Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Trip

Dear friends of the Pacific Northwest and other parts of the world where it is dark and snowy right now,

I am in the desert and it's sunny here. 

A few days ago, Mr H and I turned our house keys over to some trusted family members to housesit and left to stay with family in New Mexico for Thanksgiving.  We drove down the California coast on Highway 1 to see the sights and spend some time together on the road.  We both wanted to go on a road trip together before Mr H leaves for the Navy this spring, and this was the perfect opportunity. 

However, a trip involves food - good, solid homemade food.  I had one day in which to do all my prep for the trip, so my little sister Mandatory came to help me.  I couldn't have done it without her flying around the kitchen at lightspeed!  Due to extenuating circumstances, I had to do all the trip prep in one day and without any sleep the previous night ... I had to use Mandatory's energy to keep me going!

We made a lot of food for the trip down, knowing that we wouldn't eat it all and we would eat it while in New Mexico.  The advantage of having a well-stocked pantry and making everything from home, and having lots of canned stuff is that I only had to go to the store to buy five things.  I packed foods that could be easily cooked on our propane grill on the side of the road, or eaten in the car while driving.  Here is the menu we used:

Home canned pear compote, boiled eggs, pumpkin bread
Cherry muffins, sausage balls, applesauce
Scrambled eggs, bacon, applesauce
Cinnamon rolls, sausage balls, pear compote

Hot sausages/homemade buns, potato salad, canned pears
Navy bean soup, oatmeal bread
BLTs, potato salad, canned nectarines
Egg salad sandwiches, applesauce

Navy bean soup, salad, cherry turnovers, bread
Hamburgers/homemade buns, avocado/lettuce/tomato/onion, s'mores
Hot sausages/homemade buns, potato salad, canned pears

Tuna salad sandwiches, carrot sticks, boiled eggs

Carrot sticks, chex mix, cider/grape juice, cookies, pumpkin seeds, boiled eggs, water jugs, dried apple chips

We made a bunch of bread to take (remember, thanksgiving is coming and we need bread for stuffing!) and some bread to leave at home for the kids watching the house. 

Hot dog and hamburger buns ...

Packed lots of canned stuff for the trip and Thanksgiving, with newspaper between the jars.  Traveling from sea level to 7,000 ft elevation did not affect the jars at all. 

Mandatory rolled out a few batches of cinnamon rolls - I owed her a few pans for helping me out, so we had to make plenty!

Caramel rolls are a tradition in my family, so we made a big batch of caramel slurry and poured it in the pans before putting the cinnamon rolls in to rise. 

I tried to pack most of the food in hard containers so it wouldn't get smashed in the cooler on the four thousand mile trip. 

We made a batch of marshmallows for s'mores, and candied yams on Thanksgiving.  I think store-bought marshmallows are disgusting, but believe me ... homemade is a different beast all together! 

It took us twenty minutes ... to lick the spoons and the bowl!  It is so sticky!!  I'll have to post the recipe. 

Enough chex mix to take, enough chex mix to leave some at home!

I didn't have any pretzels to mix with the chex, so we made whole wheat crackers to mix in - some salty, some garlicky, and a separate batch with cinnamon-sugar.

A day or two before I had made bean soup for dinner, and reserved a quart to take on the trip.

We packed two coolers: one full of cold things, like eggs and mayonnaise, and the other full of non-refrigerated foods, like cookies and dried apples.

The food worked out well on the trip down, even though we didn't end up eating much of it; but we are all enjoying it here in the mountains in New Mexico!

Well, back to vacationing in the sunshine!  Mr H's brother and his wife just had their first baby a few days ago, so we are all enjoying the glow of a newborn - and I am a first-time aunt! 

have fun in the snow,

Mrs H
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