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Hey! I’m Iris. Thank you for taking the time to read my works. Hope you enjoy!

Message to Readers

Hello everybody! This is my final draft... I'm so excited! I have been working on this piece for about grew weeks! Although I won't be doing any more final edits before the deadline, please feel free to review it, (because I might still do one last edit) and I might republish this after the deadline. Thanks and enjoy!

Priceless: My Little Brother

December 14, 2015

My family used to work like bees. 12 bees to be exact. Did you know it takes 12 bees a lifetime just to make one teaspoon of honey? We would put in so much time and effort just for my little brother, just like bees. You see, my younger brother, Calvin, was born with severe food allergies. Seven to be exact. Dairy, eggs, all nuts, all seafood, soy, mango, and peanuts (Which actually aren't nuts: they are legumes). He was especially allergic to dairy, nuts and seafood. In other words, he was anaphylactic to them, so if he ate them, his allergies were so serious that he could stop breathing, and die. He wasn't able to eat a lot of food, so we all had to work hard to find new companies that produced allergen free food.

Let's start at the very beginning. Calvin was just a few months old and being fed yogurt, when he broke out in hives. His tiny, fragile self started heaving and coughing and struggling to breathe. I don't remember this day that well, but I know he was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with food allergies. I, being three years old at the time, didn't know what this "food allergies" business was. I just knew that my baby brother, who was the cutest thing I had ever laid eyes on, with his chubby little arms and legs, and who cooed when I tickled him, was very sick.

This change was hard on all of us. Gone were the yummy fig newtons that I worshiped for dessert. My mouthwatering Häagen Dazs chocolate ice cream vanished from the freezer. However, as humans, we adapted. We got used to the lack of delicious foods. I soon learned that PB&J sandwiches weren't really gone. When I went over to my friend's house, we would have it all the time. But at heart, these delicacies really were gone, for my little brother wouldn't be able to grow up with me, going on spy missions at the dead of night, just to sneak downstairs to grab that last box of sugar cookies for ourselves. He would not be able to stuff an extra Oreo into his mouth when our mom and dad weren't looking. The food just wasn't worth it if Calvin couldn't have it.

Calvin grew older. He watched, miserable when my mom would bring cake, or any other type of sweets for me and my sister but came up empty handed for him; like any five and a half year old kid, he craved sweets. Feeling even more miserable, my mom watched, at my suffering brother. She wanted to do something very badly.

So she did. The next thing I knew, the amazingly delicious smell of a hot treat wafted through the house, and eventually reached my bedroom, where I was playing with Calvin and my sister Azalea. "Calvin! I have a surprise for you! Come down stairs!" My mom called. The three of us raced downstairs, the fastest of us the five year old, because not many amazing smelling surprises had come his way. We ran into the kitchen, and there sat 24 golden honey muffins that looked so amazing; they almost seemed to be shining.

I think that day was the best day of my life. I know this sounds cheesy, and it probably is, but seeing my brother sink his teeth into those muffins slowly, savoring each and every bite, with look of utter delight on his smiling little visage-- the first baked goods he had ever tasted-- was amazing. That day is forever ingrained in my memory, to be called upon when my brother is feeling bad about his limited food choices.

It was the transition into a new stage of life. A place where milk free blueberry muffins existed. A place where no butter was needed for chocolate chip cookies. A place where my brother could eat cake, cupcakes, muffins, cookies, and many other treats. A world that my brother calls heaven. And that, to me, is priceless.

Here is my beloved recipe from the baking book Muffins A to Z by Marie Simmons, tweaked by my mom:

Honey Muffins


2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup milk (here we used soy milk, because at the time when this muffin recipe was first made, Calvin had outgrown soy, and was able to drink it, but still was unable to drink milk)
1/3 cup unsalted butter (here we substituted butter for a type of butter that has the protein that Calvin was allergic to that is called ghee), melted
1 large egg (here we used a fake egg replacement)


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly butter 12 muffin cups are cope with nonstick spray. 
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl; stir until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, melted butter and egg until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients all at once and fold just until evenly moistened. Do not overmix. 
3.  Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Take until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before removing from the pan.

Today, Calvin has seen at least 6 hospital trips from eating the wrong food, and has had some near-death experiences, but on the bright side, he now has outgrown eggs, peanuts, soy, mango, and shellfish; however we are yet to see fish, dairy and nuts go away. My family and I all know that day will come, and it all started with 148 bees' lifetimes, to make 24 teaspoons of honey, that are also 1/2 cup of honey, that went into that first Honey Muffin recipe.

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