Traveling, Cracker Jacks, and a Give Away

by Deliciously Organic on June 7, 2010

The kids are roaming free around the neighborhood, the blue jeans and jackets are quietly tucked away in the closet, and the ice cream maker hums its happy tune. Ahhh . . . it must be summer. In a few weeks, we’re embarking on a month-long road trip to several different states. I can’t wait to catch up with old friends, stop at roadside stands for ripe, fleshy peaches, and sit on the beach with my toes in the sand. One issue I experience when we travel is “How do I eat a wholesome organic diet?” I’m not at all opposed to indulging, but I simply cannot do it for an entire month or I’ll start carrying extra pounds and feel terrible. Over the last few years, I’ve come up with some helpful techniques for keeping my family eating heathfully on vacation.

The first thing I always do is pack our meals for the car, instead of stopping at a resaurant for lunch while on the road.  I usually pack sandwiches, fruit, washed and cut vegetables, something sweet like my wholesome cracker jacks, and lots of water. I try to book reservations at a hotel with a small kitchen so I can cook breakfast for the family.  I scope out the nearest organic grocer and buy food as soon as we arrive. It’s been an adventure doing this – I’ve found some really great stores!

Travel food kit:

Jars of dehydrated nuts
Sunflower seeds
Granola (can double as cereal)
Granola Bars
Organic fruit leather (kids love these)
Bottles of water
Larabars (these come in all different flavors, here is a recipe for homemade larabars)
Cans of wild salmon or tuna
Hard boiled eggs
Dried Fruit
Whole Grain Crackers
Beef Jerky

One item I can’t live without is my Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottles.  These water bottles are made purely of stainless steel (no inner lining) and are leach and toxin-free.  They’re also dishwasher safe.  Over the last year, I bought small ones for my kids and a few larger ones for my husband and I and we use them constantly.  Another great thing about them – if you leave them in a hot car, the water won’t taste like plastic!  I’m giving a 40-ounce bottle away to one lucky reader.  All you need to do is leave a comment between today June 7th and Thursday June 10th.  I’ll draw a number at random and announce the winner on Friday. Good luck!

Homemade "Cracker Jacks"

Serving Size: Makes about 16 cups


Sweet popcorn is a great snack to have in the car on long trips because it will satisfy your sweet tooth without all of the added preservatives and fillers. I used almonds in this recipe but you can exchange them for the traditional peanuts. If you'd prefer to dehyrate the mixture instead of bake it, you can leave it in the oven at 170°F for about 4-5 hours or until mostly dry (it will fully dry and harden after it cools).


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 cup organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups almonds

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 16 cups popped corn (I usually pop mine in coconut oil)


Preheat oven to 250°F. Stir together butter, whole cane sugar, maple syrup and almonds in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the baking soda and vanilla. Pour over popped corn and stir until popcorn is evenly coated. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Cool completely before serving.

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin Conroy June 7, 2010 at 2:56 pm

What a great idea Carrie! Definitely going to try this. Also appreciate the traveling food list. So important to be be armed with healthful food, instead of hoping to finding things at fast food places and convenience stores…almost impossible, and not nearly as tasty as homemade treats!


Vossler June 7, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Traveling is the hardest time to "be good" food-wise, at least for me, so thanks for the tips! Also, I LOVE klean kanteens! They actually have bottles for toddlers to sip from–amazing!


lauramil June 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I always carry a water bottle around with me. I finally stopped using plastic and bought a steel one, only now the top is stripping away and it leaks…


allison [a for aubergine] June 7, 2010 at 3:24 pm

i haven't had cracker jacks in a long long time. these looks amazing and so easy to make. thanks carrie!!


Stacy (Little Blue Hen) June 7, 2010 at 3:24 pm

We always take fresh fruit, too!Love Klean Kanteens, I just got one myself.


Julie June 7, 2010 at 3:54 pm
Cecilia June 7, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Those cracker jacks look great. And the Kleen Kanteen giveaway is awesome. Thanks! ([email protected])


Tara June 7, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Thanks for the travel food list – great ideas! With two young kids, I'm finding that pleasant travel experiences absolutely require advance planning in the food department. Nothing says "bad vacation" like cranky, over-sugared kids and bloated, sluggish parents! Luckily my kids are still young enough that they don't demand to be taken to the drive-through each time we get in the car.


Feeba June 7, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Just took my first camping trip since going gluten-free. It was really hard! Your larabar recipe was a treat for me when everyone else was eating cookies.


Sara June 7, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Love the recipe and the addition of the almonds. I bet that tastes amazing and not too overly sweet like what you can usually find at the store! Hummus is an excellent travel friendly dip too. Easy to make at home and stores well. I love it on a sandwich or as a dip with veggies!


pinkcamellia June 7, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Those "cracker jacks" look soooo good. I think I will have to try your recipe. Thanks for the other travel food ideas; it is harder to eat well while traveling, but doable!


kristamk June 7, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Wow! Talk about organized traveling! I'm lucky I can pack enough snacks for a day trip, let alone think about finding them through a whole month-long trip! Great ideas!


af June 7, 2010 at 3:01 pm

i have a small sig on my desk at work and love that if i leave water overnight it never tastes like anything but….water the next day!


Kristin June 7, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Looks like a great recipe! I can't wait to try it.


Laura June 8, 2010 at 2:02 am

I love all of your ideas! I recently came across you blog and I am now hooked! Thank you so much for the great recipes and the advice on how to stay healthy and eat organically!


marla {family fresh cooking} June 8, 2010 at 3:23 am

I love your travel list. I do the same, we prefer condos over hotel rooms when we travel. I always like to prepare meals, saves money and tastes better. Your Cracker Jacks look so awesome! xo


Stephanie June 8, 2010 at 5:07 am

I've never made this before and can't wait to try. We are planning a trip soon too so this is perfect! Love the idea to use coconut oil too!


mitchell June 8, 2010 at 5:28 am

this looks yummy! i need some right at this very moment.


Me and My Pink Mixer June 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Love this idea! It is hard to be healthy when traveling, but you have some great tips that I am going to try. Love your blog :)


The Simone Home June 8, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Thanks for a great snack recipe for the long car rides! I also loved the list. It is nice to have some good ideas for healthy travel friendly stuff. Love the blog and looking forward to the cook book!


Betsysmile June 8, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Yum! That looks delicious and do-able! My husband of 6 months was just saying that he likes kettle corn when made right. Haha, since we're so new at marriage, I can TRY this and see if we both like it. Who knows, maybe no preservatives= 'made right' 😉 I'm excited to try!


Mama June 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

The road trip of my childhood – my grandfather's van and a cooler full of snacks my grandmother made. And when I was tired I had a little bed in the back for napping – with no seat belt. Oops. It was the 70's, I guess they didn't know any better.


Kristine June 8, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Thank you for the tips for road trip lunches! And also the opportunity to win a kanteen!


Vicky June 8, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Thank you for the travel food tips. They arrived just in time!


Anonymous June 8, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Love the idea of Cracker Jacks whenever you want them!Could I substitute molasses for maple?And thanks for the link to the Klean Kanteen…going there and ordering Right Now!


Noelle June 8, 2010 at 3:14 pm

These cracker jacks look so delicious!! Nice recipe. I like the giveaway too! :)


theknowlans June 8, 2010 at 8:49 pm

perfect timing for us, as we start vacation in just a few weeks! can't wait to try some of these recipes!


Chelsea June 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm

These cracker jacks look delish! I always have a hard time with traveling too and staying healthy. Sometimes it's just so much easier to do fast food, but so unhealthy!


Amy June 8, 2010 at 2:51 pm

You rock!


Anonymous June 8, 2010 at 11:44 pm

I love the travel tips. I'm traveling w/a 4 yr old, 2 yr old and a husband who eats good food at home and when he eats bad food is not in a good mood at all!!! Thanks for the help!Brandy


Trisha P. June 9, 2010 at 1:35 am

Excellent snack list for traveling – it's always nice to get new ideas! Definitely have to plan ahead a bit – but it is so worth it.


Kate June 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Plenty of people use vacation as a time to indulge and it's nice to see that you stick to your preferred method of eating, even when being gone for so long. I hope you blog about the stores you find along the way. I'd be curious to see what you come across in your travels.


Michele June 9, 2010 at 4:54 pm

thanks for the recipe, and the giveaway!


Cables4fun June 9, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Thank you for the Cracker Jacks Recipe!! Who doesn't like Cracker Jacks and I am sure the homemade ones are even better than "Old Faithful". Thanks for sharing with us also!!


bookworm0709 June 9, 2010 at 7:23 pm

I will definitely going to try the Homemade Cracker Jacks. I love that stuff but am allergic to the peanuts in the store bought kind. Hope I wind the give away!


mallorca999 June 10, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I'm passing this on to our little organic co-op here in Alabama. Thanks for the great tips!


[email protected] June 11, 2010 at 12:49 am

Great traveling ideas! Thanks they are just in time for summer!


Kim June 11, 2010 at 3:13 am

Your traveling list is wonderful, I will use your ideas' Thank you,


Christina June 11, 2010 at 5:50 am

Thanks for the list of what to bring. We're planning on taking a 6 week road rip next year. Your tips are really helpful!


Jessica Falksen June 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm

I've been eyeing those water bottles for quite some time. Using old plastic ones just isn't cutting it. If I don't win this I will likely give in and buy my own. Here's to crossing my fingers!


Deliciously Organic June 17, 2010 at 1:30 am

Betsysmile: If your going for a "kettle-corn" flavor I'd add 1 teaspoon of sea salt to the popcorn when you toss it with the melted sugar mixture. I haven't tried it, but I bet it'd taste close to the real thing. :)


Mama Bear, JD June 17, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I just put our second batch in the oven. We are addicted! I find it really hard not to lick my hands while coating the popcorn. :)


Astaire November 4, 2013 at 8:15 am

I’ll be trying this soon using dairy/soy free butter. Thanks for the recipe! Great website! :)


renee March 18, 2015 at 3:27 pm

after the mixture has come to a boil and put on the popcorn and mixed in, do you leave it in the saucepan you mixed it and put in the oven….OR, do you put it on a cookie sheet & spread it out before placing in the oven?
That step is missing so I put on the cookie sheet (so it wasn’t all smashed together).
Shall see how it comes out 😉


Deliciously Organic March 19, 2015 at 10:44 am

The popcorn should be in a large bowl, and you’ll pour the sauce over the popcorn, toss and then spread out on to the backing sheet. I hope that helps!


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