Fruit is so expensive these days and my children eat a lot of it, so I hate to see any go to waste. But from time to time we do get to the point where we have some that needs using up, so I have decided to look at ways to keep it a bit longer. I know some fruits freeze very well. I have some rhubarb in my freezer and there is definitely a pot of chopped banana waiting to be made into ice cream any day now. But on a cold day, you want something warm and comforting – that is still a good breakfast.
So the other day, I decided to chop up my last tired looking apples and grapes and throw them in a pan with a bit of banana and some dried fruits to see what happened. I did have a go at this the other week, when I made my porridge and the end result was a great porridge topping. What I made this time was even better and actually could double up as a pie or sweet pancake filling.
I have to admit I am starting to run out of ideas for different breakfasts now, so have taken to staring vacantly at the fridge and cupboards hoping that inspiration will fly off the shelves. Today the cupboards were a bit bare, except for the abundance of carrots I always have in the house, as they are Sophia’s favourite snack food. She will eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and that is why I started to wonder if I could get them into Zac’s breakfast – he won’t eat them any other way, so how about in a muffin?
My sister makes a fab carrot cake, and I know it is a very versatile ingredient, so I started looking around for recipes. I quickly came across a recipe for ‘carrot and courgette mini muffins’. It was on the I Can Cook page of the CBeebies website. I do remember seeing the episode where Katie makes them and back then I did wonder what they might taste like. As this recipe looked far simpler than any of the others that Google threw at me, I decided to give it a go.
When Zac had his appointment at Great Ormond Street hospital, we were told of a drug that might help him – Nalcrom. The consultant, who I really respect and trust, said he thought it was something we should consider once Zac had got the blood test results. Great.
When we met our NHS consultant, she read his letter with this advice, agreed with it and gave us a prescription on the spot, before the blood tests had even been carried out. Both assured me that this could help his tummy, as it acts a bit like a ‘plaster’ on his gut. As both consultants (correctly) suspected that Zac has non-IgE mediated allergy, medication could be the answer and this is where I came up with my blistered foot analogy.
Because Zac’s tummy has been aggravated for so long, he ‘reacts instantly and allergically’ to many foods now, but he is not technically allergic to any of them. In the way that if you have a blister on your foot – all shoes are going to rub. It is the same for him when he eats. Most days he has a distended abdomen no matter what he eats, and according to the consultants this drug could help with that.
As I have worked my way through 15 breakfast options now, I think it is time to bring a bit of science back to the blog. Don’t worry, the food will be back, but I need to share our latest news, as it may resonate with some of you – and some of you may have comments or advice? Please feel free to comment.
After three years of trying to get Zac allergy tested, we finally made some progress at the end of last year and got a consultant to agree that his condition needed further investigating and blood tests were the next step. The blood was taken just before Christmas and by 21st January – after much chasing, I received the results. Zac’s blood tests were negative for cow’s milk, egg, fish, peanuts, sesame, hazelnuts, cashew nuts, wheat, mixed tree pollen and mixed grass pollen. They were also supposed to test for mango and kiwi, but in the letter they apologised for not having done this, as they had taken insufficient blood! Great.
Dr Fox had also requested for Zac to be screened for HLA DQ2 and DQ8 – which would help rule out Coeliac disease, but there was not mention of this in the letter, so I can only assume they forgot altogether. Massively unimpressed – again. I plan to discuss when we next meet the consultant.
So after a few experiments with gluten free oat based breakfasts, it is clear that Zac is not a fan. I noticed he picked out and ate all the dried fruit from the granola and muesli, and left the rest. So as he clearly likes the dried fruit, I thought I would try him on a new one – cranberries.
I know they contain anti-oxidants and some dietary fibre, so although dried fruits are mostly sugar, there are some benefits to giving them a try – not to mention adding some much needed variety and colour to his diet.
I picked up a pack in the supermarket today and then spent the rest of the afternoon deciding how to turn them into a decent breakfast. Then I noticed that there was a recipe on the side of the pack and decide to have a crack at it.
The recipe is actually for chocolate and cranberry muffins. As I am trying to promote healthy eating with Zac, and I don’t really feel right giving him chocolate for breakfast, I decide to swap it for some dried apricots. So even though it is, still in my eyes, ‘cake for breakfast’, at least it contains some fruit!
So now I am starting to run out of my own breakfast ideas and have been going through my books to see if there are any ideas I could borrow and adapt. As Annabel Karmel is widely regarded as a ‘feeding the kids’ guru, I thought I would revisit her book for some inspiration. Yesterday’s porridge post seemed to go down well – with everyone but Zac, so I decided another healthy looking recipe would be good.
Quick and easy are the types of recipe that always catch my eye first, so anything that requires minimal mess, cooking and skill always comes out on top – and that is why I have just made my first muesli. I can’t believe I have never done it before – it took about five minutes. In my student days it was my favourite breakfast, yet I have never given it to the children. Obviously for the last 3 years we have been a gluten free kitchen, so you can perhaps forgive me for writing off any oat based meals. So now we know that gluten free oats are (mostly) suitable, I feel like exploring what else can be made from them apart from porridge.