Monday, November 8, 2010

Life with Allergies: Where to Begin?

My nephew was just diagnosed with a long list of allergies. I'm overwhelmed for their family and it has made me think a lot about what advice I would give them. I didn't grow up as a kid with known allergies. I was sick most of my life and finally figured out my medical problems were due to Celiac Disease and allergies when I was 21. It was a very overwhelming day. It's of course nice to know the reason for your illness and it's even nicer to have a cure, but it was still difficult. My life would never be the same. It was very difficult in the beginning to adjust to a new life of eating differently than I had ever before done, but now it isn't difficult at all. I rarely think about it. So where do you begin? How do you adjust? I think the first place to begin is by making a list of things you can eat. Focusing on what you can eat and not on what you can't makes the transition much easier. Make a list. Ask others for input. Start by food group or walk through a grocery store with pen and paper in hand. I think you will find there is still quite a bit out there that you can eat. Don't overwhelm yourself in the beginning by trying to perfect an allergy free version of whatever is your favorite food. Focus on what is naturally allergy free for you. Learning to cook allergy free takes time and it takes patience. Things don't always taste the same. Your taste buds will adjust though and so will you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mac and Cheese

8 oz of rice or corn elbow macaroni
1 medium red onion chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 stick butter
1 T corn starch
3 cups of 1% milk
2 cups of shredded mild or medium cheddar cheese

1. In a medium saucepan, saute chopped onions in 1/2 stick butter.
2. Stir in 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tablespoon corn starch.
3. Mix in milk slowly to attain a smooth consistency with no lumps, add in macaroni and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until desired texture is achieved.
4. Mix in cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and evenly blended into the mixture.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mexican Rice

2 cups rice (we use basmati)
1/4 cup oil
1/2 chopped purple onion
2 tsp Taco Seasoning (see previous post for homemade recipe)
One 6 oz can of tomato paste
1.5 tsp salt
4 cups chicken broth

1. In a large Saucepan or stock pot saute onions in 1/4 cup oil and then add the rice stirring often to make sure the rice doesn't burn.
2. Once rice has browned slightly, add 2 tsp Taco Seasoning, 1.5 tsp salt, 4 cups of chicken broth and the 6 oz can of tomato paste.
3. Bring to a boil and then stir well to make sure the tomato paste has dissolved in the chicken broth. Once the tomato paste has dissolved, reduce heat, cover and and simmer until most of the broth has evaporated (I've never timed it, I usually monitor the steam coming out the top and use my nose to detect doneness).

tip: it may be easier to dilute the tomato paste first in a cup or so of chicken broth before adding it to the pot.

Taco Seasoning

1/4 cup chili powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 T ground cumin
4 tsp salt
4 tsp pepper

Mix together and store in a moisture tight container (or else it will clump).