Creative Mom

candy

My kids typically don’t eat sugar, but on special occasions they do eat a little. What they absolutely don’t eat is food coloring. This 4th of July we are going to the parade in our neighborhood and the kids in the floats always throw out candy. So… I made these little treats to trade for the artificial stuff. Marshmallows*, cut in half, dipped in chocolate and colored with beets, turmeric, and red cabbage. (And I poured the leftover chocolate into a Hello Kitty mold.) We never did food coloring, but now we are being strict on a whole new level because we are starting the Feingold Program.

*Not just any marshmallows, these are vetted by the Feingold program and contain only pure ingredients.

On another topic… My daughter was recently diagnosed with Amblyopia (lazy eye). The eye moves with the other eye, so you can’t specifically tell that it is “lazy”, but the vision is extremely poor in that eye. So, now she has eye glasses and she needs to wear a patch to force her “bad” eye to work. At her age there is still time to get her brain to recognize the eye, but if it goes untreated her brain could stop recognizing images from the left eye. The ophthalmologist was insistent that we  needed to use the stick on patches but Sierra had a reaction to the glue and her skin was very sore. So I looked online and found eye-glass cozies. I can sew… so Sierra and I designed one for her and made it right then and there! So much more comfortable but we need to keep an eye on her so she doesn’t “cheat and peek”.

eyepatch

Happy Anniversary- Cuter Than Gluten

mothersday

Hey, it’s been a year of gluten-free blogging! Let me know you’re reading and what you would like to see on this blog going forward.

Here’s a little sneak peek at three recipes coming up… a lemon cake, a sundae, and chicken and waffles. I actually have about 13 recipes waiting to be posted, with more in mind to try out!

orangecake   bananasundae   chickenandwaffles

I have enjoyed this year of blogging and I am really looking forward to another year. When I started blogging it was with the purpose of promoting my cookbook. I wasn’t sure whether or not I would enjoy blogging, but it turns out I really do!

I had a ton of fun making food cute.  Sometimes I made bento lunches with the food and sometimes I created an art piece like the “Mango Lassie” below. Making art out of food is so fun for me, I often get really carried away when it comes time for a photo shoot.

Missed some good posts? Click on the photos below to take you to the post.

Rescue Bento   Pumpernickel Bagels   Cherry Ice Cream Pie

Mango Lassie   chili Taco Cone

So where do I go from here?

1) I will let inspiration and the excitement of any given project lead the way.

2) After the posts already waiting in the wings, my blog will most likely be grain-free (there are already many grain-free recipes here, but the transition will take some time, so by fall new posts should be grain-free). I have been eating grain-free since January and will continue with that. What I eat changes as my body and health change. I can’t say for sure what I will eat in the future, but whatever I am eating will be what is on the blog (because why blog about food I don’t eat?)

3) I will continue to blog about fun projects with my kids. Coming up: Strawberry Fest. We will blog about our cultural studies occasionally too.

4) I am considering sharing more personal stories of diet, fitness, parenting, and life. It would just be a sentence here and there, but I haven’t done much of that this past year. Interested?

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!

Love, Dawn

Grain-Free Bread and Crackers: Elana’s Pantry

I have chosen to feature one of my favorite blogs, Elana’s Pantry, for Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger this month.

Elana’s Pantry is one of the first three blogs I started following. I love her recipes- they are always succinct in both the ingredient list and the instructions. I have never made one of her recipes and had to throw it in the trash. Odd compliment I know, but I hate having ruined food.

In addition to her blog, Elana wrote two cookbooks (I have her third per-ordered).  I enjoy both of her books. Check out these coconut lime cupcakes I made from her gluten-free cupcake book.

elanacupcakes

And her Paleo Bread is outstanding- I keep some in my freezer in case I “need” bread.

elanabread

My kids like this bread too, so I made it cute, along with gluten-free pretzels, oranges, pistachios, cheese (my kids are occasionally eating dairy cheese these days), and carrots.

elanabento

I also tried out Elana’s Multi “Grain” crackers. They were great with tuna salad. I only had black sesame seeds so mine are more blue than hers. I also needed less water than the recipe called for.

elanacrackers

And I made her Cinnamon Breakfast Bread. I omitted the honey completely and served them with dinner. I used less cinnamon because I have very strong cinnamon. They were delicious. My kids even fought over the last piece, despite it having no sweetener!

Elanabreakfast

Elana is an inspiration for health and cooking. All of her recipes are grain-free, and many are dairy-free. Check her recipes out for yourself sometime, and come back here for more recipes soon!

Fitting In

Sugar is everywhere and I don’t want my daughters eating it. I have my reasons for believing sugar is making people unhealthy (science has reasons for it too).

kids

The teachers at school hand it out. The bank has a bowl of it. The physical therapist has a bowl too… Seriously I can’t think of many events- even small ones- without sugar. A few days ago we went for our weekly swim at the YMCA and they had a table full of cupcakes and cookies for sale. It’s everywhere.

We eat some sweets- as you might have noticed on my blog. But we keep the sugar content low and use less processed sweeteners (like honey). And the kids don’t have treats everyday. Currently I am nearly sweetener free altogether and feeling great (more on that another day).

So, at first I packed my daughter alternative treats, always had some handy, to be sure she wouldn’t be “left out”. That seemed like a good idea at the time and I still plan to do it for special occasions like birthday parties.

kids2

But here is the thing… The question I asked myself: Do I want to teach my daughters that fitting in is important? Do I want to teach them that they must have a treat every time someone else does? Or every time a treat is offered? For me the answer is NO to all of those! I would love for them to be confident enough to NOT do what everyone else is doing. To look after their own health above social acceptance. And I hope that gentle lessons now will translate in other peer pressure situations as teenagers.

People have said to me, “She is going to get older and eat whatever she wants soon enough.” (Their point: Why bother restricting now?) Well, do you just hand your 13-year-old a pack of cigarettes because soon enough they will sneak off and smoke with their friends? I hope not! Of course my daughters will eat how they please later in life. Now is my chance to influence their tastes, share my beliefs, and feed their growing bodies the best that I can.

Will I deliberately make my kids social outcasts? Of course not! But in small ways I hope to show them that it is OK to be amongst other people and not be the “same” as those people.

I know I am not perfect, and I certainly don’t mean to imply that other people are parenting “wrong” if they do things differently. Really I want to point out that it is our (parents) opportunity to teach our small children the beliefs we hold dear. Sometimes we get off track by peer pressure too. I am reminding myself that it is OK to NOT “fit in”.

Creativity for Joy and an Award

Indian Food Bento

Some people look at my bento lunches and say, “That’s too much work.” And I can see where they are coming from. But it doesn’t feel like work to me. In fact it is the opposite. Fixing lunch day after day feels like work. Fetching snacks and sippy cups for toddlers all day feels like work to me. Creating art is my pleasure. Thinking of fun ideas and watching them come into form is a treat. Sometimes I don’t have time or don’t feel inspired and then I make a regular lunch packed in bento form. But often I need the break from being a “mom servant” and I treat myself to 15 minutes of creativity. Just for me. And my kids love it too, but really I do it for me because I am an artist at heart.

I am enjoying reading other blogger’s thoughts on creativity as self care during the July Self-Care Retreat. Art has always been my way of relaxing and enjoying life, so the Creativity posts really speak to me. Before kids I was into fabric art (and no worries I will be back to that in a few years).

Quilt

Amber from The Tasty Alternative sent me this award recently. It was so thoughtful of her and I am really grateful to the entire blogging community. I have enjoyed a very warm welcome during my first six weeks of blogging!

 

I enjoy blogging because it is an extension of the art and creativity of bento. It is fun to edit the photos, look at them again, write about the bento, and have a permanent record of a very temporary piece of art. And of course blogging is about sharing. Sharing my fun with other people. Thank you.

The award comes with a suggestion that we might enjoy passing it along to other bloggers. And I would like to mention a couple of blogs that I have been reading for a few years.

1) Gluten Free Fix. Michelle writes recipes with skill and precision. She can write the steps to a recipe in about 3 short sentences when I would take a long paragraph to do the same. I read her blog not only for the great food, but also for lessons on how to be a concise recipe writer.

2) The Spunky Coconut. Kelly uses at lot of ingredients that I enjoy (coconut being one!). She has nice stories, and her photos are lovely.