Clakit strap pouches are really handy

Clakit Clips and Pouches are patent-pending clips and pouches designed by backpacking hikers who realized, during one of their treks in the mountains, that everything they needed was in their backpacks. Which meant they regularly had to stop hiking, take off the packs, open them and dig around for the water bottle, the cell phone, the snacks, the permits or tissues or whatever. Crazy, they said to themselves.
So they decided to create some small versatile packs that you could easily clip to your backpack straps in front and in which you could stow frequently needed items within easy reach while walking. And that’s how the Clakit line of clips and pouches was born.
Clakit comes in several different shapes, all of which attach to a sturdy adjustable plastic clip with teeth that clamps securely onto your backpack or other strap. You choose the style that fits what you want to carry – water bottle, phone, etc. – and your small carrier sits right on your chest. The clip is adjustable so that it can work on other types of straps to as long as they have some thickness. And for those of us boomers who need to carry a lot of stuff, these could be a real shoulder-saver.

One of the packs, called the Clakit StrapPack Radio/GPS Clip Pouch ($19.95 on Amazon), has two strong hook-and-loop attachments – front and inside back – so you can adjust the height of the stretchy strap that goes over the top, which holds the items in and allows you to carry items of different sizes. I put a small reading glasses case in there along with my cell phone/camera and I can even fit a few business cards in with all that. Plus, this model also has an elastic strap that goes horizontally around the pack – I slip my sunglasses in there I decided to attach one of these on the strap of my big tote bag I’m saving much wear and tear on the purse zippers – I’d been constantly unzipping and zipping one zipper so I could move the phone in and out of the purse. Now I can spare the zipper and still get the phone easily. In fact, sometimes and I can actually leave my poor exhausted purse at home and just carry the tote-bag-cum-Clakit-pack. I love not having to carry two items and now I don’t lose my phone, glasses and sunglasses in the bottom of the giant tote bag.

By the way, if you’re like me and already have a selection of little packs, you can just buy the Clakit clips and see how they work with your own carriers. Brilliant idea, Larry Schessel, Clakit Founder/CEO.

Secret PERi-PERi sauce kicks up flavor in brunch recipes


We love Nando’s PERi-PERi restaurants. Perfectly cooked chicken, grilled ’til juicy and succulent, served with your choice of secret-recipe PERi-PERi sauces and a small selection of flavorful salads, sides and desserts. Read previous reviews here and here.

The folks at Nando’s PERi-PERi just sent out 3 brunch recipes that use their sauces – and they sounded so good we decided to pass them along. Peri-Peri sauce is a perfect way to bring that unique spicy flavor to your own kitchen – and to control the saltiness or other diet restrictions you or your guests might have.  For sure, anyone who hasn’t tried the restaurants will never be able to guess what that mysterious and wonderful flavor is in your dishes.

Brunch ideas bound to please

The sauces come in several different levels of heat and are available at select retailers (Walmart, World Mart, Jewel, Heinens and Fresh Market) or online. Here are the savory delectable brunch ideas:

Chicken, Pineapple & Sweet Potato Kebabs
Serves: 4

4 chicken breasts with skin on, each cut into 3
1 pineapple, peeled and cut into chunks
2 sweet potato, washed and cut into chunks
2 yellow peppers, quartered
2 red peppers, quartered
Bay leaves, to garnish
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup Nando’s PERi-PERi sauce
½ cup coconut cream

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Skewer the chicken, pineapple, sweet potato, yellow peppers and onion onto a large skewer garnishing each end with a bay leaf.
2. Combine the olive oil, Nando’s PERi-PERi sauce and coconut cream in a mixing bowl. Coat the kebabs with the spicy marinade and place in the oven to roast for 45 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked and golden brown.

Zucchini and Tomato Baked Eggs
Serves: 2

1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 zucchini, chopped into small chunks
½ red pepper, cut into small chunks
14 oz. canned tomatoes
2 eggs
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tsp cumin seeds
1 oz. Nando’s PERi-PERi sauce
Pinch of salt

1. On medium-low heat combine the olive oil and cumin seeds in a deep, medium skillet and stir until fragrant.
2. Add the onions and a pinch of salt to the skillet and stir until they begin to brown, then stir in the zucchini and red pepper.
3. Pour the canned tomatoes over the top of the veggies so that it makes an even layer and swirl Nando’s PERi-PERi on top. Let simmer for 5 minutes
4. Crack the eggs into the skillet, ensuring enough space between them
5. Take skillet off heat and place under a hot grill until eggs are cooked, about 5 minutes
6. Top with fresh cilantro and serve with chunks of warm bread if desired.

PERi-PERi Cornflake Chicken Strips
Serves: 2

2 chicken breasts with skin off, each cut into 4 strips
1 bottle Nando’s PERi-PERi sauce
½ cup plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
½ cup crushed cornflakes

1. Preheat oven to 425°F
2. Coat each strip of chicken in the flour mixture and dip in Nando’s PERi-PERi sauce before covering with the crushed cornflakes
3. Lay on a slightly greased pan and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes
4. Enjoy by dipping in more of your favorite Nando’s PERi-PERi sauce


Thrill to the watery beauties of Switzerland

Yes, Switzerland is known for its majestic snow-covered mountains.  I remember my initial encounter with the silent power of the towering peaks in the Alps – absolutely stunning to a young, unsophisticated just-turned-21-year-old who’d never left Chicago before.
But if you also appreciate the beauty of water, Switzerland will surprise you with sparkling lakes, cascading streams, sinuous rivers, spectacular waterfalls, and refreshing fountains. Wherever you go in Switzerland – whether mountains or cities – you meet water, the essence of life. Here are just a few of the unique watery highlights to be found there (please note you have to manually scroll down these web pages to access all the content):
Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

Lake LucerneSurrounded by mountains, Lake Lucerne is the lake with the greatest scenic variety in the country, somewhat reminiscent of a fjord landscape. Technically, there are several cruises you could take. But the best way to explore the lake in the heart of Switzerland is by kayak. Join kayak guide Reto Wyss for a peaceful sunset tour, when waves ripple the shallow water while mallard ducks and great crested grebes circle the kayaks, a fiery red in the setting sun sinking spectacularly in the bay.

VIamala Ravine in Switzerland

Viamal RavineOnce upon a time it was feared. Viamala, the deep ravine in the Hinterrhein Valley in the Canton of Graubünden translates in English to “Bad Path” and it was a dangerous obstacle on the journey through the Alps – beautiful, but wild and threatening. Today, this is exactly the reason why people travel to and through the Viamala. The best way to discover the Viamala Canyon is on a canyoning tour – with an experienced guide like Riki Brown. He will make sure you find your way through the ever-changing gorge.

Lake Geneva, Switzerland

Meet the Captain on Lake GenevaEven if you’ve met a ship captain or two in the past, you probably didn’t have a chance to ask them every question you had about being in charge of an entire cruise ship – they’re pretty busy people, after all. On Lake Geneva you get a chance to meet the captain of a historic paddle steamer and spend some quality time with him – outside on the captain’s bridge or down in the ship’s bowels. And he will answer all the questions you have and treat you to some stories about his life on the bridge.

And in case you’re ready to book your trip right now, check out this Gate1 Travel 10-day excursion to Switzerland, priced to be kind to your budget. Wish I could hop the plane with you right now!