Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Greetings

Most people don't think of Easter as a very corn filled holiday.  It's...more...carrots.  And maybe celery.  And...jellybeans. 
Actually, for most people with food allergies, Easter celebrations can be pretty safe. 
But, again, corn rears it's ugly head.  Ear?  Whatever. 
Jelly beans may generally be free of the top 8; but their rainbow appeal generally comes from a rainbow of artificial food colorings.  These are linked with behavior issues, and possibly further health problems, in some individuals. There are naturally colored jelly beans from Surf Sweets, Green Beans, and even Jelly Belly superfruits. 
Unfortunately, the above are either made with corn syrup, or the corn containing citric acid. 
Gummy candy is another perrenial favorite...Gummy bears fit just perfectly into the plastic colored eggs.  (And of course an egg laying bunny is going to hatch red and yellow bears, right?)  Surf Sweet candies, Yummy Earth candies, and Annie's Naturals all have delicious alternatives.  (Containing corn) 
Florida's Natural Nuggets taste good and fit well in the eggs...but again contain corn derivatives. 
For a corn free candy, you might have to resort to St Claire's Hard candies.  (Tasty, but not quite as seasonal) 

And then there is the chocolate bunny.  Nut warnings, dairy derivatives, even gluten show up in those mischievous iconic candies.  Alternatives may be maple sugar shapes (I haven't seen a bunny, though), chocolates bought from a premier specialty facility like Premium Chocolatiers, or chocolate chips melted to fit various candy molds available in the market place. 

The only real candy novelties safe for corn avoiders are the ones we make ourselves.  But some have gotten creative with Erewhon rice cereal and homemade marshmallows to shape krisie treats, gelatin mold eggs, and shaped chocolates. 

Of course...the best egg stuffers are non candy...Littlest Pet shop figurines, In My Pocket pets, and small vehicles will delight kids 3-7; as will mardi gras beads and other small party favors (these aren't great for the environment, though)

As an adult with the corn allergy (and parent to a dairy free, gluten free kid and 2 who avoid artificial colorings) I prefer to not worry about the sugary novelties. 
Spice cake sounds good to me; and maybe if we have a few carrots I'll grate them in for corn free carrot cake.  I'm still working on a white frosting recipe.  Powdered sugar has not been easy to find, but I'm certain there is decent frosting to be had without it.  (after all, people have been frosting cakes for generations...haven't they?) 

The kids are looking forward to egg dyeing.  Although every year I tell myself we'll find some nice, safe, all natural dyes...I got lazy (and cheap) and purchased a sponge paintng kit.  We will dye 2 dozen eggs, of the cheapest brand I find, and Mr. Violets will bring what he wants to work.  The rest will be a tragic waste of resources...but at least they'll serve a purpose in entertainment, art exploration, and decoration.  And they'll decompose quickly, a nice Earth Day bonus. 

Maybe we'll work in a short hike, or at least a trip to the park.  After all...the whole point of Easter is to welcome spring back to our lives.  And part of springtime is getting back outside.  We'll also be attempting another garden.  We've already fed a honeydew seedling to the snails in our yard, and (after putting down salt) are considering ttempting strawberry plants.  They grow well and Bumblebee enjoys them.  Maybe I'll even be able to handle a few despite the prevalence of seeds.  (Or maybe I'll puree them and strain the seeds)  At least if they're homegrown, I'll know if it was the strawberry or the 'industry standard' rinse that didn't get scrubbed off. 

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