Every holiday I am asked about how I handle the holiday season. I try my best to keep you in the loop on my Instagram account (follow me here), but since I had a little free time this Good Friday (a rare occasion in my home) I thought I would share right here on the blog. I LOVE holidays, I love the extra time spent with loved ones and I love to bake!
Until now it has been relatively easy handling the pressures any holiday- regarding the candies and treats. My kids have honestly not even had a lollipop (at least to my knowledge- they do spend a lot of time with their grandparents 😉 ) so they don’t even acknowledge candy when its right in front of them. But my son is nearing 4 (how is this possible?!?) and he is expressing more of an interest to try candy. He’s no longer believing my story that smarties boxes are a musical shaker to rock out with in the car. Most recently when I told him this he asked me if he could just open it to see whats inside- busted! He is a gem of a child so he still asks and understands when I express that I would prefer to make him chocolate then have him eat the brightly coloured candies or refined sugars.
Recently, we let them try 1 chocolate egg and we paid for it for the entire day. When your children never eat refined sugars of any kind let me tell you how obvious it is when they are exposed. The disruption in the daily routine, the behavioural upsets and major meltdowns that occur; for me its just not worth it. Luckily, after having just one he never asked to try again.
I am a fan of raw chocolate, my sister, holistic nutritionist extraordinaire has taught me to make my own (she is now offering her cooking classes in the GTA so I will keep you posted). So naturally at every holiday I make chocolate, and the way I reinvent the same recipe (as if I even need to- its chocolate!) is with moulds- pumpkins and skulls for Halloween, gingerbread men at Christmas, hearts on Valentines and bunnies for Easter. I try to make at least one baked good and chocolates. Then that is all I offer my kids, if someone gives them something different then I trade them for a chocolate or they are unfazed by it altogether because they are just so happy to be eating a treat. This past Halloween they handed over all their treats in exchange for chocolate bugs- with no stress at all!
So why do it differently?
The largest reason I opt to do it differently is because of refined sugars and artificial colourings and food dyes. Refined sugars lack any nutrient value and beyond that they cause a major spike in blood sugars when consumed. This results in a insulin spike as well as a ongoing yo-yo’ing effect on your blood sugar levels. You can imagine how this may affect your child’s health and well-being. Furthermore insulin and cortisol (our stress hormone) often mimic each other so spikes in our insulin levels can cause increased cortisol levels and result in increased stress on you or your child’s body.
Artificial colourings and dyes have been associated with hyperactivity, behavioural issues, ADD & ADHD in children. There is a lack in research on the use of multiple colourings used in one product (and rarely do they occur alone in products) and so its health impacts are largely unknown. Many of these are derived from substances such as coal tar and tartrazine (a known agent for causing hyperactivity in children). They are a potential neurotoxin and carcinogen so I would just rather leave this out.
So without further adieu, here is my Easter spread:
- 1 C GF all purpose flour (namaste)
- 1/3 C coconut sugar
- 1/4 t cream of tartar
- 1/2 t baking soda
- Pinch of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (@giddyyoyo)
- 1 organic egg
- 1/4 C butter
- Preheat the oven at 375F. Mix together butter, coconut sugar and vanilla bean powder. Once it is fully mixed add the egg and whip together.
- In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients together.
- Slowly mix in the dry ingredients into the wet.
- Once that is complete place the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Then either roll into cookies or place into a silicon mould (depending on the season of course- I get my moulds from Michael's). Bake for 10 minutes.
- I have dipped mine in raw chocolate - the recipe remains a secret of my sisters so I will not spill the beans, but I would recommend that if you cannot join one of her classes that you just pick up a raw chocolate bar and melt it - double boiler at a low temperature.
Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups- They taste as good as they look and they do not last long in our home.
My chickadees and I in our pj’s dying eggs with a natural dye kit I got from WholeFoods.
Why go natural? Remember what goes ON you inevitably goes IN you. And you know how toddlers play.
Who needs artificial dyes when nature creates colour so perfectly! These colours are derived from beets, turmeric and purple cabbage.
My handsome little helper helped himself to his fair share of raw chocolate with absolutely no meltdowns afterwards.
What are your traditions or healthy modifications that you use with your family? I want to hear from you- share your traditions below!
With love & cookies,