Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thinking outside the box

It came as a realization to me that while I often contemplate cooking in a way that other people do not, some of the things I have begun to take for granted are still novel to those without eating restrictions. So today I would like to share a technique that I use often. It is so simple and basic that I assume most people know already. I often try to sneak extra nutrients into the meals I prepare, as we are limited not only by what we are allowed to eat, but by my allergic child being a picky eater as well.

So, here it is....I avoid cooking with water whenever possible. Huh? you say.

Think about how often you cook in water: for oatmeal, rice, pasta, steaming veggies....all of those things. Think creatively. What happens if you replace all or part of the water with a different liquid? Chicken broth, vegetable broth, fortified orange juice, apple juice, oat or rice or hemp milk? The flavor can be changed dramatically or subtly.

For example, just today I tossed frozen carrots into the microwave to steam in a tablespoon of orange juice. When done I drizzled a little maple syrup over them. Voila! A tasty and nutritionally enhanced serving of carrots. In amounts that small, I know I am adding just a trace of extra oomph, but every little bit counts. And it adds up.

So, next time your recipe calls for water, think about how to pump it up with an alternative liquid.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tasty Tuna

This is a decidedly different way to serve tuna fish, for those of us who can not have mayonnaise. It is very tasty, if you are open to new things. A perfect balance of sweet and savory, mild and moist with flavor that grows tastier with every bite. Not to mention WAY diet friendly. My favorite right now is to serve it with RyKrisp Sesame crackers (allergy free for us), but feel free to put it on your favorite tuna delivery system.

Tasty Tuna

1 6 oz can tuna, drained
2 Tbsp onion, finely chpd
1/4 sweet red pepper, finely chpd
1/2 c crushed pineapple (or process about 20 pineapple chunks in food processor until fine) with juice
1/2 tsp lemon juice
dash pepper, celery salt, garlic powder to taste

Mix all. Enjoy.

Again, there is nothing traditional about this recipe, so don't think it will stand in for mom's tuna salad. But sometimes, different is very very good. Yum.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Breakfast Bafflement

So, the dilemma: what to serve for breakfast. Oh, it has to meet the usual criteria. Namely it must be healthy and somewhat fast, as I don't want to get up two hours earlier than normal to prepare it. It needs to have staying power so we are not hungry again in an hour. And it must be free of dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, nuts, and beef. Just eliminating all the usual suspects. Breakfast recipes without eggs or milk or wheat? Very rare. Oatmeal is a great fill in! Except that the eldest has decided she hates it. Has anyone tried to explain to a child with food allergies that pickiness is not an option? Somehow, that doesn't work at my house. So, rather than start the day with a battle over breakfast, I am questing for variety that will satisfy the tastes of our whole family. Yikes.

I am determined to create a breakfast casserole that is based on creamy rice and chicken apple sausage. I don't know why, it just seems like it should work. Hmmm...except the middle child hates rice in any form. That's alright, if the eldest has to choke down oatmeal on occasion, she can do the same with rice.

So far, I have discovered that cooking the rice in half apple juice and half water gives it a nice flavor. No creaminess though. Tonight I added one chopped apple for the last five minutes of cooking, and it was wonderfully breakfastly sweet. Not quite there yet though.

So, if anyone can share a favorite breakfast idea, or can tweak my beginning of an idea, I'd love to hear from you!