Setting the menu for children’s parties: A healthy approach PART 2

 


 

This weeks blog is a follow on from Part One posted last week, where Naturopath Brooke Jenkins gives us the tips on balancing some healthy options onto our children’s party menu. This week, Brooke takes us through the beverage menu, provides tips on serving allergy conscious foods and shares her recipe for a wheat, dairy, egg and sugar free cake!

 PART 2

Drinks

While water may not be the most appealing drink for a birthday party, it really is the most preferable. Try serving water with funny straws or in colourful cups. Add more colour by making ice cubes from carrot or beetroot juice!

An excellent alternative is coconut water. Slightly sweet and very refreshing, kids love the taste of this nourishing drink.

Fruit juices should always be watered down and avoid products with additives, preservatives and added sugar. Also, consider the type of juice, as some children may be sensitive to some fruits like orange or strawberry.

Cordial is another drink option that is best avoided due to its high sugar content and its potential to exacerbate symptoms in asthmatic children. Soft drinks should be completely avoided and are considered inappropriate for children.

Allergy

An important thing to consider when organising your party menu is whether you need to cater for any children with allergies or intolerances. 90% of food reactions are caused by milk, eggs, peanuts, treenuts ,wheat, soy, fish and shellfish and while some of these allergens are easy to avoid, others can be hidden in foods that you may not realise are present.

It is important to communicate with parents to understand what foods need to be avoided. Ask about allergies or dietary requirements on party invitations and discuss menu suggestions with parents. Ask lots of questions, knowing as much information about the allergy can help you to be discreet  and make sure everyone feels included.

Be aware that when preparing allergy free foods that extreme care should be taken not to cross contaminate. Thoroughly wash all utensils, bowls and chopping boards. You may also need to dedicate special plates and cups to avoid cross contamination.

Preparing low allergenic foods is especially challenging, since alternatives are often very processed foods with little nutrient value. Here is a recipe for a birthday cake that is made with natural, wholesome ingredients that everyone can enjoy.

Vanilla and coconut cake (wheat, dairy, egg and sugar free)

1 1/2 cups white spelt flour

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 cup dessicated coconut

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup brown rice syrup

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup rice milk

1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)

Raspberry icing

1 cup coconut oil, warmed

1/4 cup of raspberry pulp*

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbs sunflower seed butter

  1. Preheat oven to 180° and grease a 20cm (8 inch) round cake pan and line with baking paper
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a medium sized bowl. Add the coconut and stir till combined
  3. In a small bowl, add the vinegar, vanilla, brown rice syrup, coconut and rice milks and coconut oil and mix together. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour into prepared cake tin
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely
  5. To make the icing, blend all ingredients
  6. Cut the cake in half, horizontally using a serrated knife and place base on a cake stand. Spread with half of the icing, top with cake top and spread remaining icing over cake

* to make raspberry pulp, place 3 cups of raspberries into a saucepan and cook down until it is very thick and pulpy. It should reduce down between 1/4 – 2/3 cup.

For more information about Brooke Jenkins, with lots of inspiration for healthy eating for children http://brookejenkins.com/

Photo by red elephant creative, blossom straw printable by Penny Lane Studio

 

 

Inspired event styling: Layers in White


We are 6 days from my youngest first birthday and lets say I am less than organised. It seems that everyones birthday falls in September and I am blessing my lucky stars that business has been crazy busy. The one thing that I have organised is the Cake. When asked what colour I would like the icing, I asked for white….’Wouldn’t you like anything else?’ asked the baker, ‘the white might be a bit plain.’

Truth be told I will be adding other accents of colour in true red elephant style, but the statement did get me thinking…is white plain? Does a white background, with white feature pieces and white accents get totally washed out with, well, white?

This week I bring to you a new feature to the red elephant creative blog of inspired event styling to, well, inspire… this weeks focus is Layers in white and I am sure you will agree, there is no wash out in this beautiful styling, with a balance of contrasting texture combined with natures neutrals, done well white definitely makes the right statement.

photo credits: (from top left) 1. Styling: Merryl Brown Events, photo source: bowtiesandbliss.com 2. Styling: unknown, photo source: harryritchies.com 3. Cake By: The Cakegirls from Chicago, photo source: australiaentertains.com.au  4. Stylist: Amy Atlas, photo source: amorelashes.blogspot.com  5. Styling: Sunday Suppers, photo source: sunday-suppers.com 6. Styling: unknown, photo source: myweddecorations.blogspot.com

Setting the menu for children’s parties: A healthy approach PART 1

I remember when baby number one came into our world, as most Mums do, I laid out plans in my mind for the best start to life, starting with his health. A quick and nimble fellow from the beginning (crawling at 5 months and fast crawler at that), I limited his sugar intake to, well practically nil for the first year of his life.

Fast forward and my friendship formed with Naturopath Brooke Jenkins. Whilst chatting to her about kids parties, I asked the big question, is there a more healthy approach to planning our children’s parties? Of course when she forwarded me this article for the red elephant blog I was blown away at what there is to offer….as for the message, I love that we are still allowed to have our cake and eat it too, by adding or substituting just a few dishes at our parties we can have the traditional sweets and balance it out with a few not so sugary alternatives.

The recipes listed are also great for snacks for your little (and big) ones.

PART ONE

When its time to celebrate, we relax our food rules and enjoy things we don’t usually eat every day. Party foods are often sugary, processed foods with lots of fake colourings and non-food ingredients, but enjoying food at a party doesn’t need to be a fake-food affair. Its easy to prepare and serve a menu of nutrient dense wholefoods that everyone can enjoy.

Here are some exciting and appetising ways to provide nutritious food at your child’s next party!

Something substantial

Dedicating a time for everyone to eat together can be a good way of making sure kids have something substantial before or inbetween all the snacking and party games. Whether you’re having a BBQ or serving some simple sandwiches or salads, this is a good opportunity to introduce some protein, which will keep the kids feeling fuller for longer and not constantly snacking on party food (whether its healthy or not).

–      Sausages, chicken or home made rissoles

–      Sandwiches or wraps: chicken and salad, tuna and avocado or hummus and salad

–      Rice salad: cooked brown rice, tempeh, mixed, diced vegetables and tamari dressing

–      Mixed raw vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, zuchinni, celery and carrot sticks

–      Vegetable ‘chips’: cut sweet potato into chips, coat in olive oil and a little salt, bake on a baking tray in the oven at 220° for 40 minutes. Serve with hummus

–      BBQ’d corn on the cob. Serve with butter and parmesan for a delicious side dish

Healthy snack alternatives

–      Colourful fruit platters

–      Fruit skewers can look as fabulous as they taste, but always consider the age of the children before you end up with a bunch of kids running around with sharp sticks!

–      Healthy brownies (see part two next week for a recipe)

–      Pikelets with sugar free jam

–      Rice crackers with hummus

–      Cheese cubes and chopped raw vegetables

Healthy banana ice cream (pictured. This is good, its really good, and toddler approved!)

Blend frozen bananas with a little milk of your choice until a creamy consistency is achieved. You can also add some raw cacao powder to make chocolate ice cream or some frozen strawberries to make strawberry ice cream.

Store your ice cream in the freezer until its time to serve. Allow a few minutes for it to soften and then scoop it into little bowls or ice cream cones for serving.

Ice blocks

You can be as imaginative as you want! There are so many combinations and flavours to experiment with. Here are a few favourites, each flavour makes 6 ice blocks:

Banana coconut

1 banana, cut into chunks

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Blueberry apple

2 cups blueberries

1/3 cup apple juice

1/3 cup coconut water

Watermelon lime

2 cups blended and strained watermelon juice

1 lime, juiced

Cucumber mint

2 cups blended and strained cucumber juice

1/2 cup of chopped mint steeped in 1/2 cup hot water, strained and cooled

1/3 cup coconut water

  1. Place all ingredients for ice blocks in a blender and process til smooth. Add a little water if necessary
  2. Pour into ice block moulds and leave to set overnight (or at least 8 hours)

Stay tuned to the blog for part two next week which includes a great cake recipe and some ideas for party drinks.

For more information about Brooke Jenkins, with lots of inspiration for healthy eating for children http://brookejenkins.com/

Spoons pictured by red elephant creative.

Vibrant Spring colours bouncing from our studio table

This seasons spring colours are warm, vibrant and we are loving it. This week has been the week for HOT PINK, with requests for custom made garlands, tags, spoons and notelets. Other colours high on the hit list are tangerine, yellow and navy.

Don’t forget, if you don’t see your event colour palette in our online store, we just LOVE working on unique bespoke designs to make beautiful your special event!