Real Food Hits the Road: The First Week

At this point we have been on the road since the evening of Friday, June 1.  9 full days on the road with 6 days to go.  I’m writing this post before we leave to share our plans for eating our usual 85% real food style while on the road as the newest installment for the series Someone Else’s Shoes. This installment is Real Food Hits the RoadSince this is being written prior to leaving this is strictly the plans we have. Depending on internet connection and my time I may or may not pop on to provide an update as to how it really went. I will do an update after the trip with how the reality went which may or may not have met our 85% real food goal.

At the last update we had been eating out of our coolers with the pre-made food brought along. Since that time the cooler should be pretty much emptied out except for a few things that were fermented and will be enjoyed on the entire trip. We’ll have restocked our groceries a couple of times by now. The hotel we stayed on last week that had a full kitchen so I should have made up a few things to carry us through after leaving there. We left that hotel on Thursday. From then on we’ll be relying on our crock pot and rice cooker for meals along with a hot pot for boiling water.  I called the hotels that I thought we might wish to use the crock pot and/or rice cooker in before we left home to get permission.  Everyone indicated that would be no problem– on place did make sure that I knew hot plates were not allowed.

At the hotel with a kitchen we’ll cook a chicken (brought along frozen solid) and a roast to eat while at the hotel. Taking along the frozen meats not only gives us our well sourced foods but keeps things in the cooler cold.  Opening the cooler as infrequently as possible and keeping it covered with a quilt also helps to keep things cold.  Unfortunately, with the coolers we have things only stay frozen for two days but that is usually enough for our plans. I’ve read that using dry ice will keep frozen things frozen but have yet to try this.

I’ve planned our menus to be fairly simple. I made sure that any recipes that we thought we might want to try on the road were tried out before we left.

At the hotel with a kitchen we’re planning on oatmeal, scrambled eggs and yogurt parfaits for breakfast.  At this hotel we planned on a relaxing lunch each day (we’ll be at Disneyland and have a hotel right across the street so we can go back for a lunch time break) and I can use that time to do any needed cooking/prep work.  Tuesday lunch is to be meal salad topped with chicken and Wednesday a 7 Layer Taco Dip (both of these are meals from the grain-free menu plan put out by Cara at Health, Home and Happiness).  We figured supper will be rather late after staying at the parks for the festivities.  A roast cooked in the crock pot along with a green salad on Tuesday. Wednesday night we planned on any eating leftovers that have accumulated along with a Caprese salad (Lulu’s favorite).  On Wednesday during the lunch break I’ll do some cooking for the next few days. I’ll make meatballs and meat patties in the oven, precook some (soaked) rice, cut veggie sticks for several meals, cut cheese for several meals, make a simple fruit salad, make Thursday’s lunch and hard boil some eggs.

Thursday we will spend the day at Disneyland but check out of our hotel. We’ll pack a lunch that day making a spread out of roast beef, cream cheese and spices to serve with veggie sticks and crackers. Disneyland has fee lockers which are convenient for stashing a picnic lunch (in a cooler).  After we are done at Disney we’ll drive down to San Diego. We’ll be there for 2 nights. Supper that night will be warmed up from the meat balls and rice made on Wednesday along with a simple red sauce and some broccoli tossed in. The rice cooker will work well for this (I’ve tested it).

Breakfast on Friday and Saturday will be meat patties, cheese, boiled eggs and fruit salad all prepared on Wednesday.  We’ll have a picnic lunch each day. Friday will be meats, cheeses, veggie sticks and fruit while Saturday will be a variation of this salmon and rice salad from GNOWFGLINS.  Friday night we’ll have Taco Salads made in the room using the rice cooker to cook up the meat.  I’m happy that our hotel is just across the street from a ‘health food’ store that says they grind their meat several times each day.  I’ll do a little bit of prep at this hotel cooking up more hard boiled eggs and rice as needed plus use the crock pot to do some beef. We’ll also start some lentils to sprout.

Saturday night we’ll be in a new location- Yuma, Arizona.  Supper that night will be Ginger Stir Fry (from the grain free menu planner by Cara at Health, Home and Happiness) cooked in the rice cooker.  Sunday morning we’ll have a simple breakfast of sprouted bagels (or bread whichever we find at the health food store in San Diego), hard boiled eggs, any leftovers from the Friday and Saturday breakfast and kefir.  Lunch will be a picnic on the road of Ginger Beef Wraps (also from Cara). Supper will be main dish salad with beef (that was cooked in the crock pot on Friday).  I’ll prep a few things before we leave this hotel to prepare for the next days.

That brings us up to day.  The next couple of days we will be at a hotel that has a ‘no cooking in room’ policy. The plan is to have a few things cooked in advance that can be assembled into simple meals plus add in a few other things. All easy.

 

A few things that I’m hoping will help on this trip:

 

One thing I’m planning to do is to cook things in double or even triple batches as often as possible, afterall this is a vacation and I’m not interested in cooking the entire time and missing out on all of the fun!  The Stir Fry from Saturday night will be a double batch in order to have it for supper and then lunch the next day. Cooking a whole chicken or a big roast can stretch for several meals. Sprouted lentils are great and can become several different meals with different tastes just by changing the additions and spices.

Speaking of spices. I love to have a wide variety of spices available for cooking. While it is tempting to take along my entire spice collection on the trip, it’s not practical. What I did was to go through my recipes that I knew I’d be making and prepackage my spices. I label each spice container with the recipe name and the place I’ll use it.  I have a spice packet that says “Taco- San Diego” another that says “Sausage- Anaheim” and so on. When I’m ready to make my dish I just pull out my spice packet and dump it in. I will take along salt, pepper and powdered garlic along with vanilla.  I did this spice pre-packing last year for our road trip and it worked out very well.

Remembering basic things is always my biggest challenge.  My family likes to tease me about the time we went camping and I forgot to bring any cooking utensils. We ended up flipping the hamburgers on the grill with two (somewhat clean) sticks. I’ve went through my meal plans and thought about what I’d need to prepare each dish but even so  I’ve kept a list handy that I can add to when I think of things I may have forgot.  Even so, I still expect to have to ‘make do’ or make a purchase along the way. hmmm. There are a few things I’d like to replace…

 

What real foods work for you when on the road? Please share in the comments.

Added on Sunday, June 10:  We’re in Yuma.  We did have a few minor schedule changes that affected our food plans. We were able to meet up with our surro when we got to Anaheim on Monday (she was also in town along with her daughter and a family friend). We enjoyed a wonderful late dinner out with them.  That dinner changed our Tuesday plans also since no one was very hungry Tuesday morning. We used our Magic Morning early entry that day and which put us in line at Disneyland at 6:45 AM.  We decided to meet up at 10AM for beignets. I’d had beignets several years ago and remembered them being quite delicious.  They are something like a donut and obviously not the best breakfast choice.  When we met up we were all so hungry that we went ahead and ordered a full breakfast. It was actually pretty good.  We went back to the room around 2 as planned and everyone helped themselves to leftovers (either stuff we’d made or from dinner the night before).  The hotel we were staying at offered an evening reception. Joe and the girls wanted to try it so we did. It wasn’t bad (at the time) but left me feeling horrible. About 8PM my stomach was hurting something awful. We ended up going back to the room and watching the Disneyland fireworks from our hotel and then going to bed.  Lulu woke up the next morning feeling pretty bad. After that we were much more careful with our eating and did pretty well. Until last night…

As we neared Yuma, Joe saw a sign for a restaurant that we ate at several years ago and he loved.  He practically begged to go there for dinner. Joe is completely on board with our real food eating and has been wonderful about helping me prepare meal on this trip.  So for him to really want to go to this place was something unusual.  He enjoyed it very much.  This morning four out of five of us have some minor tummy troubles.

We’ve really done pretty well besides for those days.  The theme park days are kind of hard.  It was helpful having a room right across the street from Disneyland. But Universal Studios and Sea World were more challenging. We were only at Universal for about 5 hours and had Lara bars, granola bars and ‘healthy’ fruit leather with us as snacks. Sea World we ended up spending closer to 7 hours at. We had the same snacks with us and ended up buying salads and fruit (the most expensive salads and fruit EVER) also.

Sunday night we’re in Sedona. I’m excited about that area. It looks very pretty.

Our goal was 85% real food overall. We aren’t reaching that goal. Maybe 70 to 75%.  I think the next week will be easier away from the theme parks. We’ll see…

We did have an accident at the Anaheim hotel that was not good. I was getting something out of the small fridge and I knocked out the yogurt. I had just made a fresh batch and had yet to take out any starter (to save for future batches). The jar exploded with rather impressive force when it hit the tile floor.  The little glass shards went everywhere including making it to the sofa in the living room and even into the bathroom. Housekeeping had to come to clean it up (since hotel rooms don’t come equipped with brooms).  I was rather sad about losing our yogurt making abilities.  We did buy plain full fat yogurt several time through out the trip and that was okay.

I did forget to mention in my previous update that we ate at Chipolte’s in San Diego. I had eaten at that chain once several years ago. I’ve read that Chipolte is working toward sourcing their ingredients and they did have a sign in the restaurant saying that. I have to say, it was very good. Joe liked it so much he suggested we eat more “Chipolte type food” at home. We had Chipolte’s as a late lunch. Supper ended up being leftover meats and cheeses in our room which worked out quite well.   The second night we were in San Diego we made tacos in the hotel. We restocked our supplies at Sprouts (there was one across the street from our hotel) and had a near feast.  Making taco filling in a rice cooker works very well!  We also made oatmeal in the rice cooker one morning which also worked well.  After soaking the oats overnight they cooked up very quickly and easily.

After we left Anaheim we no longer had a kitchen.  With the crock pot and the rice cooker the cooking part was easy. We used paper plates and disposable silverware. We had originally planned to take along both those but decided on disposables for convenience.  We did of course still need to wash our cooking supplies. We took along a rubbermade type tub for that which worked great with Dr. Bronner soap. I was super careful not to send food down the vanity sinks. It really worked quite well.

Photo: Cooler on Amazon (just like one of the ones we are taking only ours is old and faded)

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