Labor Day is behind us and the rich reds and golds are beginning to come out on the leaves. My tomatoes are clinging to the vines against the occasional fall breeze, and my herbs are begging to be picked before the first frost. Incorporating garden herbs and vegetables into recipes this time of year brings back the sunny days of summer right to your table. Having the children realize the full cycle of life when they are reminded these vegetables they are (finally!) eating are from those tiny little seeds they helped plant last spring.
I strongly feel that children with special dietary needs have an advantage over those that can blissfully eat the typical American diet without caution. Celiac or allergic children need to read labels carefully, ask questions, and often have to turn to homemade alternatives (i.e., baked goods) rather than plastic wrapped convenience foods. They will go into adulthood with a headstart on good nutrition practices. The recipes below are brightly flavored and full of texture to please palates of all ages. They are also fun for little ones to help prepare. The polenta rounds are reminiscent of mini pizzas, and the quinoa salad is an extremely healthy alternative to the mayonnaise laden side dishes that turn up at barbecues and picnics all summer long.
This quinoa salad is my favorite, and comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Cooking the Whole Foods Way by Christina Pirello. Ms. Pirello's book takes macrobiotic to a new and user friendly level. She uses has a variety of gluten free recipes, and uses alternative grains like millet.