Food for Travel

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Our family travels by car 99% of the time. With three kids, they either want to stop to eat or stop to use the bathroom. Anyone who has ever stopped on a highway area rest area will know that their prices are at least one third higher than the nearest exit. Unfortunately, the nearest exit is usually about five miles from the place with the food and/or the bathroom. When our kids were very young, we brought everything with us. It was certainly cheaper to bring a full box of Cheerios and a box of Pop-Tarts, buying a gallon of milk and a pound of cheese from the local supermarket. I also packed goodies for Mommy & Daddy like a 12 pack of soda so we don’t have to spend our money in the overpriced hotel vending machines.
In a hotel, we always ask for a room with a refrigerator. Many come with microwaves. Almost all have coffee makers, which is also perfect for boiling water for tea.

Most of our choices worked for both a weekend or week long vacation out of town as well as a visit out of town to Grandma’s.

Some of our favorites:
Non-Perishable:

Cheerios
Raisins/Dried Cranberries
Granola
Granola bars
Pretzels
Water
Juice boxes

Perishable items to Buy Locally:

Milk
Cheese
Cottage Cheese
Yogurt

Other Items to Think About:

Tea bags (the only place I didn’t bring my own tea was my trip to the UK)
Single serve instant Coffee

I try to avoid chocolate unless you’re going to eat it within the first couple of hours. No matter the season, the car gets very hot, and chocolate will melt, ruining whatever you’ve put it into.

Ziploc or other zipper plastic bags – they have dozens of uses.
Despite all of these snack choices, remember to have some money for a midnight snack and to avoid extra ATM fees.

Add you own must have snacks and/or travel food in the comments.

Tomorrow: Travel Tech

My Annual Guilty Pleasure

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This is the only time of year that I eat Butterfingers. There is something about the crunchy, crispy, almost melt in your mouth peanut buttery, warm with chocolate that is just so amazing.

Unfortunately, this is the only time of year that I love then. I even steal them out of my kids’ candy bags the day after Halloween. Sometimes the night of.

A Barrel of Joy

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I had a ten minute conversation on where I wanted to eat lunch, most of that with myself.   I finally decided on Cracker Barrel. Good food, reasonable prices, good atmosphere for writing. I have my rituals for pretty much every place I go. Cracker Barrel is a glance around the store and a trip to the bathroom before I get settled in my seat with whatever I’ve brought to do. Today it was my kindle and keyboard.

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Appley Dappley Foodie

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Pinterest has many great ideas for crafts and food. Most of them are simple, and when you see them you wonder why you hadn’t thought of them first.

That was definitely my response to these two great apple season recipes. I’m sharing the pictures from the Pinterest website, but the recipes I’m posting are my own variations.

Mini Caramel Apples

Pick your favorite kind of apple – my favorites are jonagold and snapdragon – and peel a few. Using a melon baller, scoop out the apple balls and put on a tray covered in parchment paper.

Put a lollipop stick into each ball.

Melt caramel.

Dip the mini apples into the caramel and put back onto the parchment paper.

Let cool. Refrigerate if necessary.

Enjoy!

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Mini Caramel Apples, photo 1 from Pinterest

Mini Apple Pies

Mix your apples the way you would normally prepare them for a regular sized apple pie.

Use a one cup measuring cup to cut out circles from pie crust. I use Pillsbury pie crusts, but you can use whatever you like or make your own.

Press each circle into each section of a muffin tin.

Add the apple mixture with a small pat of butter.

Cover with another circle of crust or cut strips and do a lattice-work on top or use a mini cookie cutter and place a shape in the center of the pie.

Serve on its own or with ice cream or whipped cream, whichever your favorite is.

Oh so yummy!

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Mini Apple Pies, photo 2 from Pinterest

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Mini Caramel Apples, photo 3 from Pinterest

Foodie in the Kitchen

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What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?

My Apron.

When I was younger, I thought aprons were old-fashioned. You could hang it on a hook or spread it across the wall in a retro looking textile, pseudo-performance art piece.

Like bathrobes, I didn’t get my first apron until after my first son was born. I guess I would estimate that my red apron is at least fifteen years old. I happened to see it, I think in a Target, and I was drawn to it.

I don’t even know why. I don’t like aprons. Red is my least favorite color, and yet, it called to me.

it may have been that when I put it over my head, it actually fit my body. That was a moment.

The first time I wore it seriously was for a Thanksgiving meal. I got something on my hands and instinctively slid my palms down the front of my body. I didn’t even think. If I hadn’t been wearing the apron, I would have spread turkey grease all over my clothes and that would have been the end of them.

I got it now!

That’s why you wear an apron; to keep the yick from getting on your clothes.

I was always so put off by the 1950s retrocicity that I ignored it’s actual use.

I wish I was kidding.

I’m sure there was something psychologically based in my aversion. I was too young to wear an apron. That’s like…..I don’t know….forty-year-olds wore aprons. I was not forty.

I am still not forty.

I’ve gone off topic, haven’t I?

My apron is almost like another personality. I put it on and I can cook anything. Anything! It’s empowering.

It’s the most useful thing in the kitchen. It supplements me, and complements me without overpowering my own cooking style.

There are two large pockets in the front that can hold a recipe card, a potholder, my cell phone. At one time or another, for short bursts only, I’ll put my Kindle in there because I have several recipes and a cookbook on it. I can also look up what I need on the internet.

The waist tie goes around my back and then returns to the front where I tie it. Nothing goes around my waist twice.

It’s a sturdy broadcloth, so even if I spill something like hot soup or 270* melted caramel on it, I still have time to wipe it off before I get burned.

If I put in on for a big meal, I never take it off until I’m finished cooking. Sometimes I’ll wear it through dinner to avoid spills.

It really is the most versatile and useful item in my kitchen, and even if you use it too much, it won’t spoil the broth.

Tasty Tuesday – Anniversary Dinner

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Last week was my twenty-first anniversary. My husband and I went to the movies (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and out to dinner at a Japanese bistro restaurant. The food was amazing, both in presentation and taste. I honestly can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a meal this much.

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Miso Soup and Salad with Ginger Orange Dressing

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Steak Teriyaki with Fried Rice

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Chicken Tempura with Fried Rice

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Green Tea Ice Cream Tempura, Before

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Green Tea Ice Cream Tempura, After

Tasty Tuesday on Friday – Poutine

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New at Red Robin! At $9, the Great Northern Poutine Fries appetizer is entree size, and includes their steak fries covered with mushrooms, garlic aioli, brown gravy and cheese curds. It was amazing even though I couldn’t eat more than half of it! Red Robin also has the best burgers with something for everyone, and one of the best royalty/loyalty clubs I’ve seen.

On a related note, I’m starting to write reviews for Google Local Guides. I need to figure out how to post with my Kindle, but it looks like an interesting venture for fall.