Packing for 2 weeks in a carry on

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We recently returned from a 2 week trip to Italy for our honeymoon and I have been asked “how did you pack for that many days in a carry on?” The key is packing as light as possible; knowing we would be traveling to different parts of Italy by train every 3-4 days, I knew I didn’t want to be lugging a huge suitcase all over the country.

Here are some tips:

  1. Research your destination. What will the weather be like? Are there any cultural sensitivities or clothing not acceptable in certain places? (ex: churches, temples, museums).
  2. Consider your activities. We did a lot of walking, excursions and beach time on our trip. I opted to leave my heels behind (hello cobblestone streets) and bring a pair of black flats that helped dress up an outfit instead.
  3. Plan out your outfits. It’s totally worth the effort and helps prevent overpacking. Pick versatile pieces you can mix and match and add accessories for different looks.
  4. Pare down your makeup and toiletries. Leave behind the bulky hairdryer, as most hotels and AirBnB’s provide you with one. If you must bring one, travel sized is best.
  5. Tightly roll everything. Rolling takes up less space than laying clothing flat, and minimizes wrinkling.
  6. Leave some space. Leave some extra room in your suitcase for a few travel treasures to bring home.

Without further ado, here is what I took on our 2 week long vacation to Italy, packed only in my carry on.

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[Recipe] Italian-style stuffed red peppers

For those of you who know me, know that I have the diet of a five year old. Until recently, I would turn my nose up at the thought of eating red peppers, or any pepper for that matter. Now, I can’t seem get enough of them. My food preferences must be evolving as I get older.

Most stuffed red pepper recipes are made southwestern which means I will not even think about eating them, as they are made with beans (yuck). So, I decided to channel my inner Italian with these Italian-style stuffed red peppers.

I could not get enough of this super filling and satisfying dish, so I thought I’d pass it along:

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Ingredients:

1 lb Lean ground turkey

3 Red bell peppers

2 Cups Pasta sauce

1 tsp Basil seasoning

2 cloves Pressed garlic

1/2 tsp Salt & pepper

1 1/2 cups Fresh spinach

8 tbs Parmesan cheese (mozzarella works too)

Optional 1 tsp sugar for sauce (I like my sauce slightly sweet)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil for easy clean up and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Remove stems
  3. Cut peppers in half, length-wise, and remove the seeds and ribs inside the peppers. Set peppers aside on baking pan.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the ground turkey in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Stir and break up the turkey as it is cooking. When turkey is completely cooked, reduce heat to low and add the sauce and seasonings to the pan. Add the spinach and parmesan cheese and stir until well incorporated.
  5. Scoop 1/2 cup mixture into each pepper half
  6. Sprinkle remaining parmesan over the top of each pepper
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden brown
  8. Remove from oven, let cool and enjoy!