Tips for having a successful weekend away

“How many sleeps Mum?!”

We fielded that question for at least 10 days – the kids were super excited about our weekend away in the country, and so was I. There was some trepidation on my behalf though – having kids with allergies makes travelling quite a bit harder and requires some forward planning – but I think my preparation made our weekend a great (and allergy safe) one.

Before you go:

– think about where you are going and staying –

  • What type of accommodation are you booking? I think self-contained is a great idea for families with food allergies. It doesn’t give the cook as much of a holiday but it certainly reduces the risk.
  • Is there a hospital in the vicinity? This is something to think about if you are dealing with anaphylaxis. We had a district hospital nearby and I knew we were only a short air-lift to Perth.
  • What activities will you do that could be risky? We were staying at a farm where we would be feeding animals – I made sure I remembered to ask the farmer when we arrived if there were nut products in the feed – there was, so we were able to help our kids adjust to the fact that they coudn’t feed certain animals and the farmer was fabulous too – he let our kids feed the other animals so they didn’t miss out.
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Feeding Katie the Kangaroo

– plan your meals –

  • Dinner – I planned our menu for the weekend and froze two dinners/partial dinners from our meals in the week so that I didn’t have to cook much while away. We had soup and rolls the first night – all I had to do was reheat the soup and put the rolls in the oven for 5mins. The second night I used the leftover taco mince I had frozen in a pasta bake – so I cooked pasta and added some grated carrot, cooked broccoli (just throw it in the pot of boiling pasta 5min before it is finished) and then I took Jemima’s portion out before sprinkling cheese on top and baking in the oven.

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    Ready to bake my Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake – thanks to RetroMummy
  • Snacks – I brought fruit and dip and crackers (as well as baby snacks)  but I also baked a cake for us to have as a treat (see here for the recipe). Very exciting for the kids!
  • Lunch – we planned to have bakery lunches as we knew there was a bakery in the town. Those who could had pies and Jemima had hot chips as the bakery wasn’t as well stocked as we had hoped. Very thankful for the humble hot chip! The one thing that could have gone wrong was that the pie Cohen chose didn’t end up being the one he got (the lady picked up the wrong one) but we didn’t notice until he was a few bites in. That made us very thankful that there hadn’t been a satay pie or something and that we will need to be more careful next time!
  • Breakfast – we had special “holiday” cereals that we don’t normally allow at home. 2 days of Coco Pops and Nutrigrain was super exciting for the kids and easy for me. Emmalyn was very happy with her Weetbix still especially with the view of the alpacas out the breakfast window.
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Saying hello to the duck who was after our breakfast!

– Make a list

  • My Mum always wrote packing lists so that’s what I do too. I write it a couple of nights before so that it’s in the back of my head and I am less likely to forget something come packing night.
  • Don’t forget your medications. As well as our regular emergency bag (epipens, asthma prevention meds and ventolin), I make up a little first aid kit including Panadol, Nurofen, Redipred (that’s a prescription one so only if you need it), our extra epipen, bandaids and Paraderm Plus (an antiseptic, anaesthetic and anti-itch cream – covers lots of bases).

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    Out collecting rocks and feathers

While you are there:

– Activities

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Fresh sour dough with lemon infused olive oil
  • With little kids, not doing much driving is the best choice for us so we enjoyed being a walk into town (that option had made the accommodation very appealing) and spent time exploring the farm, feeding the animals, playing in their playground and made one drive out to an olive oil company for a parents’ choice activity – yum!
  • We continued with our regular rest routine as Emmalyn needed to sleep anyway and the kids (and us!)love their downtime.
  • We enjoyed not having anything else to do and having my husband around without work needing to be done was great.
  • We brought a couple of toys each as we planned to be outside most of the time. The best one for the older two was Jemima’s Lego briefcase with a couple of extras. How great is Lego?!

We had such a wonderful weekend away – hoping we can do it again soon!

Party time!!

Today was a pretty exciting day for us – we celebrated our precious girl’s 1st birthday!! It is scary how quickly the time has passed since she was born! We delight in her and give thanks for her daily and so it was lovely to have a little party with some friends.

Parties are always tough with food allergies, but I so wanted to have a party for her that felt like a ‘normal party’ and one where she could eat anything and everything on the table. It was so nice to not have to worry about who was touching her with what on their hands or what she was sticking in her mouth after picking it up off the picnic rug.

We had jelly, honey joys (just replace the butter with nuttelex), home-made popcorn, biscuits (Outback animals and choc teddies made by Orgran) and a huge fruit platter (possibly the best part of a summer birthday?!). And of course we had cake!

I adapted the cake from here: http://quirkycooking.blogspot.com.au/2010/03/gf-chocolate-banana-cake.html

Quirky Cooking is an amazing blog, full of fab ideas for healthy eating and it caters for lots of allergies and intolerances too.

  • 300g plain GF flour 1-Ellie's 1st Birthday 010
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp GF baking powder
  • 2 tsp bi-carb soda
  • 30g cocoa
  • 120g brown sugar
  • 140g rice bran oil
  • 240g rice milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 350-400g very ripe mashed banana

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and bi carb soda, cocoa and sugar. Mix gently with a whisk to make sure it is well combined.

In a smaller bowl, add the bananas, milk, oil and vinegar. Use a fork or a whisk to mix until smooth and well combined.

Add the wet mix to the dry and then mix in a mix master (or use electric beaters) for a minute or two.

Pour into a large greased spring-form pan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan and further cooling on a wire rack.

Decorate as you desire – Our request was for a butterfly.

We used some ready-made white icing, just from the supermarket to crumb coat the cake. Just check the ingredients carefully because there are a few on the market and not all of them have glucose syrup from corn. Then I made the icing from about 2tbsp room temperature nuttelex, 2 tbsp rice milk, a splash of vanilla essence and then whisked in the pure icing sugar until I got the desired consistency, then added some food colouring. I used strawberry flavoured and plain tic-tacs, as well a musk lifesavers, mini mallows (no egg whites in these ones) and 100’s and 1000’s to decorate. All Ellie safe.

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This cake is lovely and moist and tastes like real chocolate cake. It freezes and thaws well too. Hope you enjoy it as much as our little fairy did  😀

Banana Bread

Banana bread sounds good in theory right? It’s fruit – it must be healthy.

Nope, sorry. Most banana breads that you find in cafes are pretty well just glorified cake …. don’t get me wrong – they are super delicious, but just not a very healthy choice!

This recipe is a lot lower in sugar and has lot of extra goodies added to it. Still super delicious, but I am really happy to pop this one in lunch-boxes or enjoy at brunch or with an afternoon cuppa.

If you are after a more traditional version of banana bread, Lib has also posted a yummy banana bread recipe.

See below the recipe for a coeliac friendly option.

  • 2 cups flour (Plain flour is fine but I have used mixes of spelt, barley and rye and they all work well too)
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar (optional, but add it in if you’re a sweet tooth!)
  • 2 rounded tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon/mixed spice
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (oat, almond and rice work well)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 medium, very ripe, bananas, mashed
  • 75g vegan butter/tasteless coconut oil
  • 50g maple syrup or honey*
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3 tbsp seeds (use whichever are your favourite – process these first if you’d like less obvious bits). A small handful of chopped walnuts also works well here.
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chick peas) OR 1 whole egg
  • rolled oats to top (or more sliced banana)

Into a large bowl add all of the dry ingredients. I don’t do sifting (ever if at all possible!), so I use a whisk to gently mix this dry mixture until it’s even.

In a large measuring jug, mix the milk and the vinegar and whisk vigorously for a minute. It should become slightly thicker and have lots of frothy bubbles on top. Then set aside for a few (3-4) minutes. Or blitz in your blender/nutribullet for a few seconds.

To the milk mix, add the mashed banana, oil, syrup, aquafaba/egg and vanilla and whisk until well combined. (or another few seconds in the blender/nutribullet)

*If you’d like an alternative to the honey or syrup, you can blend in 6 medjool dates to the wet mix

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Add the wet ingredients to the dry, folding them in until just combined – don’t over mix.

Pour into a large greased loaf pan, sprinkle oats on top and bake at 180C for about an hour, or until a skewer, inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack for another 10-15 minutes.

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I also make these into muffins when I don’t have as much baking time – makes 18-20.

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This is yummy as is, or with a bit of Nuttelex, or even toasted. It freezes and defrosts well, just slice and wrap individually before freezing.

Enjoy … as I currently am, with a cuppa 🙂

To make these coeliac friendly, use 1 2/3 cups of GF flour mix (I like Bobs Red Mill All purpose baking flour) plus 2 flat tsp of psyllium and make sure you use a gluten free milk then top with rolled quinoa or use the extra banana option.

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To make these in a thermal cooker:

Whisk the milk and vinegar and set aside (Speed 4, 10 seconds).

Place the bananas, oil, vanilla, aquafaba/egg and syrup in the bowl and process on speed 5 for 8 seconds.

Add in milk mixture and process on speed 4 for 8 seconds. Then set aside the wet mix.

Add all of the dry ingredients to the machine and process on speed 4 for 8 seconds.

Add the wet mix back into the dry and process on speed 4 for 6 seconds, the scrape down and repeat.

Bake as per regular method.

Churros

I love Churros. Crunchy donuts with cinnamon and sugar dipped in chocolate sauce. But even without the chocolate they are delicious. And since part of our family now live in Spain, we are on a quest to find the best. We have discovered that Chocolateria San Churro have dairy and egg free churros and their dark chocolate pot is also dairy free (but please ask each time you go!) so it was our date night dessert spot while I was off those things. And we took the family one day for a special treat when some special people came to visit us from interstate. Jemima was so thrilled! Unfortunately Cohen had a mild reaction which we treated with antihistamine – we think the table or chairs had nut crumbs/residue which got onto him – that dampened the excitement a little.

So last week, while the boys went to the cricket, Jemima and I made churros at home. I was lacking in equipment but we made do with my little Tupperware pastry squeezer (I have an old edition of this one which looks like it would work much more easily than mine) with a little star shaped nozzle and a metal egg flip to pick up the cooked churros out of the oil. I rarely deep fry and so struggled with the oil temp but I reckon I’ll be able to do it better next time. They were a bit small and lost their starriness but still yummy!

We used this recipe and tweaked it a little (I halved it and used a bit less sugar and oil in the mixture). Jemima loved rolling the churros in the cinnamon sugar. Mind you, it was the only thing she could be involved in – it’s not really a great one for kids in the kitchen with too many heat elements! But a yummy result.

 

What we’ve been eating lately

It’s still hectic in the house here so not much time for blogging. Here are some links to recipes we’ve enjoyed recently (but haven’t made up ourselves!).

Chicken and Leek Rice served with extra vegies on the side

Verdict: 3 Yums and 1 “can I just eat the chicken?”

Bill Granger’s Baked Italian Sausages (Jemima’s absolute favourite meal “Woast Sausage” as she calls it) served with salad. I’ve made this with gluten free bread in the past (in a separate tray) and although it isn’t the same, it’s still yummy.

Verdict: 4 Yums!

Sausage and Beans (using the leftover sausage and bread from the night before)

Verdict: 3 Yums and 1 “can I just eat the toast?”

Oh well, there’s always the Woast Sausage! Lovely thing is that she will eat what I ask her to eat, especially if it’s 3 more for a 3 year old!