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Food for Thought (and Tummies)

by Tara

Each time I cook something now, I think "I could make this on our trip!" During the day while I'm scanning files at my job, I dream about what I'm going to cook for dinner so that I can make the most efficient use of what few ingredients we have left. Since we started saving like crazy I've had to get pretty creative—we haven't bought groceries in a very long time!

We make games of stretching our food to last as long as possible. I love doing this and I find it immensely satisfying to create something awesome out of practically nothing. The fewer groceries we have, though, the more important it is for me to carefully plan each meal in advance in order to prevent expensive impulsive splurges on food (lest I come home saying "oh but we really neededthat wedge of brie and those adorable baby Chinese cabbages and that free-range breakfast sausage!") I've learned to get my act together and make granola bars now so that when we're hungry, there is actually something to eat, and you don't get bummed-out looking at a cupboard, practically bare except for an unappealing canister of oats.

One of the aspects of our trip I am most excited about is the chance to experience different cultures and their myriads of foods and flavors. There is no way I'm going to travel around the world and not try all the local specialties! I plan on learning about each region's cuisine as we travel through it, and cooking as the locals do when possible. There will be plenty of opportunities to go out for delicious meals in restaurants, and buy fresh produce, local cheeses and meats from markets for picnics in parks around the world. Saving money, though, is going to be very important on our trip. In order to prevent unnecessary food-buying I've started brainstorming about our future meals, thinking about them creatively and carefully so that we're never stuck saying "but there's nothing to eat!".

Listed below are some yummy ideas I came up with so we'll have something to fall back on when we're not feeling particularly creative and all we have left are basic staples.

Breakfast Ideas

  1. oatmeal

    • oats/almonds/honey

  2. french toast

    • bread/milk/eggs/sugar/spices/vanilla

  3. rice pudding

    • rice/milk/honey/spices/raisins

Snack Ideas

  1. granola bars

    • oats/nuts/peanut butter/sugar/honey/chocolate chips/dried fruits

  2. trail mix

    • nuts/fruits/chocolate chips/pretzels/

Lunch Ideas (quick)

  1. pad thai

    • noodles/peanut butter/sugar/lime or lemon juice/soy sauce/eggs/veggies/hot pepper flakes/salt

  2. sandwiches

    • bread/peanut butter/honey/banana

  3. soup

    • water/bouillon cubes/potatoes/carrots/meats/veggies/noodles/spices

  4. salad

    • vegetables/garlic/olive oil/vinegar/salt/pepper.

Dinner Ideas (slightly time-consuming)

  1. pot pie

    • crust (butter+flour+salt+water)/potatoes/onions/chicken/bouillon cubes/roux (flour+butter+water or broth)

  2. soups

    • cream of potato/potato-leek/french onion/chili/etc

  3. pizza

    • make crust or use bread slices


  1. cookies

    • flour/butter/sugar/leavening/salt/chocolate chips/vanilla

  2. brownies

    • butter/sugar/cocoa/flour/eggs/vanilla/salt/chocolate chips

I'll add to this list as I come up with ideas!