February is the shortest month of the year. It seems like just days ago that we were learning from the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, that we would have to endure six more long weeks of winter. And now, here we are already at the end of the month. With just a few days left, this newsletter barely belongs to February!
Of course, February is most known not for Groundhog Day on February 2nd but for another important holiday on February 14th. I hope you enjoyed Valentine's Day and were able to find some "safe" treats to share with your food allergic Valentines. My husband and I were lucky enough to escape the cold in Minnesota to attend a good friend's wedding in Cabo San Lucas over Valentine's Day weekend. Before we left, however, we put together a bag full of "safe" goodies for the kids including long time favorites "gummi donuts" (more commonly known as Gummi Lifesavers) and a new favorite, Enjoy Life Foods' Boom Choco Boom Chocolate Bars (if you haven't tried one yet, you're missing out!)
We enjoyed our trip which included all of the winter getaway essentials - sand, sun and delicious food - but we were glad to get home. Keep an eye on future newsletters and on the website for two things inspired by my trip: 1- tips on how to prepare caregivers (like Grandma and Grandpa) for feeding your food allergic children while you're away and 2- a recipe or two inspired by Mexican cuisine. Until then, I hope you enjoy February (what's left of it anyway!)
The Food Find of the Month
Lundberg Farms Rice Chips
"Allergy free" chips are pretty easy to get a hold of since most potato and corn chips are free of the top 8 allergens. That's why I usually am not looking for new kinds of chips to try, however, I came across Lundberg Farms Rice Chips in the specialty food section of my local grocery store and had a feeling they were going to be different than the everyday potato or corn chip.
It turns out that I was right! What makes them different is that they aren't greasy and are very sturdy making them almost more like a cracker than a chip. Since my experience has been that wheat free crackers that are reasonably priced and that taste good are tough to come by, I was excited to try these chips out as a cracker. At around $3.00 per bag, they cost less than most wheat free crackers that I have found and they are delicious! We tried the Sea Salt variety (they have several varieties, some of which are not free of the top 8 allergens) and, even though they taste great on their own, we dipped them in salsa and spread dips made with Wildtree's Dill Dip Blend and Roasted Red Pepper Blend on them as if they were crackers. So are they chips or are they crackers? That is for you to decide!
To get your hands on some Lundberg Farms Rice Chips, order them on Amazon.com or check out www.lundberg.com to find them in a store near you.
The Recipe of the Month
Creamy Turkey Asparagus Soup
Thank you to Melisa Priem for sharing this recipe from her cookbook, 8 Degrees of Ingredients. You can find Melisa's book as well as many others in the Food Allergy Store or on Amazon.com
12 cups water
1-1/2 cups crushed rice noodles
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
16 oz turkey cutlet(s)
1 pound asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1) Bring 12 cups of water to a boil. Add crushed rice noodles and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until rice noodles are well cooked and begin to disintegrate, about 20 minutes. Stir periodically to prevent noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
2) Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until garlic begins to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.
3) Season turkey cutlets with about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Working in batches, cook turkey cutlets in saute pan with browned garlic until turkey is cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove turkey from heat and set aside to cool. (Be sure to reserve the residual garlic and oil, a wonderful flavor enhancer for the soup.) When the turkey is cool enough to handle, cut the cutlets into 3/4-inch strips.
4) Add approximately 1/3 of the sliced turkey and 1/3 of the asparagus to the pot of well-cooked noodles. Puree the noodles, turkey and asparagus until smooth using a hand held immersion blender. (Alternatively, allow contents to cool, transfer to a blender and puree.) If soup becomes too thick, gradually add a little water to thin.
5) Add remaining turkey slices, asparagus, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the soup stock. Bring to a low boil and then simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the asparagus pieces are tender. Serve warm. Garnish with croutons or garlic toast.
Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Soup. Substitute 16 ounces of chicken for turkey and 1 pound broccoli for asparagus.
Serves: 6. Preparation Time is 5 minutes. Cooking Time is 40 minutes.
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