Sunday, December 13, 2015

Some favorite recipes

Boy I've been missing of late.  But I do still cook.  Most of my cooking is of the "bulk" variety.

So here are a few of the recipes that I have been making -

Veggie frittata squares - these are really easy for our Sunday morning brunches.  And even when I don't know what to take, as long as I have a dozen eggs, some cheese, and some sort of veggie - then I'm good.  Last week was potato and parmesan, this week is asparagus and red pepper and cheddar.

Applesauce carrot muffins - we had leftover applesauce from the week of the stomach flu.  I adjusted this recipe a bit - it seemed like too many steps for me.  So I did it in one bowl:

Mix wet ingredients - I subbed 1/3 c sugar for the honey.  I only  used 1/4 c butter and used 1/4 c canola oil.

Add dry ingredients - I didn't blend them in a bowl first, one less dish.  Also, I just used 1/2 c whole wheat and 1 c regular flour because that's what I had.

Add applesauce

Add carrots

They were really very good.  We still have a few left

Pumpkin chocolate chip bread - I made some substitutions here, based on what I had (you can see those in my comments on the pin).  It was great and my 9 year old LOVED it.  Also, I used fresh pumpkin that I pureed and froze a couple of months ago.

Asparagus potato soup - this is in the pot right now.  I had leftover asparagus from the frittata, and I didn't buy enough veggies this week.  So this is going to "stretch" my asparagus.  This is a new recipe for me, so I will let you know how it comes out.  I did not make the stock - it seems like a waste of good veggies to me - I used a veggie bouillon cube.

Carrot ginger soup

Chicken fried rice

About the only thing left to cook this week is some canned tomatoes - I haven't yet decided if I will make a third soup (tomato soup) or a curry dish.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Road trip food! More vacation tips.

Well, I'm still kind of slowly working on the round up of "how to eat healthy" on vacation from our summer trip.  Now it's time to keep going in that vein.

We recently traveled for a week long trip to hit some National Parks.  Because 4th graders and their families get free admission all year, woo!

A week long trip has some similar issues for a longer trip.
- You really don't want to leave perishable foods in your fridge
- You really don't want to spend too much while you are out

The plan for a week long trip starts a week in advance, with: not buying too many fresh fruits and vegetables.  The goal is to finish them all before you leave, and perhaps have some to pack up for the trip.

How to keep your budget low on a trip?  Well, we PLANNED to stay at a condo which had a full kitchen.  That's great!  But there are other considerations.
First, you want to bring some foods with you.  These are:
- Foods that you buy in bulk at home (which saves money): salt, pepper, spices, olive oil, butter, canned beans, PB&J.  These are items that can be pricey if you just want to buy a small amount for a week-long trip.  You may use it all up *eventually*, but the point is - if you already have olive oil purchased in bulk, why pay 2x as much per ounce for convenience?
- Snack foods for the car.  If you are like me, you do NOT want to stop at McDonald's on the way.  Sure, the hubby and kids are gonna eat there on this trip, no doubt.  But I'm not.  Also, the car trip is 9 hours long - aka 11 hours with kids.  That means you'll need breakfast AND snacks on the road.
- Foods that are otherwise going to go bad.  This is if you did not plan properly before you went.  Most foods can be frozen, but not all.

Second, you want to compromise in areas that will make sense for  you.
- Bottled salad dressing.  I usually make my own, but for a trip I'll buy Goddess dressing. This has the double benefit of being a dip AND a dressing.
- Pre-made grocery store deli items.  Think chicken fingers, or a roast chicken. Individually wrapped string cheese.  Pre-cut veggies. Sure, it's more expensive than making it yourself, but cheaper than eating out.  For some of these items, it makes TOTAL sense to use Google, and check out the grocery store fliers for the store nearest your vacation site.  Example: I knew that asparagus was on sale here for $1.99 a pound, but is $3.99 a pound where we are headed. So, if you want asparagus, take it with you.  Otherwise, eat something else!

Third, do a little bit of meal planning ahead of time.
- This trip would have involved lots of driving, 5-6 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  So for our family, that means: smoothies, cereal, bagels for breakfast.  Sandwiches and salads for lunch.  Fruit for snacks. And protein and vegetables for dinner.
- Err on the low side of food.  Especially camping, I tend to buy too much.  You can ALWAYS hit a store if you need more.  So, plan your meals, and buy/ make/ take a little less than you think you will need.
- If you are going to buy a roast chicken, or cook a big pot of pasta, do it early in the week, not the day before you come home so you don't throw a bunch of food out.

In the end - the toddler got the stomach bug right before we were supposed to leave on the trip.  He was feeling better after a couple of days, so we opted to head out.  We made it 6 hours into the 9 hour drive, and spent the night in Vegas, where both boys proceeded to barf.  So we came back home the next day, another really fun 6 hour drive.

In the end, most of the food I prepped got tossed.
We made multiple trips to the grocery store for toast (bread), saltines, applesauce, and Gatorade.
We did not eat Thanksgiving dinner.  We all ate a bit of crackers and applesauce throughout the day, and even then my 9 year old barfed it all back up.
By the time any of us felt like eating, the food was a week old, and past it's prime.

In the end it was officially the worst vacation ever!