Monday, August 19, 2013

Eating on Our Weekend Road Trip

I like a good Starbucks coffee on the road as much as the next person, but the thought of sitting in a car for 400 miles with fast food in my stomach is not very appealing.  We make the trip from Chicago to Cleveland and back several times a year, and the rest areas along the way leave much to be desired in terms of healthy food options. Traveling with a small child takes a good amount of preparation to begin with, so you may be thinking "now I have to make food to take with us too?" I'll admit, I had the same thought as I started making my mental check-list of things to do to get ready for our trip this past weekend. But, it really didn't take much time, and we felt so much better for the long hours that we spent sitting in the car.  I also knew we would be feasting all weekend, so I wanted to keep the food for the car trip light to cut down on the guilt of the indulgences we were looking forward to enjoying! I filled a cooler and a grocery bag with healthy food, and we were all pretty happy travelers!

The day before we left, I ran to the store with Charlie and we picked up some all-natural, antibiotic free turkey to make some sandwiches, and then I pulled all kinds of stuff out of the refrigerator and cabinets for snacks.  I sliced up a tomato to put on the sandwiches (which I put in a separate bag so the sandwiches wouldn't get soggy), and tossed a bottle of mustard in the cooler. I chopped up some organic bell peppers and carrots and brought along some bananas, almond yogurt, organic raspberries, organic peaches and organic apples that would have gone bad while we were gone. We hate wasting food, and taking our own food on a road trip is a great way to use up things that would otherwise go bad. Plus, we try to live by a budget, and taking our own food saves a good amount of money.

From the cabinets, I pulled out some pistachios (one of Charlie's favorite snacks), raisins, popcorn, pretzels, peanut butter, extra bread, and graham crackers.  I packed a similar lunch and snacks for our drive back as well (thanks Mom and Dad for letting me raid your kitchen!)

We had plenty of snacks for the car ride and stopped half-way at a rest area and had a little picnic with our sandwiches, fruit and vegetables. Oh, and we did, of course, have our Starbuck's fix!

Whenever we visit with my family in Cleveland, we get to eat some pretty delicious food. My dad makes some elaborate breakfast spreads and does a pretty mean clam bake. On this trip, he made a dinner of lobster tails, steak, brined & grilled chicken breasts, fresh corn on the cob, and tomato pie. I had to try a little of it all, and it was all amazing! I wish I had taken a picture of the blueberry and apple pies, as well as brownies for dessert.

Also on this trip, we celebrated my nephew's first birthday. Like Charlie, he has a cows milk protein allergy, so my sister ordered this awesome cake from a vegan amazing does this cake look?? And it tasted pretty amazing as well. 

This was the dinner spread for the birthday party - everything was delicious! They even had turkey burgers as a healthier option.

Eating while you are on the road doesn't have to be fast food and giant sodas from the rest areas along the way. We strive to eat healthy, clean foods in our normal day to day life, including when we are on the go in the car, but big family meals, complete with fabulous desserts, are something we look forward to and really enjoy. Sharing delicious food and quality time with people you love is a wonderful thing!

After we arrived back home from the long drive back, Ted and I had a nice relaxing evening in the backyard with some cold chardonnay while Charlie ran around playing..perfect top-off to a fun weekend trip and enjoying some great meals with our family!

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