12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, Revised
Day eleven of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover and it’s Christmas Eve!
I want to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas. I am really enjoying this holiday season—more than I have in a long time. Back home in Ohio, my family has grown by one member, my brother’s son Casper Ryan Morris (pictured below), so I kind of wish I was home to meet him and visit with everyone in the clan, but at the same time I am loving the fair weather here and our house and our tree and spending Christmas with Andy. 🙂
If you’re still looking for gift ideas, your time is running out. However, it’s not too late to order my gift idea for today because it hasn’t been released yet! Also, it’s never to plan for next year.
Today’s gift idea comes from a book I received for review called How to Travel the World on $50 a Day (Revised Edition). You can pre-order it by going here and it will be sent out after the release date (January 6th). Actually, this gets you out of hot water if you are a procrastinator, because you can say, “Hey, I got you something, but it hasn’t been released!” 😉
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day was written by Matt Kepnes, a Boston native who was never a big traveler at all until 2006. That year, he went on a tour trip in Costa Rica, and got hooked on travel. He quit his desk job and decided to take a year off to travel. The year turned into 18 months, and Matt is still on the road.
Since then, Matt has been showing readers of his enormously popular travel blog (nomadicmatt.com) that traveling isn’t expensive and that it’s affordable to all. He proves that as long as you think out of the box and travel like locals, your trip doesn’t have to break your bank.
His book How to Travel the World on $50 a Day gets an upgrade in this new revised and expanded edition—it still has Matt’s signature tips, tricks, and secrets to comfortable budget travel based on his experience traveling the world without giving up the sushi meals and comfortable beds he enjoys, but it also has brand-new content, including new chapters on China, Japan, and India. Other tips include how to:
• Avoid paying bank fees anywhere in the world
• Earn thousands of free frequent flyer points
• Find discount travel cards that can save on hostels, tours, and transportation
• Get cheap (or free) plane tickets
A good read for anyone beginning to travel or someone who already lives out of their suitcase. You can find Nomadic Matt on Facebook here and follow him on Twitter here.
Tomorrow will be day 12 of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover. Don’t miss it!! 🙂
12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: DIY Chocolate and Pistachio Fudge
It’s Day Nine of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover, and today’s idea comes from my love of chocolate and pistachios. It’s my recipe for Chocolate and Pistachio Fudge!
It’s a pretty easy recipe to make, and once you’re done you can pick out a nice cookie tin and present it to your recipient (but instruct them against shaking it). Remember to tell your candy lover to store the fudge in the refrigerator (when they are not too busy eating it) 😉
For the Pistachio Layer:
2 cups roasted pistachios
1-2 Tbs coconut oil, softened
1½ Tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tsp sea salt
For the Chocolate Layers:
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate (whatever your favorite brand happens to be)
1/4 coconut oil, softened
Line a 9 x 13 in. baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Begin with roasted pistachios (either roast them in the oven or buy them pre-roasted, but try to get them unsalted, as this will add an unnecessary amount of sodium to the recipe). Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until the nuts begin to stick to the sides (you’ll end up making a pistachio butter by the time you are done blending). Add the coconut oil to help the pistachios turn into a butter. When the mixture is completely smooth, add your sweetener of choice, the vanilla and the salt. Set this mixture aside.
Melt your chocolate with the coconut oil (either in the microwave in 10-15 second bursts and stirs) or over a double boiler on the stovetop. When the chocolate is completely melted, spread half of it onto the parchment lined baking pan. You’ll want the layer to be a little less than 1/4″ thick on the bottom. Let the chocolate harden before you move onto the next step. You can speed things up by placing your pan in the freezer for 10 minutes.
When the chocolate has completely solidified, spread the pistachio mixture over it 1/4″ from the edge of the chocolate. Spread the mixture evenly. Then top the pistachio layer with the remaining melted chocolate and also spread evenly. The idea is to get all layers pretty even so that when you cut it, the pieces of fudge will look elegant and uniform. 🙂 Return the pan to the refrigerator/freezer and allow to harden completely.
The next step is to cut the pieces of fudge in little diamonds. You can do this by making diagonal slices all the way across from left top to right bottom, and then diagonal slices from the top right to the bottom left. You can place the slices directly into your parchment-lined cookie tin with a spatula.
Now you’re all set to give a delicious, addictive homemade gift. You might not want to give it away once you try it. 😉
Join me tomorrow for another 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover (DAY 10!!) Getting sooo close to Christmas now! Cheers! 🙂
12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: The Vinnibag
Day six of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover goes to the VinniBag.
The VinniBag is a reusable travel bag with inflatable air chambers and is designed to provide superior protection against impact and leakage.
The VinniBag can be used for wine, olive oil, liquor, fragile items etc., and can hold most 750ml bottles—even larger magnum bottles (Bordeaux style only).
The Vinnibag exceeds all airline requirements and has been independently tested for alititude and temperature changes.
The VinniBag is recyclable & 100% USA Made. You can actually send used VinniBags back and the company has them turned into garden hoses to help keep our planet green and will give you a discount on your next VinniBag purchase.
The VinniBag is made by Ellessco, a women-owned company originally founded by a mother and her daughter (who still get along!). Their passion for travel, design, and technology led them to develop innovative products for life on the go.
The Vinnibag is $28 and $25 if you buy 2 at a time. You can purchase them here.
Why do I love the VinniBag? It’s pretty simple. It gets our wine from point A to point B with no bottle breakage. Andy and I have used it repeatedly over 3 years and it’s never failed. It even transported a magnum of Scribner Bend’s Black Hat Tempranillo to Mexico in perfect condition. Thank you, VinniBag! 🙂
You can find VinniBag on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. Check back tomorrow for day seven of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers!