Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cooking with toddlers . . . and allergies

No one in my family has a food allergy, so when I eat or cook I pay no attention to the ingredients list. It tastes good, so that's all that matters, right? But now that I have toddlers in my classroom who have food allergies, it's a big deal. Did you know how much stuff has soy in it? Bread, margarine, sprinkles, EVERYTHING!!! What is it for, anyway?

So this week we're studying cooking.

Monday we mixed goop - sounds fun, right? Trust me, it was. =) 4 cups of cornstarch and two cups of water, mixed together (it's stiff at first), makes enough for 12 toddlers to touch and play around with. It also makes a very sticky white mess all over everything.

Tuesday we spread jelly on English muffins. Jam and bread both have soy.

Wednesday we rolled cookie dough - eggless, soyless cookie dough. Mom already had the recipe for cut-out cookies, and I googled egg substitutes. It turns out that applesauce and mashed bananas work great.

Here's the recipe with alterations: Cream together 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup real butter, 1/2 cup applesauce, and 1/2 mashed banana. Add 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. lemon extract. Stir in 4 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. soda. Shape into roll 3 inches in diameter. Wrap in wax paper, and chill. Do not freeze. Roll out; cut shapes.

Wednesday night after church I baked the cookies (at 350 until lightly brown), and this morning I searched the dairy crisper in the refrigerator for real butter to use in the icing. To my dismay, 8 sticks of margarine met my eye. No butter. I ran to brush my teeth, and carefully locked the door before driving around the bend to the nearest grocery, then rushed back to stir the following ingredients: 1/2 stick butter, 1 pound powdered sugar, milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla. It was ready just in time to put everything away and head out the door to work.

The kids loved spreading the icing (and some of them enjoyed adding sprinkles . . . umm, no, I didn't even research how to make soy-free sprinkles. Really, who puts soy in sprinkles? Oh, well.) Nothing like 12 sticky, messy kids smiling up at you while stuffing frosted cookies in their mouths and signing for more.

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