August 1, 2020

How to safely plan a vacation & my go-to recipes

FILED IN: California, Travel

I usually plan trips around meals at restaurants where I would like to eat –– I mean doesn’t everyone?! That has shifted a bit since the start of the pandemic. I am sure a lot of you are feeling the same way –– the urge to get away, followed by the uneasiness of the thought of going out to eat as often as you did before.

Note: I am referring to trips that are driving distance!

On our recent getaways, we made it a point to stay in places with fully equipped kitchens so that we could make all of our meals. Before you travel: consider how you could be affecting other people while traveling. Reduce the amount of potential contact with those who live in the towns you plan to travel to and try to affect their supplies in stores as little as possible by bringing along everything you think you will need during your trips.

One of my best friends is from the Lake Tahoe area and offered up this information in response to one of my recent posts about traveling during this time:

I’ll add a few thoughts as a local: bring your own supplies if you can. We get slammed and especially in winter can have limited deliveries. ‬
Often times it feels like visitors forget that locals exist, can also get sick (many locals are struggling financially and rarely have jobs that provide healthcare) and need resources too. A getaway doesn’t mean reality goes away, especially for us. 

I appreciate how much people love my home and know how much the small businesses I love need support, but it’s been very disappointing to see how quickly people have treated this like a never ending vacation and our town, a magic oasis away from COVID and that they are the only ones who had this idea. The sheer volume of people here with no slow season in sight makes it hard to recuperate. 

Visitors: Please wear a mask, avoid gathering in large groups, bring supplies, but if you have to go to the store be extra careful as you’re coming from more congested places, if you do go to any stores or restaurants be extra courteous to staff and know everything is taking longer with extra precautions and tip more than 20%. 

Safety Checklist

If you feel uncomfortable or anxious booking a rental or hotel room, I highly recommend messaging them and asking what they are doing to keep you and the rest of the people they are hosting safe. I did this on Airbnb and it definitely put me more at ease.

A few items we brought to feel even more at ease:

Hand Sanitizer & plenty of Masks

Disinfectant Wipes: on one of our earlier trips, I wiped down door knobs, light switches, counters and any other high contact surfaces when we arrived. The properties do have someone come in to clean and sanitize between guests, but this is one more step that could help put you at ease.

Pillows: not only will you be guaranteed to have a cozy pillow, but I felt much more comfortable resting my head on something that is guaranteed that noone else has breathed into before me.

Towels: I brought my own face and hand towels.

Hand Wash & Dish Wash: I am a little particular on the brand I like to use, so it’s one more thing to make you feel more at home.

Planning The Menu

Sit down about a week before your trip to plan the menu.

  • Breakfast: I like to keep it simple most mornings –– toast, breakfast sandos, eggs & bacon, or even transform leftovers from dinner. I did make Buttermilk Pancakes on all of the trips Walter and I went on.
  • Lunch: I don’t really plan lunches, but do bring easily snackable items, sandwich ingredients, as well as components to create cheeseboards for more of an aperitif.
  • Dinner: If our trip is a week long, I will usually plan to cook dinner 4 or 5 of the evenings, knowing that some of the meals will result in leftovers.
  • Snacks: Don’t forget snacks! Junk food is fun while on vacation, so I usually grab some Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips, Tates Cookies and whatever else I am in the mood for. Right now I’m also leaning a lot towards fruit; since my favorite fruits are in season in the Summer (gimme all of the stone fruits)!
  • Drinks: We brought a few bottles of wine and usually chose a spirit we wanted to bring along for cocktails. Don’t forget the other ingredients you will need for cocktails.
  • Don’t forget The Essentials: Oil for cooking/frying, butter, salt & spices for seasoning, condiments
  • Consider the drinking water situation. Is there filtered water where you’re staying? Is the tap water okay in the town you’re staying? I really hate drinking from water bottles (SO MUCH TRASH), so if necessary we buy a couple of the gallon jugs or even fill some empty ones with our filtered water from home.
  • Other items to consider bringing: Think about all of the items you will need to prepare your meals! I like to bring my own knives for chopping, bread slicing, etc. (guaranteed sharp), essential utensils (peeler, whisk, spatula, tongs, wine/bottle opener). Do you have a favorite pot, pan, dutch oven that you’re used to using for preparing a certain dish? What about a particular cake pan, etc.? Sometimes items that you think should be obvious in a kitchen will be missing where you are staying! You can also message the owner and ask about particular items. We brought our own silverware when we were super anxious about germy surfaces, but you can also take the precaution of washing any dishes/utensils at your rental before you use them. I wouldn’t worry TOO much about this, but really what’s important is to make yourself feel comfortable.

Mish Mosh Breakfasts

Easy items for breakfast: some form of bread (sourdough and/or bagels), nut butter, jam, eggs, bacon

I like to bring along veggies to throw on my breakfast plates!

  • Cucumber
  • Avocado (it’s a fruit, but you get it)
  • Radishes
  • Tomato

Buttermilk Pancakes

This recipe is SO GOOD and I’m convinced it’s foolproof. I like to add dark chocolate chips into mine. Don’t forget Maple Syrup!

Cheeseboard

I’ve linked a post I did on how I like to plan my cheeseboards. I like that they’re snackable, something that can be grazed upon between breakfast and dinner. Some evenings (especially during the Summer) I make them for dinner!

Butter & Aromatic Basted Steak

The recipe is included in the below Instagram post. Pro tip: I highly recommend nabbing an instant read meat thermometer if you want to make a perfectly-cooked steak. Also, do not skimp on butter for this recipe. Get the good stuff: Plugra or Kerrygold are my favorites.

I like to pair this recipe with some sort of roasted veggies!

Drink pairing suggestion: A bold red wine or Old Fashioned

View this post on Instagram

📖mark this post for a PERFECT 🥩 recipe ⬇️ Talk about intimidating! I’ve finally figured it out & thought I’d share a few tips below. Ingredients 🔸2 Ribeye steaks, mine were from @bristolfarms (Ribeye is my fave kind of steak — perfectly tender & just enough fat. I cannot stand chewy steak!) 🔸 Salt 🔸 EVOO 🔸 4 TBSP salted butter, I use @plugrabutter 🔸 A bunch of 🍄 (these are baby bellas, but I also love shiitake& maitake) — optional Aromatics of your choice, I used: 🔸 A couple 🧄 cloves, diced 🔸 Sage Directions 🔹Generously season both sides of the steaks. Let sit at room temp for at least 1 hr. 🔹Warm about 2 TBSP EVOO on med-high heat. 🔹Put steaks into hot oil. Cook for 2 minutes per side, flipping every 2 minutes until temp is a few degrees under desired donesness. (120 – 125 F is medium rare) ❗️Pro Tip: get a meat thermometer. It’ll change your life! 🔹Add butter, 🍄 & aromatics to pan. (Careful when placing butter as the hot oil splashed onto my wrist last time) Tilt pan to one side while butter melts. Use a spoon to baste the steak with the melted butter. Do this until butter smells nutty & is browned. 🔹Remove steaks from pan. Let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing & serving. Enjoy! #missfoodieproblems #MFPinthekitchen

A post shared by Corey • LA🌴CA ✈️ Travel & Food (@missfoodieproblems) on

Wild Mushroom Risotto

I absolutely love this recipe! My only note: I haven’t found it necessary to remove the mushroom mixture from the pan before step 3! This is also a great meal to prepare the Cheeseboard before, because it makes sense to still be grazing on it while eating Risotto.

Drink pairing suggestion: White wine, Rosé wine or Cider

I get my wild Mushroom assortment from Farm Fresh To You. Use code MISSFOODIE to get $15 off your first order!

I’ve actually been heavily relying on Farm Fresh for the majority of my groceries since the beginning of the pandemic, so I do in person grocery shopping as little as possible.

Farm Fresh is wonderful, whether you want a traditional CSA box or want to do 99% of your grocery shopping (or something in between)!⁠

  • FLEXIBLE easily change your box type, size and delivery frequency⁠
  • ADD ONS add artisan farm products like fresh eggs, dairy, artisanal foods, grocery basics and unique farm products⁠
  • CONVENIENT delivery to your door, left quietly in the cool of night / morning⁠

Homemade Pasta

The link above is for egg pasta! I will be sharing the ragù alla bolognese recipe in a cookbook one day, so hold tight for that. I am including the instagram post below, because this is my go-to quick pasta recipe.

Drink pairing suggestion: Obviously it depends what kind of sauce you decide to make, but I usually stick to wine when I make pasta!

View this post on Instagram

Simple Homemade Pasta Recipe ⬇️🔖 I used to be intimidated by cooking; I’ve always been more of a baker. Finding more confidence in the kitchen in the last few months has been so empowering. I think the transformation started after taking cooking classes in Italy & I was pretty badass at shaping tortellini. 😉Pasta is one of my fave things in the world & I assumed it was difficult to make. I was surprised to find it’s actually quite simple. I thought I’d break the stigma & give you a quick “recipe” for pasta. Honestly the most important things are the tools, to make the process a bit more streamlined. Yes it can all be done by hand, but we don’t always have the time to do it old school. Supplies I use at home: 🔸@kitchenaidusa mixer w/ bread hook 🔸Pasta roller 🔸5 wheel cutter (fab for pappardelle or tagliatelle) 🔸Pizza cutter Recipe: 🔹2 eggs per 1 cup of AP flour (2-3 servings) Put 🥚& flour in mixer w/ dough hook & mix on low to medium until ball forms. You can add a little water if it’s too dry, but I rarely do. Pour dough out onto well-floured surface. Knead for a few minutes until smooth & all flour is incorporated. Form into a ball & wrap w/ plastic wrap. Let sit for at least 30 mins. Flatten dough a bit. Flour dough & the opening to pasta roller (on the widest setting, 0). Roll through machine then fold into 3rds. Rotate 90 degrees, then fold, rotate & roll through a few more times on that setting. Turn knob to next setting & roll through (without folding anymore). Go through each setting once, until it reaches desired thickness. I usually go to setting 8 for pappardelle! Note: You will want to cut the dough in half when it gets too long to handle. Cut dough lengthwise to desired thickness with 5 wheel cutter. Sprinkle pasta with flour & hang on drying rack while you prepare sauce or other toppings. Obvi don’t forget to boil water & throw in pasta when sauce is almost done. Your pasta should only take a couple minutes to cook. 🔹Brown 4 TBSP 🧈 , a few sliced cloves of garlic, salt, about 10 sage leaves, sliced 🍄(of your choice) & threw in some spinach. Add cooked pasta & mix! Add 🧀 if desired. That was hard to explain! Comment any questions below!

A post shared by Corey • LA🌴CA ✈️ Travel & Food (@missfoodieproblems) on

Ravioli

You can use the same pasta recipe from above, but you will want to roll the dough out thinner for filled pasta. I am working on getting are basic ravioli-making video tutorial up soon!

My favorite fillings:

  • Roasted Sweet Potato : I didn’t use a recipe for this. Roast a sweet potato, then remove from skin and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste, smashing and mixing with a fork or potato masher
  • Sweet Corn : We used this recipe for the most part, though I skipped the red pepper flakes. The recipe makes WAAAY too much filling and we had difficulty with the agnolotti shaping directions. I highly recommend looking up a video if you want to shape agnolotti, but there are many more easier ravioli shapes out there that taste just as delicious.

Fish & Chips + tartar sauce

Once I fried something for the first time (it was a fried chicken recipe that os phenomenal) there was no going back! I don’t fry the potatoes, because I prefer them baked. Cut the potatoes into wedges, coat with olive oil and seasoning of choice (I really like Paleo Powder, but it’s really up to your taste. S&P is also perfect!). Bake about 15 mins on each side at 400*F (depending on how crispy you like them the time will vary).

You can make your own tartar sauce, but I haven’t found a homemade one that I absolutely love yet. There are versions made with mayo and healthier ones with greek yogurt. There is one included in the recipe linked above. Malt vinegar is also a MUST with my fish & chips.

Drink pairing suggestion: Beer (I prefer an IPA) or White wine

Chocolate Lava Cake

I have had my fair share of fabulous and terrible Chocolate Lava Cakes and a ton somewhere in between. I thought they would be so much more difficult to make, but it is SO simple. I don’t have a double boiler, so I used a stainless steel bowl over a pot of water instead. AND don’t forget the vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream to top it off with.

Leftovers

They’re inevitable and wonderful! We had leftover steak, so I crisped it up in a skillet, fried an egg and cut up some fruit for one of our breakfasts. When planning your menu, consider which dishes will result in leftovers, then think of how you can transform that into breakfast or lunch!

I hope this post helps you plan an upcoming trip –– from feeling comfortable traveling to enjoying delicious meals! You deserve to get away and I promise it’s doable in a safe and enjoyable way.

Happy & Safe Travels,

Corey, Miss Foodie Problems

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, I love to have a home base in such a food-focused city. Whether I am traveling out of the country, around the US, or exploring the culturally diverse expanse of LA I feel at home while meeting new people, eating new foods, and expanding my outlook!

@missfoodieproblems