Monthly Archives: July 2010

Day-trip Packing List

Perhaps I’m over planning, but I’ve been trying to make a list of what to bring on our excursions.  We’ll most likely bring a backpack to trade off between the two of us.  If we find that’s too big, I have a purse that I can bring, but that means I have to lug it around the whole time (and it’s not as comfortable as a backpack, either).  Here’s my initial list of what to bring, based on carrying a backpack and two security pouches:

Paul’s pouch: His passport, credit and debit cards, the health insurance cards, drivers’ license, cash, SetSail pass

My pouch: My passport, credit and debit cards, drivers’ license, SetSail pass, emergency phone number/address list


  • Two waterbottles
  • Snacks
  • Towels (if going to beach)
  • Books (if going to a place to sit for an extended time)
  • Camera
  • Basic first aid materials
  • Kleenex
  • Umbrellas (if rain is in the forecast)
  • Headscarf/shawl (if going into a church or mosque)
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses/regular glasses
  • Hat (if not wearing)
  • Map
  • List of sights to see
  • Notepad
  • Pen
  • Extra clothes (if expecting to get wet or very sweaty)
  • Plastic bags/baggies

The list would be shortened to the essentials if we were bringing my purse instead of the backpack: water bottles, camera, first aid, Kleenex, sunscreen, map, list of sights to see, pen.  If worse comes to worse, we can go back to the ship and pick up what we need, eat lunch, rest, or do whatever else we need… however, I’d rather not spend the little on-land time we have walking to and from the boat!


How to Prevent Jet Lag

We should have started planning this quite a while ago.  I’ve never had jet lag before… but then again, I’ve never traveled father than Hawaii.  Our Mediterranean destinations are 7-8 hours ahead of us, which means:

  • 7 am in Italy, when we’d like to start exploring, is midnight on our biological clocks.
  • If we eat lunch at noon in Greece, it would be like eating a 4 am breakfast back at home.
  • Watching the sunset in Dubrovnik (about 8:15 pm) will feel like 1:15 pm to our Wisconsin brains.
  • Going to bed on the cruise ship at our usual time, 10 or 11 pm, would be like falling asleep at 3 in the afternoon.

According to many websites (and simple logic), it would have been a good idea to start adjusting our bodies to the upcoming time change about a week ago.  Whoops.  That did not happen.  We’ll have to make to with some other tips and tricks from the web.  Here are a few I’ve gathered.

  • Sleep on the plane when it is nighttime at your destination. Earplugs, headphones and eye masks can help diminish noise and light.  Stay awake on the plane when it is daytime at your destination. Read a thriller with the light on and the window shade open, or cruise the aisles.  (eHow)
  • Before departing, make sure you have all your affairs, business and personal, in order. Ensure you are not stressed-out with excitement or worry, and not tired or hungover from a function the night before.  (
  • Some travelers like to exercise before they go to the airport. (This can actually help you sleep better on the plane.)  Once you’re at the airport, avoid the escalators and moving sidewalks.  Instead, walk and take the stairs on the way to your check-in area and gate connections.  (Independent Traveler)
  • When I traveled from the U.S. to Israel a couple years ago, a trip that involved an eight-hour time difference, I resisted the temptation to take a nap when I arrived (11 AM local time, 3 AM body time). Instead I stayed up till 9 PM local time and got a good night’s sleep. Instant reset of my body clock.  (The Straight Dope)
  • If you have a stopover in between your flights on a long journey, you might want to take a shower to wake up your body, get the circulation flowing and freshen up. Usually, I just wash my face, hair and brush my teeth rather than taking a full body shower.  (Brave New Traveler)
  • The dry air in aircraft causes dehydration. Drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids counters this. Water is better than coffee, tea and fruit juices. Alcohol not only is useless in combating dehydration, but has a markedly greater intoxicating effect when drunk in the rarefied atmosphere of an airliner than it does at ground level.  (
  • Wearing two watches, one set to the current time, and one to the time at your destination, can help you prepare yourself mentally for the coming time change.  (Independent Traveler)
  • Most important when you’re in the air is to keep exercised. Sitting for the whole period is not good for your circulation so get up as often as possible (but not excessively). Here are some simple exercises you can do.
    1. Shoulder shrugs – lift your arms and roll them in a wide circular movement both forward and backwards.
    2. Knee raises – bend your knees to hip height, hold for a few seconds, release and do the same for the other knee.
    3. Upper back stretch – lock your fingers, stretch them out front bowing your back with palms facing inwards.
    4. Ankle swirl – move your ankles around in small circles from time to time.  (Brave New Traveler)

Any more tips to add?

Day Eleven – Flying Home

August 1, 2010

7:00 am – wake up, go on a walk and find something to eat

8:15 am – check into airport

9:55 am – 12:30 pm – Flight BA5107, Manchester (Terminal 3) to Chicago (Terminal 5), in flight for 8 hours 35 minutes

5 hour 15 minute layover

5:45 pm-6:40 pm – flight BA5305 – Chicago (Terminal 3) to Green Bay, 55 minutes in the air

7:00 – get picked up by Mom and Dad, drive home

Day Ten – Padua, Italy and flying to England

July 31, 2010

6:45 am – Ship docks in Venice

8:30 am-12:30 pm – Padua Excursion and airport transfer

  • walking tour of Prato Della Valle, an oval park on the site of a Roman Theater
  • Basilica of Sant Antonio
  • Bo Palace, the ancient University main seat and Caffe Pedrocchi
  • Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta (two picturesque squares)
  • pass by the gardens of the Roman arena

When tour is over – arrive at airport, check in

4:50 – Flight BA2585, Venice to Gatwick (2 hours, 5 minutes flying time)

5:55 pm – arrive at Gatwick Terminal N for a 4 hour, 5 minute layover

10:00 – Flight BA2914 departs for Manchester out of Gatwick Terminal N (55 minutes in air)

10:55 pm – arrive in Manchester Terminal 3

11:00 pm – check into Crowne Plaza, which is attached to the airport.  Hotel phone number +44-871-9429055.  Confirmation number 63981060.

Fruit Leather Recipe (no sugar added!)

Cherry apple fruit leather looks ugly, I’ll give you that much.  (My lackluster photography skills also play a large role in that picture.  I think it’s the direct lighting.  Thoughts?)  Fruit leather is really healthy, though, and it’s got the husband seal of approval.

I don’t have a “real” recipe to pass on today – more of an idea.  It’s infinitely adaptable – we just happened to have cherries so I thought I’d try that flavor.  Next time I’ll try peach, raspberry, or strawberry.  Go nuts, and let me know how it goes!

Fruit Leather


  • Applesauce (natural – check the ingredients list to make sure there isn’t any added sugar)
  • Fresh fruit (I used cherries this time)


  1. Take stems, pits, etc. out of fresh fruit.  Heat in a saucepan until soft.
  2. Blend fresh fruit and applesauce in a food processor.  (I used an equal amount of fruit and applesauce, but you could certainly try experimenting!)
  3. Prepare a baking sheet with a thin layer of nonstick cooking spray.  Spread fruit mixture evenly over the pan.  You can put it on a bit thicker than you’d think.  I put a moderate amount and parts of it were so thin that I could see through them.
  4. Put in a warm oven (140 degrees) for about 8 hours, or until fruit is no longer tacky and soft.  Alternately, you could use a food dehydrator if you have solid trays with sides.
  5. Cut into strips or large squares.

100 Things to Make, Updated

My list of 100 Things to Make is full… now comes the fun part!  I’ve already started ticking off some recipes.  Nine recipes, to be exact.  Nearly all of which were desserts.  No wonder I’ve gained a few pounds in the last month!  Maybe I need to revise and replace some of my desserts with vegetables.

Because of our honeymoon, I’ll take a break for the rest of the month (not complaining about that!), but I’ll start up again come August.  If you have a good recipe for any of these, by all means send it my way, or comment with a link to your recipe!

100 Things to Make

  1. Povitica
  2. Cream puffs
  3. Yogurt
  4. Bagels
  5. Doughnuts
  6. Egg rolls
  7. Fruit leather
  8. Onion rings
  9. Roasted red peppers
  10. Deep fried cheese curds
  11. Rhubarb upside down cake
  12. Shepherd’s pie made this but haven’t blogged about it yet
  13. Lemon poppy seed muffins
  14. Jalapeno poppers
  15. Better than sex cake
  16. Black bean burgers
  17. Cheese crackers
  18. Multigrain bread
  19. Oven roasted asparagus made this but forgot to take any pictures
  20. Scones
  21. Peppercorn steak
  22. Quiche
  23. Eggs Benedict
  24. Cobb salad
  25. Chocolate eclair cake
  26. Philly cheesesteak
  27. Calzones
  28. Sweet potato fries
  29. Pancake mix
  30. Maple glazed ham
  31. Chicken cordon bleu
  32. Refried beans
  33. Pulled chicken tacos
  34. Fortune cookies
  35. Artichoke dip
  36. Cheesecake
  37. Pumpkin pie
  38. Mayonnaise
  39. Chicken and broccoli stir fry Again… made but no pictures.  YUM-O, though.
  40. English muffins
  41. Salad dressing
  42. Couscous
  43. Fajitas
  44. Steak quesadillas
  45. Orange Thai beef skewers
  46. Cheeseball
  47. Texas caviar
  48. Tagalong cookies
  49. Samoa cookies
  50. Chicken pot pie
  51. Caramels
  52. Pecan snowballs
  53. Sables
  54. Pork breakfast sausage
  55. Coconut macaroons
  56. Tomato soup
  57. Cake pops
  58. White pizza dip
  59. Apple butter
  60. Orange roasted salmon with yogurt-caper sauce
  61. Wine soaked cherries over pound cake
  62. Buster bar torte
  63. German rye bread
  64. Lazy daisy cake
  65. Pork medallions with blue cheese and chives
  66. Teriyaki sesame chicken
  67. Cheesy wild rice soup
  68. Ice cream
  69. Any recipe from Deceptively Delicious
  70. Pasties
  71. Hummus
  72. Frittata
  73. Edamame
  74. Breaded perch
  75. Vegetable bake
  76. Croutons
  77. Gorp
  78. Ding Dongs or Swiss Cake Rolls
  79. BLT salad
  80. Jam
  81. Dilly beans
  82. Red velvet cake
  83. Pineapple upside-down cake
  84. Chicken ranch pizza
  85. Spicy bronzed chicken
  86. Chicken broccoli braid
  87. Chicken empanadas
  88. Pulled pork tacos
  89. Waffelized hash browns (or anything “waffleized”)
  90. Wilted spinach salad
  91. Honey cranberry cornmeal quickbread
  92. Beer cupcakes
  93. Oreo truffles
  94. Blueberry boy bait
  95. Onion soup mix
  96. Molten lava cake
  97. Woodtick salad
  98. Honey wheat muffins
  99. Chocolate chip date cake
  100. Chicken princess

Chocolate Eclair Cake Recipe

Yum, yum, double yum.  This is the tastiest dessert I’ve ever made, ever, by far.  That may say more about my cooking skills than the cake, but I promise it’s good.  Imagine a chocolate eclair with more filling, whipped cream, and chocolate.

The picture doesn’t do it justice – next time I make it, I’ll have to take a closeup of one piece, showing of all four of its glorious layers.  The base is made of eggs, butter, flour, and water.  The next layer up is the cream – pudding mix, milk, and cream cheese.  Then comes some whipping cream and sugar whipped to perfection, and to top it off, the chocolate layer (chocolate chips, butter, milk, and powdered sugar).  You do need to refrigerate it for a few hours before it’s ready for it’s debut, so starting this early in the morning or even the night before an event is to your benefit.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

I use a recipe from my husband’s aunt, but there’s a similar recipe at Big Oven.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large package vanilla instant pudding
  • 2 1/2 cups cold milk
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (room temperature)
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar


  1. To Make Cake: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring the water and butter to boil.  Add flour; stir.  Remove from heat and add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition until smooth. Spread in an ungreased 9×13″ baking pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Cool.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the pudding mix, milk and softened cream cheese together until thoroughly blended. Spread pudding mixture over the baked and cooled eclair crust.
  3. Using an electric mixture with a whisk attachment, whip together whipping cream and sugar.  Spread over pudding mixture.
  4. Melt chocolate chips and butter. Remove from heat and add confectioners sugar and milk alternately until a thin glaze forms.  While still warm, pour or drizzle over whipped cream.  Refrigerate overnight.