This past weekend was my summer vacation (hence the late post). The endless rain here in Vancouver has really got us itching to get out of the house and bask in the sun, so a vacation couldn’t have come at a better time. We took a couple extra days off work and met my husband’s family at a cabin in the Shuswaps. What’s the best way to vacation? A fully functional cabin with drinkable water and electricity. Seriously. The best. We were in charge of the meals for the 3 1/2 days that we were there, so having these modern day technologies also meant that I could properly cook and store food.
I would need to prepare and organize 9 meals for 8 adults. Total. Panic. Attack. Well, sort of a panic attack. OK, not really a panic attack. I did feel nervous about it because most people think that us hippies over here in BC don’t eat anything but carrots and lentils (grown on our roof top gardens, using our never ending supply of recycled rain water, of course). How was I going to please my step father-in-law, who eats steak and potatoes on a daily basis?? What about my teenage niece and nephew who are so use to refined sugar in their everyday food?? What if they don’t like my food?? Finally my husband said to me “Just serve them what we eat and it will be fine”. Queue the audible exhale. Ahhhhhh. When he said that, the nerves were gone and I was able to start planning.
Preparation for this amount of people, for this many days would be a first for me. So I had to find a way to break it down. It’s been a while since I did a meal plan, to be honest I haven’t done one since we moved to the West Coast and prepping meals has been more stressful because of it. By the time I get home from work, figure out what we are all going to eat AND try to entertain a toddler at the same time it is hectic. And no, I am not superwoman, thank you very much.
This is a quick break down of what I did to prepare food for the weekend at the cabin. You can apply this to your weekly meal plans as well.
1. Total meals that we needed to cover: 9 meals (3 dinners, 3 lunches, 3 breakfasts)
2. Wrote out each meal. I tried to think of things that were super tasty, but still clean eating.
- I started with dinners since they usually require the most work. This included desserts
- Lunches were next and were based on leftovers from dinners
- Breakfasts were last, since they have the least amount of ingredients
3. Wrote the grocery list, breaking it into categories for easy shopping.
- Vegetables & Fruit
- Grains & Nuts
- Accessories (things like pure maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil, salt pepper etc.)
4. Prepared some items. All the sauces (including this one) and dressings, which were then placed in mason jars in the fridge, ready to transport from home to the cabin. I made two desserts (a new recipe and a more classic, no spice version of this) that I froze and allowed to defrost on the way up (both desserts were vegan and gluten free, so it was OK for them to not be refrigerated during transport). I also made turkey burgers from scratch and froze them. And last, I made a double batch of my home made granola, placed it in large mason jars and set aside with dry goods for transport.
Doing these 4 simple steps saved me a TON of time, I was less stressed getting the meals ready and had more time to go swimming in the lake! Which is really what you want to do when you are on vacation. My sister-in-law probably thought I was a little nuts when I told her this was fun for me, working in the kitchen. It was fun, because I had prepared myself just a little. That little bit of prep made it easier to eat clean. Plus I did not heat one complaint of the food. Even the teens enjoyed the food (woot woot)! Aside from a fully functional cabin, you know what else is the best on vacation? Having other people willing to do dishes for you because you’ve cooked them a meal. Awesome, just plain old awesome.
How do you prepare your meals for the week ahead? Do you have a meal plan? Is getting dinner on the table stressful? Leave a comment to let me know.
- 1½ cups uncooked quinoa (pronounced
- 1 full English cucumber, cut into ¼" pieces
- 1 ripe tomato, cut into ¼" pieces
- 1 half bunch of parsley, washed & diced small
- Juice of 1 whole lemon
- 4 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Cook quinoa as per directions in box. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium size bowl, place cucumber, tomato and parsley. Add lemon juice, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Mix everything together.
- When quinoa is cooled, add to the rest of the ingredients. Serve right away or refrigerate and use within the week.