It is simply impossible to diet while on any kind of vacation. Even though our stay at my in-laws’ house was fairly short (only 3 1/2 days there + 1 1/2 travel days), any thought of a diet flew right out the window. This is, of course, because on car trips of any sort, my willpower fails me entirely.
The first two hours of a car trip I’m fine. I’m not too antsy and I feel no real need to snack. By the end of the third hour though, the need for something sweet starts to kick in. At this point I can still hold off, but if there is a gas or bathroom break, all hope is lost. I head straight to the candy isle in search of the best combination of chocolate and caramel/nougat/candy coating/fruit to soothe my rumbly tummy. Heck, half the time I’m not even that hungry. Mostly I’m just bored. This last trip was no exception. When we stopped in Kentucky to get gas, I found myself pouring over the extremely long candy counter for a tasty treat. The woman behind the counter was kind enough to point out that the candy extended all the way to the other side. I was a goner.
I ended up leaving with a king size bag of plain M & Ms and a king size Reese’s big cup two pack. I couldn’t resist as it promised real chunky peanuts. Chunky Reese’s cups are one of my favorite treats, and also a real rarity these days. The only chocolate/peanut butter treat better is the Reese’s honey roasted peanut butter cups. These are really hard to find (at least around these parts), but any time I see them, I have to purchase them. Thankfully I only ended up eating one chunky peanut cup. My husband is also a lover of peanut butter, so I gallantly offered him the second one. Sure, I had a small handful of M & Ms too, but it could have been so much worse!
The next morning before we reached our destination, I’d finished off the rest of the M & Ms. This was after our “free” continental breakfast that included both biscuits and gravy (a weakness from my childhood—for about two years every time we went out for breakfast, I ordered biscuits and gravy with a side of biscuits—this probably explains a lot of my childhood pudge) and cinnamon rolls (freshly baked). Since I am not much of a breakfast eater the other 360 some days of the year, the rare ocassions where a good breakfast is served (and cooked by someone else), I indulge way too much. Plus, I knew I’d be bored and looking for food before we hit the state line.
The actual driving part of the trip isn’t the only thing waiting to wreck my diet. There are other forces conspiring against me. For instance, when we were in Vegas, we had to eat all of our meals out. And lets face it, in a decadent town like Vegas, who wants a salad? Especially when there are all-you-can-eat seafood buffets and Del Tacos. It’s just perverse to even attempt a diet.
This vacation was no different. The walls of their house may be paper thin, but my in-law’s kitchen is fully stocked and they are both really good cooks. The night of our arrival we sat down to delicious enchiladas and an amazing corn, tomato and avocado salad. Both recipes my mother-in-law passed on since they were clipped from Paula Deen (one from her magazine and the other from her book). I ate my entire enchilada and an extra helping of the veggie salad.
Breakfast the next morning was sparse. Just cereal and fruit. I felt pretty good about it, especially since I only poured about 1/2 a cup of cereal. Lunch was sandwiches. Not exactly gourmet cuisine, but there were also chips, and that’s when I took a turn toward the dark side. I don’t even want to think about how many times my hand reached into that greasy, salty bag. To make matters worse, my mother-in-law made brownies. Rich, fudgy, thick, chocolaty brownies. She even added extra chocolate chips to the batter. Cruel, cruel woman!
Dinner was hard too. My father-in-law made grilled a pork tenderloin that was spiced to perfection. He also made a fairly tasty bean salad, which coupled with my mother-in-law’s super tasty squash casserole (thank you again Ms. Deen) and some potato salad (another weakness–although hers isn’t as good as mine, so I didn’t eat much), left my belly more than full. Plus for dessert there was ice cream. With fudge sauce. Oh, and brownies to put under the ice cream and fudge sauce.
The next morning’s breakfast was a feast. Bacon, scrambled eggs (made with a touch of cream–scrumptious), toast and a real favorite of mine, grits. I’d had grits before I met my husband, but only the instant kind. The grits my mother-in-law makes are real, Southern grits. Loaded up with butter, they are lip smacking good. And I ate big spoonfuls.
There was a cookout for lunch. The burgers were fine, but I didn’t even finish mine. It could have been the big breakfast or the big ol’ handful of chips I had. I did, however, have plenty of room for yet another brownie.
Thankfully dinner that night was fairly healthy. It was also the best meal and I know had there been more, I probably would have made a true pig of myself. It was some type of Korean beef, which was grilled. The beef itself wasn’t the truly amazing part. That was the dipping sauce. Coupled with the thin rice noodles and some pickled veggies (not a huge fan of those), the meal was fantastic! The funny thing is that I have the exact recipe in my Cuisine at Home magazine, but never thought for a second of making it. It didn’t look all that appealing, but the taste…amazing!
We topped that off with more ice cream and pound cake. A gut buster of a day.
The next day we left very early with only a bit of cereal and fruit in our bellies. Since we decided to drive straight home, we knew we’d have to stop on the road for lunch. There are no good options for traveling. No decent restaurant places itself anywhere near a highway exit. It’s row after row of fast food joints–Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Burger King as well as the regional favorites, Zaxby’s, Biscuitville and oddly, a Jack in the Box. We stopped at Wendy’s and since I’d already more than blown my diet, I ordered a Frosty.
Five more hours in the car found us in need of gas, a drink and a quick snack. A grab bag of sour cream and onion chips (split with my husband, but I still devoured over half) left my calorie count in shambles, but my tummy quite happy. We arrived home far too tired to cook, so dinner was pizza. At least I had the good sense to get a Veggie DeLite from Papa Murphy’s. Of course, the three slices I had almost negated their lower calorie count.
I may not be able to get much sleep at my in-laws’, but man, do they feed me well! Now it’s back to the diet though!