Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Alone in a Hotel Room with Sandwiches (somewhere in Wyoming)

I know that I said I was going to take some time off from Prose and Potatoes, but... well, the hotel has wifi, and what else am I going to do alone in a hotel room besides eat, sleep, and watch bad T.V. (and I mean bad T.V., they don't even have the Food Network!)

Plus, I got so excited when I sat down to dinner, that I have to share it with you.

I do not believe in road food. Road food in Interstate-land America is grim. Either you cave in desperation to the first fast food joint you find, or you treat the snack food aisle at Flying J like a buffet line. Aside from being expensive, these options are vapid and a nutritional nightmare. I don't know about you, but after sitting in a car all day, my body has taken enough abuse that I don't feel like bombarding it with saturated fat, sugar, and excessive amounts of sodium.

According to MapQuest, I drove 688.09 miles today. It took me 12 hours, and I didn't have to stop and buy food once. Now I know some of you may be rolling your eyes at this point at how absurd it sounds to spend the night before your trip cooking. Before you begin to think I'm Betty Crocker on uppers I want to show you how easy it is.

First, nothing can be simpler than sandwiches. You can eat them with one hand at the wheel, and trust me anything you make will be better than the grab-and-go deli section at the travel plaza. Today, I had one egg salad and one hummus, Parmesan, cucumber both leftover from earlier this week so no extra prep time. Throwing together a few p.b. and honeys or almond butter and raspberry jam takes but a moment.

Next, I recommend a grain and vegetable salad that is sturdy and equally delicious whether cold or at room temp. I made a quinoa salad with tomatoes and a green bean, sweet corn, and feta salad with balsamic dressing.

Then, add some easy to eat fruits and veggies. I have been eating cherry tomatoes, sliced red bell pepper, and sliced cucumber. (Did I mention my car has no a/c? It is amazingly refreshing to reach over to your cooler, and pull out a bag of icy cold cucumbers when you're beginning to wilt from the heat.) Bananas and apples are also great because they're sturdy and won't take up valuable cooler real estate.

Finally, don't forget some carbs. A few Odwalla bars, or homemade pemmican bars (thanks Kaedra!) [Recipe forthcoming.] Or a scone or cookie (thanks, Jenn!) are perfect for breakfast with that travel mug of much needed coffee.

Also, don't be scared into thinking that traveling with a cooler is burdensome. For this trip the only thing I had to use was a cheap Styrofoam (no CFCs) cooler, and it works as great as our real cooler that's in Ohio with Kent. After 12 hours, I still had ice. Tomorrow, I'll refill it with ice from the hotel machine instead of regretting an egg Mcmuffin. One word of warning though, ice turns to water. So all food must be packed in secure waterproof containers. If you wouldn't throw it into the bathtub, and then open it and eat it, then don't put it into the cooler. Disposable/reusable plastic containers work great because they're completely waterproof and food won't get smashed.

So, now with all the money I've saved avoiding road food, not only do I have a larger discretionary restaurant spending budget when I get to my destination and can eat in REAL restaurants, and I'm also feeling healthy and energized. I hope this inspires you to rethink what you eat on your next road trip.

Green Bean, Sweet Corn and Feta Salad with Balsamic Dressing

This is a taste and tinker recipe because I through it together incredibly quickly last night so here are the approximate amounts of ingredients.

1 1/2 cups green beans, fresh, cut in 1 inch pieces
One ear corn, kernels cut from cob
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
handful of cherry tomatoes, whole
about 2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Set large pot of salted water to boil. Boil greens for 2 minutes, and corn cook for 3 or 4 more minutes or until beans are crisp/tender. Don't overcook! Drain.

Mix beans and corn with bell pepper, tomatoes, and cheese. Coat with dressing.

Mix together equal amounts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add the juice of half and lemon and season with salt and pepper to taste.

This salad develops its flavor as it sits in your cooler all day. It would also be great mixed with a little cold, cooked rice.


Anonymous said...

I was shocked to see you have been blogging. I thought you would be entirely too busy. Your road foods give me the cravings to eat healthier. Your green been, sweet corn and feta salad sounds delicious. Can you make it for me when you are home? Also what are Odwalla bars and Pemmican bars? Are they something I would be interested in? Can't wait to see you and have some good food!!! Mom

Zan said...

You inspire me! I will never road trip the same again.

Andrea said...

you are so amazing. your recipes are so colorful and healthy and major kudos for surviving a summer drive without an a/c. you are my hero.

Edi said...

On our long road trips we do try to bring along or purchase food so that we end up only eating out about 1 meal per day...not only is it less expensive, but healthier and more convenient.

The stuff I bring along is much more simpler than yours - though your food is a lot more exciting.