4 Before the 4th of July Recipes

Fireworks Red, White and Blue Daiquiris

If you are feeling really festive this year and have some time to prepare this drink then your guests will thank you for it because it is such a fun cocktail.

Yes, beer and wine is more simple, but this drink adds a nice color of patriotism to your party.
American Flag Platter

Preparing a 4th of July get together shouldn’t have to take much effort. Kick it off with this simple appetizer that doesn’t require any cooking!

To make the American flag platter you just need to buy strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and white cheese. Then arrange it on a large platter as shown in the picture.
Firecracker Grilled Alaska Salmon
Move over wings and hot dogs and make room for some delicious Alaskan salmon. I know fish isn’t exactly the traditional meat that is grilled on the 4th of July, but add this recipe to your feast for some added spice. The recipe uses soy sauce and balsamic vinegar to create a bold off-the-grill glaze with a small kick from the red pepper flakes.
Patriotic Desserts

End the festivities this year with a slice of red, white and blueberry pie. Baking is definitely not my forte, so I’ll let you in on my secret recipe to make a simple 4th of July cake. All you need to do is buy four ingredients at your local food market: angel cake, whipped cream (or Cool Whip), blueberries, and strawberries (sliced).

Simply spread the whipped cream over the cake and place the blueberries and strawberries over the top of the cake. Although the recipe is bare-bones, It is the thought that makes this cake a festive treat for your guests.
Did any recipe catch you attention to be made this year? If you have any other festive 4th of July recipes to share, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

How to Eat Healthy While Traveling

How to Eat Healthy While Traveling
Finally! A vacation! But along with the excitement of traveling comes a feeling of worry. Vacations can be used as an excuse to overindulge; will you be able to maintain healthy eating habits while traveling? Here are some tips to help you along the way.
On the Road/Flight
While we’re on the road (or flying), it can seem difficult to find anything that’s healthy. But even gas stations usually have healthier snacks to offer. Look for dried fruit as an alternative to candy, and nuts as an alternative to overly salted chips. It also doesn’t take much time to pack a snack bag before you head out. Drink water as much as possible, but when you just need something besides water, consider iced teas or sparkling water beverages as a cold drink instead of soda, and if you need the caffeine boost of a hot coffee, use honey as a sweetener rather than sugar.
In Restaurants

One of the most important things to keep in mind while eating in restaurants, whether on the road, or once you’ve reached your destination, is portion control. Many establishments offer smaller portion options for both entrees and desserts. If you’re going to add a salad to your meal, or have a salad as your meal, use oil and vinegar based dressings instead of cream based dressings as oil and vinegar dressings are lower in fat and calories. If you just need your ranch dressing, ask for it on the side and dress each bite as opposed to pouring the serving over the entire salad.

In fast food style restaurants, don’t buy the pre-made combos out of habit. Consider creating your own combo meal with your choice of entree, a side salad, and water. If you simply can’t resist those delicious fries, don’t be tempted to upgrade your combo to a larger option even if it seems like too good a deal to pass up. You may save a little money now, but you’ll end up paying for it later.
You Have Reached Your Destination

Once you’ve reached your destination all bets are off, right? They don’t have to be. After you’ve checked into your accommodations, make your first stop the local grocery store where you can purchase things like fruits, veggies, nuts and non-sugary drinks to have on hand so you can avoid the snack machines.

Don’t tell yourself you’re not allowed to have any of the “fun” things. Instead, be resolved to take the smaller portions. Getting ice cream? Make it one scoop instead of two. Visiting a local chocolate shop? Set a limit on how much you’re going to buy before going in, and buy individual pieces. Going out for drinks later? Set a limit before getting there and drink water after you finish each alcoholic beverage.

Making small changes usually have longer lasting success rather than trying to change everything at once. Developing healthy eating habits while traveling can be the first small change that puts you on the road to a healthier life.

Have any tips or stories to share? Let your fellow travelers know about it in the comments below!

5 Last Minute Things to Do on Memorial Day

Memorial Day Activities
The Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest travel times each year due to the wonderful weather conditions throughout most of the America. After a long and cold winter, people are ready for road trips, train travel and airplane rides that take them to nearby or faraway locations. First, it is important to understand the original purpose of the Memorial Day holiday. This day was established to honor the individuals who died serving in the country’s armed forces such as the army and navy. In the past, people traditionally visited cemeteries to place wreaths on deceased soldier’s graves, and some individuals still do this today.
5) Attend Parades, Picnics and Concerts at the Last Minute 
Many towns long ago and today have parades to honor the military services with soldiers and sailors participating in the events. After the parade ends, everyone meets at a designated location such as a public park to have a picnic or barbecue. In addition, towns and cities may sponsor speakers or concerts with a patriotic theme. All of these activities are perfect for individuals wanting to have an enjoyable day at the last minute on a limited budget because many of these events are 100% free.

4) Visit Local Cemeteries
Visiting local cemeteries to place wreaths on soldier’s graves is a time-honored tradition. Today, many families use the Memorial Day weekend to decorate other grave sites that belong to deceased relatives or friends. This is an excellent way to teach children about their past with a genealogy lesson. In many cases, old tombstones require repair or cleaning to make the names and dates legible, but first ask the cemetery maintenance team about the legality of making unauthorized changes.

3) See a Fireworks Display
Many cities and towns sponsor fireworks displays that are often located in public parks. This type of event is usually free to attend and suitable for individuals of any age. Some regions combine this with other activities such as festivals with food trucks, carnival rides and musical entertainment. The fireworks begin right after dusk with people sitting on chairs or reclining on blankets to watch a safe and monitored display.

2) Go to an Old Battlefield
Within the Unites States, there are many battlefields from wars that occurred long ago. Memorial Day is often when these historical sites open with free or low-cost admission to learn about the battles that took place. In many cases, there are public tours with guides able to explain the events that occurred during one or more battles on a specific location. It is possible to find these battlefield sites with an Internet search of different regions.

1) Arrange Family Reunions
One of the most popular things to do on Memorial Day is have a family reunion. These events are simple to organize at the last minute by having a potluck meal with everyone bringing different foods and beverages. No one expects fancy tablecloths or delicate china at a family reunion. It is traditional to setup a charcoal grill for everyone to cook foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs or chicken with side dishes of potato salad, coleslaw and tomato slices. The best part of a family reunion is visiting with aunts, uncles and cousins in one place.

Top 4 Places to Visit in Spring 2015

Vancouver, British Columbia

Right after the brisk winters and right before the summer crowd, Vancouver is an excellent place to visit during Spring. You’ll enjoy an invigorating weather with reduced expenditures as travel expenses are generally cheaper before the busy summer.

What makes Vancouver an ideal place to visit during Spring is the mountain conditions for snow activities. The weather isn’t too cold and the snow is marshmallow soft making it perfect for beginners to fall on and seasoned mountain riders to carve. Check out the three major mountains in Vancouver for your next trip: Whisler BlackcombGrouse Mountain, and Cypress Mountain.

To truly have a taste of Vancouver you can attend the Eat! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival that is held from April 26th – May3rd. Discover new foods, learn new cooking tips and recipes, and try new beverages at one of Canada’s largest food and cooking festival. Admission tickets are only $15 online for adults, but your save room in your wallet for a large appetite!

Infographic: Traveling Solo or With a Travel Group?

Ever traveled with a travel group and wished you could deviate from the group and just traveled alone? Or how about the opposite and traveling alone wishing that you had more people to experience your journey with?

Whether you are a lone traveler or a travel groupie, there are always pros and cons of traveling alone and traveling with people. So of course I had to create an infographic to show the benefit of each group based on different travel scenarios to answer the ultimate question: who would you rather travel with?

Infographic: Traveling Solo or With a Travel Group?

In Case You Didn’t Click the Infographic…

Travel Scenarios:

~ The Itinerary

  • Solo: You create your own itinerary! If you’re feeling spontaneous and want to venture off then go right ahead.
  • Group: You don’t have to worry about a thing! Everything is scheduled so you can enjoy your company.

~ Meeting people

  • Solo: Solo travelers are more likely to meet locals and learn about their culture.
  • Group: Groups are likely to keep to each other and make friendships with fellow travelers.

~ Safety

  • Solo: Solo traveling can increase your chances of getting lost, mugged, or worse!
  • Group: The support system of group travel creates a safe travel environment.

~ Privacy

  • Solo: Solo allows you to connect with yourself and engage with the environment.
  • Group: You will not have much privacy or time to enjoy your personal time with a group.

~ Costs

  • Solo: Going solo means no group discounts or sharing!
  • Group: Group is cheaper because of economy of scales with discounted fares, hotels, and dining.


The bottom line is that there is no right or wrong mode of travel and depends on a number of factors such as personal preference, destination, and value. But based on these travel scenarios, who would you rather travel with: the lone traveler or the travel groupies? If you have any more travel scenarios from experience be sure to comment them below.