Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Staycations are Underappreciated

Ahhh, do you hear that? That- in the distance or next door or even right inside of your own home; the sound of the children home for the summer. So, honestly, while you are reading this are you smiling or are you wincing? I mean, I like travel but with food allergies, it can almost seem, well, daunting. Once I'm there, I'm good but what I have also learned is that my children also appreciate planning to have no plans sometimes.

Think about it- all year we are running to and fro- activities, birthdays, holidays and just your everyday schedule of trying to cram as much as you can into one day. And yes, I do love vacations (in fact, I will be sharing a guest post soon) but I also like the comfort of my own home too. What's even stranger is that my children actually request that I give them the "Hotel it Up" version of our at home staycations, like it's the best thing ever. This means that NutriKids love the idea of me printing up a door hanger with breakfast options for breakfast in bed (um, when was the last time I got one of these?!). As many choices as I offer, one of the most asked for is a childhood favorite- cinnamon toast. But this year, in an effort to rethink my foods and not to waste an ounce of anything, I have come up with a twist to this classic. May I present "Fairy Toast"

And on any family vacation, there are snacks....snacks upon snacks upon snacks...upon...snacks. (Did I mention snacks?!) I get it- the kids eat, nonstop but why not try to come up with a fun version of what parents may be eating on their time off as well? What's small and round and delicious all over? How about Granola Sushi?

I know that my children can't (and probably won't) eat most sushi so I created one just for them. Everyone wants to feel special, so why not include the kiddos? Of course, this recipe is not just for the kids so feel free to munch away and share (or don't share- I won't judge). Come on, they're cute little buggers. Go ahead- try one. I'll wait.........

This brings us to dinner. Usually dinner for us during summer break or vacation is something fast that we can grill. When I was a kid, my dad used to make steak and broil it with butter in the pan, which I loved dipping bread into. Can we say high cholesterol? Since trying to stay gluten free, I recently realized an easy fix for this tasty memory (see below).

Butter Replacement- marinate the steak for several hours with a mixture of Winona Pure Oil of your choice (be creative, you'll be surprised how different oils create different tastes!), garlic powder, sea salt, ground coriander and just a tad more sea salt (do this for both sides). Flip the steak once while cooking. The oil, steak juices and spices will create an awesomely wonderful dairy free dipping juice.

Bread Replacement- Simply grab a handful of Glutino Bagel Chips and place them right into the juice of the pan. Yum, yum and yum! Plus, they are mini so you can eat a bunch and not feel as guilty. Cute foods = less guilt. They are also ideal for tiny hands.

We have dinner but all dinners must also have sides (aka green veggies!). Who else hears the kids running from the room? One of my recent favorite vegetables is roasted Brussel Sprouts and I wanted to add a little extra something to them just to get out of the same old pattern and into that adventurous vacation mode that's all the way in my back yard. Who else needs a veggie uplift? 

Are you trying to figure it out? Are you wondering what those are mixed in?! That, my friends, are pieces of broken Glutino Salted Caramel Pretzels. What- you haven't ever roasted a vegetable? Easy peasy! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, wash veggies, find a shallow dish and spray with oil, spices of your choice and add pretzel pieces. Mix several times to avoid burning. The pretzels add a slightly sweet, almost nutty, creamy taste to the brussel sprouts and the combination of the slight bite of the sprouts makes it intriguing.

Just a reminder that food allergies are the number one reason that I encourage people to play with their foods no matter where your family decides to spend their vacation. Vacation is a frame of mind, not necessarily a place away. Enjoy your time, enjoy your family but most of all, remember to enjoy your foods.

*To download either of the recipes, simply click on the recipe title 

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