Sunday, December 25, 2016

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Trust Everything You Read in Travel Guidebooks

A travel guidebook is a must-have commodity on any foreign excursion, or is it? What are some of the reasons why you should not trust everything you read in a travel guidebook?

Some Travel Writers Have Not Been There!


Readers often assume that the travel writers who have gushed for page after page about how wonderful Madagascar is to have spent a substantial amount of time living or travelling around the country sampling the local culture, cuisine and living as a local. But the truth of the matter is that many travel writers have not actually set foot inside the country they are writing about as “experts.”


Rather than actually spending any time in the travel destination, some writers rely on “desk updates” by using the phone, Internet, books or interviewing others who have been to the destination to gather their information for the travel guidebook, none of which is completely accurate or full-proof. Some publishers never actually ask writers to verify their information, but will accept it at face value.


Authentic “Insider” Tips Are Hard to Come by


If you are looking for unique insider tips on your destination, do not expect to always find what you are looking for inside your travel guidebook. Travel guidebooks are notorious for getting it wrong when it comes to cultural norms, the eating habits of locals and how locals behave. So-called “authentic” eating and watering holes are normally put into travel guidebooks that cater exclusively to tourists, rather than locals. Such establishments are usually much pricier than areas where locals gather to relax and eat.


Where Are All the Negative Reviews?


Look closely at travel guidebooks and one thing you will quickly notice is that it is difficult to find a negative review. A savvy traveller will want to know which establishments to avoid, how to blend in well and make the most of their trip. But instead of candid reviews, what you will find is information stating that all restaurants are “top notch”, every beach is “to die for” and the locals are “the friendliest people in the world.” But is this all really true?


Remember that writers are trying to sell books, which is why you will find nothing but the best of everything in a travel guidebook and reviews you read will all be pretty PC. A good rule of thumb is to research individual hotels, restaurants and other establishments that are not mentioned in travel guidebooks by going to TripAdvisor and other sites to look for reviews from people who have already frequented these establishments for an impartial review.


Travel guidebooks are not all bad, but they can be misleading if you accept everything you read at face value. Some travel writers have never actually been to the destination they have written about, which hardly makes them an “expert” to rely on for accurate information. It is also difficult to come by authentic “insider” tips in a travel guidebook until you have visited the destination and found out the truth for yourself. Finally, it is difficult to come across a negative review in a travel guidebook, as many writers are more concerned with selling books, than they are in providing accurate, impartial information.


Source:


Yahoo! Travel, 10 Things Travel Guidebooks Won’t Say, by Sarah Morgan.


Labels: 3 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Trust Everything You Read in Travel Guidebooks

3 Ways We Overeat and Don't Even Know It

By Erin Whitehead, www.FitBottomedGirls.com

We all laugh when we see those commercials where people in a fine-dining establishment discover that they’re eating fast-food fare. We all think that there’s no way we would be fooled by a $5 meal being served on fine china. But after reading Brian Wansink’s book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, I discovered that most people are tricked by these types of cues. The book is a fascinating look into why we eat what we do and why we eat as much as we do. Subtle cues in our environment play a role in our choices and consumption, from plate size to package size. The author takes what his studies have found and gives ways to apply the knowledge to your eating. A few highlights I found!


Fascinating Find #1
I fall into the same traps that many people do when it comes to eating , such as finishing a meal even when I’m way past the point of full. When French women were polled about how they decided to stop eating a meal, they reported that they stopped eating when they were no longer hungry. Chicago women typically stopped when they ran out of a beverage, their plate was empty or a TV show was over.


Take home message: Rely on internal cues, not external cues, to decide when to stop eating.

Fascinating Find #2
The more convenient a food, the more likely you are to eat it. A study of secretaries that placed a dish of chocolate in three places-on the desk, in a drawer or across a room-showed that in a day, the typical secretary ate nine Hershey’s Kisses when they were on the desk, six when they were in a drawer and only four when she had to walk across the room for them. The secretaries reported that having the distance between them and the candy gave them enough time to pause and ask themselves if they wanted it.

Take home message:
Keep fruits and veggies at arms’ length and sweet treats a good distance away.


Fascinating Find #3
Package size plays a role in how much we eat . When people were given a half-pound bag of M&M’s, they ate an average of 71 candies. When given a one-pound bag, they ate almost twice as many in the same amount of time, at 137 M&M’s. According to the book, the size of the package gives you cues as to what is the norm to consume.

Take home message: Don’t let package size fool you. Repackage a jumbo box of treats into smaller baggies or containers and serve them in smaller dishes. (Interestingly, as I was writing this and much to my shock/dismay, my hubby finished off a 2-liter of Coke that he just bought the night before. He said when he drinks out of cans it makes him stop. But this 2-liter had no end point…until it was all gone.)


This book had hundreds of interesting facts and studies and will open your eyes about how your expectations can affect how much you put in your mouth. In one anecdote, sailors thought lemon Jell-O was cherry Jell-O just because it was red. Food with descriptive names-succulent Italian seafood filet-sell better and are rated higher than non descriptive names. This book is guaranteed to make you more aware of your eating world and give you tips and tricks to make smarter choices. It might even help you trick children into liking their veggies. Power Peas, anyone?


More on Fit Bottomed Girls


  • The Fitness Truth Will Set You Free!

  • How to Overcome Binge Eating

  • 5 Tips to Stop Emotional Eating

Labels: 3 Ways We Overeat and Don't Even Know It

A Review of Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Parmesan Dinner

I am a big fan of chicken Parmesan and when I spotted Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Parmesan Dinner in the frozen meals section of my local grocery store, I could not resist it. I decided to purchase this low cal healthy meal, try it out and write an unbiased product review all about it. Here is what I discovered!

Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Parmesan Dinner costs around three dollars and the price does vary from store to store. I loved the menu of this dinner! It has a seasoned chicken breast and spaghetti with marinara sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, and also many spices along with bell pepper, onions and tomatoes. I love all of those ingredients. I could not wait to taste this dinner!


Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Parmesan Dinner is low cal, low in saturated fat, high in protein and fiber rich. It gives me a creative healthy frozen meal choice and I appreciate that. This meal is perfect for microwave cooking and that is how I chose to prepare it. I only had to vent the corner, cook on high in my microwave for five and a half minutes. I then let it stand in the microwave for two more minutes. This dinner smelled fantastic!


When I tasted the chicken Parmesan part of this meal, I loved it. The chicken breast is tender and seasoned perfectly. It is delicious. The spaghetti side dish is a real treat, in my opinion. It was filled with spices, tomatoes and very tender. The sauce in this meal is excellent and the cheeses really top this dinner off well. Eating healthy never tasted so good. I am an Italian food lover and I loved this meal. I would like to see some mushrooms added to it. Still, overall, I had few complaints. The portions could be a bit larger.


Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Parmesan Dinner is hearty and very filling. It makes a great quick lunch for me. It is so easy to prepare. This meal equals five weight watchers points. I discovered that this dinner is a part of the Smart Ones Bistro Selections dinners line. It is indeed bistro quality. I rate this meal four and one half stars out of five stars. I will be buying it again.


Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Parmesan Dinner has only 290 calories in it. 50 of those calories are from fat. It has 5 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 40 mg’s of cholesterol, 630 mg’s of sodium, 35 grams of total carbs, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugars and 26 grams of protein. This meal does contain soybeans, milk and wheat ingredients.


I enjoyed trying Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Parmesan Dinner and writing a product review about it. For more information, you can visit the eatyourbest.com website or weightwatchers.com. This healthy low cal dinner is a winner! Dieting tastes good with this one.


Labels: A Review of Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Parmesan Dinner

A Guide to Leftovers: Take Out and Homemade Foods that Taste Better the Next Day

Open your fridge and chances are bound that you are to be confronted with leftovers. Leftover food is a blessing when it comes to food preparation (click here to see a slideshow of the best leftover dishes). Using leftover food will save you valuable time cooking in the kitchen, in addition to saving you money versus just throwing them out. If handled correctly leftover food can be used in an exciting new dish. Whether you are an experienced cook or someone who can’t use a stove, “A Guide to Leftovers: Take Out and Homemade Foods that Taste Better the Next Day” is article you don’t want to skip. In it we explore the best take out and homemade leftover food.

Leftover Take Out
Food

Take out Pizza
If you haven’t discovered it already, refrigerated take out pizza is an excellent tasting leftover. Cold take out pizza makes a great breakfast. Cold take out pizza is also easy to grab on your way out the door to work.


Take out Chinese Food
Any good take out Chinese restaurant will serve a heaping portion of food. Not only will it taste great the night that you order it, take out Chinese food makes a great midnight snack or meal the next day. Some leftover Chinese take out food that tastes great when cold are: crab rangoons, chicken fingers, boneless spare ribs, lo mien, and of course pork fried rice.


Take out Mexican and Indian Food
Both take out Mexican and Indian cuisine use a lot of spices. Take out Mexican foods such as enchiladas and burritos are easy to eat cold or reheated. Take out Indian dishes on the other hand often involve a heavy rice component (think stir fry), and are generally better when reheated. Both take out Mexican and Indian cuisine are two spicy leftovers that are sure to quickly become favorites in many households.


Homemade Leftover Food


Homemade Meatloaf
Homemade meatloaf is one of the most versatile dishes to use when it comes to preparing original meals with leftover food. One option is to make a homemade chili. Cut up the meatloaf, add a can of kidney beans, tomato sauce, and a few spicy ingredients like chili powder and hot sauce, then let it simmer in a crock pot.


Leftover meatloaf can also be used to make the comfort food classic shepherd’s pie. Just add a layer of frozen vegetables on top of the ground up meatloaf, top it with mashed potatoes, sprinkle on some cheese, and bake it in a casserole dish for half an hour.


Leftover meatloaf is the main ingredient in many other great homemade dishes you can make, such as tacos, meat balls, sloppy joes, and casseroles.


Stews and Soups
Both stews and soups make fantastic leftover food because when you refrigerate them they have time for the liquid to thicken. After being reheated, homemade stews and soups will taste more flavorful.


Homemade Turkey Dinner
One classic use for a leftover homemade Thanksgiving turkey dinner is to make turkey sandwiches with stuffing and cranberry sauce. Not only are turkey sandwiches quick and easy to make, they are delicious. Another idea is to make enchiladas, substituting the often used chicken with turkey.


Homemade Roast Beef Dinner
Like turkey, homemade roast beef is another great item that goes well in a sandwich the day after. Another great option is to use the meat to make a homemade meat pie, which leads us to…


Homemade Meat Pies
Be it chicken pot pie, or a French meat pie, homemade meat pies in almost always taste better the day (or two!) after. Some may prefer to eat them cold, while others like to heat them up in a toaster oven or microwave. One great trick is to add hot sauce to leftover homemade meat pies.


Homemade Pasta
There is a reason why leftover pasta tastes better the second day. People generally cook their pasta and sauce separate from each other, and only combine the two on a plate when serving. When the pasta and sauce are combined and sit over night, this gives time for all of the flavors to infuse into the pasta, similar to how people marinate chicken or steak. Many restaurants will cook the pasta and sauce together for a few minutes just for this reason.


Homemade Lasagna
Homemade lasagna tends to taste better as a leftover for the same reason as pasta does. However a major difference between pasta and lasagna is that lasagna tastes fantastic while cold, and does not *have* to be heated up again, while most pasta dishes will. Making homemade lasagna from scratch takes plenty of work, so make sure that the next time you make one there is plenty for leftover food the next day.


How to serve leftover food
An important thing to remember about leftover food, be it take out or homemade, is that they should be severed differently then the night before. Eating the same meal two days in a row can be boring, and it is important to make sure that there is variety with your leftover food. This can be as easy as two new side dishes, or adding new spices and other ingredients to the leftover food themselves. No matter how you decide to serve it, giving new life to your take out or homemade leftover food will save you money and time.


What is your favorite leftover?


Do you have a special leftover recipe?


Comment below.


Labels: A Guide to Leftovers: Take Out and Homemade Foods that Taste Better the Next Day

A Touring Motorcycle Review of the 2009 Harley Davidson Road Glide

Not in the mood for a full-spec tourer from Harley Davidson? Perhaps your whistle needs whetted to the 2009 Harley Davidson Road Glide. Sleek, uncluttered, and elegant, this Harley Davidson Tourer makes a strong personal statement for the rider who chooses one for their scoot. The 2009 Harley Davidson Road Glide sports the shark nose fairing to keep the elements at bay, color matched hard shell saddle bags to keep your gear dry, and long-range touring amenities thoughtfully laid out for the discerning American Motorcyclist with no need for long-range passenger-hauling capability. While the 2009 Harley Davidson Road Glide is hardly a solo cruiser, you’d have to have a pretty road-hardened passenger to do an iron butt challenge sans the ubiquitous sissy bar found on the Electra Glide models. New features for the 2009 Harley Davidson Road Glide are topped off by a redesigned frame. Options for this year include cruise control and ABS brakes.

Harley Davidson’s throaty and powerful Twin-cam 96 V-twin engine is the muscle behind the 2009 Harley Davidson Road Glide, providing the lusty weekend warrior with a substantial and throaty 92.6 lb/ft of torque at just 3,500 rpm, ensuring a beautifully tuned rumble while the power is on the pavement. While power of course comes at a cost, in truth, the cost is minimal, given that the 2009 Harley Davidson Road Glide returns fuel economy in the range of 54 miles per gallon on the highway and 35 miles per gallon in the city. A six gallon fuel capacity ensures an even average of about 300 miles of range, just far enough for a quick stop at your not-so-local diner or wing place on the way out into the great unknown. Electronic Sequential port fuel injection ensures quick and effortless starting without long warm-ups or choking, and the 29.5 inch seat height is comfortable while allowing plenty of cornering prowess.


The 2009 Harley Davidson Road Glide is available in several colors, including two brand new colors, Red Hot Denim, and Red Hot Sunglow. Returning colors are Vivid Black, Black Pearl, Dark Blue Pearl, and Mirage Orange Pearl. Amenities for touring include a Harman/Kardon advanced audio system that boasts AM/FM/WB/CD/MP3 capability and 20 watts of power, and an optional sidecar. Pricing for the 2009 Harley Davidson Road Glide starts out at $18,599 if you’re ok with your bike in black. Throw in a couple of bucks, and you can get any of the other available colors, to the tune of $19,049. Options include security system, special wheels, and ABS, and for the whole shebang, it’ll set you back just on the north side of 20 grand. Expensive? Maybe. Cool? Definitely.


Labels: A Touring Motorcycle Review of the 2009 Harley Davidson Road Glide

A Politically Correct Nursery Rhyme #2

We have all heard of the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice. Now it’s time to turn it into a politically correct rhyme.

Three Visually Impaired Mice.
Three Visually Impaired Mice.
See how they cautiously move.
See how they cautiously move.
They all ran after a very proud farmer’s wife.
Who trimmed their tails with a pair of manicure scissors.
Did you ever witness such an unusual series of events?
As three Visually Impaired Mice.


Labels: A Politically Correct Nursery Rhyme #2

Are Plus-Size Women Really Proud Being Big?

Numerous plus sized women have recently changed their demeanors. No longer are they a group of women cowering in the background of group pictures. Plus size women have pulled into the forefront of the public eye. There is a known motto that they live by which is: “I’m Big, Beautiful, Curvy, Confident, and Loving It!” Plus Sized women are way more self assured and appear to have a higher self esteem opposed to their predecessors. But is it real? Is this new confident facade among bigger women just a mask they are using to hide their inner insecurities? Are plus size women really proud to be big?

Is it really possible to look at yourself naked in the mirror and like to see rolls, stretch marks, and dimpled skin? For most plus size women the answer will always be yes. Although studies have shown that obesity and depression are linked per ‘Science Daily.com’. Obese people are more prone to be depressed because they are obese, and one symptom of depression is over eating, which causes obesity. My point is, how can you be so supposedly happy when studies have proven, majority of overweight women are depressed or unhappy? Are these joyous and proud statements of plus sized women only a curtain to hide behind their true depressed and insecure mind frames?


Is it a known fact that plus size women used to be considered, unattractive, unappealing, and undesirable among most men. Just within the past few years, men have been more vocal about their attraction for bigger women. With these public admissions, as well as plus sized actresses/entertainers getting recognized, the larger women have more to be confident about. Some men are still overly verbal about their distaste for plus size women, but there are a surprisingly larger amount that are voicing their love for them as well.


There is no secret how plus size women have been constantly criticized and judged. So, why can’t plus size women uplift their spirits? Why can’t they feel like telling the world,”Screw you, I am beautiful!” It is actually commendable how they can rise above the viciousness and come out smiling. Plus size women have proved to be courageous, bold, daring, and witty. It is safe to say that the plus size woman has evolved into the new classy woman of the future.


Does that mean that there will be no more dieting and exercising? No, it means that while a plus sized woman prepares herself to be the healthiest she can be, her self esteem will stay up lifted, and she will be comfortable within her own skin.


Source: Science Daily.com


Labels: Are Plus-Size Women Really Proud Being Big?

A Review of the Flying Dragon Chinese Restaurant in Houston, Texas

When I read about the opening of the Flying Dragon Chinese Restaurant in Houston, Texas I was excited to try something new but sadly, the owners and cooks at the Flying Dragon don’t seem to understand the concept of edible food – let alone Chinese food. My husband and I went to the Flying Dragon in the Heights and based on the menu alone, we knew it wasn’t going to be good. The menu was unlike most Chinese food restaurants in that it was missing popular items like General Tso’s chicken, sesame chicken, hot and sour soup and Singapore noodles. It was therefore difficult for us to order since everything on the menu seemed to read exactly the same: deep fried something with water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, onions and pea pods. But we were already there so we ordered anyway and lived to regret it.

Staff


When I placed the order to go, two other customers came in after me and the staff seemed frazzled. Obviously they were new and had recently opened but customers should be a good thing for a new business. The man who took my order couldn’t concentrate and kept forgetting what I had said despite my ordering one dish at a time to make it simple. A woman – presumably the man’s wife – was in charge of placing the orders with the kitchen and bringing out the food and drinks to the customers who dined in. They were both pleasant but noticeably inexperienced.


Décor


The Flying Dragon in Houston, Texas was simple and understated but not too plain. They had red chairs with black trim, beautiful oriental light fixtures on the wall, glossy tables with paper placemats – the kind where the Chinese astrology signs are listed – and minimal art.


Soup


Hot & Sour


Though the Flying Dragon Chinese restaurant in the Heights did not list hot and sour soup on the menu, I asked if they could make it. I was told they do have hot and sour soup but only in a large container. So I requested hot and sour soup for my husband and asked for it without pork which they obliged. My husband thought the soup was bland as in it had absolutely no flavor. There was no hot and there was no sour. It was boring soup with mushrooms, egg, and tofu.


Egg Drop


I ordered the egg drop soup without chicken and was told they could do that but when I opened my container, I saw there was more chicken than there was egg in my soup. And it wasn’t just chicken, it was fatty pieces of chicken. Obviously I was disappointed that they didn’t listen to my request but was willing to overlook it since I love egg drop soup; unfortunately, this soup tasted nothing like egg drop soup. It was basically salt with some sort of opaque broth mixed with clumps of unstirred eggs. It was a huge disappointment and honestly, for a restaurant to serve something that salty is just insane. It could have killed someone with high blood pressure.


Entrées


Sweet and Sour Chicken Combination


Because it was a good deal and we were both craving sweet and sour chicken, we ordered the sweet and sour chicken combination plate. This came with a large egg roll and pork fried rice. My husband ate the egg roll and thought it was the best part of the meal – not because it was so good, but because everything else was so bad. My husband thought the pork fried rice was “not bad” but it lacked flavor.


The sweet and sour chicken was the biggest disappointment of the night because it was basically black chicken – yes black, goodness knows which part of the chicken it was – that was overly deep fried and not edible. My husband’s description of the chicken was “disgusting,” and I’d have to agree. My husband joked that the black pieces were beak and for the chicken alone, I would advise the Board of Health to inspect the Flying Dragon.


Chicken Lo Mein


Chicken Lo Mein is a dish that should be difficult to mess up but somehow the cooks at Flying Dragon in Houston, Texas managed to screw that one up too. The noodles were extremely yellow with the same opaque gooey sauce that was present in the egg drop soup. The chicken was actually healthy white meat cut into cubes which was a big surprise, and it was accompanied by onions, scallions, pea pods, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, but sadly there was no flavor. They couldn’t even manage to put spices or seasoning in the Lo Mein.


My husband hated it and I just loaded mine up with lots of hot mustard and soy sauce to make it edible. The next day I stir-fried the leftovers with ground ginger, ground black pepper, ground chili powder, soy sauce, and hot mustard and magically the dish came alive. The cooks should have done that part but at least I was able to eat the leftovers; my husband, however, was not willing to try the leftovers based on his experience the night before.


Conclusion


We ended our meal with the pre-packaged fortune cookies which I’m happy to report were delicious – needless to say, the cooks at the Flying Dragon Chinese restaurant in Houston, Texas didn’t actually make them so of course they were good.


I would not advise anyone with taste buds to eat at the Flying Dragon Chinese restaurant in Houston, Texas. I think this restaurant will get many customers since it is a new restaurant, but few will be repeat customers. If you live in the Heights, do yourself a favor and go to the Empire Seafood restaurant on Airline Drive if you want good food.


Flying Dragon is located at 1710 West 18th Street, Houston, Texas, 77008. Their phone number is 713-861-2190. They are open daily from 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM, and accept Visa and MasterCard – not American Express.


*Disclaimer: This review is based on my opinion based on the dishes we ordered on August 8, 2009. We had a bad dining experience with the food at the Flying Dragon in Houston, Texas, but if you dine there, you might have a positive experience. If so, write your own review and let potential customers know which dishes you enjoyed.


Labels: A Review of the Flying Dragon Chinese Restaurant in Houston, Texas

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