Hello my lovely friends. I've been meaning to get this post written for ages, How quickly the weeks fly by don't they?
Bonnie's third birthday was about a month ago now. The lead up to her birthday was an incredibly busy time for us. We'd not long been in our new house and I had both a tv appearance and a cooking workshop on that week. Her actual birthday was on the friday and the party was on the Saturday morning.
Our party plans were fairly low-key. A morning gathering of our close friends, their children and a few of Bonnie's daycare buddies. We like to do things that are comfortable for adults too while still feeling like a celebration for the kids. Also disclaimer here: I'm also not one of those incredible over-achieving mums that spends three days planning the decorations and themes. Believe me - I have a ton of admiration for those amazing parents. I'm just not wired that way. Menu wise I kept things relatively easy. I didn't want to spend all of Bonnie's actual birthday cooking (rather be jumping on the trampoline with her) so I had just the Friday night and a bit of the next morning to prepare food. The menu is near the bottom of the post with some of the recipes.
The topic of what to serve at kids parties can feel like a delicate subject. Some folks believe it's cruel to hold back sugary treats - that kids should be kids and that it's a precious part of childhood to experience the joy of a full-on sugary party banquet. For me, that's a kind of insanity. My daughter absolutely loses the plot when she has an overload of sugary stuff (and don't even get me started on food colouring - curse you fairy bread). The truth is that it can ruin an afternoon because she gets over excited and then has an EPIC meltdown. It can make the rest of the day tough. It seems utterly pointless to me and I wonder if it's more about indulging an adult fantasy of an endless buffet of treats than it being about will actually help kids have a great time and feel special.
Of course birthdays - especially those of my darling girl - are for celebrating . Thankfully there is a vast array of wholesome, delicious, beautiful food that will feel festive and will nourish the bodies of both big and little people. I find making sure there is plenty of protein options available when there is also sweet stuff really helps stabilise blood sugars and avoid a sugar rush - because this is still possible (to a much lesser extent) with natural and non-refined sugars.
Party Menu - we didn't serve separate "adult" food. Everyone shared from the same table.
- Little free range sausages - we used Freedom Farms breakfast sausages
- Hawaian Pizza - we used Gerrys Gluten Free Wraps as the base. Could use any pizza base or tortillas (look for preservative free)
- Mini corn fritters w/ feta & spring onion (recipe below)
- Popcorn - popped ourselves and served with a teensy sprinkle of sea salt
- Cheese platter & crackers
- Chocolate, almond butter & walnut cookies (I tweaked *THIS* recipe. Omit the ginger + spices. Add 1/4 cup of cocoa. Increase dates to 1 cup )
- Wholesome chocolate crackles (recipe below)
- Double layer lemon & vanilla cake w/ strawberry cream cheese frosting (recipe below)
- water for the kids & Kokako coffee w/ cream for the adults. (Plus a glass of wine for Luke and I once the party clean up was finished....)
The chocolate crackles were SO great. Just how you remember them tasting when I was a kid. I made mini ones so the mixture produced at least 45 little crackles. Luke and I ate so many of them....
The sweetcorn fritters and pizza were a good one for both adults and kids. I served a yummy carrot relish alongside. The savoury items ensured little bellies could get good and full.
For her "real food" birthday cake I made a beautiful simple gluten free lemon cake and did two layers. The cream cheese frosting was sweetened with a little honey, flavoured with real vanilla and then stained her favourite shade of pink with a little organic beetroot powder (you could also use some beet juice from squeezing grated beetroot). The lovely strawberry flavour came from freeze dried strawberry powder ( Fresh As ). I garnished the cake with a few marshmallows because she adores them - my one concession is less than healthy food.
Her birthday (the actual day) and her party were wonderful. I can't believe my cheeky little girl is growing up so fast. I really wish it would slow down. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like that right mamas?
Much love. Kelly xox
Gluten free lemon cake - This recipe makes ONE cake. Please double it to make the two layers.
(This cake needs to be cooled before icing so can be a good idea to make the day before - it lasts brilliantly)
2 cups almond meal
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 heaped tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 2 lemons
5 free range eggs - lightly beaten
Strawberry & vanilla frosting
500 grams cream cheese (around 2 packets of classic cream cheese)
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
juice of 1 lemon
50 grams room temperature butter
2 teaspoons freeze dried strawberry powder (I used Fresh As)
Pink colouring: 1 teaspoon of beetroot powder (I used powered from Radiance) or juice from grated beetroot that was been squeezed tightly.
Preheat oven to 165 degrees celsius.
Combine all the cake ingredients in a food processor and process until completely combined. You can also do this step in a large bowl.
Pour / spoon mixture into a lined and greased springform cake tin. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface of the batter.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes until golden and lightly firm to the touch.
Set aside to cool for an hour before placing in the fridge for at least one hour.
Combine all the frosting ingredients in a bowl and whip or stir until completely combined.
Sandwich the two cakes together with a layer of frosting.
Pile one third of the frosting on top of the cooled cake and use a wide knife to spread evenly across the top of the cake. Use the remain cream cheese to cover the sides.
Will keep for 4 days in the fridge.
Wholesome "chocolate crackles"
Makes around 40 mini crackles or 12 - 15
4 cups puffed rice (you can buy unsweetened puffed rice from good bulk stores or health stores)
3/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup desiccated coconut (try to buy organic to avoid preservatives)
1/2 cup rice malt syrup (can reduce this slightly if you use maple syrup / honey as they are sweeter)
4 Tbsp raw cacao powder or good quality cocoa
Combine melted coconut oil, rice malt syrup and cacao powder. Whisk until smooth.
Pour over puffed rice and coconut. Stir well to combine evenly.
Spoon into patty cases and place in the fridge for at least an hour to harden before serving.
Crackles will last 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Mini Sweetcorn Fritters w/ spring onion & feta
(makes about 40 small fritters)
1 x 400gram tin of sweet corn kernels
3 free range eggs - lightly beaten
1 clove garlic - finely diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
80 - 100 grams feta - I used goat feta
1 spring onion - sliced into fine rings
generous pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
sea salt & cracked black pepper
Oil for frying - I use ghee
To serve: relish and lemon wedges
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Heat oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Fry spoonfuls of batter for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Can be served immediately or at room temperature.
Leftovers will keep for two days covered in the fridge. Can be frozen for up to two months.