Archive for March, 2012

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South Padre Island


Why go: Throughout the rest of the year, South Padre Island welcomes mostly families to its resort hotels and beautiful beaches. But when Spring Break hits, SPI’s beaches and cheap hotels become overrun with students. Loud, all-night parties and subsequent debauchery fills the streets throughout the entire month of March.


Miami Beach


Why go: Although Miami Beach can be pricey and has a reputation for being uber-exclusive, this Florida city is surprisingly accessible. Clubs and bars pack the colorful streets and encourage nightowls to stay out until the wee hours. By day, the long stretches of beautiful sand and clear waters are nice places to work on your tan and to recover from the previous evening’s festivities.




Why go: Cancún has long held its reputation as a favorite Spring Break destinations in North America. There are three reasons for that: cheap overnight accommodations (although they can get somewhat expensive in the all-inclusive resorts), stretches of nice beaches and plenty of nightlife. The city also exudes a more laid-back attitude than many American destinations when comes to partying.


 Puerto Vallarta


Why go: By day, Puerto Vallarta is ideal for those who love the outdoors, offering serene beaches, mountains and hidden coves. Once the sun sets, abundant happy hour specials cater to smaller budgets, and the need to let loose is catered to by many bars, clubs, and beach parties. Plus, Puerto Vallarta’s affordable hotel rates make it easy to stay throughout the whole of Spring Break.


 Puerto Rico


Why go: During the day, Puerto Rico’s pristine waters and golden sands beckon to sun-seekers, swimmers and windsurfers. And by night, music and laughter spills out of bars and clubs across the island. It may not have the stereotypical Spring Break reputation, but Puerto Rico offers visitors a taste of the Caribbean without them having to leave U.S. soil.




Why go: The Bahamas feature crystal clear blue waters and gorgeous beaches that lure crowds of sun-seeking students year after year. There is plenty to do during the daytime, from hiking in Lucayan National Park to shopping in the Port Lucaya Marketplace. And cheap accommodations make it easy for students on a budget to enjoy all that the Bahamas have to offer.


Cabo San Lucas


Why go: Although the hotels are relatively expensive here, Cabo San Lucas is the party capital of the southern Baja. Beautiful beaches such asPlaya Medano draw students in need of some post-exam R&R, while nightlife hotspots like Casa de la Cultura and Cabo Wabo Cantina keep the party pumping until sunrise.




Why go: Jamaica has been a go-to Spring Break destination for years. The resort-heavy Caribbean island has water activities during the day and plenty of places for drinking all night. Montego Bay and Negril are particularly popular. However, students should note that some parts of the island can be unsafe.


Playa del Carmen


Why go: Writers compare Playa del Carmen to Cancún since it also has cheap hotels and is popular with the students. However, Playa del Carmen far more relaxed and laidback, without as much debauchery. Rather, this destination exudes a small-town atmosphere—with street performers and small cafés—that’s ideal for relieving students’ stress.




Why go: Once the Spring Break destination of Florida, Daytona’s star has faded; however, the NASCAR capital still attracts thousands of student annually. With beaches you can drive on, Daytona makes for an excellent road trip. And when not living out of your car, there are budget-priced hotels and motels a few minutes from the beach.


Punta Cana


Why go: Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic has plenty to do at all points of the day. The beaches’ waters glitter, and nightclubs and bars abound for the younger set at night, both within the resort and outside of them. However, Punta Cana tends to be better known for its hot golf scene than its Spring Break scene.


Puerto Plata


Why go: There are plenty of vacation package deals, which make Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic and extremely accessible city. Unlike Punta Cana, this Caribbean destination exudes a younger vibe. The city is known for its cheap accommodations and laidback atmosphere, and the streets are lined a variety of evening entertainment options.


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Recipe from


Corned Beef:

  • 3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet
  • carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 small head green cabbage, cored, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1 cup water


  • 1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, sliced in 1/2
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


For Corned Beef:

Put the carrots and onions on the bottom of slow cooker, and put the corned beef on top. Arrange the chopped cabbage around the beef. Add the apple juice and 1 cup of water along with the contents of the spice packet. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours until the beef is tender. Remove the beef and vegetables to a platter and keep warm.

For potatoes:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and return them to the pot.

Add the butter, garlic, parsley, and salt, and pepper, to taste. Gently combine so that all the potatoes are evenly coated. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with corn beef and vegetables from the slow cooker.

Photo and recipe from MP Welty at


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

When I first started Northern Wisdom, I was unfamiliar with The Havamal, but quickly learned about this amazing collection of Old Norse poems that are so eloquently displayed in Odinsson’s book.  These poems teach of wisdom and are timelessly relevant.  I also enjoyed reading about Odinsson’s journey that led him to take on this project, and liked the way he connected the wisdoms of different cultures – linking the enlightened teachings from the Far East to the Northern Europeans.  All in all, this book was not only an educational experience that opened a whole new world of something I knew little about, but was also incredibly well-written and kept my attention from beginning to end.

Author’s website:



Click photo for homemade caramel recipe!

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6 whole Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 bunch celery, diced
1 pasilla chili pepper, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
1/4 cup garlic, chopped
6 cups hearty chicken stock
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 bay leaf
2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips<
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
Tortilla chips, avocado, jalapeños, and sour cream to garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, toss tomatoes with half the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Spread on a baking pan and roast until light brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

2. While tomatoes are roasting, in a stockpot over medium heat, sauté onion, celery, peppers, and garlic in remaining oil. Stir frequently until soft and translucent.

3. To stockpot add chicken stock, lime juice, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes.

4. Remove roasted tomatoes from oven (peel should be falling off), and add to broth.

5. Add chicken-breast strips and simmer 10 minutes.

6. Using an immersion hand blender, or in batches in a food processor or blender, blend soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Serve piping hot in large bowls, garnished with chopped avocado, tortilla chips, chopped jalapeños, and sour cream. Other suggestions for garnish include diced red onion, chopped cilantro, salsa verde, sliced radishes, and cooked, diced chicken. Adjust spices and seasonings to your taste.

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  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef sirloin or chuck (10% fat; see notes)
  • About 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • About 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 slices (2 in. by 1 in. and 1/4 in. thick) cheddar cheese
  • 1 red onion (about 8 oz.), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 Kaiser, onion, or crusty round rolls (4 in. wide), split
  • Sweet-and-Spicy Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce (4 oz.)
  • 1 firm-ripe tomato (about 8 oz.), cored and thinly sliced
  • Guacamole



  1. 1. In a bowl, gently mix ground beef, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. 2. Divide meat mixture into eight equal portions and shape each into a 4-inch round. Top each of four rounds with 2 slices of cheese. Lay another patty on top of each and press edges together to seal.
  3. 3. Lay burgers and onion slices on an oiled barbecue grill over a solid bed of hot coals or high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook burgers, turning once, until browned on both sides and done to your liking (cut to test), about 7 minutes total for medium-rare. Cook onions, also turning once, until browned on both sides, 7 to 8 minutes total. Remove from grill.
  4. 4. Lay buns, cut side down, on grill and cook until lightly toasted, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. 5. Spread Sweet-and-Spicy Sauce on bun bottoms. Add lettuce, tomato, burger, onion, and Guacamole. Set bun tops in place. Serve with remaining Guacamole, sauce, and salt and pepper to add to taste.


Linda Lau Anusasananan, Sunset
JULY 2005


  • 1 oz. apricot brandy
  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. dark or Jamaican rum
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 2 dashes grenadine
  • Orange juice
  • 1 oz. Bacardi 151 rum


Mix light and dark rum and brandy in a cocktail shaker, add lime juice and grenadine. Shake well and strain into a higball glass filled with cracked ice. Fill glass with orange juice but leave enough room to float the 151 on top. Garnish with a cherry and orange slice.
*Photo and recipe from