Vegan Toddler: Second Birthday Party

This year’s birthday party for Miss M was Sesame Street themed. I have a whole post about the decorations and other details on my other blog. This one is just about the food. If you want to read the other post it is here: Sesame Street Second Birthday Party

It was a morning party — 10am-12pm — so mainly the food consisted of muffins and fruit. I made banana muffins using the banana bread recipe from Happy Herbivore. I used colorful cupcake wrappers to give a little extra pizzazz. In keeping with the theme I called them “You’ve Got a Banana in Your Ear Muffins,” calling to mind that great Bert and Ernie skit that I loved from my childhood. I planned to make the fruit laid out to look like various Sesame Street characters, like I had seen on Pinterest, but just ran out of time. I did manage to put some fruit on skewers and labelled them “Abby Cadabby’s Fruit Wands.”

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I made a “Rubber Duckie Punch” using cold water and frozen blueberries. Not overly sweet like a regular punch, making it good for a morning party.

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For my two gluten free guests, I also made gluten free blueberry muffins and a small gluten free chocolate cake. Doing this extra step is not too time consuming (and will be appreciated by guests who are often left out of the party feast), but you really have to be careful not to have any cross-contamination from your gluten-filled treats — lots of hand washing and using separate utensils, etc. The last thing you want to do is make your guest sick. I also made a small batch of gluten free cut-out cookies , to go along with the regular cut-out cookies I made to give out as favors (pictured below).

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I worked very hard to decorate the cake, which was made using a vintage Bert and Ernie pan. It came out looking as good as I could have hoped. What I did not realize, because I was foolish and did not taste the cake, was that it was very bitter. I feel bad that the guests felt obligated to choke it down. I had made that recipe once before, for E’s birthday (chocolate cupcakes), but this time I used oil instead of applesauce. I have surmised that it was the lack of sweetness from the applesauce that doomed the cake. At least people liked the frosting.

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Pumpkins Muffins from “My Beef with Meat”

I had the local library order a copy of My Beef with Meat and they obliged. I didn’t want to buy a copy as I found this author’s first book, Engine 2 Diet, to be lacking.

The only recipe I have tried so far in this new book is “Anne’s Pumpkin Muffins.” It was very simple. My daughter liked them and had two as part of her dinner. My only problem was that a lot of the muffin stuck to the paper liner. No idea why that happened.

Chicago VeganMania 2013: Part 2 – The Food

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This is part two of my review of Chicago VeganMania 2013, focusing on the food. You can read part one here, where I wrote about my general thoughts on the event.

Although I missed the free goody bags because I was not among the first 200 to enter, there was a free sample of some bean and rice chips from Beanfields handed out at the door. I never did get to try them as my husband ate both bags while we were there, although he did give my daughter several bites.

Other free samples were from Chicago Vegan Foods, namely Dandies (my daughter’s first taste of marshmallow! She was not as impressed as she should have been), Punk Rawk Labs, and Tofurky (which I passed on). The Punk Rawk Labs, which I had never heard of before, had such good cheese that I wanted to buy some, but alas, it was cash only and I was out at that point. They do sell them through Vegan Essentials, so I might get some from there.

When it came to the food I had to pay for, I made sure to get a good variety of food and I was happy with my choices. I was so excited to see the Vegan Food Truck there that I had to get the mac and cheese, even though it was $5 and I had already tried it before. I used to get it fairly often when I worked downtown and I missed it so much that I had to have it. I devoured it and barely let my child have any.

I also got the Moroccan bowl from Native Food Café, which I have never eaten at before. It was a small bowl, but a deal at $2. It had quinoa, vegetables, and marinated tofu. Very good. My daughter ate quite a bit of it. While we were eating it in the food demo area (after the creepy guy scared us out of the eating area), we were offered samples of hummus and guacamole, with fresh pepper slices. The hummus was quite good, although the guacamole was just ok. I am not sure where it was even from, as the food demo had not even started yet.

I saved my last $4 for a soft serve cone from Temptation Vegan, also by Chicago Vegan Foods. They only had chocolate available. I am not sure if it comes in other flavors. I liked that they asked me if I wanted gluten free or regular cone. Not only that they had the option, but that they asked me which I wanted. It was very good. My husband convinced me to let my daughter have a few licks. She had never up until that point had chocolate or ice cream, so she was pretty ecstatic about it. I am sure if I had let her she would have eaten the whole thing. I was eating it as we were walking back to the car and my husband was carrying her, walking behind me. She kept saying, “More bite, mama!” It was pretty funny.

Overall, I left with a happy tummy and I was glad we made the trip.