Monday, January 18, 2010

Allergy-Free Eating on a Budget: Tip 1 and Stir Fry idea

     Today's tip on allergy-free eating on a budget is to eat foods that are naturally gluten free:  fruits, vegetables, meat, legumes, and whole-grain brown rice.  You can use white rice, however there are no nutrients in white rice.  White rice is mostly starch and simple carbohydrates.  It is not nutrient dense.  People who battle food intolerances really need to eat nutrient-rich foods.  I highly recommend that you try to adjust your tastes to start eating whole-grain brown rice instead of white rice.  I have heard that if you soak your rice overnight, rinse, and then cook it, the texture of the brown rice will be closer to white.  I haven't tried it since my family likes brown rice, but you could give it a try.  I save money by buying my brown rice in bulk 25 lb. bags through my local food co-op.   I try to buy organic rice, but if I don't have the money I figure it's better to buy nonorganic brown rice than buying any white rice or not buying any at all.  It's filling and nutritious, and it provides fiber to our diets.

Vegetable Stir Fry Idea
I love making my rice in a rice cooker.  I just throw my rice, water, a little oil, and some gluten-free seasonings (garlic, onion powder, Herbamare, dried parsley, etc.) in the covered rice cooker, push the button down, and wait for it to cook.  Sometimes I use
chicken stock instead of water, if I have some.  When it's done cooking, the rice cooker automatically changes to a "keep warm" setting, which is very handy if I'm not quite ready for it yet.  In the meantime, I take some cut vegetables like carrot slices, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, sliced zucchini, snow peas, etc. and put them in a hot frying pan with some pure olive oil and sauteed chopped garlic and onions.  I add a little salt, pepper, and Herbamare (a GF seasoning mix).  If I am feeling in the mood for Chinese food, and since I can't have soy, I use a little toasted sesame oil to add flavor.  I may even take a small amount of Azuki Bean Miso, Ume Plum Vinegar, and unrefined sesame oil, mix them together well, and sprinkle it all over the stir-fry veggies.  If I have some, I may add a few sesame seeds, as well.  The Asian flair is totally optional.  If you don't have the money for the special ingredients, the veggies will still taste fine with just the olive oil, garlic, onion, salt and pepper.  Eat the veggies on top of the rice.  Ifyou aren't allergic to soy, you can find GF soy sauce instead of making the miso flavoring.  All my kids love hot sauce, so they like to add Frank's hot sauce to their rice and veggies when I'm not using Asian flavors.
     I have made this stir fry without the onion, too, and it's still good.  My family loves Chinese, so I do try to make this with an Asian flair occasionally.  I paid almost $10 for my miso.  I can't remember how much I paid for the sesame oils, but I justify it by reasoning that we NEVER get to go to the Chinese restaurants anymore (something we used to try to do as a family a few times a year) which would cost a lot more than buying the ingredients and making the food myself.  I purchased the miso at a local health food store, but you can find it at for less than I paid.  It comes in a 16 oz. jar.  Since I only use about a tablespoon at a time, it seems to go pretty far and will last a very long time if kept in the refrigerator.  I figure that it costs about $50 for our family to go to the restaurant one time.  It costs less than that for me to purchase the miso, oils, and seeds which will give me many more meals than just the one time going out. 
     You can use some butter in your rice.  We use Soy Free Earth Balance since some of us don't (or can't) eat dairy. 

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