How Many Summers Do You Have Left?

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No summers left for me. My kids have left the nest. The years went by so much faster than I ever imagined they would.  Yet I remember all the special summers and things we did. Things seemed slower then. I particularly remember what was probably our largest summer trip. I spent a year planning it.  The kids were only toddlers, the three of them aged 2, 4, and 6 years.   I had planned a two week driving trip in Germany and Austria for our little brood. It was the summer of 2002.  I can still see the shock on Cullen’s face when a goat decided to charge at him at the fence, the wide open mouth of my youngest as she came down the rodelbahn with her dad, and the look of astonishment on my oldest daughter when we slept in a castle just like the princesses in her fairy tales.  It was an incredible experience in so many ways.  We continued to have summer trips some small, some large, some abroad and some in our own backyard throughout the years. Truly moments I will forever cherish.

So how many summers do you have left?  How many summers have you taken that vacation?  There are may reasons why you should not skip it.  It doesn’t have to be far away or grand either to receive the gifts you get when you take time to vacation with your children before they are on their own.  Here is a list of my top reasons to take that summer vacation with your kids before their 18 summers are gone.

Discover Something New- You don’t have to go far to try new things or even learn new things.  I remember one summer with the kids where we actually were home and I took boxes from the move and turned them into an make believe airplane and suitcases. With help from books from the library we traveled the world that summer in our very own backyard.

Appreciate The Ordinary- Something as simple as lying on your back looking up at the stars can so easily be achieved with a quick weekend camping trip.  I remember several of ours that took us to Arkansas and to Kentucky areas not far out of Memphis where we were living at the time.  Nothing truly beats sitting by a fire with a marshmallow on the end of a stick.

Get Fully Submerged-When your adventure takes you away get involved with the culture of the area. Join in ritual or a dance. Learn some of the language. Eat the foods they eat. Mingle with the locals. You and your children will be richer for it.

Be Silly-We are so serious when we are in our day to day. Work, school, and life’s mishaps. Vacations are the perfect time to let the laughs happen.  And even better catch it on film and in pictures.   I can’t tell you how many photos we’ve gone back over to laugh at a moment in time.

Time is ticking. Summer is coming. Where will your vacations take you before your 18 are gone?


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslHow Many Summers Do You Have Left?
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The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music-Salzburg-Austria

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When arriving into Salzburg, your eye will first be caught by the brilliant color of the Salzhach. It is the main river running through this Austrian state. The river which in English means Salt River, was a very important part of the local economy. However, it truly is it’s blue sea color that will make you stop for a photo op. As you continue your journey into Salzburg, you will see it is a city of beautiful architect nestled amongst the Alpine surroundings.


Salzburg and Austria for that matter has plenty to offer for your vacation experience. I would suggest planning a couple or night or more stay with daily activities to explore the area. And if you are a fan of Sound of Music and fell in love with the beauty of Austria from years of watching Julia Andrews sing “The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music..” then you’ll want to include on one of the day trips to explore all the famous film spots used in creating this heart warming story of the family Von Trapp. Several operators offer “The Sound of Music Tour” that lets you relive your favorite scenes from the movie. Typical adventures are about 4 hours in length and while you visit the film’s iconic landmarks your guide will also fill you in on the historical background of Salzburg pointing out top attractions with their stories.

So sit back, relax, and even sing along as you visit these highlights:

Mirabell Gardens- The garden where Maria and the children are seen singing ‘Do-Re-Mi’
Leopoldskron Palace- A stop here at the lake where the famous boat scene happens and all tumble into the water.
Hellbrun Palace, Gazebo-“I’m 16 going on 17…” and where Maria and Captain von Trapp have their first kiss.
Nonnberg Abbey-The oldest convent in German speaking Europe and famous for the opening sing with nuns singing when Maria runs in late to the Abbey.
St. Michael’s Church in Mondsee-The church where Maria and Baron vonTrapp marry
Frohnburg Palace-This palace was used for opening scenes as Maria first stumbles in with her clothes that nobody wanted as she arrives at the house gates.

As well as other scenic highlights and attractions of Salzburg.

For the fan, the tour is a dream come true, as like myself, you will be reliving childhood memories of years gone by.

For more information on visiting Austria, Salzburg, or adding a “Sound of Music” tour to your itinerary, contact us!

 


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslThe Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music-Salzburg-Austria
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Passport for Your Palate-Pot de crème

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In the spirit of February, a month know for romance, flowers, and chocolate, I thought I would share one of my all-time childhood favorite desserts that my mom would make. After all, Chocolate Day is celebrated the third day of Valentine’s week which we just celebrated last week. And, what says “I Love You” better than a box of chocolates.

Chocolate, at least in my world, makes everything better. Chocolate is my “go to” when I need an instant mood pick me up. It is like an instant shot of happiness. Best yet, there are facts that this delicacy really does have that ability to improve one’s mood if not provide much more. Chocolate actually has many health benefits that include regulating heart circulation, reducing cholesterol, and even aiding in weight loss. It’s celebration in use in February is tied to its reputation for being an aphrodisiac.

Pot de crème is a French dessert custard dating to the 17th century.

The name means ‘pot of cream’ or ‘pot of custard’ which refers to the little ceramic dishes the dessert is served in. One only needs a small amount of this lavishly rich flavored treat that is made with eggs and/or egg yolks, cream, milk, and chocolate. It is fairly simple, yet your family and guests will think you slaved over it. I had the pleasure of enjoying my favorite treat over the holidays, when my mother made it for me on my last visit to Vermont. Here is her version that I have grown up with and continue to devour and make for my family.

Pot de crème au chocolat

Ingredients:
1 bar (4oz) Germans sweet chocolate
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup cream
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
Whipped cream

Mix chocolate, sugar, and cream in saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate melts and mixture becomes smooth and blended. Remove from heat. Slowly pour into egg yolks, stirring constantly. Blend in vanilla. Pour into small individual dessert dishes or demi-tasse cups. Chill. Garnish with whipped cream.

4 servings.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Pot de crème
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Passport for Your Palate-Backhendl-(Austrian Style Fried Chicken)

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One thing I know and have discovered through years of research into my family line on Ancestry.com is that I have Austrian influence in my genes. My mother’s maiden name was Pivarnik, which means “son of the beer maker” and is of Bavarian descent. I even married a man with Austrian heritage. My ex-husband’s last name, Rossmeissl, means “horse chisel.” With Austrian influence on both sides, it was no surprise we had grown up with similar meals passed down along our family lines. However, it wasn’t until a family trip in 2003 exploring the Austrian and German countryside, cuisine, and drink, that we began cooking backhendl (pronounced BAK-ehn-del).

Backhendl is simply an Austrian version of fried chicken using a whole chicken.

I adapted a recipe from Epicurious.com from the Gourmet September 1990 issue after having an Austrian au pair help me out with the children the summer of 2006 at our home in Bartlett, TN. She introduced us to several Austrian customs and flavors. She even sent me a cookbook for my birthday after her return to her Graz, Austria to finish university. The adapted recipe I am about to share became a fan favorite at our neighborhood’s association International Food Fair with requests coming prior to the event asking if I could bring that amazing chicken dish. Southerners love their fried chicken. The event and having young children at the time were some of the reasons I created adaptations to the recipe. And since, I have adapted it again to accommodate my youngest daughter’s Celiac Disease restrictions.

Here is my twist and adaptation on this classic favorite. I’ve added notes as to my changes while leaving the original recipe from Epicurious intact, so you can adjust as you see fit for your taste and dining desire.

BACKHENDL

INGREDIENTS:
Two 3-pound chickens – I first started doing this just with chicken legs (skin removed) for the DPHA International Food Fair and then changed over to the boneless skinless chicken strips to make eating even easier and more kid friendly.
All-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper for dredging the chicken.- To make this gluten-free for my youngest daughter, I now substitute gluten-free flour easily found at your local grocery store often in the organic or natural foods aisle.
3 large eggs, beaten lightly
2 cups stale fine bread crumbs- To make gluten-free I like to toast my daughter’s favorite brand of gluten-free bread and then put into the food processor to turn into crumbs. The grocery store now has gluten free bread crumbs as well as croutons that can be processed to make crumbs as well.
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Fresh thyme branches for garnish (optional)
Tomato chutney as an accompaniment (optional) My kids still like to grab the Heinz ketchup.

DIRECTIONS:
If using whole chicken, quarter each chicken, discarding the first 2 joints of the wings. Remove the breastbones and ribs and remove the skin and any fat. Have ready in 3 wide shallow bowls ( I use my glass pie plates) the flour, the eggs, and the bread crumbs. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off excess, dip it in the egg, letting the excess drip off, and coat it well with the bread crumbs, shaking off the excess. Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and chill it, uncovered for 30 minutes. The chicken may be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance and kept uncovered and chilled. ( I believe this is the secret step…shhh)

In a large deep skillet heat 1 inch of the oil to 350F and in it fry the chicken in batches without crowding, turning it, for 5 minutes, or until it is golden brown, transferring it as it is fried to paper towels to drain. Arrange chicken on a rack in a shallow pan and bake it in the middle of a preheated 350F oven for 15 minutes for the breast pieces and 20 minutes for the leg pieces. (If using boneless chicken strips you can cut times about 1/2. Depends on the thickness of your strips.) Arrange the chicken on heated platters, garnish with thyme, and serve it with the chutney.

Note: Some recipes garnish with lemon wedges and/ or add it in during the dredging process.

2 whole chickens makes 8 servings.

Want to add some fun to this meal? Get the kids involved. I have 3, so each kid was in charge of one of the coating stations for the chicken. Ever since they could walk, I have made meal prep time fun and adventurous for the family with one child always getting to be cook’s helper with their own aprons. Aprons that we actually created and designed our self with paints and food shaped stamps from your local craft store. What better way to introduce yourself and your family to other parts of the world than through your palate? And trust me, you can’t go wrong with this one. I mean who doesn’t love fried chicken???

Photo courtesy of https://www.graztourismus.at


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Backhendl-(Austrian Style Fried Chicken)
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