Season 2 MasterChef winner Jennifer Behm is a food lover, owner of Pink Martini Catering, a soon to be wife, an adventurer – and this summer a food blogger for PEOPLE.com.
With the summer now here, I am very excited at the possibilities for road trips – for a day, a weekend, a week. Growing up, we did not have a lot of money, so we often turned to the road for our escapes.
Camping was No. 1 on our list, followed closely by travel to soccer tournaments. I loved it, but I'm sure my family was over it by the third weekend in a row.
But now, with the east coast under heat attack, the beach is a great destination. I'm lucky that it's so close, but we can also easily reach the mountains or simply venture off to visit friends.
My dilemma, however, has always been about what I should bring along for two kids who generally eat us out of house and home, as well as for ourselves and whoever is adventurous enough to join us. I always pack too much, of course, but as a former Junior Girl Scout I'm always prepared for anything. Why, I do believe I even have my old mess kit!
So, where to start? What shall I pack for this trip of a day?
Great music on the iPod Always important! Singing in the car always makes for awesome Youtube videos and great memories. "Hands … touching hands … touching me … touching you!" You know the rest; just don't mess with the driver too much! Look for one of our performances on YT soon!
Killer sandwiches Roast beef with a horseradish béchamel sauce, pickled vegetables, micro greens with roast beef on a croissant, burrata and heirloom tomato sandwich with arugula and sriracha mayo, cold fried chicken with cranberry sauce and sage brown butter stuffing. Ooh, yummm! For the kids, usually chunky peanut butter and Nutella with bananas. Brings me right back to my childhood. (Suggestion: Cut in half and wrap halves separately in plastic wrap – then you can enjoy both types.)
Finger-licking sides Grilled corn salad with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes with cilantro champagne vinaigrette, zucchini brownies (a great way to get the kids to eat veggies and not even know it. Sneaky!), beet salad with goat cheese dressed in rosemary vinaigrette. Grilled veggies are a great snack with a roasted pepper dip. You can divide these up in Baggies or in small plastic containers.
The essentials Bug spray, sunblock, adhesive bandages, aspirin, hand-wipes, toilet paper and a few games for the car (we play the A-Z game in themes).
Along the way or upon arrival A cool beverage. But stick with clear drinks – potholes sneak up, and removing stains is no bueno! For teens, try mixing O.J., cranberry and Fresca.
Our trip to the beach was a success, aside from the overcast skies, a car full of sand, rough seas (though the kids found them perfect for boarding) and the occasional rescue from the frothy sea (necessary only for the adults, and not our half-human, half-fish kids).
The memories of laughter and food are perfect! So, on your next road trip skip the fast food and take/make your own creations and fun!
Catch me Fridays on PEOPLE.com to see what crazy food and adventures I have to stimulate all of your senses!