Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A road tripping picnic

We road tripped yesterday. Isn't driving Iowa interstate beautiful. Several years ago I drove my sister to Amarillo Texas... rolling tumbleweed is a good way to describe what I saw. That and the radio station we listened to had an advertisement for the city bus every five minutes. I remember it vividly because my cousin and I drove her 16 hours there, stayed 10 hours and drove 16 hours back.

Back to the road trip. At the beginning of summer I had visions of weekend hiking trails and Sunday after church picnics dancing through my head, so one day when I happened to be strolling through a kitchen store at a shopping mall a clearanced picnicing backpack called out my name. It was regularly $42.95 and I got it 80 % off. Isn't it great how I save money. Unfortunately, Dave always just spends it.

Great picnicing backpack, eh?! I searched cookbooks several hours trying to find the perfect picnicing meal to take with us. I wanted it to be special. My virgin backback was out and about for the first time... it had to be special.

The winning recipes came from Dreena Burtons, The Everyday Vegan. I made the Lentil Veggie Wraps (p. 101) and the Cool Cucumber Toss (p. 94). These were great picks and I enjoyed both of them very much, so much that I am going to have them again today when the kids and I go out and about some birthday and back to school shopping. I couldn't seem to get enough of the cool cuke toss... the fresh picked basil from my garden took it over the top.

In packing the bag I froze our drinks in plastic bottles the night before (lid slightly loose, tightened upon packing). I packed veggies in a separate baggie, lentil spread in a lidded container, chutney in a small serving cup. Dave had potato chips on the side and his favorite sweet coated peanuts. When it was time to eat we found a good shady place to sit. I put the cool cuke salad in an old soy yogurt carton, but also wrapped itin saran wrap to protect from potential leaks.

Here's my lentil veggie wrap. I used nappa cabbage, red pepper slices, carrot shreds and black olives sliced.

Later for a snack we purchased a slice of apple pietza. This road trip was made to the Iowa State Fair by the way. While I was there I of course looked at every new kitchen gadget I could find. My favorite find was a pressure cooker. There were several sizes and they were all "precious" .... in the Lord of the Rings kind of meaning. I could probably give you the sales demo, because I watched it three times before Dave convinced me that I was being hypnotized and would soon be pulling out the plastic if I didn't come with him right that moment.Isn't apple pietza beautiful. The apples were shredded into very thin ribbons and it was topped with almonds. Of course the veg stand we bought it from that was also selling veg corn dogs and deep fried veggies wanted to ruin it with a caramel sauce, I would have none of that.

We had a wonderful day AND we only got suckered $22 on two awesome bottles of cleaner / wax. Once bottle is enough to wax a car 6 times, a three year supply, but it also can clean the bottems of your stainless steel kitchen pans, sink, aluminum, etc, etc. I passed up the amazing mops and squeegie rags, but the pampered chef booth sure was pretty. Dave, usually such a sweetie, kept wanting to take up my limited fair time with drill bits, and saws and bendable ladders ... he was even drooling on the sun room display, but I wiped his chin and quickly found a kitchen utensil booth while he regained his composure.

We both agreed that the best stop we made was at the cell phone booth. It was time to renew our contract so we did a little shopping to compare plans. Our current plan provider shot us the best family plan deal (four phones for the price of one), unlimited talking to family members or each other, the ability to check e-mail via our phone as well as take pictures and send them to each others phones. He shot us a heck of a deal and that could have only happened only at the fair. Someday I will figure out how to take a picture via my phone and upload it to my blog, the sales guy told me it was possible. He was is also an ISU student who checks his e-bay accounts during class and his girlfriend bought some software for her phone and got the college fight song via mp3 download to be her ringer. I love technology.

And before I finish, Happy 18th Birthday to Matt who is officially 18 at 3:16 pm this afternoon.


Geraldine said...

Wow, the wraps looked delic...I love wraps, almost any kind.

Happy Birthday to Matt too, what a special age 18 is, yes...I remember it well, I was in Toronto, small-city girl reveling in the magic of the BIG CITY LOL...

Huggs, G

theONLYtania said...

Looks like a fun day! What's the lentil spread? Just like.. mashed lentils?

Happy birthday to Matt! I'll be 19 in a week and a half!

madeinalaska said...

wow the wraps look delish! after braking in my vive cookbook.. the everyday vegan has become a must!

Happy Birthday to Matt.. it is a monumental one isn't it? for mom too, huh? THEY really don't lie when THEY say it goes by soo quick..

JAM*tacular said...

What a lovely day :) And, Happy birthday, Matt!

Tanya Kristine said...

I love, love LOVE fairs...last year i bought the amazing sponge, australian crystal earrings and bracelets and soemthing else. this year i hope to find some type of veggie choppers. we'er going on the 1st of september but you're making me want to go tnoight!

heck of a deal on the back pack likey...

Melody said...

What a great deal you got on that picnic backpack! The food looks awesome as usual..

I don't remember if I answered you about the stevia.. I loved it in baking.. I was really surprised that it works so well. I made some coconut lime cookies today just to see how it would do and it was great!
I find that I use a little less than 3/4 tsp to replace 1 cup of sugar. Works really well, and I can alwways shake a bit more into it if I need it. My husband is sold on stevia.. which is a huge deal. We ate half the 9 inch pan of brownies in two days (which is not bad.. it is much less addictive that sugar) and I froze the rest of them. The brownies really got better after chilling overnight.. they were much less cakey.

The cookies I made today, I sub'd the sugar with stevia, but still used the maple syrup. (only 1/3 cup)..

Melody said...

Oh, and the most important thing, I forgot... Happy 18th Birthday Matt!! Dori, it must be very bittersweet to have your son be a legal adult!!

Urban Vegan said...

happy b'day matt!

what a great road trip--and great food. I am so addicted to wraps. Like you, Dori, I love a good bargain, This is how I was raised. Have you read The Tightwad Gazette series?

Midwest Vegan said...

Happy Birthday, Matt!

Aren't bargains great? I think since you saved alot on the backpack, you should have been able to splurge at the fair. Did you get a pressure canner?

Ferocious Killer Kat said...

Happy Birthday Matt!!!

hey pressure cookers are always good.. I can't imagine my life without one :-)

that seems like a fun road trip and nice pictures as usual!!

In btw, I'm tagging u.. its a very simple tag about quotes.. details r on my blog!

Vicki said...

Happy Birthday MATT!! How will you celebrate?

Fantastic Family Fun post. I love the care you took in packing the picnic & so fun to break in the new backpack. Those are 2 recipes I haven't tried yet, & those wraps look delicious.

Our Fair comes to town next week, & I can't wait. There's always so much to see & do. Great deal on the family phone plan -- my phone takes photos & I use that function all the time - it's great.

Candi said...

I love the backpack, and the deal on it too! Great idea!

MMM - those wraps! I should get the Everyday Vegan now! Lol!

I had to laugh at "precious...." LOL! I can just imagine you there mesmerized by the pressure cookers! I'd be the same way!

Congrats on the phone deal. Looks like you had an awesome day!

Happy Birthday, Matt!!!!

Catherine said...

Dori, you really are the queen of bargain shopping! Your picnic backpack is awesome. Is the entire thing insulated?
Sounds like you had fun at the fair. I'm debating going to the MN State Fair this year . . . it's so expensive to get in, and then almost everything you do costs more money! Maybe if I pack myself a picnic like you did, I'll have more fun seeing the free stuff like the bunnies and goats. Man, I think goats are cute. But I digress. :)
And, Happy Birthday to Matt!

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Dori said...

Matt is glowing with all the birthday wishes.

Yesterday we had a big ipod (inofrmational only) shopping outing including previous things such as purchasing his phone, a protective phone cover, service for e-mail/
news/ internet access via his phone, special superman school supplies, and an ipod magazine as well as dinner out at an oriental buffet with a mongolian grill (in addition to new tires for his car, driver's license renewal, school enrollment fees, and HIS VERY OWN LUNCHBOX) he was well celebrated.

Catherine: The backpack is entirely insulated, except the top is a a net mesh that would easly allow a leaf of bread or napkins/ cups kind of stuff. It had many pockets, so money or ID could be within easy reach. I really liked it.

I tried to use stuff we could throw away so that after the meal we could put souveniours and general fair stuff inside to carry, which worked out for the little extar we had to carry, but we also put two meals and snacks into it, so it wasn't empty until the end of the day.

I did not by the meal size pressure cookers because I just spent a bunch of money not long ago on a 23 quart pressure canner. Of course I could have canned in the cookers I saw, but in much smaller quantities for the time and energy it really wouldn't be practical to can in smaller amounts.

About the wraps.... they were "precious" too. Excellent! I didn't think I would like them at first, but the roasted sesame oil in this ... yum.

Dori said...

Oh... urban vegan... about the tightwad gazette series. Guilty as charged. I own them. I don't like ot think of it as tightwadery... just infomred choices that make me the happiest. Since I can't have it all (no one can), I want what I do choose to be the best I can get and the rest, I'll choose not to pay the premium prices for. For my family it has afforded us the freedon not to "keep up with the Jones"... last I knew they were all spending big bucks at the doctor's office hoping to keep their blood sugar levels under control.

I do not get spend thrift with food quality though, what I do not do myself I pay for the quality I want. However, I also am a member of a buying club in which I can get good organic and environmental responsible goods at the price a health food store would pay for it to keep those prices at a minimum.

Shananigans said...

Happy (belated) birthday to Matt! Sounds like he had a good one. I love state fairs. Well, the MN state fair is the only one I’ve been to, but I always had a good time there as a kid. I love your backpack, and what a bargain. I love a good deal.

Urban Vegan said...

Dori--This is a non-sequitur but there was an article on the food section of the NY Times yestterday, and the Iowa sState Fair was prominently featured! Looked amazing.

funwithyourfood said...


sounds like someone needs a cake :)

You know i'm a fan of picnics too


Harmonia said...

Sounds like fun! Happy Birthday to your son, too!

Have a great weekend!

Carrie™ said...

What a fantastic day. I want to do something like that.
Pampered Chef booth you say? I have a little bit of an addicition to Pampered Chef. I'll stay away from the pressure cooker. Those things scare me.
You are the queen of deals Dori!
And Happy Birthday to Matt!

Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

The backpack is awesome and for 80% off, who could resist? Glad it's maiden voyage was such a successful one.

Megan said...

I wish I could find those healthy things and make them taste good but I have trouble with directions.
I went on a cross country trip too it was fun.

KleoPatra said...

Happy b'day to Matt, and early to Melissa (and to you, which i noted elsewhere!)...

Love the travelin' Dori family photos.

And i do appreciate technology for all the reasons you do...

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