Traveling, Cracker Jacks, and a Give Away

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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  1. 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!

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. renee

    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 😉


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