Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fruitful Christmas Fun

Who says that Christmas food can't be fun for those with multiple, severe food allergies?!  Certainly not me!

I found these ideas on and couldn't wait to share them:

This really has my imagination going!  I can't wait to see what kinds of trees I can make this Christmas.  How about you?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pumpkin-Shaped Dduk

Nothing is more fun than serving up an allergy-free pumpkin patch for your little ones to enjoy.  I made this little patch of Pumpkin-Shaped Dduk and "planted" it in a bento box. 
It was a very fun fall treat!

Pumpkin-Shaped Dduk

1/2 C rice flour
1/8 C sugar
1/8 t salt
1 T mango juice
3/4 t black cherry unsweetened Kool-Aid *
1t lime Jello
5 T hot water
  1. Place first three ingredients in a small bowl and stir.
  2. Remove 2 T of dry mix and set aside.
  3. Add mango juice and stir again. 
  4. Add Kool-Aid 1/4 t at a time, mixing until the desired orange-toned color is achieved.
  5. Once you have achieved the desired color, add hot water, 1 T at a time, until the mix forms a dry ball.
  6. Knead the dough and set aside.
  7. Now, add lime Jello to the dry mix that we set aside earlier.
  8. Stir hot water, 1 t at a time, into the lime Jello mixture until the mix begins to clump.
  9. Knead the dough and set aside.
  10. Allow the dough to rest at room temp for at least 5 minutes.  This lets the rice flour "bloom".
  11. When ready to shape pumpkins, turn orange dough onto a silpat.
  12. Taking a small amount of dough, form a ball by rolling the dough in your hands.  You may need a little water on your fingertips to keep the dough from sticking. But, be careful not to use too much or the dough will get too soft. 
  13. Gently push down on the top and bottom center of your ball to form a small indention for your "stem".
  14. Using a chopstick, make indentions around the sides of the pumpkin to form the ridges on a pumpkin's skin.
  15. As shapes are formed, place them in a glass "bento" box such as from Pyrex, LockNLock, or GlassLock.
  16. Once the pumpkins are made, it is time to make the stems, leaves, stems and green "baby" pumpkins.
  17. The baby pumpkins are made in the same way as the larger pumpkins, only using smaller portions of dough.
  18. To form the stems, make a thin "snake" and cut off a tiny piece.  Place the piece at the center of your "pumpkins".
  19. For the vines,  make long "snakes".  Twist the "snakes" around your finger or a chopstick to make coils and lay the "vines" on their pumpkins.
  20. For leaves, you should use your fingers to flatten a very small piece of dough.  Pinch one end of the dough to make a tear-drop or leaf shape.  Use your chopstick to make indentions for the leaf's veins.
  21. Once you have arranged your pumpkin patch in your bento box, cover the box with a piece of wet paper towel.
  22. Place the bento in the microwave and cook 30 seconds at a time until done.  The dough should not be hard but it should resist when gently touched.
  23. When ready, remove the dduk from the microwave using hot pads.
  24. Allow rice cakes to cool then cover tightly with plastice wrap.

NOTE: Rice cakes do not keep well. You should eat them the same day.

* Black Cherry unsweetened Kool-Aid is the only mix without a corn product.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thank you may not be enough

Today, in the US, we recognize the sacrifices of our veterans.  As many of us take a break from school and work, please take a moment to remember those who give, and who have given, so much for us.

Sesame Street made a video to support military families as they make their adjustments home.  While this video will surely support those families, I also think that it shows us depth of the sacrifices made on our behalf.  Take a moment and watch this wonderful Sesame Street video, "Meet Elmo and Louie".
Then, say a prayer for those who serve in our military and the families that support them at home.

We may never fully understand all that they have done and the impact that it has on their individual lives.  But, as we stop our lives in their honor, let us reach out to those who serve and give them more than a thank you.  Give a hug to the vets visiting nearby monuments.  Take dinner to the elderly veteran who has no one to visit.  Listen to the stories of the homeless person who served and is still suffering. Babysit the kids of the family down the street whose wife is returning from service and whose husband has been holding things together.  Send dessert to the table of the military family eating across the room from you.  Whatever you do today, take time today to show love to those families who give so much for you.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Is your bear prepared?

Today was "Bring Your Bear to School Day" for my little one.  As we discussed which bear could safely go to school, come home and be washed, my angel informed me that her bear was not yet ready to go to school.  You see, this little bear has food allergies and never been to school before.  Our bear has never been away from its mommy and may not remember all that it should to stay safe.  This fact was of great concern for my angel and she knew that it was her job to prepare her little bear to face the world.

After arriving home, my angel went straight to work teaching her little bear what it needs to know before going to school.  Here is what she recommended:
  • Do not take foods from others.
  • Wash your hands before you eat and after you touch something dangerous or play on the playground.
  • Tell your teacher if you need help or feel strange.
  • Always ask if something is safe before you touch it.
  • Never, ever take off your medical emergency bracelet.
I thought that this advice was pretty sound and just enough for one little bear to manage.

Allergic angels are so responsible, even at a young age.   Throughout any given day, children with allergies must think about things that most of us never give a second thought.  Every action, new sensation and interesting object must be scrutinized before they are free to play like a kid.  But, with our help, these angels learn to do this with ease and grace.

I am proud of my angel.  She is raising a responsible little bear who will be ready to face the challenges ahead.  Our little bear is ready for school and can now focus on what really matters.... growing up!