On March 30th, our little monkey turned two, and to celebrate, we had a fairy-themed, plant-based birthday party, complete with two kinds of raw vegan cupcakes! It took a bit of work on my part and some planning ahead, but came together rather nicely. We managed to please our tiny guests and their parents with some delicious, yet simple food, and organic, real-food candy. So how did this all come together? Let me walk you through it.
The Sunday before Easter, we donned tutus and fairy wings. And smiles, of course.
Generally, I'm not a fan of giving candy as treats, but this was a special occasion, and I wanted the kids to have a goody bag to take home. I scoured the Internet and found some vegan lollipops and gummy candy made using only pure cane sugar and fruit juice for flavoring. These are organic, have zero artificial anything, and no animals were harmed in their creation, so they passed my test. I have to admit, these lollipops are the best darned ones I've ever had. Even my meat and junk food loving brother said they were better than any others he'd had. That's quite an endorsement, if you ask me. Once I'd selected the treats for the gift bags, I wanted to add some fairy-themed items. Amazon.com is great for finding obscure and inexpensive trinkets. I picked out some small booklets of glittery fairy stickers. I was really pleased that they were garden fairies, not the standard Tinkerbell stuff. Not that there's anything wrong with Tinkerbell. She's what got Charlotte on the whole fairy kick, but the party was based more on the book Fairyopolis: A Flower Fairy Journal. This is a beautiful collection of journal entries by Cicely Mary Baker featuring gorgeous illustrations and a scrapbook-style layout. I think I enjoyed it as much as Charlotte. So anyway, I bought a booklet of stickers for each child, and tried to think of something else creative and fairy-related. Then it hit me... Flowers! I ordered a bag of wildflower seeds and some small glass bottles with corks (think miniature "ship in a bottle" bottles). I filled the bottles with seed mix, and added those to the gift bags.
I used Amazon as my source for all of the paper items, too, that we'd need. As a working mom with too many other things going on, it was great to have everything shipped to my back door. The colors of the book, had me inspired to order everything in lavender and white. I also found a cheap lace table cloth to go over the 1.99 lavender tablecloth that we'd be using. This wasn't my most Eco-friendly idea, but I think I'll do better next year.
Now, what you're really after... THE FOOD. I planned a menu ahead of time and grocery shopped accordingly. That went a long way to simplify things. Hummus is always a hit at parties, so that was a given. I made my favorite version using my homemade raw tahini and cannellini beans. I'll post all of my recipes below.
The morning of the party, I glanced at the fresh pineapple sitting on my counter, and had an idea. I created a delicious pineapple-mango salsa. It was very simple to make, and worked great on a salad the next day, too.
I've been making these savory sprouted almonds as of late, that have been a huge hit with my brother. It's hard to put them down, and I figured they'd make great party food, so I added them to the menu. Matt says they taste like kielbasa, which is a pretty accurate description.
I used a recipe from Kathy at LunchBoxBunch.com to make some pink chickpea salad. I love this stuff! It's so colorful, perfect for a little girl's birthday party, and it full of healthy stuff. Just look at that! Yum.
I put out fresh veggies, such as carrots, cucumbers, celery, and peppers for everyone to dip, as well as some organic tortilla chips. Everything went over well with my non-vegan guests, and I've been giving out plenty of recipes since. I'd consider that success. Of course, the big winners of the day were the cupcakes. I made two varieties, one with nuts and one without, just in case food allergies were an issue for anyone. The nut-less cupcakes were THIS recipe from ThisRawsomeVeganLife.com. We've making these pretty much weekly since she posted the recipe. They're very easy to make, low in fat, and full of fiber. Plus, chocolate! I make my own frosting using avocado, which comes out like a light and creamy mousse.
The recipe for carrot cupcakes does contain a few nuts, and I found it at FullyRaw.com. Kristina is awesome at recreating familiar flavors using simple fruits and veggies.
I have to admit, I was really please with how everything came together. And I was proud of myself for actually planning ahead for once. I'm an A+ procrastinator. Just ask my mom. She waited ten days past her due date for my arrival. Haha! It seems appropriate, too, that I'm writing this post almost three weeks after the party. Oopsie.
The party went well. The kids got along, no one hit anyone else, and house was left standing. I'd call that a success. Charlotte received some very thoughtful gifts and seemed to have a wonderful time playing with her friends. I think my favorite part of the day was when she opened her gifts saying "Oh my goodness!" every time. She's nothing if not animated. I can't think of a better way to have celebrated the big 2.
OIL-FREE WHITE BEAN HUMMUS
2 cans cannellini beans, preferably organic
4 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 cloves raw garlic
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
Water, if needed
Drain and rinse the beans. Add the beans and all other ingredients to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. If needed, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until desired creaminess is reached. When ready to serve, feel free to drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle more paprika. It makes for a lovely presentation.
SAVORY RAW "ROASTED" ALMONDS
2 cups raw almonds (soaked overnight and rinsed thoroughly)
3-4 tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos (gluten-free soy sauce)
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/4 tsp Liquid Smoke
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp rosemary
Dash of cayenne pepper
Mix together in a bowl all of the marinate ingredients in a bowl with a tight fitting lid, then add the almonds. Place the lid on your container and shake the bowl allowing the marinate to coat the almonds. Allow this to sit for a few hours in the fridge so that the nuts can soak up the flavors. If you think about it, toss them around a few times while they marinate. Once ready, place them on teflex sheets in a dehydrator, and dry at 115 degrees for about 12 hours. Alternatively, you could dry them in the oven on a baking sheet. Just set the oven to the lowest temperate and leave the door cracked. These could be toasted, also, if you don't care about keeping them raw. Personally, I love the crispy texture of the raw dried version. These nuts have been a huge hit in my house. I have to hide them from my brother since he says they taste like kielbasa, and he'll eat the entire batch at once.
AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE ICING
1/2 cup dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes or more (retain the soak water)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 tbsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa)
Stevia, if needed for extra sweetness
Blend dates until smooth using just enough of the soak water to get them creamy, not runny. Add the avocado, lemon juice, and vanilla to the date mixture and blend again until smooth. Avocado tends to puff-up in the blender, so you may need to stop and scraped own the sides a few times. Once this mixture is smooth, add the cacao powder and stevia (if you wish), and blend again until creamy and fluffy. Use this as an icing for raw cakes or cupcakes, or just add it to a bowl, top with coconut flakes, and eat it with a spoon. It makes a wonderful alternative to chocolate pudding. Charlotte will eat her weight in this stuff if I allow it.
MANGO PINEAPPLE SALSA
1/2 fresh pineapple, diced
1 fresh mango, diced
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 small limes, juiced
1 avocado, diced
Sea salt to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
I'm a large bowl, add the first five ingredients and toss to mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, add the avocado and lightly toss.
There you have it. A delicious and fun birthday party for a toddler girl. We had a great time, and I can't wait see what next year holds. Maybe she'll be into something completely different by then? We shall see...