Friday, 19 July 2013

Eatin' Clean through the Summer

I hope all of you are enjoying your summer vacation! Our family certainly has which is why I have been MIA for the past several weeks. Let's face facts...it's hard enough to plan around your summer activities...it's an even bigger challenge if you follow a certain nutritional lifestyle! It can seem that much more overwhelming when schedules are thrown out the window and you want to enjoy your activities (not spending your time in the bedroom or bathroom because you are sick from something you ate!)




Like I said in this quick little video above, we are in the midst of editing the video for the Gluten-free Vanilla Custard Trifle that I make every year for Kirk's birthday. It is a perfectly refreshing dessert for those hot summer days and nights and since Kirk happens to love it, it has become his birthday tradition! The meal pictured in the video is a very good representation of a naturally gluten-free meal we would typically have on a summer evening. I love when we can purchase delicious local produce during this time of year...everything is so fresh and delicious!

But, in the meantime, since it HAS been so long, I wanted to share another quick little recipe with you as well as fill you in on what my family has been up to.

In a previous blog post, I shared some of the ways our family prepares for our spur-of-the-minute road trips, but what do you do if you are going away for an extended amount of time? The answer is actually simple (not easy, but simple)...you PLAN and PREPARE even more!

The family at the Scenic Caves of Collingwood
We were gifted a week in Collingwood, ON for our 15th Wedding Anniversary (Thanks again, Momma & Pappa Groombridge!) which was wonderful! If you have the option, vacationing at a resort that includes full kitchens in your unit is ideal because you have so much more control over what you eat. Thankfully both Kirk's and my parents are timeshare owners with Wyndham and RCI so when we do vacation we are usually blessed with this feature! It really takes the headaches out of planning what to eat each day and keeps us from spending a lot in restaurant eating.

It took me at least a day to plan and prepare for our trip, but it was worth it. "Becca's Kitchen" was in complete disarray during that time as I tried to make just enough food for the week without overpacking (so difficult!...we did need to allow room for clothes too of course. :) We purchased something I didn't even realize I wanted so badly...a refrigerated cooler! Being able to transport everything in the car for the drive up without everything getting soggy was a real perk especially when so much work went into the foods the cooler contained. It worked really well and we've used it since then for drinks at Kirk's birthday party and a trip to the beach!

baked the usual Chocolate Chip CookiesGranola Bars and Zucchini Brownies as quick grab-and-go snacks and bases for ice cream sundaes, but I also stocked our cooler up with some homemade gluten-free hamburger buns and bagels both made from a very versatile batter recipe that I received from my friend, Wendy. (The only changes I make to the original is substituting palm sugar for cane sugar. It mixes in really well and you'd never know the difference! Sometimes I use arrowroot starch in place of potato as well.) 


The packing of hamburger buns is pretty self-explanatory, but my reasoning for including the "bagels" was so we could have a gluten-free version of a quick, tasty and cold lunch that Kirk and I have enjoyed for years of summer get-aways throughout our 15 year marriage. We just take a bagel, spread cream cheese on it, slice some cucumbers on it and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Easy & quick to prepare, yummy and great on a hot afternoon (if you've ever been to Palm Springs, CA during the summer months then you understand why this was such a staple for us)! I made ours by baking the batter in my doughnut pans that I found at Michael's several months back.

Next on my prep list was to make my "bread" to be used for whatever sandwiches we chose to make, which, if you've been following me, you will know that this means making of a big batch of my Lentil Pancake Bread. Now, lately I have been omitting the honey and using a mix of flours which yields a milder tasting bread for whatever you are planning to prepare. Be creative with your's as well and work with flours you can tolerate, just make sure to have about 2 cups of whatever flour mixture you end up with and if you use coconut flour be sure to add some extra water to get the consistency you want as it is very absorbent! My latest mix has been: 1 cup oat flour, 2/3 cup red lentil flour and 1/3 cup coconut flour. Watch this video again for the easy recipe and instructions and then we will move on to a new quick recipe that I used on our trip to Collingwood.



Just one of the summer sandwich fillings I like to make is the classic egg salad, but I like mine to have a lot of crunch, seasoning and not too much mayo. Everyone has their own taste, so make it your own, but this is my tried, tested and approved go-to recipe. My measurements are only approximate because this is one of those things that you really have to taste test as you go to find the measurements you prefer.



Ingredients:
Hard-boiled Eggs (I used 6)
1 Tbs Bragg's Sprinkle (or a mixture of basil, marjoram and parsley)
1 Green Onion, diced
1 Celery stalk, diced
2 tsp Prepared Mustard
3-4 Tbs Mayonnaise (I like to try to use soy-free mayo)
Salt & Pepper to taste



Directions:
In a medium-sized bowl, use a fork to crumble the eggs.



Dice up your veggies.



Place all ingredients in the bowl with the eggs and mix to combine.


Keep mixing until it's combined to your liking. It should look something like this in the end.



Place as much as you want on the bread of your choice and top with some crunchy lettuce leaves and it is sure to please!


Tuna would work well with all the same mix-ins so plan ahead, keep it fresh and be creative! With a little thought it doesn't take much to ensure you and your family eat well while you're away from the familiarity of your home kitchen.

The remainder of our bags and coolers contained plenty of plain hamburger patties, Schneiders Country Naturals Hotdogs (which I would like to point out, are now the same price as those other dogs filled with wheat...thank you, @Schneiders!), Lays plain Chips (other brands can contain MSG & wheat), Some corn chips and salsa, our Nature's Path gluten-free cereals and of course, lots of fresh fruits and veggies! All of this planning and prep allowed for us to enjoy great meals with little thought once we were settled into our unit and heading out for each day's activities. And speaking of those activities...please enjoy some of the pictures from our time away.









One more thing I have to share...my boys always tell me when they like something I make and they've all been very good to show their appreciation. But there was one thing I learned after this trip that made me feel even better...Kirk prefers, BY FAR, my homemade almond milk compared to the store-bought. Thinking it would be easier for transporting, I chose to purchase some cartons of almond milk that didn't need refrigeration instead of carting my glass bottles for the trip. Well, it didn't take too many bowls of cereal and one rejected smoothie before Kirk made it quite clear that he likes what I make at home. Thanks Hunny for making me feel good, again. :) I guess for our next trip I'll have to figure out how to transport the homemade goodness.

Be sure to stay tuned for the Trifle video coming up soon! Subscribe to my channel so you don't miss any future recipes & Healthy Hints. Follow 'NotDeprived' on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram to catch up with me! I hope you all continue to enjoy your families this Summer and don't forget to treat yourself well!


Have you taken any day or extended trips yet this Summer?
Besides Collingwood, we have had several day trips with friends and family. Not having a set schedule has been really nice.

What are some of your tricks to save time and money on your vacations?
I absolutely LOVE having a kitchen when we vacation. As for activities, looking for coupons to save a few bucks here and there are great too. Every little bit helps! And I can't thank my parents enough for all they do for us when we come down to Florida...not only do we stay in an amazing unit at Bonnet Creek Resort, but we always spend some time at Disneyworld as well with their help. SO Thankful!!!

Do you or someone in your family have a Summer birthday? How do you celebrate?
Of our little family of 4, Kirk is the only one with a Summer birthday...the rest of us are in the Fall. We had a pool party for Kirk this year with lots of friends and family...you'll see in the Trifle video! :)