Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Weekend Getaway, with EasyLunchboxes!

Traveling with EasyLunchboxes!
Over Memorial Day weekend, I had to opportunity to attend a niche food blogger conference in Portland. Since that's roughly a 3-hour drive away, I needed a meal for the road. Plus I was uncertain whether the convention meals would be filling enough, so I packed a weekend's worth of healthy snacks as well!

My car was scheduled for an oil change, and the kids were staying home with Hubby, so he kept the Starship Enterprise (my minivan) and I got to drive his Mustang. For pretty much the first time ever. We've had it longer than the kids, so that's a lot of time spent never getting to drive his car! I got to drive it around the block once, to move it for our garage sale. And I got to drive it to an eye appointment once, except I only made it two houses down, to the corner, where I stalled at the stop sign and the battery died.

I've gotta say, it's amazing how quickly I forgot how to drive a stick-shift! (My '99 Saturn had been a stick, and I drove that for around 14 years!) We bought the minivan only a few months before this trip, so it didn't take long to lose everything I knew! In my defense, his clutch and pedals are way more annoying and harder to push than mine had been.
I stalled out roughly a gazillion times on the drive down... in Portland, I let Sarah drive whenever possible!

"Fast Food"
A packed road trip lunch!
Trail mix (cashews, almonds, peanuts, raisins, mini PB cups, dark chocolate SunDrops)
Sunbutter Ants on a Log w/chocolate; organic salad w/lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot scraps,
raisins, sunflower, flax, and pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, dressing
I packed my usual salad for the drive down, and stopped to eat it after being stuck in traffic for 90 minutes, where I got to move a whole 30 miles (I hate Tacoma,) then wasting half an hour getting lost trying to find the nearest Starbucks once I got free.

This lunch is obviously not nut-free, and was my one cheat for the week, since I couldn't find dairy-free mini peanut butter cups. Other than that, I'd gone dairy-free several days before, in the hopes that I wouldn't smoke my roommate out of the room! It felt so good not to be bloated all the time that I've been (mostly) dairy-free ever since!

I wasn't worried about nuts this first day, since I had to start out later than planned thanks to Kindergarten Round-up that morning, so I'd be missing all the panels anyway. And my roomie, the fabulous Sarah from Bentoriffic, doesn't have any nut issues. [*rimshot*]

Weekend Snackerels
A weekend's worth of healthy snacks packed and ready to go!
Organic cauliflower, green and purple broccoli, carrots, heirloom cherry tomatoes, celery, and apples, with hummus
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Since I would be in tight quarters with masses of people for meals and panels, I made sure to pack my snacks nut-free, just to be safe. In a separate EasyLunchbox, I had another Mini Dipper with SunButter for my celery, more cut celery, and some chunks of broken-up dark chocolate bar (dairy-free) to go on top. I think I also had another dipper of hummus, but maybe I'd just crammed enough into this one for all the veggies.
Instead of portioning out all the veggies into two boxes for the next two days I'd be there, I jammed the veggies all together so I only needed to keep one box in the cooler bag to make room for a water bottle. I could have condensed everything even more had I packed less celery and just made up my Ants on a Log in advance. Then I could have brought the boxes with the empty one stacked under the full one.

Luckily EasyLunchboxes are crazy easy to hand-wash in a hotel bathroom sink! The smooth rounded insides just make gunk fall right out, and make it easy to swipe a washcloth around inside without having to worry about crud stuck in little corners. I was able to re-use the box from the lunch I'd eaten on the drive down to nab some leftover breakfast noms!

Buffet Goodies
Breakfast buffet leftovers, packed to go!
Gluten-fee vegan donuts, mini donuts, blondie-type bar, and savory muffin
As it turns out, the breakfast and lunch buffets were pretty awesome (although the lines were crazy long!) The first morning had a variety of vegan goodies from local (Portland) restaurants and bakeries. Most of the actual breakfast food was gluten-y, so I was stuck eating delicious gluten-free pastries. Yeah. It was a real hardship! After people started heading off for their panels, I was allowed to pack a "doggie bag" for later!

Between the buffet spreads and the exhibitor samples, I was pretty much stuffed all weekend!

Our room had a microwave and fridge, so it would have been insanely easy to pack dinners too, to save myself the expense. Plus the added hassle of finding restaurants with gluten-free (for me) and vegan (for Sarah) options with servers possessing more than one brain cell. (At once place, I discussed gluten-free options with the server, then get a gluten-bread sandwich! Really? Do I really have to special-request gluten-free bread on my gluten-free sandwich?) But we wanted to live it up, so we went out both nights instead.
Saturday night had a fundraising gala, so we went all-out. Hair, make-up, fancy togs - the works! Sarah even loaned me a clutch and earrings, so I didn't look like I had no idea what I was doing! [I totally had no idea what I was doing!]

On the drive home, roughly 5 seconds after I hit Washington, I got pulled over for speeding. Stupid red Mustang. And because I had forgotten to adjust the mirrors back for my short self after a long tall glass of Sarah had driven it the night before, I went quite a ways before noticing those flashing lights. Doh! And then to compound the embarrassment, my husband apparently didn't have a current insurance card in the car. I had mine in my wallet. In a suitcase in the trunk. For the minivan. And I managed to find three expired ones in various nooks and crannies, covered with mystery sludge.
The kind officer only ticketed me for speeding, and not for not having proof of insurance. Whew!

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