Happy Spring Good Friends!
Happy Spring Good Friends!
What’s blooming in your neck of the woods? I just took a walk in the park and marveled at the new rose blossoms. Made me want to run back home and open all the doors and windows to let the spring breezes in.
You too? On my spring cleaning list is to pay special attention to sills and thresholds, which can be overlooked in the winter and muddy days of early spring. You can get the whole family into the effort.
There are lots of ways to clean with kids and to teach them the value of hearth and home and working together. It’s a Bon Ami tradition that you can pass on. Check out our cleaning tip below for a fun family cleaning game that everyone can win.
And while you’re cleaning up your space, remember to check your cleaning tools. Household cleansers with harmful chemicals are the #1 cause of indoor pollution. No one needs any of that. Bon Ami makes cleaning products that contain familiar ingredients, things you recognize and might even find in your pantry.
Spring is also a good time to clean up your cooking. Our Friend of a Friend this season in Beth Hillson, food editor of Living Without Magazine and author of Gluten Free Makeover. Beth knows a thing or two about healthy eating, and we present an interview with her and one of her delicious recipes, just right for a sunny spring brunch or evening with friends.
P.S. We’ll give away a copy of Beth’s cookbook to one lucky randomly selected member of our Bon Ami Good Friends Group. Make sure you’re a member, and tell your friends to join!
Friend of a Friend - Beth Hillson
Here at Bon Ami we like to say “We’re sensitive and proud of it!” But as many of you know, it’s not always easy to be sensitive. This season we’re proud to introduce you to Beth Hillson, who has worked hard to make being sensitive more easy—and more delicious!
Beth is the founder of Gluten-Free Pantry and food editor of Living Without, an exciting cooking magazine for people with food allergies and sensitivities. Just browsing one issue, you’ll find many healthy and delicious recipes to revive your cooking passion.
We caught up with her as she was preparing the next edition of the magazine, and releasing her first cookbook, Gluten-Free Makeovers (Da Capo Press 2011) .
Tell Us Your Story of Healing from Celiac Disease
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease twice: once as a child and a second time in 1976 as a young adult. The first time I was on a restricted diet (mostly bananas). No one mentioned gluten and, after 4 years, I was told I was cured. Now we know that’s not true. Removing gluten (wheat, rye, and barley) is the only treatment for celiac disease and it’s a lifelong commitment. The gluten-free diet made all the difference in the world. I felt like a new woman after just two weeks. But maintaining the diet was and continues to be challenging. In order to enjoy my favorite foods, I have to make them over. I’ve learned to substitute gluten-free ingredients in all my favorite recipes. This is how the cookbook came about. In addition, the magazine is dedicated to recreating delicious foods that are safe for a gluten and dairy-free diet. Every time I create a new food or dish and get to taste it, I feel so gratified and appreciative.
Why are the Number of People Food Sensitivities Increasing?
It’s estimated that 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease, although most have yet to be diagnosed. An additional 12 million people suffer from one of the eight major food allergens according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. That includes wheat, soy, dairy, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts and peanuts. Most recently, medical researchers at leading celiac centers believe that an additional 18 to 20 million people have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. These are people who have discomfort when they ingest gluten but do not have the life-threatening auto-immune component that occurs with celiac disease. There are several leading theories about this huge increase in people with food sensitivities. (1) Increased awareness and better screening methods. (2) In the case of food allergies, the delay in introducing foods seems to be causing rather than reducing these allergies. (3) Genetic modifications in our crops, primarily soy, wheat and corn, seem to have contributed to this rise.
What Lessons can People Without Food Sensitivities Learn From People who do have them?
People who can eat everything often do. People with food sensitivities are mindful of what they eat because of necessity. However, we also must avoid many processed foods and that leads us to make healthier choices. When I shop, for instances, I mostly stay in the outside aisles of the supermarket – buying vegetables, fruits, meats and fish. I supplement with small portions of gluten-free breads and an occasional sweet treat.
What Is your Favorite Bon Ami Product?
I love the original cleanser. My grandmother used it and now I use it. It’s my good friend (literally)!
Find out more about Beth Hillson on her website, Living Without.
Start the Spring off in a healthy direction with this delicious recipe from Gluten-Free Makeover. Made with the protein-rich grain quinoa and fresh vegetables, it’s not only gluten free, it’s guilt free too!
Toasted Quinoa Oriental Pilaf
Makes 4 to 6 servings
¼ cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained well
2 tablespoons orange juice
2-1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted (dark) sesame oil
1 teaspoon peeled grated ginger
2 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
¾ cup mixed vegetables, optional, such as cubed steamed carrots, roasted asparagus, slivered sautéed snow peas
The nutty flavor of quinoa blends well with these Asian flavors. Serve this as a side dish with fish and chicken or, for a complete meal, add 1 cup cubed, cooked chicken to the quinoa after it cooks. This pilaf makes great leftovers. Enjoy cold or reheated briefly in the microwave.
Toast the almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, toast the quinoa over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and golden, stirring frequently. Add the orange juice. Stir the broth and salt into the quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 to 17 minutes.
Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and green onions together in a bowl. Pour over the quinoa and stir to mix. Return to a simmer. Fold in the vegetables, if using, and add the toasted almonds. Serve warm.
My local fabric store, Stonemountain and Daughter, really has my number. They display fat quarters of their most popular quilting fabrics in an irresistible way. I’m like a kid in a candy store and want all of them. I certainly have more fat quarters than I have time to quilt with. As a consequence, I have a growing collection of these beauties. Sound familiar? Here’s a quick project to help you use up your stash. This is just the kind of project my mom worked on with me when I was eight or nine years old. You might think about passing on the sewing bug to your son or daughter (and who knows? Maybe they will use the wrap for a nice Mother’s Day gift!).
A fat quarter is half a yard of fabric, cut in half. The resulting piece is about 18 inches by 22 inches—enough for some bright spots in a quilt, but not enough for many projects. Here’s one that uses the whole fat quarter.
Fold the fat quarter in half, with right sides touching. You can fold it to make your wrap longer or wider, your choice. Pin the long sides of your rectangle together. Then pin one of the short sides. If your fabric has a one-way directional print, pin the top short side, and leave the bottom one unseamed.
Stitch around the two pinned sides with a ¼ inch seam. Trim the sewn corners. The turn the rectangle right side out, and carefully press the to sewn edges.
Place the piece on your ironing board top-side down. Carefully make diamond top edge with side seams touching in the center as shown.
Press. Turn a one-inch fold at the points and bring the front and back triangles together. Press. Cut a two-inch piece of coordinating ribbon to act as button catch, and pin it in place.
Starting at the bottom center, top stitch all the way around.
Fold the bottom edge of the piece 1/3 of the way up and top stitch again along the folded sides.
Fold the top over the bottom, but do not sew. Sew a showcase button in place. A button is symbolic of friendship, and that’s what this gift wrap is all about!
Have each family member choose a different entry way or window to clean. Pay a little extra attention to trinkets and dust that may have accumulated. Take a few minutes to clear the sill and clean it with Bon Ami All-Purpose Cleanser. Then carefully clean the odds and ends you’ve found. How many are treasures, and how many are things you can let go of? Recycle or Free-Cycle* those you don’t need.
*Free-cycle is a national trend of giving away the things you no longer want to others who may find great use for them. Check out www.freecycle.org to find out if there’s a FreeCycle group in your area.