I have great kids, two boys. One left for college several years ago to attend a fantastic college back east, and my other son will join him there this fall. Not only are they brilliant, they are kind, socially conscious and driven to make the world a better place. A mantra they heard often from their dear old mom was: To whom much is given, much is expected. I guess it stuck, because they both have big dreams of how to change the world! I couldn’t be more proud. Okay – enough of the mom brag moment.
I believe that in every kid there rests the potential for greatness—and I believe one of parents’ greatest responsibilities lies in aiding their kids to uncover said greatness. Helping them find their potential is not difficult. It requires neither a fancy parenting book nor a pile of money. What you will need is time, lots and lots of time, an inordinate amount of time. The paradox is that the time you as a parent have to give your child is so very-very short. They will be gone and out of your care with the blink of an eye. It’s as if the wind blows and with it carries away childhood, blowing your children beyond your keeping into lives of their own. So, as a parent, you must maximize the time you do have with them and really get to know your child so you can help them find their path.
Playing board games with your kids represents one of THE best ways to spend great times together. We play games ad-nauseam in our house! Game playing is so wonderful because, well, it’s fun and you can spend time with your kids without them feeling like you are trying to get them to talk (and this is especially important in the teenage years). You can be together, interacting, without demanding a conversation. You are just together. It is during times like these when my kids would often open up about problems they were having or when we would have awesome conversations about world issues. They didn’t talk or open up every time we played games, but it provided a safe space for them to dialogue if they so chose. If you don’t have many games, check out garage sales or thrift stores, as they usually have a lot for sale. Some of our favorite games over the years: Set, Settlers of Catan, Chess, Chinese Checkers, Mancala, Apples to Apples, Candy Land, Rivers Roads & Rails, Monopoly, Pokeman, Mix Math, Scrabble and Sequence.
Of course, no game is really complete at our house without some kind of fun food (here we are – back to food again)! One of my boys’ (including my husband) favorite foods: blueberry pie. It’s the perfect accompaniment to game playing and spending time together, as pie kind of says, everything is okay and I love you! I’ve been making it since they were little and it’s still requested when everyone is home together. It’s completely plant based and gluten free. It will help keep your brain sharp, so you can win the game! Keep Shining. Peace Out!
Gluten Free Pie Crust:
I’ve tried many different gluten free flours over the years for my pie crusts, but this really is the best that I’ve found:
3-Cups Pamela’s Bread Mix (this flour mix is really healthy and can be found at most health food stores – or alternatively you can order it from Amazon. The cheapest I’ve found it is at Amazon).
12-TBSP Earth Balance spread (I use the soy free version)
¼-Cup ground flaxseed
8 to 9 TBSP ice cold water (use more water if necessary to get everything to stick together)
Put the flour and ground flax in a bowl and add Earth Balance spread. Cut “butter” in with a pastry cutter until the dough resembles coarse meal. Slowly add water one TBSP at a time until the dough comes together and you can form a ball out of it. Put in a bowl or plastic bag and chill in the fridge for at least twenty minutes.
1-Cup coconut sugar
4-TBSP arrowroot starch
2 TBSP Vanilla
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
Blueberry juice from one can of blueberries, around 3/4-Cup
2-Cans Blueberries (not pie filling blueberries – just blueberries in their own juice. I use the Oregon brand).
In a saucepan mix together the sugar, cinnamon and fruit juice and cook over medium heat. Mix arrowroot with 2-3 TBSP water and when blueberry mixture is almost boiling add arrowroot and water. Stir constantly and let thicken. When thick, remove from heat and add the blueberries, vanilla and lemon juice and mix well.
Take pie dough out of fridge and cut in half. On well-floured (I use arrowroot starch) parchment paper, roll out ½ the dough into a thin circle. Invert parchment onto 9-inch pie dish and peel the parchment away. This never goes smoothly, but where dough tears, you can just patch it back together. Keep patching together until there are no holes and you have a nice “lip” of dough around the edge. Put the filling into dough-lined pie pan. On a fresh sheet of well-floured parchment paper roll out the other half of the dough. Instead of inverting this over the pie, I usually cut the dough in pieces and carefully lay over the top of the pie. It ends up looking rustic, but really pretty. Pinch the edge of the pie together all around its circumference, making flutes or any design you wish. Bake in a 425-degree F oven and cook 35 – 45 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30-minutes before cutting. Enjoy & good luck in the game!