As someone who has been vegan for many years now, I tend to travel with lots of food "just in case." But, this summer we went on a cross country road trip (and by "we," I mean me and my 5yo and 7yo one way, then husband and I with kids on the way back). One of the benefits of that trip was that I just didn't have the means to "prepare" ahead as much and we got much better at making due.
So when my husband said he had a work trip earlier this week, the kids and I didn't hesitate to pack our bags and join him. We got to visit my best friend and her husband and her mom while she awaits the birth of her first baby, and we got to stay in a nice hotel with a big pool and hot tub. My kids love staying in hotels because they love pools we cruelly don't have the thousands of dollars to build one in our back yard.
Anyway, we were visiting a city where we used to live, Katy, Texas, and I knew where we could get vegan food and I wasn't concerned about packing anything to eat. When morning rolled around, I figured we'd go to Whole Food for some breakfast tacos (which my daughter and I ended up doing yesterday before we left town), but since the kids were keen to swim early, they didn't want to leave the hotel. So, we hit the "Continental Breakfast." Here's what we found (and I will admit we were staying in a nice hotel, Best Western Premium, so you won't always have all these options).
I always ask, but 99% of the time the oatmeal is made with water, and they often have nuts, fruit, brown sugar, etc. to put on top. This time, I was feeling hungry, so I swirled in one of the packs of peanut butter from over in the toast section and added fresh blueberries.
Again, you want to ask, but the potatoes are usually just cooked in oil, not butter, and are a great hearty option. My 5yo insisted I read the ingredients on a jar of Heinz Organic ketchup before he put it on his potatoes, even though I assured him that we BUY that ketchup. I don't think I've ever seen a hot continental breakfast that didn't include potatoes.
Cereal and Non-Dairy Milk
Ask if they have non-dairy milk! I am totally guilty of not even thinking of doing this, but more and more I remember to, and at least half the time they have almond or soy milk. The hotel we stayed at this week had a little plaque that said, "Ask about Gluten-Free and Non- Dairy Options," otherwise I would have forgotten. Instead, we had almond milk to enjoy on my oatmeal and my daughter's bowl of cereal.
When in doubt, grab a banana or an apple and one of those packets of peanut butter with the toast. Even when there's no hot continental breakfast, most places at least have that. Also, check by the pancakes if there's a waffle or pancake station because a lot of times they put fresh berries there.
If you want to be cautious and bring something, I recommend instant oatmeal (a vegan one, of course, since some have milk) and you can use the hot water carafe for tea to make a bowl of oatmeal. Bananas are of course a vegan best friend and easy to "make" in the morning- peel.
Also, it never hurts to call ahead and ask if there are any egg and dairy-free options. I once stayed at a hotel that said they would figure something out when I called. When I arrived, they had a jug of soy milk, cereal that they had gone online to check was vegan, vegan cookies so I'd have a snack, and extra fresh fruit just for me in case others cleaned out the fruit bar! I couldn't believe it! Another time, it was that 1% of places that do make their oatmeal with milk, and they made a batch separate just for me! So, customer service is not dead. The worst that happens is they say they don't have anything and then you know to pick up something at the store for in the morning.
I hope these help you on your travels and encourage you to get out and go on adventures.
My daughter saw a cookbook with mug cakes in it and has been asking to make them for a few days now. When I had a microwave, I could find a mug cake recipe and veganize it... but I have no microwave.
Enter the Air Fryer! I also didn't want to piece together a recipe, but I had my very favorite cake mix of all time (because I got a case of it),Immaculate Baking Co. Scratch Yellow Cake. It's so good!
I just winged it, but it worked out perfect. I lined a mug with a cupcake liner, then sprayed with coconut oil.
Then I went 3, 2, 1.
Right in the mug I put 3 heaping Tablespoons of cake mix, 2 Tablespoons soy milk, and 1 scant Tablespoon vegetable oil. I stirred it up and put in my Air Fryer at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
Cute CUP cake!
Did you ever have that moment in your teens or adulthood when you realized that steamed vegetables were not the only vegetables. Honestly, once I discovered roasted veggies, everything paled in comparison.
I distinctly remember going out to a nice restaurant and instead of the usual "with seasonal vegetables" side of steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot blend that usually comes when the menu says that, I was served carrots that had been roasted with a hint of sesame oil. Wow. Talk about next level. When I moved to the south, I was interested in okra- a totally new experience to me. The heavily battered and fried version just didn't really thrill me, so I tried roasting it with a little oil and cajun seasoning. Suddenly, I loved okra! *Side note: I also love okra in soups or stewed with tomatoes, but that doesn't really relate to roasting.
Aside from okra, another aspect of living in the south is that heating up my kitchen to roast veggies in my oven is not so fun. In fact, it can be pure torture. Even with the air conditioner set at arctic breeze, the person standing over the stove gets active volcano breeze. So, when I got my air fryer, my oven got to take a little break for summer. I've tried from both frozen or fresh, and I am pleased to find that within 7-9 minutes at 400 degrees in my air fryer (no preheating time with that either), I have delicious roasted broccoli (from FROZEN or fresh), green beans (again, from frozen or fresh), cauliflower, brussel sprouts (these take a bit longer if whole), carrot strips, and more! I even roasted stuffed mushrooms in 8 minutes at 400 degrees! Thank you Kite Hill chive cream cheese for the most amazing filling. I've roasted cubes of butternut squash, sweet peppers for a salad, and summer squash. It's all so flavorful and delicious.
The point is, Air Frying offers a quick and no-heating-up-the-kitchen way to make roasted veggies any time. I have been making roasted broccoli or green beans a lot lately because the kids like them and it's such an easy way too make a side (or if you eat a giant bowl of broccoli, a main). I've even read that you can roast garlic in it, but haven't tried yet!
Honestly, I thought my Air Fryer was going to be to make french fries and crispy tofu and that's it (and those things are both AWESOME in the air fryer), but I've found that I use it just about every day. Follow my Instagram and/or Facebook and you'll see that I often use it for such simple things, it doesn't see, worthwhile to blog about.
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