Holiday Travel – How to Avoid Being Stuck in the Snow

Traveling over the holidays can be stressful, even though most people love getting to their destination and the warm feelings that come with being with friends and family.  Hot chocolate and hot apple cider help too :).

So, to alleviate some stress that comes with flying (including not getting stuck in airports), here are some tips and tricks:

santa claus in a plane1)  Fly non-stop whenever possible.  (Especially over the holidays, saving a few bucks with a connection just doesn’t seem worth it where there’s too much at stake.)

2)  If you have to make a connection, make it through a southern city that rarely sees ice or snow (Phoenix instead of Minneapolis).

3)  Watch your layover times carefully. With tight connection times, weather delays may cause you to miss your next flight. A good rule of thumb is to have at least a 2 hour layover in the winter months.

4) Choose a morning flight, for two reasons:

  • Your flight is less likely to be affected by problems at other airports.
  • Your odds of getting on a different flight by the end of the day are greatly improved if your flight is cancelled or badly delayed.

5)  Do not wrap gifts (this is a tough one for me). Security will have you upwrap them whether they are in your carry-on or checked luggage.  Another option is to ship gifts ahead of time.  With having to pay for checked luggage now, this does not seem like a bad way to go.

6) The day before you fly: check in online, print boarding passes, and pay for checked luggage at your home or office.

7)  Want to try something new over the holidays?  Travel to Las Vegas or New Orleans over Christmas and Hannukah!  During these family friendly holidays, there are major airfare and lodging discounts.  Viva Las Vegas!

These are my tips- do you have any others to share?



Beaujolais and Beyond Festival

Food and Wine lovers Rejoice!!!!  If you are wondering what to do this Thursday evening , be sure to get your tickets to the Beaujolais and Beyond Festival.  It is the annual fundraiser for the French-American Chamber of Commerce and it is being held this year at the Infinity Park Event Center, November 17th from 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Boasting food from over 20 chefs, serving over 40 varieties of wine, dancing to live entertainment, and voting for the chef who prepares the best food and wine parings, you can’t go wrong!

Hurry and buy your tickets since there are only 3 days left (and you save $10 per ticket when you buy them in advance).

See you all there!


To purchase your tickets, please go to the following link:

To find out more about the French-American Chamber of Commerce, feel free to peruse:

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, and More Pumpkins

For all of you who live in the States, you are probably like me and have several pumpkins still outside from Halloween fun.

Not quite sure what to do with them now?  EAT THEM!

Not sure how?  You can bake, boil, and microwave them.  Thanks to– here’s how:

There are three ways to transform an uncooked pumpkin into the puree used in baking and for soups:Baking Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half and discard the stem section and stringy pulp. Save the seeds to dry and roast
  • In a shallow baking dish, place the two halves face down and cover with foil
  • Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for about 1½ hours for a medium-sized sugar pumpkin, or until tender
  • Once the baked pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and puree or mash it
  • For silky smooth custards or soups, press the pumpkin puree through a sieve


Boiling Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides
  • Peel the pumpkin and cut it into chunks
  • Place in a saucepan and cover with water
  • Bring to a boil and cook until the pumpkin chunks are tender
  • Let the chunks cool, and then puree the flesh in a food processor or mash it with a potato masher or food mill


Microwave Method

  • Cut the pumpkin in half, discarding the stringy insides
  • Microwave on high power for seven minutes per pound, turning pieces every few minutes to promote even cooking. Process as above
  • You can refrigerate your fresh pumpkin puree for up to three days, or store it in the freezer up to six months, enabling you to enjoy fall pumpkins for months to come


The pumpkin does not always have to be pureed, it is also delicious purely baked (similar to butternut squash).  Here is a fabulous past recipe from Rachael Ray:


And don’t forget to dress up the seeds:  Sweet or Salty?

Thanks Real Simple for this recipe:


For more great recipes that I love using Pumpkins, visit the facebook page for Storytellers Events!


(picture courtesy of