here’s what i had to think about to survive in another family’s house - and hear me loud and clear, they were the greatest hosts, and bent over backwards to try to keep us safe.
-pack safe shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, and sunscreen
-locate a grocery store near the destination (thank you google for allowing me to plan) (in this case, there was a whole foods, a sprouts, and a trader joes all near to where we were going, so had to bring very little in terms of food)
-travel snacks/meals (my favs are pizza made the day before, cheese and crackers, or pb&j - which really means sunflower seed butter and berry preserves in our house, quinoa salad, and pepperoni. yes - i packed enough snacks to travel to europe and back, but i’m most relaxed when i know we have ample food options. )
-bring a pot, a pan, a cutting board,and a stirring/wooden spoon
-bring a water bottle for each person (we brought the ones with the filter built in so we didn’t taste the change in the water when we arrived - with a three year old who only drinks water, this felt important)
-kids activities: if your kids will want to color, paint, or play playdough - bring your own, or pick it up when you get there. visit my safe kids page for the skinny on kids craft supplies. if you bring gf playdough or moon dough, either be super careful to clean the surface before playing, or leave the dough behind as a thank you gift. we brought some home from our last trip only to find a big crumb in it, noticably not gf, once we had played with it on our kitchen table! ugh! it went to some friends, and we bought a new package, after sterilizing the kitchen table and the floor around it.
after we arrived:
-hit up “sprouts” (similar to a whole foods, or a health food store) on the way from the airport to our friends’ house, to buy the stuff that a normal house wouldn’t have
-bought: bread, pretzels, chips, salad dressing, soy sauce, cheese (goat’s milk cheddar), crackers, coconut yogurt & ice cream, almond milk, gorilla pops cerael, heinz ketchup (the house had a store brand that i couldn’t find a gf guarantee for), gf pasta noodles, gf pasta sauce, corn tortillas &/or brown rice wraps. if peanut butter, mayo, or any other dip/spread that allows you to put your utensil in it, are staples in your life, go ahead and pick up a new one as you can bet that the ones in the pantry have already been contaminated.
-i bought a new pot, frying pan, and wooden spoon because my suitcase was too full to bring them from home
expensive? yes. but the way i see it, i would be buying groceries at home if i were there, and a little extra for vacation is understandable. one way to save money would be to bring some spices along, as flavors will cost ya if you buy them at your destination, and food will be awfully bland without them. another way is to locate a farmers market where you’re going and pick up all of your fruits and veggies there - i find that the majority of my meals are made up of produce, so if i can find those for a good price, then i’m laughing. that all being said, i did a lot more processed foods on this trip than usually as i wanted it to be a vacation for me too - which meant that i let my standards for food down a little, and fed the dane man some more pretzels, chips, cheese and crackers, sandwiches, etc, to give myself a break from making everything from scratch.
managing in the kitchen:
-i cooked everything for us in our new pot and pan, and washed them myself with dish soap and paper towel, avoiding the potentially gluten-filled sponge and tea towels. paper towel is my best amigo while traveling, always. i can prepare food on it, i can wash dishes with it, i can use it as a pillow if needed... just kidding.
-i made everything on a plate, not directly on the counter
-i covered the cutting board with paper towel each time
-i stored all of our dry goods in the pantry, on the top shelf, so that there was no risk of crumbs falling on and contaminating our food
-clean out the bath tub before the first bath, to ensure that there was no leftover gluten that your little ones can be affected by in a bath
-use a clean towel/rag to wipe down the bathroom counter, faucet, and toilet flusher
-put their soap away, and put yours on the counter so you don’t make the mistake of using soap with gluten in it
what to drink....
-wine is my go-to, so safe. also, rum and coke is a staple in a lot of households, thats a good one. my fav this week though was vodka, sprite, and a splash of real orange juice....mmm....
i mean water. water, unless you're travelling to a country where water is not safe, is your easiest gluten free drink option ;) juice boxes are also a great idea, find one you (or your kids) like, look it up, and then you know you have a safe drink that doesn't require double washing a cup to ensure your safety!
and to do it all without being irritating.
-my biggest tip - it’s okay to just say “no thanks” to something, instead of “oh, i can’t, i have celiac disease and there might be gluten in that, or you might have touched gluten, or you might have thought about gluten while you were holding it....” - know what i’m saying? try “no thanks” on for size... bet it will feel good.
-remember: it is our job to do the thinking, not theirs. so step up and do the cooking, the cleaning up, and the putting away - its work, but just like spending the money it takes - it is worth it. and be sure to be a whole lot of fun so your friends remember how great you are more than they remember how goofy you had to eat!
so what did we eat? easy meals with few ingredients:
-salsa chicken burritos (chicken and salsa in the slow cooker all day, shredded, in corn tortillas. to add some umph, rinse a can of black beans, a can of corn, chop tomatoes, lettuce & avacado, and pile ‘er all up)
-beef lettuce wraps (olive oil, onions, garlic, gf soy sauce, agave/sugar, ground beef, carrots chopped in little pieces, red/yellow/green pepper chopped in little pieces - sautee ‘em all up and put them in ice berg lettuce leaves. sauce: ketchup, gf soy sauce, brown sugar & garlic - saute them up and drizzle on your wraps)
-turkey spaghetti (ground chicken/turkey, chopped peppers, pasta sauce, over noodles - surprisingly delish, especially with ragu sauce)
-asian chicken wraps (chicken and your choice of veggies, rice, and same sauce as lettuce wraps: onions, garlic, agave/sugar, soy sauce, olive oil. sautee ‘em up and put the rice, chicken & veggies in brown rice wraps or corn tortillas)
-sandwiches (my fav: turkey, cheddar cheese, avacado, tomato, a slice of apple, and hummus. even dane loves it!)
-crackers and cheese
-grilled cheese (or cheese melted on bread in the microwave)
*please remember, i’m less concerned about nutritional values when we’re on vacation!
-nutrimeal shake (this is a must have for us - full of nutrients, sooo easy, and delish) click here for more info.
-cold breakfast cerael with bananas cut up (gorilla pops, or rice/corn chex cerael)