Keep your Sanity During the Holiday Travel Season

Tis the season for kindness, generosity, and merriment.  And then you arrive at the airport to angry sweaty people and invasive security scanners that make you resent the holiday season.  For the past 9 years, I’ve had the luxury of traveling back home for every holiday.  Needless to say, I like most people are not looking forward to the endless crowds and delayed flights.  However, I’ve found a few helpful tips to keep my sanity while traveling and hope you find them useful as we move into a busy travel time.  And remember, you’re not alone!

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  • Leave early: Being a city dweller myself, you never know how traffic or the impending security line is going to be.  Best to give yourself some extra time to account for the unexpected.
  • Dress Comfortably: Layers are your friend and bring an over sized scarf just in case you need to cozy up.
  • Pack Snacks: Being hangry just adds another element to an already stressful day.  Grab a few protein bars, turkey jerky or almonds to help satiate your rumbling tummy.
  • Stay Connected: Download the latest travel apps to help while you’re on the move.  You might also want to check out one of these:
    • FlightStatus gives you real-time updates on delays, baggage numbers and more
    • GateGuru gives you approximate times you’ll spend in security
    • SitOrSquat provides you with the cleanest bathrooms when you’re on the road
    • Waze gives you real-time traffic and road info
  • Travel Early or Late in the Day: Flight stats show planes traveling earlier in the day have a better on-time performance.  And if your flight is cancelled, you will have an option of taking a flight later in the day.  If you’re driving, it’s best to drive when everyone else is asleep – early morning or late at night if you’re a night owl.
  • Pack Light: I’m terrible at following this rule, but having a carry-on really helps expedite the airport process.  If you struggle with packing like I do, I’ve found the PackPoint packing list builder app to be extremely helpful.  It generates a customized list of what you should pack based on your agenda, weather, etc. – Brilliant!
  • If all else fails, know when to give up and have a cocktail 🙂
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Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving is almost here and I’m looking forward to a few days off with my fam back in the Mitten.  There’s nothing better than spending time with family over scrumptious food and copious amounts of wine – well at least that’s how my family rolls!

Last weekend marked the 4th annual Friendsgiving with some of my dear friends to prepare for the main event.  We kicked off the first one with a traditional Thanksgiving meal and decided to evolve it over the years.  This year, the star of the show was the roasted beer can chicken (recipe to come).  It was out of this world amazing and I’m so glad my friend John decided to take on the challenge.

I was tasked with bringing a few appetizers and immediately thought of two I’ve been dying to try.  Both of them were easy to make and a smashing success.

Phyllo Cups with Brie and Cranberry Sauce

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Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes (15 count) Mini Phyllo Cups (sold in the freezer aisle)
  • 7 ounces of Brie
  • 1 can Cranberry Sauce

Instructions:

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove the phyllo cups from the packaging and arrange them on a baking sheet. Fill each cup with a 50/50 mix of Brie and cranberry sauce. Bake for 15 minutes and serve.

 

Creamy Brussels Sprout Shallot Dip

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (light or regular)
  • 4 ounces (1/2 package) 1/3 fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for topping
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and ground black pepper
Creamy-Brussels-Sprout-Dip-minimalistbaker.com_
Courtesy Minimalist Baker

Instructions:

  1. Heat a cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Once hot add 1 Tbsp olive oil, shallot and garlic. Stir constantly as to not to let it burn.
  2. Add Brussels sprouts, 1/4 tsp each sea salt and pepper and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until tender and slightly wilted and then remove from heat, turning off burner as well.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together sour cream, cream cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, another pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Add Brussels sprouts mixture to the bowl and stir until well combined.
  4. Use additional Tbsp olive oil to lightly grease the cast iron so the dip doesn’t stick. Spoon dip back into the skillet and bake at 375 for 11-13 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips.