Snacks for the Road (and the Sky)

Several years ago, I found a yummy recipe for roasted chickpeas in a magazine. 

They were delicious, inexpensive, and healthy - and I could season them however I wanted (pass the cayenne pepper, please!). But, they required a bit of a time commitment (drying out the garbanzo beans, and keeping a close eye on them in the oven) and they weren’t exactly portable for my frequent travels.

So, I was super-excited to come across Biena Snacks - which is sponsoring this post and my recent segment at CBS in Los Angeles. These crunchy little snacks, loaded with flavor and texture, satisfy my need for a combination of salt and just a little bit of fat. Think potato chips, but protein-packed chickpeas instead. The savory ones also make a great topping for soups and salads (just sayin’). Don't let the “all-natural, gluten-free, vegan” label scare you - they are THAT GOOD, and receive two thumbs-up from my decidedly non-vegan husband.

I showed a variety pack with Sour Cream & Onion, Habanero, and - my personal favorite - Rockin’ Ranch. While I am partial to the savory varieties, for those with a sweet tooth, Honey Roasted or Cinnamon Crunch might fit the bill. If you have an affinity for chocolate - they even have a variety that tastes like Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cookies

You can find them at a wide range of stores, but buying them online lets you pick from all of their varieties and save when customizing your own variety pack of favorite flavors.

On the sweet side, granola bars and granola “minis” from MadeGood snacks are another new favorite in my carryon bag. They come in tiny portions for when you want just a little something sweet, which also makes them perfect for kids. And - they are “school safe” (and airplane-friendly), since they are free of the eight most common allergans like peanuts and tree nuts. But again, don’t let that scare you away! With a chewy granola texture and yummy flavors like chocolate chip, apple cinnamon, and chocolate chip banana, there is something to suit just about every taste.

Happy snacking!

Christmas (Eye) Candy

One of the reasons Scott and I put up our Christmas tree so early (October, anyone?) is that I am on the road most of November and December.  That gives me more time to enjoy our tree during the limited number of days I am at home in New York.

As a Christmas tree aficionado, I fully enjoy the Christmas trees and other holiday bling in airports and hotels across the country!  Once Thanksgiving is over, the terminals and halls are decked out.

The Indianapolis airport always has one of the best trees.  Last year, I sadly came through there the day before the tree went up, and missed it.  Here is this year's beauty!

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The Admirals' Club at LaGuardia Airport always looks gorgeous.

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Loved having this tree and wreath as backdrops to one of my segments this week!

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And a few favorites from last year.

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Do you go all-out on holiday decorating?  When does your tree go up during the holidays?

Sunday Stories

This Sunday Stories feature has been on a bit of an unplanned summer hiatus.  Between being on the road for work most of the summer, and hitting the books for my own graduate classes each and every day, I've fallen a bit behind on this.

As summer vacation for most people winds down - and I have a week before fall media tours and classes begin again - Sunday Stories returns this week, and hopefully for many more Sundays to come.  Instead of focusing exclusively on stories from the last week, here are a few highlights from the last couple of months.

 Alley outside Brattle Book Shop, West Street, Downtown Boston.

Alley outside Brattle Book Shop, West Street, Downtown Boston.

Do your reading habits change with the seasons?  I don't think mine depend so much on the season as much as what I need to focus on for work and school.

Books are also top of mind for colleges that distribute summer reading lists to their students.  Here are the most popular books that appeared on those lists this summer.

Did you take a summer vacation?  Scotland is high on the list of places Scott and I want to go.  If this post from Aspiring Kennedy doesn't make you want to drop everything and trek to the Isle of Skye this very minute, I don't know what will.

Srsly?  I don't know one person who will hire you if you do this.

Lemon desserts are my fave, and my mom's lemon bar recipe is one of my favorites.  But this one looks like it will become a new addition to my recipe collection.

If you blinked, you missed The Spotted Cheetah - a Cheetos pop-up restaurant.  Because we all need to eat more junk food, right?

Your guide to popular places to Instagram from in New York City.  You're welcome..

Apparently, I am not the only person who tries to figure out the floor plans of fictitious homes and offices on movies and TV shows.

Finally, you can definitely count me in the category of people who just love it when autumn rolls around.

Have a lovely week!

 

Travel Tuesday: Slovenia

If you had never heard of Slovenia, your introduction to it may have come within the last year, since it is the homeland of the current First Lady.

We didn't know much about it either. But on a holiday in Italy a few years ago, we found ourselves with a couple of extra days in Venice. What to do? Since Slovenia is right next door - only about an hour's drive away - we decided to be spontaneous, rent a car, and go.

A quick look at Rick Steves' recommendations, and we were off!

With the river running through the city center of the capital, Ljubljana, it reminded me a bit of Salzburg. It is a compact, walkable city with beautiful bridges and architecture. It even has a medieval castle high above the city. Walk up the steep hill, or cheat by taking the funicular. This is very much a university town, with lively streets and cafés filled with students.

The river bank through the downtown is lined with outdoor cafés. In the chilly weather, every seat had included a warm, cozy blanket for you to use - a practice I could totally get on board with in other cities. Because the country has heavy Slavic, German, and Italian influences (most people seem to speak at least three or four languages), you can find just about any kind of cuisine here.

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Every single picture of me in Slovenia has me wearing this jacket and scarf. When our trip started in Rome a week earlier, temps were more than 90 degrees, and I had brought clothes for warm weather. But temps in Slovenia plummeted into the 20s, creating a fashion emergency that required a stop at the center city Ljubljana H&M for a coat. Scott bought the warm, cozy scarf from a street vendor in Venice, and I still wear it multiple times each week during the fall and winter.

As lovely and vibrant as the capital is, you'll want to get out of town and head north to gorgeous Lake Bled. It is less than an hour's drive from Ljubljana, and the scenery is worth every minute of that trip.

During holidays, it is a busy resort. But when we arrived in early October - off-season for tourists - we found a peaceful, uncrowded village. We enjoyed the stunning fall foliage during a walk around the serene lake. You can also go out to the small island in the middle of the lake that hosts the beautiful Church of the Assumption of Mary.

Head up to the cliff-hanging Bled Castle, which dates back to 1011 (the road is a steep climb, or you can take a tram) to visit the castle and take in the breathtaking views of the Julian Alps.

The views are definitely worth the climb.

I was freezing, but clearly having a great time.

You can stay locally in Bled, but you can easily take in the sites and views on a day trip from the capital.

Slovenia was an unexpected treat for us - definitely a hidden gem in Eastern Europe. Where is the most interesting place you have visited that is off the beaten path?

Sunday Stories: Spring Forward, Airplane Food, and Veggie Lasagna

Did you remember to spring forward by an hour last night or this morning? I'm definitely looking forward to the extra hour of daylight at the end of the work day.

Perhaps this is why many guys won't stop and ask for directions.

It's not just your imagination. Food and drinks really do taste different at 30,000 feet

This vegetarian lasagna sounds amazing - unless you're a carb-phobe.

I studied abroad in the beautiful city of Florence, and it would be a shame if this happened.

She was amazing as Eliza in "Hamilton" - this is really cool.

Happy Sunday!