One of the ways that I intentionally work on our marriage is by "dating" my husband. By taking time to set aside "date nights" when we could easily slump down on the couch with dinner and a tv show, we show each other that we are still a major priority to each other. That fun and excitement is still part of who we are. It was when we first got together and its what keeps thing fun and interesting now, 7 years later, and 2 years into our marriage. Now, don't get me wrong, I adore nights when we cuddle up and just talk or watch endless marathon hours of Once Upon A Time or Big Bang Theory... but this was our two year anniversary, so it called for something extra special. I planned a surprise Get Away for Mr. Charming, and when he arrived home, waiting for him was a suitcase, GPS coordinates and a note.
While he happily packing and heading to the resort, I prepared a healthy lunch for us. I whipped up some deviled eggs, a salad, cut up apples and grapes, and almonds... all served with dairy free dark chocolate. It was the perfect little combination for an in-room picnic. The room was gorgeous and it was too hot outside when he arrived for a picnic outside! He also stopped on the way and surprised me with roses. *swoon* I think I'll keep him.
It was a weekend of romance, delicious food, (get the yummy pasta recipe pictured below here) and adventure! I wanted us to try something new together and so I set us up to go horseback riding at a local ranch and it was SO much fun! We also took the opportunity to hike a beautiful trail, swim and hit the gym.
All in all, a beautifully perfect way to celebrate my best friend, my husband.
Our last full day on island was spent sleeping in, visiting Icarus once more (PENGUIN OBESSION. I want one now by the way.) Another trip to Fresco for lunch (seriously, pasta that tasted THAT good without wheat or cheese? Are you kidding. Of COURSE I went back.)
We decided to visit Iolani Palace on our trip and though we didn't have time to tour the inside this trip (a definite must if you go, and if we go again!) The grounds were amazing and the expanse of the palace on the outside was just breathtaking. When we arrived at the airport we had to walk further than I feel like I've EVER walked before to get to a terminal. And I've had to walk to A LOT of them when I was touring back in the day. This was ridiculous. Tip number eight: Get to the airport EARLY. We did, thankfully and didn't have to rush at all. But had we gotten to the airport without the two hour window we would have been running to our gate. Not cool. And I realize that tip wasn't about healthy eating, travel. It's just good sense. And a warning that Oahu Airport is HUGE. Once we finally made it to our gate, I became hungry. I had a six hour flight ahead of us and my travel 3 oz. applesauce that was plane-approved had merged with the lavender oil for my head to relax me on the flight rendering it inedible. Sad. Mr. Charming spoke with the airline and I found out if you order ahead of time you can get a gluten-free meal! But they were out. Sad, again. BUT! The normal meal they were serving was a side salad, gluten free white rice, peas and carrots and bottled water with teriyaki chicken. HAPPY DAY! I didn't have to starve on the plane. I gave Mr. Charming my chicken, it wasn't dairy free, and I got to eat. But a reminder! Tip number nine: Certain airlines will accommodate food issues if you ask ahead of time! We flew Hawaiian, and they are one of the few that still include a free meal. Mahalo to them for that! It was an amazing trip and I thank you for sharing in the memories of it with us! I hope my travel/food tips helped you. If you are traveling and have any questions or need help finding places to eat don't hesitate to contact me!
Day three in Hawaii was amazing. Tip number six: Take time to RELAX. Sometimes when Mr. Charming and I travel we want to make sure we pack in as much fun and activity as we can. By day three of the trip I had a little mini-meltdown. I needed to just BE. To just relax. That was why we got away in the first place.
He was very sweet and let me plan our morning. First we went to the penguin habitat because i LOVE penguins. Like, LOVE them. They are my favorite animal. I met a little penguin named Icarus and I got to pet him. At that point my day was made but we had a whole day of exploring Hawaii left, so on we went. We made our way down to the beach and the lagoon that was at our hotel. I have always dreamed of doing a few things in my lifetime, "bucketlist" if you will, but I dislike that word. I just don't like the word "bucket" very much. So, anyways. Stand-up board (a larger surf board that you stand on and paddle or row yourself around) always looked like it'd be pretty awesome. Approaching the surf shack though, I saw how large the board was, and how much larger the body of water was. So I almost opted for those little paddle boat things. But alas, I was in Hawaii standing just 5 feet from something I'd dreamed of doing for years. So fear-schmear. We rented one, got a two second "lesson" from a surf instructor that didn't even involve water and made our way to the shoreline. We didn't do it for very long, it was WINDY, but WE DIDN'T FALL OFF! So I count it a huge success.
After stand-up board, we went and lounged on the beach for a while and then we ate at an AMAZING little Italian Cafe at the village by our hotel. It was called Fresco. I recommend it if you ever visit Oahu. Great salads, (i got a pear and avocado spring mix salad) and AMAZING gluten-free pasta dishes. I ordered the grilled chicken penne with marinara. It tasted SO authentic Italian (I grew up in an Italian household so I'm picky.) Tip number 7: Visit cafes where you can order multiple courses if you can to stay fuller. Fresco had wonderful salads, Gluten/Dairy free entrees AND a dairy-free/gluten-free sorbet selection for dessert! It felt so decadent to be able to order MULTIPLE courses that I could eat. The afternoon/evening was spent at the International Marketplace, shopping, shopping and MORE shopping. For dinner we were invited to join Mr. Charmings work staff at dinner at Roy's. Roy's is also in Arizona and the waiters were SUPER accommodating They offered to make me any meat dish gluten-free/dairy-free. I unfortunately had eaten SO much of that amazing pasta dish and snacked on leftovers during hair and make-up that I wasn't even hungry when we went. But it was kind nonetheless. Tip number 8: Group outings can be a tough one. I have gotten used to not really going out to eat. Which does impede social engagements. A lot of my family/friends understand now what I am going through with food challenges, however a lot of people won't understand. To avoid awkward situations you can handle it a few different ways.
1. Offer to choose the restaurant. If you choose you'll be able to call ahead or search out menus online for something that is "you-approved".
2. Bring your own dish/sides. If you are eating somewhere casual, or a cafe' it's easy to discreetly bring your own dish, or sides/dressing etc. When my friends eat at places like Paradise Bakery, Chipotle etc, I can pack a little lunchbox that looks like a purse. I can bring my own salad or wrap. I usually match the type of cafe food everyone else is ordering so it kind of fits in. I also will bring my own small ziploc container of my own dressing, and many times I've carried an avocado in my purse to add healthy fat to a basic lettuce salad.
3. It's ok to say no thank-you. If you are put in an uncomfortable situation or you feel its a restaurant where you won't be safe, if you can't bring your own food along decline the invitation. Friends and family will understand. This was really hard for at first. I had friends get mad at me for "not hanging out" when all they did was socialize over food. The friends who do understand, we try to do other things to spend time together. We go on hikes, go play pool, or we get together at each others houses for "healthy pot-lucks".
Day two in Paradise we got up early so that we could beat the rush to go snorkeling at Haunama Bay. I of course grumbled a bit about getting up early, really early, on vacation but I'm so glad I did. It was so worth it. Tip Number Four: A healthy way to detox is excercise. Hiking down a volcano and snorkeling for four hours is the coolest excercise ever.
After snorkeling we made our way back to Waikiki since we had worked up quite an appetite and I went to my maps to search for a good gluten free locale to have some lunch. Cheeseburger Waikiki, while it sounds super-offensive for my careful diet they actually had a complete allergen menu! I ordered a plain burger patty, white rice, side salad with olive oil and fresh avocado. It was delicious and super filling!
After lunch we went and visited an old cemetery where my husbands great-grandparents were laid to rest. It was cool to see a connection between him and the island. We spent the rest of the day driving up close to the North Shore to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center and learning about all of the different cultures. (Hawaii, Fiji, Tonga, etc.) We picked up some awesome souvenirs and captured some breathtaking scenery on the drive up there. Remember Jurassic Park?
We again were having such a great time checking out the island we didn't make it to a steakhouse for dinner as planned. We stopped by a little cafe at our hotel and grabbed salads and water and had a midnight dinner picture on the shore (I brought an avacado in my bag I had picked up a whole foods, and grabbed a dairy-free dark chocolate and almond bar for dessert to share). An amazing way to end an amazing day. Tip number 5: Don't stress. Bring light snacks with you such as fruit, nuts or jerky in case you come across a place that's closed, such as we did, or to supplement a light salad if it's the only safe eat you can find. :)
So, we've arrived in paradise. It is absolutely beautiful here. A little humid, but who cares about humidity when you get to look at this:
Tip number one for traveling with food sensitivities, allergies, etc. Plan Ahead.
I did have some anxiety about traveling so far from home to an island where I don't know the stores, restaurants etc. I have been to Hawaii before, but that was four years ago, and though I remember the local fresh farmers markets and whole food, I didn't have the restrictions I have now so I wanted to be prepared so I didn't go hungry. We had a lot of fun excursions planned so I wanted to make sure I had fuel. So to plan ahead my husband pulled up Google Maps and we typed in our hotel and found it in Oahu, he then proceeded to show me that you can type just about anything in if you click "search nearby". I ended up finding a Whole Foods within 3 miles of our hotel, and 10 gluten free restaurants that ALSO had a dairy-free menu! I was so much more relaxed and was able to plan my trip and pack with excitement instead of hesitation due to food.
Tip number two: If you are traveling to a place where you are not finding the correct restaurants and you don't have the option of a Whole Foods, Sprouts, or to bring your own along, call ahead. Speak to chefs and restaurant owners/managers about your issues. If they are clueless or don't seem to care, MOVE ON. It's not worth getting sick on your vacation. Find a chef who will speak to you and who is knowledgeable about your needs.
Which brings me to Day 1 in Oahu: We left for our flight REALLY early in the morning (it was still dark out, so to me it was still the middle of the night) and though sometimes it's hard for me to eat that early I ate two organic hard-boiled eggs for protein since I didn't know what the plane would be serving. (Turns out it was NOTHING I could eat.) I also didn't take any food with me because of security. So I tried to sleep/entertain myself for six hours until we landed. Luckily, those eggs lasted a long time. So we have always DREAMED of visiting Aulani (The Hawaiian Disney Resort) because my husband and I are such HUGE Disney fans. I had looked up restaurants there ahead of time. MAKAHIKI at AULANI had a gluten-free menu listed on their website. The chef was so nice (Ask for Pu'u) and came out to my table to personally take my order and let me know that he would prepare my dish carefully as his daughter is celiac. (Disney chefs are THE BEST. I had a personal chef almost my entire trip to Disneyland last year, but more on Disney in another post.) At Makahiki I ordered a grilled chicken salad, with avocado, fresh tomato and olive oil for dressing and I DID cheat (just a little), they had gluten-free garlic fries that were AMAZING. I'm not suppose to have too much starch in my diet, but I decided to splurge since I had all fresh veggies and chicken. And I made my hubs take the bowl away half-way through because I would have scarfed them all. They were THAT GOOD.
After visiting Aulani for a couple of hours we actually went back to our hotel room and slept for a few hours (oops, stupid jet lag) and by the time we woke up almost all of the restaurants were closed! We went to Whole Foods and stocked up on groceries because our room had a fridge! Tip number 3. If you can't get a hotel room with a full kitchen or kitchenette, at least ALWAYS get a fridge! I was able to buy my natural lunch meat, hummus, fresh fruit and veggies which ended up being our dinner in the room the first night because even room service had closed. :( All in all a beautiful first day in Oahu!
Nosh & Nurture was born of this journey I am on to better the health of myself, my family and those around me. What started as a simple compilation of recipes has grown to a all-around lifestyle journal with ways to incorporate organic products into your home, pantry and beauty cabinet. I also include stories on pregnancy, new motherhood, travel, Proverbs 31 marriage, and spiritual health, as I am a Christian who couldn't do any of this without my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. For more of my story you can click here.
All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free with a lot of soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free options.