I have one older sister, and her name is Katie.
For the past 26 years, she’s been the consummate older sister: bossy, all-knowing and the director of my life. Literally, the director. Bored one summer afternoon, we decided to put on a recreation of the Disney movie, Aladdin, in our basement, and Katie, assuming both a starring role AND director of the play, forced me to be the step-stool onto which Abu the monkey jumps.
Not Abu himself. Not Jasmine. Not Aladdin. Not even the annoying parrot that sits on Jafar’s shoulder.
But growing up as the second of four girls, I always found Katie to be one annoying step better than me. She was Jafar; I was a step-stool. Our high school awarded her “Class Clown” senior year; I was awarded “Most Likely to be on a Reality TV Show” (let’s hope my peers were thinking more ‘Amazing Race’ and less ‘Flava Flav’). A figure skating coach immediately recruited her for competition; I continued to do basic crossovers huddled in the back corner of the rink.
Just a bit smarter. Just a bit funnier. Just a bit better at figure skating.
And then there was I, with a severe case of middle child syndrome.
However, at the mature and oh-so-wise age of 26, I now see that my childish fallacies of believing my older sister was better than me were completely unfounded. Neither of us is better…we are just different. Katie likes math; I’m not interested in numbers unless you can find them at the bottom of a Whole Foods receipt. I am the most impatient person I know; Katie works with 6th graders for a living. Get this…teaching them math!
But perhaps the biggest difference, I write a food blog, and while Katie enjoys eating food, she has no interest in photographing it, writing about it or cooking a meal that takes more than 20 minutes to make. She likes ham, cereal and Diet Coke. In that order, I am pretty sure.
When I got a long-awaited call last week from Katie FINALLY admitting she may be allergic to gluten (a protein found in wheat products), suddently I was the all-knowing one saying, “How long have I been telling you that you have Celiac’s Disease? For like three years now?”
Over the phone, I helped her navigate the grocery store. I listed good gluten-free products for her to buy. I suggested meal ideas. I told her what she should avoid (whole wheat, kamut, spelt, barley, rye) and what she should eat in abundance (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, potatoes, corn). Then she asked, “Holly, would you do a post on healthy gluten-free meals that won’t take me forever to make?”
Today, the middle sister gets to be the smart one.
5-Minute Carrot, Tomato & Kale Salad with Feta
2 cups kale
1/2 T olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 generous T crumbled feta
herbed sea salt + pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, massage kale, olive oil + lemon juice with your hands for several minutes until kale is slightly wilted and well-coated. Toss in cherry tomatoes, carrots, feta, salt + pepper. Mix well, and serve.
Makes 1 generous serving
And Katie…because I love you very very much, here are five more gluten-free recipes that will take you less than 20 minutes to make, are great reheated and will be delicious for lunch & dinner all school week long…
20-Minute Moroccan Chickpea Tagine (<- substitute brown rice or quinoa for couscous)
Cornmeal Quinoa Black Bean Patties (<- serve on a gluten-free bun or atop a salad)
Red Curry in a Hurry (<- omit tempeh + add rotisserie chicken instead)