This past weekend we went on our second-ever family backpacking trip (our first time without a guide)! When we first did this last summer the guide handled all of the food, which definitely appeared to be a big undertaking.Keep Reading
In case you missed it, we just spent five of the last six weeks out west exploring our beautiful continent, and four of those weeks were in an RV rental. And after all that fun, I am here to report on our adventure in eating real food on the road.Keep Reading
After years and years of weekend camping trips I honestly can’t believe I am just now figuring out there is a proper way to pack a cooler to ensure food safety (and avoid food poisoning). So today I want to share these newfound, valuable tips because, when the precautions are so easy, why not be safe instead of sorry? Surely I’m not the only one that has been living in the dark on this topic.
It all started on our camping trip this past weekend when I opened our cooler to find that ice had melted and leaked (potentially contaminated cooler water) into the container holding our caprese pasta salad (that took me a long time to make from scratch…and I wanted to eat!). Melted ice has leaked into containers on us before, but it only seemed to happen with a few questionable leftovers that were still left in the cooler after returning home – not a brand new dish we hadn’t even eaten yet! So I turned to my facebook community for some important advice – eat it or toss it? And after sifting through more than 1K responses to this question, and using my brain a little, I realized we need to make some serious, yet simple, changes before ever packing up the cooler with a weekend’s worth of food again!
Cooler Packing Tips
1)Start With A Good Quality Hard Cooler.
High quality, thick-sided, hard coolers are better at insulating and keeping your food cold than the soft-sided alternative. So when it comes to packing perishables for an extended period of time (or when it’s extra hot outside) skip the light-weight insulated bags and go for something sturdier instead. For example, my daughters’ school lunches are fine in an insulated bag with several ice packs sitting in the air conditioned school building until lunchtime, but when I recently sent my 6-year-old to an outdoor camp in the middle of our hot Carolina summer they recommended a personal-sized hard cooler to ensure the food stayed cool enough in the heat.
It’s no secret that we’ve done our fair share of traveling so far this summer. If your family still has some fun trips coming up – whether by car or by plane – below are some snacks that we think are great and easy to take along. Even if you just can’t (or won’t) stick to a real food diet once you get to your destination, I think it’s great to have some items for the road trip there or even to supplement meals once you arrive. What good is a vacation if you feel sluggish (or even sick) from some not-so-great airplane or gas station food? And yes, you can take your own food and empty water bottle through airport security, provided you follow TSA guidelines for anything considered a liquid.*
1) Homemade Trail Mix or Granola
Trail mix is easy enough – just mix together a variety of nuts, seeds, and even dried fruit then divide up into little baggies or reusable containers. Or alternatively bag up some yummy homemade granola cereal that you can just eat dry out of your hand. These options can be an especially filling snack for taking up such little space.
2) Simple Store Bought Fruit & Nut Bars (or homemade!)
For the store bought versions be sure to check the ingredients for a short list of items you are familiar with and would cook with at home. We personally like Lara Bars, Kit’s Organic and Raw Crunch. (Tip use coupon code “100DAYS” for 15% off your online Raw Crunch purchase.) And yes it’s extra work, but I promise the homemade version of dried fruit and nut bars are even better than you could imagine :)
As you may know our family had the opportunity to go on the trip of a lifetime this summer. For the first time ever we took our daughters beyond the borders of the US and together we visited England, France, Switzerland, and Italy – and what an experience it was! This was one of those trips where “scope creep” ruled. We initially decided we wanted to visit my cousin and his family who have been living in Paris for a year and the plans just grew from there. Because once you take the plunge to buy plane tickets to travel all that way – why not? One thing I learned from this trip is that our daughters, at 8- and 6-years-old, are at the perfect age to go on an adventure like this. They were total troopers even when we pushed the limits more than intended (dinner at 9:30 anyone?). I was really impressed with how well they dealt with so many new (and foreign) environments, the six hour time change, and the days that sight-seeing honestly wore out all four of us. I was diligent about having them keep a daily journal (that they also taped mementos into – like train tickets and museum passes) so they will hopefully remember this experience for years to come!Keep Reading
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