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Portable Food For Trials

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Hi all,

 

We depend entirely too much on fast food and eating out when we go trialing, and with such a lot of travel/hotel expenses we have decided to try to bring the majority of our own food. Partly inspired by a recent trip where someone had a bunch of sandwich containers with a nice bagel, cheese and egg and fruit ensemble- perfect lunch!

 

What do you all do that is small and easy to take and does not require an appliance? Got a medium and a small cooler- this coming up trip will require 5 days worth of snacks.

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The stuff I take in the cooler usually includes string cheese, individual yogurts, carrot sticks, maybe other veggies or fruits (bananas and apples being my favorite portable fruits). I always have peanut butter and some form of bread (usually light English muffins) and either honey or jelly/jam, as PBJ sandwiches are easy to make. Sometimes friends will bring packages of deli meats in their cooler, and when they're in season tomatoes for sandwich making. Anything that's in a jar or squeezable plastic container (like mayo) I put in zipper bags before putting in ice in the cooler to keep melting ice from getting in.

 

Healthy non-cooler snacks include any of the 100 calorie pack type stuff, pretzels, graham crackers, pudding cups, apple sauce or fruit cups and the like. What I take to any given trial depends on the nearness of any shopping, whether I have time to shop beforehand, and what I have on hand that I can just pack and go with. My friends and I do try to keep to the healthier alternatives, and we often bring different things and then share so there's more variety.

 

If I wanted dinner type foods, I think I'd make something beforehand that could be eaten cold, like chicken, or various salads. If you have friends with campers that have microwaves, then you have more options for being able to heat up foods that you've pre-made.

 

I always travel with bottled water as well.

 

J.

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I generally take granola bars, fruit leather, and various protein bars (I like the Luna ones) with me for long trips or agility trials. I have a nice insulated cooler bag that will keep stuff cold for up to 8 hours if it starts out frozen, so sometimes I'll use that for yogurts, etc. Mostly I've just used it to take frozen food to my final destination where there was a microwave to heat it up with, though.

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Cheese and saltines. I don't cheap out on the cheese and it still makes it cheap trial eats. Plenty of ice cold water both summer and winter (dehydration in the winter is just as miserable as in the summer). Water pot that plugs in to the car charger and packaged soups, hot chocolate, and tea in the winter. Lots of fruit of course. Traill mix and jerky are temptingly convenient but remember how thirsty both will make you. When I bring bread, I bring hearty breads that last like rye and high-fiber wheat.

 

If you want to go a step up, we have a little LP powered cook stove and brought frozen meats, veggies, noodle mixes, rice mixes, eggs, pancake mix, the sky's really the limit. There's an amazing assortment of things you can do to make roughing it comfy. We used to do it with a tent and two babies. We'd have hamburgers, steak, pork chops, yum! Patrick was our cook - he was awesome.

 

I remember one trial a few years ago - everyone was up early talking about the course and shivering over cold pastries and coffee. Patrick walked over and handed me a plate of bacon, scrambled eggs, pancakes, and a thermos of hot chocolate.

 

There was a moment of silence, then the rest of the group - mostly men - eyeballed me with a little fear mixed in their amazed looks. Someone said, "Do you train your dogs that well too?" I couldn't convince them that he liked to cook, especially since he was also watching the babies.

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Besides some of the above mentioned items, I also like the tuna fish lunch kits - 3oz can of tuna, packet of mayo and crackers. Canned chicken also makes easy sandwiches.

 

My folks have a propane fueled burner that they use for camping that works great. It's just an individual burner that screws on the top of a propane canister. With something like that you can heat ready to eat soups, fry bacon and eggs, cook hamburgers, etc.

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We usually take the RV to attend trials. We usually have time for breakfast. DH cooks eggs, sausage and toast. Lunch is usually sandwiches. Dinner is usually a potluck at the event. I imagine if you stayed in a motel you could take a ice chest and lunchmeat. Maybe deviled eggs; granola bars; fruit such as bananas, apples, pears. Carrot sticks, celery, olives, and such too. Since most of the trials we go to are at one particular persons place we stop at Walmart on the way and put things we like in her refrig or ours. Good suggestions. Sometimes the 4Hers cook hamburgers so we like to support them by buying lunch from them. Their lunches are really good with homemade cookies, brownies, cake, lemonade, or punch. Coffee is a most too. N

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Thanks everyone for the ideas- we are definitely Motel 6ing it, can't afford an RV yet- hoping to get at least a tent trailer eventually. If it was a tiny bit warmer, we'd just bring the tent but it will be awfully chilly, even in Southern California!

 

Cute story Rebecca! I can imagine that got people's heads turning. I'm usually happy if there is coffee available, but Mike needs a little more fuel in the morning especially. Now if you can all help me put a 150 yard outrun on my pup for the Ranch class, we'll be set (she's there two out of three times :rolleyes:!)

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French bread or crackers

Babybel cheese (if you have no refrigeration, otherwise various medium and hard cheeses)

Italian dry salami (the kind that's white on the outside)

lots of fresh fruit

dried fruit snacks

fresh tomatoes (good simply sliced, with salt)

small yogurts (it is pretty much impossible to make yogurt go bad)

Vienna sausage (if you are not afraid of canned meat, does not need to be cooked)

canned fruit like peaches or mandarin oranges

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I forgot marinated stuff. Marinated artichokes, marinated asparagus spears, etc. Yum.

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don't make fun of me, but I like the little pizza lunchables. tasty and portable and don't need to refrigerated if only for a day.

 

Healthy...notsomuch.

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We've also brought veggie burgers (and the "chicken" patties, which are better) that just thaw on their own and make a tasty sandwich (though if you don't like them hot, you won't like them cold either). We've also brought hard-boiled eggs (as long as you trust your cooler--we brought eggs once on a 7-day road trip and they stayed cool for about 4 days). Our real issue on overnight events is coffee.....

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Our real issue on overnight events is coffee.....

 

I second that! I have two solutions if I don't have my trailer with me: one is a 'hot pot' for super fast hot water and a Melitta funnel to make coffee at the Motel 6 (or any place else with electricity) and the other is a little 4-cup coffeemaker that plugs into the vehicle's power outlet or cigarette lighter. It's a bit slow but it works great!

 

Amy

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Oh, and Jaime--Jennifer usually has a local group there cooking; in the past they have made really great breakfast burritos and there's always coffee...

A

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Oh, and Jaime--Jennifer usually has a local group there cooking; in the past they have made really great breakfast burritos and there's always coffee...

A

 

 

Good to hear- I went to her May trial a long, long time ago and there was an awesome cook wagon there :D. One thing I miss about our Nevada's Best trials is when we'd have the fellow with the dutch ovens show up- now THAT was food made for trialing!! I have thought about getting one of the car charger coffee pots, just in case :D. I think at one trial with no coffee :rolleyes: we made a mad dash for the gas station and had to make due with cold Frappachinos LOL.

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Our real issue on overnight events is coffee.....

 

Camp coffee press + hot pot that plugs into cigarette lighter jack = morning happiness!

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Weber makes a little 'go everywhere gas grill' that is quite compact, cools off fast, and is awesome to cook on. (Pop for the Weber...rather than the cheap imitation.... it is well worth the extra money in how it cooks, and how long it will last). I trialed for years out of a conversion van, and it slid in right under the bed in the van. For coffee, use a french press. I like the metal ones (less breakable) and you can get one serving or 5 serving presses. Shop at Amazon or Starbucks. The little water heaters are multi use, (you can heat up water to wash with, or boil water for ramen noodles) where the coffee makers are only one use items. Take celery and peanut butter, great protein and quite portable. Also, as others have suggested, the canned chicken, or deviled ham spread is great. Pop a can open, spread on bread, and you have a sandwich. With the grill, you can run to a grocery store, and get something to grill mid way through the trial,and still get a great meal for lots cheaper than going out to eat. Once I got a bit used to it, I could make a grilled cheese on the Weber.

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When I first starting competing I was in college, so far from wealthy. Actually, more like poor. :D I slept in a tent and ate out of a cooler. Hang on, I am still sleeping in a tent and eating out of a cooler. :rolleyes: Oh well, I like camping.

 

Depending on how long I would be gone and what I felt like I would pack...

beef jerky

dried and/or fresh fruit

canned tuna (you can buy those already made tuna salad packs that come with crackers)

lots of water

lunch meat, cheese and rolls or PB, jelly and rolls

cheese sticks or cheese and crackers

granola bars, cereal bars

yogurt

trail mix

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Coming in too late on this one, but when has that every stopped me?

 

I like food, and I love to cook. It's easy to eat well for a few days in a camping setting if you get a little bit of equipment and think a little creatively. Like Liz, I tent at trials and clinics. It's a drag when the weather turns foul, no doubt. But I've been incredibly lucky that way -- I think there was only one trial that I attended that was truly a washout, and the esprit de corps was so good there that you hardly noticed. Lynn still has photos of campers being pulled out of the mud with a four wheel drive tractor with an old tire hooked in between two lengths of chain to act as a shock absorber.

 

I have a little Coleman propane stove that has one regular burner and one that's sort of a grill. Works slick, and it's about the size of a laptop carrying case or large briefcase. That, a few basic cookery items, and a cooler are all I need for a three-day run to a trial in the summer.

 

Back in July when I went to the Merck Forest trial, my one of my dinners was grilled lamb chops, fresh green beans (picked the day before I left) with garlic sauteed in olive oil with brown rice. The last of the season's strawberries for dessert.

 

At the Derek Scrimgeour clinic in October, I whipped up grilled tenderloin of beef, pasta with homemade sauce, and sweet corn. I think I had applesauce for dessert.

 

All I bring with me for cookware is a frying pan, small sauce pan, spatula, tea kettle, a couple of bowls and a plate or two. The grill-type burner on the stove also makes a great toaster.

 

Tuna is a great lunch item that requires no refrigeration or cooking. You can get it in pouches that don't have water or oil in them, so you don't even need to drain it before eating or mixing in mayo and whatever else.

 

Stews, soups, casseroles, etc., that can be made ahead and just reheated at the trial are also handy.

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Wow Bill, I think you should write a cookbook "Gourmet Dog Trialing". Sounds great. I have been trying to convince Mike to start tent camping instead of Motel 6ing, it's hard to give up the reliable shower though. And once, we were really, really rained out bad and that motel room kept us sane over a really rough weather weekend.

 

This last trial, after putting together 5 days worth of food, we ended up being fed so well by the trial host that we barely touched it. Luckily, I kept the ice on it and we had bagels, cheese and hardboiled eggs for lunch for days after we got home. So the real answer to this question is to become a trial volunteer and just bring the beer cooler :rolleyes:.

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Back in July when I went to the Merck Forest trial, my one of my dinners was grilled lamb chops, fresh green beans (picked the day before I left) with garlic sauteed in olive oil with brown rice. The last of the season's strawberries for dessert.

 

At the Derek Scrimgeour clinic in October, I whipped up grilled tenderloin of beef, pasta with homemade sauce, and sweet corn. I think I had applesauce for dessert.

 

Now everyone knows who to camp next to, right?

 

If I am packing portable food, it's usually stuff like mini whole wheat bagels, light cream cheese for b-fast. Lunch I like to do wraps. I take whole wheat tortillas, spread some of that Laughing Cow cheese (love!) on it, a couple slices of turkey and romaine. Roll 'em up and wrap in foil to keep 'em rolled up and that's it. Also, baby carrots and some hummus in a little tupperware thingie. I second everyone's recommendation of tuna, too. And I don't go anywhere without some Z bars. Those are good snacks, and can do as a light breakfast in a pinch. :rolleyes:

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Ahhh, Bill--a man after my own heart. I, too love food and love to cook, and it's become kind of a thing to see how creative I can be on the road; in the summer, I am on the road for over two weeks. I do have a trailer, but it's really small, and only has 2 burners. Unfortunately, the small freezer in the trailer is usually taken up with raw food for the dogs. I also carry a little propane grill. I've done grilled homegrown pork chops or grilled salmon, with fresh picked green beans, too. Brown rice on the side. Homemade marinara sauce that I put up in the summer from the garden usually travels with me as well (with fresh grated parmesan). Breakfast always has fresh squeezed combo ruby red grapefruit/valencia juice (the one truly great thing about living in SoCal), with pancakes, homegrown bacon or sausage, etc. And of course, I always set up the camp table (trailer's too small to really use the table that came with it), with cloth placemats and napkins, real silver, and real plates. :rolleyes:

 

A

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I remember my husband taking foil wrapped burritos with him into the mountains

when it was cold outside. He would put them on the hot car engine and have a hot

lunch waiting for him when he came back to the truck. Pretty clever.

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