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This is the most recent installment to the series Someone Else’s Shoes. Real Food Hits the Road— that’s what my family is attempting. The desire is to eat our normal 85% real food way while living out of hotel/motel rooms for the next 2+ weeks.
We’ve been on the road since Friday evening. Leaving after Joe finished a day of work might seem odd but that is what works for us. Driving overnight and being somewhere fun in the day time is always nice. Of course, Joe likes to do most of the driving which leaves him tired. This year I’m hopeful he let me drive more than usual. Since I’m writing this post in advance I’m not sure how that worked out. Our plan was to drive about 12 hours and then take a several hour stop at Valley of Fire State Park. Breakfast, rest and light hiking are on the agenda for this stop.
For this day (Saturday), we prepacked all of our meals. Breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks. All are picnic style meals meaning we won’t plan on heating anything up. We’ll be staying in a budget motel Saturday night.
Our goal was to be up early Sunday morning and have a picnic breakfast at Red Rock Canyon. Once again a picnic lunch and supper are the plan. Sunday night we’ll be in another motel.
Our Sunday night motel includes a continental breakfast with the room. While this is offered at most of the hotel/motels we are staying at on this trip we don’t plan to utilize them as intended. Usually these breakfasts are nothing more than pastries, juice and coffee. Joe and I will probably have coffee and the girls (ages 15 and 17) may grab the occasional pastry. Overall our plan is to eat simple breakfasts in our room. The picnic breakfasts that we packed for Saturday and Sunday will be finished off on Monday. Packing up a variety different breakfast items that can be eaten over several days works well for us.
Breakfast items we packed;
- Precooked homemade beef sausage patties (eaten cold)
- Boiled eggs
- Cheese chunks
- Fruit salad
- Drinkable Grape Kefir
We made up enough to last for the three days plus also have yogurt parfait ingredients to add in on the last day as needed. Speaking of yogurt, we’ll take along our Viili yogurt culture to make yogurt on the road along with kefir grains (both dairy and water). These are so simple to do that I don’t feel they will be a burden to make on the road and will give us great probiotic foods to help with our gut health.
Prepacked lunches include simple sushi on Saturday that we’ll make up on Friday. We’ve done this several times for a sandwich type item on the road. For this type of sushi I don’t use uncooked ingredients and only make enough for the one meal so it works out quite well. Sunday will be precooked roast, assorted cheeses (including homemade Mediterranean Cheese from the GNOWFGLINS Cultured Dairy eCourse), veggie sticks and cookies.
Monday’s lunch will be any leftovers from breakfasts and Sunday’s lunch.
Suppers will also be all prepacked. For planning purposes, I included Friday night’s supper before we leave on our trip. We’ll have a variation of this recipe for Chicken Tomato Wraps. Saturday night supper will also be a wrap based on this recipe which will be assembled at supper time. Veggies sticks and dip will go along with both wraps. Sunday night will be precooked sausages and a veggie salad. Monday night we’ll arrive at a our hotel that has a full kitchen. Because we don’t know how late we’ll get there we’ll take along a pre made meal that can be heated up. Arabic meatballs and pre made (and frozen) pasta will heat up easily.
Even though we’ll have a full kitchen as this hotel, I don’t plan to be chained to it. I’ll make up a few things and then we’ll eat on those. The day before we leave here I plan to cook up things to carry us over for the next few days. Plus we’ll utilize our crock pot and rice cooker at other hotels down the road (that I’ve called and got the ‘okay’ from) which will be helpful.
Again, the goal is 85% real food (the same we eat at home) so there is bound to be some ‘straying’ from the plan. Each person has their own spending money and it is to be expected that some may choose to purchase snacks with it. The girls (ages 15 and 17) are likely to make those choices more than anyone.
What do you pack for picnic type meals? Share in the comments.
Updated for Week 1 Wrap-Up:
Friday and Saturday: Joe ended up getting off work an hour or so early. The children and I had the car packed and ready to go except for the food. We also had a simple supper prepared (a variation of this recipe). We did run into some space issues when finishing up our packing. The coolers didn’t hold nearly as much as I had thought they would (isn’t that how it usually goes?) and I was really concerned about getting everything in. I had checked off my list and put everything on one shelf in the fridge that needed to go (or so I thought) and was quite happy to all but one small jar of juice (for water kefir) fit. We were about 2 hours down the road when I realized that I did not remember putting in the jasr of yogurt and kombucha that I’d made. I have to admit, that was a huge bummer since ferments were an important part of our plan for keeping our bodies healthy. I knew that I had put in kefir grains (water and milk) and my yogurt mother so I could make these. But not having the jars would also be a problem. I needed those to make the new ferments and a few other things I’d planned on.
We drove through the night (with several stops along the way) and did have our picnic breakfast (see above) at Valley of Fire State Park in
Nevada. This was a terrific place to stop. We had breakfast at one place (some old cabins) and then went on to the Visitors Center. We saw lots of wildlife and then went on to a place called Mouse’s Tank and took a short hike (it was really just a walk but I like to think we were hiking). We enjoyed our stop here but cut it short when it started to get hot. We needed to replinish the ice in our cooler (now that we add some room to add ice after eating some of the food) so headed on toward Las Vegas.
We stopped for several hours at Springs Preserve. We had our lunch (see above) in the parking lot there. They were closing early that day for a special event and things were a little disorganized. We had a super hard time finding our way around there. Finally we decided just to go and sit in the cafe and have ice tea and lemonade to kill some time. Around 1:30 we went to our motel. Unfortunately, our room wasn’t yet ready. We left our car and walked around a bit. I’d been to Vegas several times but never in June. It was super hot and super crowded. We walked around about an hour and went back. We stayed about a block off the Strip. I’d reserved a family room. It worked out quite well for us. The first room at a full sized bed and then a long hall led to the second room with 2 full sized beds. A huge bathroom was between the two rooms. We also had a small fridge and microwave. If we ever find ourselves in Vegas with the children again (not likely) we’d stay there.
We had supper in our room (see above) and then found a park to take the children to play. Christopher is the only one who really needed the park time but the girls enjoyed it also. On the way back to our room, we stopped and picked up a ‘snack’. When we had lived in Northern California we loved In and Out. We decided to have a burger since there was an In and Out (maybe several) in Vegas. I half expected them to not be nearly as good as I’d remembered. Well, they were delicious.
Sunday: We were up early and out of our room. We drove up to Red Rocks Canyon for our picnic breakfast and some light hiking. This area was beautiful. We spent a few hours there doing the 13 mile scenic drive and stopping several times. We didn’t actually hike as much as we had planned on. It was getting hot already. The heat those first few days was really challenging for us. Our attempt to leave Las Vegas was not easy. Our GPS gave us a wrong exit number and we got turned around plus there was road construction everywhere. It took us a good hour to finally get going the correct direction and on our way to Los Angeles. We stopped in Barstow, California for our picnic lunch at a local park. Christopher was again quite happy about this and enjoyed the playground.
We had a standard room at a hotel in Studio City. It was a terrific location and nice place. We went down to Hollywood to do the Walk of Fame thing (you know, the stars on the sidewalk) which was very interesting. The girls found some stores to shop in (Lulu was very excited about the shopping aspect). We picked up chocolate covered apples to have for dessert (probably not a super good choice but they were tasty) and then headed back to our room after a quick grocery stop. We picked up some cream (to make kefir and yogurt), a jug of water and paper towels. Our supper was delicious. We went to bed super early probably since we were still recovering from our overnight drive. I did start kefir and yogurt before bed. I used the jar I had the yogurt mother in to make a larger batch (it was big enough to hold a cup and half of milk) and used a large coffee travel mug to make the kefir.
Monday: Universal Studios! We’d never been here before. We had purchased City Pass tickets for this trip which includes a visit to Universal Studios. We had breakfast in our room (the things we had brought along and I think the girls each had a bagel from the hotel breakfast) and packed up a small reusable lunch bag with snacks to eat at the park. Originally I had planned on packing our small cooler with a proper lunch but decided against it since I didn’t really know what to expect at this theme park. I should have done that, I think it would have been fine. We used a locker to put our snack lunch in and it would have been large enough for our lunch cooler. I put the kefir and yogurt in the lunch cooler with a small amount of ice so they could keep culturing but not get too hot along with a few other things to keep everything from tipping over. It worked out well. We stayed at Universal until 2 or so then headed to Anaheim. We did have our small ‘lunch’ in the parking lot before leaving.
We liked Universal Studios quite well but it wasn’t really suitable for Christopher. Most of the attractions had height requirements that he didn’t reach. They do have a water play area that he loved. I took him in it and both of us ended up soaked. They also had a play area on the lower level by the Jurasic Park ride. We took turns playing with Christopher in that area while the other 3 would ride. It worked out okay. The crowds were light so we rode several times. Joe, Christopher and I also went on the studio tour and that was super fun. It’s an hour long tour bus style ride that also has some neat extras like a short 3-D thing. Very fun! Oh and we did see Shrek 4-D but I’m not sure Christopher really cared for it. He mostly hid down on his seat.
It took quite some time to get to Anaheim. We stopped for a grocery restock along the way. We went to a Sprouts. It was a very nice store and I was super excited to see quart jars individually for sale. I was going to pick one up but got side tracked for whatever reason. As we were leaving I remembered it. I almost went back for it but decided I would just get one later since I knew I’d be shopping at Sprouts in San Diego–it turned out that the San Diego Sprouts didn’t carry jars so I really wish I would have bought one. Lesson learned if you see something you need buy it then!
Our Anaheim hotel room was a suite with a kitchenette, a living room and a bedroom with 2 queen beds. It was very nice. This hotel also included breakfast and an evening reception. It is also right across the street from Disneyland. We had planned on supper in our room but our surro was also in town so we changed our plans and had a wonderful dinner out with her. I actually ended up throwing out the pasta I’d brought along that was supposed to be that night’s dinner. The ice had melted and the pasta was water logged. Probably not a big deal but it didn’t look very appealing!
At this point our brought along food was pretty much gone which is what we had planned. We did still have the meatballs that were to be Monday nights dinner to enjoy. Other than forgetting the cultures things were going pretty well food-wise. Check out the next post for the first week to see how things continue.