Confession time: until I met my friend Hayley when I was 29 years old, I’d never had lamb. Gasp, right? I grew up in Florida eating seafood; we’re not exactly known for our lamb here, so it just went under my food radar until one glorious winter day in Baltimore.
Hayley made a simple, hearty winter stew with lamb, potatoes, green beans, and – the unexpected star of the show – a cinnamon stick.
2014 was a crazy year for us: a premature baby, a move and a new house, a kid who started preschool, and, just as we thought the year was about to end on a relatively quiet note, two days before Christmas, I discovered our baby girl in her crib having an acute allergic reaction. After a trip to the emergency room, a few doctor’s appointments, and a couple of epi pen prescriptions later, we still aren’t sure what caused her reaction, but the experience has given me a whole new perspective on and sympathy for parents who have children with allergies, especially food allergies.
The pediatrician thought she might have had a response to a large amount of raw cashews I munched on during a road trip the day before. And while none of her allergy tests have come back positive for anything, including nuts, and this whole thing might have actually been a bizarre virus, it made me realize all over again that you can do everything “right” and still have a child who struggles with allergies, food sensitivities, or other health problems.
So, in addition to my regular posts, I want to develop allergy-friendly recipes this year since I have a new respect for how difficult it can be to find allergy-friendly foods. Since my older daughter goes to a nut-free preschool, I’m going to start there and work on healthy, filling, and easy nut-free snack recipes.
But I want to hear from you, too.
Do you or your kids have allergies or food sensitivities? If so, what kinds of recipes would be helpful for you? Do you already have a favorite allergy-friendly recipe? If so, please share it below!
Happy and Healthy New Year!
My preschooler loves larabar-type snacks, so I thought I’d make some in a fun Christmas flavor: ginger and cinnamon for holiday spice, and molasses, which adds a touch of sweetness as well as iron and calcium.
I think out of all the fruits and vegetables out there, I hear about the health benefits of avocados and bananas the most. So, I thought, why not combine them for a superfood baby meal? It’s ready in seconds and has a velvety smooth consistency that’s great if you’ve got a texture-sensitive baby.
I love using my immersion blender for easy clean up and fast preparation, but you can also prepare this in a regular blender that’s suited for smaller quantities.
I’m a firm believer in what Alice Waters says about food: “good cooking mean[s] finding the freshest ingredients and then doing as little as possible to them.” It’s absolute magic what a few basic ingredients – a little butter, olive oil, maple syrup, and coarse sea salt – can do to Brussels sprouts. They take a humble, under-appreciated vegetable and transform it into simple, caramelized gloriousness.