I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season and enjoyed some time with your family and friends! While it is a wonderful time of the year (some say THE most wonderful time of the year), it always seems nice to get back into the normal routine. For me, part of the post-holiday routine is getting re-organized and getting rid of clutter around the house.
One place in particular that those of us who are managing food allergies need to keep organized is the kitchen. When we started managing food allergies, I read The Parent's Guide to Food Allergies by Marianne Barber. I read it from cover to cover in a day and referred to it often after that.
One of the most helpful chapters in the book is Chapter 18: Organizing your Kitchen. It prompted me to buy bins for my pantry and label them "Safe" and "Unsafe" and keep the foods sorted accordingly. These days, the "unsafe" section of the pantry has been reduced to one lowly bin which doesn't contain much more than some wheat crackers, some chocolates and a few cake mixes (they're nice to have on hand for short notice guests - you can do a surprising amount with a yellow cake mix and no eggs in the house!) It's a nice way to keep things organized and keeps "unsafe" foods isolated to prevent mix-ups - a good thing for someone like me who is always doing three things at one time!
This month I not only have organization on my mind but am also craving comfort food (could it be due to the frigid temps here in Minnesota?) The recipe of the month is one of my favorite dishes to have on a cold night when I don't have a lot of time to make dinner. It's a favorite in our house and I hope you enjoy it too!
Happy new year to you and your family - I hope it's getting off to a wonderful start!
The Food Find of the Month
So Delicious Ice Cream
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of ice cream - yes, even in the dead of winter! While I usually make my own "allergy-free" ice cream, I was very excited to discover that a company called Turtle Mountain not only makes a variety of allergy free ice creams called SO Delicious, but they can be easily found in local grocery stores.
We found this ice cream at the local Wal-mart Supercenter which was a good find since those stores are easy to locate. We tried the dairy free variety that is made from soy milk and it was delicious! Those of you with soy AND dairy allergies will be happy to know that they also make a coconut milk variety that is free of both soy and dairy. While it is a little bit spendy, it is well worth it!
Speaking of comfort food, I noticed on the snack calendar at my son's preschool that they will be having root beer floats sometime this month. I always thought that root beer had wheat in it and, while some root beers do, I contacted the makers of A&W root beer and learned that it is wheat/gluten free. If you didn't know that then you might be as excited as I was! I plan to send some SO Delicious ice cream and A&W to school that day and can't wait to hear what he thought about his first root beer float!
To learn more about Turtle Mountain products and to locate a store carrying these products, visit their website at www.turtlemountain.com
By the way, Turtle Mountain also makes soy and dairy free yogurt - to read more about that, click here.
The Recipe of the Month
This recipe is a family favorite and it is really quick and easy to prepare. Serve it with mashed potatoes for the ultimate comfort food.
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
2 cups (1/2 inch) sliced carrots
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 medium onion, halved then sliced
1 clove garlic
1-8 ounce package sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup wheat free all-purpose flour
2 cups wheat-free chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1) Heat the oil in a medium-high skillet. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place in skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan.
2) Heat the oil in the skillet over medium high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook for about two minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with flour and stir the mixture for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the broth and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until it is slightly thick, stirring frequently. Place the chicken in the pan and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
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