travel

My Ideal Trip to a Winter Resort

Image from Pixabay

It’s another game of make-believe for me. Here, I will describe my ideal winter resort trip and what I would want.

Remember, I am not necessarily planning this, even after the pandemic. This is just imagination.

Now let me get started.

Activities

Snow tubing – I did this at a dude ranch before. Although it was tedious to go up the hill, the sliding part was fun.

Skiing and snowboarding – Not that I’m passionate about these, but others would love it. After all, what’s a winter resort with just snow tubing and no traditional activities?

Indoor heated pool and possibly a hot tub – Ah, warmth. Who wouldn’t love this on a cold day? Perhaps, a slide and even ropes to swing on. Maybe even an entire indoor Waterpark, catered to all ages.

An arcade/game room – This would make a great place for fun and entertainment. I would love skee-ball, mini bowling, pool tables, and much more.

A shopping village – It could be outdoors or indoors. It could have places that sell food, treats, clothes, souvenirs, and lots more.

Fitness Center – Health still matters. I would go on a treadmill or elliptical and watch YouTube videos, such as Disney and mature animation, like “South Park” or “Family Guy.”

Dining

Buffets – Who doesn’t love buffets? Breakfast could have the usual foods, as well as waffle making and an omelet station. Lunch could have hot foods and special stations. For dinner, how about a carving station, seafood, mashed potato martinis, and delicious desserts, like ice cream sundaes and chocolate cakes? Yum!

Seating service – This is okay, too. There could be different cuisines, like Asian, Spanish, Italian, Greek, and much more

Accommodations

Traditional hotel rooms or even suites – there would be warm and comfy beds, nice bathrooms, and excellent Wi-Fi as well as cell phone signal.

Location

Probably the US – Canada would be okay, too, although I would have to have Canadian money as well as a passport to enter the country. Staying within the US would be easier.

So, there you have it. Doesn’t this sound like an exciting idea?

cooking

Why I Am Cooking in Advance Now?

Image from Pixabay

Once upon a time, I learned how to cook and would prepare many meals. That was… until I got my driver’s license and was ready to drive alone. I would eat out more, whether it was takeout, delivery, or dine-in.

Then in March, the world went on lockdown. I could no longer go out to restaurants, except to get takeout. Once the times when restaurants could re-open their dining rooms drew nearer, I started getting takeout a little more. Then when I could finally dine out again, I went crazy. I was so happy that I could finally enjoy my favorite places and commercial foods again.

But then I gained weight and felt kind of sluggish and unwell. My mom even got tired of me eating out so much. It had become a daily routine for me.

Then I discovered that my interests have changed since graduating college. Despite earning a BFA in studio art (big mistake!), I now am more passionate about writing. That being said, I still like doing art—I’d just rather keep it as a hobby.

Anyway, I want to get an online certificate in communications. I promised my mom that I would contribute to part of the tuition. That meant I had to cut down on eating out, not just for my health, but also for money purposes. So, that is when I started cooking more homemade food. For the first time ever, I am planning my meals in advance and cooking them ahead of time.

Guess what—it was a smart choice. Not only did I lose weight, and enough that many of my clothes got big on me within a couple of weeks, but I felt better about myself, too. My thinking and productivity sharpened, as well.

I will continue cooking in advance forever. After all, when I live on my own, I will have to watch my spending habits on unnecessary items, including commercial food.

cooking

How I Made My Gnocchi Healthier

Image from Pixabay

I love gnocchi! I used to order it a lot in restaurants, if they had it, before I developed a tomato allergy. 

For some reason, however, I couldn’t find the traditional potato kind at my local grocery store. So, I made it from scratch, which I have done several times before. But this one differed. 

How, you might ask? I added chopped broccoli, cauliflower, and herbs to the dough, as well as protein powder. Regardless of those ingredients, I didn’t use whole wheat flour. I stuck with all-purpose flour. To be honest, I never really liked wheat flour.

Anyway, another perk is that I know what went in the gnocchi since I prepared it from scratch. I also tried cooking it in my pepper marinara sauce (obviously without tomatoes), something I learned from my mom. But I needed to add more water since the dough wasn’t cooking right. Nevertheless, it came out delicious. 

All you need are 2 pounds of potatoes, 1 ½ cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 slightly beaten egg. I cut my potatoes and boil them. Then I puree them in a food processor. I mix the egg with that, too. In a separate bowl or Ziploc bag, I mix the flour and salt. I also added the vegetables, herbs, and protein powder to the dry ingredients. 

I blend the wet and dry stuff together before I roll out the dough, cut small pieces, and boil them. Next time, though, I will stick to the convention way by boiling them in water and letting them ascend to the top.

travel

If I Went to Puerto Rico, This is What I Would Want

Image from Pixabay

I’ve been to Puerto Rico when I was 12 during a school break. I had a good time. I also considered going back there in 2017… until they experienced a hurricane.

Of course, now that we’re living in a pandemic, I won’t plan any trips as of now. I probably won’t even go to New York City, which is about an hour away from where I live, until we’re back to typical life. 

But this is just a game of make-believe (sort of). Maybe I will think about visiting Puerto Rico again when it’s safe. For now, though, I will just list the things I would want to do if I traveled there. I’m basically just using my imagination.

Let’s get brainstorming!

Duration: a week

How to get there? Obviously, I would take a plane to Puerto Rico. I would likely want a flight in the morning on the way there and an afternoon one on the way back to New York. I would want a comfortable seat and a plane where they serve food. Sadly, many flights have removed food service, but some brought them back in recent years.

Where would I stay? in a hotel! Hands down. I would never consider a hostel or even a motel in Puerto Rico. One, I am a little bit spoiled with places to stay. Two, cleanliness and quality may make the place safer. 

That being said, I would not mind an apartment-like suite or even an Airbnb. As long as they have enough amenities, are comfortable, and clean, I would be happy.

What would I do? Go to the beach, kayak, hike, zip-line, snorkel, swim, ride horses, watch wildlife, maybe raft (if it’s an option there), and visit a cave (if they exist there). 

I know that when you are older, trips shouldn’t necessarily be all about fun. I understand that. However, I wouldn’t go on any educational tours in Puerto Rico. I would save that for places in Europe or Asia. Plus, I strongly prefer active vacations more.

Where would I eat? If I stayed at an all-inclusive resort, probably the restaurants within the place. Otherwise, I would go to different places, depending on what I craved. I might not necessarily pick somewhere fancy, though, unless I was with others.

How would I get around? Walking or car service. I wouldn’t feel comfortable renting a car. I would also stay somewhere where I could walk around easily and safely. I like to go out a lot.

What would I pack? Summer clothes, of course. Puerto Rico usually does not get hotter than 80’s, though, due to their winds. Maybe I would also pack cardigans and long pants, like if it gets cold at night or if I go to a fancy restaurant for dinner.

So, that is my ideal plan for if I went to Puerto Rico.

cooking

Mmm… Meaty Marinara Without Tomato

Before I became allergic to tomatoes, I really enjoyed Pizza Hut’s meaty marinara. However, since then, I had to make my own versions of my favorite foods that normally contain tomatoes, except without them. Sadly, they usually don’t taste very good. Or they will only be similar at most. But even that is not satisfying.

Luckily, this one is different. Yes, the recipe calls for tomato sauce and paste. But I use canned pumpkin and puréed roasted peppers instead. I also mix apple sauce with the peppers, which gives it more of a texture like tomatoes. I even include red wine, and that improves the flavor, too.

I think what also makes this taste good is that you have to simmer the sauce for at least an hour. That gives the meat enough time to absorb the sauce and add flavor to it. After that, you mix it with the pasta, top it with shredded mozzarella, and bake it for several minutes. I don’t remember how many, though.

This isn’t something I can make regularly, however. It is time-consuming, so I don’t have the luxury of cooking this often. On the bright side, though, I think it makes the pasta more enjoyable.

I find that when I eat something frequently (not everything), I get tired of it and won’t want it for a while. I’m already beginning to feel sick of eating commercially-made food. When the world was on lockdown in the spring, I couldn’t eat out, although I could receive takeout, curbside pickup, or delivery. But now that restaurants in my area have opened up again, since early summer, I think I went crazy eating out. Now my body hasn’t felt the best. So, I am starting to cut down on the commercially-made food, but gradually, since abrupt changes do not work for me.

Anyway, one thing I am going to try is find copycat recipes of my favorite commercially-made foods. At least I will know what is in them. Hopefully, I will also feel better.

cooking

My Experience with Cooking Seafood

Image from Pixabay

I love seafood, both fish and shellfish. Now these days, though, I prefer shellfish more, not just because of the taste and textures, but also that they’re quicker to make.

Sometimes, you can have lobsters steamed in the grocery store. However, that varies. Sometimes, you can buy just the tail. Other times, you have to pick something else.

That’s the thing with seafood. Its availability is not always consistent, especially if it’s fresh. I suggest buying the wild-caught kinds as farm-raised seafood can have some issues about them. I’ll stop there with that.

Anyway, there are a lot of ways you can cook seafood. The sky is pretty much the limit. With certain shellfish, though, it’s best to steam them. Those include lobster and shrimp. You can boil them, but then they lose their flavor. Maybe that also removes their nutritional value.

I learned to steam them after boiling them for a while. Guess what? They tasted better—way better. I like to have butter with my lobster and garlic seasoning on my shrimp.

Regardless of all this, some people can’t eat seafood, whether they’re allergic or for other reasons. But it’s rare that I’m in situations like that.

I will admit that driving has spoiled me a bit and made me too lazy too cook at times. Instead, I’m getting takeout. However, I want to change that—at least slightly.

My family has been kind of strict with protein at every meal, certainly when I was a kid. Now they’re more laid back. Yet, because of that guideline from the past, I’ve kind of developed that rule as a routine. If I don’t want meat or poultry, I get seafood.

travel

An Amazing Experience Happened at Alice’s Tea Cup in New York City

I discovered this place while on a trip with Girl Scouts several years ago. I was resistant to it at first as I was craving something else for lunch. But then I stuck with eating there and tried some new things.

I had a tomato soup (which I can no longer eat due to a tomato allergy I developed a couple years ago) as well as a tier with a sandwich, scone, and cookies. They were delicious. I’m actually glad that I gave into this restaurant. After that, I’d visit Alice’s Tea Cup on my own.

However, despite the amazing scones, sweets, as well as the variety of tea flavors (many of which you can’t buy at your local grocery store), the food prices are pretty expensive. I can’t remember the price of the cheapest tier at the top of my head, but I believe it wasn’t less than $40. I don’t think there’s a menu online—at least last time I looked. It could’ve changed by now. But yeah—if you’re on a budget, it’s best to save this place for rare occasions.

The space is very small, probably because it’s in New York City, and I think that’s typical there. It’s also got “Alice in Wonderland” images on the walls and in their overall theme for the place.

There are three locations. Two on the east side and one on the west side. The west side location was the first one I’ve been to and the one I prefer the most. Even though I don’t visit New York City that much anymore, I would eventually love to return to Alice’s Tea Cup.

travel

A Great Experience at Governor’s Comedy Club

Not far from where I live, I went here last year for my friend’s birthday party. It’s kind of like a restaurant, but with some notable differences.

For instance, there are no windows inside. But I think that’s typical for comedy clubs, probably so that no one can peak through during performances. However, there were TV’s on the walls, but without sound. Most public places that have TV monitors won’t make noises.

The food tasted good, especially the steak and mashed potatoes. Of course, they had to have sophisticated choices since this was an 18+ venue. Speaking of which, it was kind of strange, but nice, being in an adults-only setting. That being said, when the comedy show was about to start, the announcer still had to remind people not to shout out at the performers and silence their phones. One guest at my friend’s party was videoing, and the manager had to tell him to stop.

The warm-up comedians and the main one, Gilbert Gottfried, were all great. After the show, everyone got to meet Gilbert Gottfried. I got an autograph from him.

So, would I recommend this comedy club? Yes, most definitely! It’s not in New York City, so it would probably be easier to get tickets to for seeing your favorite comedian.

travel

Can Vacations Spoil You?

Image from Pixabay

My family doesn’t travel that much anymore. However, we’ve traveled so much that I have memorized all the airplane safety guidelines. I don’t pay attention to the demos when they’re live because I already know the rules.

Anyway, sometimes my brain has “rotted” a bit when I was out of town. One time, I couldn’t complete a social studies take-home-quiz in high school while I was in Florida, I believe. My mind was in vacation-mode. That wasn’t good.

Family trips have also spoiled me with luxury hotels and resorts, first-class seats in flights, and fun activities. That rarely happens these days. It has been years since I stayed in a fancy place. Now my family usually does cheaper hotels or sometimes apartment-like suites.

But when we did stay in luxurious places, they made me let-down by hostel-like buildings and quick sandwich and salad cafes instead of fine dining restaurants. That was with Girl Scouts when we stayed at a hostel in London and would’ve eaten at a quick café instead of a bistro on a trip that ended up being canceled. It turned out that many of the other girls didn’t have the amount of money my family had. So, in the later Girl Scout days, I was kind of the “spoiled rich kid”. Not terribly, though. But I didn’t like when the others said that hotels were too expensive.

So, can vacations spoil you? It depends on various circumstances. If you barely travel, then probably not. It’s how you handle certain aspects of the trips.