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Can’t Travel Right Now? Just Get These 5 Cookbooks

Can’t Travel Right Now? Just Get These 5 Cookbooks

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They say the best way to a person’s heart is through his or her stomach. After all, what are cities but millions of beating hearts and regional tastes, the combination of which results in a local spirit (not the alcoholic kind) that you cannot find anywhere else?

Before you realize you can’t afford a plane ticket and resign yourself to a strong drink of your own local spirit, remember that the cheapest and fastest way to travel to a different place is through a vivid imagination — and a cookbook. Cookbooks that are inspired by countries and cities generally have illustrative, historical introductions and stunning photographs of local landscapes (as well as of the food you’ll make in your very own kitchen). They might even teach you more about a country and culture than a guidebook can.

Best-selling cookbooks, essential cookbooks, and celebrity cookbooks often steal the spotlight from these locally inspired volumes, but that has more to do with mass appeal than the quality of the books. Adventurers, adventurous eaters, and people who want to spice things up (even without using spicy flavors) need to get their hands on these five cookbooks right now.

‘Bill's Sydney Food’ by Bill Granger

Bill Granger put Australian food, the cuisine long known for little more than Vegemite and kangaroo meat, on the map. By taking us on a tasting tour of Sydney, Granger proves that Australian food combined Asian, Polynesian, and European flavors unlike any other cuisine, and the emphasis on fresh produce, short ingredient lists, easy-to-follow recipes, and informality in his meals (there is a lot of breakfast-all-day) is emblematic of the city itself.

‘The Food of Taiwan’ by Cathy Erway

Cathy Erway takes us through Taiwan’s much-loved restaurants, homes, and street foods alike, highlighting pork belly buns, beef noodle soup, and mango crushed ice. She also includes recipes for dishes you might have never heard of, but could easily make at home, such as dried radish omelette and stuffed gourd. Beautiful pictures of the food and the country will make your stomach churn with hunger and wanderlust.

‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

This one simple trick for making hummus proves Yotam Ottolenghi is a genius: sauté the chickpeas with olive oil before grinding them. The dense, rich results are what you would find on any street corner in Jerusalem. Tamimi is from the Arab east side of town, while Ottolenghi grew up in the Jewish west. By combining their native flavors with the Christian culinary influences of Jerusalem, they not only provide a slew of colorful vegetable, meat, and sweet dishes, but also make a case for peace and unity in this breathtaking city.

‘Latin American Street Food’ by Sandra A. Gutierrez

It would be brutally unfair to single out the street food of just one Latin American city. Luckily, Sandra Gutierrez has written a cookbook that takes us from Mexico City to Lima to Rio, where street food is not a trend, but a tradition carried on by family-run carts whose recipes have been passed down for many generations. Any home chef who loves throwing parties needs this on his or her bookshelf.

‘My Paris Kitchen’ by David Lebovitz

There are a handful of cookbooks with recipes straight from the kitchens of various culinary institutions in Paris, but David Lebovitz’s beautiful writing and palpable love of the city — not just its classic culinary history but its adaptation of modern, international flavors — gives My Paris Kitchen the liveliness and soul that other Paris cookbook writers neglect in favor of traditional French fare. While making his delicious coq au vin or dukkah-roasted cauliflower, you’ll almost believe that you’ll open the curtains and see the Eiffel Tower.

Strengthening Faith in a Higher Power if you have one. Finding one if you don’t

Written by Karen Verna Carlson, N.D., Ph.D. Posted in Holistic Living.

Whether you’re among the 86% of polled Americans who favor retaining “In God We Trust” on currency, or the 14% that want it deleted, here’s some down to earth encouragement to get help for living well from a powerful higher resource. Whether you are religious, agnostic or atheist, believing in and utilizing some power greater than one’s mortal self is a topic worth exploration during these challenging times. It’s an enduring investment with guaranteed dividends.

Writer's Bio: Karen is a naturopathic physician who has taken holistic healing and education into the realm of quantum physics. She is credited with &ldquothe first major breakthrough in Swedish Massage

research demonstrating energetic interconnections

since Peter Ling systemized it in the early 19th century.&rdquo International recognition for her healing and educational work includes an honorary degree, a silver medal, listing in Who&rsquos Who of Professional and Business Women, appearances on TV and radio, lecturing in Europe and in the U.S. for professional symposia, colleges, corporations, community groups, and being featured in professional journals, magazines and newspapers. She has published more than 200 articles on holistic health and education. She has facilitated joyful well-being and health for hundreds of students she has personally certified in holistic healing and holistic massage and for hundreds more clients she has personally touched including luminaries in science, medicine and religion. [email protected]

6 Things to Cook to Make You Feel Like You’re on Vacation

Let these destinations inspire your next meal.

No, we can’t travel right now most of us are inside, self-isolating, and attempting to make the most out of our once-cozy-but-now-suffocating space. Being inside is what is responsible, it keeps you and others safe, but it’s okay to admit that it’s more than a little boring–one can only watch The Office so many times.

Though travel is seemingly impossible (well not impossible, but definitely irresponsible), it’s the one thing on all of our minds. Oh, to leave the everyday, to lie on a beach taking in the sun, to have a glass of wine on a terrace overlooking the market below. We are a long way from this exact scenario, but there are some things we can do to at least make the at-home experience feel a little less “at-home.”

The ideal activity both wastes time and makes you forget that you’re still inside: cooking can do both. It relieves stress, takes concentration, and can temporarily take us to that place we wish to be. With restaurants closing and more time on your hands than ever before, now is the chance to try that dish you had abroad that you just couldn’t stop talking about.

Let these meals bridge the gap between self-isolation and your next vacation.

Recipes from Lisbon

4. Caldo verde

Caldo verde is Portuguese comfort food at its best.

Soup is a staple of the Portuguese diet, but it doesn’t get more classic than caldo verde. Literally translating to “green broth,” this cozy crowd-pleaser brings together chouriço, kale and a host of other veggies into a delicious harmony of flavor.

5. Pastéis de nata

The only hard part is stopping at just one.

If you ask us, custard tarts might be Portugal’s single greatest contribution to the culinary world. With a flaky crust and a creamy, sweet filling, we’ll take these simple treats over a fancier pastry any day.

6. Bifana

The bifana is the ultimate Lisbon street food.

A thin slice of marinated pork sandwiched between chunks of crusty bread might not sound too special. But once you try the humble bifana for yourself, you’ll see why this simple sandwich has won the hearts (and stomachs) of generations of Lisboetas.

7. Sonhos

What’s not to love about what are essentially Portuguese Christmas donuts? Photo credit: Edsel Little

The name of these tasty treats literally means “dreams,” and we couldn’t agree more. Sonhos are a staple on any Portuguese Christmas table, but we’re not opposed to devouring them at any time of year.

Precautions to take when traveling during a pandemic + an ARV $75 giveaway

I know we are in the middle of a pandemic and everyone says stay home. But sometimes you just need a break from reality. Maybe it’s just a weekend trip. Why can’t you travel and still be socially distant and careful during this pandemic. You can! Here’s some precautions you can take to help you travel and be careful during a pandemic!

First make sure you have your hand sanitizer in your car. Every time we go in a store or a restaurant or even get handed food through a window we then use our hand sanitizer. Every little bit helps and I do feel this is working for us. My daughter and I have yet to get sick. Although everyone else in our home has had it. You have to be so careful though!

Second make sure you are taking the right supplements. The ones we have been taking are K2, B12, D3, Zinc lozenges, and melatonin if we need it. We also have been taking C if we are out of zinc. We can pretty much interchange zinc and vitamin c. I love the vitamins from Superior Source. Here’s more information on their vitamins!

Because January is the beginning of a new year of resolutions to maintain the health of your family what a great time to start some healthy habits. What better way to start 2021 than keeping your family healthy with the right vitamin and mineral supplements. SuperiorSource Vitamins are the originators of The Evolution of Vitamins –inventors of the micro-tablet that dissolves instantly under the tongue for quicker and better absorption –with NO pills to swallow. This makes them so great for small children and people who just have a hard time swallowing pills in general. On top of that they’re clean and pure –the way nature intended! What a great find!

I was given a Superior Source Vitamins 6-Pack:($75Value) containing• Vitamin D3• Vitamin B12 Energy Burst• Melatonin with Chamomile• Vitamin K2• 5-HTP

What MakesSuperior Source UNIQUE: Because as we touched on before Superior Source Vitamins areMicroLingual® –“Under the Tongue Technology”. They work fast and are quickly absorbed into the body, and they dissolve in seconds

  • NO pills to swallow! Supplements that are swallowed lose as much as 50% of the potency in the high acid environment of the stomach.
  • No pills to swallowGMO FREEand Sugar FREE90% smaller than regular vitamins
  • No chemical binders or fillers

Did you know that in January they have some great vitamin promotional OFFERS:

Take an extra 10% OFF the following products on AMAZON: Use Coupon Code: FLIPHEALTH10CALMING FORMULA: Amazon Link:

If you’re interested in winning a set of these great vitamins for yourself then just wait for the rafflecopter to load and enter to win below! You’re going to receive the approximately the same package I did. It should contain: 6-Pack:($75Value) containing• Vitamin D3• Vitamin B12 Energy Burst• Melatonin with Chamomile• Vitamin K2• 5-HTP.

Third make sure you get lots of rest. If you are getting 6-8 hours of sleep at night and are not sleepy during the day then you are doing a great job! Just keep trying to get adequate rest while this is going on. It does help. I promise!

Fourth take your Chlorox wipes with you if you are staying in a hotel or cabin. These places are supposed to be cleaning and sanitizing between each person’s stay. But I would want to know I did everything I can do to keep my family safe!

And last bring your own Instant Pot or Slow cooker and cook your own meals. If you are eating an at home meal you are most likely eating less and eating healthier then if you are eating fast food or a meal at a restaurant. You will thank yourself and your health will too. These are just a few quick and easy tips you can do to keep yourself healthy while traveling in this pandemic we are in. Don’t forget they’re now telling us to double mask or make sure your cloth mask has two layers! Always wear your mask now! How do you plan on taking a vacation this year and traveling? Will you be taking any extra precautions?

So there you have it! Now you know what precautions to take. Make sure you check out My 8 Great socially distant day trips in Tennessee! Which one would you be most excited to visit? Have fun with it and be sure you follow us on our Facebook page, instagram and twitter to find out all the diy’s, crafts and recipes we share! Before you go check out our Tips for distance learning during a pandemic here!

Tips to staying healthy while traveling


You guys know how much I love to travel, and now that I’ve started to make travel a part of the blog (and since we moved)…I feel like we’re traveling somewhere almost every other week! It’s amazing, but also makes it really challenging to still eat healthy and workout. So, today I want to share some tips to staying healthy while traveling…for any of you who have vacations coming up, or travel a lot for work! PIN IT

I have by NO means mastered this concept…but I do try and stay relatively healthy while traveling! If I only took a vacation once or twice a year, then I would 100% just indulge and probably not workout haha. But considering how much I travel right now, that probably wouldn’t be wise. So, here’s a few simple tips to staying healthy while traveling: PIN IT

This is a health tip I swear by when traveling. I always travel with g2g bars or fitjoy bars in my tote! That way, when you’re on the airplane or in the car, you’re less likely to buy the pack of m&m’s or bag of chips. (BTW you can get 20% off G2G Bars with code ‘KAY’). These are two of my go-to healthy snacks for traveling because both bars have a ton of protein, which means you will stay fuller longer! I also love bringing turkey jerky or almonds.


2. Make ‘active’ decisions

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work out every day. But, while you’re on vacation…try and stay as active as possible! Instead of just watching TV after you’ve laid on the beach all day, go for a walk up and down the beach. Or, if you’re on the 3rd floor of your hotel, take the stairs up to you room every time instead of the elevator. Obviously vacations are supposed to be restful and relaxing. So you should definitely give yourself alot of downtime, but you will feel a lot less ‘sluggish’ if you try and stay active during the day – even with these simple active choices! PIN IT

3. Stay hydrated!

I don’t know about you, but it is so hard for me to remember to drink water while I’m traveling. Before you get on an airplane, buy a bottle of water (or better yet, bring a s’well bottle with you to fill up before you get on the plane!). Flying can really dehydrate you (and doesn’t do many favors for your skin), so drink lots of water. Once you get to your destination, try and have a bottle of water with you at all times! Not only will it help your skin look great, it will deter you from mindless snacking or from feeling hungry all the time. Also, I definitely like to enjoy a glass or two of wine at dinner or a pina colada on the beach. Since alcohol dehydrates you, it’s really important to drink alot of water! PIN IT

4. Pack workout clothes / workout!

Alot of people have asked me ‘why do you work out on vacation?!’ or ‘how are you motivated enough to work out on vacation?!’ Well, the first step is to pack workout clothes or obviously, it’s not gonna happen haha. I don’t think you need to work out every day on your vacation, but if the resort has a decent fitness center…try and go a few times during your stay there. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Working out on vacation is also alot easier if you have someone to go with. I drag Michael to the fitness center with me and it makes it so much more enjoyable! PIN IT

5. Enjoy yourself!

This might sound counter intuitive to ‘staying healthy’, but really…remember that food is not your enemy. You’re on vacation and experiencing the food is part of the trip! So, let yourself have a glass of wine at dinner, or order chocolate cake for room service! Try and keep the mindset of ‘everything in moderation’. I would encourage you not to go on vacation with a mindset of ‘I can’t eat this, I can’t eat that.’ Let yourself enjoy the food, just try and not over do it. (I know I know, so much easier than it sounds!) PIN IT

In other news…did you guys know that ASOS carries workout clothes now?! They carry legit any fitness brand you could ever want…and have workout clothes that can fit any budget. These leggings I’m wearing here are on major sale right now, and I love the little tie on the bottom! If you’ve been needing some new workout clothes to help motivate you…definitely check out ASOS because they legit have everything! PIN IT

We are off to Dallas today for the annual rewardStyle conference! So excited to see some other blogger friends I haven’t seen in a while, meet with brands, and get some new ideas for the blog! Make sure you follow along on instagram and snapchat! (My snapchat username is laurenkay2). Thanks for stopping by!

Frequently bought together

A Table in Venice: Recipes from My Home: A Cookbook

I highly recommend this gorgeous cookbook, unless you suffer from acute lifestyle envy. Reading about Skye’s morning breakfasts in Venetian coffee shops, her daily visits to buy gorgeous vegetables in Il Mercato, and her casual attitude towards catering for 20 or so people at a time is on another plane of reality for most people. As my daughter and I grazed our way through the baking section - always my favourite in any cookbook - she said to me, “Mama, this is your ideal life.”

My edition, from I highly recommend this gorgeous cookbook, unless you suffer from acute lifestyle envy. Reading about Skye’s morning breakfasts in Venetian coffee shops, her daily visits to buy gorgeous vegetables in Il Mercato, and her casual attitude towards catering for 20 or so people at a time is on another plane of reality for most people. As my daughter and I grazed our way through the baking section - always my favourite in any cookbook - she said to me, “Mama, this is your ideal life.”

My edition, from Bloomsbury Publishing, is full of delightful details: from the marbled endpapers, to the delicious peachy-pink (Venetian pink) used as the background colour for the recipes. It is full of golden grace notes, including many photographs from this most atmospheric of cities. I sincerely hope to cook from it as well, but at the very least it is superlative eye candy. . more

One of the reasons why I love cookbooks so much is because of the immense amount of vicarious-living they offer. While I have been to Venice, Italy before it is Skye McAlpine&aposs gracious tour of her beloved home through some really delicious recipes that I could feel some of what she feels for Venice and experience a bit of its magic too. Part memoir, part cookbook what A Table in Venice offers is her take on Venetian cuisine as well as providing many traditional recipes. McAlpine has been delive One of the reasons why I love cookbooks so much is because of the immense amount of vicarious-living they offer. While I have been to Venice, Italy before it is Skye McAlpine's gracious tour of her beloved home through some really delicious recipes that I could feel some of what she feels for Venice and experience a bit of its magic too. Part memoir, part cookbook what A Table in Venice offers is her take on Venetian cuisine as well as providing many traditional recipes. McAlpine has been delivering accounts of her daily life in Venice via her blog, From My Dining Table, for over the past three years. She moved to Venice as a child when her parents decided to move there for a year from England and then never left. Like her blog, her book is full of gorgeous photos of the city as well as beautifully styled pictures using antique glass, transferware and cutlery, Venetian lace table clothes, marble, and beautifully weathered wood tabletops. All of the images evoke such a feeling of relaxed elegance.

It was on a sunny Friday spring afternoon that I decided to give her recipe for Zucchini Pizzettes a try. She explains that these mini pizzas made on buttery puff pastry are a "thing" in Venice. They were delicious and an unexpected take on the traditionally doughy version. These pizette also seemed like the perfect thing to serve on this quite "Pizza Friday" at home. The puff pastry, a star in this recipe, takes a recurring role in several other recipes throughout the book. The Peach and Saffron Pastries that I made and the Poppyseed Puffs were absolutely delicious and are recipes I'll make again. With the use of package prepared puff pastry these recipes are quick to make/bake and yield professional-looking dishes. Speaking of which, the Poppyseed Puffs were exactly as advertised: uno tira l'altro/one calls for another! Once I set them on the table they were gone in no time and I think I'll take her advice and add some olives and cheese the next time to really make it a perfect Happy Hour snack!

A Table in Venice is divided into 6 chapters -- Il Cafe/Sweet Breakfast Recipes, Il Mercato/Vegetable Recipes from the Rialto Market, A Tavola/ Classic Lunch Recipes, Lo Spritz/ Recipes for a Venetian Aperitivo, La Laguna/ Fish and Game From the Venetian Lagoon, and La Pasticceria/Desserts and Sweet Treats. McAlpine also helpfully elaborates on essential ingredients in her pantry section. I found the ingredients easy to source at my local grocery store and I'm finding that the recipes in this book also lend themselves well to farmer's market shopping. While enjoying many of her vegetarian appropriate recipes (being as my family and I are vegetarians), I think the book offers many recipes that support an omnivorous diet -- I know both my mom and sister would adore this book!

One of the most memorable recipes that I made from the book is her Chocolate Birthday Cake -- a flourless paragon of a chocolate cake this recipe is one that her mother has made for all of her birthdays and one that McAlpine, herself, makes for her son's and husband's birthdays. So imagine my husband's delight to receive this cake in celebration of his birthday a few weeks ago (he's one of those "if it's not chocolate it's not dessert"-types). This two-layer fudge-y chocolate cake covered in a rich Mascarpone Icing is one that's going to become the cake that everyone requests -- however with 600 g of both chocolate and butter as well as a dozen eggs this is one treat that will be saved for those special occasions (it is here where I emphasize how incredibly rich, sweet, and magical this cake really is).

All of the recipes I've tried so far have been really delicious and very easy to make. Even with my first attempt at making risotto (a dish I had never attempted before because I thought it might be too difficult to make or easy to ruin) I was extremely pleased with the results. The book is full of a combination of easy weeknight cooking and recipes to save for enjoying on the weekend when you have more time to spend on a recipe (think -- handmade pasta and gnocchi). I also really enjoyed making her gnocchi and found that her method of using baked potato instead of using boiled lead to a much more light and airy gnocchi.

A Table in Venice offers a delicious look at this iconic floating city through some enticing, easy to make recipes.

Please note that this review is an excerpt of a longer review posted to

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Appetite by Random House / Penguin Random House for providing me with a free, review copy of this book. I did not receive monetary compensation for my post, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

7. Learn a new language

“Language is the dwelling place of ideas that do not exist anywhere else,” writes ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer in the book Braiding Sweetgrass. “It is a prism through which to see the world.” Even just speaking a few words from another tongue can enable us to shift our perspective and feel more connected to a place. The deliberate pronunciations of Icelandic feel of a piece with the country’s beautiful, ineffable landscape. The musicality of Hawaiian, a language with only eight consonants, has a gentleness that feels like the water you see at every turn. Saying something in Italian — even if it’s only the words for “hello” and “thank you” — feels like a window into the good life.

If there’s a place that’s calling your name, why not learn some of the basics of the language? The free Duolingo app offers 35 different languages (including Klingon!).

3 amazing recipes from Asia

1. Nasi goreng

Nasi goreng (Kristin Perers)

Has COVID-19 left your cupboards bare and your supermarket shelves even emptier? Then the national dish of Indonesia might just be your saviour.

Eleanor Ford's take on the nasi goreng mixes spice, rice and whatever vegetables you have hanging around your kitchen into a smoky and comforting meal. Arguably the most delicious way to make the most of your leftovers.

2. Grilled kingfish in Thai green curry

Grilled kingfish in Thai green curry (Shutterstock)

How could we not include a recipe from Thailand?

The Asian country is a foodie haven, with food markets fighting for space on the busy streets of Bangkok, local restaurants serving up fresh fish, and almost every corner of Thailand bursting with flavour.

One of the most famous recipes (second, perhaps, only to the pad Thai) is the Thai green curry. It's hard not to love the smooth, coconutty and soup-like dish.

Shake up the original recipe by using the curry to smother a kingfish. This is one you'll certainly want to introduce to your weekly meal plan.

3. Taiwanese dumplings

Taiwanese dumplings (Shutterstock)

Little is more satisfying than eating a dumpling: dipping those parcels in soy sauce, biting through the soft shell, for the flavour of the inside to explode in your mouth.

These Taiwanese-inspired versions are stuffed with succulent pork, and will leave you craving seconds.