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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Sailing to the Caribbean
Cruising

Sail Away on a Caribbean Cruise

Sail Away to the Caribbean on a Cruise!

Every year our family goes on a Caribbean cruise out of Tampa with Royal Caribbean. It is a great way to relax and have fun in the warm tropical weather. This year’s cruise was 5 nights and stopped in Cozumel and Grand Cayman. It was especially nice because we left while Florida was having a bit of a cold spell, but the weather in the Caribbean was great.

We have been fortunate enough to go on a lot of cruises over the years and have become very loyal to Royal Caribbean due to their fantastic loyalty program, Crown & Anchor Society. You can read all about this program here.

The ship we were on this year was the Brilliance of the Seas. She is a medium sized ship that has great amenities and a fantastic crew. This is our favorite size ship to sail on.  Here is an overview of our 5 day cruise with our tips. We will also have a list of our best tips at the end!

Day 1: Tampa, FL

Brilliance of the Seas in Tampa, FL

We suggest that you head to the cruise terminal around 11am. If you go to early, the ship’s not ready and you have to wait. If you go later in the afternoon, that’s when most other people arrive so you also have to wait. Unfortunately boarding the ship usually requires waiting in a few lines, so be patient and prepared by eating a snack beforehand. Luckily we did not have to wait too long and headed straight to the buffet for lunch.

Check out our tips for first time cruisers.

We always like to take a tour of the ship to see where everything is and what’s going on. It’s good to know where the Guest Services is located, the dining room, and your room. Typically the rooms are not ready until around 1 or 2pm and your luggage should be in front of your door. If it’s not, don’t panic yet! It’s probably on it’s way. When the room is ready we like to unpack and freshen up a little before heading to the Sail Away Party on the Lido Deck!

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New Year's Russia
Uncategorized

New Year Celebrations Around the World

Happy New Year from The Traveling Gals!

Celebrate this year with a new tradition from around the world!

Austria – Austrian revelers burn mortars which is believed to ward off all the evil spirits and negative energies of the past, and ensure everything pleasant and positive for the coming time of the New Year.

Denmark – Danish New Year’s celebrations are raucous.  It is their tradition to save up old dishes and plates all year in order to hurl them at the doors of family and friends. The shattered glassware left littering a person’s front door represents how beloved they are, depending on how many well-wishers turned out to destroy plates in the name of friendship.

New Year's in Ecuador

Ecuador

Ecuador – Ecuadorians start the New Year literally on fire.  Each New Year’s Eve, life-sized or miniature models of public figures, celebrities or fictional characters that are believed to be “sinners” are set on fire at midnight. This is meant to banish the evil of the previous year and clear the air for the New Year.

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Christmas at Disney World
Uncategorized

Christmas at Disney World [Updated For 2017]

Celebrating Christmas at Disney World

Our family has spent Christmas at Disney World for many years. It is our favorite place to spend the holidays. We love all the decorations, music, and holiday events throughout the World. Although we are sad that our beloved Osborne Light show is gone, there are still some wonderful things to do. Because our family is small, we enjoy being able to go out of town to celebrate Christmas at the most magical place on Earth. When we lived in Chicago, we would exchange gifts and have our big Christmas dinner a few days early before escaping the cold weather and heading down to Orlando. Now that we live only a couple hours from Orlando, it is easier than ever for us to hop in the car and celebrate Christmas at Disney World.

Christmas at Disney World - Magic Kingdom

  • Magic Kingdom

Of course there is nowhere more magical then the Magic Kingdom. (Or more crowded.) The decorations here are so beautiful and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is probably the most fun event. It is also a great way to enjoy the park with less of the crowds.

  • EPCOT

At EPCOT there is the Holidays Around the World (which has basically become Food & Wine Festival Part 2). This is a fun way to learn about holiday traditions in other countries around the World Showcase. You can also try different seasonal food and drink favorites. The Candlelight Processional is a beautiful retelling of the story of Christmas with celebrity narrators and a 50-piece orchestra. You also can’t miss Illuminations which has an added holiday presentation that is breathtaking.

  • Hollywood Studios

While we are very disappointed that the Osborne Lights are no longer at Hollywood Studios, they have sort of made up for it with the decorations, the new event this year called Sunset Seasons Greetings and Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! We still really miss the magical feeling of the Osborne Lights.

  • Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom doesn’t have any specific holiday celebrations, but we love the decorations! Also check out the decorations at Animal Kingdom Lodge!

  • Disney Springs

Now that everything is open at Disney Springs (and we love it! Check out our review of the Town Center) they have really brought the Christmas magic. You can also meet Santa, sing Christmas carols, and more. Oh, this is also where you can SHOP! And there is even stuff on sale! Our new favorite store is definitely Uniqlo.

 

What are your holiday traditions? Have you ever spent Christmas at Disney World? We would love to hear about it in the comments!

The Traveling Gals

 

 

 

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USA Travel

WEEKEND GETAWAY: Universal Studios Orlando

Weekend Getaway: Universal Studios Orlando [UPDATED FOR 2017!]

Of course we are unashamed big fans of Disney World. It is our favorite place to go, and we just love love love it. There is another theme park in Orlando that we also love, and that is Universal Studios. On some websites we have found that many Disney fans hate Universal and think Disney is far superior. While we think Disney exceeds Universal in certain aspects, we think it is a little ridiculous to say one is better than the other. They are different and we absolutely think you should spend a few days at Universal when you are in Orlando. Especially with all the exciting new things happening there!

Halloween Horror Nights 2016

First things first, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter absolutely exceeded any expectations we had. We thought Hogsmeade was amazing, and then were actually blown away by Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express. You feel like you have just walked into the movie. There are massive rumors swirling that Universal will be announcing a third Harry Potter section this summer. (Our vote is for The Ministry of Magic!) If you don’t really care about seeing Universal, we still think visiting the Harry Potter areas is worth it.

TIP: If you want to ride the Hogwarts Express, you have to buy a park-to-park pass.

Hogsmeade is obviously home to Hogwarts and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This is one of the most unique rides we have ever been on. If you get even slightly motion sick though, you may want to skip this one. You should still go through the queue thought because you never know what magical surprises you might find.

Hogwarts Castle - Universal Studios Islands of Adventure

So you can either start at Islands of Adventures or Universal Studios. Islands of Adventure usually closes earlier, so we suggest starting there. First you will go through the Port of Entry. While most people run right by this, there are actually a lot of neat details in this area. IOA is basically a big circle, so you can choose to go either right or left. If you go to the right you will hit Suess Landing, The Lost Continent, Hogsmeade, Jurassic Park, Skull Island, Toon Lagoon, and Marvel Super Hero Island. Each of these “islands” are a lot of fun to walk around. If you are here around the holiday season, Suess Landing celebrates “Grinchmas” with great decorations and special events.

TIP: Mythos is consistently voted one of the best theme park restaurants in the world. Even if you don’t want to have a sit down meal, peek your head inside to see the impressive theming. If you are looking for healthier fare, this is the place to be.

Weekend Getaway: Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

Our favorites: Spider Man, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey.

Things to Skip: Reign of Kong Skull Island was disappointing. The building and the queue were the best part of the ride. It was way too short and utilized the same screen and simulator technology as many of the other rides. If there’s no line, check it out but we wouldn’t wait in line for this one. Dudley Do Right’s Ripsaw Falls is fun, but you will literally be soaked head to toe no matter where you sit.

You can then either walk over to Universal Studios Florida or take the Hogwarts Express.

TIP: Take the Hogwarts Express in both directions. Just do it.

Weekend Getaway: Universal Studios Florida - Diagon Alley

Universal Studios Florida seeks to put you in the middle of all the moviemaking magic. While we think it misses the mark a little as far as theming goes, it still has lots of neat details to see and fun rides and shows. This is also where there are special events throughout the year, like Mardi Gras and Halloween Horror Nights.

Our favorites: Revenge of The Mummy, Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, Despicable Me, Transformers The Ride, Horror Make-Up Show.

Things to Skip: Hollywood Rip Ride Rock-it was so shaky and choppy. It was the opposite of a smooth ride, and while it is fun to choose your own music, it was not worth the headache. Also, while Springfield is super cute and fun to walk around, The Simpson’s Ride is also very shaky and uncomfortable. It probably needs a technology update. We do suggest grabbing a drink at Moe’s!

If you still have some energy left, City Walk is quite fun to walk around, shop, eat, and drink. Our favorite is the dueling pianos bar, Pat O’Brien’s!

Universal Orlando City Walk

There are five on-site hotels at a variety of price points. The hotels all offer either bus or water taxi service to the parks. When you stay on-site you get early access to the parks as well, which is a nice perk.

NEW: Volcano Bay, the “water theme park” opens May 25th. Race Through New York With Jimmy Fallon is now open. The Fast & The Furious Ride is set to open in 2018.

So now we want to hear what you think of Universal! What are your favorite things to do and things to skip? Have you eaten at any of the restaurants at Universal or stayed at any of the hotels? What did you think? Let us know here or on Facebook.

The Traveling Gals

 

 

 

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Healthy Living

Be Prepared with Healthy Snacks While Traveling

Be Prepared with Healthy Snacks while Traveling - The Traveling Gals

How Do You Snack Healthy While Traveling?

BY BEING PREPARED!

The easiest way to make bad nutritional decisions while on the road is by not being prepared and giving into temptation by the airport or gas station snack options.  This applies to a day trip or a month long journey.  Vacation is a good time to splurge, but only in moderation and only when it is really worth it.

Traveling Gals Tip:  Prepare snacks in advance of any trip.  It may take extra time beforehand, but is well worth the effort!

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