Frugal Foodie: How Planning for Dining-Out and Dining-In on a Weeklong Vacation Paid Off

Cape Cod has got delicious locally caught and grown food. Here’s a magnet on the refridgerator at the cottage where we stayed.

I just want to share how I prepped food for our weeklong vacation on the Outer Cape last week. We saved up all year long to be able to rent a cottage ($900, with a full kitchen) and go out for yummy, locally caught seafood dinners almost every night. That meant planning a week’s worth of breakfast which we would have at the cottage, lunches and snacks transported in a soft cooler for the beach, not to mention a meal and snack in the car for the trip up and back.  No problem!

All the cold foods fit into our large Coleman cooler on wheels.  All the dry foods fit into three large reusable totebags.  I also brought my coffee grinder, filters and coffee beans (from BJs, stored in a reusable container).

Friday night before we left, I made our favorite pizza recipe.  This gave us enough for lunch in the car the next day on our way to the Cape.

Lunch Planning:

Bean and Cheese burritos – Ahead of time, I made my favorite pico de gallo recipe, using sungold tomatoes from our garden and pressure cooked dried pinto and black beans from my food co-op.  I brought four frozen packages of Alvarado Street Bakery tortillas, also a co-op staple.  I brought bars of hormone-free cheddar and mozzarella cheese from Trader Joe’s (TJs) and Whole Food Market’s 365 hormone-free sour cream.  This ended up being lunch one day and dinner the next day, right before we went to catch a movie at the Wellfleet Drive-In.

Pasta and sauce –  A gallon bag of dry Vegetable Farfalle Noodles and a can of crushed tomatoes from my co-op, a tub of hormone-free parmesan cheese and half of a bag of mozzarella cheese from TJs.  This was great for lunch two days at the beach.  We ate our pasta out of big plastic cups.

Deli roll-ups –  Hormone-free slow-cooked ham, roasted turkey (from BJs), onion, tomato, mayo, swiss and cheddar cheese.  This provided us with lunch for two days on the beach.

Hot dogs – Nitrate-free hot dogs (comes in two packages of 8 in each from BJs) and two packages of Whole Foods Market (WFM) brand organic wheat hot dog buns.  (I forgot to bring the ketchup.  It was so expensive to have to buy this there.  Oh well.)  This was dinner that last night we were there and lunch in the car on the way home.

Kleen Kanteen reusable water bottles made for cold water for the beach every day. No need for plastic bottled water!

Breakfast Planning:

Brought two carton of organic eggs from WFM, Nature’s Path Hemp Granola and Cinnamon Flax cereal that I bought on sale with coupons earlier in the summer at WFM, almond milk bought on sale with WFM coupons at ShopRite, hormone-free half and half from Trader Joes’s for my coffee, organic strawberries and conventional bananas from TJs.  I also brought half a bag of organic strawberries as well.  We went to farmer’s markets for blueberries and peaches and was able to have fresh fruit every day.

Made this recipe for two loaves of bread before hand.  This was just enough for toast with honey and cinnamon for a few mornings and french toast for a couple of mornings. (Forgot maple syrup, so honey sufficed)


This was vacation, after all, and I told me kids we were going to gorge ourselves on chips.  Well, being the foodie that I am, it couldn’t be just any old chip.  Through my food co-op, we get monthly extra specials.  In preparation for this trip, I stocked up on multiple bags of Kettle brand sour cream and onion potato chips, Lundberg Farms Santa Fe Barbecue Rice Chips, and Garden of Eatin’ Multi-grain tortilla chips.  A big bag of Cape Cod Potato Chips came from BJs with a coupon.  Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies came from’s Subscribe and Save, a great way to save. We munched after lunch and during the drive-in movie.  The cottage also had a tv and dvd player, so we brought three movies from the library and munched through those as well.  Any opened bag, that didn’t get eaten up (rare), went right into the freezer to keep from getting stale.

From my co-op I brought a bag of organic pistachio nuts which were on a super sale that was cheaper than conventional prices.  I brought almonds, peanuts and cashews from TJs.  From BJs with a coupon, I got a Back to Nature nut mix of almonds, pistachios, dried cherries and cranberries.  This was great mixed with sesame sticks my husband bought in bulk at WFM.

The day before we left for vacation, I made a huge batch of our favorite hummus recipe for dipping chips or veggies.  I brought carrots and hummus to the beach one day and we also had it for a couple of nights that we had dinner at the cottage.

As much as I had wanted to bring homemade granola bars, it was easier just to bring the granola bars that I had stocked up on with coupons – Cascadian Farms and Nature’s Path brands bought at ShopRite and WFM.  Those came with us to the beach and in the car.

Other indulgences:  Sirius brand dark chocolate, on-sale, stocked up from WFM, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars (BJs), and a bag of Starbursts (from Eastertime, decidedly old, but still good) were great treats on the beach and in the car.  Drinks – we bought Santa Cruz lemonade on sale at WFM for a $1 per bottle before we left.  We wished we brought seltzer and soda (it’s on the list for next year!).  Instead, we splurged on a couple of bottles of Fresca and ginger ale.

All of this was so worth it to go out to dinner and enjoy yummy Cape Cod seafood dinners for 5 out of the 7 nights we were there. AND, OF COURSE, we enjoyed delicious HOMEMADE ICE CREAM in Wellfleet and Provincetown on more than a couple of occasions.  I am grateful that it was a fun-filled week.

Savoring the memories and looking forward to saving up for our next summer vacation, as well as the next Frugal Foodie adventure,

~Aimee, TFF


4 thoughts on “Frugal Foodie: How Planning for Dining-Out and Dining-In on a Weeklong Vacation Paid Off

    1. Our family and our food co-op are fans of many of your other rice products. Thank you, Lundberg Family, namely for your organic short grain brown rice and tamari seaweed rice cakes! Gratefully, Aimee, TFF

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