My Gluten-Free Sister

by Holly on September 6, 2011

in family,gluten-free,recipes

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.

A step-stool.

Coupled with the cruel taunting, you can imagine why I need therapy.

Kidding…sort of.

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!

I shudder.

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)

Asparagus &  Mushroom Frittata

Cornmeal Quinoa Black Bean Patties (<- serve on a gluten-free bun or atop a salad)

Make-Your-Own Quinoa Bowls

Red Curry in a Hurry (<- omit tempeh + add rotisserie chicken instead)


GItchie September 6, 2011 at 9:42 pm

I’m making this tomorrow. I’m actually sad I have to sleep because I want to make this now. Curse you grown up bed time!

Julia September 6, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Touche! (I’m an older sister and was known to be [ahem] bossy at one time or another but I’m totally over that now.)

Hoping the new diet makes your sis feel better pronto.

dana @ my little celebration September 6, 2011 at 10:25 pm

what a sweet [snarky] sister you are : )

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table September 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I am so in love with this post. And I’m sending it to my middle sister (I’m the oldest) who is sensitive to gluten.

Side note: Since I do know a lot of people with gluten allergies (and I’m a thoughtful and sensitive older sister), I started tagging my gluten-free recipe posts. ;)

Kathleen September 6, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Lovely post! Nothing quite like sisters hey. :) Haha I’m sorry I do find that hilarious that she made you the step-stool. Somehow I managed to get the role of watching to see when the video tapes were rewinded and ready to play, while my sister had the cookie/treat making role. WIN!

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga September 6, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Aside from some recent desserts in the past 6 mos or so, every single recipe on my site is GF. Desserts and otherwise.

Although I do eat gluten is limited amounts now, for 6+ yrs I was STRICTLY GF.

And really, I feel best when I don’t have any gluten but sometimes baking with a little bit of real flour just gives amazing results. Sort of like baking with real butter :) But I remember when I first went GF…I thought the world was ending. It was so over whelming!

I hope she’s doing ok!

Kathryn September 7, 2011 at 3:18 am

This salad looks awesome! I love the colours and it just shows that you don’t have to eat gluten to eat well.

Madeline - Greens and Jeans September 7, 2011 at 9:56 am

When Marshall and I were little we DEFINITELY put on Aladdin performances and Marshall was always the monkey and I played every other role. Total big sister.

Jessica @ Healthy Dairyland September 7, 2011 at 11:35 am

My little sister recently found out she has a gluten intolerance. Luckily it isn’t celiac, just an intolerance…but ugh. Gluten is in everything! Next time your sister is in Madison, you should take her to Silly Yak Bakery on Mineral Point. They have amazing GF donuts!

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List September 7, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Holly – My sister’s name is Katy. She’s always been just a little bit better at everything. She too teaches math (high school). I even think she only drinks Diet Coke. FREEAAKY!!

TracyP September 7, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I AM the older sister, and I still feel bad about the bossy way I acted. My sister’s favorite saying: “I already have a mother!”

amanda September 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm

you’re such a great sister for hooking katie up with some tasty dinners to accommodate her belly!

Uncle Tommie Timbertoes September 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm

OMG, too dang funny.

John September 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Thanks for sharing. Gluten is a problem for a lot of people.

Stephanie September 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

i recommend subbing in veggie “noodles” for regular ole pasta. not only do you get extra vitamins and flavor, but it’s super fast! just put them through the food processor, grater, or spinner/slicer and voila!

Megan (Braise the Roof) September 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Yum, that salad looks amazing. Kind of like something you’d find at a sushi joint (I’m sure it tastes nothing like it, but I’m clearly craving sushi). I love being able to help my older sister out with things. I used to be able to do that with nutrition, etc, but now she started her OWN blog…soooo, so much for that. :)

Sissy #1 September 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Woohoo! Thanks for some recipes! And thank you for not going into detail about my unwanted bowel movements aka allergy to gluten. And just so everyone knows, Holly is wayyy smarter than me. Scored higher on her ACTs, which totally is the number one indicator for smarts :)
And she is better at improv dance-line dancing.

Ps- I hate feta. ha

Hillary September 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm

1. I hear ya on the older sibling envy. My big brother is brilliant, witty, and has eyelashes that would make a supermodel envious (and he obviously doesn’t wear mascara. That I know of). But I love him nonetheless. (Love him? Hell, I idolize him).

2. Thank you for making gluten-free dishes that are easy and delicious. I don’t have Celiac’s, but several of my friends do, and I genuinely enjoy sharing new recipes and ideas with them. They’ll love these.

Liz @ iheartvegetables September 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm

My brother and I are super different too! But he never made me be a step stool ;) haha

Lauren September 8, 2011 at 10:34 am

Tell her to stop by my blog… I’m gluten free too and cook some pretty tasty stuff, even baked goods. Does she bake? :) I’m the youngest sister and I have many stories of my dominating, overachieving, smart, going to be a doctor, beautiful older sister… who I LOVE dearly!

She once made me ski down a black diamond grades ski slop when we were just supposed to be doing a cross country route. It took me 3.5 hours to scoot down the thing on my butt, crying the entire time! And everyone wonders why I hate to ski…. this would be it!!

Tamar September 8, 2011 at 11:17 am

My mom is intolerant to gluten, so I’m always looking for new recipes to make at her house- if your sister likes ham: sweet potatoes, spinach, ham and black beans sauteed over rice is one of my favorite combos ever.

I am also a middle child. I hear ya.

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