Family road trip in Europe: Food on the go

In Part 5, our road trip family tells us about food on the go and how they manage to cook food for the whole family, in spite of a tiny kitchen and no freezer. They also share a recipe for an easy-to-cook vegetarian casserole!

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – One of the babies sits in a high chair and watches expectantly as food is prepared.
Yipee! The food is almost ready!
Photo: Christian Göran
The story so far: After a difficult and uncertain pregnancy, Juli and Christian wanted to spend as much time as possible with their Supermagicalunicorntwins. So they swapped their apartment in Berlin for a camper van and set off on a road trip lasting several months.
They started in Germany and have slowly but surely driven through Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Now they’re somewhere in Germany. Read previous parts here.
Wonder why they’re called Supermagicalunicorntwins? Read the info box at the end of the article to find out.

Simple casseroles that suit the whole family

Our camper van kitchen is quite small, with two gas rings and a 40L fridge, so before we left, we started thinking about a few uncomplicated but still healthy dishes to cook for the four of us. We tried to keep it simple, with vegetarian casseroles containing a bean, a green and a grain, plus an extra portion of vitamin C. We also bought a small BBQ during the trip to roast veggies over an open fire.

It’s best to use the same basics, for both baby and grown-up meals.

Introducing solids during a camper van trip is quite challenging though. Firstly, as you can’t freeze portions, you need to cook every day if you don’t want to use just ready-made food in jars. Therefore it’s best to use the same basics, such as steamed veggies and unseasoned grains/rice/pasta, for both baby and grown-up meals, and simply add spices etc. to make the latter more interesting.

Secondly, as you can’t bring too many clothes and can only do laundry about once a week, we made sure to bring wipe-clean bibs.

Sometimes we use jars of ready-made baby food

We usually make our own baby food, but it all depends on what our day looks like. On driving days or when we are out on longer hiking tours, we heat up jars of ready-made organic baby food just before we leave and bring that in a thermos. We also bring a jar of fruit, so the babies get their vitamin C.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – On the table in the camper van is a vegetarian casserole, chia pudding and pots of nuts.
The family often makes vegetarian casseroles. Chia pudding with berries they’ve picked themselves is also a big hit.
Photo: Christian Göran

We are superfood fans, vegetarians and organic food freaks. We love to eat curries, salad with pasta or grains, pesto-and-cheese sandwiches, chia pudding and overnight oats. Sometimes we add popcorn and hot chocolate.

We are superfood fans, vegetarians and organic food freaks.

We like to try regional and seasonal specialties as well. We also pick food ourselves, such as wild blueberries, raspberries, smultron (Swedish wild strawberries), black- and redcurrants, gooseberries, yellow boletus and chanterelles. We use them to ‘pimp up’ our standard dishes.

What we always have in store:

Nuts and seeds (chia seeds, linseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds)
Goji berries
Olive oil, coconut oil, veggie cream, coconut milk
Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, vegetable stock cubes, cinnamon, Italian herbs, curry powder, cumin
Tea and coffee
Canned tomatoes, beans, chickpeas
Couscous, pasta, quinoa, lentils
Peanut butter, jelly and apple sauce

What we buy fresh once a week:

Potatoes and carrots
Fresh corn-on-the-cob to barbecue
Tomatoes, apples, bananas, avocados
Ginger, garlic, onion
Zucchini, spinach or lettuce
Oat milk, oat yogurt
Cheese, feta cheese

For the babies we need:

Porridge – morning and evening
Carrots, potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, cucumbers
Bananas, avocados, oranges, apples
Canola oil
Jars of vegetarian baby food, including fruit deserts

When we started our road trip in July, we’d already started to introduce the babies to mashed avocado, cucumber rings, carrots and bananas, as well as sweet potato mash with carrot, zucchini and parsnip.

Now the Smuts are eating three meals and one afternoon snack a day. They have fruit porridge for breakfast; for lunch they eat vegetarian mash and vitamin C (mashed or grated fruit, e.g. wild berries we pick, apple and banana); and in the afternoon they eat fruit mash. They get porridge cooked in milk for their evening meal. They still get breast milk after every meal and in between, but have already started learning to drink water out of a cup.

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – One of the twin babies sits in a high chair in the camper van and gets fed.
Yummy! Starting to eat proper food is tasty and fun.
Photo: Christian Göran

Veggie casserole for the whole family – recipe!

You need two pots for this meal: One for the potatoes and rice, and one for the carrot mix. We use a portion of the food to make a child-friendly meal with no hot spices. For two parents and two babies you need:

4 medium potatoes (12 oz)
Approx. 1 cup brown rice (6 oz)
About 8 carrots (17.5 oz)
2 organic oranges
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup pine nuts (2 oz)
1⅓ cups coconut milk
salt, pepper, mild curry powder

  1. Simmer rice and diced potatoes in 2½ cups of water on low heat for 20 minutes until soft.
  2. Wash and halve the carrots lengthways. Wash the orange, grate the peel and press out the juice.
  3. Heat the oil in a pot and fry the carrots for 5 minutes with the lid on. Add pine nuts and roast them until they start to turn brown. Pour in approx. ½ – 1 cup of water and simmer for 12 minutes with the lid on. Add the coconut milk and heat everything up.
  4. For the babies’ portions: Take one quarter of the potato-rice mix, stir in 4 tablespoons of the carrot-coconut milk mix and mash it all together. Add 4 tablespoons of orange juice.
  5. For the grown-ups: Add the rest of the orange juice to the carrot mix, stir in the grated orange peel, salt, pepper and curry powder to taste. Serve with the potato-rice mix.

Bon appétit!

In the next part, we talk about how the babies have developed during our road trip. Don’t miss it!
Photo: Christian Göran

Follow Supermagicalunicorntwins on Instagram

Follow Juli and Christian and their twin daughters Lovisa and Matilda on their road trip: @supermagicalunicorntwins and @christiangoran

Why “Supermagicalunicorntwins”?

These are Juli’s and Christian’s words:

“Early in the pregnancy, in week 12, we got devastating news from our doctor. Our twins were suffering from TTTS (Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome). In short, this means that blood from the placenta does not get evenly distributed between the twins. Depending on how TTTS develops during pregnancy, the babies might die inside the uterus or survive with a high risk of fetal damage.

In week 18 we got the next shocking news. One of the babies had a lung cyst which shifted her heart to the left. Every week during the pregnancy, we went to the hospital to check up on both TTTS and the development of the lung cyst. This was a tough and scary period with lots of worrying, but we did our best to stay positive and keep our spirits up.

Family and friends supported us during these difficult times. One day, a close friend of ours told us that she was convinced our babies were super magical unicorn twins and started to sing about them. We burst out laughing, and it felt so wonderfully liberating! We’ll never forget that joyful and reassuring moment.

This short jingle stayed with us through the rest of the pregnancy, and helped us stay positive and believe that everything would turn out right. And it did.

That’s why we call our daughters the Supermagicalunicorntwins or Smuts. To us they really are our Super magical unicorn baby twins.”