I am heading into two weeks’ vacation. This is the first time my husband and I have ever had a summer vacation as a couple. We tend to take sunny destination winter vacations instead. Our summers are usually spent cramming a lot of things into weekends, then trying to recover through the week. I am looking forward to this vacation immensely. We are going to be camping for the first week then staying in a cabin on Salt Spring Island with my in-laws for the second week.
My parents bought a trailer this year that they are nice enough to lend to us. After tenting it with two kids, this upgrade is incredibly luxurious. By current standards the trailer is modest at 20 feet long. It has everything we need: beds, a toilet, a fridge and a bit of warm water. Even with all this luxury I still find prepping and cooking food while camping to be not fun. Not to mention the dishes. Blah. Time spent cooking means more time for my children to be poking around the sewer outlflow drain, flipping lawn chairs (they are both in love with doing this?) and playing with the hatchet. Kids have a natural talent for finding the most dangerous things in a matter of seconds.
It is pretty easy to wing it for weekend get-aways. A whole week is a bit long to be eating only hot dogs, chips and cold cereal. The key to more fun in the sun and less cooking is pre-planning and a few short cuts. Before I leave I am going to make Salsa Stuffed Meatloaves and Chipotle Turkey Burger patties. Once cooked or barbequed I am going to freeze them so I just have to thaw, heat and serve. I am also going to marinade some chicken breasts with a simple marinade I found on Pintrest. Throw it all into a re-sealable bag and freeze. Toss into a cooler to help keep drinks cold while defrosting safely. I will also bring along the makings for some quick, vegetarian quesadillas, whole wheat tortillas, re-fried beans, cheese and veg. On our way out of town I am going to pick up a deli roasted chicken which can be for dinner one night and used in sandwiches for lunch. Of course we will have the required hot dogs too.
Most of the fruit and veg I pack will be ready to serve: cherry tomatoes, snap peas, mini-cucumbers, mini carrots, grapes, blueberries, bananas, nectarines, etc. Others will be prepped/chopped ahead of time: broccoli, cauliflower, melons and peppers so they are ready to be thrown out as a quick snack or into a cooler bag for a take along lunch.
For breakfast it's going to be a lot of cold cereal, it's easy and my kids love it. I am also bring along some pancake mix that just needs water. I usually throw in some berries (hopefully huckleberries the kids have picked) and top with yogurt. I like to do fruit, yogurt and low sugar granola parfaits too.
As far as sides go I will prep my favorite Southwest Quinoa Salad before I leave. I am also a fan of these rice pouches. The wholegrain brown rice is just rice with a bit of oil to prevent sticking. No added salt which you will get with the flavoured varieties. It is ready to go after a quick microwave (if you have power) or a stir fry with some veggies. You are going to pay a bit more for this product, but in this case I would rather spend the 40 minutes I have saved at the beach or reading a trashy mag. I also like to make a simple potato salad with new potatoes tossed with Greek yogurt Tzatziki.
For snacks I try to serve veggies and hummus, fruit, cheese strings, homemade muffins and trail mix more often. Of course there are a few cookies, potato chips and s’mores too. If you can’t have a little junk while camping, when can you?
Tiffany McFadden, RD