what i ate wednesday: a great white surprise

Posted on Dec 22, 2011 in Travel

I know I’m a day late with WIAW, but that’s because I have a fun surprise!

Greetings from North of the border! Yup, we’re in Canada for Christmas. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

It’s been so hard to keep our trip under wraps, but we had good reason—we were surprising Babyface’s family! We’ve been saying for months that we can’t afford it, couldn’t get time off and there was no way we were coming up for Christmas. LIES. My amazing sister-in-law Kim was the only one in on the surprise (we had to have someone pick us up from the airport), but everyone else was totally dumbfounded when we showed up in cold, cold Ontario last night. We haven’t seen anyone from Craig’s family since last Christmas, so everyone was really stoked we made the trek up.

Yesterday was an amazingly long travel day thanks to weather delays. We left our apartment at 8am and didn’t get into my brother- and sister-in-law’s house until almost midnight. I thought you guys might be interested to see how we eat for long travel days like this. Between connections, security restrictions and customs declarations (international travel, eh?), it’s a delicate dance. Because I’m cheap fiscally responsible and a control freak  aware of the lack of choices when it comes to airport food, we almost always pack our own meals. Because yesterday was such a long travel day, we had a lot of food to pack. So, here are my eats for yesterday…

Started off with breakfast at home. Oatmeal made with milk, water, banana, chia seeds, cinnamon and vanilla. And topped with some honey, more banana, chocolate hazelnut butter and a squeeze of honey. A clementine and some milk on the side.

On the drive to the airport (we flew out of Chicago, so the drive was over four hours) I downed another banana. I frontloaded the fruits and veggies since I knew we couldn’t take any across the border. Also enjoyed a nonfat caramel brulee lattee from the ‘Bucks. Highly recommended.

Once we got past security and to our gate at Midway, we dug into our packed lunch. Greek pasta salad is a great airport food. Full of good for you stuff, satisfying, easy to get past security. Highly recommend! We usually use glass reusable containers, but I bought some disposable plastic ones just for this trip. Also had an apple with chocolate nut butter and some cheddar bunnies. Which offer barely any nutritional value but are one of our traveling “traditions”. We never have them when we aren’t traveling. A fun junk food-y treat.

Then the delays started happening. After a few hours, I dug into some dried papaya spears and some fresh magazines from the newsstand.

Even with all the weather delays, the airline we flew was awesome. I highly recommend Porter Airlines if you are flying anywhere in Eastern Canada or Northeastern U.S. The people are nice, the fares are cheap and they give you free beer, wine and delicious snacks in flight. Had a beer and some veggie chips courtesy of Porter once we were in the air.

Since we were running late coming from Chicago, we were afraid we were going to miss our connection in Toronto, but “luckily” all the planes coming out of Toronto were running late. We ended up finding two comfy chairs in the Porter lounge for a few hours (swanky, right?) where they give you free newspapers, lattes, water, soft drinks, and snacks. Again, highly recommend Porter. We popped a squat and ate some of our own snacks, but loaded up on their free water.

Once we got off the ground, we dug into our dinners. Bagels with hummus and cheese. Usually I make these kind of sandwiches with tons of fresh veggies, but that can’t come into the country, so plain it was.

And then we came to my brother-in-law’s house and surprised Craig’s two brothers (which was awesome) and then made it to his parents’ this morning. We have lots of fun stuff planned this week. I’ll be keeping BTHR updating all this week with recaps of my 2011 goals, plus a few posts sprinkled in with our Canuckian antics. :)

What’s your worst travel story?

P.S. Imagine that! I posted my tips for eating well in the air over at Anytime Health today. Go check it out!

11 Comments

  1. Welcome to Canada!! What an awesome surprise for Babyface’s family :)

  2. What a nice surprise for his family. Hope you all have a wonderful visit. Merry Christmas!

  3. SURPRISE! I love surprises! When my brother showed up completely unannounced for Thanksgiving this year (after telling me he couldn’t come!) it made for the best surprise! LOVE IT! It was so awesome for him to come, especially because we won’t be able to make it happen for Christmas.

  4. It is so much cheaper to bring snacks for the flight, but I love Tortas Frontera in the Chicago airport! I’m even looking forward to our long layover in Chicago tomorrow so that we can eat there. Have you tried it out before?

    • In September I was on a layover at O’Hare and sought out Tortas–it was amazing! So worth the wait and definitely made the 1.5 hour delay enjoyable. Better than the nasty chicken sandwich I had in Austin, that’s for sure!
      I wish the restaurant branched out to more cities. Yum.

  5. You have so many great ideas for dealing with the horrible-food bazaar that is the airport! (And thanks so much for the recommendation for the airline–anybody who gives out Terra Chips is likely to win me over unless they do something horrible in the interim.) I am trying to get better at eating well while traveling, but it can be super hard, can’t it? Thanks for sharing.

  6. A little secret: when traveling with babies, you’re allowed to bring things across security that you wouldn’t normally be allowed to bring. When we went to California in April, Ty wasn’t even eating solids yet, but we were able to bring fresh fruit. When we went to Florida for our cruise in July, Ty WAS eating solids, but we were able to bring fresh fruit as well. They are more lenient in security if you’ve got kids (you even go through a separate line). It’s kinda awesome!

  7. What an awesome surprise! And I must confess – I always forget Babyface’s real name is Craig! Hope you two have a great Christmas with the family!

    Luckily, no travel horror stories for me. The “worst” I have is having flights to Spokane, WA (where my husband is from) get cancelled. We were headed up there for a “reception” after our wedding (the majority of his family couldn’t make the trip for the actual wedding) & the airline we were flying (US Airways…I refuse to fly them now) said they couldn’t get us into Spokane until AFTER we were supposed to fly back home. Luckily Delta came to the rescue and got us there only about 15 hours late. We had the reception with his family & everything turned out great!

  8. Last year my husband and I flew to Chicago (from Toronto) in the beginning of December. There was a storm where the plane was coming from so that was delayed then in Toronto we had to wait on the runway because of the backlog of planes. We’ve flown with Porter before and LOVE them!! The uniforms are soooo cute….especially the pillbox hats!! Whenever we can we fly out of there!

  9. Cass, I’m shocked! I went to Canada for Christmas too…. When crossing by land, they’re fine with fruits/veggies with a couple restrictions:

    1) It must be an amount reasonable for the people that claim to be eating it. You can’t bring a busshel full or a potted plant and claim it as a snack.

    2) It must be declared. If you say to the border authority “Hey, I’ve got grapes, clementines and cherries” they say “Okay, thanks!”

    It’s also helpful if you have the packaging with the country of origin, just in case they want to get persnickety, but generally I’ve been able to pack healthy snacks back and forth more than a few times.

    • I’ve never had problems when crossing by land either, but by air, they seem to be a bit more restrictive. Going into Canada is less of an issue than coming back into the U.S.

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