in pursuit of more

living with just a little less

On Packing For Holidays & a Broiled Sandwich

Okay, so we all have things we are good at. That’s the great thing about people: our gifts. For instance, my husband is a natural at being patient. Me not so much. My mother-in-law is a gifted homemaker, adept at the art of ironing & bed-making like nothing I’ve ever seen. Me? Let’s just say I do make the bed every day and leave it at that.

As a creative person, I’ve always loved creating and making pretty pictures. That is why you can often catch me off in a daydream envisioning some composition of pretty things, be it in the garden, or on my body, or on plates or serving dishes. I think I’ve got a reasonably good handle on that stuff. As my own ‘less is more’ journey has progressed in these past few years, there is admittedly one thing (by my standards) that I still struggle with. I am not afraid to say I am actually still downright bad at it.

That is packing for a trip. I always pack too much despite usually writing out a plan for just what I need. I start the week before and add or subtract items throughout that week like a girl who is afraid to bring the wrong stuffy to a sleepover – displaying feelings of worry or remorse over omitting perhaps the wrong item. Inevitably, I always bring more than I actually need. So this time I want it to be different. I’m trying to really really streamline. After all, what more do I need than a few books and a bathing suit and a cover-up right? I’ll let you know how I make out once I get there, but I’d love your tips on how you pack for vacations, particularly hot ones. We head to Hawaii on Saturday, and I hope to share with you all there just what we get up to, especially the goods at the local farmer’s markets and of course, the beach time!

You might wonder why I am sharing a sandwich today, as I’ve personally been enjoying a little clean eating time (read: no bread for me right now!). But though I’ve been living on bowls of steamed kale, I still need to provide food for my busy active family, and busy weekends are made wonderful with sandwiches like this.

Most Saturdays here at our house involve mellow mornings for us girls at home while the husband goes cycling. I’ve never mentioned it here, but he rides at a very high level and often lands here at home after hours on the bike destroyed, and hungry. This is where old bread, a ripe avocado, and a few other fixings are life-savers, as an easy & nourishing lunch can be whipped up in minutes for anyone.

Broiled Chevre & Avocado Open-Faced Sandwich:

any old bread slices (I used a ciabatta bun)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
goat chevre or this vegan tofu blue cheese spread from Keepin’ it Kind
ripe slices of avocado
cherry tomatoes, washed & halved or slices of Roma tomatoes
greens of your choice: sprouts, baby kale, baby lettuce, arugula
black pepper, salt & balsamic glaze (optional)Turn on the oven to broil and lay your bread on a flat baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on the bread (be generous) and pop the tray in the oven, somewhere in the middle (not on the top rack). Keeping an eye out while you prepare the rest of the sandwich ingredients, broil the bread slices for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown, like a giant crouton. Quickly prepare the avocado, tomato, greens & whatever cheesy spread you are using for the base. When ready, remove the broiled bread from the oven and place on a cutting board or work surface.

To assemble, layer some chevre or cheese equivalent on the toasted bread. Next, layer avocado slices on top and lightly sprinkle with salt if desired. Next, top with greens of choice and dot the sandwich with tomato. Transfer the open-faced sandwich (or sandwiches) to serving plates and top with black pepper and optional balsamic drizzle. Serve with a knife and fork for those sophisticated types who don’t eat with their hands (my hubby’s mom raised him right).

Broiled Avocado Sandwich | In Pursuit of More
Broiled Avocado Sandwich | In Pursuit of More

26 responses to “On Packing For Holidays & a Broiled Sandwich

  1. Love sandwiches like this – they never fail to make my tummy happy. And as always, your photos are delicious.

    I wish I could give you some wonderful tips on packing, but I do the same thing as you. I start several days before a trip by piling up clothes and snacks and reading material. Some things stay, some things get added – but always, always, I end up having to sit on top of my suitcase to close it. Invariably there are things I never touch once on my trip, but…it must be a “security blanket” thing :-).

    1. Annie – your musings on packing seem to echo mine precisely! I am all packed up now and think I did okay…stay tuned as if I can I’ll post a pic! Thanks for the lovely compliment too lady! xo

  2. That sandwich looks delicious and your photos are beautiful. I need to learn from you! Very inspiring.

    As far as the packing goes. I used to be terrible at it as well. In recent years, however, I pack everything on my list and then I close the bag and don’t allow anything more in. Maybe you should try that?! It works for me.

  3. I’m a pretty terrible packer myself, but I have found a few tricks that have taken me from a full-suitcase-for-a-weekend kind of girl to a slightly more appropriate amount of clothing. One big thing is to try to bring as much multi-purpose clothing as possible; for instance, a dress that can be worn as a swimsuit cover-up during the day or dressed up with heels and a cardigan at night. I also try to pack clothes that are in the same color family so I can mix and match. This also helps cuts down on the number of shoes I think I’ll need 🙂 Good luck!

    1. Fantastic Katie – this is almost to a tee what Gabby does too – you ladies must know your stuff! I love all of these great ideas..I will keep you posted how it turns out! Thanks!

  4. what a gorgeous sandwich, shira! even though it’s bread, it’s filled with such powerhouse ingredients and just what your husband needs when he gets home from cycling.

    i always overpack, too 😉 have a great trip!

  5. What a gorgeous sandwich- I’ve been crazy about the open-faced sandwich recently. So yummy! And thanks for mentioning my cheese!

    I tend to be an overpacker too, but recently, I’ve been trying to limit myself to one carry-on. It’s pretty tough, but for Hawaii, you’re right- you really don’t need too much. The last time I went, I only took a carry-on and ended up not using half of the stuff I brought. 😉

    1. Kristy, thanks! One day I am going to try said cheese…it looked and sounds too good and obviously I have had my mind on it! xo
      Love the carry on limitation (totally genius and who likes waiting for their luggage?) and we generally try to avoid checking our luggage too – except when me and the man try to share! 🙂 I think I came close though I am sure I could edit more..I will report back 🙂 xo

  6. Shira! Only one sleep to Hawaii!! Woohoo!

    So, I, like you (and seemingly everyone in here) am an over-packer. Almost ridiculously so. And, despite being the most laid back guy in the land, LM has a weird quirk about sharing suitcase space. No idea what that’s about, but… Have you tried laying everything out on the bed and then halving it? Sometimes works!

    As for your sandwich – I’m salivating!

    Bon voyage, my friend

    1. J! I think my hubby might be the same – though from time to time we do try to share a single suitcase. Crazy I know but he is such an expert packer I can only hope to one day be as pro at it!
      I am all packed up and think I did okay…I WILL report back!

  7. I’m going to say upfront that I love bread and I’m fine with that. 🙂

    Now that you know that about me, let me say that sandwich looks great. Packing? That’s something I can do and I can fit more things in a suitcase than about anyone else around. But since I can’t be there to actually pack for you….

    Shoes are the hardest thing and take up the most room so try to find comfortable shoes that can go more than one place. But if you’re going to walk a lot or run, take those shoes. Pack underwear, swimsuits and small things in shoes. If you’re going to go somewhere that you need to dress up, find one thing likely to work in several places with maybe a jacket or cardigan. Look at the tops and pants/skirts/shorts you want to take and see how many will go with more than one other piece. Take the ones that can be used with the most other things. If you’re going to have to wash anything, takes washables. 🙂 Take things you’ve already worn, are comfortable and that you enjoy wearing. The more places you can wear them, the better.

    OK, that’s probably more than you wanted to know and I see a few were already mentioned. Take batteries for your camera and be sure you have all the chargers, etc. for your electronics. Don’t forget any medicines.

    Most of all, have a blast!! Can’t wait to hear about your trip and food.


    1. Janet – honestly you are a total genius! I have never considered packing things in shoes and cannot believe I have never heard this! the tough thing is I have to pack both hiking shoes AND running shoes so as you can imagine that is a lot of wasted space! Best. Tip. Ever.
      and I am like you and eat bread..though if I take a break every once in a while it makes me appreciate it all the more!
      Stay tuned, and thanks so much for sharing that – your tips are fantastic! 🙂

  8. I love me a good avocado open face number and yours looks outstanding. I need one now I think. As for the packing, I used to have the same problem! I’ve become more of an obsessive spreadsheet maker leading up to the time of travel and it’s helped SO much. Hope you have the most wonderful Hawaiian vacation, Shira. So, SO jealous 🙂

    1. Spreadsheet? You are genius Laura, thank you, I love this! Next trip for sure as I can only imagine the pleasure that goes into populuating that (I love me a good spreadsheet – seriously!) Amazing. xo 🙂

  9. Now that is one beautiful sandwich Shira. Mine are never that pretty! I’ve been making caprese grilled cheese sandwiches lately with my Foxy Moxy. It’s pretty fun 🙂 I hope you have the loveliest time on your trip. I adore Hawaii (who doesn’t!?) 🙂

    1. Thanks Somer! One more sleep to go! xo One of these days I will try that foxy moxy just to taste your genius 🙂 You amaze me!

  10. I am the worst over packer – we just packed for a trip to Mexico and Justin couldn’t figure out why I needed 7 pairs of shoes….reality was I didn’t, I really only wore 3. I think part of it is I want to be prepared and don’t want to wish that I had packed something but didn’t….you never know if it is going to be cool or hot or rainy – I think I “over think”packing especially if it is to a place I have not been to before – I became a packing pro when I would visit DC, but that is because I knew what to expect. It is the not knowing that gets me.

    Isn’t funny how creative people tend to constantly think about composition and design of all things life – Justin also has the patience of a saint 🙂

    1. Heather you and me sound so alike – the never knowing what you are going to want to do is what gets me most too. I hate being unprepared!

  11. Lovely sandwich!! It looks so delicious and when I start eating bread again myself I’ll definitely try a version of it 🙂

    I am actually a really good packer. I used to be horrible but tons of travelling and moving overseas for a while made me REALLY GOOD at it, if I want to be. It’s all about packing one colour scheme and multi-functional pieces. That way everything goes with everything and you have lots of outfit combos to choose from! And lets be honest, for me, that colour scheme is neutral- black, grey and white haha. Anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard all of that before but just thought I’d share what worked for me 🙂

    1. Me too Gabby! I am so enjoying the break from bread 🙂
      You amaze me in so many ways and of course you would be a good packer with all of the travel you have done! Me and you share the same color scheme preference but I seem to get hung up on practicality of what to bring — I like to think I am going to dress up more than I actually care to once I am away 🙂 After all, that’s the point, right?! I hope I cam closer this time! Thanks girl!

  12. My God Shira!! This sandwich is amazing. I drooled over it on Instagram, and am drooling over it again!! AMAZING!! I am such a heavy packer. I panic that I will forget stuff, but sometimes I just have to wing it and realize if I forget something..OWELL!

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