I’m packing our food in preparation for our Remote Spot trip tomorrow. Actually, I am taking a break from prepping to record an inspiration before I forget it. How many ideas have been lost by not stopping and writing them down?!? I wanted to share my tips for kid-friendly car food. I guess these ideas are 2-year old specific but you could adapt them to other ages I’m sure.
Any road trip over an hour seems to require packing Skyla’s lunch sack, which is basically like an insulated version of a brown paper bag. Our trip tomorrow should be about 5 hours so I pack enough in the lunch sack to carry us through multiple food requests (multiple as in 5 to 10). The food needs to be easy for Skyla to eat with her hands and not make a mess on her or her car seat because who wants to be scraping dried spaghetti sauce from a car seat?
I put an ice pack in the bottom of the cooler bag and place meat and other perishables directly on top of the pack. Then stack items up from there and end with things that don’t need to be refrigerated. This way everything is in one bag and things that need to be cold are kept cold.
Into the bag goes:
- Chicken pieces — We are in a chicken CSA and I usually roast 2 or 3 chickens at a time, pick them, and vacuum-seal and freeze the meat in several packages. The pieces make handy snack food (thawed of course).
- A small jar of yogurt in case we stop somewhere spoon-friendly where she can sit and eat.
- Peas - as of today, Skyla prefers these frozen but she will eat them just plain cold and they are great car food.
- Cheese - cut into strips. Yes I have heard of the invention of string cheese, and I’ve even seen organic string cheese, but it seems like a lot of plastic waste and even though I haven’t priced it out, its got to be more expensive than 1/2 pound or 1 pound bricks cut up. You can spend 5 minutes making your own as soon as you get home from the store and you are set for the week. I guess its not as fun as string cheese but how hard is it to get kids to eat cheese?
- Apple - sliced up and packed in a travel container. Apples are easy snacking and kids don’t really care if they turn a little brown.
- Carrots - do what you have to folks, I won’t disown you for using baby carrots. Usually I julienne regular carrots into 2-3″ long thin strips that Skyla can nibble on, but lately she’s been balking at them, so today I’m going to soften them up with my old standby cumin/ginger recipe (recipe at the bottom). I modified the recipe from Hungry Monkey, which is a great book by the way…but I digress…
- Black beans and kidney beans - these are another great finger food. I made some bean soup this week so I just saved out some of the beans, after they were cooked, for Skyla to munch on for a few days. I’ll share a little tip from my fellow foodie friend Brooke. When making something with beans, she makes a large batch of the beans and freezes the excess in their cooking water. Then you have a supply of beans already cooked and ready when you need them - no waiting overnight for them to soak, etc, etc.
- Tomatoes - I get the grape or cherry tomatoes and cut them in half or quarters. Living in Florida, we can almost always get local, organic grape tomatoes. I’m sure you could use big ones too if that’s what you have growing on your vine.
- Zucchini chips - these are great homemade snacks for adults and kids alike. Just cut a zucchini into thin slices and dehydrate. Its that easy. If you don’t you could probably just bake the slices on the lowest setting in your oven. You could season or marinate the zucchinis before you dehydrate them but we like the flavor of just good ol’ zucchinis.
Well I guess that’s about it for her cooler bag this time. It may seem like a lot but who knows what kind of food mood she will be in 10 hours from now…Perhaps I will save details of what I’ve packed for us and for her for the rest of the trip for another time. The kitchen island is a whirlwind of lists, half-prepared foods, and containers so I better get back to it…
Cumin Ginger Carrots
The flavor combination of cumin, ginger, and carrots is wonderful together. I’ve been feeding these carrots to my daughter since she was a year and change. Cut the carrots into the desired shape before you cook them. I recommend cutting them into sticks but you could slice them or use baby carrots instead.
½ lb carrots, peeled and cut
½ t ground cumin*
½t ground ginger*
*The quantity of spices you add really depends on your flavor preference but I would start with ½t of each and go from there.
1. On medium heat, melt butter in a medium-sized sauté pan for which you have a lid.
2. Add the carrots and sauté for several minutes, stirring until the carrots are feeling groovy and golden.
3. Add cumin and ginger and stir for a minute.
4. Add the water, turn the heat to low, and cover.
5. Check after 15 minutes and add more water if needed. I cook the carrots until they are tender but not mushy. I also recommend setting a timer as I have burned the carrots so many times because I’ve forgotten I was cooking them…but that might just be me….