With a vacation coming up, we share some ways to save money and eat well on vacation and then have a smooth transition for when we return home from vacation. Also, we have a garden update and check in on the bears latest exploits.
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD!
EATING OUT: One of the pleasures of a getaway is eating out. Research which restaurants are available where you are going to stay. Look for coupons and deals on-line. And plan to splurge once in a while!
IN THE ROOM: Does your room have a microwave and fridge? With a little planning, you can eat things you like and save a few dollars. Why not pick up some bread, cold cuts or canned tuna to make sandwiches. If you have a microwave, cold cuts, cheese and a tortilla make a tasty, warm wrap. Also, corn on the cob is easy to microwave (how-to’s on our Fourth of July blog). Check on-line to see if your vacation location has a farmer’s market. Get some fresh veggies and fruit for a quick snack or lunch when paired with cheese and bread. Great way to support local farmers!
WHEN YOU GET BACK: We like to have a nice meal like lasagna or meatloaf waiting for us in the freezer when we get back from a getaway. It makes coming home easier. This week, we made and froze pieces of baked ziti with ricotta. It has all the flavors of lasagna but takes less time. All it will need is a quick re-heat in the microwave when we return from vacation.
CHEESY BAKED ZITI
This baked ziti has all the flavor of lasagna with a third of the work.
You will need:
1 tablespoon olive oil; 1 medium onion, chopped; 1 medium bell pepper, chopped; 1 cup sliced mushrooms; 1 lb. ground turkey; one 13.25 oz. box cooked rigatoni whole wheat pasta; 4 cups of your favorite marinara sauce; one 32 oz. can diced tomatoes; one 2 lb. container part skim ricotta; 3/4 cup grated parmesan; one 8 oz. package Italian blend shredded cheese; 1/2 tablespoon chili powder; 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano; 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 clove grated garlic; 1/2 teaspoon garlic herb mix and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Fresh basil for topping ziti.
How to prepare:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Over medium heat, saute peppers, onions and mushrooms in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook for 5 minutes or until turkey is browned. Stir in chili powder, oregano, Worcestershire sauce and grated garlic. Add diced tomatoes and sauce. Cook mixture for 10 minutes. Add cooked pasta to meat sauce.
In a separate bowl, mix ricotta with parmesan cheese, garlic herb mix, and pepper.
Spray a 10 x 16 x 2 inch pan with cooking spray. Spread a single layer of the pasta and meat sauce mixture on the bottom of the pan. Make sure bottom is covered but that the pasta is in a single layer. Spoon ricotta mixture as evenly as possible on top of pasta layer. Top cheese layer with rest of pasta. Sprinkle with shredded cheese mixture. Cover pan with foil and bake ziti at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an addition 20 minutes until browned. Top with chopped fresh basil if desired.
We love to take a lot of photos when we are on vacation. We print up some of the best ones and display them in our home, where they are easy to see and provide great reminders of good times.
Framing some of your pictures is great, but you also can display your vacation photos “clothesline style”. We put up this mini clothesline on our wall and clip vacation photos to it. Our clothesline is a piece of jute attached to the wall with tacks. We hang photos and mementos on them with clothespins which we have painted various colors. We also glue shells found on the beach to a few of the clothespins with hot glue. This idea works great for displaying cards, lottery tickets, and reminders, too!
We picked a few tomatoes and peppers and topped our ziti with some of our home-grown basil.
Here is this weeks veggie art masterpiece!
Quote of the week: Laughter is an instant vacation! Milton Berle
We’re not sure if the bears will be successful with their stowaway attempt (see above) but they have made the best of things anyway!
Speaking of getaways, we would like to congratulate the silver bear on his retirement and thank him for being a fun part of the blog! We also congratulate Kevin’s brother, Bruce, on his retirement and look forward to sharing in the celebration later this week!
Roy and Kevin