Weekend away without eating out

I did have a super exciting post on retirement savings written. (Australian retirement savings are called ‘super’, so that’s a play on words). So not really ‘super exciting’.  But then, I just spent the weekend in Orange, NSW about 3.5 hours from Sydney.  Given that I challenged myself to no eating ‘out’ for the month, I had to be super organised!!

Firstly, the no eating out challenge is largely a financial exercise, so I didn’t reject the dinner at the wedding reception.  And I gave a gift, just in case anyone thought I might be cheeky enough to truly have a ‘free meal’!

Here's everything I packed for a 'no eating out' weekend road trip
Here’s everything I packed for a ‘no eating out’ weekend road trip

We left Sydney at about 8am Saturday morning.  Knowing the bf, I didn’t make breakfasts for him, but I did expect the need to stop off for coffee, repeatedly!  So, within walking distance from my house, we stopped for his first cappuccino (in a keep cup!).  He’s not really his charming self without a coffee, and he’s not in on the ‘no eating out’ challenge.  Whilst he procured coffee, I munched on my granola parfait.  That’s the fancy name for my layers of muesli (granola), yoghurt, grated carrot and frozen berries.  It was a little dry, but certainly edible.  I may have also sipped from the poisoned chalice of bought coffee too… I am weak.  And coffee is strong!

self catered road trip
Bottom left is a breakfast parfait

For morning tea, I enjoyed a mandarin as I waited at the rest stop.  For those non Australians, this rest stop involved a sturdy, new hut, with two ‘long drop’ toilets (google it for you’re game!). They kindly have picnic tables nearby but I settled for the car due to the biting wind and the smells it carried!  For the bf, there was oven dried salami.  It excreted so much greasy/oily muck, ewww…  But it did crisp up nicely.  I though the bf would enjoy it alone, but mentioned it’d be nice with cheese and crackers, so I happened so have some, and whipped them out!

Somewhere between the middle of the drive, and more open countryside, we stopped for the n’th time at a McDonalds.  Mainly for the bathrooms.  But also for the coffee.  The bf might have broken my ‘no eating out’ rule when I succumbed to a coffee.  I just didn’t want to be a sleepy/crabby lady any longer! But I didn’t pay, so maybe I’m safe on a technicality.  (I did buy the bf a coffee on Friday morning, so maybe that voids the claimed technicality?)

The swanky bedroom in de Russie
The swanky bedroom in de Russie

Lunch happily coincided with our arrival at the hotel.  It was lovely – if anyone wants somewhere swanky but relatively affordable (because it allows you to stay one night, rather than most places with a minimum stay of 2 nights) I’d highly recommend de Russie Suites in Orange (they are also in Mudgee).  We had delicious turkey, cranberry, baby spinach and cream cheese croissants/gluten free wraps.

Turkey croissants for the bf
Turkey croissants for the bf

After the ceremony, there were some delicious hot finger food – like pork belly and gallettes (savoury crepes, which are the specialty of the region the bride is from in France).  Not to be deterred though, on returning to our hotel, we had wine and cheese on crackers. Yes, I’d even made gluten free biscuits for myself!  When that was all munched up, I moved onto some gluten free pear and walnut bread.  And maybe some spiced nuts.  Oh and some cut up carrots and capsicum.

Dried salami, candied nuts and pear and walnut bread to the left
Dried salami, candied nuts and pear and walnut bread to the left

The wedding dinner was lovely, in line with the delicious hors d’oeuvres after the service.  The mains were lamb or pork, which is unusual.  It always seems to be chicken and beef.  In any case, it was tasty! And dessert was also yum – the bf and I diligently split it all down the middle – between a gingery/creamy/jelly topped something, and a caramel and chocolate tart (yes, I also ate sugar… sigh).  We were surprised the wedding didn’t have a menu, so every dish was a surprise.

Sunday saw a repeat of my breakfast parfait, but the hotel provided a little breakfast pack.  So from the pack, I made the bf some coffee and toast.  The coffee was a start, but there were two further McDonald’s coffees on our journey – though none for me!

Sunday snack included walnuts spiced with egg whites and cinnamon, and sliced strawberries which I froze, and then thawed making them a nice soft stewed mess.  There was also an apple too.  Lunch was samosas, which sadly contain ‘the gluten devil’ as the bf calls it.  I’m just not sure making gluten free puff pastry is worth the time!  And that more of less ended the epic menu of DIY road trip food.

Now in list form

Overall, I think we succeeded.  The bf remarked how ‘cheap’ the weekend had been when we were sorting out dinner on Sunday night (with a $2 DVD from the store, yes, they still exist!).  He reckons he spent a grand sum of $15 on coffees, and that was it!  I covered the accommodation and fuel, seeing the wedding was for my friend.  I’m so thankful to the bf and his lovely car, which he did all the driving in – all the way there, between all the wedding components (including in -3.5 C with black ice!), and back to Sydney.  He was also a pretty good sport about eating all my inventions!  I’ll leave you with a less than ideal photo of the married couple:

Alice and Alex
Alice and Alex

So there you have it, a self catered road trip! What’s your go to snack or rest stop meal when you’re on a long car trip (or even flying)?

17 Replies to “Weekend away without eating out”

  1. That is such an awesome effort! We have a weekend road trip coming up at the end of the month…typically, we drop a small bomb on takeaways on the road. I always pack some food, but usually not enough and not "nice" things. I'll be using your list as a guideline and see if we can trim up our trip costs!

    1. It took a bit of prep work, but I do love cooking. And by having some 'nice' things in there, it made me have things I looked forward to. Hopefully you'll keep your McExpenses down 🙂

  2. You packed food is much more attractive than what I rely on. For the most part I live on water and fruit during the day then a nut butter sandwich and veggies for dinners.

    That bed looked very welcoming too.

    1. I did my best to encourage the boy to go without a double quarter coronary burger! I did have some fruit and vege too, though lot of vege is still to be munched on this week at work.

    1. Oh yes, I forgot to link the recipe, I'll fix that now. They aren't very 'cracker'y, and were a bit of a pain to spread on the tray but have turned out ok.

      1. Ok I can't find the recipe right now, but I'll check my print out and report back. In the meantime, I found these to try: Cheese crackers (love that blogger) or this, which is close to the recipe I used (but the website is heaps prettier this time?)

  3. Well done, Sarah! Your food looks delicious. I would definitely give myself an opt-out clause for coffee! For plane trips I usually bring apples and trail mix…and candy. On the road, I stop at Tim Horton's (coffee shop)!

    1. I tried Tim Horton in Dubai as I think i remember you mentioning it. Thanks for understanding my coffee need 🙂 trail mix isnt that common here

  4. You did really well, Sarah. When we drive to the snow, we don't pack anything, except lollies. Stopping for a sit down lunch is part of our tradition. When we go for a road trip elsewhere, we always pack a picnic lunch – bread, hard boiled eggs, lettuce, mayo, salt, fruit, biscuits and a thermos of tea.

    How did bf cope with the black ice? And what did you wear? The bride looked like she wasn't dressed for a winter wedding.

    1. I usually enjoy McDonald's hot cakes on family road trips and the same if I'm flying out of virgin's Sydney terminal. Not as fancy but a semi tradition!

      She wasn't super winter dressed was she? She managed superbly! The bf had no trouble with the ice, I think his European car is built for it, though its heating was playing up. For the ceremony I wore a silk long skirt (blue shot purple) with purple suede heels (discovered in mum's wardrobe Fri), with a blue péplum top with a navy trench. I've never worn the skirt and it'sa >10 years old I think! I swapped into a black dress for the reception.

  5. Brilliant work on the zero waste packed lunches! I have been forced to pack A LOT of road trip food over the years, as we would be broke otherwise with four kids, but your selections were brilliant!
    We rely on large amounts of baked goods, and often take frozen casserole-type dishes to heat up when we get where we're going. We always try to rent places with kitchens. Once we bought large amounts of apricots at a roadside stand, which turned out to be hard, so we stewed them in our cabin kitchenette, using all the sugar sachets in the coffee station!

    1. Hilarious stewing story, I love it!! It did take time and energy to prepare it all – and I wanted it to appeal to the bf (cause I'm competing with a double quarter pounder, which is easy, and warm!). Baked good would be awesome, if I wasn't so anti-gluten (even the bf is starting to think he might react to it too… weird woooweeee). But, this little sacrifices make holidays possible and that's what counts

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