Nik Snacks

Bite it and write it. That's what I do. Fueled by butterbeans & collard greens.

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On 1:30 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , , , , , ,    1 comment
This post is a part of a paid promotion with Wewelka USA. I was compensated for this post, but all photos, words and opinions are my mine.

It's as easy as pie.
Have you heard that expression?
I'm not sure if the idiom is supposed to mean it's easy as eating pie or easy to make pie.

I've got both statements covered with this recipe for Cranberry Merlot Pie.



AND if you scroll down a little bit, you can enter yourself in this contest to win some FREE Wewalka pie crust for your holiday baking.



This pie is as easy as can be with dried cranberries plumped up with juicy, full-bodied Merlot wine, accented with cherry pie filling, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of lemon zest. The pie can be left plain, dusted with powdered sugar or decorated with whipped cream. The flavor reminds me of a semi-sweet mulled wine. The whipped cream lattice reminds me of pies I used to see at a pastry shop when I was a girl.

This time around, I'm using the new Wewalka pie crust which bakes up buttery, flaky and is found in your local grocer's refrigerated case. Wewalka does all of the work. All you have to do is roll and bake. The crust comes on a sheet of parchment paper, so you don't even have to touch the dough, except to crimp the edges of your pie.

Wewalka Pie Crust is 25% thicker than other crusts and fits perfectly in a  9” pie. Just unroll, fill and bake. There is no waste when making single crust pies like this one.

Whether you're using one crust or two, Wewalka has you covered. I'm not new to this brand, as I've used other products in other recipes in the past. As an on-the-go cosmopolitan person, I don't always have hours of time to make my own dough, measure it out and freeze it for future use. Just picking up this dough will save me time. The only thing I will have to worry about is what kind of pie to make.



I got the idea to make this pie from my friend and colleague Irvin, of Eat The Love. As I was doing research for this post, I came across his circa 2011 recipe. I was reminded that this post was the very first recipe that led me to follow him in the first place. He's inspiring in other ways, too (he's a cookbook author as well as an amazing human being)

Enough talk. Go ahead and enter the contest and scroll down a little bit more to get the recipe for this sweet, boozy pie!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cranberry Merlot Pie
Yield: 1 pie

3 cups Merlot or other dry red wine
2 cups dried cranberries
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp orange or lemon zest
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling
1 package Wewalka refrigerated rolled pie crust
Whipped Cream, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Move oven rack to middle position.

2. Bring wine and cranberries to a boil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir in cinnamon and brown sugar; return to simmer for 5 additional minutes.

3. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract, orange zest. Set aside to cool completely. Fold in cherry pie filling.

4. Fit one pie crust into 9-inch pie plate. Flute edges. Dock bottom of the crust with a fork or a docking tool. Blind bake for for 15-18 minutes.

5. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF, scrape cranberry filling into prepared crust and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until filling is bubbling. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Garnish with whipped cream. Serve.


On 5:25 PM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , ,    2 comments
This Southern Onion Comfort Food post is a part of a paid promotion with the National Onion Association. I was compensated for this post, but all photos, words and opinions are my mine.

Image result for national onion association

I've taken all of the important and the subtle nuances of onions and layered them into this savory pie. It's a cross between a classic southern tomato pie, a buttermilk pie and an onion tart. The caramelized onions start in a slow cooker with sherry and thyme (if you feel fancy). Overnight, the translucent petals of white, yellow, red and sweet onions melt, become bronzed and bathe in their own juices to produce a cohesive tangle of skins that are baked under a mayonnaise and Parmesan crust inside of a buttery pie shell and garnished with a little bit of fresh chopped chives. It's super fantastic.


Onions are literally the foundation of most every savory dish. The classic mirepoix combo of onions, carrots and celery is the first thing culinary students around the planet begin their education and it continues on to how to slice, dice and add onions to everything. Raw diced onions garnishing a bowl of pinto beans is the comfort food of winter time blues while fried onion rings are always a treat at fast food establishments. 


I was inspired by a pie I had at a friend's house. When I asked her for the recipe, I was surprised it was held together with just two eggs and a cup of Greek yogurt. Since I can never leave well enough alone, I went ahead to improve upon it. This pie literally has ALL OF THE ONIONS. They're not cut with potatoes, loads of cheese, bacon or spicy peppers. It's all onion, all of the time. A time-honored Southern-inspired pie, tomato pie, usually has a mayo and cheese crust and it's baked until the center isn't jiggly and the top is bubbly and brown. It's a thing of beauty. 

BUT--The magic literally happens in the Crock Pot over the course of 5 hours or overnight. The beauty of this recipe is the same onions are also used to make the next recipe, Slow Cooker 5 Onion Soup (stay tuned for that gem).




Served with a fresh salad of mixed greens or kale, it's the perfect light lunch or light dinner.
Southern Savory Onion Pie 
Yield: 6-8 slices (per pie; 2 pies)

2 to 4 pounds white, yellow, red, and sweet onions, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons cooking sherry

3/4 cup Greek yogurt
4 dashes hot pepper sauce (such as Cholula or Texas Pete)
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups caramelized onions
1 pie shell
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

Transfer all of the thinly sliced onions to the slow cooker — the slow cooker should be half to three-quarters full.

Cook for 5 hours on HIGH or 10 hours on LOW
Stir occasionally, if possible — this will help them cook more evenly, but is not necessary.
After 5-10 hours, the onions will be golden-brown and soft, and they will have released a lot of liquid. Remove onions to a large bowl and let cool.

If you like onions with a deeper color, continue cooking for another 3 to 5 hours on LOW. Leave the lid ajar so the liquid can evaporate. Check every hour and stop cooking whenever the onions look and taste good.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix 3 cups of the cooled onions with yogurt, hot sauce, eggs and salt and pepper. Make sure all ingredients are well blended and then pour into 1 pie shell.

In a small bowl, mix grated cheese, mayonnaise, salt and pepper until well-blended. Spoon mixture on top of the onion mixture in the pie shell.

To prevent burning or over-browning the pie crust, cover the crust with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.

Remove foil from the pie crust and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Garnish with chives, if using.

Let cool for a few minutes to settle before slicing.

Pie can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature.



On 11:58 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , , , ,    No comments
This is the FIFTH of FIVE posts featuring travel tips from me, Nik Snacks. Each post will have tips to help you live your best travel life with 0% hassle and 100% fun.
IF you missed the first post, click HERE for 5 travel tips, from me, Nik Snacks.



Looks like you made it! 25+ tips and tricks to living your best travel life. I've shown you
All that's left is how to book your travel. I have spent countless hours searching online, asking friends, subscribing to newsletters and I have a small grasp on what it is to book travel for yourself and others. By no means do I fashion myself to be an amateur travel agent, but I know how to use these skills to my advantage and now you will too!

Let's book some travel


1. Go incognito

Sunglasses make me look incognito 

ALWAYS search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode to see the lowest prices.
Your cookies are reset each time you re-open an incognito window and based on your cookies, prices do increase when you search the same flight path repeatedly.
Start with a clean slate for EACH search. Close all of your incognito windows, open a new one, and then search away.


2. Get yourself a high-powered search engine

No single search engine is consistently perfect (though I find Skyscanner to be the best). You're going to need to try multiple search engines to cover all if your bases.
My favorites include: Skyscanner, Skiplagged, AirfareWatchdog, Priceline, Kiwi
Google Flights isn't a bad place to start when you're beginning your search. Just know that there is not ONE search engine that covers all airlines. You have to mix, match and find a combo to cover the most area.

Kiwi.com is a great tool to get the international wanderlust going and save money. Enter your departure city, then select a date range to fly. Approximate costs appear over hundreds of countries around the globe from your departure point and the list of destinations is sorted by price, so you to see the most cost-effective place you can fly.

Skyscanner is my absolute favorite as they have map views so you can see where the airport is, track when and where is cheapest to fly, and set up alerts when your flight price meets your requirements. There's also an app, so go download that immediately!


3. Point yourself in the right direction


Airline rewards programs are a great way to get free flights, free upgrades, and free companion tickets. No matter how often you fly, you should be signed up for the airline’s reward program. Every time you fly a new-to-you airline, sign up. Every SINGLE one. Delta is my airline of choice, but you better believe I'm signed up with United and American, too. I stick to US-based airlines since they are involved in all the major alliances and you can earn miles on their partner flights. For example, if I fly Air France, it’s credited to my Delta rewards account. If I fly Air Canada, it's credited to my United account.


4. Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

No one likes to clutter up their inbox, but by signing up for mailing lists from airlines and search engines, you’ll be able to get updates about all the last-minute or special deals. This is one of the best ways to ensure you find a cheap flight. 

C'mon, let's go!

My favorite newsletters:
Cruises.com
Cruises Only
The Points Guy
Fly Almost Free
Scott's Cheap Flights

And you can't beat emails direct from your preferred airlines.
Unfortunately, if you're interested in Amtrak travel, you're just going to have to go to the website. You can sign up for email alerts and newsletters, but there is no third-party source for discounts (although AAA, AARP and college student discounts do exist)


5. Use a travel planner. Save you time and money. Take care of EVERY SINGLE DETAIL from transportation, tickets, lodging, reservations and everything you didn't think of including.

I use A Way To Go Travel or my travel consultant friend & agent, Amy Schwartz.

Grand Tetons in Victor, Idaho


BONUS TIPS:
The cheapest days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday for domestic travel.

For international travel, weekdays are usually cheaper than weekends. Friday and Sunday are the most expensive days for domestic travel.

Airline fares will keep rising the closer you get to departure, but there is a sweet spot when the airlines begin to either lower or increase fares based on demand. Don’t wait until the last second but don’t book too far in advance either. The best time to book your flight is around 6–8 weeks before your departure, or around three months before if you are going to your destination during their peak season. 21-days seems to be the last sweet spot of good prices for travel.

Some low-cost airlines don't allow their tickets to be quoted on comparison websites, so be sure to check them separately. DO YOUR HOMEWORK to understand what extra charges, such as carry-on or checked baggage fees, might increase the cost of your ticket.

See y'all in the friendly skies!



24 hours is not nearly enough time to run through the city of Montreal's offerings, but I took one for the team, traveled to the Great White North and made a schedule of some fantastic eats.

With over 5,000 restaurants, Montreal is one of North America's best destinations for anyone who loves food, world class destinations and access to some of the best gustatory experiences in the Western Hemisphere.

Pull up your athleisure pants, folks. Here's a stomach-stretching itinerary for a day and a night in the City on The Mount Royal.

Let's eat and drink your way through Montreal in 24 hours...


Let's go to Canada, eh?


SOOooo, Eater came out with its own 24 Hours In Montreal guide in September, but I would be remiss in my duty to you as a content provider if I didn't create my own list. All of these places can be reached by the extensive, well-developed transportation system of Montreal (metro or bus). If you time it right, this list will have you eating and drinking every 3 hours, like a good little tourist.

The street art in the city of Montreal is amazing


Sushi at Sushi Saint in Montreal
SAINT SUSHI BAR
I found this gem by doing a cursory search of places to eat on Yelp. Not only were the reviews highly complementary, the photos showed a range of beautiful and creative dishes. I started with the sashimi and apple salad. Delicate julienne pieces of granny smith apple paired with a shimmering, piece of perfect salmon. Pictured above is the Maki Madonna: Tuna, salmon, spicy mayonnaise, mango, cucumber, avocado and seaweed outside. But know that there is also a Maki Marvin Gaye and a Maki Tupac, as well. Best sushi I've ever had.


Smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz's Deli
SCHWARTZ'S DELI 
Montreal is known for its smoked meats and Schwartz's is the best. Mounds of sliced, cured, and smoked brisket on rye bread with whisper of mustard await you. The oldest deli in Canada is a tried-and-true tourist spot, there is always a line snaking out of the door and once inside, you may THINK you're going to regret your decision, but you're gonna choose wisely. Seating is... intimate and cozy. There's just enough room to slink by the table next to you to get to your seat. The menu is on paper placemats and while you may be tempted to order french fries or a pickle the size of your hand to accompany your sandwich, DON'T. The only side worth getting completely stuffed over is the coleslaw.


Betty bought a bit of  Bishop Bitter to make her bitter batter better
PUB BISHOP & BAGG
Known for their gin collection, skip GO and collect your $200 by checking out their EXCELLENT beer and pub menu.
Grilled octopus, shishito peppers, feta, crispy onions? Yes.
Rarebit made with house bitter, hanger steak, fried egg? Uh huh
The Bishop Special Bitter is the house brew and it was the best Canadian beer I tried. And let me tell ya--I tried MANY.

Booty, booty, booty rockin' everywhere
BOOTLEGGER L'AUTHENTIQUE
Billed as an event space, cabaret mixed with a modern-day speakeasy, this place is hopping most nights with an impressive selection of fine liquors, beers and glasses in the shape of boots. Big boots. 1 liter of beer worth of a boot. Go. Drink. Be merry. I insist.

And away we go!
FREE MONTREAL WALKING TOUR
No, this isn't a restaurant--but it's important I add it to the list because this tour could literally set the tone for the rest of your trip. Explore Old Montreal with a certified guide who had to study over two years of culture and history just to be able to lead tours for FREE. They work for tips, so hand over your money as you will learn everything there is to know about Quebec, Montreal, a myriad of restaurants, pubs, bars and start to really feel like you can take the city by storm, whether you're fluent in French or not. It's a great place to start and what's two and a half hours of fun between friends?


Even more ubiquitous than smoked meat, Canada as a whole is known for the poutine. Crispy french fries topped with fresh cheese curds and splashed with brown gravy, this dish is what people come to eat. But THIS poutine is why I traveled to Montreal in the first place. At market price (~$14 CAN) you can get the ultimate poutine topped with big, succulent pieces of lobster and garnished with a little bit o' chives. Easier to get into than say, Joe Beef, the restaurant has no address number on the outside and only takes reservations 30 days in advance, but if you're a solo (or maybe even a double) diner and arrive precisely at 5:29:30 PM when they open, you may have a chance to get in without planning so far in advance. 

Baby's first poutine
PATATI PATATA
If you can't go high, go low. As in, low price. At Patati Patata, you can get it for a small price, like $5 CAN. Don’t be fooled by the small size of the place. It's cozy and intimate, too. Crazy cheap and filling, you can get out of here for less than $20 CAN for two entrees with beer and a good tip, if you feel extra friendly.

Best bagels in the world
In 2017, this place celebrated 60 years of boiling and then baking bagels in a wood-fired oven for the masses. For less than $10 CAN you can get a dozen bagels (sesame is best) and munch on them delightfully all day long. A hot, fresh bagel fresh from that oven pictures above is one of life's joys that you should experience once in your lifetime. It should also be noted that Fairmount Bagels  also exists and is no less perfect than this place. Be a champ. Go to both. 



That's it, folks! Okay--there's more. A lot more. 5,000 more places you can try in Montreal! But this concludes my list of what to eat in the city. Have you ever been to Montreal? What did YOU eat? I'm always looking for more places to add to my to-do list for next time!

If you liked THIS post, check out my list of what to eat in PARIS!


This post is NOT sponsored in conjunction with ANYTHING. I received NO product or compensation. All opinions, photos and words are mine and mine alone.
On 8:00 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , ,    No comments
This is the FOURTH of FIVE posts featuring travel tips from me, Nik Snacks. Each post will have tips to help you live your best travel life with 0% hassle and 100% fun.

IF you missed the first post, click HERE for 5 travel tips, from me, Nik Snacks.


The worst part of travel is NOT the unpredictable weather, the flight plan or not being in control of the vehicle you're in--it's being out of your comfort zone and not having the comforts of home within arm's reach. While you can't hitch up your luggage to your house and drag it along, there are a few things you can do to reduce your discomfort and potential anxiety.

1. Flight Essentials
Most airlines allow one personal bag in addition to your carry-on and this is where you really get to shine.
Get yourself a water bottle: #StayHydrated! It's the best piece of advice and the best way to accomplish that is with a portable water bottle. There are collapsible water bottles for those who REALLY want to conserve space, but a simple Nalgene or branded water bottle from the company picnic will do. The circulated air on the plane is dry and the 6 oz. of drink during beverage service is not going to do anything for you.

2. Wipes
Any parent will tell you that baby wipes are basically a bath in a box and they are exactly right. Since you're an adult, upgrade your bath-in-a-box to facial wipes. Throw in some antibacterial wioes, too, for wiping down any surface youre going to touch: door handles, thermostats, table trays, seat belts, windows, etc.


Also, the dry air of the plane and the dirt of domestic travel will have you feening to freshen up pre-final descent. I chose to pull personal wipes out as a separate tip because when all of your chips are down and you just don't feel like a person anymore, if your face, hands and other places that house lymph nodes are clean, you may feel like a person again.

3. Snacks (including water enhancers)
I've already covered snacks in a whole other post of this five-part series, but I have to emphasize its importance by listing it here again.


Spend $60 for a day pass and reap the benefits of your airline's club. Snacks, drinks, alcoholic beverages, strong wi-fi, clean restrooms and in some cases, showers and live entertainment.

4. Toiletry bag

You don't want to be caught in the middle of nowhere looking like "Who shot John?" and the horse he rode in on. You want to be as liquored up and lacqured down as possible. These items are the absolute bare minimum that should be in your personal bag. Anything else is probably extra. Also, everyone's travel comfort level is different, so keep that in mind if you're packing for other passengers in your group.


  • deodorant
  • earphones
  • device of choice (phone, Kindle, iPad) 
  • book, magazine, suduku/crossword
  • writing implement
  • international adaptor
  • credit/atm/debit card
  • passport/ID
  • lotion/oil
  • personal wipes
  • a few dollars and some change

Be smiling when you land with all of the tips presentend here & throughout the 5-Part Nik Snacks Travel Series

5. Flight outfit: pants/shorts, shoes, shirt, jacket WITH pockets
While you want to be comfortable, you also want to look as polished and put together as you can be. Because flight travel takes us out of our element and can potentially bring out the worst in us, looking the part can get us into the right frame of mind. Compression leggings and compression socks are becoming popular although their function transcends fashion. Prevent blood clots and DVT by wearing them.

BONUS TIP:
6. Money




Every bank, credit card company and other financial institution is different when it comes to traveling domestic and abroad. The first thing you should do is notify your card company that you will be traveling. Next, decide how you are going to get your money. If you need a substantial amount of cash to carry (less than $1,500) order foreign currency from your bank.

I like to wait until I'm in my host country and withdraw from a bank once I get there. The fees are usually low and it's best to have cash on you as well as your favorite bank/credit card while traveling.
Ways to keep that money safe:

  • fanny pack (very fashionable, right now in the year of our Lord, 2018)
  • neck wallet (keep it tucked in your jacket or your shirt)
  • national titty bank of america (my favorite bank; everything is ALWAYS secure)
  • wristlet (also fashion-forward, but not very safe)
  • money alternatives (Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, GooglePay or ApplePay)


Next up: Top 5 Travel Tips HOW TO BOOK TRAVEL
On 12:13 PM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , , ,    No comments
This is the THIRD of FIVE posts featuring travel tips from me, Nik Snacks. Each post will have tips to help you live your best travel life with 0% hassle and 100% fun. 

IF you missed the last post, click HERE for 5 travel snack tips, from me, Nik Snacks.


I am often told by friends and family alike that I am BRAVE to travel solo to international destinations. I agree, but it's not as daunting and frightening as some make it out to be.
PLAN.
PLAN.
PLAN.
And then PLAN some more--that's how I get the most out of every situation. Going into it all with a sense of adventure and wonder will DO wonders for your travel life. Along with that sense of adventure, you cannot throw caution to the wind and have a devil may care attitude about traveling through a country of which you are not a citizen. I DO take personal safety precautions because I don't want to end up a subject of a Lifetime movie.

So, here are 5 personal safety tips and suggestions for traveling abroad; while not all of them apply to every person, at every location, or in every situation, in some cases, putting them into practice may save you or a loved one from serious danger.

Safety in numbers: Choose an Airbnb experience OR Yelp! event to be around others

1. Be aware of your surroundings.

Know where you're going, what time you're supposed to be at your designated place and have alternative routes mapped out just in case your first plan does not work out.

When I was in Paris, I planned to go to Mass at the only English-speaking Catholic Church in the city. I mapped out how to get there, what time the metro came, which streets to walk down and what time services were. WELL--when it was time to get off the train, the exit I needed to take was blocked. When I exited the metro station, the street was filled with armed military guards with machine guns and rows and rows of bullets crossing their bodies. To say I was scared was an understatement. I figured "Let me get to the Church, I'll be okay" But EVERY INTERSECTION WAS BLOCKED. And then--I had to use the restroom. BADLY. Long story short, the military guards and theblocked streets were because the French president was being inauguarted and it was his parade day. I didn't know that. I thought there was another terrorist attack. I ended up having "church" in a drug store with a large macaron and a shot of espresso. I was done for the day.
2. Join in group activities like tours, seated dinners, movies, performance art shows.

As a food tour guide for an amazing company, I've learned to travel via food tours in different cities, not only for enjoyment but for education about the city I am in.
Airbnb isn't just great for finding lodging, it's great to source activities in and around your chosen destination. Also, you can sign up to eat with locals who prepare food for you and other guests in their homes in a litany of cities on the social app, EatWith.

In Montreal, I signed up for a FREE walking tour and ended up meeting a group of friends who came from all around the world to meet up in the old city and WE all ended up hanging out, eating dinner and it was a magical night. I never felt so safe while being so far from home.


3. Hotels chains offer best safety. Choose Airbnbs and rental properties in safe neighborhoods near public transportation or major tourist attractions.

I only travel to cities that have extensive, reliable public transportation systems. I am not against renting a car, but when you add up rental + petrol + parking + time wasted = I'd rather take the bus or an Uber.
4. Learn key phrases in foreign language.

I don't think I need to expound upon this one.
Hello, Goodbye, Please, Thank you, Where is the bathroom and Help are the bottom of the basement, bare minimum you should know in every country you visit.
5. Do not dress as a tourist (ie. American). Research the typical mode of dress for the season in which you are traveling. Avoid sneakers, fanny packs, carrying big bottles of water.

Pickpocketers, con artists and other swindlers will be able to spot you from a mile away.



BONUS: 6. Contact the American Embassy to make them aware of your presence in the foreign country you are traveling. The embassy can also provide additional safety tips germane to the area.

There's that phrase "Safety in numbers..." and it's real and true. Take note of these 5 things beFORE you go. Three times is the charm and you have TWO more travel tip posts coming from this one blogger you know: Me. 

Enjoy!


Next up: Top 5 Carry-On Items FOR Traveling
On 4:12 PM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , ,    1 comment
This is the second of FIVE posts featuring travel tips from me, Nik Snacks. Each post will have tips to help you live your best travel life with 0% hassle and 100% fun.
IF you missed the first post, click HERE for 5 travel tips, from me, Nik Snacks.



1. If you have not purchased or were gifted a membership to your favorite major airline's sky lounge/club, spend $50-$60 for a day pass and reap the benefits of the club. Snacks, drinks, hot breakfast, lunch items, non-alcoholic beverages, strong wi-fi, clean restrooms and in some cases, showers and live entertainment (epic people watching, even though most are just on their devices being boring).

I had TWO 4-hour layovers to get to Oakland to visit with some family and attach a work-related excursion onto it. GSO >LAX >OAK = LONGEST flights of my life. I bit the bullet in Greensboro and purchased a day pass for $50 in order to relax all day. It was the best decision of my travel life.

View from one of the Delta Sky Clubs at LAX

2. PB and J is an easy and popular sandwich choice to pack on a trip, but using an alternative spread such as Sunbutter or Speculoos/cookie butter will be great to try and definitely safe for anyone suffering from tree nut or peanut allergies who may be traveling with you or sitting around you.

3. Utilize your water bottle by filling up at a water fountain. For those of you who cannot stand the taste of plain water, use those water enhancer packets for a little flavor boost. One packet is too much for me, so I use 1/2 packet and it's perfect for me.

4. Be careful with your salt and alcohol consumption the day/night before your flight. It's tempting to party hardy and tie one on the night before you travel home, but don't do it. Your feet swell, you get dehydrated faster and you feel like a miserable whale. Or is that just me?
The same goes for the night before leaving on your trip, too.


Me. Not being bloated after a 5 hour flight to Las Vegas.



5. Whether you're flying solo, in a couple or with a group, here's a list of snacks from which you should choose:

unsweetened applesauce pouches (or cups),
fruit cups packed in water or light syrup
crackers
cookies
potato chips
Carnation instant breakfast
oatmeal packets
beef jerky or pepperoni logs

cereal bars
candy
dried fruit
chocolate bars
shelf-stable dips like salsa or hummus; water enhancers without aspartame
pre-packaged cakes
cookies
granola bars
trail/granola mix [see recipe below]





Granola 
[Recipe adapted from Machete: Greensboro]

2 3/4 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup pepitas (shelled, raw pumpkin seeds)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup (Grade A or light amber)
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
1 cup chopped pistachios [optional]
1 cup sliced almonds [optional]
1/2 T kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dried, chopped sour cherries*
1/2 cup milk or dark chocolate chunks

Combine oats, pepitas, coconut chips, nuts and olive oil in a container or bowl.

In a saucepan, bring vanilla, maple syrup, salt and brown sugar to a boil, pour and mix into the dry ingredients in the large container or bowl.

Spread mix on a parchment paper or silicon baking mat lined sheet pan and bake in 325°F oven for 23-25 minutes.

Mix in cherries and chocolate chunks after granola has cooled to room temperature.

*DO NOT BAKE CHERRIES. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED


Next up: Top 5 Personal Safety Tips WHILE Traveling