Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles

The air is filled with pumpkin spice lattes and Starbucks has their red cups so it must be that time of year again. I've literally become addicted to making these things with any batter I can get my hands on. So far I've done oreos, key lime, and now pumpkin spice. I'm sure there will be more this holiday season. I bought box pumpkin spice cupcake mix and added some spices of my own. You only need a few ingredients for this delicious desert.

1. Cake Mix or Cake Batter with Pumpkin Spice
    (All spice, Nutmeg, Cinnamin)
2. Cream Cheese (Fat Free)
3. Almond Bark or Candy Coating
4. Sprinkles (optional)

1. Mix cake batter with additional spices.
2. Bake Cake according to Box instructions. (To make things quicker I baked them in a cupcake tin)
3. Let cake cool and crumble in a bowl.
4. Combine cake crumbles with cream cheese.
5. Roll the combination into 1 inch balls and refrigerate for 20 min.
6. Melt almond bark or white chocolate in microwave or on stove. ( I use a chocolate melter on the stove)
7. Dip cake balls into melted almond bark and cover completely.
8. Add Sprinkles on top and allow almond bark to harden.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

5 Refrigerator Rules

Everyone gets a little confused about what can go or stay in their refrigerator. How long can I keep these leftovers? When did we open this salsa? Do pickles ever expire? I did a little research and compiled it all for you all. My family is beginning to experiment with meal prep and it can be a great thing but you have to follow these rules. Here are five rules for your refrigerator to keep you and your family safe.

1. Freeze or Refrigerate food within 2 hours of cooking.

2. Only keep leftover food 3-4 days. After 4 days eat it or freeze it. Mark your leftovers so you remember how long they've been in there. Get creative, Color Code or use stickers.

3. If its growing, TOSS IT. Any mold or signs of fuzziness should be tossed, even if it smells okay.

4. Ditch the door: Don't store Milk or Eggs in your refrigerator door because the temperature fluctuates. Store your eggs, milk, and anything with short shelf life in the middle of your shelf where the temperature is the most consistent.

5. Re-use those left overs. Left over rice, chicken, and veggies can go together to create great soups, stews, or casseroles. Get creative with your leftovers and try not to be wasteful. Check out this website for ideas for your leftovers. The Left Over Queen

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Southern Salmon Patties

I learned this recipe from my grandma. It is one of things I really love but do not eat too often. I prefer pan searing or frying with olive oil but you can use whatever oil you chose. There are no special seasonings to this simple southern delight.

1 can of Pink Salmon (any brand) or 2 baked or grilled salmon fillets
1/2 cup of Pepperidge Farm Stuffing (bread crumbs)
1/4 cup of chopped onions
1 egg
Olive Oil
Cast Iron Skillet (or regular skillet)

Step 1:Blend bread crumbs and onions into the can of pink salmon.
Step 2: Add egg last and stir until all contents well blended.
Step 3: Flatten salmon mixture into patties as large or as small as you like but not too thick.
Step 4: Add olive oil into your skillet and set on medium.
            Wait until oil is sizzling then add each patty.
Step 5: Cook each side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.

Final Steps:
Really good as salmon burgers or with buttermilk biscuits and some veggies. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

No bake Oreo dirt Cake

I was desperate this fourth of July for a dessert.My almond bark for my truffles would NOT melt and I literally had 30 minutes before family and friends were arriving. I opened the pantry and saw 2 boxes of instant pudding and oreos. I decided to go with it. Use whatever flavor of Oreos you want. The picture to the right is just some awesome alternative flavor options.

1pkg Oreos
1 8 oz Cream Cheese (Low or no Fat)
2 boxes instant vanilla pudding
1 container whipped cream
1 cup of Milk or Soy Milk

1. Crumble Oreos in a freezers bag to create your crust. After it is crumbled mix it with cream cheese and layer the bottom of a glass dish. For crunchy crust OMIT cream cheese. I was going for a soft crust.
2. Prepare the first box of instant pudding. Cascade the finish product over the crust of your choice.
3. Dip Oreos into milk for just a second and lay on top of pudding. Repeat until entire layer of pudding is covered with cookies.
4. Repeat step 2.
5. For the final step cover the last layer of pudding with cool whip. It spreads better after it has warmed just a little bit.
6. Crumble about 3 or 4 Oreos for the topping and ENJOY!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Firecracker Grilled Salmon

We love Salmon. Mostly any way that it may come. When I saw this recipe in Southern Living magazine, I knew we had to try. It was really simple. It really boils down to just preparing the
marinade and grilling. It will be a big hit this summer when all the family comes into town. 
Below is the picture of some of the ingredients that you may have to make a trip to the store to buy.

6 (6-oz.) salmon fillets 
Some of the ingredients you'll need
1/2 cup vegetable oil 
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce 
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
1 tablespoon honey 
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic 
2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper 
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 
1 teaspoon sesame oil 
1/2 teaspoon table salt 
1/4 teaspoon onion powder


1.Place salmon fillets in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag.
2.Whisk together vegetable oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, dried crushed red pepper, ground ginger, sesame oil, table salt, and onion powder.
3.Pour over salmon, reserving 1/4 cup mixture. Seal and chill 30 minutes.
4.Preheat grill to 400° (high) heat. Remove salmon from marinade; discard marinade.
5.Grill salmon, without grill lid, 4 to 5 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flakes with a fork, turning occasionally and basting with reserved marinade. Remove and discard skin

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Tater-tot Breakfast Casserole

This breakfast casserole is my absolute favorite! I love preparing the sausage the night before and just adding everything else and sticking it in the oven while I ready. I made it for Christmas morning this year so my Mom could sit back and relax while we opened gifts. If you try this recipe, I'm sure it will become a family favorite for you too. I'm really partial to sausage brands. Neese's is the way to go on the East Coast. Feel free to use whatever meats you want.

Prep time- 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

1 pkg Neese's Sausage (or ground sausage)
4 eggs (beaten)
2 cups of milk
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 bag of tater-tots. 

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
1. Cook ground sausage until brown and spread on the bottom of 9x13 baking dish. (I use glass)
2. Layer cheese on top of meat.
3. Mix eggs and milk together and pour on top of meat and cheese.
4.  Add more cheese if you'd like, then top with tater-tots.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes on 350. ENJOY!

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Monday, April 15, 2013

How to cut a Pineapple

Every year when spring and summer roll around I really enjoy fresh pineapple and watermelon. However, they can be a pain to cut into. Here is how I cut my pineapple. First make sure that your pineapple is ripe. If it is very green then most likely it isn't ready. One way to test is pulling out the leaves on the crown. If they come out easily then you're good to go. If they don't budge then give your pineapple a little more time. 

Tip: Pineapples have splinters that feel like shards of glass. Seriously ,they hurt. Wear kitchen gloves or be extra careful when cutting with your bare hands. 

I always refrigerate after cutting. If you're looking for a great source of Vitamin C, pineapple is a great healthy way to go. I like to include fresh pineapple into my smoothies.

1. Put your pineapple in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before cutting. Hold it upside down for about 30 seconds to get all of the sugar that has settled at the bottom of your pineapple to run back through to the top of the fruit.
2. Twist the crown off of the pineapple and set aside.
 *If you put the crown in soil, a new plant will grow*
3. Cut off the very top layer and the very bottom layer, about a quarter inch thick.
4. Cut off the skin on four sides of the pineapple as shown in the picture.
5. Once the pineapple is bare take a potato peeler or a paring knife and remove any of the remaining skin or little brown circles, they aren't the best tasting thing to eat.
6. Slice your pineapple now about an inch thick. To remove the core, take your paring knife and simply cut in a complete circle around dark center of your slice. Next just push it out and you are free to leave your pineapple in slices core free, or cut them into bite sizes.

Refrigerate and Enjoy! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

If you can't tell by now, I'm a fan of the buffalo flavor. I fell in love with this website that is completely dedicated to grilled cheese. I wanted to give credit where credit is due because that girl is awesome. Here is the link for the original Blue Buffalo grilled cheese recipe Grilled Cheese Social. I changed the recipe a little to fit my diet and taste preference. (I'm not blue cheese fan).

One loaf sliced French Bread
1/2 8 oz Fat free Cream Cheese
2 cans of 10 oz chicken (drained)
2/3 c Cheddar Cheese
Hot Sauce to taste
Ranch for dipping

1. Slice your french bread and butter one side of each piece. Make sure you're matching your slices so your grilled cheese will go together well.
2. Mix Cream Cheese and Cheddar Cheese in a bowl and spread both sides the non buttered side of your bread slices.
3. Mix hot sauce and chicken together.
4. Add chicken mixture to one side of the cheese slices.
5. Place the butter side down onto your skillet on medium heat.
6. Flip sandwich until it is grilled to your liking and the cheese is melted.
7. ENJOY or Dip in ranch for extra flavor.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Salsa Chicken

I make this often when I need something to take to lunch for a few days. It is a fairly easy recipe and super college friendly because it is so cheap.

2-3 Chicken breast
1 can Cream of chicken soup (fat free)
1 jar of salsa (any size)
2 boil in bags rice
1 can black beans
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
Shredded cheese of choice for topping

1. Combine salsa and soup on medium heat in a medium sized pot.
2. Shred and season chicken and add to the pot with salsa and soup once it is cooked.
3. Boil your rice and rinse your black beans. Heat black beans in a small pot.
4. After your rice is cooked layer your combos. Rice on bottom, salsa chicken in middle, black beans and cheese on top. It is as simple as that. ENJOY!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


**Disclaimer** This recipe feeds a ton of people. I usually invite my friends over to indulge in a bowl or two and when we have family functions it serrves about 16 people or more. I enjoy these for leftovers or you can freeze them in a muffin tin and eat for months. My Grandmothers both make chicken-n-noods around Thanksgiving and Christmas once it gets cold. I love this and prefer it to regular Chicken noodle soup. The recipe is simple but can easily go left if you over cook the noodles. Here is the recipe.

1 pkg Wide Egg noodles (dumplings)
1 can of cream of chicken soup (Healthy choice)
2 tbs butter
3 chicken breast
2 cups water
Salt & Pepper
1/2 c Milk
1 box of chicken broth

1. Boil your noodles in the chicken broth until they swell and soften. (adding pepper as you go). Add the 2 cups of water to the Chicken broth or it will not last to cook your noodles.
2. Boil chicken and then shred in a skillet. After noodles are cooked add chicken to pot with noodles.
3. Add butter and milk then close lid and let excess water simmer down some for about 5 minutes.
4. Add cream of chicken soup last then cover pot for another 10-15 minutes.
5. Let the noodles stand to thicken up and then enjoy!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Skinny Buffalo Tuna Dip

On this snowy, I was looking to heat up a little in a healthy way. I'm doing a almost fat free buffalo tuna dip. The fat comes from the cheese in this recipe, if you can get around it, Use fat free cheese.

3 cans of Tuna
1 c of Chedder or Colby Jack Cheese
1 c Fat free Ranch
One pkg (8oz) Fat Free Cream Cheese
1/2 c or more to taste Hot Sauce

1. Strain Tuna and spread in skillet.
2. Add cream cheese and when it is melted add ranch.
3. Add cheese and hot sauce last.
4. Mix contents until they are well blended.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Creamy Spinach and Chicken bowties

I haven't made this in years and couldn't find the recipe anywhere so I'm winging it. I bought a huge bag of spinach and have to use it before it goes bad. This means lots of breakfast smoothies and spinach salads. The turnout was delicious and my boyfriend who doesn't like cooked spinach ate it all! I put the pictures in order so you can see what it should look like as you're going.

Prep Time-15 min
Cook time- 30 min

Baking Dish 9x9 or 9x13
3 Chicken Breast (cooked and cubed)
1 box Bowtie Pasta
1 can Fat-free Cream of Chicken Soup
1 bunch fresh spinach
1.5 tbs Italian Seasoning or
1.5 tbs Basil and Oregano
Mozzarella Cheese for topping

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Heat and dice chicken in a skillet on medium heat.
   (Meanwhile, boil your bow tie pasta)
2. Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic to the skillet and seasonings on top of the chicken.
3. After your chicken is cooked add the fresh spinach on top until it shrinks and is soft.
4. Combine Cream of Chicken soup with 1 can of water and heat in the microwave for 1 min and 30 sec.
5. Strain your pasta after it has cooked and cover the bottom of your baking dish.
6. Add chicken and spinach mixture to the baking dish and mix with pasta.
7. Add heated soup over entire baking dish and mix well.
8. Top with Mozzarella Cheese and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve hot and enjoy!!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Beanie-Weenie Casserole

This is definitely a childhood favorite. I used to eat all the weenies out and leave the beans and it drove my mother nuts. Sometimes when she was rushed we would just have beans and weenies on the stove top but when she was feeling crafty we would have it with Cornbread on top. This was my first time making it without my Mom so it was sentimental. This meal is super cheap and super easy and college friendly.

Prep Time: 5-7 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

1 pkg hotdogs
1 can baked beans or pork-n-beans
1 box corn bread mix (1 egg, Milk)
A few squirts of ketchup


1. Prepare your corn bread mix in a separate bowl.
2. Cut your weenies into 1/2 inch or less slices.
3. Open your beans and add weenies to a 9x9 baking dish.
4. Pour your cornbread mix over the beans and weenie combo.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes on 400 degrees or until cornbread has cooked through.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spinach Banana Smoothie

I got a blender a long time ago and I finally used it for my breakfast this morning. Green smoothies freak people out but they taste better than they look. Here is what I used for my Smoothie. I substitute this for any other form of breakfast.  This recipe yields about 2 smoothies for me. No donuts or sausage biscuits this morning :)

4 c Baby Spinach
1 Frozen Banana broken into peices
1 c Greek Yogurt
Optional: 2/3 Almond milk & Pineapple Juice

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes

1. Put your baby spinach in first, then add yogurt, then banana.
2. Blend and occasionally open the top to push the contents down if they aren't blending well.
( I make mine while I'm getting ready in the morning. After its done, I stick it in the freezer until I'm on my way out the door.)
 3. Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Smothered Steak

For my Dad's birthday we went out to eat for hopefully a delicious experiences and it was LACK LUSTER! My dad was eyeing the smothered steak but settled for a Cajun chicken wrap. My parents have never prepared steak in our house as long as I can remember, and I didn't really start eating steak until I met my boyfriend. So we didn't opt for Rib eye or any expensive cuts since it really makes no difference to us.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
4-5 Slices of thin bottom steak
1/2 small onion
2-3 cups fresh mushrooms
1/4 c of butter
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can filled with water
1 tbs Worcestershire Sauce

1. First I seasoned my meat with just salt and pepper then I pan seared each side until brown.
2. I moved my seared steaks into a Pirex dish and set it off to the side.
3. Next I chopped my onions and sauteed them with butter and put them a mixing bowl.
4. Next I washed my mushrooms and halved some pieces that were kind of thick and sauteed them as well. Add them to the bowl with the onions.
4. Add your soup, water, and Worcestershire sauce to the mixing bowl and stir well.
5. Cover your steaks in the mixture and bake at 350 for 1.5 hours. If you have thin steaks like I did, it should only take about an hour.

Final step: Serve with Mashed potatoes (with smothering juice on top) and your veggies.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How to make a perfect Omelet

I love Omelets. I usually load mine with tomatoes and spinach but since I made this one for my boyfriend it is quite meaty and cheesy. Here are my tips for getting a perfect omelet every time. This particular Omelet is his favorite combo of salami, ham, and cheese.

3 Eggs for a medium skillet.
     (2 eggs for a small skillet.)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Preferred Toppings- Meat, cheese, or veggies (chopped preferred)
Vegetable Spray

1. Spray pan WELL so that your egg won't stick and turn on medium heat. Don't turn it on high or your egg will cook too fast.
2. Whip eggs until they are an even consistency. Add seasonings here.
3. Pour eggs into skillet and make sure it covers the entire surface area. This should be a small or medium skillet unless you want a really large omelet.
4. When your Omelet has begun to cook a little bit, add your toppings to one side only of the omelet.
5. When the clear side of your omelet (the one without toppings) is almost completely cooked take your spatula or fork and pull one side over to cover the other. I do this by putting my spatula underneath the clear side then taking my fork or finger and pulling it over.
6. Let the contents melt once your omelet is folded for about 30 second to a minute or whenever you notice it is cooked enough to flip.
7. Flip your Omelet and push down with your spatula to make sure the inside is cooked to your liking. Some people like their eggs runny.
8. After you're sure it is done, flip one more time and serve. 

Monday, February 25, 2013


I have a serious addiction to Cajun food. Especially if it has seafood involved. My Uncle moved away from North Carolina to Mississippi. However, he usually brings up a big bag of craw-fish when he comes during the summer. The Gumbo his wife makes is amazing. Jambalaya and Gumbo are different. Gumbo being more of a soup or stew and Jambalaya being more rice based. Here is my recipe. This is a Non-slow cooker recipe. Don't be intimidated by the long ingredients list, this isn't to hard. If you're not one for spicy food, go easy on the cayenne pepper and the hot sauce. This recipe calls for Multi-tasking. Chop your veggies first and then work on your meat while the rice and vegetables are softening.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

1 pkg Smoked Sausage (2 cups)
1 pkg Shrimp 1-2 lbs (De-veined and tails off)
2 Chicken Breast (diced)
Jambalaya Rice Mix - 1 8-oz box
Water - 2 1/4 cups
Brown Rice 1 cup
Chicken broth (homemade is best) 2 1/4 cups
Onion - a mix of yellow, red, and green onions (tops included), all chopped - 2 cups total
Bell peppers a mix 2 cups total
Celery, chopped - 1 cup
Garlic, minced - 1 heaping Tablespoon
Diced tomatoes - 1/3 of a 14-oz can
Sugar - 1 pinch
Hot sauce - several sprinkles
Oregano - 1 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
Cajun Seasoning to Taste

Instructions (Grab a large Stock Pot)
1. Start off with chicken broth steaming in stock pot. 2  1/4 c
2. Thinly slice sausage and then brown it in batches in a skillet (DO NOT DRAIN). Pour remaining fat into the stock pot with Chicken broth. After, use the same skillet to cook your chicken breast.
3. Add Cajun Rice and brown rice to pot with 2  1/4 c water on Medium Heat. 
4. Add chopped onions, bell peppers, and celery to pot. (If you want softer veggies cook them in a skillet first for about 5-7 minutes on HIGH heat.)
5. Next Add diced tomatoes and spices. Make sure your mixture doesn't try out but you also don't want it to be to liquidy.
6.  Stir Often and cook for an Hour as the rice absorbs the liquid. Taste it as you go! Make sure the rice and vegetables are as tender as you would like. If not then add water.
7.  When the rice has absorbed as much moisture as it can,  slowly add in the cooked shrimp.  Cover and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and you're done.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pecan Crusted Swai

Swai is a white fish with a mild (slightly sweet) kind of taste. I've never had it, that I know of, or cooked it. I saw it and since I was home with my parents thought it would be a great crowd to try it out on. I really do not like nuts unless they are dipped in chocolate. However, my Mother and Father are nut fanatics so I decided to do a Pecan crusted Swai Recipe.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

4-6 Swai fillets (or substitute with Tilapia)
1 cup finely chopped Pecans
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs or Ritz Crackers

1. Defrost fish fillets and Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Crush Pecans with a rolling pin. You can also process them but Pecans have lots of moisture so putting them in a grinder makes this paste-like.
3. Place crushed pecans on a plate and add bread crumbs and seasonings.
4. Dredge the Swai in egg and cover with pecan mixture completely.
5. Bake for 17-20 minutes.  

With Sides

Monday, February 18, 2013

Moroccan Cinnamin-Rubbed Lamb

Let me first say that the results do not match the title or ingredients. You would think the lamb would be somewhat sweet with the cinnamon and honey combo but it wasn't really sweet. I know you're probably thinking what comfy college living student is making lamb for dinner. I finally ran into a sale on lamb at Harris Teeter so I decided to give it a go. This recipe came from one of Oprah's Favorite Chefs. It is different than the usual rosemary and mint combination but I loved it. I also did skillet Parmesan greens bean as a side. I will include recipes for both.

3 Lamb Shoulder Chops
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp Salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place lamb in a roasting pan.
2. Rinse lamb and pat dry. Rub honey over entire surface, then combine spices and salt and pat into honey.
3. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
4. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until medium-rare. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. 
**Meat should be 145 degrees if you would like it medium-rare. 

Skillet Green Beans
1. Add 1 tsp butter into the skillet and let it melt.
2. Add green beans and heat until soft and hot.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
3. Add green bean to a bowl of 1/4 of Parmesan cheese and mix. Serve hot with rice.

10 Royal Caribbean Cruises tips

I thought I would continue my trip tips posts. My boyfriend and I are Cruising junkies!!! Cruising is so affordable right now and to not take advantage would be ridiculous. It cost much more than $350.00 bucks to spend an entire week in Miami. Cruises have food and room included in their prices. It is just such a full, fun, and endless opportunity type trip.
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean each time and have become quite loyal to them. (They aren't getting stuck out at sea or running into rocks) The staff is incredibly friendly and service oriented. Cruising the second time was much easier than the 2nd and we hope it will be the same for the third. So here are some tips if you're considering a Royal Caribbean Cruise!

1. Gratuity
Pay your gratuity in advance. It is easier than having to pay the gratuity at the end of your trip. We included our gratuity in our package payment. This year gratuity went up 2 weeks before the cruise for anyone that didn't prepay. I was so glad that we did. Gratuity is for the following personnel:

Suite attendant: $7.25 USD a day per guest
Stateroom attendant: $5.00 USD a day per guest
Dining Room Waiter: $3.75 USD a day per guest
Assistant Waiter: $2.15 USD a day per guest
Headwaiter: $.75 USD a day per guest

2. Nix the window and balcony
Unless you really love windows and balconies, do without it. 
There is usually a $30-100 difference between prices of rooms with balconies and windows. The first year we got a room that had a window and paid a little extra. We literally spent ZERO time in our rooms. Most of the time we were in our room it is at night and you can't see anything anyway. Save your money, get out of your room and enjoy the view from upstairs.

3. Soda and Juice Packages
Royal Caribbean offers Soda and Juice packages for those who prefer these options for meals. If you do not purchase the packages, your options for beverages are water, tea, and lemonade. This is very much so a choice that you should make based on personal preferences. However, we opted out of buying the packages for several reasons. A. We don't drink Soda. We weren't really missing anything without having a soda package. B. We love tea and lemonade! and C. You are allowed to carry on a certain amount of unopened juice or soda. We carried on 2 or 3 liters of ginger ale (for upset tummies) and individual small juices. There is a limit and they have to be unopened. They will be suspicious of those trying to sneak on Alcohol. 

4. Eat Eat Eat
I'm a huge foodie and cruises have the most incredible food. Take advantage of this time to try new things. I never had the desire to try Escargot but it was amazing. We also tried conch fritters and fried conch, something we don't eat regularly in the states. Ask for more than one entree or desert! Our waiters were incredibly forward about us trying more than one thing. They would bring of two different deserts, and three different appetizers all the time. I made the most of this time to experience new cuisine and now that I'm blogging I will even try to replicate them. When you're on the Islands, indulge in Local Cuisine! You can eat McDonalds anytime, ask around for the best local spots and enjoy.

5. Carry On Bags
It takes your luggage a while sometimes to make it to your room.On one trip my bag didn't arrive at our room until almost 8:00 pm which was almost dinner time. I didn't want to go to dinner in my travel clothes so I luckily had extra in my carry on. For the first day of your cruise, pack a small carry-on bag with your travel documents, a change of clothes, bathing suit, maybe workout clothes, and any medications you may need. This will allow you to begin enjoying your vacation immediately, because you won't have to wait for your bags to arrive at your stateroom.

6. Pack for the season!
It is common for people to take cruises during Christmas and for Spring Break. While you may be going somewhere tropical and warm you still have to get there. Be conscious of the season. Is this the season for rain? Is this the season for chillier nights than days? We have been cruising in March with wonderful 80 degrees and up weather. However, there were times where being on the deck at night when the boat is traveling it's fastest, that it got very windy and somewhat chilly. Also, most trips to the beach or a cruise are not complete without at least one rain storm. Always pack a hoodie or sweater for some cold or rainy nights.

7. Cash Stash
 I lose I really lose things. One tip my parents gave me was to stash money in different places in the event you lose a wallet or purse. I usually keep cash in my suitcase, make-up bag, and a few pockets of select pants in case I lose money. Never keep all your money in one place because in the event you lose that wallet, ALL of your money is gone and that's never a good time. Also, cash is helpful on the Islands for buying souvenirs quick and easy.

8. Look into your itinerary
There are so many great things that the Cruise Line will have planned for you and your family to participate in. Comedy Shows, Musical Performances, Magic Shows, Karaoke, Bingo (with big prizes) and on deck parties are great!

9. Photo Ops! 
Most cruise lines have photographers who are there to capture your moments when you're getting on and off the boat each day. Take as many as you can, I mean every chance you see a photographer take a picture. They are so funny to look at when they display them on your deck at the end of that day. Sometimes the pictures are pricey but some aren't (depending on size). I found a few last year that were hilarious and worth the money to have forever. They are also awesome quality pictures.

10. Drinks on the boat
Lots of people tried to sneak alcohol on the boat. Some got away with it, many didn't. However, there are some great drink specials on the boat. They have a drink of the day for $6.95 that comes in a glass souvenir cup that you can keep. The drink changes each day. They also have drink packages for more than soda. Alcohol
packages were about $55.00 a day.

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