Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Corliss Group Tour Packages Tips on How to keep your food safe while traveling

What makes summer fun – the picnics, the cookouts, the family reunions, the road trips, the beach vacations – often involves traveling with food.

It’s a challenge to keep food safe from pesky bacteria that can make people sick and choose dishes that provide maximum flavor.

We gathered advice from experts well-versed in the art of traveling with food: DeeDee Stovel, a former caterer from Northern California who wrote “Picnic: 125 Recipes with 29 Seasonal Menus,” and two North Carolina authors who have written tailgating cookbooks, Debbie Moose of Raleigh, author of “Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home,” and Taylor Mathis of Charlotte, author of “The Southern Tailgating Cookbook.”


- Follow sanitary practices when preparing food. Wash hands before handling ingredients, especially raw meat. Don’t cut raw meat and vegetables on the same cutting board.

- Choose ingredients that are safer to eat outdoors in hot weather. Skip mayonnaise-based dressings for salads; try dressings with oil and vinegar or some other acid. Avoid dips and spreads that are heavy on dairy products, such as cream cheese or heavy cream; serve salsa instead.

- Chill food thoroughly before packing it in a cooler. Stovel said, “Don’t cool (food) in the cooler.”


- Cold food needs to be kept at 40 degrees or below to prevent bacterial growth. The key, Moose said, is “ice and more ice and then get some more ice.” If you don’t want to deal with coolers filled with water at outings’ end, Stovel offers this advice: Fill clean, recycled milk containers with water, leaving some space at the top for ice to expand. Freeze until solid. Use those blocks of ice to keep food cold.

- Keep raw meat separate from other foods to prevent cross-contamination. Pack burger patties, marinated chicken or other raw meat in a separate cooler, and label it as being used for that purpose. The last thing you want, Moose said, is someone grabbing a cup of ice from the cooler that held raw meat.

- Keep ice for drinks and even beverages in a separate, labeled cooler. If more ice is needed to keep food cold, raid the beverage cooler. “If the choice is between keeping soda cold and keeping raw meat cold,” Moose said, “nobody has died from drinking a warm soda, so act accordingly.”

- Consider investing in equipment such as insulated bags to tote food to outings and to wrap around casserole dishes. Reusable ice packs come in many shapes and sizes: small bags, large blocks, can coolers, flexible blankets and more. Retailers also sell electric coolers that can plug into a car’s outlet or cigarette lighter; prices range based on size from $60 to $150. About the latter, Stovel said, “we got this when we were traveling across the country.”


- Leave food in the cooler until ready to serve. Once food is served, it should sit out no longer than 2 hours, or 1 hour if temperatures are above 90 degrees. “Pay attention to what the weather is going to be like,” Mathis said. And keep track of the time.

- Keep hand sanitizer and disposable gloves on hand, especially if you are handling raw meat to grill. “You don’t have the sink to wash your hands,” Moose said.

- Some ingredients need to wait until the last minute: Slice tomatoes to top burgers or salads. Wait to toss salads with dressings until right before serving. “I like to dress salads on site so things don’t get soggy,” Mathis said. Another tip: Pack dressing in a recycled water bottle or a Mason jar.

- Put prepared foods on ice to serve. Mathis recommends using sets of nesting bowls for this purpose: Place the food in the smaller bowl and set it inside a large bowl of ice. Other ideas: Use disposable lasagna pans filled with ice, or even a large black trash bag filled with ice, nestled around the food container. “It’s not going to win any decorating awards, but it will do the job,” Moose said.

- If you do a lot of outdoor entertaining, consider investing in some insulated serving bowls that are placed in the freezer beforehand; prices range from $55 to $130.

- Enjoy yourself. “Just have fun picnicking,” Stovel said. “I think it’s one of the best ways to entertain. The food is all prepared, and you just have to bring it, spread it out and the party’s on.”

Sunday, July 13, 2014

5 Helpful Travel Tips for the Wandering Vegetarian by the Corliss Group Tour Packages Tips

Food + Mouth = Survival. Simple'd think.

But the task of feeding yourself can seem like Mission: Impossible once you step off the continent. Language, culture and availability make finding animal-free nosh a massive ordeal that can swallow up a whole afternoon of your hard-earned vacation/travel time. And when your blood sugar starts to dip, after a long bus ride or a day traipsing around some ruins, the difficulty and frustration involved in finding vegetarian food can wreck your day.

Maintaining an alternative food lifestyle while traveling in countries that do not understand or recognize vegetarianism as the moral/ethical/healthful imperative that it is to you, will always be a challenge. But there are ways to make it easier.

After globe-trotting across every continent, 30+ countries, I've developed a few strategies to help keep my lean, mean, vegetarian machine meat-free on the hoof.


Going to Egypt? Friggin' Google "vegetarian Egyptian food!" Of course you could probably eat pizza and french fries for every meal and have a (very dull) vegetarian holiday but the whole point is to sample the local flavour. A little research will go a long way and you won't miss culinary gems like kosheri (Egypt's delicious, and vegetarian, ode to carbohydrates).

Pack your own seasoning

The sad truth is that to stay veggie in certain countries and regions you may end up eating some boring, bland and tasteless food. On a three month trip to South America my diet mostly consisted of boiled rice, over-fried eggs and a dusting of limp vegetables. Do yourself a favour and make sure you have some salt and pepper stashed in your bag, hot sauce or spices can also help relieve the ennui of repetition.


Hunting for a decent place to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day is stressful. Is the kitchen clean? Is there anything on the menu I can order? Take the guesswork and anxiety out of eating by hitting a local market. A decent veggie picnic can be cobbled together in this way, and usually for a lot cheaper than eating at a restaurant. Make sure to pack a Swiss Army knife for slicing fruit and veg, and (most importantly) opening bottles of wine.

Bring an arsenal of vitamins

To keep your veggie faith burning bright while traveling, you'll most likely be eating a limited and repetitive diet (cheese sandwiches again? Yay). As a result it's possible you could become deficient in some vitamins and nutrients that you'd get from your normal, varied, vegetarian diet. Taking a multivitamin and an iron supplement while you travel can fill in the nutritional gaps, and also help you avoid the fatigue that is associated with some vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Because really, being tired when you're on vacation is a drag.


OK, I'm a veggie, you're a veggie, but most of the world gets down with meat products. Food is history, it's culture. In short it embodies many of the reasons we travel in the first place. And for that reason I propose that once in a while it's OK to stray from the vegetarian path. It's OK to nibble blood sausage fresh from a market stall in rural France, slurp authentic pho in Vietnam or taste Argentina's famous beef. It's more than just food, it's identity.

It's also a good idea to keep some snacks on you at all times, in case you get stranded in a locale where the food options are limited. Keeping yourself fed and healthy while you're traveling is more important than it is at home. Thieves and scammers are always on the lookout for people who are vulnerable. And when your blood sugar is in the toilet, your decision making is not at its best. You think the bad guys don't notice but it's their job to notice, and they'll take advantage of your food deprived, shadow-of-a-self and con you.

So, when gearing up for your next international adventure (or your first one) get planning, get packing and get real, because the richness that travel adds to your life and to your soul is well worth a little fish sauce entering your temple.

Happy (healthy) travels.

Friday, July 11, 2014

6 Tips to Mix Exercise & Travel This Summer by The Corliss Group Tour Packages tips

Regular exercise and good eating habits will help you stay lean and toned during your busy summer. You can easily put on 20 pounds of fat during a 2-week summer vacation! Have fun on your vacation and do fun exercises and workouts.

Clothing usually is looser in the summer to keep us cooler in the summer heat, so keeping up with exercise and eating right is a huge challenge. Since you will wear less clothing in the summer, you want to look good, right? Well, you may need to pay more attention to your diet and level of activity to stay in shape!

While traveling, vacations and summer plans may keep you busy, don’t neglect your workout schedule. You can still exercise and do everything you need to do – including enjoying your summer! You just have to be a little creative.

So, here are my 6 exercise and eating tips for this summer:

1. Never skip both your Friday and Monday workouts. If you do this, you will probably go 4 full days (Fri, Sat, Sun, Monday) without working out. Four missed workout days could turn into weeks, months, summers and years!

2. Get a stability ball, medicine balls, resistance bands and dumbbells to do exercises anywhere, anytime.

3. Walk 30 minutes every day whether you workout or not. This keeps your fat-burning enzymes working for you.  For better overall health and fitness, it is critical to be as active as possible every day.

4. Exercise at your hotel while on vacation. Most hotels will have a pool and small gym. Some even have obstacle courses.

5. Don’t forget to “reasonably” (at least 90% compliance) stay on your meal plan.

Plan your menus and pack your food during the summer and when on vacation. You can also plan healthy meals at the restaurants you will be visiting. This will help you avoid the fast food trap and binge eating.

You know the food traps found in airport or roadside restaurants. The food choices are usually high-calorie, high-carb and high-fat. And, you know how much money you can waste at these food establishments.

Haphazard eating or grazing will skyrocket your calories and pack pounds on your body. Eat plenty of high-protein and high-fiber foods to keep your blood sugar levels more steady and to stay fuller for longer.

The simple solution is to plan and pack nutritious foods like lean meats, salad greens, nuts, fruit, yogurt, yogurt smoothies, vegetables, etc. If you drink coffee, skip the high-calorie designer coffees.

TIP: If you eat at a restaurant, skip the appetizers and breadsticks before your meal. Request that your foods not be fried, dipped in butter, etc. to keep the calories down.

6. Drink plenty of water. This will help you limit sugary drinks that pack on pounds and belly fat. Your body is about two-thirds water. It will help you eat less and help your body function better.

TIP: Drink about half your weight in water every day. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, drink about 80 ounces of water each day.

Take care this summer, have fun and keep exercising. Take advantage of the extra daylight during the summer and stay active.

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