Food & Drink

Busy? Casseroles are 'saving grace' timesaver

My friends and I recently returned from a trip to Australia, New Zealand and the Fiji Islands.

When we first decided this was a trip we might be able to handle, it was with the knowledge that each trip we take requires more packing as we age. Preparing for a vacation is time consuming, but fun.

Ivorie Lowe, Helen Terry and I call trips of this sort our reunions. We love to get together anywhere we can, but going out of the country makes for more fun. Helen and I had not been on a trip together since Morocco in 2008. It was in 2009 that Ivorie and I studied and learned so much in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.

For our trip this month, it was winter in Australia and New Zealand but summer (dry season) in Fiji. This meant packing two sets of clothes for varying temperatures.

The conversations began on the matters of clothes, snacks, money and medicine. The three of us vow to always share whatever we can. Helen suggested we make a list of essential items that, if forgotten, couldn't be purchased on our trip. Ivorie made sure we packed the needed items to stay warm. She lives in the coldest climate, Chicago, and she suggested we dress in layers. I was in charge of snacks, of course. I usually pack homemade granola and cookies. We talked about our meals and made sure we saved time to shop and prepare for the trip. Our saving grace was preparing casseroles. We shared recipes, and as we packed and cooked, we prayed -- not to overcook the casserole and not to over pack for the trip.

Port Royal resident Ervena Faulkner is a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at