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Celebrating Thanksgiving Over the Road? Try These 3 RecipesLiving the life of a trucker, means sometimes celebrating holidays away from home. Sure, you could stop at any truck stop and treat it like any other day. But if you’re alone and celebrating Thanksgiving over the road, you might want to make a special meal exactly to your personal preferences. And if you do, it’s a great way to ensure you’ve got leftovers that will save some money for the rest of the week. So, if you’re planning on celebrating Thanksgiving this year away from home, here are 3 recipe ideas to get your meal planning started.

Making a Turkey

Courtesy of allrecipes.com

Nothing says celebrating Thanksgiving like a cooked turkey dinner. And it can be done in a truck. If you have a slow cooker, you can make a delicious turkey in just a few hours. Using a full turkey or a boneless one, and just a few ingredients, you can have a perfectly cooked turkey. This recipe’s comment is full of comments on how to modify the original recipe. But for the basics, this one is a great one to get that traditional turkey to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

Stuffing as a Side Dish

Courtesy of midwestliving.com

Using your crock pot again, or instant-pot, you can have a great traditional side dish for your turkey. Featuring all the traditional flavors: walnuts, cranberries and hearty bread added to classic sage-and-onion stuffing, all made on the truck. This recipe is a great step-by-step on how to make some great Thanksgiving stuffing. And no oven necessary. You can easily modify to your personal preferences, and this makes enough for quite a few meals for a trucker for the week.

Vegetable Twist for Lower Carb Diets

Courtesy of healthyrecipesblogs.com

There are countless vegetable side dish recipes online. Traditional side dishes for celebrating Thanksgiving, could be a green bean casserole, or any number of ways to prepare potatoes. Mashed or sweet. One way to try something different is to substitute cauliflower for traditional mashed potatoes. And for those looking to make something a little lighter and lower-carb, this recipe is a perfect one to compliment your Thanksgiving meal.

 

Lastly, if you’re out in the Boise, ID area, you’ve got a great option. On Thanksgiving Day, the Boise Stage Stop will give you a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for Free. It’s their annual Driver Appreciation event, and along with the dinner, there’s a chance to win prizes. Valid CDL gets you the meal, and there’s nothing to clean up when you’re done!

Hopefully these ideas give you a great start on your Thanksgiving Meal planning. If you’ve got some other great recipes that would be good for other truckers celebrating Thanksgiving over the road, head on over to our Facebook page and share your best ideas. Helping fellow drivers make holidays away from home, is always a welcomed idea!

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working through the holidays

The end-of-year holiday season is a difficult time for truckers, as many of them are on the road and away from families. While the traditional office job may come with a week’s vacation for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, truck drivers don’t always have that luxury. Americans have spent well over $500 million during the holiday season each of the last five years, and that trend isn’t expected to change. This translates to more truck drivers working tirelessly on the road to deliver freight like holiday gifts and merchandise. With the added pressure to work, it can be tricky for drivers to spend time with family and do holiday shopping of their own. If you’re a truck driver working through the holidays, here are 3 tips for success.

Tip 1: Don’t overwork!

Drivers are more likely to overwork and overextend themselves during this time of year. As carriers are pressed hard over the holidays, they’ll incentivize or pressure you to work more. The potential of making extra cash can be very tempting, especially when you see fellow drivers making the same decision.

Be careful about spreading yourself too thin and overworking during this special time of year!

Becoming a workaholic is a constant danger for truckers, but the holidays are an especially bad time to do it. If you overwork now, you’ll risk either not seeing your family as much, or being exhausted when you finally do spend time together.

Exhaustion and fatigue won’t help you or your carrier either, as you’ll be more likely to make a mistake. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take advantage of opportunities to deliver a few more runs and make some extra cash. Just make sure you are comfortable with the home time you’re giving up for it. Work-life balance involves trade-offs and sacrificing family time can be tough if you’re working through the holidays. Take on extra work with moderation and balance in mind.

Tip 2: Use technology to your advantage

For drivers who will be working through the holidays, there isn’t much extra time for holiday shopping. Using your phone or mobile device can be an excellent way to stay on top of the holiday shopping list. With online shopping sales soaring over during the season, many consumers don’t need to spend time visiting stores. For drivers working over the road, you can easily spend five or ten minutes browsing sites like Amazon, eBay, or Target for your gift-giving needs.

Mobile technology can also help you stay in touch with family and loved ones if you’re on the road many days at a time. Use popular video messaging apps like FaceTime or Skype to add a personal touch to your calls home. Many other apps allow you to create custom holiday cards and messages to send across the country. Finally, you can use music streaming services like Spotify or Pandora to listen to holiday music while on the road. Just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bask in the holiday spirit. You can share the same tunes and tracks with family members, which will help you feel even more connected to them.

Tip 3: Don’t seek perfection

Sometimes the holidays bring out not just our better qualities, but some of our worse instincts as well. Seeking the perfect holiday is one of them. Aiming for perfection while working through the holidays is a recipe for disaster. Remember that if you’re spending time with family, it’s less important what you do together than just being there in the first place.

This may be a good time to remember all the lessons from the classic Christmas movies we grew up watching. Whether it’s the story of the Grinch, Ebeneezer Scrooge, or It’s a Wonderful Life, they all teach us that it’s the simple things in life that make the holidays worth it. The holiday spirit and cheer come from being good to others and spending time with loved ones – not from perfect gifts or celebrations.

Don’t seek the perfect holiday celebration, the perfect gift, or even the perfect amount of home time.

Since your work-life balance will require trade-offs, there’s no way you can have it all during the holidays. So instead of fighting it, embrace it and enjoy the holidays for what they are. Your family and loved ones will remember the quality time you spent together, and not care about the rest.

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Image from RestaurantNews.com.

Working as a truck driver sometimes means spending holidays on the road.  Don’t miss out on a traditional Thanksgiving meal while away from home. Here are a few restaurants where you can get traditional holiday fare on Thanksgiving Day.

Applebee’s

Select Applebee’s nationwide offers a special Thanksgiving Day meal featuring turkey breast, mashed potatoes, gravy, and garlicky green beans. However, not all restaurants remain open, so call ahead for holiday hours and availability.

Boston Market

Boston Market remains open Thanksgiving Day for a traditional, delicious plated meal.  Individual meals are $12.99, offering Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast or Half Signature Rotisserie Chicken, served with 2 sides, a dinner roll and a slice of apple or pumpkin pie.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Cracker Barrel serves a special in-store Thanksgiving meal from 11 am until close. This traditional Homestyle Turkey n’ Dressing Meal comes complete with gravy, a sampling of sugar cured ham, sweet potato casserole, cranberry relish, and a choice of a country side. In addition, receive a beverage, buttermilk biscuits or corn muffins, and a slice of pumpkin pie. The Homestyle Turkey n’ Dressing Meal is available for $12.99 per adult.

Golden Corral

Golden Corral offers a Thanksgiving Day Buffet at participating locations. The buffet includes carved turkey, carved ham, fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, pot roast, meat loaf, sirloin steak, fried shrimp and much more. Call ahead for special holiday hours.

Marie Callender’s

Adults enjoy a Thanksgiving meal for $21.99. Starters include fresh baked golden cornbread, a cup of potato cheese or hearty vegetable soup or a crisp house salad. Also, entrees include choice of Freshly Roasted Turkey Dinner or Oven-Baked Ham. In addition, it includes seasonal vegetables, fire-roasted yams with cranberry streusel topping and potatoes.

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It’s not easy being out on the road for a holiday. It can be lonely out there when you’re miles away from family and friends. And the hunt for a quality meal can be long and arduous.

Fortunately, there’s one place that truck drivers know they can turn to for a home-cooked feast on Thanksgiving Day—the Boise Stage Stop in Boise, Idaho.

For the 15th year, the celebrated Stage Stop is hosting its Truck Driver Appreciation Day, a Thanksgiving feast that’s free for CDL permit holders. All you have to do is show your CDL license to your server and the meal is free for you and a guest.

The celebratory homemade feast includes turkey and all the fixins: mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, desserts and soft drinks. Twenty-year Stage Stop chef Jose Carrera has been cooking up this feast since the beginning. A

nd for Stage Stop event coordinator Kim Curtis, who’s married to a truck driver, planning the feast is a personal privilege.

“Because I’m married to a truck driver, this is special for me,” Curtis says. “It’s a place for truck drivers to come and feel accepted, feel like they’re wanted.” All the food is donated, as are giveaways for a raffle that features everything from TVs to CDs.

“I never get tired of it,” Curtis says. “My favorite thing is the smiles on their faces and the drivers’ comments. The drivers are just so appreciative. I got guys that come here every year. They know they’ll be here and they plan for it.”

Between 400 and 600 people turn out for the driver appreciation dinner annually.

The restaurant starts serving at 10:30 a.m. and keeps going right up until midnight.

“I don’t think there’s anybody out there doing what we’re doing, not for free,” Curtis says. “It’s fun to be part of.”

Non-drivers also are welcome to dine on the feast for $10.99 (adults) or $5.99 (kids).

Gratitude is good for the soul. Thank you for your dedication and loyalty, drivers. If you’ve yet to follow Drive My Way on social media, connect with us here and become part of our community.

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While many are home gorging on Thanksgiving Day, some CDL truck drivers won’t have that luxury. That’s not stopping them from cooking a Thanksgiving feast on their big rigs, though.

“I  have little more than a butane stove and a big ‘ol skillet. That’s it,” says driver Kani Kahapea, who cooked Thanksgiving dinner in his truck last year and may have to do it again this year. Despite limited space and little equipment, the Swift owner operator created a feast reminiscent of his Hawaiian upbringing.

Kani Thanksgiving dinner“In my family, we do Thanksgiving with ham and turkey,” Kahapea says. “I wanted my dinner to be as similar to that as possible, so I did strawberry and guava-glazed ham and deep-fried turkey in my truck. It wasn’t going to be easy to fit a whole turkey breast in my skillet, so I deep-fried it, half at a time.”

Kahapea, who once worked as a cook in Hawaii, also made creamed corn, potato salad, rice and stuffing. Modifying recipes he normally makes at home, he tweaked traditional dishes so they were “semi-homemade.”

Karl and JeanetteAnd Kahapea is not alone. Others with CDL trucking jobs are making big spreads in their big rigs, too. Karl Pickard, a company driver with
Anderson Trucking Service, will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner with his wife, Jeanette, in their truck for the first time this year. Jeanette’s going to cook the turkey and Karl’s going to make green beans with bacon and onions.

Their setup won’t allow them to cook a whole turkey, so they’ll cook a turkey breast with a cranberry-orange glaze. Garlic cream cheese mashed potatoes and fudge for dessert are on the menu, too.

“We have several things in this truck that make cooking easy,” says Karl. “A Coleman stove, a toaster oven, an Aroma cooker. We’ve got a mini-kitchen in here.”

Still, it’s hard being away from family on holidays, says Carie Partin, a former CDL driver who now rides shotgun with her husband, James. The Partins’ first holiday on the road came last Easter, when Carie cooked up ham, mashed potatoes and deviled eggs shaped like chicks.

“It’s lonely out here on the holidays,” she says. “Easter was my way of taking home to the highway. It made me feel like we had a little bit of home right there with us.”

CarieThe Partins will do it again this Thanksgiving. They’d hoped to be home, but it’s not going to happen. They’ll make the most of it, with slow-cooked chicken, deviled eggs, the rice stuffing Carie’s mom used to make and a vegetable platter shaped like a turkey.

“Don’t let your mind limit you,” Carie tells big rig cooks who have to be on the road this year. “Look at it as an adventure. Enjoy it the best way you can. That’s how we approach it. We have a lot to be thankful for.”

What do you have to be thankful for? Join our online community here and tell us.

Featured image courtesy Google.com

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in November 2015.

glazed ham

Strawberry/Guava-Glazed Ham Recipe:
Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ham steak
  • 1/4 cup strawberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup guava juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Directions:

        1. In a pot, put strawberry preserves, brown sugar and guava juice.
        2. Bring to a simmer.
        3. Reduce by 1/4. It may need a little thickening. If so, a simple mix of cornstarch and water will do it.
        4. Pan sear ham steaks until cooked through, add glaze to pan and coat steaks well.
        5. Serve alongside the rest of the Thanksgiving meal.