Giving Thanks

I have anxiety at the table at holiday meals.  I have anxiety before even getting to the table for holiday meals.  When the focus is on consuming a variety of dishes of food, it brings a certain pressure that feels to me like a heavy load of lead sinking into my stomach.  Eating a variety of foods for me increases the risk of having a reaction, and I worry about ruining the holiday meal with an allergic reaction and possible trip to the hospital.  For me, holiday meals have become as much about making it through without causing a fuss as they are about enjoying a culinary tradition around a table with people I love.

That being said, I still get to sit around a table with people I love.

As a mental health counselor by trade and an optimist by heart, I believe that there is something for which each of us can be grateful, no matter the circumstances.  I may have heightened anxiety at the dinner table, and I may not be able to eat some of the old favorites, but I still have a lot of things for which I am thankful.  I’m thankful for my family, I’m thankful for my growing ability to cook, and I’m thankful to you for reading this.  Thank you for reading, for participating in this conversation, and for sharing your own food, love, and understanding with those around your table this Thursday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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Filed under Personal, Social issues

New York Times Well blog and my Autumn Quinoa

Two of my favorite things are the New York Times and my Autumn Quinoa recipe.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to combine both in a piece written for the NYT Well blog’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving series.  Here it is, if you’d like to check it out:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/20/vegetarian-thanksgiving-food-allergies-and-an-autumn-quinoa/?ref=health

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Electric tortilla press!

Okay everyone, I just have to share my latest exciting discovery: an electric tortilla press!

Several months ago I had an allergic reaction that was mild but still scary to encounter, and it was due to cross-contamination.  I found that my usual burrito/tortilla shells were now situated in the grocery store next to the brand new jalapeno shells, and I can only imagine that my new reaction might have been due to the shared equipment.  As a result, I started making my own tortillas.

I did not exactly have the knack for it.  I was covered in flour and perspiring a little from rolling out each tortilla.  And frustrated, with the delicate balance between undercooked and smoking tortillas.  After a few scorched attempts, I managed to get the process figured out, but even so it involved making the dough, rolling it out, carefully frying each one for the precise amount of time with a precise amount of oil on the stove… and this all before even making the stuffings for the burrito!  Since these burritos are a staple for travel and healthy lunches for me, I needed another solution.

And thanks to a little online searching and a wonderful birthday gift, the solution came my way.  The other night, I tried the electric tortilla press for the first time.  It was amazing.  Mix the dough: check.  Knead it a little and divide into equal, smaller balls of dough: check.  Place the dough in the center of the tortilla press and close the top to squish it out: check.  Hold it down until the escaping steam makes a funny-sounding squeal: check.  Raise the top lid to find a perfectly pressed tortilla ready to be filled with deliciousness: CHECK.

It was easy, quick and delicious!

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Filed under Cooking, The Kitchen