sometimes all you need is less

sometimes all you need is less free2live
a small truth ūüôā

I love this notion, that sometimes all we need is less.

I think it is really relevant for those of us living with and catering for severe food allergies. We can fill our lives with stress and anxiety trying to compensate (or over compensate) for all we think our allergic children are missing out on. But this is a great philosophy, a great twist! Sometimes all you need is less. Maybe in reality they are the blessed ones!

Yes; they miss out on Cadburies,¬†McVities, Kellogs… and shop brought cakes, pastries, chocolates, biscuits and cakes – but they get home-made delicious and more nutritious cakes and biscuits. They know that their mummy has taken time to make something safe and special for them to eat. They may not be consciously aware of it, especially when they are tots. But I am certain that Aars eating fresh pancakes every morning before school (full of coconut flour, coconut m!lk, macca, apples, bananas and oats), is sending an underlying message which is reaffirmed day after day, that I love him and I want him to be healthy. I am demonstrating by my actions that I’m happy¬†to use my time to aid him and benefit his health. I am investing in him and his wellbeing.

His food is made fresh – simple natural ingredients, no additives or preservatives… he is blessed! We chat as we bake together, we play together with ingredients and flavours – it is simple but it enriches our relationship and our lives. Sometimes all we need is less.

In a time when consumerism is high, and we are constantly told we need more – more stuff, more experiences, more money, more things… this concept that sometimes all you need is less, is alien. I find it refreshing in it’s simplicity.

Yes!¬†I can see how my son has missed out on parties, days out, school events, trick or treating… These things may be pared back compared to others experiences, but sometimes that enables our children¬†and ourselves¬†to be more conscious and aware of ¬†what we do get to share and participate in. Things are not assumed or taken for granted. We discuss, we consider, we listen to each other and we choose what we think will be safe or worth the risk and then we treasure our experiences, our daring adventures and his growing independence.

My son is heading into his teens this year (!!!) ¬†I hope that we will continue to have an open, honest and healthy relationship. I know that less stuff, less packaged food, less parties, less school trips, less restaurants, less junk food has given us more opportunities to share life, baking, eating, adventures… every time he’s gone into anaphylactic shock the paramedics have commented on our relationship and how strong and positive it is. Even his swimming instructor has spoken of our bond and how strong, honest and healthy it seems, “Don’t loose it!” He urges me.

I hope we don’t. I hope that we hold onto all that “less” has enabled us to enjoy. I hope you are able to see¬†that sometimes all you need is less. That¬†what you have with your children as you support them with their allergies and anaphylaxis is important, valuable and lasting.

Peace and smiles to you,
Rai x

I thought I would add a couple of simple cupcake recipes as it’s still national cupcake week after all! ;D ENJOY!

banana & cinnamon cupcakes for bambinos

  • Yield:

    20 cupcakes
  • Cooking Method:

    baking
  • Prep Time:

    20 mins
  • Cook Time:

    12 mins
banana & cinnamon cupcakes for bambinos

These cupcakes are great; low in sugar and big on flavour. I tend to make cute cupcakes for children which are decorated with icing and leave some non-iced cupcakes for bambinos. (Most of the fat and sugar is in the icing) They are delicious, people find it hard to believe they are dairy-free and egg-free.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe bananas¬†
  • 2Tbs sunflower oil
  • 75 ml¬†m!lk alternative (we used koko a coconut m!lk)
  • ¬Ĺ¬†C demerara sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon (we heap these, as Aars loves cinnamon)
  • ¬Ĺ¬†tsp nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1¬Ĺ C gluten-free plain flour
  • ¬ľ¬†tsp baking powder
  • ¬Ĺ¬†tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of¬†salt

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180¬ļ C (fan) &¬†place the cupcake cases in their tins.

    banana-&-cinnamon-cupcakes-free-from-recipe
    skewer shows they are ready to come out the oven

  2. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients in the order provided above. Once mixed (doesn‚Äôt need to be smooth, lumpy is good) spoon into the cases, ensure they are ¬ĺ¬†full.¬†

  3. Pop into the oven -¬†cupcakes take 12 mins¬†(use a skewer to check ‚Äď cupcake lifts out of tin with skewer) If you are making larger¬†muffins, these take between 18-20 mins.

  4. Leave them in their tins for about 5 mins after getting out of the oven before placing on cooling racks and allow to cool thoroughly before icing.

Notes:

These are great fun to make with your children - they will love mashing up the bananas, and mixing everything together.

vanilla cupcakes

  • Yield:

    16 cupcakes
  • Cooking Method:

    baking
  • Prep Time:

    15 mins
  • Cook Time:

    15 mins
vanilla cupcakes

It can't get any simpler than these lovely little cupcakes! They are an adaption of a North African recipe, and the first cakes I ever made for Aars. The original recipe from my Egyptian friend was free-from egg and dairy before I even started to meddle with it - it was however filled with nuts! I hope you enjoy and that you play around with them to make them your own. 

Ingredients:

  • 1¬†¬ĺ C gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 1 C golden caster sugar
  • 2¬†tsp flat bicarbonate of soda
  • ¬ľ tsp salt
  • 1 C water
  • ¬Ļ/3 C sunflower oil
  • 3 tsp cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract  

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180¬ļC (fan) and line your cupcake tray with cases.

    free-from cupcakes
    no need for egg or dairy...

  2. In a bowl mix your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, bicarb & salt.

  3. In a jug combine your wet ingredients: water, oil, vinegar & vanilla.

  4. Beat the wet ingredients into the the dry ones until you have a smooth batter. Then dollop out the mix into the waiting cases & pop into the oven for 15 minutes. Leave them in their tray for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack.

Notes:

We love these for their super simplicity; they taste lovely just as they are.

Let me know how you play with this basic recipe to make it a family fave - do you add spices or fruit? Cheers, Rai x

tropical cupcakes

  • Yield:

    14 cupcakes
  • Cooking Method:

    baking
  • Prep Time:

    15 mins
  • Cook Time:

    15 mins

Allergens:

gluten
tropical cupcakes

These delicious tropical cupcakes are an adaption of a North African recipe, full of scrummy fruit and flavour. The spicing and flavours are subtle so children vacuum these little delights up! I always do double the recipe to keep us in stock for a couple of days! I hope you enjoy them and that you play around with them to make them your own. I think that for adults you can up the spicing and add some chopped up pineapple into the mix too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana (mashed)
  • 5 balls of stem ginger & syrup (or 5 Tbs of diced stem ginger & syrup)
  • 1¬Ĺ Tbs ground flaxseed
  • ¬Ĺ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¬Ĺ C pineapple juice*
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¬ľ C sugar (palm or caster)
  • ¬Ļ‚ĀĄ6 C oil¬†
  • grind of salt
  • ¬ĺ C self-raising flour**
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (don't double this if you're doubling the recipe!)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180¬ļC (fan) and line your cupcake tray with cases.

  2. In a mixing bowl mash up the banana.

  3. Liquidise the stem ginger & syrup until there are no bits of stem ginger. Pour into the bowl and combine with the banana, then stir in the flax, cinnamon, pineapple juice*, vinegar, vanilla, sugar, oil and salt.

  4. Add the flour** and bicarb and then mix really well to create a smooth batter - I use my Kenwood chef and the K beater for this job.

  5. Dollop¬†the mix into the waiting cases so they are¬†¬ĺ full & pop into the oven for 15 minutes.

  6. When they come out of the oven leave them in their tray for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack.

  7. I love these as they are - unadulterated. However some people - my partner included really likes them smothered with my vegan fluffy tropical icing. The recipe for the icing is here. You need to give the cupcakes a lot of time to cool down before you ice them.

Notes:

*You can use fresh juice from juicing a pineapple, or juice from a carton or from a tin of pineapple. We sometimes cut up a few slices of pineapple into little chunks to go into the cake too for extra moistness and yum!

**At the time of writing this recipe Aars is having to eat gluten, so I used normal self-raising wheat flour. Be assured that the recipe also works well with Doves gluten-free self-raising flour too! 

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