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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Winter Vacation Highlights (1)

Just a little over a week ago we left on our winter vacation to the sunny, warm land of No Snow aka Florida. The first night we stayed at a nice little motel because we arrived in the Lakeland area just after 4 am. The following day we were arrived at Cypress Lakes, an exclusive and private golf & country club where we stayed for the remainder of our vacation. Once back in the land of Snow we stayed briefly at a motel near the airport where we had parked our car for the trip. Originally we were not going to stay but after a six hour flight delay we needed a bit of sleep before setting out on the final drive home.

Over the next few days I'm going to post a bit about the kitchens and food we ate while on vacation. Originally I had planned to do a bit of cooking while away. This time it did not work out that way but when you see the kitchens it is easy to see how easy it is to cook while away from home simply by choosing the right accommodations. Any time you can make your own while on vacation you are going to save money. It is an ideal way to keep your food costs down especially with respect to breakfast and lunch. Snacking costs can also be kept low. However, you do have to remember this is a vacation so budget accordingly in case you decide once there that cooking may not fit into your vacation plans. Be flexible and if you choose to cook this is the time to take advantage of a few prepared items from the outer perimeter of the store as well as deli offerings.

Motel Kitchen

We arrived at the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel in the wee hours of the morning, more precisely just after 4 am. It had been a long drive from Fort Lauderdale so all we really wanted to do was crash especially since we had to be at Cypress Lakes before 11 am. That meant no cooking or even making coffee. I wanted to point out a few things about this type of a motel.

The kitchen is small and compact but more than adequate. Pots, pans, dishes, 2 burner stove, microwave, coffee maker and fridge are available. Essentially you are getting a miniature but very functional kitchen. What isn't included is coffee or sugar/creamers as is expected with any motel that has a coffee maker. These can be bought in the reception area for a nominal fee in some cases but don't count on it. If you are staying at one of these types of motels, bring your own! Other than that you should be able to cook a wide range of basic foods in this type of unit.

Twistee Treat

I love novel looking food buildings so just had to snap this picture of the Twistee Treat in Lakeland. Can you tell I was half asleep from the blurring? This cute little building just beaconed visiting and although we passed it a few times, we never did stop.

Back when I was knee high to a grasshopper we used to have a Tastee Treat that served the same type of frozen custard treats. I can remember hanging on tightly to that quarter all the way there to get one of their cones on a hot summer afternoon. It was always rich, creamy and cooling. Later we introduced our kids to these treats but the kids are now grown. I seldom indulge in frozen custard these days not so much as I can't but more so due to what little sweet tooth I had becoming less tolerant to sweets. Still it was fun to see this great building design and reminisce a little.

Grouper Sandwich

We arrived at Cypress Lakes and checked into the guest house (more on this here over the next couple of weeks). After settling in we headed down to the Big Cypress Grill in the club house for lunch. Honestly, you really cannot go wrong with the food here! That is being said in hindsight and after enjoying several of their offerings. The average price is about $8 per meal and they have a happy hour with 2 for 1 drinks. There is no breakfast and the kitchen does close early certain days.

My husband had the grouper sandwich. Grouper is very similar to in texture and flavour as bass and is even referred to as sea bass. It is a mild, meaty, flaky and moist fish. The grouper was lightly battered then deep fried. It was served on a bun with mayonnaise, lettuce and tomatoes. Sides were French fries and a dill pickle spear. This meal would be extremely easy and inexpensive to duplicate at home!

Chicken Caesar Wraps

I had the chicken Caesar wraps. They were made using a lightly seasoned tomato, basil tortilla shell with grilled chicken breast and romaine lettuce with a bit of Caesar dressing. The Caesar dressing was not the creamy version but it was quite good. I opted for coleslaw as a side. The meal also came with a dill pickle spear. Again this is a very easy to duplicate meal at home. My favourite recipe for creamy coleslaw can be found here and some of my basics for wraps can be found here.

Anyone who has followed this blog knows that wraps are one of my favourite quick meals especially during the warm weather. So you just can't go wrong by adding a bit of salad dressing to the lettuce. It adds a punch of flavour with very little effort. Caesar salad dressing is a perfect match for chicken but don't stop there. When eating out wraps are always a good choice!


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