Allergy Free Holiday Treats

Kit is sensitive to gluten, eggs, cow’s milk and citrus fruit.  We limit these foods as much as possible and coming up with holiday goodies that she can enjoy can be a struggle.  I have some friends who are in a pinch right now, looking for treats their kids can share with their allergic classmates, so I thought I’d post a favorite allergy safe recipe.

This recipe for Banana Crunch Muffins comes from the book “Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids” by Leslie Hammond and Lynne Marie Rominger.  It’s a really great cookbook with healthy recipes that my kids have loved.  I recommend every parent grab a copy, because you never know when you’re going to have to come up with something to feed a food-sensitive friend.

Banana Crunch Muffins
from “Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids”

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons hiney
2 tablespoons flax meal
2 tablespoons water
1 ripe banana, sliced
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Parenting Geekly note: make sure your vanilla is gluten free!)
1/2 cup white or brown rice flour or sorghum flour
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups allergy safe granola or cereal
1 cup allergy safe trail mix, any flavor

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.) In a mixer cream together the first 7 ingredients (through vanilla).  Mix in flours and cinnamon until smooth.  If desired place granols in a plastic bag and gently crush with rolling pin into bite-sized pieces.  Stir granola and trail mix into batter.  Spoon batter into a greased or paper-lined cake or mini muffin pan and bake as follows:

Mini Muffins: 20 minutes
Regular Muffins: 30 minutes
3.) Cool and cut into small bars or remove from muffin pan.

Parenting Geekly’s modifications:  I used King Arthur Gluten-Free All Purpose flour in place of all the flours.  I added a half cup of allergy safe chocolate chips and I didn’t have any trail mix, so I used all granola, which I crushed pretty fine.  They were a big hit a Kitty’s school!
And by request, here is their version of sugar cookie you can cut with cookie cutters and decorate.

1/ 2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Remember, make sure it’s gluten free!)
1/2 vegetable shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups white rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.) In a mixer cream together applesauce, sugar, vanilla, shortening, and salt.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix at low speed, increasing to medium speed until batter is smooth.
3.) Pinch off 1 to 2 teaspoons of dough and roll into balls.  Place on a baking sheet and flatten slightly.  Or to make decorated cookie shapes with cookie cutters, divide dough into fourths.  Place one section of dough between two pieces of non-stick parchment paper.  With rolling pin, roll dough into a flat 1/2 inch disk.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes and then with a spatula gently remove the cookie shapes to a greased baking sheet.  Collect scrap dough and repeat process.
4.) Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are darker around the edges and firm in the centers.  Watch the cookies to make sure they don’t get too golden.  Remove form baking sheet with a flat spatula and place on a flat surface to cool.

Star Wars Paper Snowflakes!

Star Wars Paper Snowflakes!

My awesome friend Iris shared this project with me, and now I’m going to share it with you!  Nate and I will be attempting this at some point tonight or tomorrow. These Bobba Fett/Storm Trooper and Darth Vader  snowflakes would be right at home in any nerdy family’s winter decorations! I think we are going to hang ours on the garland swag over our fireplace.  They would also make a great tag on the gift of a Star Wars fan.

Click here to get the instructions, templates and story about their creation.

If you’re not a Star Wars fan here are some instructions for traditional snowflakes.

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T is for Tree!

T is for Tree!
The Alphabet Tree in all its pre-lit glory

Recently Kitty asked me to teach her to read. I figured it would help if she knew the alphabet – logical place to start, right? So, I went out and bought a bunch of workbooks, flash cards and beginner books and we got to work. She’s totally into it, and can now recite her ABC’s and identify many of the letters.  (As a note, the most effective tool was the one I was most reluctant to shell out for: Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read Pre-K . All I could think of were “1-800-ABCDEFG” commercials from when I was a kid.  Anyway, it works.)

We had just sold our big seven and a half foot tree and replaced it with a much more modest four and a half foot model.  All the ornaments I had seemed over sized on our new little Charlie Brown tree, and so the kids and I were talking about what we should do.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when letter obsessed Kitty gleefully exclaimed “let’s decorate it with the alphabet!”

O is for ornaments!

Aunt Karen and I made a trip to the craft store where we picked up some two inch wooden letters, some glossy acrylic paint in rainbow colors and paint on glitter (best stuff ever, the glitter is suspended in clear paint and therefore doesn’t wind up all over your house).  Over the course of the next two weeks we painted 70 tiny letters until they were shiny, gave them several coats of glitter and added silver strings.  We cut jewel-toned cardstock into strips and looped a million of them together to make a paper garland.  We took our favorite small ornaments out of the closet, opting for silver snowflakes and red jingle bells.

Our paper crafting handiwork on display.

Next we had to find a new tree topper.  My beloved art-deco style silver angel was too heavy for the top of this dinky little tree. Nate suggested getting a bigger letter, but Super Dad pointed out that putting a giant “F” monogram on top of the tree might suggest “Tree Fail”, or something worse.   We opted for an almost cartoonish looking white blown glass star with rounded edges.  It’s completely perfect.  Last week we blasted the The Andy Williams Christmas Album (a tradition in our family since my dad was a little boy), made some hot cocoa (and some Jell-o shots!) and put it all together.

The jingle bells and silver snowflakes were the only “old” ornaments to make the cut.

I’m in love with this tree.  It’s so cute, with it’s preK-meets-Martha-Stewart vibe.  The time we spent planning and making the ornaments was so much fun, and each member of the family helped. I also love teaching Kit her letter of the day, and having her run to the tree to find it!  It’s an extra way to get her excited about learning to read!

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