Saturday, April 30, 2011

Allergy Elimination Week 1

Fruit & Nuts
Homemade granola with almond milk (6 c gluten-free oats mixed with about 1c homemade, unsweetened applesauce with cinnamon and baked at 300F until toasted and dried, about an hour.  Store in refrigerator.)
Quinoa with olive oil and salt
Turkey-vegetable soup (see below)
Curried rice with green beans (leftovers, see below)
GF oatmeal

Lunches at home:
Dinner leftovers
Salads (mixed greens, chickpeas, various chopped vegetables, nuts/seeds, fruit, vinaigrette)

Packed lunches:
Sliced chicken, steamed waxy potatoes, and sliced raw vegetables
Dinner leftovers, packed in a food jar
Chickpeas and raw vegetables

Packed snacks:
Fruit and vegetables
Chickpea crackers*
Potato chips (check ingredients)
Allergy-OK banana muffins*
Allergy-OK almond shortbread*
* recipes to follow in next post

Poached chicken, steamed waxy potatoes, and steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots
Curried rice with green beans (recipe follows)
Chickpea-vegetable soup
Chicken sausage, rice, and asparagus
Turkey-vegetable soup (recipe follows)

Additional cooking
1 pound chickpeas - used broth and some chickpeas to make a vegetable soup; ate some on salads or as a snack; roasted some for snacks.
Roasted sweet potato slices - not thin, like chips, but about 1/4 inch thick - very tasty addition to salads or for eating as a snack

Curried rice with green beans
modified from Jeanne Lemlin's Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

1/2 cup cashews, toasted
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 t turmeric
1/2 t cardamon
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1/4 t salt
1 cup brown or brown basmati rice
1 lb green beans (I use frozen, whole organic beans for this recipe)
1 carrot, sliced
1/3 cup finely cut prunes (about 6-8 prunes)
2 c boiling water

In a 6-quart pot, saute the onion & ginger in the oil. Mix in spices and toast lightly, then add rice, prunes, and carrot and stir to coat. Pour in the boiling water and cover.  Cook over low heat until the rice is nearly done (30-35 minutes).  Add frozen green beans to the top of the mixture; they will steam as the rice finishes cooking.  When done, add cashews and mix together gently.

Turkey-Vegetable Soup

Most commercial turkey and chicken is injected with a "broth solution;" the ingredients are never labeled on the poultry packaging.  We generally buy locally-raised poultry, organic when possible. In addition to the lack of added ingredients (and paying a poultry price-per-pound for what is in essence saltwater, the added broth), we find that the local birds are much leaner and tastier.  Our local natural foods store sells turkey pieces, and this week there was a surplus of wings at a good price.

6 turkey wings, organic if possible
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 carrots, finely sliced
1/2 c brown rice
1/2 t salt
2 t dried thyme
1 t dried rosemary
2 t dried parsley
1 lb frozen peas

Add 2 quarts water to a stock pot and poach the chicken wings until completely cooked, then remove.  After cooling slightly, remove the meat from the wings and refrigerate.  It will likely be in tiny pieces, which is perfect for soup and burritos, which is where it's headed.  Add 1T apple cider vinegar to the water in the pot, and return the turkey bones and skin.  Simmer gently for two hours, then strain into another pot.  Skim the fat from the broth, and use this fat, or part of it as needed, to saute the onions and carrots (and celery if you have some; I didn't), then add this to the broth, along with brown rice and seasonings; cook for about 40 minutes, or until rice is done.  Add as much of the turkey as desired, then add the peas.  If you are serving immediately, continue to cook until the peas are hot.  If saving for another meal, add the frozen peas and allow them to begin chilling the soup, then refrigerate.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Allergy Elimination Diet

Our family has embarked on an allergy elimination diet that will (hopefully?  or not?) help pinpoint a cause for some chronic health issues.  For 6 weeks, we are eschewing gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, peanuts, citrus, shellfish, beef, pork, sugar, and chocolate.  Nearing the end of week 1, I can say that it hasn't been as difficult as I feared.  We're eating a record amount of fresh produce and no one has really experienced any cravings for "illegal" foods. 

I spent the week after the physician's recommendation preparing, which was the key for success.  During that time, we had easy, favorite meals from foods that were perishable and not included in the allowed list, which resulted in a bare refrigerator.  I removed other items from the kitchen and stored them in a bin in the basement pantry.  I found some remarkable blogs with recipes that were doable or modifiable and created a binder of starting places.   I realized that dinner would be the easiest meal, but that breakfast and packed lunches might undergo a substantial facelift.  I bought some grocery items I'd never heard of before, such as coconut aminos, a replacement for soy sauce.

I planned meals, as always, and created a "menu" that I posted on the refrigerator for my husband Herb and daughter Lavender to reference when they were hungry, with the warning that all baked items would be highly experimental.   I was pleased to turn out some remarkable banana muffins as well as almond-meal based shortbread for occasional snacks, and returned to the chickpea cracker recipe I have made on occasion.  However, the abundance of fresh fruit and prepped veggies in the fridge has resulted in those being the easiest food to grab - a good thing all around.


Fruit and Nuts
Granola with almond milk
Brown rice porridge with cinnamon

Lentil Soup and chickpea crackers
Chicken slices with lettuce wrappers
Beans or chickpeas
Almond butter and jam on gluten-free bread
Salad with beans or nuts
Roasted sweet potato sandwiches with almond butter

Sides and Snacks
Carrot sticks
Red bell pepper
Rice cakes
Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
Chickpea crackers or bread
Hummus or bean spread
Homemade popsicles

Rice pudding
Fruit-nut-coconut treats
Blueberry tart
Baked apples
Fruit crisp
Sweet potato pudding