Guest post by Nicole Chevalier
Like many other kids, our son is enthralled by the Harry Potter book series. He recently finished the last in the series (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) and promptly began the first book all over again. So, when I realized Harry Potter’s birthday was coming up in a couple of weeks, I thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate our family’s love for these stories.
Unlike a lot of other families though, ours is on a medical diet – the Specific Carbohydrate Diet – for my son’s ulcerative colitis diagnosis. We all follow SCD in support of him.
During our transition to SCD, the most difficult thing was having our younger child eat from the full spectrum of SCD-safe foods while the older was adding foods in slowly to see if they gave him a reaction. In 6 weeks, he was symptom-free; by 10 weeks after starting SCD, he was chowing down on raw veggies and fruits. So thankfully, that period of mismatch was a short one!
So in designing this Harry Potter feast, I had access to most of the SCD-allowed foods, with the exception of lentils, beans, and peanut butter (we haven’t introduced them yet). I knew I wanted to have items they mentioned in the books like chocolate frogs, jelly slugs, pumpkin juice, and cake along with the chicken drumsticks showed piled high in the movie. For the rest of the menu…. I scoured Pinterest and thought about how I could make substitutions. I really wanted to make this meal special for two big reasons. One, to show my kids that YES, we absolutely can still have fun with food on this diet; and two, to support their interest in books(!).
This was our menu for the evening:
- Pumpkin juice
- Polyjuice potion
- Giggle water
- Pretzel wands
- Dragon eggs
- Mandrake peppers
- Gillyweed (stuffed grape leaves)
- Chicken drumsticks
- Cauliflower rice (my kids chose it over mashed cauliflower)
- White chocolate frogs
- Jelly (gelatin) slugs
- Unicorn ice cream
- Pumpkin cake
We managed to do a lot of the prep work the day before. The only things I really had to do on the actual feast day were roast the vegetables and drumsticks, cook the rice, peel some eggs, turn on the Instant Pot, and turn on the crockpot that morning. In total, maybe 40 minutes (not including IP or crockpot cook times).
Pumpkin juice. I found several recipes online that had roasted pumpkin in them, which was then boiled on the stove and served. I decided to shortcut this a bit by roasting squash the day before, and putting it and a jar of apple cider (and a jar of water) along with some spices (cinnamon, cloves, star anise) into the crockpot that day. It tormented me all day, smelling delicious.
Polyjuice potion. My initial idea for this was to do a green, gloppy soup or a type of green smoothie. I was concerned at the overall amount of food though, so I decided to go for a drink option instead. These are basically strong lemonade (honey, lemon juice, water) poured over frozen red cabbage juice. The frozen juice is blue, but when the acidic liquid hits it, it changes color to pink (it’s a pH-based reaction). This was a BIG hit.
Giggle water. Sparkling water, no flavoring.
Pretzel wands. I used this recipe (https://scdinpictures.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/scd-soft-pretzels/ ) which we had tried (and loved) before. I just made the pretzels straight instead of twisted.
Dragon eggs. This is a ‘recipe’ I adapted from Pinterest. Basically, you take hard boiled eggs and crack the shells with a spoon, then submerge them in food coloring. I used grape juice, and soaked them overnight in the fridge. I peeled them before we ate – the part no one warned me about was that in order to get that dark crackled look, you have to leave the membrane on the egg. That part was a little tedious, since I couldn’t use my egg peeler.
Flobberworms. I was going to be making roasted asparagus broomsticks, but our asparagus wilted in the fridge before HP day rolled around. Trader Joe’s to the rescue! They sell precut crinkle-cut butternut squash, so I roasted them at 400F for about 20 minutes
Mandrake peppers. I thought about using carrots with their tops on, but I couldn’t find any at the store, so I made do with sweet peppers. Carved faces in them, cleaned out the seeds, sprayed them with just a touch of oil and roasted them in a 400F oven for 15 minutes or so.
Gillyweed (stuffed grape leaves). I stumbled onto this recipe by luck. Someone had posted in an SCD Facebook group about making grape leaves in their Instant Pot and I jumped at the chance to try it out. “Instant pot grape leaves. 45 minutes manual high pressure. Replaced rice with riced cauliflower. About 2# beef, 1 egg, , 2 cup approx riced cauliflower, mint, garlic, olive oil, leaves. Juice from 4 lemons and chicken broth from last evenings instapot lemon chicken meal. ”
Chicken drumsticks. These I brined for 2 days – they were incredibly juicy. I wanted to leave them under the broiler for a few more minutes to get some more color, but I was outvoted – everyone was hungry!
Cauliflower rice. Yes, my kids actually ask for it. I was planning on mashed cauliflower (it seems more feast-y), but they stated their case well. (“Mom, it’s already made for the grape leaves, just do a little more…”)
White chocolate frogs. This was my first adventure tempering chocolate, and it actually wasn’t too bad. I need to do a larger amount next time, and get a better brush. This was 1.5 coats in the frog mold, and as you can see, it’s a little uneven. For the filling, I used this recipe (which is a huge hit in my house).
Jelly (gelatin) slugs. I used our cylinder ice mold (like these ) and filled them halfway up with grape juice gummy mixture.
Unicorn ice cream. I made three flavors for this: banana, strawberry, and blueberry. You make each flavor separately in a food processor. I used 4 frozen bananas for the banana flavor; 2 frozen bananas and about a cup of frozen strawberries (softened!) for the strawberry flavor; and 2 frozen bananas and 1 cup of frozen blueberries for the blueberry flavor. Put it all in an 8×8” dish and freeze.
Pumpkin cake: I took the banana cake recipe from the Breaking the Vicious Cycle book and halved it. Then baked the cakes in my mini springform pans. Cooled them, then frosted them with Danielle Walker’s Italian meringue recipe , using pureed cherries for the main pink color, and homemade blueberry preserves for the lettering.
Other than the food, I decorated just a bit with a stuffed owl, wand, candles, Hogwarts banner, and light-up scrying orb. We also had house neckties. We had massive amounts of fun and leftovers lasting 3 days(!).The kids are already talking about inviting friends for next year!