural areas. We started in southern Vietnam in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City and traveled around and ended in Northern Vietnam in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. The food, history, people, and culture all made for an excellent trip. We had a wonderful time and wanted to share some of our favorite pictures. Keep your eye out for our post on Cambodia!

Saigon: Vietnam in Photos

Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City

 

Sofitel Saigon Plaza: Vietnam in Photos

Rooftop pool at the Sofitel Saigon Plaza

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Healthy Living

Quick and Easy Enchilada Casserole

  • 6-8 whole grain tortillas
  • 1 jar (14 oz.) salsa
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) black beans
  • 1 can (15 oz.) corn
  • 1½ teaspoons soy sauce
  • Taco Seasoning to taste
  • 1 package (12 oz.) firm tofu
  • 3 cups chopped baby spinach
  • ½ bunch green onion, chopped
  • 6-8 vegan shredded cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mash in medium bowl or pulse in food processor, beans, ½ teaspoon soy sauce,
1-2 teaspoons taco seasoning. Then add green onion and corn. Mash in medium bowl or pulse in food processor, tofu, ½ teaspoon soy sauce, 1-2 teaspoons taco seasoning.
In a 9×12 casserole dish, put 2-3 tablespoons of salsa on the bottom and spread evenly.
Place a layer of tortillas over the salsa. Spread ½ the black bean layer over the tortillas. Add another layer of tortilla.
Spread the tofu layer over the tortilla layer and spread 2/3 cup of salsa evenly over the tofu layer. Add a layer of tortilla.
Spread ½ the black bean layer over the tortillas.
Add another layer of tortillas and top with baby spinach.
Add another layer of tortillas and top with the rest of the salsa.
Bake for 45 minutes with tin foil over the dish. Add the vegan cheese to the top and bake another 10 minutes or so without tin foil until the cheese bubbles and serve. This is especially good served over or accompanied by brown rice.
Quick and Easy Enchilada Casserole
Comer Bien!
The Traveling Gals

EPCOT - Disney World 4 Parks in 1 Day
Disney

Disney World Challenge: 4 Parks in 1 Day

For those who love Disney World, a popular challenge is going to all 4 parks in 1 day. While this may sound like an impossible task, with a little planning it can be done. And it is so much fun! It is important to keep in the back of your mind that you won’t be able to do everything. If possible, try to plan some Fast Passes to coincide with when you will be in the park, just to save time. Also bring some snacks like granola bars to keep the energy levels up!

Now we routinely can do 3 parks in one day (Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Magic Kingdom). The one that can cause problems is Animal Kingdom because it is not connected to any of the other parks. You can walk/boat/bus from Hollywood Studios to EPCOT and then take the monorail over to Magic Kingdom. Because of this we suggest starting your challenge at Animal Kingdom. We also highly suggest you use Disney transportation and not your own car if you are not staying on property. The toll booth lines can get backed up and you may end up parking really far away from the entrance. You can park for free at Disney Springs and head over to Saratoga Springs to catch your first bus. (You can also try parking at a resort. If it’s not crowded they will usually let you, but don’t tell anyone that was our idea!)

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Healthy Living

Healthy Miso Udon Soup Recipe

Miso Udon: Tofu, Vegetables, and Noodles in a Spicy Broth

It has been a little chilly here in Florida lately, so this is the perfect time to have soup!  Also, after the success with Sweet and Sour Tofu, we really wanted to try another tofu recipe. For some of the ingredients, we visited the local Asian market.  There are two Asian markets nearby and they were very interesting.   Although primarily Vietnamese, they offer other Asian items too.  There are so many interesting ingredients that you can’t find at regular grocery stores.

Healthy Miso Soup Recipe - check it out on thetravelinggals.com!

Please enjoy this recipe by Kary!

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Banteay Srei, Siem Reap, Cambodia - The Traveling Gals
World Travel

The Temples of Angkor: Siem Reap, Cambodia

 

Map of Cambodia - The Traveling Gals

The Temples of Angkor: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia and is bordered by Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. It is on the Gulf of Thailand and the Mekong River runs through the country into the Tonle Sap. It is becoming a popular tourist destination, particularly for Europeans and Australians. It is a bit more difficult for Americans to fly there, but as tourism becomes more popular, more and Americans are heading to Cambodia due to it being a more exotic destination. This country has a very interesting history and culture that we really enjoyed learning about and experiencing first hand. Also, just in case you were wondering, Angkor = city.

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Healthy Living

Healthy Oven Baked Fried Rice Recipe

Oven Baked “Fried Rice” – Quick and Easy

Everyone loves fried rice! This recipe is a base and can be easily customized to accommodate your preferences. It is tasty, quick and very easy. It was given the seal of approval by our whole family. Give it a try!

Healthy Oven Baked Fried Rice

Traveling Gals Tip:  This recipe is perfectly paired with Miso Udon Soup!

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups bite-sized broccoli florets or broccoli/carrot slaw chopped
  • ¼ cup green onions chopped
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 cup cubed extra firm tofu
  • 1¼ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup of blister peanuts
  • Garlic to taste
  • Ginger to taste
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the brown rice as directed.  Combine cooked rice and all ingredients and transfer to a 9 x 11-inch or similarly sized casserole dish. Bake covered for about 45 minutes.

This is a favorite of the Gals since it is easy to make and satisfies the craving for Chinese food!  It can also be made ahead and put in the oven later for a quick and easy meal.  You can also add or subtract any vegetables or nuts.  Try the recipe and let us know your take on it!

个饱

Gè bǎo

(Enjoy Your Meal!)

The Traveling Gals

14 Romantic Destinations: Tahiti - The Traveling Gals
World Travel

14 Romantic Destinations to Visit

14 Romantic Destinations to Visit

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which means lots of pictures of flowers on Facebook. Even if you don’t have a significant other, these destinations are still great to visit with friends, family, or even for a relaxing solo trip!

We personally would love if someone handed us a plane ticket (and their credit card) to one of these romantic destinations:

Paris.

14 Romantic Destinations: Paris - The Traveling Gals

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