Family Travel Cooler Packing Tips: Packing the Perfect Cooler for Family Road Trips

Start with the Perfect Cooler

There is not one right answer regarding the perfect cooler for your particular family travels. If the purpose of the cooler is to make snacks and sandwiches handy during the ride, go for a soft cooler that's big enough to handle the job. That way, you can easily slide it right behind a front seat for grabbing on the go.

Just be sure you test any soft cooler before your trip. Sometimes, they can leak. A good way to test is to lay down a towel (perhaps outside), put the cooler on top, and then pour in some water. Wait a few hours, then go out to see if the towel is wet. Also keep in mind that even a watertight cooler will probably leak if it topples on its side.

If you will be using the cooler heavily at your destination and will store it somewhere large like the trunk, go for a rugged cooler. You might even consider getting a cooler with wheels for beach visits or camping.

The Right Ice for the Cooler

This seems like something that should be so simple, right? Why not just go to your nearest convenience store, buy a bag, and pour it in. Well, unless you like leaks and soggy food, consider other options.

One nice choice is to get flexible ice packs. You can find some that are large and feature ice in a grid line. Place one on the bottom, put your food and …

Lively Raw Food Recipes for Summertime

As with vegan cookery, I find raw food and living food preparation fascinating. Not only can eating only raw food be healthy, it can be an adventure in taste and texture. I am not a full time vegan or raw foodist, let alone vegetarian, but I do appreciate those who are and enjoy cooking for them when I get the chance, and enjoy vegan and raw food dishes in my own diet. So the recipes below are from the point of view of someone who is not a hard-line raw food practitioner, but created with care and regard for those who are. Most of all, the recipes below taste good, and as we are in the thick of summer, they utilize the freshest and most in season ingredients around. Enjoy!

Nothing is more summery to me than a cold soup that features ripe, beautiful market-fresh tomatoes. The cucumber and parsley in this lovely soup add freshness while the cayenne and garlic add zip. Adding a little olive oil does wonders by adding a richness and velvety mouthfeel.

Herbed Summer Tomato Parsley Soup

3 Large Ripe Red Tomatoes

3 Large Ripe Yellow Tomatoes

1 Cucumber, peeled and seeded

1 Large Bunch Parsley

Juice & Zest of 1 Lemon

1 Tablespoon Honey

1 Clove Garlic

1 Sprig Fresh Thyme, minced

1 Sprig Fresh Marjoram, minced

1 Teaspoon Turmeric

Pinch of Cayenne Pepper

Sea Salt

Cold Pressed Olive Oil (optional)

I like to peel the tomatoes first by dropping them into boiling water, …

Chinese Food Recipes: Wonton Soup

While living on the west coast of Canada in Vancouver, I had access to the best in Cantonese cooking-restaurants, cuisine expos, cooking classes. Chinese food recipes were commonplace in the Food section of local newspapers. Each time I visit the Vancouver area, a must is my favorite Chinese café in Richmond, B.C.-Danny's Wuntun-for their, you guessed it, Wonton Soup.

It is difficult to find good Chinese food recipes because it seems that often a crucial ingredient is omitted! The Chinese food recipe for Wonton Soup shared below is a result of much trial and error on the chef's part until perfection was finally achieved.

Wonton Soup


1 package wonton wrappers, thawed if necessary (usually contains 50)
1 lb. ground pork
2 beaten eggs
25 small shelled and de-veined shrimp, cut in half
1 8 0z. can water chestnuts, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon soya sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

6-8 cups Chicken Stock (either canned broth or recipe for stock follows)
3 Green onions, sliced


Preparing the Wontons

In a large bowl, combine the first 13 ingredients and mix well with a fork.
Place one wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand, wet corners with pastry brush;
Spoon 1/3 teaspoon of meat mixture onto the middle of the wrapper, close to the top corner;
Roll and tuck …

Points To Keep In Mind When Buying Commercial Kitchen Equipment

Are you looking for equipment for upgrading your catering services by enhancing the attributes of hygiene and maintaining your reputation? If that’s what you are planning on doing, then this is the article for you. Now most chefs and even homemakers maintaining kitchens at homes have a clear idea in their head as to how their kitchen should look like. But renovating it or building it up from scratch is quite strenuous. Life, however, is not always fair and hence we need to make do with whatever we have in hand. Take a look below to maximise your existing space and make the renovation cost-effective.

Key points to consider before buying commercial kitchen equipment:

1. Suitability of your equipment:

Characteristics of commercial equipment and household kitchen equipment vary widely.
Not only will the appliances like microwaves designed for homes like be won’t be of much good to keep up with the daily requirements of professional kitchens, but also, warranties for the equipment that are designed for domestic purposes when used for commercial purposes won’t be honoured by most manufacturers and understandably so since they are not the ones for the purpose. So the first and foremost and a rather important point would be to choose the correct category of utensils, keeping in mind the required size, quality, and other perspectives.

2. The energy efficiency of the purchased equipment:

Restaurant kitchens consume the most energy compared to any other commercial space. Hence, using energy-efficient appliances won’t be a bad idea as …

Top 10 Foodie Blogs

10. Healthy Tipping Point
Caitlin went from being an overweight, sedentary college student to a fit marathoner and triathelete. The entire journey is chronicled in her blog, Healthy Tipping Point. Follow Caitlin as she trains for a 100-mile bike race in California and gets ready to publish her first book.

Recipes to note: Pumpkin Spice Toasted Quinoa, Flax-Encrusted Sweet Potato Balls

  1. The Inner Workings of a College Graduate
    A Florida marathoner and dog-lover, Meghann’s blog shows how far training and dedication to a sport can take you. Along the way, she uses an abundance of fresh Florida ingredients to create memorable, delicious-looking meals.

Recipes to note: Nut Butter Crusted Parsnip Fries, Barley Risotto

  1. Peas and Thank You
    For anyone interested in raising a vegetarian family, this is the blog for you. Watch vegan Mama Pea raise her two little peas and learn more about keeping a family healthy and satisfied while sticking to a meat-free diet.

Recipes to note: Blackberry Cinnamon Rolls, Pumpkin Spice Roasted Chickpeas

  1. Carrots ‘n’ Cake
    This Boston resident spreads her love for healthy living and nutrition both at her day job (working for a nutrition rating company) and on her blog. A proud pug mama, Tina strives to achieve a daily balance and proves that you can have your cake and stay fit, too.

Recipes to note: Almond-Butter Stuffed French Toast, Turkey and Bean Chili

  1. Roni’s Weigh
    Roni went from an overweight mother to one hot mama, losing 70 pounds and gaining a new perspective on

Super Bowl Party Recipes: Finger Foods and Dips

What good would a Super Bowl party be without some appetizing snacks? If you're hosting your own party this year, you may feel under the gun to produce a spread of food that will appeal to everyone's tastes. Keeping the dishes simple and relatively unhealthy are usually key factors to satisfy everyone's hunger and leave them wanting more. Use the following Super Bowl party recipes to entertain your guests and turn your party into an event that no one will ever forget:

Finger Foods

Ham and Cream Cheese Roll-Ups

Ingredients: 1 pound of softened cream cheese

1 pound of sliced ham

15 green onions

2 tsp of horseradish

Directions: Begin by finely chopping the green onions. Next, combine the cream cheese, horseradish, and green onions in a large bowl and mix. Take individual ham slices and spread the mixture on each slice. Finally, roll the ham slices up and put them in the refrigerator. To make serving the roll-ups easier, you can consider cutting each slice in half. This will also make it seem like you have made double the amount of roll-ups.

Tortilla Wedges

Ingredients: 10 flour tortillas

1 cream cheese package (8 oz) – make sure it is softened

1 can of diced green chilies (4.25 oz)

1 Tablespoon of minced jalapeno peppers

1/2 cup of sour cream

1/2 cup of sliced green onions

Directions: Combine the cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl and mix them thoroughly. You can also add salt and pepper to your …

Easy Superbowl Party Food Recipes

Fast & Easy – Party Food Recipes

By now you've got the house cleaned, the food and drinks chilling, and chips and dips ready. What else can you serve your football buddies and their families on Superbowl Sunday? Here are a few easy recipes you can prepare the night before or on the day of the game.

Chips and Salsa – click on the links for quick and easy tortilla chips and super easy tomato salsa . It's best to make both the day before and let the salsa sit in the refrigerator for a half-hour or so; double and triple the recipes to feed large groups.

These are awesome tasting and simple recipes, even your kids could make help you make them.

Black Bean Salsa Recipe

1 can corn – drained
1 can black beans – drain and rinsed
1 can spicy diced tomatoes, with bell peppers and spices (optional – Rotel is great)
1 can diced tomatoes (if you omit the spicy tomatoes, make this with 2 cans of diced tomatoes)
1 small diced sweet onion
1 bunch of fresh cilantro – chopped fine
1 fresh lime or lime juice in the fake plastic lime container (to taste)
Kosher salt (to taste)


Open the cans, rinse and drain as described above, mix it all together and refrigerate until it is cold and flavors blend together – about a half-hour minimum.

Serve with chips, eat alone, or use it as a topping or side with chicken, fish, or …

Chinese New Year Foods, Recipes, Provincial Cuisine

As a 25-year teacher and homeschooler, one of my favorite ways to introduce students to a culture was by sampling foods from that country. Kids love my around the world taste tours, too. If you're exploring Chinese New Year in your classroom or family homeschool, here are recipes and food ideas to try.

Michigan State University has put together a power point describing the regions of China. Use that tool to introduce children to the eight culinary regions of China, as described by Travel China Guide.

* Shadong (Lu or Mandarin cuisine) in north China, Beijing and Jinan City: dishes focus on duck, carp, chicken and seafood, particularly abalone (shellfish). Shadong food emphasizes garlic, shallots and sea pumpkin. For a simplified shadong dish, stir-fry prawns (shrimp), asparagus spears and chunks of squash or pumpkin in garlic, shallots and peanut oil.

* Chuan (Szechuan cuisine) from Sichuan province: food is very spicy and hot, using chilis, peppercorn, peanuts, sesame, garlic and ginger. Steam or boil cellophane, rice, ramen or lo mein noodles. Make a thin sauce of crunchy peanut butter, garlic, sesame or peanut oil and minced ginger. Toss noodles with sauce, sesame seeds, sliced scallions, and peanuts. Offer red pepper flakes for students who wish to try it, but warn them that it's hot.

* Hui (Anhui cuisine) from the Huangshan mountains, these foods employ vegetables, mushrooms and rice. Steam jasmine or basmati rice and or make egg foo yung by mixing chopped bok choy, napa cabbage, mushrooms and bean …

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