Elsylee: Indulge in a delicious Southern Treat with melt-in-your-mouth rich buttery-brown sugar goodness. These Crisp Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies are Topped with a Honey Roasted Georgia Pecan. These have been described as “Crispy Pecan Pie experience”.
I may be rebellious. I may despise conformity. But I am also, in some things, a creature of habit. During the holidays, for instance, I adore tradition. Until just last year I eschewed the idea of any deviation from what I considered a traditional holiday feast. Especially when the feast was to be had on Thanksgiving.
Turkey, mashed potatoes — in my defense I had deferred many years earlier to the advent of smashed potatoes as a time-saving substitute on this count — green beans, corn, biscuits, gravy, squash, cranberry relish, stuffing. It’s unclear whether or not (most likely not!) those who celebrated the real first Thanksgiving would have considered even a portion of my meal traditional, but my opinions have always stood nonetheless.
“Summer Picnic” fine art print by Photo Atelier.
It never fails – as soon as we hit the open highway, I’m hungry. It could have something (or everything) to do with the countless convenience stores, drive-ins, and diners at every exit; not to mention the billboards that line the roadside, enticing people to take the next exit for a meal or a quick snack. These little fast-food diversions don’t come without a cost, however. They are both expensive AND usually rather environmentally un-friendly. A little pre-planning is all that it takes to stay green and healthy away from home.
Bulk up! – stop at your favourite bulk foods store for dried fruits, nuts, and organic snacks, and then repackage them at home in reusable containers and bags, like the lined ones pictured above, by Bells and Unicorns. (Tip: set out several bowls of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, candy and pretzels and let everyone create their own trail mix. Colour-code or label bags for easy identification on the road.)
It’s a wrap! – we are all sandwich artists at heart. Wraps, sandwiches, and subs can be made at home for a fraction of what you’ll pay on the road. Get creative with fillings and condiments, and be sure to pack high-moisture ingredients (like cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce) in separate containers to keep them from sogging up your bread. When choosing reusable sandwich bags, be sure to pick ones that are generously sized, like these (above) by http://www.etsy.com/shop/bellsandunicorns, to allow for healthy, hearty breads and fillings.
Keep your cool! – perishables, drinks, and fruit can be kept fresh in a cooler even on the hottest of days. Make your own ice packs by freezing recyclable tetra-packs of juice or by filling zipper-bags with crushed ice, which you can refill with fresh ice at stops along the way. And don’t let me catch you buying bottled water! Steel bottles, like the ones above by Pretty n Preppy, can be refilled over and over and keep your water fresh and cool. Eco-savvy coffee drinkers never leave home without their trusty travel mugs. Not only do they cut down on litter, they’ll usually save you a few cents per refill, too. Caffeine-heads and fabric-holics alike will love these colourful travel mugs (above), also by Pretty n Preppy.
…and if you do have to stop for snacks, instead of loading up on sketchy pre-wrapped sandwiches, chips and candy at the gas station, seek out roadside fruit/vegetable stands, local grocery stores, bakeries, and farmer’s markets (if you are lucky to be traveling on market days). Some of the best meals I have had on the road have consisted of fresh-off-the-vine fruit, local artisan cheeses, and freshly baked breads purchased right from the people who picked/made them. Be prepared by making sure you have cutlery included with your picnic essentials*. The handy Urban Picnic Roll-up, pictured above, by Nstar Studio includes two three-piece utensil sets & two napkins. The utensils are made from durable, sustainable bamboo and can be simply hand washed and air dried after use.
Lastly, take the time to stop and enjoy your meals and snacks. Pre-plan your stops or keep an eye out for picnic spots and parks along the way. Not only is it a chance to stretch your legs and let the kids run off some energy, it’s often the little stops along the way that make for the best memories. Pack an oversized vintage quilt for the whole family, or give everyone their own place to cop a squat. These organic travel blankets by Crzy Bag Lady can function as mini-picnic pads, change mats, stroller blankets and sleep-mats. Compact in size, but super-comfy, they’re ideal travel companions for the green family-on-the-go.
*Packable picnic essentials: blanket and/or tablecloth, reusable plates/bowls/cups, reusable cutlery, salt & pepper, bottle opener, can opener, cloth napkins, sharp knife, cutting board, bags for collecting garbage/recyclables (when containers are not available on-site), small container of dish-soap for clean-ups.
I would love to hear about your summer road trip adventures. Comment below and share your stories and advice!
Potentially shaping up as one for the record books — and not in a good way — the 2009 tomato season is upon us. Here, the season is just winding up, but already I’ve had my first few mouthfuls of flavor-packed, garden-fresh goodness.
Unfortunately, the first few mouthfuls may prove half the crop. While we’re not being hammered by the late blight that has been relentlessly claiming crops on the east coast, Mother Nature has not been our friend here either. The summer has been cool and in our region dry — even despite what seems like every third day rains.
I read something recently at zenhabits that has stuck with me. I’m more than a bit ashamed to admit, lately, much of my online reading has come to an abrupt halt. I suppose this is why coming across a gem like this — so simple and yet so true — meant all the more to me. It was discovered in one of those rare moments where I was just being with me; myself. It was written, not about food, but about wanting very little in life. Yet it applies so beautifully to the journey we often travel in finding artisan food that I had to share.
Don’t be meaninglessly minimalist. Be purposeful and deliberate in your quest…
In the weeks leading up to The New Year holiday I thought extensively about where I wanted to go with this column; what I wanted to accomplish in 2010. All I was able to come up with was to ‘Have Direction’, but struggled as to what that really meant. I knew that in 2009, in its very infancy, I had felt pulled this way and that; I had wondered if anything good was actually being done with the words I was writing here. I struggled in December to know how to fix that until I was confronted with the direction of meaning.
In seeking an artisan or handmade existence, especially in the food industry, being meaningful is a complex and oft times misdirected effort in an of itself. There are so many camps of foodies out there. Local, organic, artisan, simple, slow, complex and fanciful — knowing which is right, which is meaningful for your individual situation is never clear cut or easy.
In 2010 I hope not just to ‘have direction’ but to be meaningful and to promote the importance of meaningful decisions in the food industry. That means uniting for the cause. Whether local or organic, simple or complex it means understanding and accepting that meaningful food choices come in many colors; under many schools of thought.
Here’s to meaningful food in the New Year — for one, for all!