Now that summer is upon us, we are happily spending less time in the kitchen packing lunches, stressing about what to make for dinner and then rushing through dinner to get our kids to bed. And, hopefully, more time relaxing on or thinking about vacation. However, summer doesn’t mean that we should sacrifice the quality of what we are eating, especially on vacation. Now is a great time to shop farmers markets, grill and eat a wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
We just wrapped up a great week at the beach (minus a 2-yr-old with a fever for the first 4 days*). Here are 6 tips to surviving your summer vacation and some recipe ideas so that the first bite of your food tastes just as great as the first sip of a cold beer or crisp wine.
Ways to eat well on vacation…
1. Think Ahead
Unload your pantry and bring with you grains, vinegars, olive oil, nuts and dried fruits. Nuts and dried fruits add so much flavor to so many dishes, but can become pricey if you have to buy them when you get to the beach.
2. Think Local
If you see a farmer’s market or fruit stand, stop and load up. Even if you don’t have a plan, buy what looks fresh and appealing to you. You can always come up with a recipe later. For example, buy some peaches to half and throw on the grill, put on some greens, drizzle with balsamic vinegar (which you’ve brought with you) and voila! you have a delicious salad for the first night.
3. Find a Buddy
It is always more fun to cook with someone. Whether, it is your mother-in-law, mother or sister. I found on this trip that husbands and brother-in-laws can actually dice things like cherries, watermelon, pineapple and mango. My mother made a great co-pilot and did a lot of the prep work.
4. Take Advantage of Down Time
Use nap time or bath time to prep that night’s meal. Ask another family member to take the kids so you can crank some tunes, poor a drink and enjoy the time in the kitchen.
5. Try to Grocery Shop on Your Own.
It will help keep you focused and on the outside isles. It will also ease the frustration of being asked a million times for the doughnuts, free cookies, and more beach toys.
6. Remember if you are the cook, you are not the cleaner. It’s your vacation too!
Here are some samples of recipes we made on our vacation. You worked hard to get ready for your vacation so why not go home feeling just as great!
*This vacation didn’t go according to “plan” but in my moment of tiredness and frustration, God or the universe, however you want to say it, had a way of putting it all into perspective. I was on the beach wishing for that moment of ease and “me” time when I looked over on the beach to watch a mom and dad struggling to get their child and his wheelchair down to the ocean to simply admire the wonder and beauty of the sea. It was a good message to receive, it’s not always about me or us as individuals and there are much bigger things.