Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Healthy Eating on Vacation

As you are reading this post, I am enjoying a family vacation in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. We usually take one big family vacation a year and this year we rented a home in the woods to unplug and get away from it all. I look forward to telling you all about it when I return.

This post however is all about preparing the food for our vacation. Normally wherever we go we find a Costco so we can stock up on food that we can afford to feed our hungry crew. Up in the U.P. however, we didn't think that was going to be an option so I decided we would stock up here and bring it with us.

I headed off to Costco and Whole Foods yesterday and I got all my proteins. I got some ground turkey that I browned and made into taco meat. We will use that to make nachos, quesadillas, or taco salad. I froze it so it could make the trip in the cooler and will last long enough.

I also bought some ground beef and made up some Italian meatballs. Most of my kids love pasta but my 17 year old hates it so I always like to make the meatballs so he can have something he likes too. I baked them and froze them too.

I bought enough chicken for two meals. I made two different marinades, adobo and Margarita and let them marinate in the freezer overnight and then froze them in their raw form. I will be able to thaw them and throw them on the grill.

I also bought some hamburger patties and bison hotdogs that are made with out nitrates, hormones, or antibiotics. Those will be easy to grill up.

For breakfast I made my own pancake mix with whole grain pastry flour and aluminum free baking soda and bought some plain yogurt that I will mix with honey, fruit, and wholesome energy bars I bought at Costco. I also hard boiled some eggs.

For lunch I got some lunchmeat and the standard PB&J for the kids. I will eat leftovers and salads.

For snacks I got some organic popcorn, organic chips and some not so healthy pretzels. It's all about balance.

I will hit a grocery store when we get up there and stock up on veggies to supplement these main meals and to save some room in our cooler. We are borrowing a huge cooler from our friends to make all of this possible.

It was a bit of work but I got it all done in one day and it is going to save us some serious cash and keep us eating a bit healthier while we are out and about.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Simple Summer Dinner

So often I try to get creative with food and make something "really good." Maybe it's my history of growing up in a restaurant and eating out all the time. I was eating really good food all the time. We ate all kinds of ethnic food and delicious prepared meals. Nothing was plain or boring and I guess I wish I could still eat like this.

There are a few of problems with this. One is time. It takes a lot a time to create meals like this on a consistent basis. Not to mention needing a ton of special ingredients that you may never use again. The main problem is the kids. They often want to eat raw veggies when they won't eat them cooked and they usually like foods that are simple.

So what's a mom to do? Make it easy on herself that's what! For dinner I put a pork roast in the oven with some baked potatoes (I don't wrap them in foil or doing anything special to them). I walked away and in an hour I added some chopped up tomatoes I got from the farmers market and some pickled cucumbers from our garden. So easy!

The recipe for the cucumbers I got from the cookbook Desperation Entertaining. Of course I made some changes to it to make it a bit healthier.

Pickled Cucumbers
Serves 8

1/2 cup vinegar
1-2 tablespoons agave (depending on how sweet you want it)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 medium cucumbers

Make the dresing. Thinly slice the cucumbers. Put the cucumbers in a shallow serving bowl and pour the dressing over the slices. Serve with a slotted spon to drain off the salad dresing.
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