I just finished typing what seemed like hundreds of numbers into Excel. The result was a sum of $417.72. This represented the amount spent on gluten free specialty foods in the past tax year (see http://www.celiac.com/ for details on deductions). Lillie was diagnosed last March, so it doesn’t represent an entire tax year. In some cases, I had diligently circled the items on my receipt before throwing it into a flowered blue shoe box labeled “Gluten Free Groceries 2009”. In some cases I went through a couple of feet of grocery tape trying to decipher register shorthand like, “TNKY BR RICE LASAG”, and I remembered the quite good vegetarian lasagna I made with Tinkyada Brown Rice Lasagna Noodles. I was also struck by how many times “B & J DUB MDSLDE IC” (Ben and Jerry’s Dublin Mudslide Ice Cream) appeared on the receipts. This “stress” food was for me. Reviewing the receipts reminded me of the effort I put in yearly, weekly and daily to accommodate my the gluten and allergy free diets of my children.
After looking at our years worth of processed gluten free food items, I marvelled at all that’s available,, and reflected on those items that are naturally gluten free. I can’t declare a golden ear of sweet corn, locally grown, or a crisp green bean still standing at attention when cooked just right as a tax deduction. But, I can take pleasure in these items as they nourish the body, and reflect on how simplicity can be nourishing for the soul as well. G-d put many naturally gluten free items on this earth for us to enjoy. Not all things gluten free must be complicated.
I like my vegetables just fork tender, vibrant in color and not drowned in heavy sauces. A few sprinkles of sea salt, a drizzle of golden olive oil, perhaps, are all most vegetables need in my opinion. Enjoy the bounty that spring and summer brings, and enjoy what’s simple.
I love to use Ziploc brand Zip n' Steam bags to prepare vegetables. You can cook, marinate and store vegetables in these little gems of steamer bags. The package suggests putting an entire meal in the bag (i.e. protein and vegetable) and transporting the bag to work to cook in the microwave come lunch time. This is an excellent idea for the gluten free eater. No worry about cross contamination, as each bag is fresh, and contained to avoid any nasty drips or spills you may find in your office microwave. This can work well when going to someones house for a meal as well. No hassle cooking!
I’ve made vegetables as well as salmon in the bags and both worked well. I have an aversion to cooking chicken in the microwave as I find it always comes out rubbery-- but it could work with these bags. The recipe pamphlet included in the package claims you could make an omelet in the bag. I just had to try that. My goat cheese and mushroom omelet was indeed edible, if not terribly attractive. It reminded me of something I once received in an airplane meal. But cleanup was easy, as promised.
Asparagus Au Vinaigrette