Sunday, October 25, 2009
Lately I've been hearing more and more about house swapping. It's a pretty interesting concept and possibly a big cost saver to your travel budget. Your accommodations end up costing you nothing. To do it: you register with a service, post pictures of your home, and make arrangements with the owners to swap homes with them for a weekend or a couple weeks. I haven't done it myself, but something to consider.
This is a pretty good article from Travel + Leisure where the authors talk about their experience.
Special Report: House Swapping - Articles - Travel + Leisure
The Leading Swap Agencies
Each of these companies is largely Web-based and has listings that cover the world. See the FAQ sections for sample agreement forms that members use to outline the terms of their trade.
Intervac The oldest and best-known house-swap outfit, Intervac was founded in 1953 by Dutch and Swiss teachers' unions to facilitate temporary out-of-town housing for members. Twice a year the company publishes two regional catalogues that go to members for $100 a copy. Average number of listings: 10,000. 800/756-4663; www.intervacus.com; annual fee $70.
Homeexchange.com This site offers the most exhaustive guidance for would-be swappers. Average number of listings: 6,500. 800/877-8723; annual fee $50.
Homelink International Homelink also produces a directory of offerings that members receive two times a year for $45. Average number of listings: 14,000. 800/638-3841; www.homelink.org; annual fee $75.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 slices of veggie bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup or more buttermilk
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. I use my fingers to get everything blended, but that's up to you. Stir in cheese and bacon. Add buttermilk and 1/4 cup water, stirring just until moist. Drop dough by 2 level tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 400° for 11 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
If you're a diver, or want to become one, check out Bob's website.
Bad Leo's Diving
Long Way Down
The Amazing Race: Watch Episodes and Video and Join the Ultimate Fan Community - CBS.com
Sunday, October 18, 2009
It's that time of year again. The days are getting shorter. The leaves are turning. The air is chilly and damp. Good soup making weather. Everybody has a favorite pumpkin soup recipe. And here's mine. It's an old Rachael Ray recipe that I've been playing around with over the years. It's a quick meal, and as easy as pie.
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of butter
1 red onion chopped
1 can of vegetable broth
1 can of diced tomatoes in juice
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 pinches of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat a deep pot over medium heat. Add oil and butter. When the butter melts, add the onion and saute until tender. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans, and pumpkin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and stir in cream, curry powder, cumin, cayenne, and a few pinches of salt. Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I also picked up:
The Global Soul by Pico Ayer
Long Way Down by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman
Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux
Kayak is a constantly evolving travel search engine. It was started in 2004 by the co-founders of Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia. The site aggregates information from other travel sites, consolidators, airlines, hotel chains and online travel agencies. It's a pretty cool, intuitive site and the search engine does some of the grunt work of sorting through the clutter.
I'd read in Budget Travel magazine that Kayak is going to allow: Search Sharing, where you can share your search results with others who might be traveling with you. Search Snooping, which allows you to enter your home airport and watch as the best fares other searchers are finding from that airport pop up in real time, and Search On The Go, Kayak's iPhone app which allows for searching when you're mobile.
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