Sunday, January 24, 2016

Awesome {Foolproof} 2nd Birthday Party Menu

Happy New Year!

My sweet baby just turned two, so we had a little party to celebrate. The menu was vegetarian and largely gluten and dairy free as well. It was also easy to make/prep ahead of time and the main dish was just thrown into a slow cooker and left alone for 2 1/2 hours. So easy!

Here are links to the recipes I used along with my notes and tweaks. I didn't get any photos because I was too busy chasing toddlers and chatting with grownups, but suffice it to say, the recipes all got rave reviews! They are keepers.

Healthy + Flourless Applesauce Spice Cake from the great blog, Chelsea's Messy Apron
This cake is moist, bouncy, and so tasty. It will be my go to spice cake from here on out.

*To give the cake lift, I separated the eggs, whipped the whites, and then folded the whipped whites into the batter at the end before scooping/pouring the batter into the cake pans and muffin tin.
*I used half all purpose flour and half almond meal in place of the oat flour because I didn't have any oats or oat flour in my kitchen on baking day.
*Because the applesauce I bought was quite sweet, Mott's Natural (unsweetened), I cut the brown sugar down to 1/4 cup (of dark brown sugar). Perfectly sweet cake.
*I tripled the recipe ended up with twenty-four mini cupcakes and two eight inch cake rounds, which I stacked with lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream between and on top. 

Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa also from Chelsea's Messy Apron
This is so delicious and, because everything just gets dumped into a slow cooker, oh so easy.

*I like it cooked for 2 1/2 hours so the squash still has some body to it.
*I rinsed the black beans, doubled the garlic, used one 28 ounce can of regular diced tomatoes, and skipped the chicken broth/stock. I also tried it with chipotle pepper in adobo and a jar of salsa in place of one of the enchilada sauce cans and that was great too.

African Black-Eyed Pea Salad from the wonderful veggie blog, Cookie + Kate
*I used canned black-eye peas, rinsed.
*I skipped the tomato, rice and avocado.
*I used only one hot pepper.
*I added about 1/4 cup (+/- to taste) tahini and really liked that flavor addition.

My Go-To Slaw
Thinly slice a medium white or red cabbage, dice two carrots and one small red onion. Toss to combine. Make a vinaigrette of (approx.) 1/2 cup EVOO, 1/4 cup half and half sherry and balsamic vinegars (just balsamic is fine), and salt and pepper to taste. Toss so the cabbage is well coated and starts to tenderize. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed (i.e. add more salt, pepper and vinegar if needed).

Skinny Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookies from Amy's Healthy Baking
*I shaped mine as dinosaurs because, toddlers!
*I used orange extract instead of butter extract and loved the flavor. They were definitely still nice and buttery.
*I just used room temp butter, not melted and cooled, and did not refrigerate the dough before rolling. The shapes held up great.
*Be sure to under-bake these or they get quite hard. 7-8 minutes until they're set-up and maybe a minute on the sheet out of the oven before transferring to a rack to cool. Don't let the edges brown and you'll be golden (ha!)!
*I didn't ice them so they would be less sugary because, again, toddlers. Plus, I just did not have the energy for that:-).