Gluten Free Road Trip: Success!

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Onions for sale at the Farmer's Market in Little Rock, Arkansas

Twelve days, nine states, more than 3000 miles, one tired mom, and one successful gluten free road trip! What an adventure! After a short stay in northern Utah we made it to my grandma's house in Arkansas two days later. My poor baby was not loving his car seat, but did great considering. 
It had been almost a decade since I'd been back to the deep South. Where, according to my nine year old, the air always feels like rain. I grew up working every summer with my grandparents at the farmer's market in Little Rock and everything about this trip took me right back to my childhood. I was so thrilled to be able to share all these wonderful memories with my own children.
 

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It's not just the smell of grandma's house or the fact that I start to talk with a little twang when I'm there, it's also the Southern comfort food. Many of my favorite memories revolve around grandma's kitchen table. Everything was just as good as I remembered it.
 

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Hunting is part of the lifestyle there and my grandma rarely, if ever, buys meats from a store (aside from bacon and sausage). My uncle does most of the hunting, but grandma was just as good a deer hunter as anyone else...possibly better. I don't think she's been hunting since grandpa passed away, though. Any vegetables we eat are fresh from her garden or bottled from the previous year's crop and each morning we enjoy fresh eggs from her chickens out back.

We were treated to all the comfort foods I remembered so fondly: deer steaks in gravy with mashed potatoes, fresh sliced tomatoes, and grandma's bottled green beans; wild hog with rice, fried cornmeal-breaded okra, corn on the cob, and fresh cucumbers; catfish with pan-fried fries, homemade coleslaw, and grandmas pickled beets. And you can't leave grandma's house without having her "banana pudding": layers of vanilla wafers, sliced bananas, vanilla pudding, and cool whip.

Wow. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. There was just one problem with all this delicious food. My grandma doesn't cook gluten free. But, really it wasn't an issue at all. It just meant I got to be in the kitchen with grandma while she cooked. She'd let me have first pick of the meat before so I could prepare Miah her own gluten free version of grandma's classics.

I used separate dishes and a cutting board I brought from home to cut Miah's veggies on to reduce the risk of cross- contamination. I made sure I covered anything of hers with a lid so nothing was accidentally dropped in or dusted onto it. Cooking in my completely gluten free kitchen at home meant I really had to be on my toes to remember things like washing my hands after touching something gluten-y and being sure to wipe down any surfaces I used to prepare food or that Miah would eat off of. 
I also made sure that whenever we left to go somewhere like to visit the market or spend a day at Magic Springs theme park that I had a dedicated gluten free cooler with food that was safe for Miah. I was caught off guard once, but thankfully found a smoothie place and Miah was perfectly happy to enjoy a fruit smoothie for lunch. Whew! Crisis averted.  

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Standing on the "Big Dam Bridge" (yes, that's really what it's called) looking at the Arkansas river.

It wasn't exactly what I'd call a vacation, since I felt like I was working waaaay harder than normal (especially to keep 4 kids entertained in a van for days and dealing with a little tornado warning! Ahh!) Regardless, it was one of the most memorable trips ever and I'm so glad my kids had the chance to get to know their great-grandma a little better and experience it with me.
 

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Meet Burt, the craw-dad (craw fish). Grandma caught it to show the kids. Freaked them out! My girls thought it was a giant cockroach!

- Melissa

Fresh Paleo Peach Pie
Orange Creamsicles (Gluten Free/Dairy Free)

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Monday, 20 August 2018

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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