I’m participating with Alamo in their Holiday Hacks and Snacks (#AlamoHolidayHacks) program and have been compensated for my time; all opinions are  my own.

Holiday Hacks - Travel Hacks - #AlamoHolidayHacks Ad

While I’ve never had to travel “Over the river and thru the wood…” to get to my grandfather’s house, that doesn’t mean I haven’t suffered some travel mishaps. In fact, my van still smells faintly of Sweet and Sour Meatballs on hot summer days because of a crock pot incident almost 15 Christmases ago. I’d put my 1980’s crockpot (which I still own and use and is pictured above) on the floor of my (then) new van with items packed around it to keep it upright, or so I thought. On the first turn, the whole thing tipped over, spilling the entire contents of sticky sauce and meatballs onto my rug. What a mess!

It was that incident that came to mind when Alamo asked me to come up with my favorite travel hacks – tips to make your holiday travels to your grandfather’s house, or wherever you may be travelling, safer and more fun. I also wanted to share with you my one of favorite holiday recipes. It’s a sugar cookie that’s not only delicious, but happens to travel beautifully. I know because they’ve survived the US Mail as well as many car trips to holiday parties.

Travel-Friendly Holiday Cutout Sugar Cookies
This is the holiday recipe that I get asked to make year after year. They're so easy and delicious. Don't feel like cutting them out? Shape them into a log by rolling them into waxed paper, refrigerate, and then slice and bake.
Yield: 2 dozen large or 3 dozen small cookies
Prep Time: 
Cooking Time: 
Total Time: 
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp almond extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar (plus more for rolling)
  • 2 ½ cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 Tbls room temperature water
  • 2 Tbls light corn syrup
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • Food coloring if desired
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter until creamy. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and mix until incorporated.
  3. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until well combined and fluffy.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer, scrape down the sides; then by hand, incorporate the flour.
  5. Press the dough into a ball and cover with waxed paper. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven 350 ºF
  7. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Sprinkle your rolling surface and rolling pad with confectioner’s sugar. Roll out ¼ of the dough to about ¼” thickness (thinner if you like a crunchy cookie). Add more powdered sugar as necessary.
  8. Use a holiday cookie cutter dipped in confectioner’s sugar to cut out the dough and place the cookies on a cool, ungreased cookie sheet (or one lined with parchment or silicon pad) about 2” apart (they will spread). If your pan is hot, run it under cold water and dry it before adding the cookies.
  9. Decorate with colored sprinkles or bake plain to add glaze or frosting later.
  10. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges are light brown.
  11. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool. Decorate if desired.
  13. In a mixing bowl, on low speed combine all ingredients (except food coloring) until thin and spreadable (add more water if necessary or more sugar - it should drip from the spoon but not be too runny).
  14. Divide the glaze into portions and add food coloring (only add 1-2 drops or it will thin the glaze). Keep the glaze bowl covered with a damp towel to avoid drying out.
  15. Cover the entire cookie thinly with the glaze with a knife or use a piping bag, squeeze bottle, or reclosable plastic bag with a corner snipped off to do a line design (or do both). Add sprinkles and other edible decoration while the glaze is wet.
  16. Let the glaze air dry overnight. If the glaze is thin, cookies can be stacked once it’s dry. This makes them perfect for shipping and travelling.

My Holiday Hacks – Travel

  • Holiday Travel Hacks - Emergency Clean Up and Fluid Kit  #AlamoHolidayHacks  AdAlways take along a roll of paper towels and a gallon jug of drinking water when travelling. They work as a quick and easy emergency clean-up kit should something spill, can clean off your windshield or headlights for better visibility, and if you get stranded can work as toilet paper and emergency fluid for the radiator or yourself.
  • Taking a crock pot to grandmas? Place it inside a cooler surrounded by padding. That way if it spills, the mess is contained inside the cooler and not on your car seat. Don’t have a cooler? Use packing tape or duct tape to seal your crock pot before travelling!
  • Don’t have a pie carrier? Pack a pie inside a bowl! First line the bowl with plastic wrap or foil with 3-4 “of overhang all around. Next place the pie plate inside the bowl (the plate should fit about halfway down the inside of the bowl). Now use the overlap to cover the pie. That keeps the wrap from sticking to the pie. Add ice to the bottom of the bowl if it’s a cream pie to keep it cold on the way. Use the wrap to remove the pie plate from the bowl.

Save with Alamo Insiders

Whether you’re travelling now or in 2014, sign up for Alamo Insiders for a guaranteed 10% off your car rental! Also check out Alamo Deal RetrieverSM to find all the best currently available Alamo deals.

Alamo Hacks and Snacks Giveaway

Now it’s your turn! What’s your best travel hack? Or do you have a recipe that survives even the most hectic ride? We’ll choose the best hack and best recipe and each will win an amazing prize from Alamo!

Alamo Travel Friendly Recipe Contest #AlamoHolidayHacks  ad Holiday Travel Hacks Giveaway #AlamoHolidayHacks   Ad


Your gift pack includes everything you need to make and take your holiday treats! First a $75 AMEX gift card for ingredients, a True Fabrications Metropolitan Tote, a Cool Gear Salad Lunch Kit, a Tupperware Round Cake Taker, an Alamo Carabiner with hand sanitizer, an Alamo 16oz Travel Coffee Mug, and an Alamo Rugby Tote Bag. The value of this giveaway is $167!


Save your car’s seat with these great travel-friendly products! This fabulous gift pack will be awarded to the best food travel hack. Enjoy a $75 AMEX Gift Card to cover the gas, a  True Fabrications Metropolitan Tote, a Cool Gear Salad Lunch Kit, an OXO 12 pc LockTop Container SetTupperware Round Pie and Pastry Container, an Alamo Carabiner with hand sanitizer, an Alamo 16oz Travel Coffee Mug, and an Alamo Rugby Tote Bag. The value of this giveaway is $180!

To enter, comment below with your favorite hack:

please identify which you’re entering – you may enter once for each prize.

ENTRY EXAMPLE: My Best Travel-Friendly Recipe is…. Or My Best Food Travel Hack is…..


One winner will be selected for each prize  – must be 18 and older and have a US mailing address to participate. Only TWO entries per person – one for each prize. Contest ends 12/21/2013 at 2:00 pm PDST.

Follow #AlamoHolidayHacks on Twitter for more great ideas and more chances to win!