By Charl Rae Cobb
As the icy winds blow us out of February into March, I look at the calendar and prepare the grocery list for some upcoming holidays. After the many recalls of spices and prepared foods from numerous companies who bravely alerted the public in February that their products had contact with peanuts among other allergens, I feel the need to celebrate something!
While I am not aware of any traditional recipes specific to Daylight Savings Time (March 8), it seems that “make ahead” breakfasts are designed with just such an occasion in mind. Waking to a warm breakfast of crockpot oatmeal sounds almost as delicious as sleeping in the extra 30 minutes that it would have taken me to prepare it before the rest of the family wakes. Or, I may just mix the oatmeal, fruit, and milk (rice milk for me) in bowls covered with plastic wrap stored in the ‘fridge to be popped in the microwave as each family member rises. This way I won’t have to clean the crockpot before going to church.
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) does bring some family favorites to mind. My husband may make the case that cabbage is the only “green” he will need to accompany his corned beef. However, he also enjoys garlic roasted brussel sprouts (also in the cabbage family, equally tasty, and loaded with iron, calcium, and vitamins) with calcannon, an Irish dish of potatoes, onions, and kale or cabbage cooked and mashed together. This filling meal provides warmth and comfort. Desserts are rarely requested after it, but I wouldn’t turn down an old-fashioned teacake (gluten and egg free, of course) and a cup of green tea.
The first day of spring (March 20) is a Friday and for many that means fish, saffron rice, and a fresh fruit salad or a completely vegetarian meal such as a lentil stew. Palm Sunday (March 29), however, already has my mouth watering for a well-cooked spaghetti squash (so easy and quick) drizzled with olive oil, garlic salt, and sprinkled with lemon basil (dried from our herb garden). Some may choose to add chopped ham, spaghetti sauce, and cheese. Wilted bok choy, chopped and tossed with thinly sliced onion is a delicious side when drizzled with minced garlic and a teaspoon or two of olive or avocado oil. This leaves room for a sweet treat after the meal.
Please note that these meals are easily made free of all the nine most common food allergens (cow milk, soy, egg, nuts, peanuts, wheat, fish, shellfish, and sesame), are generally diabetic friendly, and so may be shared by almost all gathered at the table. Rice milk and rice cheese can be substituted for cow milk and cheese. Chicken broth or olive oil generally provide less unhealthy cholesterol when substituted in place of butter in a recipe such as calcannon.
Good health from our family to yours!