road-trip food & activity list

Next week we are off on our whirlwind road trip to NC to start scouting, playing and discovering where we are going to be living. I've road tripped before a lot on my own and with Colin, but never have we traveled a long distance with a toddler in tow. So it should be interesting. One thing about car trips that I don't like is the road-side food (why all chain restaurants along American highways?!). It's usually pretty grody, greasy and unhealthy (not to mention, expensive). And it's particularly challenging if you're a veggie. So we're packing up our picnic for the road. And just making this list made me eager to go. I have a whole lot of options for snacks, lunches and dinners. Easy to eat meals and finger foods that are easy to pick up when Veda inevitably dumps them over. And healthy food means we'll arrive feeling well rather than greasy and tummy-achy.

Plus, wraps and pasta salad are my summertime OBSESSION this year so I can't live without them for long. :)

For those of you who have road-tripped with a kiddo before... any food suggestions? Anything that you know would be a big hit that I missed? I'd love any advice.

As far as activities: We are going to hook up the DVD player in the backseat. That'll be a huge treat for V. Especially since all our DVDs were stolen on a previous trip, and we had to go out and pick up a few faves to replace them this week. I also sought the advice of my aunt and uncle who traveled the whole country with their kids when they were young and they suggested an activity tray. Something with a lip around the edges so crayons would stay in place, etc. So thank you Dollar General for the hot pink tray. I am stocked with activities like: coloring, books to read, a kaleidoscope, a squishy ball to play with, stickers, a drawing pad, Mr. Potato Head, and a new foamy puzzle.

So again... anyone who's done this with a toddler before: I'm all ears for other ideas! Suggestions?

I am excited for this new adventure... I think it'll be fun! And if Veda does well... this opens up a whole new avenue of cool things to see and do!

* * * Addition: I almost forgot. I wanted to share the recipe I found for couscous and garbanzo beans. It's delish and can be eaten warm or cold:

Couscous with Garbanzo Beans Prep: 5 minutesĀ  Cook: 10 minutes Makes 4 Main-Dish Servings

Ingredients: 1 box couscous with toasted pine nuts 1 T. olive oil 1 medium zucchini (diced into large pieces) 1 garlic clove 3/4 t. ground cumin 3/4 t. ground coriander 1/8 t. ground red pepper 2 cans garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained) 1/2 C. salad or green olives (drained) 1/4 C. water

1. Prepare couscous as label directs. 2. Meanwhile in nonstick 12 inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, and red pepper and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add beans, olives and water and cook, stirring often, until heated through, about 5 mintues. 3. Add couscous to bean mixture and toss gently. Spoon into serving bowl.