RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG
Pack your bags, it’s time for the best end-of-season vacation you have ever had and you don’t have to leave home to take it! Vacations don’t have to end just because a season ends, take a relaxing and enjoyable vacation at-home or in your hometown anytime you want.
A true staycation is more than just a week or weekend at home; it is a planned intentional time of events for relaxation and fun for your entire family.
Here are a few planning tips for a successful Staycation:
1. Brief-your-case for having a vacation at home by including your family with the planning process. See Step 4.
2. Decide what kind of vacation you want to take. Gather brochures just like you would when you plan a travel destination.
3. Create a budget for activities and food. Plan your menu for the week and make-ahead a few meals related to your themed vacation. No one really wants to cook while on vacation, unless it is a culinary destination.
4. Inspire the family with the staycation idea and plan a “staycation idea” dinner party/meeting. Good food always brings people together and a pretty tablescape will reinforce the excitement that a home vacation could be fun.
5. Clean your house before you begin your staycation. Get caught up on laundry, dishes, and the everyday duties that can be stressful. Place special scents and music in your home that reflect the type of vacation you are taking. Select special guest room items in each bedroom to mimic a bed and breakfast vacation. Set up and stock a beverage center with your family’s favorite snacks or snacks that you would have on a travel destination. Set up a continental breakfast buffet for each day of your vacation.
6. Unplug for a day! Develop a plan that the entire family will unplug all technical devices including cell phones, computers, pads, and even watches during this vacation week. Make it a game and give a prize at the end of the week to the family member who stayed true to the technical shut down. Select a prize that excites everyone and announce the no –tech challenge at the beginning of the vacation week or during your family planning meeting.
7. Maybe your staycation is an outdoor adventure, plan for day trips to zip lines, white water rafting or hiking the mountain trails. Other ideas for a staycation include: Spa day or week, a culinary international tour , Hawaiian or Caribbean cruise with different ports of call or create a DIY room, you get the idea.
Here is one Staycation Dinner Party-meeting inspiration to get you started:
Your planning meeting could be a trip to a tropical beach. Begin with a suitcase as the centerpiece. A backyard profusion of blooms-hydrangeas, pink geraniums and verbena- overflows the open suitcase centerpiece. Simply line the vintage suitcase with plastic then add a water- filled rectangular dish to hold the fresh cut flowers and potted plants in place. Plank the sides of the suitcase with tropical photos or scrapbooks.
Bright and bold colorful placemats serve as a runner for the center of the table. At each place setting create mini suitcase favors that are made from cardstock. Cover the suitcase with cute stickers and fill boxes with candies or surprises for each family member. See mini suitcase how to at www.lizbushong.com.
A quick and easy healthy menu includes make-a-head black bean burgers, sweet potato fries and a peachy apricot parfait for dessert. Your family will be surprised and excited about taking a home vacation. Remember, planning is key, we don’t want this satiation to be all on mom and dad’s shoulders, this is a family affair. Make this staycation fun and a time for reconnecting with the family.
Peach-Apricot Cream Parfait www.lizbushong.com
1 -12 oz. ounce can apricot nectar
1-3oz. package lemon flavored gelatin
2 -16 oz cans unsweetened apricot halves and peach halves, drained
1-8oz package sour cream
Whipped cream and mint springs to garnish if desired
In small saucepan, bring to boil 1 cup apricot nectar. Remove from heat.
Add lemon gelatin, stir until dissolved, stir in remaining cold apricot nectar. Set aside.
Place peaches and apricots in electric blender, process until smooth. Divide mixture.
Add sour cream to one part of divided fruit mixture. Process to blend.
Pipe or pour fruit mixture into decorative parfait or serving dishes. Garnish with whipped cream/mint sprig.
Yield: 8 parfaits
Spicy Black Bean Burgers www.lizbushong.com
2 cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup slivered green onions
¼ cup diced celery
¼ teaspoon grated ginger
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon each paprika, red pepper, cumin, oregano, parsley, dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon grated lime peel
2 teaspoons lime olive oil
Olive oil and butter for cooking
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pat mixture into a 4 x 6 inch rectangle and score into 3- 2-inch sections making 6 burgers. Shape into 6 patties.
Heat skillet with 1- teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon butter. Fry burgers until browned 3 minutes on each side. Can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight before cooking.
Yield: 6- 2” burgers
For a seasoned potato buns recipe, visit www.lizbushong.com!
Helping you Make a Statement, Make is Sassy and Make it Yours! ®
See staycation ideas http://www.livingwellspendingless.com
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tri-cities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com