We live in a new world where food allergies and intolance amongst children today are on the increase.  As a mum of a boy with ADHD, I often dread the aftermath of a birthday party... 

Food colouring simply adds colour to colourless and 'fun' foods- like the green ketchup that Heinz launched in 1999 and the orange you thought was so healthy may have had its colour enhanced. Without color additives, colas wouldn't be brown, margarine wouldn't be yellow and mint ice cream wouldn't be green.  Just as photoshop is vital to the appearance of a supermodel, color additives could be discribed as the 'makeup artists' of the food industry. Food coloring makes our food more attractive, which makes you more likely to buy it, so unfortunately manufacturers aren't going to stop using it anytime soon.

You may have recently heard about how some red food dyes are made using insects(?!).  Red dyes that are commonly listed as carmine, cochineal or E120 are actually made from crushed cochineal beetles. While insects might seem unpleasant let's compare them to the alternative, Red No. 40 and Red No. 2. These common red dyes are actually made from chemical sources such as coal and petroleum! Due to health concerns, in the 1970s Red No. 2 was banned in many countries. In 2009, concerns that Red No. 40 contributed to hyperactivity in children, led to a similar ban in some countries.

Based on this, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that synthetic food dyes aren't good for us.  Let's be honest - they really have NO purpose other than to make our food look pretty, our tongues blue, our kids hyper and maybe put us at risk of developing a brain tumor...In today's world it's hard to get away from food coloring; nearly every processed food contains it!  Maybe this is the reason why the whole 'baking from scratch' phenomenon has made a come back...But still, marketing also encourages us to add those 'happy evil' food dyes to our freshly bake goods! GUILTY...

Recently I've read a few articles about making your own natural food colouring (how hard can this be?) and mixing potions is always good fun...

You have 2 options:

 Juice your vegetables and fruits using a juicer...
OR
Boil your vegetables and fruits...



Not having a juicer, I boiled and strained, discovering that...
Yellow = Mango and mustard
Green = Spinanch
Strawberries =Pink
Frozen Blueberries made Purple...
Fresh Blueberries also made purple...
(For now, blue is still a work in progress) xo

And look at those 'all-natural colours...'

Which are good enough to drink xo

This icing may be pale, but it has a naturally-chic and elegant-appearance, that is actually quite calming for a scrumptious freshly baked vanilla cupcake...
My taste testers were 3 teenage neighbours,who pride themselves on brutal honestly! 
The OUTCOME: Delicious.  '...the green was made from spinach?'. The yellow icing, made from mangos and mustard, was the only icing colour where they were able to identify the original source !

Tips 
1. The colourings can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
2. The longer the colouring sits in the fridge, the deeper the colour became. Check out the purple cupcakes...
3. Getting the green from spinach is tough, you almost have to hand squeeze it out...and don't boil your spinach in too much water, especially when using frozen spinach!
4. When mixing up your butter icing, be careful as you need to add a lot more of the natural food colouring- compared to the 'synthetic food dyes'- to get the colour. 
5. The colours are pale but totally natural and flavourless xox

 
 
Picture
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A note from Bev

My son Levi is not allergic to just one thing, he has allergies to milk, dairy, soya, nuts (all kinds) and potato as well as not being allowed to even try certain foods such as fish and shellfish, peas, beans and lentils. So food choices are limited as such. He is only three so we have not had a big birthday party for him yet though whenever we eat out (which is not very often) or go to a person's home to eat it does tend to mean that we are taking food with us. It is just less stressful for us and less stressful for the person we are visiting. When it comes to birthdays at school here in Belgium they still bring in either cakes or cookies for the child to share with the class so I have special treats for Levi that are always there “just in case”.

A note from Kate

As a mum of allergy-free kids,  allergies as such, aren't a concern for me.  But as a mum of a child with ADHD I do need to monitor  colour additives in foods and sugar intakes...But birthdays are birthdays, and need to celebrated!  As a teacher, I've watched many kids  miss out on the 'special treats' due nut, egg, dairy and (far too often) gluten allergies. Out comes the ziplock bag with treats that they have brought from home, as the child longingly stares at their peers' special treats, wondering why they can't have that scrumptious cupcake. 

The latest policy for many schools and preschools is to ban birthday treats altogether.  "Mum are you going to make cakes for my class?" is becoming a thing of the past as allergies amongst children continue to grow.  That moment when the class sings to you - the teacher places a crown on your head, then you hand out a special treat to your class- mates is a moment that every child looks forward to and has fond memories of... 

I'm not a doctor or an expect but Bev from 'i bake without' and I have come up with a few useful suggestions to help create that inclusive party, because we believe that taking the time to learn about the allergies in your child's class is just as important as learning their names.

Please click on the snap shots for the recipes

Lollipops

A little Healthy Creative Fun
Using tooth picks, marshmallows and fruit, Kids can have fun creating 3D objects! 
Grab a paint brush and some food colouring for a little added creativity and splash of colour xo

Meringue Kisses


Just because I have an allergy doesn't mean that I should miss out!

"I like to party too and LOVE special treats"...

HOT Chocolate Popcorn

Vegan Cupcakes

Homemade Marshmallows 

Recently I was talking to a friend who has a son much older than mine who has a severe egg allergy. She was talking about the stress of dealing with parents who have invited her son to their child’s birthday party. You will always get the minority of people who do not see why they should find even some small way of including your child which I think is sad because that child did not ask to have an allergy. But there are also the nervous but well meaning parents who want to make your child feel welcome and included and bravo to those parents! 

There are plenty of foods that an allergic child CAN have, I mean the amount of foods in existence is pretty vast people! The place to start is to ask the parent of the allergic child if they can provide you with suggestions, most of us already have lists of foods that are safe for our children to eat and will happily share and advise and even provide a few treats if it means our child can be included in a “safe” party. Hopefully we can provide a few ideas to you to help you create that fabulous “inclusive” party. Bev xo

Carrot and Orange Cupcakes

Chocolate Mint Krispie Cakes

Orange Scented Honey Cake

Chocolate Covered Banana Cake POPS

Hedgehog and Cranberry Slice 

The Jelly (Jello) Fish Bowl

Gingerbread Men




A special THANKS to...

The Organised Housewife
 
 
COMING SOON- We're teaming up with our mate from i bake without to discuss kids and allergies!