Author Archives: redelephantcreative

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!

Meet the Stylist: Monique from {Darling Details}

I love a clever business name, so when I saw {Darling Details} cross my path, I had to investigate further and I wasn’t disappointed. Monique’s work definitely lives up to her ‘Darling’ Reputation and is just one of the many words I could use to describe her beautiful style.

When Monique sent through her responses, she told me her background was in Corporate Events, Conferences and Tourism. On moving to Adelaide, Monique set up {Darling Details} to full fill the love for creating a space that has Wow Factor (Yes, I can completely relate to this one)! Whilst these days Monique’s work isn’t fuelled by the corporate dream budgets (uh huh, I remember those days too), this certainly shows no boundaries to the  quality and professional execution of Monique’s oh so stylish events.

Monique and her ‘Darling’ family…love this photo

Describe your style in five words? Unique, fresh, diverse, clean lines, professional.

What has been your favourite theme/event to date? 

To date it would have to be my Great Gatsby inspired dessert table. I loved reading The Great Gatsby as a teenage girl which I know ignited my passion to create unique events for people to enjoy.

I had so much fun creating this table for a wedding expo.  I was inspired by the decadence of the roaring 1920’s so by using black feathers, pearls, lace and mirrors I was able to give the table a nostalgic  feel with a touch of glamour.

Where do you look for inspiration? People, places, fabric, colour, fashion, props, books, interiors, the list could go on.  Seriously, inspiration is around us everywhere we look, it’s how we interpret inspiration that creates style.

Name one of your all time favourite event décor elements? What is that makes this element so fabulous?

Paper! Paper is such a budget friendly resource that can instantly create a look. From gorgeous invitations and printables to paper fans, garlands, backdrops, props and unique DIY’s.  Paper is so versatile you can cut it, roll it, staple it, shape it, colour it, print it, design it. Love paper!

What is your number one piece of advice for planning an event? 

Don’t forget the toolbox! Hehe, I did this once and boy did I regret not having my fishing wire, scissors, 3M hooks etc at my fingertips.  Let’s just say I learnt my lesson the hard way.

To continue being inspired by Moniques Beautiful work, ‘like’ her page on Facebook www.facebook.com/darlingdetails

or visit her webpage www.darlingdetails.com.au

Mad Hatters

The details expend to every part of the event, by Darling Details

Meet the Stylist: Gillian Brown from Crumbs of Comfort

 

Baker and Stylist are definitely two passions which go hand in hand, so when you can combine your two loves into one business…well lets say your on your way to capturing a pretty good piece of the event market. So when I discovered that Gillian from Crumbs of Comfort was creating beautiful events utilising both of her passions, I was well impressed!!

We met Gillian earlier in the piece when she shared her oh so Yummy Rocky Road Recipe. And I was so thrilled when Gillian agreed to come back to the red elephant blog to share her secret to her fabulous styling. It seems Gillian’s talents haven’t gone unnoticed with another 13 events (and climbing) on her books for the next two months, Gillian is one very busy Girl!

Describe your style in five words? Delicious, allergy aware, clean, expressive, evolving.

What has been your favourite theme/event to date?

It’s hard to choose a favourite but I would have to say styling my Daughter Daisy’s sixth birthday.  She has anaphylaxis to peanuts and her friend has celiac, so seeing them enjoy a beautiful, delicious nut and gluten free table where nothing was off limits was special.

Where do you look to for inspiration?

I can draw inspiration from literally anything!  Fabric, cards, gardens, anything.  That’s why I ALWAYS carry a small camera, notebook and pen in my handbag.

Name one of your all time favourite event décor elements? What is that makes this element so fabulous? 

If I had to choose my absolute favourite it would have to be, without a doubt, edible glitter.  I have it around 100 various colours and finishes.   My favourite is hologram disco violet.  Using fabrics to add textures is a very close second.

What is your number one piece of advice for planning an event?

Organisation and communication is key to planning and styling a successful  party.

Like ‘Crumbs of Comfort on Facebook: www.facebook.com/crumbsofcomfortcakedesign

DIY Friday: Make a paper fan

Paper fans are so versatile. They can be used layered or tiled for backdrops, to dress the front of your table, or adhered to a stick as a centrepiece, even hung from the ceiling on fishing wire. So when we spied this amazing paper fan backdrop we asked clever stylist Vanessa Morris from Little Pear Events to show us how to make this versatile decor element. What you need: 2 x Cardboard (needs to be rectangle) A glue gun or glue Disk for the middle

  1. Start by folding a cardboard sheet in half (from the short end), fold again and then again (this means when you move onto the next step each fold is even)
  2. Fold out again and then fold in a concertina (folding forwards and backwards onto itself)
  3. Repeat with the other sheet of cardboard
  4. Now is the time to get your disk ready, in this one i just cut out a heart and glued it onto a doily then onto some thicker card stock
  5. Back to the concertinaed cardboard, use your glue gun to clue down one of the edges then quickly attach the other to this so it from a semi circle
  6. Repeat with the other side and glue so you have a complete circle
  7. Now glue the disk to the middle of your fan (be sure to position the disk so the top is aligned with the edge that wasn’t clued, this was will ensure when your fan hangs in doesn’t fold open.

Meet the Stylist: Thetis Sardo from Little Sooti

Scandinavian Inspired Sooti Party

Scandinavian Inspired Sooti Party

 

Valentines Day Luncheon

Valentines Day Luncheon

The definition of Eclectic is ‘A person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources’ and when you look through Thetis Sardo’s portfolio of events, you can certainly see her ability to adapt her creativity to a range of styles is certainly a strong point. Whether its a children’s party or an adults affair, the diversity is shown through the use of colour, design and approach by using a broad range of different elements and more importantly, stylistic themes. Rolling out umpteen events at a time, Thetis eclectic approach sure seems to be winning her lots of business, well deserved to an amazing creative eye and dedication to her work!

Describe your style in five words? Eclectic, Fun, Fresh, Simple, Modern

What has been your favourite theme/event to date? So far would have been my daughters 3rd birthday. It was a Scandinavian inspired fox party. Very quirky, bold colours and lots of geometric shapes. That is definitely my true style.

 Where do you look for inspiration (what inspires you)?  I find inspiration everywhere from fabrics to art, shapes and colours and I love to mix and match it all up.

Name one of your all time favourite event décor elements? What is that makes this element so fabulous? I love the geometric shaped paper garlands we used at Zoe’s 3rd birthday. Bright pops of coloured shapes!! So in right now.

What is your number one piece of advice for planning an event? Be organised. Make lists for each part of the event like dessert table, table setting and décor and start planning and purchasing early for each section of the party. 

For more inspiration by Little Sooti go to: www.littlesooti.com.au

Like Little Sooti on Facebook: www.facebook.com/littlesootiblog

Coral and Mint Easter Table

Coral and Mint Easter Table

Preppy Polo 1st Birthday Celebration

Preppy Polo 1st Birthday Celebration

DIY Friday: Jeanees Spiced Blood Orange Fizz

DIY Friday: Jeanees Spiced Blood Orange Fizz

DIY Friday: Jeanees Spiced Blood Orange Fizz

Our gift tags were recently featured on a lovely craft blog finelycrafted.net. I got ‘chatting’ to clever creator Jeanee to find she had quite an amazing portfolio in the craft world, including writing a book ‘Abode à la Mode: 44 Projects for Hip Home Décor’ (Sterling, 2005), starring in the DVD ‘Re-Construct: Eco-Friendly Crafts Made Easy’ (Eyekiss, 2009), and co-designing ‘Honeydoux jewellery’ along with writing the Dining Out column for Atlanta’s Newcomer magazine.

With such an amazing list of achievements (and sharing lots of passions in design and craft with yours truly), I asked if Jeanee would like to contribute to our blog with a DIY Friday….WELL…as it turns out Jeanee also Hosts Project Runway Series parties (I KNOW!! What is there this talented lady doesn’t do??!!) For each party, Jeanee designs a new cocktail….she would be happy to share with us one of her new recipes. WELL INDEED!!!

So it is with the greatest honour and pleasure that we share Jeanees ‘Spiced Blood Orange Fizz’ recipe with you, I will let her tell you ALL about it!

When I have ladyfriends over for TV night, I always serve a special cocktail. I like tall, fruity drinks that work with or without alcohol so that my guests can opt for a “virgin”—after all, these parties are usually on weeknights! This blood orange fizz hits the spot year-round, but the clove flavor is especially nice in chilly months. If you like, multiply the recipe and make it in a pitcher or punchbowl ahead of time, but hold off on the sparkling water until just before serving.

Gin
Blood orange juice, fresh squeezed or bottled
Clove syrup (see recipe below)
Dark, sweet cherries preserved in syrup
Sparkling water
Orange peel spiral (see directions below)

Fill a tall glass with ice. Add a shot of gin, then fill 2/3 with blood orange juice. Next add 1 tablespoon of clove syrup, a few cherries, and a drizzle of cherry syrup. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Top off with sparkling water and stir with a straw. Garnish with an orange peel spiral.

Clove Syrup

1 cup filtered water
1 cup turbinado sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a simmer. Add the sugar and cloves, and stir to dissolve. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool. It will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

Orange Peel Spiral

Use a vegetable peeler to make a long strip of orange peel, being careful not to include any white pith. I find it easiest to make a fat strip, then cut it in half lengthwise. Hold one end of a strip against a skewer, spiral the peel around, and hold both ends for 10 seconds.

For more creative inspiration, fabulous DIY projects, recipes, spotlights on fabulous design and a lovely inside to other crafters homes, visit: www.finelycrafted.net/

Client Party Feature: Sing me a Rainbow by One Magic Day

Sing me a Rainbow Party by Nicole, 'One Magic Day'

Sing me a Rainbow Party by Nicole, ‘One Magic Day’, with musical note garland and paper clouds by red elephant creative

Recently I was contacted by the lovely Nicole about her daughters Birthday with a bespoke request….’Can you make me a rainbow garland with musical notes?’ Indeed I love a challenge and as the creative process unfolded, I found out the garland was for her daughters ‘Sing me a Rainbow’ Birthday Party, which was also to surround the launch of Nicole’s new printable business ‘One Magic Day’.

Matisse and her Mum, Nicole

Matisse and her Mum, Nicole at her Sing me a Rainbow 3rd Birthday Party

I love events based on a personal theme, and this was no exception as Nicole has been singing ‘Sing me a Rainbow’ since her daughter was a baby. As always happens when you get two creatives together, the idea grew and Red elephant creative was making not only the garlands, but some paper clouds to compliment the design for the backdrop.

On the table, Nicole featured a rainbow cake by Cake Envy, who also made the cake pops and cookies. Along with ‘rainbow jelly smiles’ and ‘rainbow jelly cups’ and ‘rainbow fairy bread and popcorn’.

The finishing touch to bring together the whole theme was Nicoles ‘sing me a rainbow’ themed printables. With Invitations, food labels, chocolate and water bottle labels, popcorn boxes and sweet little straw flags, Nicole has left no stone unturned with her designs.

Nicole’s new business venture ‘One Magic Day’ Party Printables can be found on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Magic-Day. Other themes include Vintage Tea Party and Dino Roar Party for the boys.

We are very excited to have been a part of this beautiful party and thank Nicole for the opportunity. Congratulations also on your recent feature by Amy Atlas, I am sure this is a good sign of many amazing parties to come from One Magic Day!

For more about One Magic Day including Nicole’s beautiful printable designs go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Magic-Day