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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Apple a Day 12.1.10

An apple a day is said to keep the doctor away. While I’m not sure if that’s true, I do know that many of us like to partake in a tasty apple every now and then and also in the many forms of apple-ism, like pie, butter, jelly, cobbler, juice and cider. December 1st is Eat a Red Apple Day, so in honor of that, I have come up with some fun facts about apples and traveling to the regions where you can sample different varieties and enjoy a fun holiday.
Lorikeets Love Apples
Washington State is the largest apple producing state and accounts for 55% of the U.S.'s total apples. Other "apple" states are New EnglandNew YorkMichiganCalifornia and Pennsylvania. 

Alaska Airlines is happy to fly you to any of these states (and more!) from only $50 each way with their Hot Deals On Ice sale in honor of their sponsoring of the Apolo Ohno "Zero Regrets" Book Tour.

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Southwest wants to get in on the action, too, and fly you between U.S. destinations with their Winter Travel Sale. Fly each way from only $59 between selected cities (of which there are many). Purchase by December 13 and travel January 4 – March 9. Remember, Southwest still lets you check a bag for free, so if you find you’ve overpacked or just don’t want to drag your carry-on through the airport, you’re covered. I like to use it as a backup solution to my buying too much on my trip and check my regular bag back and take the extra bag I packed as my carry-on.

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Southwest wants to get in on the action, too, and fly you between U.S. destinations with their Winter Travel Sale. Fly each way from only $59 between selected cities (of which there are many). Purchase by December 13 and travel January 4 – March 9. Remember, Southwest still lets you check a bag for free, so if you find you’ve overpacked or just don’t want to drag your carry-on through the airport, you’re covered. I like to use it as a backup solution to my buying too much on my trip and check my regular bag back and take the extra bag I packed as my carry-on.

And AirTran! Book by December 9th and travel through March 16.  Rates start at just $44 each way between select cities. Travel on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday for the lowest prices.

Where can you find apple varieties in your travels, besides grocery stores? Check out the local farmers markets. They are likely to have many types of the fruit as well as jam/jellies, sauces and other things made with them for you to sample and take home. The product will usually be fresher than the produce section and you can converse with locals.
  • The Cliffs Resort at Pismo Beach is offering over 55% off their rack rate of $259/night. Book by Dec 7 for stays through February 2011 and pay just $89/night! Add just $10 for breakfast for 2. What does Pismo Beach have to offer, you ask? Beautiful coastline, more wineries than you can shake a sick at, golf courses and more. The Cliffs has a Latin-themed restaurant, oceanfront heated pool, complimentary shuttle to/from the airport and train station, 24-hour fitness center, WiFi and spa. Upgrade to a suite for $40 more and be rewarded with even better views of the landscape.
  • China is number one in apple production, but they are also the U.S.’s number one source for concentrated apple juice. How would you like to sample some of their many varieties while on a 10-night tour? For just $1499 per person (around $1000 less than similar packages) you will take RT airfare to Beijing, spend 3 nights in the Doubletree Hilton Beijing, 2 nights at the Grand Nobel Xian, 3 nights aboard the Victoria Star for a Yangtze river cruise, 2 nights at the Crown Plaza Shanghai Fudan, receive most of your meals, all airport transfers and intra-China flights and English-speaking tour guides. Must book by December 7 for selected travel dates in February and March.
  • India is big on apples, but their stock mostly stays in their own country to feed their large population. Go get your share by taking the Golden Triangle Tour. 6 nights and 7 days takes you on a whirlwind tour of DelhiAgra and Jaipur. The tour itself starts at $420 per person, but you can add air as well. You will be staying in 3- and 4-star accommodations, which are recommended by both GEts Holidays employees and TripAdvisor. I love the tour information on this site. It makes it sound like you will be staying in palaces and eating the finest foods off of gold platters. I doubt this is true, but even so, it sounds like an awesome itinerary.
  • Visit The Big Apple and taste some apples…or at least have an appletini. If you can get away any time between December 12 and February 28, you can save 40% MAve Hotel NYC in New York. It’s a 5-minute walk to Macy’s and Mario Batali’s new restaurant called Eataly. From $139/night, you can enjoy your complimentary continental breakfast and then hit the shops or walk down the street to the Empire State Building or Madison Square Garden. You really can’t ask for a better location. Think of the money you’ll save on cab/subway fare when everything is within walking distance. Upgrade your room for an extra $60/night and get your 3rd night free! (Your nightly rate would then be even less than the original deal!) Complimentary WiFi, gym access and USA Today also included in your stay. Book by December 7.
  • Not really city folk? How about a staying in a 4-star hotel at Niagra Falls instead? Only $106/night at the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel & Conference Centre. 3 different packages to choose from including:**Family Skating Package - City view room, skating and skate rental for 2 adults & 2 children, buffet breakfast for 2 adults and 2 children. **Dinner and Movie Package - City view room, $39 dinner voucher and one in-room movie. or **Romance Package - City view room, bottle of Peller red or white wine, cheese and cracker plate for two. [Each package includes one night at the above rate; however, you can purchase multiple nights and pick different packages for each if you want. Book by December 13 for stays through January 2011.]
  • Chile is one of America’s apple importers for off-season stocking of apples in our stores. Spend 3 nights in Santiago at the Novotel Santiago Vitacura for $1380 per person, including RT LAN flight through Lima and daily breakfast. The hotel is located in the middle of the city center and close to many tourist spots as well as delicious restaurants, art galleries and public transport. Prices good for travel in January.
  • Here’s a big one: 4 nights in Mendoza, Argentina in a modern apartment hotel with continental breakfast and facilities to do all the rest of your cooking, should you choose to do so. Includes your RT airfare on LAN, if you can spare $3,498pp and travel in December, you’ll save 25%.

Not able to travel to any of these places or any of the following top apple-producing countries? ChileNew Zealand,GermanyItalyPolandFranceRussiaTurkeySouth AfricaBrazilAustralia or Iran. How about running to the store (or farmers market) and picking up some delicious apples to make this wonderful Apfelstrudel recipe from Germany, courtesy of Epicurian.com! (that’s apple strudel for you Yanks.)
6 c Apples; Tart, Sliced
1 T Lemon Rind; Grated
2 t Cinnamon
8 oz Fillo Leaves; 1/2 Box,Thawed OR make strudel dough - 
recipe follows
1 c Bread Crumbs; Finely Crushed
3/4 c Raisins
3/4 c Sugar
3/4 c Almonds; Ground
1 3/4 c Butter;(No Margarine),Melted
Mix apples with raisins, lemon rind, sugar, cinnamon, and almonds. Set aside. Place 1 fillo leaf on a kitchen towel and brush with melted butter. Place a second leaf on top and brush with butter again. Repeat until 5 leaves have been used, using about 1/2 c of butter. Cook and stir bread crumbs with 1/4 c of butter until lightly browned. Sprinkle 3/4 cup crumbs on the layered fillo leaves. Mound 1/2 of the filling in a 3-inch strip along the narrow end of the fillo, leaving a 2-inch border. Lift towel, using it to roll leaves over apples, jelly roll fashion. Brush top of the strudel with butter and sprinkle with 2 T crumbs. Repeat the entire procedure for the second strudle. Bake the strudels at 400 degrees F. for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned.
Servings: 12
4 c Flour, (preferably bread flour)
2 t 
2 ea Large eggs
2-1/2 c Water
8 T Butter (unsalted), melted
1 t White vinegar or lemon juice

Sift the 
flour and salt onto a board or into a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Lightly beat the eggs with a fork, then beat in the water and half of the melted butter. Add the vinegar or lemon juice, if desired. Pour the egg mixture into the well in the flour. Stir until all of the flour is incorporated into the egg mixture and the dough is smooth. On a floured board, knead the dough for at LEAST 10 minutes; or until it is smooth, shiny and blistered on the surface. Brush the dough generously with melted butter, place it in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. Cover a large table completely with a floured cloth. Place the dough in the center of the cloth and, working in all directions, roll out the dough as thin as possible. Spread a little melted butter over the dough, and stretch it with your hands--CAREFULLY working all around the table to avoid tearing the dough--until it is very thin and almost transparent. As you stretch, brush the dough with more butter as necessary. Cut off any thick edges, then let the dough rest for about 15 minutes before using it. NOTE: The 2 lbs of dough produced by this recipe can be stretched into a sheet about 6 feet square--enough for two 3-foot strudels. Any excess dough can be restretched. With practice in stretching the dough, you may be able to make a 6-foot square out of 1 pound of dough.

Makes 2 strudels, 6 to 8 servings each.

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Want to get through airport security fast? See the 8 most suspicious, everyday things that you’ll get stopped for by TSAwith this great article in Budget Travel Magazine.

This just in: Shereen Travels Cheap will be featured on the Ebates blog on December 7th! Be sure to check out the blog other times, too, for great ideas on how to save with and without Ebates! 

You can also see other featured posts of mine on the following websites: 
The Little (Hotel Search) Engines That Could
London For Less (So You Can Buy More Shoes)

What's For Dinner?

How To Be a Frugal Foodie on Vacation

Pack Light. Look Great. Save Money.

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