Food, Surviving Chaos

TSA Approved Snacks

If you’ve traveling by plane, you know that your normal routine and carry-on items have definitely changed. The pandemic has made us rethink and re-envision how we travel so we put together some tips and tricks to help you navigate these changes. One thing that is being done differently is how to pack your carry-on, you can find an updated options here. At this point, we’ve decided to look into what snacks to bring. Which ones are TSA approved and which ones are not. This list will help you save money and breeze through security. Here’s a list of the some of items you can bring so you’ll be prepared for your next flight.

  • Dried Nuts and Fruit: With this option you can bring a little bit of everything – raisins, dried fruits, cashews, almonds and so much more. An organizing tray makes packing this snack a breeze! NOTE: Check with your airline carrier first on this one as you might be on a nut free flight. If so, you shouldn’t pack this snack.
  • Whole fruits: TSA only allows whole fruits through security so slice a whole apple before leaving. Use a rubber band to keep slices in place. Throw the apple and a to-go pack of peanut butter in a plastic bag.
  • Bread: TSA considers this a solid food item that can be placed in your carry-on. So break out that whole wheat or pita break for some quick nourishment.
  • Cereal: This is the perfect option when traveling with kids. Use Cheerios or Chex-Mix and put in a zip lock bag to keep your kids satisfied. There is nothing worse the HAN-angry kids upset at the airport.
  • Pretzels: Pretzels are super easy to pack (you can get individual bags at your grocer) in your carry-on.
  • Cheese: Solid cheese is a great addition to your snack pack and will help keep your full for longer. You can bring creamy cheese but limit it to less than 3.4 oz.

Surviving Chaos Hack: If your still unsure if you can bring your snack on the plan, you can take a picture of it and ask TSA on their Twitter and Facebook Messenger page.

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Food, Surviving Chaos

Gougères: French Cheese Puffs

Gougères

Gougères (say goo-share) are delicious cheese snacks that puff up in the oven like magic. They are made with a special dough called pâta à choux (say “paat-ah-shoe”). Pâte means “paste” and choux means “cabbage”. French bakeries, called pâtisseries (say “paa-tees-air-ee”) use a similar dough to make cream puffs. This dough bakes into nice round shapes, like little heads of cabbage!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (128 g) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 4 tablespoons (57 g) butter
  • 4 eggs cracked into a bowl
  • 1 cup (100 g) grated Swiss cheese

Let’s Make It!

  1. Preheat over to 375 F (190 C) and spread parchment paper on a baking sheet. Using a fork, mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the milk, water and butter and bring them to a boil.
  3. Add all of the flour mixture to the saucepan, stirring it in with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to low and keep stirring until the dough forms a ball (about 1 minute)
  4. Put the dough in the bowl. Now add all the eggs at once. Stir, stir, stir until the dough is pretty smooth.
    • Use a big whisk, if you have one, to break up the lumps.
  5. Add all the cheese. Again, stir until the cheese is all mixed in.
  6. Scoop 1/4 cups of dough and drop them on the parchment paper. Space the scoops a couple of inches apart.
    • The dough is sticky! Use a spoon to scrape the scoops onto the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the gougères puff up and turn golden brown.
  8. Bon Appétit!

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Surviving Chaos, Travel, When in

How to Choose A Vacation Rental Property

As we get ready for Summer, I’m sure everyone has planned or are in the process of planning their vacations. After this past year, these are much needed vacations and I highly encourage you and your family to take one. While most people choose a hotel, there is a growing set of vacationers looking into vacation rental property. We have used vacation rental properties for over a decade and it definitely comes with its pros and cons. We have some really great ones and some horrible ones. We put a together a list of tips to help you choose a great vacation rental so your vacation will be smooth sailing.

  • Know What You Want: Before your book your vacation home, know what type of property you want. Do you need a lot of rooms? Do you want lots of amenities like washer and dryer or family board games? Do you need an ocean view, really? 5 minute walk or 10 minute drive to the beach? Pet friendly? Make a list and then do your research! Know your preferences and what makes you and your family most comfortable is key. If you don’t know your preferences, then your vacation property may disappoint. Also, be sure to know what is included in your vacation property such as shared beaches with other properties, kayaks, BBQ grill, etc.
  • A MISSING Picture Is Worth 1000 Words: If your like me, I like to look at ALL the pictures of a vacation property to get a good feel for place. Good property managers have lots of pictures in order to really sell you on their property. But what about the things that are not captured in pictures?? Vacation properties that don’t have pictures of all the rooms or pictures with the just the bathroom vanity should raise alarm. Pictures where only half of the kitchen or bedroom are shown or properties where there are no views of the beach even though it s a beach house rental are definitely a red flag. Also check reviewers pictures – if they don’t match the official sites pictures there may be a problem. This may be an indication that the owner is hiding something or the home is not as updated as they say. Trust me – we learned the hard way and were very disappointed with our not so updated 1970s yellow and green decor multiple property beach shared vacation home!
  • Not All Reviews Are Created Equal: Vacation properties with 5 stars reviews are great! But how many 5 star reviews is too good to be true? Too few 5 star reviews may give you pause and too many be sign that they may not be real. There is a sweet spot with reviews – there should be a good number of them with vacation properties that have been around for 1-2 years, but if there are more reviews than the number of times it has been rented be cautious. Be sure to read every review carefully especially ones within the past year. We I read a review, I look for topics about cleanliness, decor, amenities and if the reviewer would rent the property again. Also, if you see multiple reviewers complain about the same thing, be on alert! Reach out the property manager to see if these issues have been addressed or are currently being addressed. Good property managers will be honest and upfront about any issues…..and are very responsive to inquiries.
  • Cleaning Fees: Vacation rentals can be inexpensive based on what you are looking for. However, with the recent pandemic, we have all taken another look at how we clean our homes. This is especially true for vacation rentals. With the number of residents renting from all over the world, vacation rentals already had pretty good cleaning crews and schedules. But now those cleaning fees are much higher to due extra cleaning that needs to occur between renters. You will need to take this into account when budgeting for your vacation rental. Also, know what is expected from you in terms of cleaning. For example, the property owner may want you to start the dishwasher before you leave or put all the towels in the washing machine and start it. This helps both the cleaning crew and the property owner prepare for the next guest.

While these are not the only tips that can help you choose a vacation rental, we feel these are the most important ones that help us when decide to rent. Remember to make a list of preferences, do your homework, and read EVERYTHING! You’ll be glad you did!

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Food, Surviving Chaos

Tea Sandwiches: English Tradition

150-year old English tradition, afternoon tea is synonymous with England. What better way to complement your tea than with tea sandwiches. Tea sandwiches are a delicious snack that can be filled with all sorts of things – fresh veggies to fruit jams to fancy cheeses! No matter what you fill them with, these finger foods are always light and dainty and they won’t fill you up too much for dinner. Want more English culture, check out our London, England trip here.

Ingredients

  • 6 thin slices of your favorite bread
  • Cheddar-Apple Sandwich
    • 2 slices cheddar cheese
    • 1/4 apple, thinly sliced into rounds
    • 1 tablespoon (14 g) mayonnaise
  • Egg Sandwich
    • 2 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
    • 1 tablespoon (14 g) mayonnaise
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons (8 g) mustard
    • salt and pepper to taste

Let’s Make It!

  • Cheddar-Apple Sandwich
    1. Spread mayonnaise onto two slices of bread
    2. Layer the cheddar and apple rounds on one slice of bread, then top with the other slice.
    3. Cut the crusts off of each sandwich, then slice them into thirds.
  • Egg Sandwich
    1. Mix chopped up eggs, mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper in a bowl.
    2. Spread the egg mixture onto two slices of bread, then put them together.
    3. Cut the crusts off of each sandwich, then slice them into thirds.

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Food

Farm to Fork Travel

Farm to fork” travel or agri-tourism is a new way to travel and have the best food experiences. With many people looking for fun and creative ways to travel and experience all that nature has to offer, agri-tourism is the perfect option. Now more than ever we are more conscious of what we eat, where are food comes from and its impact on our environment and community. As a global movement, farm to fork travel spans many countries and brings lots of tourists to rural areas all over the world. Travellers can either stay on a farm, ranch or small holding or, to become truly involved in the experience, work the land. What you farm you eat! Authentic food is the heart of local culture and the heritage of your destination so why not embrace it!

The country of destination gets to opportunity to share the culture, experiences, and way of life with all travellers through food. Farm to fork travel is not just about the good food and farm lifestyle; many destinations offer tours of the land and trails that celebrate the local farmers, their heritage and sustainable development. So where are some of the best places for farm to fork travel? Here’s a list of some of our favorite farm to fork destinations. Where will you go for the best eats in town?

  • Maui, Hawaii
  • The Cotswolds, England
  • The Winelands, South Africa
  • Provence, France
  • Donahue, Iowa

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