Thursday, October 25, 2012

Homemade Halloween

I am sure there are multiple blogs out there addressing Halloween with food allergies.  Let me throw my hat in the ring so you can have some recipes before the big day.

We love Halloween.  We love the fun of it and not the scare of it.  We get excited for carving pumpkins, being out past dark, and wearing the cream of the crop costume that Dad makes. (Yes, he is the captain of that ship in this house, and rightfully so.  He never ceases to amaze me with the way his brain works and how he finds tools around the house to make our kids dreams come true.)

We love to celebrate the innocence of Halloween.  The part that all of us remember, the sweet, innocent magic of it.  Dressing up and somehow allowing the night to transform you into a real pirate, a princess, a superhero,or a cowboy.  For one night, you really believe you are what your costume says you are and you travel the night hunting for treats.  I love it!

But how do you create the holiday for kids with allergies?  If you just have a gluten or dairy issue, there is still candy for the taking on the Halloween.  Sure you have to dig out the stuff you can't eat, and trade for the stuff you can eat.  But what do you do when sugar is your trigger? 

That my friends leaves you with an empty Halloween bucket.

Last year we made it happen, but I think we are going to do even better this year.  I have 18 months under my belt now and a wide range of resources.  So I would like to share with you what I have found to save you the time of digging around.

A few thoughts:

My children are in school and this adds an extra level of struggle.  Their friends will be coming to school with brightly colored wrapped candy, Carmel apples, and fun drinks.  I don't care how fun you make the veggies look, they aren't stupid.  They know the difference.  We don't always play the competing game, but Halloween is kind of like the Superbowl, and that means, I need to make sure my kids are satisfied so they aren't beyond tempted to throw all the hard work out the window and go crazy with the candy.

You may think this is overboard, and that's alright, maybe it is, but I want the day to be special for my kids too, instead of a day filled with rejection and feeling like they are missing out, because frankly, they would be.

So each meal is a very basic meal, just with a special spooky name, or a little twist thrown in.

Breakfast: Sweet potato pancakes, but I will put blueberries for eyes, strawberries for noses and apple wedges cut out like teeth.  Viola, pumpkin pancakes.  I will most likely serve them a smoothie and throw in extra spinach to turn it a gooey green color for a  "monster ooze" brew.  (See what a silly name can do for making something special?)

Lunch: (the trickiest) Hot Dog monsters: I will cut the bottoms into strips like an octopus and attach olives for eyes.  A trick I learned is cooking the hot dog first at home, then filling your kids thermos with hot water for a couple minutes.  Pour out the water, insert hot food and it will stay warm till lunch time.  Great right?!
I will include green grapes with a little sign that says Goblin eye balls.
Black bean chips are just a great dark creepy color.
And each kid will get a spider egg.  Thank you Martha Stewart! (dyed in blackberries of course!)
Then for a treat, I plan on making these cookies.

Project lunch a success!  (I hope.)

Snack: I think making these fun apple slices with pine nuts will be great!  Thank you pinterest!

When they come home from school I want to have Carmel apples waiting for them.  We haven't had a Carmel apple in over a year, but thank you to my friend Kristy and the book, "Eat like a dinosaur" we have a Carmel recipe that is sugar free!  I have attached it at the end.

We will then get ready by watching "Its a great pumpkin Charlie Brown" while I make supper.

Supper: Spaghetti, or also will be called "The brain".  I also saw this idea on pinterest that I thought was cool, so we will have that to enjoy as well.

We plan on transforming into Thor, a Ninja, and a pink pirate, (don't ask me, I'm still working on that one) then out for trick or treating.  The kids and I had a big talk and they still want to go.  So we will collect treats for about an hour, then come home where a "safe" treat bag waits for us.  The kids decorated their treat bag tonight, I thought they did a great job.

Today I stopped at The Paper Depot on Lyndale by the Farmers market and collected a bunch of small bags and boxes so that I can fill them with safe candy that I am currently making.  I will also include fun Halloween pencils, small boxes of raisins, erasers, a Chinese yo-yo, and another fun little game that I can find in the Target dollar section.

For their treats, I plan on making fudge. (included below)
I will also use Enjoy Life Brand chocolate and dip apples in that as a treat.
I will make these cookies.
Another version of peanut butter cups.
And then there is a brand of gummy worms and jelly beans that I for the life of me can't remember but will collect tomorrow so I will update then. 

That pretty much covers it I think.  Dad will get to pick out his favorite candy that he wants to keep and then my kids get to share the rest of the candy with their friends at school.

It's taking me a week to prepare, but I love the magic of childhood and don't think it's that fair that a food issue would keep a child from something so special. 

So, though none of these recipes are mine, I hope it will lead you to some amazing women who are doing a lot of work creating good, all natural treats, and hopefully maybe a blog or two you didn't know was around.


Caramel Sauce
½ cup honey
½ cup maple syrup
½ tsp baking soda

Warm large sauce pan over medium heat, add honey and maple syrup to warm pan-mixture should gently bubble, but if it begins to immediately boil and brown it has burned and you should start over.
Once gentle bubbles begin to form, turn heat to medium low; have little hands continuously stir to prevent burning.
Mixture will bubble and potentially expand over edge of pot, if that happens, remove from heat and stir and return to heat once bubbles subside.
Once sauce has thickened and the color has darkened (about 10) remove from heat to add baking soda.
Whisk in baking soda thoroughly and continue to stir as it starts to expand and bubble; return to medium heat for 2-3 min. Whisk constantly until sauce has become a thick, rich, bubbly sauce that does not reduce when moved off of heat.
Remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally-sauce will reincorporate to a thick caramel consistency.
Serve and use warmed (heat in microwave or on stove top)
Store in an airtight container for several months in refrigerator.

½ cup coconut oil
½ cup cocoa
1/3 cup honey
Dash of salt
Teaspoon of vanilla
Put all ingredients in food processor, blend, put in plastic wrapped pan and place in fridge.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A moment to let go

I went out to the bonfire tonight to burn some of the many heavy duty card board boxes we have.  I had a lot to do inside the house, but I could tell, my heart was calling me to spend a little time outside, in the quiet, pondering over a roaring fire before the weather turns prematurely cold.

Sometimes when I am faced with time alone and I want to pray, I never know where to start.  When things have been hard and my heart feels full of doubt and questions and angst, I just don't know where to start.  What part of the mess do I start unpacking?

When I sat down with a cool breeze on my back and started warming my hands, this is how my prayer went;

I feel so lost.
I feel so overwhelmed.
God I don't know what to say.  I don't know where to start.
I don't know how to be a speaker and a mom at the same.  Giving 100% to my husband, my kids, my passion for sharing the gospel as a speaker.
I don't know how to give my kids three nutritious home cooked meals and not spend all day in the kitchen.
I don't know how to have differing opnions in raising our kids with my husband and still feel like we are on the same team.
I don't know how to live in North Mpls and not raise my kids to live in fear when I live in fear myself.
I don't know to live on a budget.
I don't know how to let go of the little things, but realize in the little things, special happens.
I don't know how to try to be healthy in our lives and not let organization take over and rule me.
I don't know how to pursue my dreams and stay content with where I am.
I don't know how to take breaks and feel like its OK.
I don't know how to have a relationship with you Lord and not still be a little afraid of what you will have me do.
Most of the time I feel like I don't know anything.

I just don't know.

And as I sat there, feeling sad at my true confessions and wishing it wasn't my struggle, a quiet peace started to make its way into my heart, and that's when I heard,

"If you had all the answers and knew how to do all those things, then you wouldn't need me."


"If you had all the answers and knew how to do all those things, then you wouldn't need me."

And again I was reminded that it isn't about doing it right.  That there isn't a perfect way to do any of these things.  That part of walking through life with Christ at your side, means struggling through these things, but inviting God into this conversation and seeking his guidance and counsel.  Independence is a sin that cuts God out and takes his place.  It felt wonderful and hard to confess that, but so peaceful to live in the absence of that struggle.

I wanted to share my moment with you in case you needed this today too.

I have to believe we all have moments like this every now and again.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Proverbs 2

I wanted to share something that was encouraging to me with you.  You can read Proverbs 2 straight through, or you can throw vs. 9 after the first few verses, and then it reads like this:

I love this reading and think it is very important to read this, pray this and meditate on this for our own lives and those of our children.

Proverbs 2:1-10

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,

then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path.

and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path.

and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God

and you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path.

For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds victory in store for the upright he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path.

For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you.