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I was pretty quiet last week, but for good reason, it was our yearly family vacation to the beach! We had a wonderful time. Plus, we ate well for less because I had premade all of our dinners, and most of our lunches!
After a beautiful day on the beach, it was lovely to be able to reheat a homemade meal with little bother. We felt well nourished and fed, and it certainly saved us a lot of money too. We ate out for one lunch, and when I saw our bill, I was thankful again that I had made most of our meals!
And let’s face it, it can be really hard to find yummy food that is also allergy-friendly. As a family with gluten, dairy, and egg sensitivities, it can be a real chore to find food that we can eat.
I’m no expert on packing for trips, but I thought I’d share some of what I did as I know many of you have vacations planned as well. This plan works for those staying somewhere with a kitchen (or in my case; we borrowed the kitchen of my sister whose unit had one). I’d love to hear your ideas too!
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Stews and soups
Anyone who has read my blog for a while (or who has my cookbook, Ladled) knows that I’m a fan of soups. I brought a stew and a couple soups. I loved a couple things about specifically bringing them on a trip like this. First, they are super fast to reheat, so kitchen work is minimal. Secondly, soups tend to taste even better after a day or two of flavors melding together, which makes them the perfect food to pre-make for a trip. When much of the day is spent outdoors, I find that especially hearty stews and soups fill the bill.
My soups were from Ladled, but here are some similar soups:
- Autumn Beef Stew
- Simple Chicken Noodle Soup
- Garlicky White Bean Soups with Greens
- Sausage Potato and Squash Soup
- Yellow Split Pea and Sausage and Kale Soup
We had “bean” burritos for several of our lunches. I made a big pot of Mexican lentils (one daughter can’t have many beans), and then brought along gluten-free tortillas and salsa for a simple lunch. They were hearty and filling and frugal too! You could also bring along freezer breakfast burritos!
Freeze meals in gallon bags if without a refrigerator
One thing that I wish I remembered to do was to freeze all of my premade meals. Once frozen and placed in a cooler, they act as their own ice packs. When I had gone on a camping trip with my family before I was married, my mom did this, and it was amazing how long the meals stayed frozen and chilled. In fact, the only thing you may need to do is to remember to defrost your frozen meal before meal time!
Cold cuts and produce
Meals don’t have to be fancy! Bring along some organic cold cuts and sausage to slice, or cheddar cheese, and serve with thick slabs of butter bread or crackers. Serve with sliced cucumber, carrots, and apples, or whatever produce you like! These types of meals are also great to bring along on picnic lunches – whether you are in a state park or at the beach.
I don’t know what it is about vacations, but they just seem to make everyone hungry! We brought along plenty of snacks with us, and they saved us. Because I was already making so many meals ahead of time, we decided to bite the bullet and buy snacks during a good sale a local store had on gluten-free products. We were very thankful for that sale! But snacks are great to make as well. Here are some recipe ideas:
- Spicy Avocado Hummus
- Cinnamon Vanilla Maple Nut Granola (Grain-free)
- Curried Bean Dip
- Grain-free Banana Muffins
- Mini Zucchini Millet Muffins (gluten-free)
- Toasted Nut Larabar Balls
One nourishing spurge item we brought? These coconut oil sweet potato chips. SO good.
Slow cooker meals
Another great idea is to bring slow cooker meals. Last year, I brought several crockpot meals which meant just a little prep for me in the morning. You could make Slow Cooker Pot Roast (for three meals!), slow cooked whole chicken with vegetables, quinoa and chicken stew, or whatever else you fancy! Those eating a paleo diet will appreciate this Paleo Slow Cooking book too.
Finally, these are all ideas for those vacationing with a kitchen. But what about those camping? Katie from Kitchen Stewardship has a great eBook on nourishing camping food, The Family Camping Handbook. Check it out