Air Travel with Celiac and Nut / Food Allergies

This is what a simple weekend trip away looks like sometimes for me, so getting trapped in an airport as someone with food allergies is a pretty big nightmare. You never know when a connecting flight will get cancelled!  It never ceases to amaze me how few choices exist, even in some fairly large airports!

GF short weekend roadtrip

As someone who not only has celiac, but also a nut allergy and some additional sensitivities, it’s no easy feat to have a long layover or face a potential unexpected stay in an airport due to delays, etc. Even a long flight presents quite a challenge (if your symptoms are anything like mine, no way you want to risk trusting airline food)! Bringing some chips, pretzels, or crackers that suit your allergies is a good start. Be sure to put them in a hard-sided case like Tupperware so they don’t crush. Also, homemade snack mixes or granola bars are good options. Some of my favorites are pictured below; but those are just snacks really, so what about covering one or more actual meals?

For me, I’ve found packing gluten free, nut free cereal in a Ziploc-type round container (seen below) is easy.  You can usually find milk to add while at the airport and cereal’s not a terrible meal. Just pack or find a plastic spoon and the Tupperware-type container can double as a bowl. It doesn’t need refrigeration or heating, so it’s good to have for any length of time. Glutino PopTarts are another hearty prepackaged option.  However, this doesn’t address much of a protein need.

For that, sunbutter is an option. Beef jerky can be a good option if you’re only on a domestic flight, but usually meats and fresh produce can’t be taken internationally. Likewise, the GoPicnic boxes may suit your needs (most don’t suit me now that they contain pumpkin seeds and the crackers have soy).

(P.S. With international travel, have a plan AND a back up plan. I learned in some places you pre-clear customs out of the country, so when I brought gluten free nachos to the airport in Canada from a safe restaurant out in town, I found out I had to clear customs at the same time as security.  So, I had to scarf down what I could before tossing it, which completely foiled my plan for a safe dinner before the flight and long layover!)

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                 Basic ice pack                     Photo credit: Alibaba

For planned long flights or layovers, I’ve found taking ice packs frozen solid is allowed through security, so sometimes I take frozen lunchmeat and frozen ice packs, plus some bread and make a sandwich. I also like to take cheese sticks using this method. This may only work on the flight leaving home, depending if you have a freezer at your destination, but at least it’s a solution for part of your trip!

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I always bring a few slices of gluten free bread (again in Tupperware-like container so they don’t get squished). In addition to other items I mentioned, if you can find hard boiled eggs in the airport and some mayonaise and mustard packets, you can make a fairly safe egg salad sandwich. Many airports also have tuna in a can or foil pouch, so you could make a tuna salad sandwich. You can also consider bringing your own pouch of pre-packaged tuna or chicken with you, unless international regulations will stop you from doing so. You might also enjoy the canned salmon and vegetable meal from St. Dalfour (I found these on Vitacost.com).

Smuckers individuals

I’ve also brought other bread items that don’t need to be kept super cold, like crepes or gluten free pancakes and can usually find some safe jelly packets or butter and syrup packets at a McDonalds or Burger King type restaurant. You can also consider getting some of these individually pre-packaged items (like hot sauce, jelly, ketchup, mustard, mayo, butter, syrup) by buying them online or at your grocery store or saving a few from your favorite restaurant and bringing them through security in your liquids bag! The environmental waste of individually packaged items is frustrating, but it’s important to stay safe, especially when traveling with food allergies, so give yourself a break and make up for it the rest of the time at home!
glutenfreeda oatmeal
Another option is the “just add hot water” macaroni and cheese cups, oatmeal cups, or cup o’ soup (if they make them for your allergies). If you can’t find them in the cups, just take the packets and a Ziploc-type container or use a coffee cup.  You can usually ask for a cup of hot water at any coffee place and mix away. Similarly, I’ve also asked for cups of ice after security to add to Ziploc-type bags to keep food cold. Sometimes it’s free, but even if you have to pay a little for it, it’s worth knowing you have options, right?

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I also always make sure to bring an extra set of clothes. This is good advice in general in case the airline loses your luggage (or you unexpectedly have to gate-check your rolling carry-on), but especially with celiac, if you should get sick unexpectedly, it’s important to have back up options!

 

(As always, check the labels of items to ensure they’re safe for your allergies. I did not receive any compensation for the brands mentioned, they are just based on my personal preferences or experiences!)

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We made our visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia at the end of July/beginning of August, which was accidentally perfect timing for Natal Day. It’s the birthday of their city and a bit like a mini 4th of July here in the states. There were musicians, performers, and food stands along the water front which made it a great time to visit! The weather was perfect, while the rest of the US and most of Canada was roasting in unusually high summer heat.  Aside from the tourist recommendation, I know this is a blog about food. That said, Natal Day comes with many restaurants closed and limited menus at others, so this is what we were able to find for dinner at Murphy’s, which was right along the waterfront and was one of the few that I was able to read about beforehand that had gluten free options.20160801_204206

As one might expect, the menu is seafood heavy. I wasn’t starving so decided an appetizer might be best. Appetizers marked gluten free for Natal Day were:
Bacon-wrapped scallops, Mussels, Lobster Dip, and Seafood Chowder.

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I choose the lobster dip and it was a large portion and delicious!

 

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Dinner options include: Nova Scotian whole lobster, Molasses Salmon, and BBQ Chicken Supreme.

Dessert included a chocolate torte that was gluten free, but I couldn’t get a straight answer about if there were nuts or nut flour, so I opted to try one of the ice cream stands we had seen.

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Imagine my surprise when one of the ice cream stands (Black Bear, I believe it was called) had gluten free cones! Even a brand I knew–Edward and Sons. Unfortunately, there servers didn’t have a lot of knowledge about which flavors were gluten free and they weren’t marked, so I stuck to vanilla and chocolate.  They graciously cleaned scoops for me, so all in all it was a good, sweet ending to our first Natal Day!

Gluten free fish and chips in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada)

Evan’s Fresh Seafoods and Restaurants in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Recently we took a short trip to get away from the heat of Virginia and ended up in Halifax, Nova Scotia (that’s in Canada, above Maine).  I’ll be posting the gluten free places we found to eat.

While there, every time gluten free came up, it seemed one name was mentioned consistently: Evan’s Fresh Seafoods and Restaurants. They are located a short 10 minute ferry ride over the water from Halifax to the town of Dartmouth.  They are located right on the water.  So we took the ferry over and immediately saw them at Alderney Landing.

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They are most well known for their gluten free fish and chips, so naturally that’s what we ordered.  They are celiac safe and made in gluten-free dedicated fryer.  The fish were very good, made using Schoolhouse brand bread crumbs-which don’t have sorghum (I emailed Schoolhouse, located in Nova Scotia, before I went)! Much of Evan’s menu is in fact gluten free in addition to their fish and chips, like their gluten free lobster poutine, which I wanted to have, but was too full to try!

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They also have gluten free Digby (local) clam strips (pictured below) and gluten free dessert cakes–however, beware if you don’t tolerate sorghum, the cake and the clam strips are in a different bread crumb mixture that has sorghum.

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I did ask what kind of oil they use and it’s currently canola oil (although be sure to check if that’s a concern).  After that, I didn’t ask specifically about nuts or pork (my other allergies), because I didn’t see any of either on the menu. Check their Facebook page for their hours and the most recent information.

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When the weather is great, like it was on this day in early August, there are nice picnic tables to sit at outside.  If the weather isn’t good, there is a seating area inside.

Crab Louie’s – gluten free in Richmond

If you’re looking for a fantastic gluten free place on the south side of Richmond (technically Midlothian, Virginia), be sure to check out Crab Louie’s!

Crab Louie's Midlothian 2

While unassuming in this historic building in a shopping center, this place has a HUGE gluten free menu. It’s not all seafood either! They are pretty well aware of the gluten free needs to keep it safe in the kitchen, but the servers can be a little hit or miss, so do stay vigilent.  Also, be prepared–they have several complimentary homemade sweet breads they serve, these are not gluten free!

Crab Louies salad Martha Vineyard

The Martha’s Vineyard salad comes with greens, onions, tomato, mushrooms, dried cherries (my favorite) and a maple vinaigrette that is delicious! Be sure to specify gluten free because there is usually croutons on the non-gluten free version.

Crab Louie's baked potato GF

For some reason, I don’t have a picture of the chicken dish I sometimes get (grilled chicken dijon), with a baked potato as my side.

Crab Louie's GF crabcake 2   Crab Louie's GF Crabcakes Dec. 2014

But the real charm here is the gluten free crab cakes!! And the delicious sauce that comes with them is amazing–I even use it on my baked potato too.

Crab Louie's GF bananas foster

The Bananas Foster Sundae is heavenly, BUT you do have to be careful that they make it fresh and it’s gluten free, as it is usually served with a gluten-ful rolled wafer stick stuck in it. As a celiac, I have had to ask them to re-make it, but it is so worth it!
Here is the link to their very large gluten free menu: http://crablouies.com/site/gluten-free-dinner-menu/.  As always, all opinions are my own and to the best of my current knowledge.

Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms Gluten free (Betty Crocker’s recipe)

While I failed to take pictures, I recently had some great friends over for dinner. Both of them were awesome about what could they bring to feed me safely (even though I had offered to host so I could just cook it all)…they are so amazing!  I served my white chicken lasanga (https://glutenfreeva.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/gluten-free-white-chicken-lasagna/) with gluten free garlic toast. One friend brought salad, and one of them carefully found out what/how she could bring stuffed mushrooms that would be gluten free.  She brought this AMAZING appetizer of crab-stuffed mushrooms, based on the Betty Crocker recipe below! I highly recommend this addition to any dinner party!

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/gluten-free-crab-stuffed-mushrooms/751267c7-de43-44eb-afaf-25732c2ac8d8

Gluten-Free Crab Stuffed Mushrooms by Betty Crocker (with notes from me on specific ingredients to help those unfamiliar with gluten free)

Ingredients:

24 large mushroom caps
1 pkg (8 oz) gluten-free cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2  teaspoons GF Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perkins is recommended)
2 scallions, minced
1/2 cup gluten-free shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked gluten-free jumbo lump crabmeat (use real crabmeat, as most imitation has gluten)
2  tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 13×9-inch baking dish.
2 Remove stems from mushrooms, and dust dirt off mushroom caps with damp paper towel.
3 Place mushroom caps topside down on baking dish.
4 Mix cream cheese, lemon juice, old bay seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, scallions, and Cheddar cheese in large bowl.
5 Fold in crabmeat gently.
6 Place a heaping spoonful of mixture on top of each mushroom cap.
7 Sprinkle each mushroom cap with Parmesan cheese.
8 Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through- but not extremely hot. Serve warm.

Gluten free in the middle of nowhere Burnham, PA

While we were in PA at Thanksgiving, I knew I wanted to visit my grandma.  She lives in a small town near Lewistown, PA and I assumed I would just have to pack a gluten free lunch, as there would be nothing for me to eat out there.  I was wrong. I researched before the trip (as I always do, traveling as a celiac) and found OIP Burnham had several SAFE gluten free items! OIP is a series of independent restaurants in central Pennsylvania, standing for Original Italian Pizza.  It’s well known for pizza and subs, however this day I delighted in my gluten free choices.
OIP Burnham GF chicken tenders & fries

They had gluten free pizzas on their menu, but I instead opted for their gluten free chicken tenders and french fries, both fried in a dedicated gluten free fryer.  I was also able to partake in some gluten free chicken wings, fried in the same dedicated fryer! (Sorry I forgot a picture of those).  This small town gem had nice people, nice service, and great care in their gluten free menu…we will return anytime we go to  visit my grandma!

If you ever find yourself on the other side of the mountain from State College, PA and need gluten free, be sure to stop in OIP Burnham!

Baked Boneless Chicken Wings, Gluten free

Boneless Buffalo wings 1 GF

I apologize for the timing of the post, I meant to get this up before The Big Game Sunday, but it’s still a great snack for March Madness or any other sporting event!  As wings go, these are relatively healthy and very yummy!

Boneless baked buffalo wings GF ingredients

Ingredients:

approx. 1/4 cup Van’s Multigrain gluten free crackers
approx. 1/8 cup Cup4Cup gluten free flour (only allergen is milk, we’ve found this to be the best flour mix for these)
1-1.5 lbs Chicken Breast
Buffalo Sauce (Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce is gluten and soy free, so that’s our choice!)
Olive Oil

The directions are simple:

1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Crush the multigrain crackers (we usually pour them into a plastic bag and roll a heavy rolling pin over), then add the Cup4Cup flour to the plastic bag.
3. Dredge the chicken breast in water (I know, I expected to use egg or milk, which you could try, but water works suprisingly well), then put them in the flour-cracker mixture and coat them.
4. Coat a glass pan with some olive oil (NOT a cookie sheet) and add the chicken pieces. Cook for 15 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.
5. Add buffalo sauce, coat all pieces, and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Boneless Buffalo wings 2 GF

These even reheat well in the microwave for work, so make a double batch!