The past two weeks have felt like two months. In a good way, of course :) Jammed packed and full of wonderful twists and turns. The last week of December we packed up and headed off, twice. Going away brings me much joy. It's the combination of adventure, plus change of pace and change of scenery. Simply being at the airport makes me giddy, and I frequent the country grocery markets here just so I have an excuse to wander the back roads.
As I've mentioned before, my recent travel has (so far) been limited to Canada and the US because of food allergies, and the inability to eat in restaurants. For me, this means a place with a kitchen, and access to decent groceries. I am always open to hearing feedback on how other people manage. My one piece of advice to you, is having your own kitchen gear. No matter where we go, we always have a large ziploc bag filled with safe mini-spices, mini dish soap and grape seed oil, hemp and chia seed, a couple of portions of buckwheat flakes for porridge and some coffee for my sweetie. It's always at the ready in our cupboard at home, just in case of spontaneous trippage.
If we're traveling by plane, I stash some staples in my suitcase, like rice cakes, cashew butter and pancake mix. For the plane rides, one night hotel trips, or long road trips, I usually load up a small travel cooler with a dinner, and snacks. (I've just nailed a muffin recipe which I will attach at the end :) Speaking of travel coolers, we're on the hunt for a classy looking one on wheels. Any leads?
Now, if it's a multi-night trip by car (truck), I also throw in our two kitchen bins from our camping equipment. One includes pots and pans, mixing bowls, dishes and cups. The other has cutlery, utensils, tin foil, parchment paper, ziploc bags, knives and cutting boards, measuring cups and spoons, dish cloths and towels. If you're staying in a place that is half stocked, like our first trip at the end of December, you can rest easy knowing you have everything else covered. If you're staying with a large group of people all sharing the same kitchen, like we did at New Year's, then you can create a lovely uncontaminated buffer around you with your safe wares. The added bonus of heading off to a destination within driving distance, and lacking border crossings, is that you can fill up your cooler and car with all of your familiar groceries and staples before you leave home. Otherwise, you kind of just have to wing it when you arrive.
Which doesn't seem to be an option in struggling countries like Cuba, where I'm told the freshest and most varied foods can only be found at the resorts, already cooked and in chafing dishes. Our friends are planning a trip there in February, and it's frustrating to be restricted this way. Yes, money's a factor, but ultimately I'm not going because of food. I tried to suggest other venues, Las Vegas, Arizona. Still hot enough to lay out by the pool, and with the added comfort of a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods around the corner? No, oh. I tried to convince my sweetie to stay. Wouldn't he just spend most of his time missing me, and not enjoying himself? You can do both... oh. He stopped bringing it up because my pouting face was reflexively triggered at any mention of it.
And then I gave way. I'm not a fan of the term - giving in, or letting go. Giving way feels more empowered. I wised up and realized that a week away for my sweetie would be so good for him. On a beach, with his friends. Especially if he wasn't worrying about me, and could eat and drink with careless abandon. I would have the apartment, and the bed, to myself for a week. And maybe, I can start saving up for a girls trip this spring, all my own. He and I will have our time at some gorgeous beach villa, with full kitchen, somewhere in our future. I'm sure of it.
This video is for him. Not generally my first choice of music. It's one of his faves though, and it seemed fitting.
*gluten free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, nut free
In a large bowl combine:
1/4 cup each rice, tapioca and buckwheat flour
1/2 cup of buckwheat flakes
3 tsp baking powder (allergy safe)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp hemp seed
In a blender combine:
1 cup coarsely grated carrot
1 pear, peeled and coarsely grated
2 tbsp grape seed oil
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
Puree, then pour into dry ingredients. Add 1/3 cup water to blender to loosen remaining ingredients and add to dry ingredients as well.
Stir to combine.
Add 1/2 cup frozen blueberries.
Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Divide batter into the cups.
Bake for 30 min at 400 degrees F.
[ I just wrote this into my new Moleskine Recipe Journal that I got for Christmas! Yay, no more scraps of paper floating freely :) ]