Just over a month ago my little boy, River, turned 2. It felt like only a few blinks since his 1st birthday, I still can't quite believe it. Some days it feels like he has been around for as long as I can remember, and other days it seems like just yesterday that I held him for the very first time. Regardless of the day, I am thankful on every single one of them that he is a part of my life. He is a sweet, bright, quirky, polite and gentle little creature that I could no longer live without.
Last year I threw an over sized 1st Birthday bash at my parent's home to celebrate his special day. I thought I was being selective with guests and ended up with 40+ people in attendance, which was lots of fun but very expensive and a little stressful for both myself and my Mother. I also decided that I would feed everyone a full dinner, catering to all of my guest's diets; vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. It was a little coo-coo.
This year I decided it would have to be kept to a minimum with immediate family and a few very dear friends. I still wanted to provide food, but this time I wasn't going to cater to all diets, it was vegan food for all!
I decided to host the celebration at a park on the lake, not far from our home. It had a beautiful view of the water, lots of room to run around and to set up food, as well as a fantastic play structure for the kiddies to enjoy.
Everything that I served was made from scratch (with the exception of the crackers and chips, those would have been from scratch too, believe me, but my attempt at chip making did not pan out, so I had to make a last minute run to the market). Nothing on the table contained any gluten, sugar or animal products of any kind. And guess what? EVERYONE loved the food, including the kiddies.
Tomato and Basil Salad
Avocado, Edamame, Mango and Mint Quinoa Salad
Sweet Potato, Beet and Walnut Salad with Orange Maple Dressing
Spicy Black Bean Hummus
Fresh Veggie Platter
Pineapple and Blueberries
Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Vanilla Coconut Frosting
Vanilla Coconut Frosting
1 14 oz. can of coconut milk (solids only)
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp. of coconut flour
1/16 tsp. of powdered stevia concentrate (I like New Roots Stevia Powder Concentrate)
The Chocolate Avocado Cupcake recipe is available in the Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Butterscotch Frosting post.
It is so easy to prepare a variety of dishes that are all plant based, healthy and delicious all at the same time and for a group of people, small or large. I think it is lots of fun showing people with different lifestyles and diets that you can satisfy their palettes even if they don't usually eat a vegan diet. By doing so, you might actually open their eyes to the possibilities of a cleaner and kinder way of eating. You really never know, that introduction might simply be the catalyst for a total lifestyle turn around!
As for the kids, why not keep it clean? No need to do processed hot dogs, hamburgers and sugary cakes and ice cream that are full of dozens of ingredients that you don't even understand. It might take an hour or two of extra work to bake a cake from scratch, but wouldn't you feel so fantastic presenting that to your child and their guests when you know that all of its ingredients are clean and safe for them? Give it a shot, the feeling you'll have while watching them enjoy your extra work will be well worth the effort you made.
Photos by Danielle Matar