Thursday, May 31, 2012

Circus Elephant Bento

Yesterday I made this fun Elephant Bento for Eliana. I decided to go with a circus elephant :)
I did her lunch in an EasyLunchBox so that we could easily transport it and eat lunch with Bee-Baga (Great-Grandpa) :)

The elephant is an open faced ham and cheese sandwich, cheese placed on the top.  Details were drawn on with an edible food marker.  I added a candy eye, fruit leather and a hat food pick to add extra details on the elephant. The elephant is practicing an act on his pretzel rod balance beam. And what circus elephant would be complete without balancing a ball? The "ball" is a teeny tiny round silicone cup filled with yogurt covered raisins.

In the upper left I put flower cucumbers and a few blueberries, with an elephant pick.
In the lower left she has cut up strawberries with another elephant pick.

I don't know about you but one of the first thing I think about when I think about circus elephants is peanuts.  I did not include peanuts in her lunch, even though it would have gone nicely with the theme. And actually, if you've been following my blog you will notice that I've never done a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I may have used peanut butter to "glue" the acorn together in the hungry squirrel lunch, but Eliana didn't eat it.  Why you ask? (or maybe you don't, and if you don't then here is the gist of the next paragraph: there is a high probability that Eliana is allergic to peanuts!)

Ever since Eliana was little she never liked peanut butter.  When she was two she ate a peanut butter jelly sandwich and broke out in hives all over her body (She had had PB before and never reacted, just never liked it). Because Eliana has the most incredible memory, and I'm not just saying that, from that point on she refused to eat peanut butter because of that reaction. She is four now, and the past two years have gone by and Eliana will not eat anything with PB.  I always thought she was allergic to peanuts, but we kind of were on the fence about it.  Since she didn't like peanuts and almost never had them it didn't seem to be a problem... and we figured she would outgrow it, but still we tended to avoid peanuts. However last week when we were eating trail mix I asked her to finish what was left in her bowl... so she licked a peanut. Her lip swelled up immediately. That did it for me.. She had never had any swelling before, so this was serious. We brought her to do blood test yesterday and we will be setting up the skin test soon. We will know for sure soon what her allergies are, but I'm pretty sure it is the peanuts. We'd rather be safe and figure out if she has any other allergies, which is why we are going through all the testing. All this to say: We didn't include peanuts in this lunch, and probably you won't be seeing any peanut butter sandwiches anytime soon! :)

I am SO thankful all that happened was a swollen lip. I watched her like a hawk and kept asking her every two seconds how she was feeling, while having my phone ready. And that reaction was only from one lick!  It can be nerve-wracking to think your child has an allergy.  You might even wish she or he doesn't have one and might miss out on life because of it (I can be dramatic sometimes). Well thankfully today there are SO many amazing products out there, and a much better awareness about allergies in general.  Although right now Eliana refuses to eat any nut butter right now, probably because they "look like peanut butter", I know there are options out there should she ever want :)  I'm very thankful, and relieved, we are getting to the bottom of this allergy soon and will be prepared if she ever were to have a reaction. I'm also super thankful this is so much easier to deal with because Eliana doesn't like PB anyways! My little girl knew all along it seems :)

**update** 
We got the results back and Eliana is allergic to peanuts, cashews and pistachios. This came as a surprise to us as she had never even had a cashew or a pistachio so I wasn't even thinking there were other nut allergies! I am very thankful we got her tested and are now prepared in case of any emergency.  We are clearly staying away from nuts at this point. It won't be too big of an adjustment for Eliana in general because she never liked nuts ever (she really did seem to know her allergy all along!)  The adjustment will be double checking everything for cross contamination issues for nuts we weren't thinking about before.  Now that we think about it David and I were wondering if that is why she so often said her "tummy hurt" after eating.  We never gave it much thought since she would be fine a few minutes later. It could have been a cross contamination issue? We can't be sure, but we'll be paying closer attention to that.

So we are are a "new adventure" as my girl Sarah from Bentoriffc  suggested I put it! We are going to be trying out new foods and alternatives for Eliana and for ourselves (once we finish what we have in our household we will no longer buy PB or trail mixes that are unsafe, just to be safe side. Eliana does like almonds, on a rare occasion, and does like Nutella and has never had a reaction to either. So we will keep those, however it will be easier to remind others to avoid PB and all nuts to avoid confusion.) So I'll be sharing some of our adventures of trying new products with you all, with some guidance from other PF and NF bloggers (specifically from my new BFF: Keeley McGuire) ;)  

 
I link up. Check it out!

14 comments:

  1. Your elephant turned out great. What a fun lunch. I just pinned it.

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    1. Thank you Beth!!! I love your creations and I am honored that you pinned mine!! :)

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  2. so glad you got answers Michelle ~ i think our kids really DO know because it does effect them internally,not just externally. Smart cookie you have there ;)

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    1. Thanks Keeley! I'm SO thankful we never had to deal with any huge scares. And it does make sense that kids know that they are allergic. I'm glad she is a smart cookie :)

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  3. This is such an amazing lunch! That elephant is fantastic!

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  4. I am glad you got the allergy figured out. Great pick for your favorite Bento of the Week!

    Diana
    Diana Rambles
    Bento Blog Network
    Link Rink

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  5. Your elephant is adorable!! My Super Tot is severely allergic to peanuts and pistachios, too. We've been completely nut free for 2 1/2 years now, and it does get easier. E-mail me if you ever want to chat about it - bentosonthebayou @ gmail (dot) com.

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    1. Thanks Rebecca! I just saw your email!! I will respond soon :)

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  6. Wow pistachios too? That is unusual. I thought that was the new nut to replace all the others in cooking, maybe because of allergies(?) or because walnuts and pecans are just gross. That is a bummer. I have to avoid peanuts because of migraines which I guess is an allergy but just not as life threatening. Some days it can be a bummer when there is something really yummy made with peanuts.

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    1. I agree -- there are times where it is a bummer, more for me tho than her. She never liked nuts or peanut butter but sometimes *I* want something with peanut butter in it. However we have found the perfect substitution that keeps us all happy! Wowbutter and soynutbutter are both made from soybeans and seriously are the best substitute ever that everyone in the family loves! I've used them in baking as well :)

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