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Going Gluten-FreeDecember 18, 2013

Snowball Cookies and Snowy Travel

With Christmas just a week away, my daughter and I love making--and eating!--Living Without’s tasty Chocolate Snowball Cookies. We roll the chocolate dough in powdered sugar to give the cookies a nice dusting of “snow.”

It reminds me of the way real snow recently altered our family trip. My husband and I, originally from New York, drove up the East Coast with our children from our home in North Carolina to give the kids a taste of Christmas in NYC. Our son, Joseph, is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg, soy, sesame and mustard, along with having asthma, and unexpected winter storms put my travel preparation skills to the test.

The last thing I wanted was for Joseph’s food allergies to dim the magic of Manhattan for him. So before we hit the road, I cooked and froze more than enough meals for him for the duration of our trip. I also packed safe snacks, homemade muffins, bread and crumb cake (sliced and placed in individual containers), along with plastic cutlery, paper place mats, our safe hand soap and plenty of wipes. In addition, I made sure that all Joseph’s prescriptions were full and that his nebulizer (with battery and car charger) was in the car.

Once settled in New York, we took a train each day into the city, carrying Joseph’s lunch and nebulizer in my husband’s backpack. (Joseph wears two Auvi-Q epinephrine auto-injectors and I carry two EpiPens, along with his inhaler, at all times.) The kids loved the train and they had a blast riding in taxis, walking through the crowded streets in awe of the tall buildings and lavish window displays on Fifth Avenue, visiting the huge tree at Rockefeller Center, watching the skaters glide across the ice and doing some shopping. They even took a turn making music on the famous piano at FAO Schwarz.

When it came time to head home, the weather threw a monkey wrench into our departure plans. A forecast of snow and ice blocked our drive home, forcing us to stay longer. The question was, did we bring enough food and medicine to keep Joseph fed and safe for an extended stay? Fortunately, I had packed full prescriptions, so he had plenty of his maintenance and emergency medication. I had also packed extra meals so he would have enough for two more days.

When a second storm blasted the East Coast and forced us to stay yet another day, I visited the local natural food store where I found the brand of gluten-free pasta that Joseph likes. We boiled water in the microwave in our hotel room to make pasta for two more meals for him.

The extra days we stayed in New York gave my kids a fun, snowy experience to add to their memories. I’m really glad they loved the snow--but for now, I’m happy to enjoy snowballs of the Christmas cookie variety.

For practical tips about traveling with food allergies, see Wendy Mondello’s article "Road Trip” at LivingWithout.com. Wendy blogs at tasteofallergyfreeliving.com.

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