Camping Gluten and Dairy-Free

When I first went gluten and dairy free, it was hard to imagine taking my new GFCF lifestyle on the road. Everything seemed so overwhelming at first. Now after five years, I’ve transitioned all our essential recipes/dishes and treats to gluten and dairy free. For the most part, we don’t miss the gluten or dairy and camping is no exception. One of my strategies is to make dishes that everyone can eat including my older kids who are still gluten and dairy consumers. One day, I’ll convert them but meanwhile choosing meals that are naturally gluten and dairy free helps immensely. One of our favorite camping meals is either chicken or beef stew. I prepare it at home and take it in large glass containers (a large half-gallon size Mason jar is perfect) that can stay in the cooler surrounded by ice. All you have to do is heat it up on the camp stove or fire and you have an instant GFCF meal. I’ve included the recipe at the end of this post.

Chicken stew packed with vegetables for optimum nutritional value.

Another family favorite while camping – grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. I made these organic hamburger patties at home, froze them (with wax paper between the patties) for 24 hours before the trip and then cooked them on day two of the camping trip. Stored in the cooler on ice, they thawed perfectly for grilling on the second day. We used our favorite gluten-free hamburger buns by Canyon Bakehouse. Our favorite hot dog bun is Udi’s although it is a little dry and falls apart easily. Mariposa Bakery makes a GF hot dog bun I’d like to try someday. We used GFCF organic, nitrate-free hot dogs by Applegate. My older gluten-eating kids ate them without complaining. I think they taste very good.

Grilling the pre-made patties I prepared at home.
Dinner for Day Two…GFCF Hamburgers and Hot Dogs  Ketchup and relish by Organicville – gluten-free, organic and made with agave nectar instead of high fructose corn syrup.

We also added some organic corn-on-the-cob, watermelon and baked beans for the perfect outdoor meal.

Organic corn-on-the-cob – buying organic corn assures
a non-GMO product and no pesticides.
Heating up baked beans in my new and very cool camping cookware. The handle detaches and the pots stack inside each other for compact transport and storage.
What outdoor summer meal is complete without watermelon?
The perfect summer meal. Who could feel deprived with this plate?
Yummy…and gluten- and dairy-free!

On day three, the family ate leftover chicken stew while I opted to try this dry soup I found at Sprout’s Farmers’ Market. You simply add hot water. I added a simple salad made with fresh organic greens I bought from a farmer along Highway One. I used a vinaigrette dressing from Harley Goat Farm which we visited earlier in the day.

My vegan dinner…
Simple gluten-free ingredients…

Fresh local organic salad greens.

Below is a precooked organic brown rice you can buy for traveling. I opened it and spooned some into my hot instant soup. It made a hearty and easy GFCF meal.

Precooked rice which I added to the soup mixture.

Breakfast is always a challenge for me while traveling. This gluten-free instant oatmeal is perfect for away from home meals. The ingredients are simple and all you do is add hot water.

Instant gluten-free oatmeal by Simpli – just add hot water. Ingredients: Gluten-free oats, sugar, salt and apricot. They also offer a plain version containing just GF oats and salt.

I like to add nuts/seeds or fruit to the oatmeal. This seed and fruit mixture below by Enjoy Life is perfect for this. It works well in airplanes when traveling since it does not contain nuts and won’t affect anyone with nut allergies.

Seeds and fruit – the perfect easy compliment to instant oatmeal
Gluten- and dairy-free instant oatmeal with seeds and fruit.
The perfect easy, gluten-free breakfast

What camping trip would be complete without S’mores? Below are the products we used to enjoy GFCF, dye-free S’mores (mainstream marshmallows contain blue dye).

S’mores time!
The new Schar Honeygrams are the best GF graham crackers on the market.
Gluten- and dairy-free, dye-free marshmallows. These are really good.
Our favorite dairy-, gluten- and soy-free chocolate by Alter Eco
Yummy…we don’t miss the gluten or dairy (or blue dye).

Now this is where I should admit that we were probably doing closer to “glamping” than actual camping. For a busy working mom (and the only one in the family that can assemble a tent), Costanoa in Pescadero is a dream come true. They offer several levels of camping. You can pitch a tent, rent a framed canvas tent with beds, park an RV, or stay in one of the cabins or the resort (hotel style). They have a spa and hot tub. A restaurant just in case you don’t want to cook and many fun activities.

Costanoa Resort in Pescadero
Our family bungalow unit at Costanoa – one tent for parents (queen size bed with heated mattress pad and down comforter) and another tent with two sets of bunk beds for the kids.
The dining hall at Costanoa – just in case you don’t want to cook.
Inside the dining hall. It even has a bar if you need some adult time.
Sammy and I, the early risers in the family, snuck away for
breakfast in the restaurant the last day of camping.
They made a dairy-free hot chocolate for Sam.

The things we love about “camping” at Costanoa…

The general store at Costanoa with gluten-free, dairy-free and organic options.
The life-size chess set (checkers also available).
The comfort stations. Heated bathrooms with a blow dryer, dry sauna and a fire area for those who don’t want to build a fire yourself.
Inside the bathroom. This is a campsite restroom I don’t mind using.
View from the hot tub…
The ocean views…
Visiting Harley Goat Farm…

The goats…
Goat cheese to sample…
Baby goats…
Raspberry vinaigrette from Harley Goat Farm…
I love a simple, natural ingredient list.
Our favorite cheese with edible flowers, the “Monet.”
Visiting the tide-pools in the morning…
The sea creatures…
Playing “survivor” in a cave by the tide-pools
Beach time…there are several beautiful, sandy beaches near Costanoa
Running from the ice-cold waves…
Burying each other in the sand…
Flying a kite…
Biking (and hiking) along the trails…
Picking organic berries and sampling organic jams at the berry farm.
Bring your own gluten-free animal crackers (or bread) though.
Visiting the general store in San Gregorio…
Picking out cool hats at the general store…
The French rose I picked out to enjoy on the trip…
The amazing views of the ocean from Costanoa…
Stopping off at New Leaf Community Market in Half Moon Bay on the way home…
Happy Gluten and Dairy-free Camping!

Chicken Stew Recipe

1 whole, organic chicken cut into six parts
2 tbl oil with a high smoking point (avocado, tea seed or rice bran are good options)
4 organic russet potatoes, peeled and diced
8 organic carrots, peeled and sliced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large yellow onion plus one-quarter cup, diced
3 – 4 garlic cloves, crushed (1 tbl)
1 – 14 oz can organic diced tomatoes, Italian flavor
1/2 – 1 cup frozen lima beans or edamame
1/2 – 1 cup frozen organic sweet corn
1 – 14 oz can gluten-free creamed corn
1 tbl chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Red pepper hot sauce (gluten-free), optional
1 box organic gluten-free chicken broth (only if needed)

In a 12 quart stock pot, heat the oil and brown the chicken parts. Do not cook thoroughly, just brown the skin nicely and then set aside on a plate. Add the 1/4 cup diced onions to the rendered fat in the pot and cook until translucent and just beginning to brown. Add approximately two quarts of filtered water and bring to a boil. Add chicken back into pot and cook until chicken meat is thoroughly cooked. This takes several hours. Meanwhile, prepare all your vegetables. See note below.
When the chicken is done cooking and falling off the bone, remove the chicken pieces and place on a plate. Pour the broth through a sieve or strainer into a very large bowl to remove any small chicken bone pieces from the broth. Pour the filtered broth back into the stock pot and bring to a boil. If needed, add additional boxed broth to bring the liquid level to about 2/3’s to the top of the pot. After chicken has cooled enough to handle, pull all the meat off the bones and put into a bowl. Set the meat aside.

When the broth comes to a boil, add prepared carrots, russet and sweet potatoes, can of diced tomatoes, garlic and remaining onion. Let boil until vegetables are slightly tender. Add the lima beans (or edamame), corn, chicken meat, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Cook until thoroughly warmed and then add can of creamed corn. Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper to taste. For those who prefer a bolder taste, add hot pepper sauce to taste. This soup is great with GF crackers or corn bread.


About Kim

Kim Rice is a Wellness Coach, Certified Gluten Practitioner and “warrior mom” in Pleasanton, California, writing about topics such as gluten sensitivity, autism, depression, diet and life transformation. She facilitates a 30 day cleanse program to help clients lose weight and optimize health. She also coaches parents of children with special needs, such as autism and ADHD, on dietary changes to help optimize brain function. You can follow her blog at:

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