Friday, November 11, 2011

Food Wins

Esky eats all of her packed lunch when it's in one of these "lunch boxes" (also known as a "tool box" at Payless Plastics -- $1.99):

  • I dig fun lunches.
  • We don't have fancy Bento boxes, I don't cookie-cut shapes every time my toddler requires lunch on the road, but I do like compartments, and I can fill these fast.  This box is a fairly typical example of Esky's preferred "tidy snacks" -- pistachios/almonds/Sultana Buds; cheese; popcorn; dried apricots; raisins/yoghurt-covered raisins.  Other tidy lunch favourites: Crispy Noodles, all manner of fruit (grapes are a favourite), crackers in many shapes and sizes, biersticks, Fruit Squirts, Cheerios cereal, and left-over homemade pizza.
  • She's not into raw vegetables so much yet -- maybe I'll call upon the powers of the cookie cutters for those.  Or not.  Maybe later.  She does eat veges cooked in meals and smoothies.
  • I say "tidy lunch," because lunches at home often feature scrambled eggs, yoghurt, not-pizza-left-overs or other utensils-required foods -- I'm talkin' about the foods that are easily eaten anywhere -- wherever we may be when hunger strikes.
What are tidy-lunch / finger food winners for you or the little ones you know?

Esky is a big jelly fan (Jello, for you, Americans).  With grocery shopping becoming a tightrope act (for everybody, am I right?), I'm finding jelly once or twice a week is an easy way to still have treats or dessert without breakin' the family food-bank.  Yeah, I'm not a vegan, or a food colouring hater.

What's your low cost sweet fix?  Because much of homemade baking's sure ceasing to be cheap, in NZ anyway (hello, $6.00 butter!).
These pictures make me very, very happy.  Yes, I saw the idea on Pinterest, and I find it radsky-doodle...but that is not why.  Esky is eating peanut butter inbetween those apple slices and minimallows...

Peanut butter.
You see, Esky was allergic to peanuts, and all tree nuts -- with the exception of almonds -- up until about a month ago.
  • When I say "allergic," I mean her face puffed up and she broke out in hives within 20 minutes of consuming a small amount (a streak of peanut butter on the tip of a teaspoon = reaction 1).
  • It was clear each time what the cause had been.  
  • With the peanuts, it got progressively worse each time she was exposed (faster reaction with smaller amounts).  We stayed clear of them as a result -- it only took twice to be certain they were a no-go.
  • With the tree nuts, I observed the hives only, and so added them to the "try later" list, with no interest in testing further at that stage.  I don't like ambulance rides much.
  • It had been almost two years since her last exposure to the pesky legume when I decided I would test.  It was when I decided I wanted to make Reese's Slice -- with her awake.  I let her dip her finger into the batch bowl, and then watched the clock.  20 minutes, nothing.  30, nothing.  An hour...nothing.  I let her have at it.  And we haven't looked back since.
  • I stocked my trolley with peanut products, and tree nuts in all their varieties the next week at the supermarket.  I didn't get much else. 
  • It looks like cashews still bring on the hives, but hey -- I was starting to think my kid was going to be "that kid" -- who not only was missing out on a lot of taste experiences (and some seriously delicious creations made with them), but seemed bound to become that snivelling fragile thing at the birthday parties and school camps, sucking on her inhaler behind a centimeter of sunblock, complaining of pollen in the air whilst scrutinising the contents of every cookie -- and so having one li'l nut bring on hives is sounding pretty nice about now.**
  • It feels so liberating to be able to lather peanut butter on a cracker and hand it to my kid.  Esky had turned her nose up at many a sandwich I'd made -- jam was the only sure to have a spread that is not all sugar added to my arsenal feels like a serious parental pay day.  I will still be serving her combinations of deli meats, cheese, yeast spreads and other things too -- I'm a big believer in re-exposing for those ever-changing taste buds, but I'm just sayin' -- hallelujah for the PB!  /crowd cheering
  • Feel free to post peanut butter snack ideas and sandwich/toast winners that aren't jam, won't you?  I'm trying PB and banana tomorrow.
  • Pistachios are Esky's favourite nut, presently.  Big time.

Oh, and Pinterest taught me this trick too:

Pin real life; use Pinterest to inspire instead of evoke desire.

Feel free to...
Follow Me on Pinterest
...but know that I will no doubt trawl your boards for more food fun.

**For the record, Esky hasn't had a second"asthmatic event," takes an uber-mild liquid antihistamine for her hay fever that works a treat, and is a healthy level of sunsmart.
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