As always, I'm looking forward to cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family. The worst part for me? Grocery shopping! After getting the bulk of my shopping done this morning, I was reminded of one very important lesson: plan ahead! More specifically, when you plan to use a coupon for a specific turkey, save some trouble and look up ingredients of said turkey before getting to the store (it will save a lot of scrambling at the store!)
Picking out a "safe" turkey can be challenging because poultry and meat products are regulated by the USDA, and therefore, are not required to include the top 8 allergens on the label (click here to read more about labeling laws). Be sure to examine labels carefully, and when in doubt, call the manufacturer to be sure the food is "safe". I had to make a call from the grocery store to be sure I was picking the right bird! Nobody said eating with food allergies was going to be easy!
Even though shopping, cooking and eating is more challenging with food allergies, there is still so much to be thankful for! Health, family, friends, good (allergy free) food are among my blessings. I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with the same!
The Food Find of the Month
An ancient seed that was thought to be sacred by the Incas in South America, Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has been grown in South America for thousands of years. Most of the world's supply is grown in the Andean region of South America in Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
A Super Food
Quinoa is a super food that is naturally gluten free. It is higher in protein than most grains (about 12-15%) and contains all nine of the essential amino acids. This makes it a complete protein and desirable for vegans, vegetarians as well as those with allergies to meat, poultry and other sources of protein who are concerned with getting the right amount of protein in their diets. It also contains lysine which is needed for tissue growth and repair. Along with high protein content, this super food is a very good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus and is a good source of riboflavin. Its high content of manganese and copper make it a powerful antioxidant. It is also high in fiber making it a heart healthy food.
To read more about quinoa and how to prepare it, go to the Quinoa Page. Also, check out the recipe of the month below for a delicious way to cook quinoa.
The Recipe of the Month
Quinoa and Rice With Sweet Potatoes
This recipe for quinoa and rice with sweet potatoes is a hearty side dish to serve alongside roasted chicken, turkey or pork tenderloin.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
"Safe" cooking spray
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 cup uncooked brown rice
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
3 cups "safe" vegetable or chicken broth
1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a medium sized casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and sweet potato to the skillet and saute until tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice, quinoa, broth and sea salt to the vegetable mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole; cover and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the liquid is gone.
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