Category Archives: Food

PPDhealthday

Preschool Playdate: Health Day

Playdate: April 7, 2016
Theme Inspired by World Health Day

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Print your own posters HERE

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme: used the posters from WHO to introduce the two aspects of diabetes prevention: eating well and staying active. Also used some food pictures to introduce the idea of “sometime” and “anytime” foods.
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity – part of storytime!! You have to download the book :)
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers – ^^^ :)

The story and the activities were all from THIS great health website, offered in conjunction with Sesame Street.

STORYTIME:
This is a downloadable book from the above link.  The sweet peas had fun playing along with Elmo as we talked about Sometime and Anytime foods, and activities that are good for a healthy lifestyle.

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Print your own book HERE – look for the link on the right side for the “Get Healthy Now Show”

LITERACY:
I chose the literacy activity to reinforce the “eat healthy” concept.  We emphasized letter recognition in this sorting game. Sweet Peas would look at the food card, then name the item and tell the first letter of that word. Then they would sort the food into the correct cup. I prints the food group names in bold letters. Next time we do this I will be sure to underline the starting letter.

This was a good reinforcement of the position concept we worked on last week.
image2 (1)Find and print your own sorting activity HERE

MATH:
I chose the math activity to reinforce the “be active” concept. This was a fun way to do math and get the sweet peas moving. First they rolled the die that showed the physical activity. Then they rolled the number die to find out how many times to do that action.
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Find and print your own cubes HERE

DISCOVERY:
We used our Touch+Feel box for today’s activity. I chose bumpy and smooth produce so that we could also do some sorting. The activity was to reach into the box and see if they could figure out what they were holding without looking inside. These kind of sensory activities are so beneficial for little ones!! Plus, they all had fun sorting! We also talked about all the heart healthy “anytime” foods and the “sometimes” snack in the box.
image4Find the instructions for the “Mystery Food Box” HERE

ARTS+CRAFTS:
This activity emphasized the sometime/anytime concept introduced in the book.  I thought it made a great distinction that we will continue using with our sweet peas so that there is less of a struggle when we say “no” – it’s okay to say no because we all agree it is a “sometime” food. Sometime foods are fatty, sugary, or salty…so we only eat them sometimes. Isn’t that great?

For today’s craft, we made good use of all the circulars that come in the mail!! We had some pre-cut food pictures ready, plus some complete circulars and scissors for the older Sweet Peas that wanted to cut out their own pictures. Once they picked out some pictures, they sorted their foods into “sometime” (fatty, sugary, salty) and “anytime” groups and made a collage to take home.
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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards

This week the fun activity was making the anytime/sometime food chart. I even got a picture of a sweet pea enjoying her chart in her play kitchen after playdate…so glad that these ideas resonated!!

SPFMarch17

Gluten-Free: Legoland California

We have been on break from Preschool Playdates for Spring vacation.  We will start up our Playdate recaps again next week when I share all the fun we are having today as we celebrate Ireland.  This whole month is Irish-American Heritage month…so even if you are a little late to catch the St. Patrick’s Day theme, you can celebrate the Irish all month long.

Last week, I showed you how we did gluten-free at Disney California Adventure Park.  Today I am going to share the second part of our California trip in Carlsbad, CA.

We have a Lego problem at our house…as I imagine happens to many families who have children that are constantly playing with these little building blocks, they hardly ever turn down the opportunity to play with Legos.  A whole park full of Legos and Lego-themed activities?? YES, PLEASE!!  Every year we go, at least one child asks when we are going to move in…

Anyway, I digress.  Here was another park that went above and beyond to assuage my anxieties over the phone before we visited the first time.  After a successful first trip, by which I mean we could feed our children in the park without having anyone get sick, we have made it a regular stop on our visits to Southern California.

The third year we went back, we were also able to stay and enjoy the Legoland Hotel.  They have the same policy as the Disney parks: the head chef will come out and talk to us.  They listen to what our food allergies are, take us on the tour of the buffet to show us what is and isn’t safe for our family, and then they can also prepare gluten-free items that are not out on the buffet.  For breakfast, the extra gluten-free items are muffins and gluten-free bread; for dinner it is macaroni-and-cheese and brownies.

Even with the items that are prepared in the kitchen, there is plenty to eat out on the buffet.  We get up early enough that I was able to take pictures of breakfast choices…dinner is too crazy, and I am too self-conscious to run around with my phone snapping photos when it’s busy.  Since there are no photos, I’ll tell you that at dinner there are plenty of gluten-free protein, grain, and vegetable items to choose from – you will not leave hungry anytime you eat at the hotel buffet.

It just so happens that one of our favorite areas to hang out also has all the gluten-free food available restaurants we like.  Castle Hill is home to Castle Burgers, where they will do gluten-free hamburger buns, Knight’s Smokehouse BBQ that has salads and GF meats and sides, and Granny’s Apple Fries, hands-down our favorite snack pretty much anywhere on earth.

(See a map of the resort HERE)

Although we have never eaten there, there is a salad and sandwich restaurant where we might be able to eat at Pirate Shores.  We are usually in that area at the end of the day getting wet, so it has never been on our lunch stop.  The other place we have gotten food that is safe and yummy is at Wok N’ Bowl Raman, which used to be part of Duplo Funtown. That part of the park has been redesigned and updated to be the Lego Friends Heartlake City.

Although we couldn’t stay as long as we usually do this year (only one day of apple fries – boo hoo!), we had an awesome time at the park and at the hotel. They do offer different hotel pricing for peak times and off-times, so go if you can swing it!! The themed rooms are amazing (we may or may not have gotten a sneak peek at the new Friends room – squee!), the play area is every Lego aficionados dream – parent and child alike can be found building to their heart’s content.

So here is a visual tour of some of the food we enjoyed while we were on our Legoland California trip.

BREAKFAST

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Gluten-free items on the children’s buffet: sausage, tater tots, fruit This bar is just the right height for a child to serve themselves.

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The oatmeal is gluten-free. Potentially, the grits may be – if you eat grits, you can confirm with the chef.

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Hot cereal fixings on the right; yummy lox and all the fixings on the left: lox, tomatoes, lemon, capers, onions, hard boiled eggs, cream cheese – Oh My Yum!!

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Fresh Mango and Berry smoothies are blended up every morning.

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Breakfast potatoes and vegetable selections are gluten-free.

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Omelet and egg station – made to order!

SNACKS IN THE PARK

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Fresh fruit and gluten-free fruit snack options.

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lucy’s gluten-free cookies!!!

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Fresh apples

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Potato chips

http://Gluten-free gummy fruit snacksIMG_4943

LUNCH

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Salad, vegetable fries, and corn-on-the-cob. In all fairness, I didn’t ask about the vegetable fries – check first if you have celiac disease!! Mine is just a sensitivity after eating gluten-free for the last 8 years so that the Sweet Peas don’t feel isolated or alone in their allergy.

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Gluten-free hamburger+hamburger bun; fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer

DINNER

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Macaroni-and-cheese – Puma declares that this is the best mac-n-cheese in the world.

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Gluten-Free: Disney California Adventure Park

Our older Sweet Peas got to dance at Disney California Adventure on March 5th with their dance school, Talent Factory based in Tempe, Arizona. It is always such a great day for our family.  We go in early and stay as late as the collective Sweet Peas can handle. Sometimes we close down the park; this year they were toast by 8:00 pm.  Then again, they rode more rides than ever before, so they were definitely tired out!!

The first time we did this “field trip” with their dance school, I was freaking out about feeding our gluten-free children at the park.  What could they eat? Where could they eat? Wouldn’t the opportunity for cross-contamination be theme-park proportioned?!?

Instead of continuing to freak out, I made a phone call to the park. After a few minutes on the phone with one of the park’s dining reservations specialist, my mama bear was able to calm down.

1.) You can bring your own snacks.

2.) There are gluten-free dining options in the parks.

3.) A chef will come out and personally take your order and prepare the food themselves. They will give you a run down of the menu items that suit your allergy. (They have been able to accommodate gluten, dairy, and nut allergies for our family.) They take care to avoid cross-contamination.

4.) Our children have never gotten sick after spending a day in the park and eating at Disney restaurants.

In the past, we have enjoyed Ariel’s Grotto and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta (overviews HERE). An annual family favorite is Wine Country Trattoria. We first ate there as part of the World of Color ticket; and have returned for lunch even when we don’t have to eat there for the Color show.

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Image Source: Disney.disney.go.com

This is the first year when our server took our order and we never saw the chef. Nonetheless, she was versed in the gluten-free menu, took our order, and adjusted it accordingly so that our gluten-free kids only ate gluten-free foods.  They also have amazing gluten-free rolls!! Puma and Night Owl ate them heartily!

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My Cuattro Pomodoro with micro-greens and gluten-free spaghetti

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Puma’s penne pasta with butter and shaved parmesan, and one of the amazing gluten-free rolls

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NIght Owl had the bolognese with gluten-free spaghetti and shaved parmesan

Another “safe’ place for gluten-free families to get some snacks is Mortimer’s Market.  They feature several different options for fresh fruits and vegetables, and they also offer hummus. There are no gluten-free crackers in the hummus pack, but you could dip the carrots and celery in the hummus, or BYOGFC 😉

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Say hello to Khanh for us – he was very nice and knew lots of Disney trivia!!

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Night Owl with his favorite – red delicious apples!! We asked – a lot of the produce is locally sourced – yeah, Disney!!

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Fruit is naturally gluten-free: this case had watermelon, mango, and pineapple on ice. So refreshing on a hot day!

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More good options: carrots+celery, hummus, pickles, grapes, apples+caramel

We continue to be impressed with the amount of options and the level of consideration offered to families that travel in spite of their food allergies. I generally have anxiety about traveling with our family, and we pack A TON of snacks for the car/hotel because God-forbid we get stranded somewhere, without a place to feed the sweet peas! (I’m kind of kidding, but I’m not – my allergy-mama tribe feels me, right?)

It is nice to just enjoy the park and not be completely obsessed or over-anxious about all the ways they might get sick from accidental ingestion or cross-contamination.  It’s safe to say that we will continue to participate in this trip and enjoy our fun-day at the park!

We will see what next year will bring – we found out that Otter loves roller-coasters…maybe she will be tall enough to try out some Disney screamers next year!! And then God only knows how late we will be staying in 2017 😉

For more gluten-free Disney 411 check out these posts:

TOP 10 Gluten-Free Options from Chip and Co. blog

Eating Gluten-Free in Disneyland from the Disney Food Blog

 

LODGING: On a side-note, we stayed at the Embassy Suites Anaheim South. They offer complimentary breakfast every morning…our kiddos enjoyed krispy rice cereal, eggs, oatmeal, omelettes, breakfast potatoes, fresh fruit and lots of bacon!! They even offered almond milk, although none of our kiddos drink it, if I had read the menu under “beverages” I could have had some (decaf!) coffee.

Here is a sample of their children’s grill menu available for lunch or dinner. We tried both the gluten-free pizza and the gluten-free pasta – both were good. They don’t have gluten-free hamburger or hot dog buns, so Night Owl had his hot dogs without buns both evenings. I watched him for a reaction (sometimes hot dogs have fillers even when the menu says “all beef”) but he didn’t have a reaction. Phew!

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TuesTipNov17

Tuesday Tip: Favorite Mac+Cheese Recipe

I love it when our Sweet Peas get involved in the kitchen and meal planning.  Night Owl’s reading skills have exploded over the last few months. I found myself sitting with him at the kitchen table on Saturday night, reading through Catherine McCord’s Weelicious cookbook, definitely one of our favorites.

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Next to a chicken finger recipe he wants to try, we found THIS gem of a recipe. At it’s most basic, it’s a four-ingredient dish, and it doesn’t require any extra prep* outside of measuring the ingredients.

What’s to love:

  • It’s easy to make gluten-free and vegetarian by substituting ingredients
  • It takes 35 minutes from start to finish
  • Easy clean-up: the rice cooker container + 3 measuring cups
  • It’s a crowd pleaser!
  • A child can prep it by themselves and proudly tell the family, “I made dinner!”

How we made it work for our family:

  • We used gluten-free pasta – the Trader Joe’s penne pasta held up really well and also reheated well
  • We used a vegetable broth instead of the beef broth called for in the recipe
  • We cut the salt
  • We subbed whole milk for rice milk
  • We did actually use a real shredded cheese mix from Costco :)

Night Owl and I made it on Saturday evening, and served it with a side of 4-bean chili (another fave Weelicious recipe HERE) that I defrosted from the freezer. YUM!!!

I decided to try it again on Sunday to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.  Yes, it’s a legitimate win!! We are adding this to our roster of regulars.

As a bonus, I was able to steam broccoli to serve on the side in the steamer portion of the rice cooker while the mac+cheese recipe was cooking. It didn’t get overly cooked since there is not a lot of water to convert to steam in the cooking process – most of it was absorbed by the pasta in the cooker.

I hope you and your Sweet Peas will enjoy this recipe as much as we did! Leave me a comment and let me know if you try it, and if you made any adjustments that worked for your family!

*P.S. We usually make our own vegetable broth…if you make your own broth, then that would be a prep step! Since I was too impatient to defrost a freezer bag of veggie broth, we used store-bought this time.  Next time we make this, I will pull a bag of broth out of the freezer in the morning :)

Preschool Playdate: Johnny Appleseed

We hosted a playdate in honor of Johnny Appleseed (née John Chapman) close to one of two “Johnny Appleseed Days” recognized in the calendar year.  One day is observed on his birthday (September 26, 1774), the other on the anniverary of his death (March 18, 1845).

How we start our playdates:
— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

STORY TIME
We have a wonderful book about Johnny Appleseed from our Sonlight readers. Unfortunately, the text is too advanced for our preschools. So I improvised! I pulled together some highlights about Johnny Appleseed that went along with the beautiful two-page illustrations that are in this book. A toddler version of Johnny Appleseed’s life was born!  Puma helped by reading out the text while I turned to the marked pages.

Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend; Written and Illustrated by Will Moses

Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend; Written and Illustrated by Will Moses

LITERACY CENTER
This was another week where I came up with my own idea for our letter center. Since “apple” is a common vocabulary word, I decided to work in the word and the letters that comprise the word, in addition to working in the colors of the apples the children would be tasting at the Discovery Table.  This also had a tactile sensory component – the letters were different shapes, sizes and textures.  I purposely made the two vowels with a red background to set them apart from the consonants.  (Microsoft Word for Mac; Century Gothic Font; Outline option in the Font menu)

Level 1: Sorting and Sound Identification
If the child is still working on letter recognition, they can play at this center by sorting the letters into the correct bowl.  As the letters are sorted, parents can reinforce the sound that the letter makes: “A says aah”; “E says eeh”; etc.

Level 2: Identifying Uppercase and Lowercase
The next step in this center would be to add in the concept of “uppercase” and “lowercase”, and identify them as they are sorted into the bowls.

Level 3: Spelling
For our advanced toddlers and the older siblings: the third option was to find the letters and place them in order to spell the word “apple”.  The older siblings could look at the word for 30 seconds; then turn over the card; find the right letters and place them on the table; and then check their spelling by turning the card right side up for self-correction or confirmation that they spelled the word “apple” correctly.

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MATH CENTER
This center reinforced counting concepts in English and in Spanish.  The front of the card was printed with an apple.  On the back side, I wrote out the number and the word in Spanish. I made these with an apple image I found online; fit them onto a “table” in a Word document, and printed them on cardstock. Final step was to cover them with clear contact paper so they would be more durable.

Level 1: Counting
A parent could simply take as many apples as the child could count, maybe add one more; and place the apples out on the table as they counted. Aside from teaching the order of the numbers, it reinforces 1-to-1 correspondence (more about that HERE).

Level 2: Ordering
A parent could use the reverse side, scramble the order, and have the child place them in the correct order.  Younger toddlers might need the parent to call the number out for them; more advanced kiddos could order them independently.

Level 3: Memory Game
Using two sets of cards, parents could lay them out and play a memory game with their child.  You could use as many cards as your child can remember placements.  For a toddler just learning the concept of “Memory”, maybe you would play with six cards, finding the pairs for 1-3.  With an older child, you might use the whole set of 1-6 pairs; or anything in between according the child’s interest and attention span.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
This idea was pulled from The Toddler Calendar.  Their activity included tasting raw apples, and apples cooked with cinnamon and sugar.  Since we wanted to keep it simple and avoid any possible allergies, we stuck to raw and dehydrated apples.  We offered red, yellow, and green varieties.  There were not many pieces left on the plates at the end of our playdate; and I think we even refilled the yellow and the green!

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
I always enjoy using natural objects in art.  For today’s craft, I cut off the end of a carrot and pared opposite ends to form the shape of an apple.  Children could dip it in red paint or green ink to print apples on their paper.

The other neat thing to show the children was how the center of an apple has a star shape.  Some of the apples even had a six-point shape at the core! I learned something new, too!  Lastly, we pulled out the seeds, and the children had the option to glue the seeds to their art projects.

As we showd them the seeds, we talked about how those same seeds could be planted to grow into big trees, that in turn could grow more yummy apples for them to eat.

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Here is the letter on cardstock; children printed and pasted on the letter "A" to reinforce the beginning letter sound.

Here is the letter on cardstock; children printed and pasted on the letter “A” to reinforce the beginning letter sound.

We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.  Otherwise, the kiddos and parents that don’t have to leave stay and play until the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives.

I hope you enjoyed our tour through our Johnny Appleseed Day! I think the most fun for me was watching the kiddos explore all the tastes of the different apples, and seeing them enjoy food they had never tried before.

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To get two hearts out of the same round, start by placing the wedge of the shape cutter over the stem of the apple.

Monday Musings: No-Candy Valentine’s Day

As I promoted my “No Sweets” post on Instagram, an interesting comment thread ensued.  In it, a discussion about how a grandchild requested a candy-free Valentine’s Day because he wants to pursue a healthier lifestyle, and a grandmother who was greatly offended and who intends to ignore/refuse his request.

It got me thinking…how would I honor this request if one of our children asked for this? In fact, how could we do a low-sweet, non-commercial candy (chemical sh**storm) Valentine’s Day?

So here is our plan:

1.  We are going to purchase fruits that can be cut with heart-shaped cookie cutters.  So far, we are up to kiwis, mango, pineapple, melons, bananas, and apples.  HERE is a way we have prepared apples before.  We may bake those, and do the rest raw…although I have heard that grilling pineapple is delicious, too.

2. For the ones that are prone to discoloration (bananas for sure, maybe the raw apples), we are going to roll them in organic cocoa powder.  THIS is the one we used for Christmas that we plan on using again (no affiliate links in this post – feel free to click).

3.  We are going to make our own chocolate dipped strawberries and kiwi pops – jury is still out on which organic chocolate I have the heart to melt – definitely NOT my Wei of Chocolate stash.  I’ll probably go with the Enjoy Life brand if I don’t find anything else.  HERE is a great how-to video on coating fruit with chocolate.  We use Spectrum Palm Shortening instead of coconut oil because coconut is another food we avoid due to allergies for the Sweet Pea Kids.

BLOG ww140514 spf.44. Last on our list, we are going to make a gluten-free, more natural version of THIS brownie recipe from the book Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.  The recipe calls for adding in carrot and spinach purees along with the chocolate and sugar…YUM.  Besides replacing the flour with my favorite GF blend from Bob’s Red Mill, we do not use cooking sprays or margarine in our home.  We’ll adjust as needed and bake from there!

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

So while it isn’t going to be a no-sweet or chocolate-free for us, I appreciate the comment thread because it got me thinking about how we can have a gluten-free, non-commercial candy celebration.  It isn’t convenient, that is for sure, however, some of these things can be made ahead and frozen (kiwi pops, brownies) so that the work is spread out over a few days instead of one big day and night of preparation the day before St. Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Find us over on Instagram (SPF handle) throughout the week – Puma or I will post pictures of our progress through these ideas :)

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Friday Favorite: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour

We have been on the gluten-free journey for seven years now.  There was learning curve fraught with tears and desperation.  Then came the trial and error of buying almost every box and bag of all the different brands.  Followed by the economic reality of not being able to buy prepared baked goods all the time.  So we started trying out all the different mixes available.

Up until last month, my favorite brand has been the 1-2-3 Gluten-Free line.  We never went wrong with any of their boxes.  And then on a whim because it was there, I bought a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour.  It is a little pricier than other gluten-free flour…but I thought what the heck – if it works, then it’s worth it.

BRM 1to1 Flour

Seriously – Life Changing. It Is Worth It!!

We started by making some scones with it when our kiddos had to stop eating anything with yeast in it.  YUM!

(Not to *crush* or anything…but…Bob’s Red Mill complimented us on these scones in the comments!!)

And then we made some basic rolls for Christmas that were A.Ma.Zing.  We were making them every day for a while, and we just enjoyed them for dinner again last night.  YUM.

The “icing on the cake”?  I followed a recipe in a cookbook (we-ell…kind of…more on that below) and they turned out B-E-A-Utifully!! After seven years of decent cupcakes…I now have FLUFFY CUPCAKES!!!  Life-changing, really, when you love to bake from scratch and not a box.

So here is what we made using THIS recipe from Weelicious as a starting point.

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Our modifications:

We substituted bananas in the batter because we didn’t have any beets in the house (or so I thought – just found one in the tortilla drawer of all places!)

Since one of our kiddos is allergic to cane sugar, we use THE ULTIMATE SWEETENER®  made from birch.

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Instead of using beets to color the frosting, we used frozen cherries.

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Note on using fruit juice as a coloring agent …It always comes out lighter than I imagine when I’m juicing the fruit.  We had the same challenge when we used raspberries in THIS cupcake recipe this summer.  Try using more than you think you need – probably twice as much.

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Next time I make frosting, I will use the fruit juice before adding the milk as I blend the ingredients; and then add milk as needed for a smoother consistency.

I hope you have as much baking with this flour as I do…literally a whole new world of recipes has opened up to us because now I am not limited by any boxes!!  I will definitely be trying the allergen-free I recipe I used this summer again with this flour so we can bring some rockin’ gluten-free treats for a tea-party we are attending on Sunday.

Huge thank you to Bob’s Red Mill.  I imagine they have some idea of how grateful a family like ours is to be able to bake from scratch again, or they wouldn’t have invested in the time and the energy to bring this product to market.

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Tuesday Tips: Allergen-Free Cupcake Recipe

I found this recipe in a Martha Stewart cookbook – it was so yummy I wanted to share it with you. The recipe is dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free and soy-free.  We adjusted it to be gluten-free for us. Kiddos loved them – they disappeared.

We made them without cocoa powder because I didn’t have it with me, and we substituted the white flour for a GF Sweet Baking mix from Gluten Free Creations Bakery & Cafe. We also used apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar…a little tip from the DC cupcakes show to make them a little sweeter  To top them off, we made a buttercream frosting colored with raspberry and strawberry juice.

Find the recipe here:
http://www.marthastewart.com/315948/divvies-chocolate-cupcakes

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Recipe from the “Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes,” book, featuring 175 ideas for every occasion

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Our vanilla version of the Allergen-Free Chocolate Cupcake recipe shared on the Martha Stewart Show by Divvies Bakery in 2008

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We squeezed the juice from a handful of raspberries and two strawberries using a cheesecloth to make a natural food coloring.

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Food Network “Quick Vanilla Buttercream” recipe colored pink with raspberry and strawberry juice.

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Finished product…ultimate compliment was having someone ask which bakery I bought them at, even with a less-than-perfect “signature swirl” *wink*

Wordless Wednesday: Eating A Rainbow

This Wordless Wednesday is not so “wordless” since I am going to share some of the benefits of each of the colors from as per Michigan State University.

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Red produce contains lycopene . Lycopene helps provide the reds with their red color, as well as helps lower our chances of getting certain cancers, lowers blood pressure, reduces joint pain associated with arthritis, helps with heart health and memory functions.

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Orange produce contains beta-Carotene, which helps our bodies make vitamin A. Vitamin A helps us have healthy skin, improves our vision and overall good eye health and lowers the risk of certain cancers.

Yellow produce contains antioxidants that promote wound healing, and aids in digestion, supports a healthy immune system, lowers the risk of certain cancers, improves vision health and heart health.

Yellow produce contains antioxidants that promote wound healing, and aids in digestion, supports a healthy immune system, lowers the risk of certain cancers, improves vision health and heart health.

Green produce contains fiber, calcium and folate. Folate is essential in a healthy pregnancy, helping to reduce birth defects, as well as helps to maintain vision health, strong bones and teeth and lowers the risk of some cancers.

Green produce contains fiber, calcium and folate. Folate is essential in a healthy pregnancy, helping to reduce birth defects, as well as helps to maintain vision health, strong bones and teeth and lowers the risk of some cancers.

Fresh greens from our garden :)

Fresh greens from our garden :)

Blue produce contains vitamin C, flavonoids and lutein. Blue produce also helps maintain urinary health, improve memory function, lower the risk of certain cancers and supports healthy aging.

Blue produce contains vitamin C, flavonoids and lutein. Blue produce also helps maintain urinary health, improve memory function, lower the risk of certain cancers and supports healthy aging.

Violet produce contains many of the same vitamins, nutrients and minerals as the other colors including resveratrol and zeaxanthin, which helps to boost immunity.

Violet produce contains many of the same vitamins, nutrients and minerals as the other colors including resveratrol and zeaxanthin, which helps to boost immunity.

Some of the other produce and dried berries that we enjoy that are not pictured:

  • red apples and green apples
  • apple-sweetened dried cranberries
  • dried currants
  • dried goji berries
  • raspberries
  • blackberries
  • avocado
  • carrots
  • broccoli

 

 

 

 

Munchkin Meals: Food On The Go

Another month has passed and Munchkin Meals from A Healthy Slice of Life are back! Nothing remarkable has really changed with T’s meals and/or eats so I thought I would switch it up with some things he has been enjoying on the go.

Snacks are always a little hard for me — nothing *too* messy since it will end up all over him/me/the stroller/the car, needs to be something I can grab fairly quickly while trying to get us out of the house, I don’t like to default to bunnies, O’s or the like and variety is important to me since he is more of a snacker/grazer than a three meal a day kind of kid.

So what have we been taking with us these days?

Fresh Fruit 

I know, this is easy and obvious, but… it is easy and obvious! (And nutritious). Berries are still in season here on the coast but will probably be slowing down right about now. Super fast to throw raspberries, blackberries or strawberries into a snack cup & go.

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Grapes are another awesome farmer’s market find these days and again, just throw into the cup & head out.

Apples, plums, and asian pears are abundant right now from one of our local favorites, Inzana Ranch. I chop the plums and pears but these little Fuji apples are such a perfect toddler snack with minimal preperation. I just peel the skin and he eats them whole.

20131105-183905.jpg It is a great car/stroller activity too and I have recently read across the internet that apples have enzymes or acids in them that are supposedly supposed to help with teething pain which is another major plus since T is currently cutting all four incisors at once (:

taking an apple out with him on Halloween!

taking an apple out with him on Halloween!

As I mentioned last month I have a love affair with bananas despite their long distance travels and nothing has changed this month. They are just so darn easy!

loves his bananas

loves his bananas

perfect for stroller rides

perfect for stroller rides

Dried Fruit

T is LOVING on raisins lately — lucky for us in addition to great fresh fruit Izana Ranch also stocks various types of yummy raisins!

this week we decided to try the "crimson"

this week we decided to try the “crimson”

These dried blueberries from Trader Joe’s are also great, nothing added — just freeze dried blueberries.

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Baked Sweet Potato Rounds

I make up a big batch of these at once and they are perfect for on the go. Cutting them in rounds makes them less squish-able then chunks and therefore less messy for us. T loves them.

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Gluten Free Grahams 

We are lucky enough to live very close to a Whole Foods & T has really been happy about these gluten free cinnamon graham crackers lately. Again, trying not to make a habit of it, but they are super easy to just throw into a snack cup and be done with it.

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Chickpeas

I forgot to snap a picture but recently I have discovered what a great snack whole garbanzo beans are! I buy the Eden Organics because their cans are BPA Free or else I make our own using dried beans. Beware, they will get stinky QUICKLY if left in a car, diaper bag, etc. but they are a nice switch up from fruit and crackers and a great source of fiber plus some protein. They are the perfect size for little toddler fingers, too.

What foods do you take for your toddlers or children when you leave the house? Do you have any go to or easy snack options? T & I both thank you in advance for any ideas (: