Strawberry rhubarb gummies

Man, oh man. It's been a while since I blogged...AGAIN. My excuse this time is that M needed some stitches in his face last week and it was horrible. When he got hurt, I immediately felt afraid and guilty about how vulnerable he is and how I can't protect him from danger. I think it's human nature to do whatever helps us pretend that we have control: No one would get out of bed if they thought too hard about the horrible accidents that could befall them at any minute. In our case, we try to be proactive parents by reading books and tuning into our kid and then making choices based on the information we glean. Do we always make the right choices? Absolutely not. But it's the act of TRYING that feels the most valuable to me. But that's the rub: Trying to be "proactive" is what I do to strengthen the illusion of control. And when injury happens, I'm reminded that my control is, in fact, just an illusion and that much of parenting--hell, much of life--is about reacting to the unforeseen. It's terrifying.

But in addition to feeling shocked, I also felt a little bit of awe. They had to strap M down so that he didn't move or grab the instruments and he was so scared and sweaty and confused. But just a few minutes later, he was sitting up in his stroller extolling the virtues of his blue lollipop. He also told us the next day, unprompted, that he had felt "scared" in the doctor's office. I was pretty floored by this tidbit of emotional maturity in my two-year-old.

Obviously, I've cried a couple of times this week. But what really puts me over the edge is thinking about his courage and sweetness despite all the other stuff. He is showing us that it's possible to feel fear and pain without turning it against others or being ashamed. He isn't trying to blame anyone for what happened. He just wants a blue lolly. Never change, kiddo. 

Also obvious: ALL I WANT TO DO IS GIVE HIM BLUE LOLLIES AND KISSES AND MY PHONE AND ANYTHING ELSE HIS LITTLE HEART WANTS. But that's a bit dramatic. Instead, we're going back to normal and trying to eat some healthy things. These strawberry rhubarb gummies are delicious and portable and sweet without being sugary. I use this brand of gelatin that feels a little more wholesome than other types, but it's expensive, so use what feels good for you. If working with this gelatin or something similar, try to keep these gummies cold-ish as the gelatin un-gels when warm.

A note on making a puree instead of the gummies: Without any sweetener, this puree is TART. I love it, but I'm sure a developing palette would be a bit shocked. If trying this out with a kiddo under 1, add 1 Tbsp of maple syrup at a time to taste. Or, throw in a roasted banana or 1 cup of mango cubes to cut the tartness with fruit rather than added sugar. You can also reduce the rhubarb to 1 cup chopped. It's also a watery puree, so add it to some greek yogurt or coconut cream to thicken it up.


Strawberry rhubarb puree and gummies

4 large pieces of rhubarb, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 pint strawberries (about 3 cups of whole berries with stems removed)
¼ cup water
4 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
5 Tbsp gelatin

Grease a baking pan with coconut oil or your oil of choice. Set aside.

Chop rhubarb into 1-inch pieces after removing the leaves and the root ends. Place in a sauce pan with ¼ cup of water and turn heat to medium/medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb starts to get mushy, about 6-8 minutes. Add the whole strawberries and continue cooking until the berries begin to soften and all of the rhubarb has lost its shape, about 10 minutes more. Puree in a blender or food processor.

This will yield about 3 cups of puree. This mixture is fairly watery, so if you don’t plan to turn it into gummies, I would mix it with greek yogurt or coconut cream. It’s also fairly tart, so I recommend adding some honey (for kids older than 1), maple syrup, or another fruit such as 1 large roasted banana or 1 cup of chopped mango.  

For the gummies: Return the puree to the pot and turn the heat to low. Let the mixture heat up slightly, but don’t let it boil. Add the sweetener and mix well. Sprinkle the gelatin into the mixture very very slowly in 1 tsp increments and whisk continually to avoid lumps. Once the powder has dissolved, turn off heat. Pour into your greased pan and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Cut into squares and serve.

Yield: 64 1” by 1” squares