2012 marks a hallmark birthday year for a very dear friend so this blog post is dedicated to Akhila – an Allergy Foodie supporter from Day 0!
We met as wide eyed teens in our Freshman year of college – Akhila and I. She – the graceful beauty charmed us all with her soft-spoken demeanor and haunting eyes. We belonged to the same group of friends…partied together, got into mischief and so much more. The last vivid memory I had of her was that of a bashful, happy bride in the final semester of college. After that, we parted ways sure that we would never meet again.
Years rolled by and Mark Zuckerberg re-introduced us at a Facebook party 🙂 It was so much fun reconnecting as adults and the non-stop girl-talk forged a bond between us that had never existed before. She patiently listened to my many woes especially when it came to my challenges with food allergies. She has always been amongst the first few to support me in all my initiatives – she was one of the first to contribute to my annual FAAN walk for food allergy, she was one of the first subscribers to my blog and to my Facebook page, she was also one of my many friends who diligently voted every single day for 3 weeks to ensure that AllergyFoodie.org earned a spot on the Top 25 food allergy mom blogs organized by Circle of Moms and so much more. But I am most thankful to her for one precious gift she continues to give everyday – she keeps egging me on to take baby steps towards my goals. Thanks to that, not only this blog but I as a person have survived some of the toughest challenges life has presented me with.
One of my favorite memories with her was when she made the effort to visit me in New Jersey all the way from North Carolina. Laughter, tears and memories reigned the day – a memorable meet after 17 loooong years 🙂 Since then we have taken a trip together to India to meet all our college friends and hope to take many more in the years to come…
This dish is dedicated to her because she has embraced a healthy lifestyle with so much passion that I am sure she will love this simple but elegant dish. It also features one of my and my son’s favorite vegetables – spinach. It is packed with fiber, iron and proteins and the mild spices will make your tummy do a happy jig. Presenting…‘Allergy Friendly Sautéed Spinach with Mung Beans’
- Chopped Baby Spinach: 1 box (1/2 lb)
- Mung Bean (split and hulled): 1/4 cup
- Cumin Seeds: 1/2 tsp
- Grated Fresh Ginger: 1 tsp (optional)
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Wash and soak the mung bean in water for 1/2 an hour.
- Heat the oil in a wide saucepan on low to medium flame.
- Add the cumin seeds and grated fresh ginger and stir till they brown slightly.
- Add the chopped spinach, mung beans and salt. Stir and close the saucepan. Keep stirring the mixture every 3-4 minutes. Cook it till the spinach wilts completely – approximately 10 minutes.
- Serve it as a side dish, as an accompaniment to rice or gluten free tortillas or even in a sandwich!
- Use frozen or regular spinach. I am just partial to tender and fresh baby spinach but spinach is healthy in all its forms!
- Substitute mung beans with any other allergy friendly bean/lentil/vegetable like peas, potatoes, corn etc.
- Sautee 1 crushed garlic along with the ginger for another flavor dimension.
Akhila – wishing you life as vibrant and healthy as spinach. May you always have a reason to smile dear friend. Allergy Foodie and I are seeing a better day today in large part because of your support through the years. Through our shared secrets, disagreements and laughter a beautiful friendship was born…thank you!