My sweet celiac and youngest, Izzy

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Traveling with a celiac can = chaos

Traveling anywhere long distaqnce and away from home with a celiac or other food allergy can be frustrating, upsetting, depressing and down right sickening.  Very few fast food places or "sit-down" restaurants you find on the road offer Gluten-free or allergy-free options and often if they do there can be cross contamination that will when you least expect it cause an illness.  There are things you'd never even think about the corn taco shells from taco bell in the grocery stores do NOT hve gluten in them yet the ones they serve in their restaurant do as well as the meat seasoning or a restaurant where you order grilled chicken or fish, they use the same grill to toast their buns.  Really?  I never even THOUGHT about most of those things in the past.  But alas, now everything is in question if I don't make it myself.  We have such a variety of dietary restrictions in the family right now...Gluten for Isabelle and heart healthy and no sugar for Lana post transplant.

SO, today is our today the whole family (minus Shelby-14- and the dogs) load up and head back to Little Rock for Lana's post-transplant check up, which is a two day event.  I've decided to try to plan the trip around meals, so we will eat lunch before getting on the road and hopefully get there before dinner.  In the meantime, I will pack a cooler of acceptable snacks and drinks to not only minimize time on the road but any allergy/dietary issues.  I try to always keep at least one loaf of G-free bread in the freezer for quick pack sandwiches, lots of fruits and veggies, G-free chips and hummus or salsa...I even have g-free silver dollar pancakes in the freezer I can pack for a quick, easy breakfast my husband can throw in the microwave for the babies while I'm at the appointment with Lana.  Having some children with dietary/food allergies is truly a family affair.  Although they are the ones that have to eat it for the reasons I've already discussed and I'm the one that does most of the cooking, planning, shopping, food label reading and now blogging/writing about it, it still has to be family tested AND approved by EVERYONE!  I cannot tell you how many times I would try a new g-free or sugar free recipe and it didn't work.  Dang, I am as close to a self taught gourmet chef as they come and use to have my own catering business before the babies for God's sake!  Why the heck can't I figure this out I'd say....but I have read so many amazing books and magazines with tips that I am slowly becoming an expert in natural and allergy-friendly cooking as well.  It takes patience by ALL in the family for sure!

For those who wanted the recipe I made last night and didn't see it on my FB page, here it is:
Grilled Lemon Chicken and easy Lemon, Zucchini rice -
 Ok, I had a bunch of people want this super easy dinner idea.  And for those of you with allergies/dietary restrictions - all is able to be substituted and I'll list some substitutes in the end.

Grilled Chicken is super easy - Most marinade have preservatives and gluten in them so I make my could either use your favorite citrus salad dressing or whip this one up:
4 skinless boneless chicken breast
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
chopped rosemary (goes well with lemon and stands up to the heat of the grill better than most other herbs)
* sometimes I will add some Adobo seasoning or a pack of the Good Seasons Italian dressing mix just check for allergens
combine all ingredients and let sit about 10 minutes while you clean and start the grill then throw them on....or better yet - put your man or partner on this job while you work on the rice...just be sure to get them a beverage first!:)
(In the winter when we can't grill outside I pan sear it and pop it in the oven)

Lemon Rice Basic Recipe
2TBSP Butter
1 TBL Olive Oil
1 Small onion
1 C long grain rice
1 3/4 C chicken broth (low sodium/organic)
1/4 C lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a casserole dish.  Melt butter and heat oil in saute pan, add onion and saute gently until transparent,add rice and coat in butter/oil/onion then add remaining ingredients and bring to boil.  Remove from heat and pour into casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes until the liquid is absorb and rice is tender.

*substitutions and additions: I rarely use butter unless necessary and of course if you have a dairy allergy you can use all olive oil or butter substitute but the butter does add a richness to this dish.  You can exchange the chicken broth for any broth you like (ie. vegetable broth for vegetarian). I also like to use 1/2C jasmine rice and 1/2 C long grain rice.

For the Zucchini Version I chop the zucchini the same size as the onion pieces (tip: if you use an onion chopper then chop the zucchini with the same chopper and it takes half the time!) after the onion has had a few minutes to saute first, then add zucchini and saute with the onion and follow the rest of the directions above.  You could really put any of your favorite vegetables that go good with lemon in there (artichoke, yellow squash, spinach.....possibilities are endless but I would avoid the harder vegetables that take longer to cook).  You could also drain and add a can of diced tomatoes or for added zing a can of Rotel tomatoes and chilis but I would drain the can unless you want to replace some of the broth with the juice from the can but most canned vegetables have alot of salt in the liquid they are in so I prefer to control my salt and drain them. 

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