Monday, May 30, 2011

Cool inventions

The Tiny Diner by Kiddopotamus
 We got this from a good friend for a birthday present and it's such a fantastic idea, it's a wonder I hadn't seen it before! It's basically a silicone placemat with suction cups to attach it onto tables. It also has a little trough at one end for the little bits that inevitably fall off the table, so nothing is wasted... well... less is wasted. From an allergy perspective it's been great. We always wipe all surfaces down ourselves with disposable wipes, but having an additional layer of protection is terrific! It rolls up nicely to fit in your bag so it's ready all the time. Easy to wash, easy to use... what more could you ask for?! Seriously though, what a great invention for allergy or non allergy kids (and mums). Thanks Mei!

Silicone bibs by Tommee Tippee
These are also fantastic. Of course we use them at home, but when we're out and about, I simply put the food in the trough while our son is in the pram or trolley, then he helps himself. When we use small containers, our son inevitably gets distracted and drops the container, along with all its contents. Then when he's done I simply roll it all up sometimes with the food still in it, to empty and wash when I get home. I also use it to put cutlery into when we're heading out, to keep it nice and clean, ready to go.

Silicone, what a wonderful invention.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The BugaBees Book Review

The BugaBees
I've read a few good comments on various blogs about this book so I decided to make this my first official internet mail order - why not since the Aussie dollar is going so well right?

Anyway, onto the book...
Our son is two years old so although we've had the book now for a good month, we still haven't made it to the end in one sitting. Our son knows the book's name and gets it every now and then, but his attention span wanes once we get to about the third insect. In contrast, we have numerous dinosaur and dragon books which get read many times a day from front to back. The pictures are very colourful and quite animated, but at this age perhaps it just looks too busy and every page is just as busy.

The topic is of course allergy related. On the positive side, it has given our son the words to say when he's offered some food: "No thank you, I can have fun anyway." I am sure this will prove valuable in the future. He does repeat this when we read the book, so practise will hopefully make perfect. Also, the end of the book contains a quiz for kids - pictures of different foods, and they have to guess which ones they can and can't eat. Great idea actually.

On the negative side, the book deals with some but not all insects eating dairy, egg, nut, soy, shellfish and wheat based foods. Actually, now that I think of it, the most common reason we haven't actually finished the book is because our son keeps asking, "Can the bee/cricket/ladybug eat Vegemite?" Yes folks, it all boils down to Vegemite. So anyway, we've been trying to teach our son that different people and animals eat different things. "Cow's milk makes Matthew sick." "Peanut makes Matthew and Mia sick." "If Woof Woof eats chocolate, he gets sick." "Matthew doesn't eat seeds, that's for birds." You get the drift. But now, we have a book where insects eat pizza, have milkshakes and peanut butter sandwiches. So yeah, it's a little confusing for the poor boy.

Although not perfect, I'm sure this book will prove useful in the future. Plus, I'm definately going to buy more books online now!

If you know any other books worth reading, let me know!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spaghetti Bolognese - a real meal!

I can't believe it, we've had our first proper meal where we eat pretty much what our toddler eats. This is truly a breakthrough!!! The meal was slightly bland, so I sparked our serves up with a bit of Parmesan cheese and flavoured lemon and garlic olive oil.

Spaghetti Bolognese
500g beef mince
1 small onion, diced
400g tinned tomatoes
1T tomato paste
2 carrots, diced
1 zuchinni, diced

500g Coles Organic Spaghetti - cook according to packet instructions

1. Cook beef and onions in sunflower oil.
2. Add other ingredients and simmer 30 mins or longer. Add enough water to keep it all bubbling along.
3. You'll notice no herbs or stock cubes - if you know you can use herbs or stock cubes, go ahead and add it for a little more zing, but at this stage our little one hasn't tried all those ingredients so this recipe is very basic. Onion is our latest addition, so that's already very exciting for this recipe.
4. I chopped up the pasta using kitchen scissors then added the sauce on top. To make it extra enticing, I showed our son the picture in the recipe book first and told his it was the same... He ate two whole bowls, so you've got to be happy with that!

At the end I was tempted to add some wine and cook it off, but then a friend just reminded me that wine is often clarified using egg white... just as well I passed on that cooking inspiration!

I've just rung the consumer hotline for Birdseye Golden Crunch Chips and they said that if the label doesn't mention contamination of the major allergens, then the foods will be clear of eggs, milk, nuts, sesame, shellfish etc. WooHoo!!! Who would have guessed that such yummy chips would not have any butter/dairy content? Stay tuned... Steak and Chips will soon be on the menu! Of course I'll have to test the chips during daylight hours initially to double check that the spices added are OK, but I can't wait! Oh, and I'll have to buy a new baking tray to cook them on to make sure there's no dairy on that either. Am I still excited? YES!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Kitchen nightmares

"I'm so over it... I'm so sick of having to cook everything separately..." I'm sure these are words that will come out of my mouth very often in the years to come... pity my husband... His response: "yes, I understand..." Haha, we've just finished watching an episode of Modern Family on TV - the wife is so run off her feet she can't even make a relaxation session. So the hubby goes instead and learns just what a wife wants to hear... not trying to fix it, just a compassionate ear. Well, in this case maybe I'd just like him to fix it??!

Here's an example of some of the complications associated with cooking for an allergy kid.
1.Oh dear, did I use that knife for butter or Nuttelex?
2. Darn, I should have chopped our son's things first, now I have to get another chopping board so there's no contamination.
3. Yikes, our food is splattering - better finish cooking our son's food first so it doesn't get contamination.
4. Where are those darn tongs just for our son? Oh, there they are... is that the right chopping board I placed it on or did I cut something else on there?
5. Oops, more splatter, better wipe the floor clean before our son comes in.
6. Better wash my hands again to avoid contamination.
7. S*#?! I forgot about that bit, now it's overcooked!

If the phone rings or my son comes in, my brain just about explodes! Life is crazy and I don't really have many answers in this regard.

What I am grateful for though is a very supportive husband. His answer in the end was a reminder that we should have more leftovers rather than cooking every night, for ourselves at least. Yes, it takes a bit more planning, but would be worth it. Plus, on a weekend he can help cook too. Bless him!

What about other allergy mums? What do you do??

Saturday, May 7, 2011

More nibbles and snacks

Here is the latest list of products I've discovered - not such a bad list when you look at it!

Sweet William Dairy Free chocolate - this comes in snack bars as well as choc chips and contains sugar, cocoa and soy. The snack bars go everywhere with me... just in case! The choc chips are a new discovery and work a treat when you want your little one to eat slowly... the little chips are so tiny! Once I get inspired, I might consider making choc chip short bread... stay tuned.

Happy Baby Organic Puffs - no diary, no corn, no soy, but does contain gluten. These are little circular cereal type puffs. They dissolve in your mouth, so great for little ones who can't quite chew. Our son didn't really enjoy them though since they're quite bland compared to real food. But for babies, it'd probably be fine.

Popcorm - cooked in sunflower oil by mum of course. Topped with melted Nuttelex. I put these in a ziplock bag and our son loves being able to get them out himself.

Doritos Original Corn chips - corn, vegetable oil and salt.

Red Rock Deli Potatoe chips - Sea salt flavour - contains potatoe, sunflower oil and salt.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Growing virtues

Autumn is here and the last of our tomatoes are being picked. Ever since having our little boy, the garden and especially the vegetable garden have been shamefully neglected. However, what we have manged to plant, and more importantly what has managed to grow has added a wonderful experience for our little son.

Our son loves going outside to look for red and yellow tomatoes. There's nothing more gorgeous than a boy coming back to you proudly holding a few tomatoes in each hand. Then, we sit at the small table with a bowl and wash each one. As soon as it's washed, it goes straight into the mouth. Gone! Just like that. Our son will eat up to 8 cherry tomatoes in one sitting. We usually do it at morning or afternoon tea time so it makes a great snack.
 So apart from nutrition and colour recognition, I've actually discovered other virtues to be learned! He's learning sequencing and planning now, because "first, we put on our shoes... then we pick the tomatoes... then we wash the tomatoes... then we eat the tomatoes!" He's learning the cycle of life - "first it is a tiny bud, then the bud grows and grows to a flower. The bees eat the flower, and the flower is dead. Then the tomato grows and grows and grows until it's yummy and red."

And the most precious virtues being developed? Patience and self control. He's learning patience because he knows now that the green ones, even the ones that are slightly green actually taste yucky. Self control is easier when there's another red tomato beckoning. But when all is gone, we have to wait till another day... and we all know even a day is an eternity in a toddler's world. The green ones that do occasionally get picked get thrown back into the garden for the birds... I did say being developed right?