Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tips on how to feed a growing boy with hollow legs - whilst I travel

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OK, so my friend Jakki says to me "and exactly how are you going to feed this growing son of yours whilst you are travelling on a tight budget"?

Very good question Jakki, and worth a thought before I go. Thus today's blog.

I am sure if you ask me after we have been on the road for 6 months, this will not be such a tricky question.

What is tricky, is that we will have limited oven and stove facilities, and sometimes no refrigeration, and probably definitely no freezer.

So here goes.

Breakfast - is easy.
Fresh fruit, cereals, long life milk etc are usually readily available.

Snacks - again, easy.
Fruit, packets of crisps, nuts and dried fruit, cookies & biscuits, chopped up veggies like mushrooms, carrots etc, and even dried cereals can make good munching food and can be prepared in the morning and place in zip-lock bags for the day. 

We also have re-usable plastic cereal bowls with lids that will be handy for carrying snacks.

Drinks -
Water of course
We use the roll up drink bottles from 'buy_worldwide' on eBay, or House and Garden.

We have orange ones we will fill with juice, blue for water, black for milk etc.
Buying a large container of long life juice is much cheaper, and will last us days,
but can be poured into smaller bottles easily for daytime use.

Lunch - reasonably easy and my son can make in the morning for us.
It will usually be sandwiches and fruit.
We will be buying bread and I have a tiny chopping board and a sharp long knife that has a blade long enough to slice a loaf.
Most countries have cheap bakeries, and bread rolls in places like Mexico can be 5 - 20 cents.
We will be taking Vegemite in a tube too.
Margarine and butter may not last long without refrigeration, so that could be an issue.
Mind you if it is a salad sandwich then you can use mayonnaise or avocado as a spread instead of butter.

Dinner - Now that's the tricky one!
Salads will have to be the go some nights.
In most places you can have power, but few have stoves.
An immersion water heater can be the go.

I bought this great one, and had fabulous service from 


It can boil the water and will be my best friend in the morning when I need to kickstart the day with coffee.

Then I also I found this great invention.
I can boil the vegetables and cook on this.
Fire Stove Fire Shelves Camping Gas-Powered Butane Propane Picnic New

It is a folding stove!

Thanks guys - another great eBay bargain!
I should have shares in the eBay company - and I should get treated a little better when there are seller problems.  (Little complaint - ebay treat their sellers quite terribly at times with their power rules.
They are all out for the money and protecting the buyer who spends - it is their down-fall in my opinion  - don't get me started!).
Anyway back to the folding stove top.
You just buy the Butane bottle once you get there and screw it on the top.
You will need also to get a cheap cooking pan. 
I recommend one that can fry, or be deep enough to boil, so a quality base is required.
Or buy a fry pan and small saucepan or billy, but then you have to cary more stuff.
Again we will only buy this when we get there as usually cheap enough at the market, or you find you can borrow one.

Dinner ideas I have if we use the stove
So that means we can make a lot for dinner.
Buy local rice and veggies - I use a bit of white wine in mine.
Great with local root vegetables in it.

Pasta Pronto
Boil up some pasta, and add whatever you have in the tomato or veggie line once drained.
Try to get yourself some cheese, but not always available in remote areas.
Dried cheese in a shaker can be a good substitute.
No need to use purified water of boiling over 4 minutes so I am told

Again - local rice and vegetables
and don't forget the oil or a sauce to stir through
If you only have one pan, cook the vegetables first, fish out of the water, then boil the rice in the same water.  If you want vegetables well done that is - also aids for germ prevention to give a 4 minute boil first, or use your purified water if only giving a quick boil.

Boiled Vegetables
Whatever is at the markets
Often sweet potato and other root vegetables can make a good mash too.
Great when you have limited water and save water to use for soup after.

Packet or Can
Make sure water is boiled or purified.

French Toast
An egg, milk and some bread - easy

Chicken or Pork Cups
1 tablespoon oil
1 brown onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped - optional
500g extra lean pork mince or chicken
mushrooms, thinly sliced - about 4 - 6
1 carrot, peeled, and finely sliced
1 zucchini, finely sliced
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce or local sauce
lettuce leaves if you can get them

Cook all over a low flame like a stir-fry except for the lettuce leaves
Serve in the lettuce leaf - you can roll up and eat with your fingers

Dinner ideas with the camp-fire
Hot Potatoes - non Wiggle style!
If we have a camp fire it is easy to put potatoes in the ashes - yum.

You can choose to wrap in foil or just bury in the ashes.
Here are some of my filling suggestions depending where you are:
baked beans, butter, grated cheese, sour cream, mushrooms, tin corn just to name a few

So is making toast on a stick and you can make your own grill.

Damper or Twistes
I am sure there are stacks of camp recipes too.
My sister BJ has sent me her damper recipe - thanks BJ.

You just make it and wrap on a stick.
Then take it off the stick, and fill with butter and Vegemite, or your favourite filling.

1 cup self-rising flour  
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
A big blob of butter (approx 1 tablespoon)
1 cup milk (longlife is fine)
Honey, jam and/or vegemite
Large clean sticks (one for each person)

(This is enough for about two people, so double the amounts as needed.)

Rub the butter into the flour til it's all crumbly.
Mix all ingredients together and knead into dough.
Roll out into long 'snakes', one for each person.
Twist around the end of your stick - don't make it too thick or the inside won't cook. 
Try to "join the snake parts so no gaps, or when cooked the filling will runout.
Hold out the stick so that the damper is in the fire (like toasting a marshmallow).
When it's done, pull the damper off the stick and fill the centre left by the stick with butter, jam, honey, Vegemite or whatever you like. 
I also like grated cheese in mine with Vegemite!
Eat hot!
Banana Boats
Peel back the banana in one spot and cut a narrow slice out of the banana.
Stuff the banana with chocolate pieces or marshmallows, or anything else you favour, then, pull the banana skin back over the banana and wrap in foil.
Place in the camp fire for about 5-10 minutes. 
Note: Once cooked remove from the fire and the foil before eating.

Apple Crumble
Place a piece of foil flat and spray or wipe with oil or butter if you have any. 
Place chopped up apple and rolled oats inside.
Add a dash of peanut butter and fill, 
then wrap the foil up and cook in the fire for approximately half an hour.

Long Life Dinners
I have found a heap of long life dinners
These are protective sealed pouches and are usually OK to take abroad.
Try to keep in the packaging that is printed where possible.
You need to declare at customers.
Keep all your food in one section and make sure it is sealed and labelled, and declare it.
If they want to take it - OK.
I haven't had a problem yet.
There are some great dried soups, and Happy Camper meals you can buy.
I found a long life Thai Green Curry at Rite-Price that is quite yummy.
I shan't bother taking the packs of rice as rice is for sale everywhere.

Local Food Vendors
Please remember that local food vendors are there to enjoy.
Encourage your child to eat new foods, and new local foods.
We usually try to eat more at a cafe, but as long as it is cooked you can take the chance.
Yes there will be Bali-belly and gastro's.  We all get them.
But if you use your judgement and if it looks OK then try it out.
I prefer vegetarian cooking for  roadside stalls over meats.
Remember if the water is not drinkable, then a salad washed in water can make you ill.
We have eater purifying tablets with us which we can use for our own cooking and food reparation.

Fruits and Vegetables eaten raw
Wash or wipe all your fruit and vegetables or peel them, especially if you are buying off the side of the road, or a market stall.
Salt and Pepper Set
Take a set of mini camping Salt and Pepper shakers
Fill them up when you pay for good accommodation or visiting friends.
Trust me - bland food needs a little spicing up!

Refer to 'Packing to go' section of my blog for ideas on utensils to pack.
Some of these are also handy for the backpack.

Ice cream and treat foods
Your child is used to having Western foods.
We found ice creams on a stick pretty cheap in most village stores.
You need to make these a treat when you go to town as you can't bring them home.

When you re out, don't be afraid to have a treat.  
A milkshake by the sea - as per our top picture, a curry in an Indian diner - whatever you both enjoy.

Memories are made at meal-times
Over a meal is a great time to bond with your child.
My son's goal is to get to the Eiffel Tower, and I most certainly we will be packing a French-style picnic with Brie cheese and Baguettes and other goodies that we can share on the grass, with the awesome tower structure looming over our heads - well near enough with a good camera angle!
Where you eat can make a boring meal into a life-long memory.
A campfire under the stars eating a hot spud, sharing a sandwich next to a cascading waterfall, fish and chips on the beach - simple foods and great memories.

If you have any great camping or travel recipes I would love to add them to my blog.
Please email them to me.

Frequency of eating meals
Children need to eat every three hours.

Food and Drink is more important that toys - be prepared.
Have your child be in charge of laying out the snacks and lunch he's you will take for the day.
Check it and make sure there is enough.
Remote waterfalls do not have vending machines!

Over pack your day backpack - you will be surprised, and glad you did.

My 7 year old does have hollow legs - thanks Jakki for reminding me!
Last night when he got home from school he ate:
4 full size pies (he says to tell you they were BIG)
2 mugs of flavoured milk 
2 custards with cream
All by 4.30 pm.

He eats more than me already!  
I definitely need to be prepared!!

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