Sunday, 22 March 2015

Vacation Shopping and Cooking - Week 1

We just returned from a lovely, relaxing 2 week vacation in Hawaii, spending 1 week on Kauai and 1 week on Maui. We were lucky enough to have a self contained unit with a fully equipped kitchen, as well as the use of a BBQ. This, in my opinion is the best way to travel, for a few reasons:

  1. You are not restricted to restaurant hours, you can eat whenever you are hungry, with no waiting for tables or service.
  2. You can choose to eat healthier.
  3. You can also spend less of your holiday budget on food, and more on entertainment/sightseeing!

The trick, of course, is to shop carefully and menu plan well, so that you don't end up throwing away good food at the end of the trip. This is especially the case if you are flying, or travelling between countries, as there are often restrictions on what is allowed on the flight or through customs, and sometimes both.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you want to plan on making quick, simple yet tasty meals, so you don't spend your beach time in the kitchen!

I am going to share the food we bought and the meals I made with them, and hopefully this will give you some ideas for your next vacation, or next weeknight meal. I will also let you know how much we threw out at the end of the vacation...I was impressed with how little it was. Of course, with some friends arriving the day before we left, and taking some of the things we weren't allowed to bring back on the plane, this helped lessen our waste.

Some self-contained vacation resorts often have a donation box located in the lobby for unused items to be donated, either to a local food bank or to arriving guests. If this is not the case, we always offer unused items to neighbouring units who will be staying on after we have left.


We were on the island for 6 full days, and one day that included breakfast and lunch.

We bought the following:

1 pack of bacon
6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
1 lb of thinly sliced beef strips, suitable for stirfry
2 fresh ahi tuna steaks
1/4 pound of thinly sliced ham
1/4 pound thinly sliced turkey

18 large eggs
1/2 pound of butter
1 block of cheddar cheese
4 oz package of goat cheese
4 oz package of blue cheese
1 small wedge of Parmesan
5 litres of milk

2 boxes of cereal
1 loaf of sourdough bread
6 buns
1 package of English muffins
1 package of 8 tortillas
1 pound of coffee
1 small bottle of balsamic vinegar
1 500ml bottle of olive oil
1 small jar of Dijon mustard
1 500ml jar of mayonnaise
1 small travel sized salt and ground black pepper
1 500g brown sugar
1 can of roasted, diced tomatoes
1 500g package of pasta
3 spices (they were buy 2, get 1 free, so I decided to add to the basics such as cinnamon and chili flakes supplied in our unit) - ground cumin, curry powder and chili powder

4 bananas
1 lime
1 lemon
1 bunch of green onions
2 avocados
1 bulb of garlic
2 onions
1 thumb sized piece of ginger
4 fresh tomatoes
2 red peppers
a small bag of new potatoes
1 bag of washed mixed greens
1 bag of romaine hearts
1lb of fresh strawberries

This seems like a lot, but we used most of it that week, bringing the spices, oil and vinegar, mustard, mayo, romaine hearts, coffee and some cereal with us to Maui, as we had a cooler to keep the refrigerated items in while on the plane.

With this we made:

  • Sandwhiches and wraps for lunches : using some of the cooked chicken breasts and leftover chicken thighs in the wraps, or to make curried chicken salad; egg salad using the eggs and green onion; ham and turkey with tomato, lettuce and cheese.
  • Breakfast sandwhiches with toasted English muffins, ham, cheese and poached eggs.
  • Scrambled eggs with sourdough toast and bacon. 
  • Cereal with fresh fruit.

French toast with lime caramelized bananas, goat cheese and bacon, using the lime juice and brown sugar to make a caramel to heat the sliced bananas in and using eggs, milk and brown sugar to make the French toast with the sourdough bread.

  • BBQ chicken breasts, marinated in chili flakes, cumin, garlic, brown sugar and lime zest and juice served with a mixed green salad, using the greens, tomato, avocado and a roasted red pepper.

Chopped salad with Moroccan spiced chicken thighs, marinated in ginger, garlic, cumin, chili flakes and cinnamon and braised with lightly caramelized onions until falling apart; served with chopped romaine hearts, tomato, red pepper, avocado and crumbled goat cheese.

  •  Pasta with thinly sliced beef, onions, diced tomatoes and blue cheese, served with Parmesan garlic bread.
  • Potato salad with bacon bits and hard boiled eggs

Breakfast potato hash with bacon and green onion, topped with poached eggs and grated cheddar cheese.

     Pan seared ahi tuna steaks with romaine heart salad, new potatoes and avocado; the tuna was rubbed with lemon zest, olive oil, mustard and the lemon juice was used with mustard and olive oil to make a dressing.

    • Beef fajitas using the remaining thinly sliced beef, thinly sliced red peppers and onions all cooked with garlic, cumin and chili powder and served with shredded romaine hearts, grated cheddar and chopped avocado and fresh tomato in warm tortillas.
    • Warm chicken sandwhiches on half the buns, using pan seared chicken breasts, caramelized onions and blue cheese mayonnaise.

    We ate well, and spent around $240 on food, not including alcohol and bottled water. We had lunch out once, and also had treats such as ice cream, coffee and so on during our travels around the island, and had one activity that included lunch.

    That comes to an average of $40 per day, for 3 meals each for 2 people. You cannot eat out on that kind of budget!

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