Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Eating Well {& Cheap} on Vacation–Part 4

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Now you know where you’re going and staying, what kinds of meals you’ll need, and what to buy when you arrive vs. bring from home.  You are well on your way to eating well and cheap on vacation! 

Today’s topic is all about what you bring from home

Bringing food items made at home a head of time allows you to determine the kinds of ingredients and types of foods your family and/or friends will mostly eat on vacation.  I say mostly because you are on vacation!!  Splurge a little bit.  For example, I did not make homemade tortillas, but purchased them instead. 

But, how do you not bring along “the kitchen sink”!

Here are my tips:

1) Make & Bring Dry Mixes. 

Rather than bring along a sack of flour, baking powder, soda, salt, etc. make up dry mixes of items you will cook there.  This reduces what you need to bring! 

For example, we decided our group would enjoy homemade pancakes for breakfast on Saturday.  Rather than buy a box of pancake mix, I made my own whole wheat and oatmeal pancake mix.  I tripled the batch and tossed it all in a Ziploc bag. 

Some recipes that work wonderfully as a dry baking mix:

2) Don’t Bring Along Recipes. 

Remember that meals should be easy to prepare, for me, this means no complicated recipes and even easy recipes get written down on the very bag the ingredients come in! Don’t forget to include baking temp and time. It can’t get any easier than that. 

Bonus tip: Write the day of the meal on the bag too, that way you won’t even have to think about the menu plan. 

If you must bring a recipe, don’t bring your only copy or a giant cook book.  Write out the recipe on a sheet of paper that you don’t care if you never see again, or you can easily send home with a family member or friend that just loved that meal. 

3) Bring some wet ingredients all ready measured out; freeze for extra ice packs. 

Applesauce, a baking staple in our house, went into two of the breakfasts during our trip.  Rather than bring a whole jar of applesauce, I parsed out each serving into smaller bags.  These bags were frozen, which was great because they doubled as ice packs! 

4) Any meal items that can be made ahead of time and frozen should be!

This one will help you save major prep time on your vacation! You don’t want to be in the kitchen the entire time.   Any meal item you can make ahead of time you should.  Freeze the meal component in a bag and again, write necessary info and the rest of the recipe right on the bag. 

For example, on our trip we made ahead and froze:

5) Check with the place you are staying re: kitchen essentials.

Making pancakes for breakfast?  Might be a good idea to check with the location you are staying to see if they have a griddle.  Need a crockpot?  You might also want to check on that.  Be sure to also ask about containers; we’ve been in places with no containers for leftovers.  However, there is no need to bring along these items if they will supply these items for you. 

My tips for bringing a few essentials from home:

  • An extra cutting board; this will help you with what we are going to talk about in part 5!
  • A spatula.  I often find rental places to have pretty beat up spatulas, which can make it hard to cook!  I suggest bringing you own. 
  • Olive oil spray.  We bring our Misto

These tips should help you from feeling like you have to bring everything in your kitchen plus the kitchen sink in order to cook well for your family on vacation. 

Join us on Thursday for the last part of the series – Part 5.  How to actually enjoy your vacation even though you are doing most of the cooking!

What are your tips for not bringing the kitchen sink? 

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Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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