Monday, August 12, 2013

Eating real food while on vacation

 Going on a vacation can be a very hard time to eat healthfully. We have trouble with that in our family some but I am working to have as much real food as possible even while traveling and on vacation. I thought I would share some of what we did while out at Yellowstone.

  Eating healthy food on vacation does require a fair amount of work before hand to get everything ready. I will admit that right before we left I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the work of packing, getting our garden somewhat in order, making sure everything was fine for the chickens, getting our house ready for someone to house sit for us plus getting all the food made. However I think if I did a little less procrastinating getting all the food prepared would go a little easier.

  Our bodies certainly do feel better however when we are able to keep having a healthy diet most of the time.

Here was our plan for having as much real food as we could while traveling:

  For our trip out there we ate breakfast and lunch in the van. For breakfast I made cinnamon rolls and strawberry jam rolls. They are made with whole wheat flower and sweetened primarily with honey. I think we also had cheese to eat.

  For lunch I had packed egg salad sandwiches, grapes, cookies and fresh peas from our garden. Ken did do a little shopping to add to our meals (things that I don't buy) so we had chips for the meal as well.

 For supper we did go out to eat. We found a family Mexican restaurant. The food was really quite yummy and though I don't think it was perfectly healthy overall I felt that we had a pretty healthy meal. I was quite intrigued by their salsa. One variety that they served was super spicy (which was nice as I was fighting a cold) and the other had purple and green cabbage and carrots in it. It seemed like a cross between kimchi and salsa. It was really quite good. We were given so much food that we were able to box up the leftovers and keep them cool and when we got to the campground the next day we heated them up for our lunch.

 My mother-in-law, Sharyl and I split up the supper preparations so each of us took a couple of meals. However we worked together to actually get them ready to eat.
 The suppers we had while camping were:
~Chicken, veggies and brown rice dish along with salad (if I remember right) .
~Hamburgers, fried potatoes and veggies.
~Hot dogs (Sharyl got healthy/expensive ones) and a veggie platter
~Spaghetti and meat sauce and salad.
~Brown rice cooked in beef broth which an onion and then with steak chunks and green pepper added. We ate that with green beans and watermelon.

 For breakfasts I made:

 ~Eggs and Juneberry Bread (baked before we came)
~Pancakes and apples
~Eggs and bread. I was going to make fried biscuits but as we were having some stove troubles Sharyl said she had extra bread to use rather than having to cook something else.
~ Oatmeal and juneberries and grapes.
~Granola (with dry milk mixed up to go on top)
 For lunch we were generally away from the campground and often hiking so we took along things that were easy to pack in our waist packs.
 Above we were enjoying lunch while we appreciated a view of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
 We had things like: no bake energy bars that we made (I figured out some pretty yummy combinations - the kids like the chocolate one best), cheese sticks, trail mix, apples, dried juneberries (we dried them), crackers (both homemade and some from Ken's little shopping trip) and banana chips.
 Above is a picture of some of my homemade crackers. Though I will admit that they weren't quite as popular as the Ritz crackers that Ken bought I think the did turn out pretty good. One was a cheese crackers (recipe here) and the other was a Whole Wheat Sesame Seed Cracker. Here is the recipe:
  • 1 cup water or whey
  • 2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 T. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1/2 c. sesame seeds
Mix together in food processor. Roll out dough 1/16 inch thick on a floured surface. Prick with a fork and then cut into squares. Transfer to ungreased baking pans that have sesame seeds sprinkled on them. Bake 15- 20 minutes at 350 degrees until they are lightly brown and firm.

  For a snack one evening I packed popcorn and coconut oil which we popped over the fire. It was really good tasting but didn't pop very well or quickly - I think our fire wasn't hot enough.

 Speaking of fire... My in-laws had volunteered to bring their camp stove since they had more room and then we wouldn't need to bring ours. They did that and we used it for a couple of meals but then it started having some issues with flames where they weren't supposed to be. We actually aren't sure now if it was the stoves fault or a leaky propane tank. However I didn't care for cooking on something that was flaming up in weird spots so we decided not to use the stove anymore. Thankfully Ken had thrown in a bag of various camping stuff that contained his one burner pack packing stove with fuel. So we did have that to cook on but as it was only one burner it was challenging to make some of the meals so we started using the fire pit more than we had originally planned. My in-laws did also purchase a small camp "stove" at one of the stores in Yellowstone but it really only warmed things - didn't cook things very well at all. Some of the meal cooking (especially the pancakes!) were kind of interesting as we went back and forth between a problematic camp stove, to a tiny back packing stove, to a fire that we hadn't purchased enough firewood for and so on. Meals took a little longer to make than usual needless to say.

   I don't mind camp cooking (in fact I think it is rather fun) but I do appreciate either a reliable stove or plenty of firewood!

 With all our messing around with fire I decided that we couldn't really leave the land of bison/buffalo without seeing what it was like to burn "buffalo chips" (dried droppings in case you didn't know). I have read about that so many times and it is such a part of our history that I hated to pass up that experience. The buffalo chips were everywhere - the girls (they enjoyed the collecting - with either a plastic bag or a paper towel so they didn't actually touch them) hardly had to leave our campsite to find them, in fact there were some in our campsite. I wasn't sure if we were really supposed to do that in a National Park but since they were everywhere and being produced regularly and there wasn't any specific rule against it we did try it out.
It was important to get very dry "Buffalo Chips". When they were dry they burned quite easily and nicely. They were easier to light than wood. The smoke smelled different from wood smoke but it wasn't bad.
Here we have a nice little fire going with buffalo chips. This trip was a truly fun educational experience!

 As far as food goes we did boil eggs to eat along with other various things that we had left for lunch on our trip home but then the meals after that on our way home were at restaurants. That made us appreciate the real food that we enjoy at home all the more once we were home.

Though packing our own food takes work I think it is worth it as we have food that is much better for us plus we save a lot of money. If we would have eaten out for all the meals the cost would have been enormous. Even if we would have bought a lot of packaged foods the cost would have been much higher than what we paid.

  Another thing that we do when camping that helps save money and I just feel better about, is bringing regular dishes and then washing them. It really isn't that hard and since we would have to wash pots anyway it isn't that much extra work. I so prefer not having all the trash of paper or Styrofoam plates and cups and plastic silverware.

   Do you pack your own meals when traveling/camping? I would love to hear about what you like to do!
monday's homestead barn hop


AmyG said...

It's a little tricky to eat healthy while you're travelling, but you've demonstrated how it can be done! Well done!

Lea said...

Great post Abbi!

We bring real dishes and serving bowls when we camp too and wash them - we bring two baby bathtubs to wash them in. One for wash water, one for rinse. Then we add hot water to the rinse and use it to wash feet before bedtime too.

We usually stop at grocery stores along the way when we travel and eat from there. Not the greatest but generally better than restaurants, unless their mom-and-pop type.

Your trip looks wonderful! Thanks for all the sharing!


Nancy McCarroll said...

You did really well on all that cooking. The meals looked delicious.

One thing we used to do with Girl Scouts is halve, and core apples, then fill the innards with cream cheese, raisins and nuts. They were called "walk arounds" if memory serves. The apple inside as used in tuna sandwiches when we stopped hiking.

Buffalo chips for fire...never tried that!


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