Friday, July 31, 2009

Vacation, all I ever wanted...


Since returning from a wonderful, hectic and too brief vacation, I've spent the past few days trying to get back on the right diet track again. It's not easy to do after gorging yourself on delicious meals in New Orleans for five days. Want to hear some of my food binge highlights? Beignets and cafe au lait, red beans and rice, chicken jambalaya, a sausage po' boy, hush puppies, pralines, not one but two muffulettas and all sorts of other goodness...not to mention a tasty buffet and wedding cake. And what have I eaten since returning home? Lots of lettuce with low-cal dressing and vegetable soup. Sigh. It sucks coming back to reality, doesn't it?

Anyway, I've got several more out-of-state weekend trips coming up, so I plan to be especially diligent about my diet until the next mini-vacation. Did I mention that all of my travel plans this year basically center around the weddings of friends and family members? Still, my jet-setting lifestyle of late raised an interesting question while gabbing with friends over coffee the other day. With so many of us on a budget and/or short on vacation time, where is there to go that won't cost an arm and a leg? While many mentioned trips to the Florida coast or Charleston or Savannah (we live in Atlanta, after all!), it's interesting that this article showed up in the paper the very next day.

Apparently AAA did a survey to determine the 10 least expensive states. These were found to be the cheapest vacation spots. (Costs are based on average published prices for meals and lodgings for two adults.) Just some food for thought (pun intended), should you be looking for cheap travel options in the near future.

1. North Dakota
Lodging: $95.71
Meals: $63.04
Total average daily cost: $158.75

2. Nebraska
Lodging: $100.33
Meals: $59.32
Total average daily cost: $159.65

3. Kansas
Lodging: $103.40
Meals: $61.22
Total average daily cost: $164.62

4. Iowa
Lodging: $107.97
Meals: $61.84
Total average daily cost: $169.81

5. South Dakota
Lodging: $109.09
Meals: $65.74
Total average daily cost: $174.83

6. Oklahoma
Lodging: $119.94
Meals: $59.86
Total average daily cost: $179.80

7. Alabama
Lodging: $111.99
Meals: $68.76
Total average daily cost: $180.75

8. Arkansas
Lodging: $120.43
Meals: $65.66
Total average daily cost: $186.09

9. Mississippi
Lodging: $110.77
Meals: $76.56
Total average daily cost: $187.33

10. Kentucky
Lodging: $121.02
Meals: $66.74
Total average daily cost: $187.76

Finally, since this blog is supposed to be about sugar-free foods, here is a sucralose-sweetened recipe in honor of tomorrow being National Raspberry Cream Pie Day. Have a great weekend!

Raspberry Cream Pie

Ingredients:
1 (9-in.) baked pie shell
1-1/2 c. skim milk
1/4 c. granulated sugar replacement (Splenda)
1/4 tsp. salt
3 T. flour
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 T. low-calorie margarine
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed, and drained
2 c. prepared nondairy whipped topping

Directions: Combine the first 4 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook and stir until mixture thickens. Stir a small amount of mixture into egg yolks; then return to saucepan. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer. Stir in margarine and vanilla. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Fold in raspberries. transfer to baked pie shell. Top with whipped topping. Chill.

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