Search the Site Navigation

My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Vacation Cooking – Tips and Tricks

As some of you know from reading my Facebook page, we just returned from a week long beach vacation.  Oh, was it fun.  Sun, sand, bike rides, reading, and more fruity tropical drinks than I can count.  My family has been vacationing on Kiawah Island since I was a kid, and it is without a doubt my favorite place in the world.  We have so many great memories there and every year we make more.  It is such a blessing that we are all able to carve time out of our busy schedules and enjoy a week of fun and relaxation together.  Though vacation is a great time to enjoy eating out and trying new restaurants, feeding 10 very hungry adults plus one kid in a restaurant for every meal would break the bank.  Ben and I did enjoy two date nights out, but the other nights I cooked for the whole group.  While I was busy in the kitchen, I started thinking that a post about my approach to vacation cooking might be of use to some readers, so here you go.

Plan, plan, plan – I approach vacation menu planning just as I do my normal weekly menu planning.  Going in with a game plan saves you valuable time.  Instead of wandering grocery store aisles trying to throw together a meal, you already know what you need and what you’re going to do with it, so you can focus your mental efforts on more important things like reading by the pool (yes!) or staying up late doing jigsaw puzzles (yes!  I’m a dork, and I love puzzles.)

Meal choice – When choosing the meals I make on vacation, I try to make sure they meet a few criteria.  First, they need to be relatively simple, both in time and effort required and the dishes/utensils/equipment you might need.  Second, they should be things that everyone will enjoy.  As much as I love experimenting with new flavors and techniques, I don’t think vacation with nine others is the time to do it.  I rely on tried and true crowd-pleasers.  Also be sure to consider any dietary restrictions or preferences of your family and friends.  Third, since we have such a large crowd, I make sure to choose recipes that can be easily doubled without too much additional work.  I should also note that if it were allowed, I would probably have planned meals on the grill every single night but unfortunately grills are prohibited where we stayed.

Enjoy the local offerings – Another thing to consider when planning your menu is what produce and other ingredients are local specialties in the area you are visiting.  Going to the coast means I’m definitely planning at least a few meals involving the fresh local seafood.  (If I were visiting Maine, you can bet I’d be making lobster every night.)  If you can, find farm stands with local produce.  Not only is it cheaper than the grocery store, it tastes much better!

Bring pantry staples - Don’t waste money buying spices and other staples in the often overpriced area grocery stores.  Instead, read through the recipes you plan to make and bring the necessary spices, etc.  I took all the spices called for in my recipes as well as a few others I cook with most frequently.  I also brought garlic, flour, sugar, baking powder, and chocolate bars from my pantry.

Bring a few of your favorite (small) tools - In my experience, you can make do in a rental kitchen as long as you prepare meals that don’t require special tools.  That said, the equipment provided is usually not great.  (They don’t want you to be tempted to take it home, right?)  The knives in particular are usually the thing I find most frustrating but I live with it since I don’t love the idea of traveling with knives.  However, a few tools that I wish I had taken and will take in the future are a garlic press, an extra spatula (if you plan on baking), and a pair of scissors.  As tempting as it might be to take along a food processor or stand mixer (I seriously considered both), those seem too involved for a casual beach vacation.  As a bonus,  I appreciated my beloved appliances even more after I returned home :)

Stay flexible and be prepared to improvise – Wait, didn’t I just say planning is great?  Yes, I do still think planning is the first step to a stress free vacation cooking experience, but it’s pretty much guaranteed that not everything will go according to plan.  The rental kitchen may not have equipment you counted on, the grocery store may have a limited selection of ingredients, you may have already sent your brother to the store twice today and can’t possibly ask him to go again, etc. etc.  Just roll with the punches and don’t worry too much.  Remember, you’re on vacation!

Share the load - I am perfectly content to spend an hour or two each day making dinner for everyone.  I can’t stand the heat and the sun that long anyway.  But, if you have other talented cooks in the family you can have everyone split up the work so that different people are responsible for the meals each night.  Even if you do decide to tackle the majority of the cooking yourself, don’t be afraid to delegate some small tasks to make things easier.  People are usually more than happy to shuck corn, wash or chop veggies, etc. and you can have fun in the kitchen while you work together.

Our menu from this vacation was as follows:
Pasta with shrimp and oven dried tomatoes (recipe to come), salad
Pork tenderloin with peach salsa (recipe to come), corn on the cob, garlic rice pilaf
Shrimp enchiladas, black beans, chips, salsa and bean dip
Classic mac and cheese, salad and corn on the cob
(I also planned one night with chicken parmesan, pasta, and a green veggie but we ended up arriving too late to cook on our first night due to traffic, so this one got nixed.)

Here are a few snapshots from our vacation.  We all had a great time, the kids in particular.

As I mentioned, Ben and I had two nights out for dinner.  One was at The Atlantic Room on Kiawah.  The other was at Magnolias in Charleston, SC.  I generally don’t take pictures in restaurants because I find it rude, so I don’t have any shots of my meals, but both were phenomenal and deserve mention here.

I can’t say enough good things about The Atlantic Room. Ben and I always make it a point to dine there when we are on Kiawah. This time I had grilled wahoo with eggplant puree and tomato jam.  Ben and I split a side of truffle mac and cheese – ooooohhhh my goodness, loved it.  We also split a sticky toffee pudding for dessert.  The whole meal was wonderful, and you can’t beat that view!

After a little bit of shopping on King Street, we headed to Magnolias for dinner.  I wish we had had more time to try all of the amazing restaurants in Charleston but we only had the time for one.  After a lot of research and reading, this was what I decided on and I have to say we were very pleased with the decision.  At Magnolias we tried the pimiento cheese and fried green tomato appetizers.  Both were great but the tomatoes were definitely my favorite.  My brother and I both had the shellfish over grits for dinner and it was one of the best meals I have ever eaten.  Ben, my other brother, and his girlfriend all had the buttermilk fried chicken with collard greens, creamed corn and biscuits with gravy.   For dessert we had the peach blackberry crisp.  I enjoyed it all so much that I ended up buying the cookbook before we left, and I am very excited to try making some of these Southern dishes in my own kitchen.

I hope this post on vacation cooking is helpful to those of you planning trips this year, and in the future!

  • http://thefrugalgirl.com Kristen@TheFrugalGirl

    Oh, your family is just too darn cute!

    And I lurve your daughter’s thighs….totally awesome.

  • http://bakingbad.wordpress.com Hilary

    Thank you so much for the advice!! We just got a rental in Hilton Head for September and I was wondering the same things! Appreciate your blog so much!!

  • http://www.onepreppycookie.blogspot.com Amy

    Ahhhh I LOVE Kiawah!!! I have been going there since I was a kid too. We just ate at Magnolia’s in June and I agree with you on the fried green tomoatoes. YUM! I so relate to this post…I really enjoy cooking for my family on vacation. Glad you had a great time!

  • http://www.asankhana.com Notyet100

    Ur daughter is so cute, thnks for this post

  • Jmartinelli13

    What a beautiful family :) Thank you so much for the tips, we leave Sunday for a week in a rental. Perfect timing!

  • http://cupcakesvstheworld.blogspot.com ayesha

    annie:) ur kids are adorable:) i saw a video of ben on bobbi and mikes website and he is just so cute:) i cant hardly handle college and i have absolutly no idea how u manage to juggle everything :) ur a big inspiration,i just wanted to say thank you . :)

  • lindsay

    i love your blog and more importantly, i love your daughter’s legs… in this particular entry, her bathing suit and matching bathing cap! would you be willing to divulge where you picked up such a find?

  • http://theobsessivechef.blogspot.com StephenC

    You are awesome. I’d like to join your family just so I could have summer vacation with you. (I could even help cook.)

  • http://www.healthyfoodforliving.com Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living

    Sounds like you guys enjoyed a wonderful vacation! This post couldn’t have come at a better time, as I’m heading to Cape Cod for a family vacation in a week. I agree that it can be tough to plan what appliances/kitchen tools to bring to a new rental, so I’ll most likely end up overpacking ;).

    I can’t believe grilling is prohibited where you stayed! That’s such a shame. Grilling is synonymous with summer cooking to me, and since we don’t have a nice big one at our apartment (we just have a little hibachi), I’m hoping to use the grill at our vacation rental at least a few times throughout the week.

    Your tips were definitely helpful, and I’m looking forward to using them while on vacation!

  • http://www.lollyssweettreats.com Laurel @ Lolly’s Sweet Treats

    Thanks for the tips, Annie. This was very helpful. My husband and I are going to Clearwater Beach at the end of the summer with another couple and we will be cooking a few meals on our own.

    Side note: I adore Caroline’s red swimsuit and matching cap, where did you get it?!

  • http://studiobree.com Bree

    Oh my goodness, Annie! Your daughter’s little red bathing suit and hat are ADORABLE!!! Wherever did you find those???

  • http://bowlofcreativity.blogspot.com Jamie

    It looks like you and your family had a wonderful vacation at the beach! Your kids are adorable and I just love your daughter’s red swim suit! Where did you find it?

  • Lori

    Annie,
    Thanks for the post. I am so glad you had fun in SC. I have never been but we are planning a trip to the NC or SC in the fall to see if we might like to retire there. By the way, I love doing jigsaw puzzles too! To get my fix, I sometimes go to Jigzone.com. Puzzles without the mess!

  • http://www.jennalaughs.com jenna laughs

    OH MY GOODNESS. That picture of your baby in the red bathing suit. I can’t. So cute!!! Looks like you had a fun vacation :)

  • Suzannah

    I love your tips and tricks, but my favorite part about this post is that red bathing suit and cap. Add in some thigh rolls…cutest picture ever. :)

  • Liz

    Awesome post and your babies are just precious. Thank you!

  • Angela Avery

    This sounds so wonderful! Thanks, great post.

  • http://lifeandkitchen.com life and kitchen

    How fun! Your family is lucky to have you cooking every dinner! What did you do for breakfast and lunch? Were those homemade, too?

  • http://thespicegarden.blogspot.com Susan

    Great advice! I sometimes go so far as to make a dry mix of pancake batter and pop it in large zip-locks so that all I have to do is add the milk and egg. Breakfasts are a snap and I can concentrate on that first cup of coffee … also baked ahead of time – muffins and breads for breakfast and sandwiches.

    PS – The shot of your little girl in her rosy swimsuit is just the cutest!

  • http://www.singerskitchen.com Noelle

    Wonderful planning! This is my dream to do when we are with family. Sometimes it is harder with one side than the other because they like to eat out ALL the time and for all meals. Yikes on expense. I love all your ideas and have done some of them. Your little one is precious! I love that swimsuit. I am having a girl in October. :D

  • Chris

    We grew up going to Kiawah as well and I LOVE it there! Have only had a chance as an adult to be back once… : ( Thanks for the great planning tips, we leave for Maine next week and we are all splitting nights. Now I can get planning!

  • http://lifewiththelushers.com kathleen @ the lushers

    I LOVE visiting Charleston! Glad y’all had a great time.

    I haven’t been to Magnolia’s in a few years, but the last time down there, for my bachelorette, we went to their sister restaurant, Blossom, & it was fantastic!

  • Paula B.

    You have me pining for a vacation on the South Carolina coast- Kiawah is one of my husband’s favorite golf destinations. So glad you had that relaxing time with your family and the dinners sound great. Throughout my growing up years as well as much of my young adult life we always returned to the same summer vacation spot, I think this makes special family memories that last a lifetime! Here’s to summer plans and the food that plays such a large part in our enjoyment of them!

  • http://thewaytohisheart.wordpress.com Maeghan

    I love Magnolia’s! I haven’t been back home in almost 6 years and am finally taking Caroline to meet everyone this September. Living in Maine now, I definitely get a lot of lobster, but I miss fried green tomatoes, fried oysters, and sweet tea :) Glad you had fun. I agree, vacations are for reading in hammocks and casual food.

  • http://theculinaryenthusiast.net Karla

    Thanks, Annie, for sharing how you do your vacation meals! I do many of the same things, so it is reassuring after reading your post that I am on the right track. Sometimes we split up the cooking between the 3 of us women, but that inevitably leads to some drama on the part of 1/3 of us….this year, we are going to use the grill a lot! :)

    So glad you had a great time on your trip! Trips are so sweet when you get to see your little ones enjoying themselves and being part of the new memory-making!

  • Julienne

    Wow can’t believe Magnolia’s is still there I loved that restaurant too my husband had a memorable double porkchop cooked to perfection and we’ve never seen it in a menu since! Also, if no garlic press available, in a pinch I usually smash it with a broad knife laid flat over it; seems easier for me anyway. Looking forward to the recipes!

  • http://theresourcefulcraftymoma.blogspot.com Tiffany Pressley

    Awesome post! I am from Summerville which is about 30 minutes from Charleston. I moved away when I got married 6 years ago but visit there often and love it! I miss it during the summer……we all love the beach!
    I saw your post about being down there last week and I was actually down there too! Glad you had a great time.

  • Mishelle

    This makes me need a vacation! Love, love, love the kid photos…and that red swimsuit on your daughter is to die for!! What great memories you have made on your vacation!!

  • http://www.eibanthere.blogspot.com Ashley Eiban

    Oh your vacation looks like so much fun! Wish we could have gone on one this summer!

    I have to ask… where is that adorable bathing suit and hat from? I must have it for my soon to be born daughter! :D

  • Breanne

    I love Magnolias!!! I do hope some of those recipes will be making it on to your blog.

  • http://sherrilynnpuz.blogspot.com/ sherri lynn

    These are awesome tips! I also dislike the knives and other kitchen equipment in rentals. This year we also made some things ahead of time and froze them to bring: muffins for breakfast, any casseroles that froze well, meat for fajitas and tacos, etc.

  • Shauna

    That red swimsuit!!! OMG!!!

  • http://cookingwithchrissy.wordpress.com Chrissy

    What a great post! We’re hoping to do a large extended family vacation next summer, so this will be helpful. Your kiddos are so cute! :)

  • Annie

    It’s from Janie and Jack. I’m not sure if it’s still available though, I bought it back in the spring before she was born and last couple times I was in the store I didn’t see any more of that line.

  • Annie

    On a beach vacation with such a large group, everyone is doing different things all day. Some get up early to ride bikes or swim, some sleep in, etc. During the day we’re all in different places. So everyone is sort of on their own depending on the day.

  • Annie

    I know, it stinks but I totally understand why they prohibit it. That’s a huge liability in rental properties.

  • Annie

    They are from Janie and Jack :)

  • http://www.eibanthere.blogspot.com Ashley Eiban

    Thanks! I’m going to go look online right now! So adorable! I love the little baby legs! :D

  • http://alibquarterlifecrisis.blogspot.com/ Ali B

    When we went to Hilton Head we picked up a tub of Palmetto (pimento) cheese on a whim and ended up going through at least 4 tubs throughout the week we were on vacation! What was the name of the cookbook you bought? I’m dying to find a good, Southern cookbook.

  • http://www.danielledeskins.blogspot.com Danielle

    I found myself shaking my head in agreement as I read your post. People (including my husband) think I’m crazy that I take staple items from my pantry with me on vacation. It’s how I grew up and therefore, it’s all I know. We try to cook breakfast and lunch at the rental house and then splurge for dinner out. I’m not one who likes the same thing every day for lunch, so we try to make quick and easy lunches to tide us over until dinner.

    I LOVE Charleston too and my husband and I dream of living there someday. Magnolia’s is one of our all-time favorite spots. You just happened to get both of our favorite dishes – the shrimp and grits and the fried chicken. We opted to try some new places this year and thankfully, we weren’t disappointed. You might want to add Husk or McCrady’s to your list for next summer!

  • Annie

    I think it was just called Magnolias.

  • Heather E

    Ah!!! I love Kiawah Island and Magnolia’s! Thanks for the tips!

  • http://katiebirdflies.blogspot.com Kate Thompson

    Great Ideas to follow!

  • http://michellesidles.com Michelle S.

    I’ll admit to traveling with my own knife. There is nothing that makes me more crazy that a dull knife from 1946 in a rental house. I’ve also brought my own Olive Oil, spices and skillet. Since we drive to the beach house we had room for a crate. I created a kitchen crate and had a great time feeding my family at the beach. :) Good tips.

  • http://michellesidles.com Michelle S.

    One other tip. We vacation at the Oregon Coast where rain is as common as sun. So the first morning we were there it rained. We jumped at the opportunity to pre-make a bunch of food for the week while we waited for the skies to clear. That way when the sun came out we were under no pressure to cook. :)

  • http://jchokie.blogspot.com Jenn

    I love Kiawah! We were just there in June (3rd year in a row) it’s such a beautiful island. We did the bike rides from the island to Freshfields and had lunch there. So much fun. We dined at the Atlantic room a couple of years ago too. Great food & view!

  • Sara

    Hi Annie! Great post! My husband and I are actually going to Kiawah Island in October for the first time. Do you have any favorite places there? We are both huge foodies and would love suggestions on local favorites. Thanks!

  • Lisa

    Oh, my! The little red bathing suit/cap has to be the CUTEST thing in the world (other than the baby!)…

  • Melanie

    I love this post! Great idea! Also, you look wonderful and both of the children are adorable. My second little girl was born March 25 of this year, and I had forgotten how cute this stage is. Glad you enjoyed vacation!

  • http://kelseysappleaday.blogspot.com Kelsey

    Love the pictures and LOVE Newton Farms. We go there a for groceries. We also love to stop at Rosebank Farmers’ Market on the main road for some of our produce. They have the BEST peaches and watermelon. This year they had incredible figs, as well.

  • http://www.bananasforbourbon.blogspot.com Julie (Bananas for Bourbon)

    Wow, timely post. I’m renting a house with my parents, sister, and nephew in a few weeks, and my mom has requested I cook at least one meal for the family. Ha! I didn’t even think about a knife, I’m still wondering about pots and pans. Great call with the spices. That’ll be a fun game. “Never leave home without ____?” I’m thinking cumin, coriander, paprika, and cayenne?

    I’ve actually traveled with my kichenaid mixer before. But I was baking a cake!

    I think I’ll also bring some pre-home-made granola for breakfasts.

  • http://foodeichickie.com Ani

    Is the red dress also from Janie and Jack?

  • http://thenailaholic.blogspot.com thenailaholic

    Your family is so beautiful… You are so lucky!

  • http://livefaithfully.blogspot.com Urban Wife

    Annie, thank you SO much for this post! Your children are gorgeous. Isn’t vacation the greatest?! p.s. Your family is lucky to have such splendid meals planned out for them…can I come on your next vacay? :) Kidding (sort of!).

  • Annie

    Yep! :)

  • Annie

    Hi Sara,
    Other than what I mentioned here, we don’t have specific favorites. The island is small and almost everything is part of the resort. We eat at the rental home most nights (hence the post) and always do one night at the Atlantic Room and try to do another in Charleston. Have fun!

  • Marissa

    Love Kiawah Island I have been there several times. It is so beautiful and peaceful. We always keep it simple with the meals too. Good stuff.

  • http://jchokie.blogspot.com Jenn

    totally butting in here… I highly recommend the Fat Hen on John’s Island, it’s fabulous. They have a website that you can look up their menu, it’s French with a southern twist is how I would describe it. Also Husk, in downtown Charleston is all the rave right now. And the oyster cookout on Monday nights at Mingo Point on the island is also very good. check out my blog, a few posts back I did a whole day by day review of our vacation there! Have fun!

  • http://blog.isabellefanchiu.com izzy

    beautiful photos!! i especially love the red swimsuit for the little one. LOVE IT! what a gorgeous family. :)

  • Lindsey Spoonmore

    Annie, small world–my husband and I were on vacation in Charleston last week! We drove down to Kiawah for a day, it’s beautiful! Magnolia’s was one of the restaurants we were thinking of eating at, but we ended up going somewhere else that night. We ate at Hank’s Seafood which was amazing, Poogan’s Porch was also great, and the Peninsula Grill which was awesome! We will have to try Magnolia’s next time :)

  • http://cookingbride.wordpress.com Lisa @ The Cooking Bride

    OhMyGosh, I love the little red swimsuit and swim cap. That is TOOOO precious!!!

  • http://caseyincalifornia.com/ Casey

    This is great helpful info, Annie! And it makes me want to go on vacation. :)

  • Jen M O

    Thanks for sharing your vacation. What great photos! When you come to Maine, we even have lobster rolls at McDonalds. The blueberries here are the best and I even add them to my salads.Also, a great idea when you have a party is to put out a started but unfinished puzzle. It is fun to watch how many people will walk over and place a piece or two even teenagers love it.

  • http://kristenpraz.blogspot.com Kristen

    Cute pics! Sounds like a blast. But I have to ask, taking pics in restaurants is rude? Uh-oh, have I been committing some sort of etiquette faux pas? I mean, I’m not snapping pics every time I’m out to eat, but once in a while if the plate is super pretty… that’s not cool? Ahh!

  • Annie

    People have mixed feelings but in general, I think it is a bit of a faux pas. This article is spot on, I think.

  • Melissa

    I LOVE Kiawah…and Charleston…and Magnolia’s. We have a dear friend who lives on Kiawah full time (lucky guy!) and we love to visit. Thanks for the tips…and thanks for all your yummy recipes. I made the black bean burgers tonight and loved them. Also–red bathing suit–cutest ever!! I bought that one for my daughther this year…couldn’t resist it!!

  • Annie

    Yes, I do know how to chop garlic and that is what I normally do in my own kitchen. But with the horrible rental knives, a garlic press would have been very convenient.

  • http://aglassofmilk.wordpress.com jennie

    i am so with you on packing your spices. confession…i did bring my mixer one summer, but we go away for two weeks at a time, so maybe that made it more worthwhile? can’t wait to see the pork recipe, it sounds so unique! thanks annie!

  • AMP

    Oh, Kiawah! My family has also been vacationing there since I was a child, and now we still all vacation there once a year. It is just the most amazing and serene place. My husband and I also always steal away for a date night in Charleston. We pretend we’re going to try new places, but typically end up at Poogan’s Porch or Magnolias, our favorites. Just thinking about bike riding, crabbing and going on searches for sea turtles makes me smile. How I love it there.

  • Sarah

    Are random people starting to recognize you from your blog?

  • Annie

    Yes, they are! It’s pretty funny.

  • Terri A.

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Kiawah Island. Have been there a few times with my sisters for a girls week. We always go to Magnolias for dinner one of the nights. One of my favorite areas of the world.

  • Shanna Cook

    Girl, I’m lovin’ your blog already and have only read two posts. Found you via Pinterest. My family’s favorite vacation spot isn’t very far from yours [Edisto Island…South Carolina’s best kept vacation secret!]. I plan to go back and read through your blog at my leisure, and it will be a pleasure.

    Terrific photo work, too!!!

  • Anne

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane…my husband and I took our honeymoon in Charleston (almost 12 years ago!) specifically because of the high concentration of good restaurants in a walkable area. Magnolia’s was one of our favorite as well as Anson’s. Thanks for another great post!

  • Lindsay

    OMG, Caroline in her red swimsuit with the matching hat has to be one of the cutest things I have ever seen!

  • http://maryanna-bishop.blogspot.com Maryanna

    I love the pictures! We also love going to Kiawah. I have a cousin that lets us stay in her vacation home there, and we have a blast cooking in her kitchen and riding the rental bikes around the neighborhoods. This post brings back great memories.

  • http://www.hurricanekitchen.blogspot.com Natalie

    These tips are great. My husband & I are going to Maui next week, and I’ve been thinking about what we could prepare. We will have a kitchenette. I hear that the grocery stores are very expensive. Well, everything is expensive there!

    Here is my post for the menu plan for our family reunion vacation: http://www.foodlushblog.com/2011/07/feeding-the-masses-at-a-family-reunion.html

  • Judy

    Annie – We have been going to Kiawah for about 12 years over our spring break. More family keeps joining us and we keep renting bigger places.
    I’m so glad “y’all” had a great trip!
    And thanks for the restaurant tips as well.
    We did go to the common grill by the Nature Center this year and grill out one night. I just happened to stumble on it while out walking one day.
    Thanks, Annie.
    judy

  • Danielle

    Oh my word, your children are beautiful!! Loooove Caroline’s little red swimsuit!!!

  • Annie

    We went to that pool pretty much every day, and ate lunch there daily as well. We really love their frozen tropical drinks. You’ll have to try the “nutty monkey”! We couldn’t get enough of them.

  • Andrea

    I always plan meals for our vacation. When we do a driving vacation I make or almost make all our meals–just want to have about 15 minutes in the kitchen. (I put spices, etc in ziplocs, cook rice and freeze it, etc.) I also try to buy all my food before we leave so we have it all. I also take some good knives to cook with.

    We also go to Canada every year to visit my mother-in-law who is 90. All her spices are very very old and although she used to be a fabulous cook now all her dishes have no taste. So I plan for the two weeks we are there. I take spices I know I need–although I do buy all the food in Canada.

    Now if I could just do meal planning at home. :)

  • maria

    love your blog

  • jennie

    Oh my goodness…is that little red bathing suit and cap so dang cute!! I have a little baby born a month after yours, and I’m thinking I’ve gotta find her a bathing suit!

  • http://meganscookin.com Megan’s Cookin’

    Great tips and hints. We go camping in a camp trailer and I have produces some pretty extravagant meals and I make sure I have every ingredient in the recipe before I leave town. Definitely plan!!

    But…even though you had great tips, I’m afraid to tell you that your daughter really stole the show here. She is absolutely adorable in that swim suit and hat. Luv it!

  • http://wannabeinspired.com Courtney

    I love Kiawah! I’ve only been once. Do you have a particular place you stay each year? We have wanted to go back, but I’m not sure of a good rental agency to use for Kiawah.

  • Annie

    We just go through the island since the resort coordinates pretty much all of their rentals as I understand it. Unfortunately I don’t think you can do it online, but if you just call they will help you set it up. My dad is always the one who makes the reservations so I don’t know, but he said just call and they’ll take care of everything.

  • Julie

    We spend our vacation week at Kiawah every year as well. If you’ve never tried Rosebank Farms Cafe, you need to give it a try. There menu is based off the seasonal produce and is amazing. I don’t know how they make lima beans taste like fine dining, but they manage to pull it off. Red’s Ice House is also a fun place to go; they have incredible key lime pie! Both of these restaurants are located at Bohicket Marina, so we ride our bikes to and from…fun times!

  • http://kateiscooking.blogspot.com kateiscooking

    Your kids are adorable!!! I read a hint a couple of months ago that is perfect for vacation – buy one of those weekly pill containers and put enough of your herbs/spices in there to take on vacation. I wish I’d read that before I bought a set of herbs and spices to keep at my sister-in-law’s house on Cape Cod… They’d be a lot fresher!

  • http://mayalaurentphotography.squarespace.com/ Maya Laurent

    What a great post! We travel to the lake all the time in the summer and just this summer I started planning ahead for meals like this. Good idea to bring some of your favorite tools!!! I’m tempted to pack my Kitchenaid sometimes. Ha!

  • Annie

    Great tip! I’ll have to remember that next time.

  • Laura

    Wow! As someone who was born and raised in Charleston (and worked for a time at Kiawah Resort), it always amazes me that people from all over come to visit! Love your blog…you must be supermom though because I don’t know how you do it all (and so perfectly) as a working mother of two small children! I’m in the process of planning my son’s 1st birthday and your parties are inspiring :-)

  • LOlson

    Where did you get Caroline’s red bathing suit and hat set..it is just too cute… I just had a little girl myself. Her name is Cara Mia and I would love to get some Ideas for her. Thanks for doing what you do Annie!

  • annieseats

    They were from Janie and Jack (Summer 2011). They have the cutest girl suits ever!

  • Daniel Smith

    I really liked your pictures..Kids are looking so cute..Thanks for these lovely tips and tricks.