Korean Barbecue
Healthy Living

Creamy Potatoes with Vegan Barbecue

Creamy Potatoes with Vegan Barbecue

This meal was inspired by the wonderful Vegan Barbecue from the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival’s South Korea booth.

Korean Barbecue

The inspiration for this recipe

 

Creamy Potatoes

  • 6 Yukon gold potatoes (I used red potatoes)
  • ½ cup cashews (soaked)
  • 1 yellow onion (diced)
  • 2 cups peas
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • Seasoning (oregano, garlic powder, etc).
  • Optional vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, celery, etc.)
Korean Barbecue

Ingredients to make the potatoes

Bring the potatoes to a boil in a large pot.  Once boiling, add the seasonings, onion and other vegetables, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 25 mins.  While boiling, take the cashews with soaking water and blend until smooth.  After the 25 mins, stir the cashew blend into the pot.   (*Drain any excess water prior to adding cashew blend).   Add the peas and beans and simmer for another 5 mins or so.

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Weekend Getaway: Anna Maria Island
USA Travel

WEEKEND GETAWAY: Anna Maria Island, FL

Weekend Getaway: Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria is a barrier island about seven miles in length located south of Tampa Bay and in Manatee County on the west coast of Florida.  It is an absolute treasure that is geographically stunning with gorgeous blue waters and sandy beaches accessible only by fabulous bridge crossings. This “Island in the Sun” was originally used for hunting and fishing by various Indian tribes and was not inhabited by permanent residents until the 1890s. Anna Maria preserves the feel of old Florida while still feeling fresh with charming restaurants, shops and entertainment. The island is broken up into the three cities of Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Anna Maria City that each seamlessly blend together.

Pier at Bridge Street - Anna Maria Island

Pier at Bridge Street

Traveling Gals Tip:  Always check local events calendars to see what special events are going on in the area during your stay!

Anna Maria City is farthest north on the island.  The bay side has views of St. Petersburg and the striking Sunshine Skyway Bridge.   A highlight of Anna Maria City is Pine Avenue.  This street is lined with cute shops and restaurants and ends at the bay leading onto the City Pier.  This pier and the next pier over “The Rod and Reel” both have great restaurants.  These are also the piers where the locals fish.   It is great chatting with the amateur fisherman and grabbing a bite afterwards.   Plus you can’t beat the scenery!   The hidden gem of Anna Maria City is Bean Point.  Bean Point is the northernmost tip of the island where the Gulf of Mexico meets Tampa Bay.  It is nestled past the City Pier in a residential neighborhood.   Its entrance is a tree lined path between two residences and you can only park on the street.  It is a serene oasis and the perfect place to watch the sunset as the cruise ships go by on their way out to the Gulf.  You may have to ask directions, but it is worth it when you find it!

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Travel Tips

Why You Should Try Afternoon Tea (At Least Once!)

We <3 Afternoon Tea!

By all accounts, in the 1800’s the 7th Duchess of Bedford, Anna was a prominent figure in London society and a close friend of Queen Victoria.  She complained of having that “sinking feeling” in late afternoon and wanted something small to tide her over until dinner.  From this, the Afternoon Tea tradition was born and has become the celebrated event it is today.

I have been enamored with Afternoon Tea Service for many years.   I have high regard for the tradition, appreciate the ritual and enjoy the luxurious surroundings that accompany a tea service.    It is an experience that is wonderful alone, but made even more special when being shared with the other gals.

We are from Chicago so have attended several tea services in the city.  The Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Drake and Peninsula are some of teas we have attended.  Although the Drake is the most iconic, the Peninsula is my favorite.  I revel in the strings playing in the balcony above and classy but contemporary feel of the the Lobby.  They have also added a vegan tea service in recent years that features many of my favorites so I can indulge with everyone else.  This is a real game-changer for me!

Traveling Gals Tip:  Afternoon Tea is a great addition to your traveling itinerary!  Try experiencing tea service in different countries and different hotels around the world.   You do not even have to like tea to enjoy  the experience!

Often when traveling we try to reserve an Afternoon Tea.  To name a few, we have had tea at the Ritz Carlton Boston Common, Fairmont Olympic Seattle, Opryland Nashville, Grand Floridian at Disney World, Hotel Don Cesare St. Petersburg and aboard the Queen Mary 2.   The tea room at the Grand Floridian is elegant and classy.  It is a welcome diversion from its casual surroundings.  Tea service at the Opryland was also wonderful.  It was stylish and surprisingly refined with a fun southern twist.  The service was great, but more friendly than formal.  Of course, tea on the Queen Mary 2 was formal and always accompanied by beautiful live music.  The service was exceptional.  We always tried to plan our daily activities around it so we would not miss this treat each afternoon.

I aspire to having tea all over the world.  The British have historically had such an influence on countries around the world so Afternoon Tea is global.  For now, my thirst for afternoon tea will have to be fulfilled at the Ritz Carlton Sarasota this winter!

Have you experienced Afternoon Tea before? Let us know in the comments!

The Traveling Gals

 

Afternoon Tea

 

Uncategorized

Top 5 Spooky Scotland Experiences from Tots2Travel

Thank you to Tots2Travel for sharing this post with us! If you are interested in family travel, they have a wonderful blog! Here are some seriously spooky experiences in Scotland that you can enjoy with the kiddies.

halloween-959049_1280

Nowhere does Halloween like America but this year if your family is looking for history and atmosphere on All Hallow’s Eve then you should definitely let Scotland cast its spell. Here is Tots2Travel’s Top 5 spooky days out to frighten your little devils.

Picture 050

Courtesy of The Real Mary King’s Close

Mary King's Close1 EDINBURGH The Real Mary King’s Close – what’s underneath your feet in Edinburgh can make you shudder – Mary King’s Close is a seriously creepy subterranean warren of underground streets. A few hundred years ago this close was home to entire families therefore all age of visitor can relate to the tales unravelling before them. Many ghost-hunters have explored the streets to see if the area is haunted but most modern tourists are attracted to the social history experience on offer.

The worst version of the close’s story is that the streets were bricked up during an outbreak of the plague leaving the inhabitants to slowly perish. Discover the truth from costumed tour guides who uncover a slice of Edinburgh street life frozen in time since the 17th century.

Costumed Character Tour Guides

Courtesy of The Real Mary King’s Close

witch-949055_12802 AYRSHIRE – One of Scotland’s best loved hoot of a poem about witches, the devil and haunted graveyards is ‘Tam O’ Shanter’. Its liveliness engages kids with Scots literature, if you don’t mind the booze references. The poem tells the raucous tale of drunken Tam who walks home inebriated and spies witches having a fair old party accompanied on the bagpipes by the Devil in Kirk Alloway. When Tam’s spotted by the wildest witch, Cutty Sark, the coven makes chase but Tam escapes over Brig o’ Doon on his trusty mare Meg. The tale’s a whirlwind of witches, music, pub banter and devilment. By taking a trip to Ayrshire you can visit Kirk Alloway, the bridge Tam famously galloped over, the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and the Tam O’ Shanter Inn.

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Uncategorized

How To Decide Your Next Travel Destination

How To Decide Your Next Exciting Travel Destination!

Traveling the world is full of endless possibilities.  It is exciting to think you can go anywhere in the world.  The hard part is deciding where to go!  Planning your next trip requires many different considerations and options.  The following are some strategies to help you select your next journey.

How to Decide your Next Travel Destination

WHO will be traveling?  The choice of who to travel with is significant. Planning a trip with your family is different than planning an adults only or couples trip.

WHAT is your budget?  Spend some time carefully considering your bottom line budget for this trip (including dining, shopping and extraneous spending money).  This is a very important step.  It allows you to be realistic in choosing a destination and experience that is attainable.

WHEN are you able to get away?  The time of year is very important.  The weather is such a vital component in a successful trip.  Some destinations are accessible only during certain times of the year.    The southern hemisphere seasons are reversed from the northern hemisphere.  The cost is different depending on time of year, also.  The time you are available can open up possibilities you did not think were possible or preclude you from you thought were easily attainable.

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Beach - The Traveling Gals
World Travel

5 Ways to Fight the Post-Vacation Blues

Tips for Fighting the Post-Vacation Blues

You get home from the airport. It feels so great to use your own bathroom and sleep in your own bed. You head back to work, get back into your routine, and all of a sudden it feels like you never even went anywhere.

Anyone who has been on a trip, particularly a long trip, knows this feeling. It is kind of strange when you are sitting work thinking, ‘Wow last week at this time I was snorkeling/hiking/lounging next to the pool drinking a Mai Tai.’

Beach - The Traveling Gals

Would rather be here.

While this may seem like a ridiculous problem to have, post-vacation blues (or post-vacation depression) is actually considered a real psychological thing that people experience.

Here are some tips that we use to try to not get so dang depressed after coming back from a trip.

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World Travel

Halloween Celebrations Around the World

Halloween Around the World

Learn about Halloween celebrations in a few different countries around the world! Happy Halloween!

Ireland

Did you know Ireland is considered the place where Halloween originated? The Gaelic pagan festival called Samhain marked the end of summer and beginning of winter, which was considered the darker half of the year and meant death for many. This period is when the dead were thought to return so villagers would light fires to ward off spirits. Irish immigrants brought the idea of All Hallow’s Eve to the USA.

Bunratty Castle Halloween

By: Kathy

Popular Events
Banks of Foyle Halloween Carnival in Derry

Bram Stoker Festival in Dublin

The Masquerade Mystery at Malahide Castle

Family Fun at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

England

Halloween in England has become rather commercialized as well. But they do have many haunted castles and buildings to visit as well as some interesting celebrations that focus more on the end of the harvest and honoring the dead.

Ottery St. Mary Tar Halloween

Ottery St. Mary

Popular Events
Halloween in Cheshire

Guy Fawkes Day

Ottery St. Mary Tar Barrel Festival in Devon

Punkie Night in Hinton St. George

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Healthy Living

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Rice Recipe

Pumpkin season is upon us! Although it certainly doesn’t feel like fall here in Florida, we still enjoy the change of seasons. By now you have probably seen a lot about pumpkin spice. We wanted a quick and easy way to add pumpkin to a meal, and decided to add it to rice! If you love pumpkin, this is a great way to get your pumpkin fix.
autumn pumpkin rice recipe

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Cruising

Top 10 Tips for First Time Cruisers

Top 10 Tips For First Time Cruisers!

10. Fly in the night before to be on the safe side. It will give you more of a cushion in case of weather delays, lost luggage, etc.

9. If traveling abroad, look into an international call package before leaving (contact your cell provider for suggestions)

8. Stay on board on one of the Port Days. That ship will be less crowded and you can enjoy the onboard amenities and maybe have the hot tub to yourself!

7. Make reservations ahead of time for spa treatments and special dining options.

6. Pre-book special Shore Excursions before the cruise. The ones you want may be sold out once you get onboard.

5. Skip the elevator and take the stairs (if possible). This way you can burn off some of those extra vacation calories.

4. Pay attention to the time when going ashore. You don’t want to miss the ship because you didn’t realize you were in a different time zone!

3. Bring a small duffle bag or carry-on bag for the first day of arrival onboard with incidentals that you may need for those first few hours, like your bathing suit and a change of clothing. Usually your staterooms will not be ready when you first get onboard and luggage can sometimes take several hours to be delivered.

2. Bring your important documents (passport or birth certificate, visas, credit cards). Check and double check with the ship for individual requirements. You will not be allowed onboard without these!

1. Enjoy every moment! The days go by very fast on a cruise and soon you will be back to reality.

What tips would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

The Traveling Gals

 

 

 

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Top 10 Tips for First Time Cruisers

Canoe Florida Fall Foliage
USA Travel

Fall Foliage in…Florida?!

Fall Foliage in Florida?!

We are starting to feel cooler breezes reminiscent of fall. Of course, this is Florida so that means a drop in humidity…not temperature!  Obviously Florida is not the first place that comes to mind when you think Fall Foliage.  When living in Chicago, Fall Foliage meant a weekend trip to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to see the beautiful leaves turning colors and hiking around the lake for the final time before winter.  Living in Florida, the colors are subdued but there is foliage nonetheless changing into muted hues of yellow, orange and red.  Fall colors can be seen on such trees as Cypress, Red Maple and Sorrel trees among others.  Since the evenings do not cool off until well into October/November, the leaves tend to change colors here sporadically and not until long after northern leaf changes have peaked.

Torreya State Park Fall Foliage

Torreya State Park – from floridastateparks.org

The Traveling Gals Tip:  Try something new and view foliage while canoeing!                                    

The panhandle and northern Florida are the best for viewing in places like Torreya State Park. This is a wonderful place for hiking, fishing, etc. and you can even spend the night camping or rent a yurt!  The stretch along I-75 north of Tampa is surprising hilly and can display a multitude of color, at least by Florida’s measures.  The I-10 corridor through the panhandle can some deeper hued color changes especially in the most northernmost part of the state.  Although Florida is not a conventional choice for Fall Foliage, it is a wonderful time of year in the Sunshine State to get out and experience nature.  If that is not enough for you…you can always travel!!!

Canoe Florida Fall Foliage

photo via Flickr user LOLren

Where are your favorite places to see Fall Foliage? Let us know in the comments!

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