READ ON FOR HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS RECIPE INSPIRATION!
What an AMAZING time we had celebrating Elvis’ three years of life! I’m so glad it turned out so well and I’m extremely thankful for all the help I got from my mom, sister, and brother-in-law (my husband worked during the day and got home just in time for the party). We planned his birthday party around my family’s visit to Maui so that they could celebrate with us together!
We slaved away in the kitchen all day, and yes, it DOES take longer to make healthy DELICIOUS food for parties and social gatherings. It is much more work than just stopping off at Costco for bags of chips, hot dogs and buns. But making everything from scratch is so worth it. It truly is my favorite thing to show friends and family how delicious and FUN a social gathering can be with healthy vegan foods being served!
Elvis’ birthday extravaganza started out with a man in a giant gorilla suit knocking on our door to deliver him an epic present wrapped in banana leaves and plumeria flowers. You can watch the full YouTube video beginning with Elvis’ unique encounter with a gorilla and ending with the birthday party HERE.
The present that our amazing neighbors brought to him was a giant blow up pool with a slide and waterfall attached to it. It’s safe to say the pool was a huge hit at the party! I’m not normally one to get into plastic toys shipped across the world, but this was quite a treat for Elvis to receive!
NOW ONTO THE FOOD!
I met a lovely mamma named Ayla at the beach a few months ago and we have been friends every since. She mentioned to me a few days before the party, “most of the time when we prepare to go to a kid’s birthday party I think to myself (in a begrudging tone), ‘ok well my kid is going to end up eating a bunch of junk’, but I don’t have to worry about that at Elvis’ party!” That was such an awesome thing for me to hear from a mamma friend.
We made about 150 ounces of freshly squeezed tangerine juice. I picked up 40 pounds of tangerines at the farmers market a few days before (enough for the party and for us to have more tangerines as a family throughout the week). When making fresh juice for a party, you can prepare the juice either the day of the party or the day before and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
First, I made dried bananas. Simply wait until your bananas are ripe (spotty with no green on it. The peel should open very easily). Then slice the bananas in half length-wise, place flat on dehydrator trays over the Teflex sheets with the inside facing up and sprinkle with cinnamon. Pop into the dehydrator at 115 degrees overnight until desired texture is achieved (generally takes 15-24 hours to dehydrate). I like them more gooey rather than dry, so I take them out of the dehydrator at around 18 hours.
Next I made raw Italian Flax crackers and raw almond-carrot crackers!
For the Italian Flax crackers:
Equipment: dehydrator, high-speed blender
2 cups raw golden flax seeds (soaked in water overnight)
2 cups chopped organic tomatoes + 2 thinly sliced tomatoes
1 cup sun dried tomatoes (no oil, no salt added)
2-3 Medjool dates, pitted
1 large handful of fresh basil
1 small handful green onion
2-3 tbsp dried oregano
Rehydrate the sun dried tomatoes by soaking them in warm water for 20 minutes. Then drain the water. Make an Italian sauce by blending 2 cups chopped tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes and dates until totally smooth. Then add basil, green onion and oregano and blend until just combined. Do not over blend the herbs or it will become bitter. Pour Italian tomato sauce, gelatinous flax mixture and two sliced tomatoes into a large mixing bowl. Stir well so that all ingredients are well combined. Spread about 1/4-inch thick over 2-3 dehydrator trays a top Teflex sheet. Dehydrate at 110-115 degrees for 12 hours until crispy. To speed up dehydrating time, flip over after 10 hours or so and peel off the Teflex sheet for the remaining couple of hours to dehydrate. When finished, gently break into pieces and voila, your done!
These raw flax crackers are sooo yummy I cant even express to you how delicious they are. We don’t break out the dehydrator often, but making flax crackers is a perfect treat for a birthday party and a great way to get that “chippy” feeling at a party.
For the Almond-Carrot crackers:
Equipment: dehydrator, food processor, high-speed blender
1 cup soaked raw almonds
1 cup ground raw golden flax seeds (blend 1 cup dry flax seeds in a DRY Vitamix blender for a few seconds)
2 cups shredded carrots
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
Drain soaking water for the almonds. Place all ingredients in the food processor and process with the “s” blade until totally broken down and well combined. Spread thin about 1/4-inch thick onto two dehydrator trays over the Teflex sheets and pop in the dehydrator at 115 degrees. A few hours into dehydrating, score lightly into square shapes with a knife and place back in the dehydrator overnight. In the morning, flip over and peel off Teflex sheet until completely dry and crunchy. Then break apart the crackers along the scoring with ease.
The day before the party I prepped for FullyRawKristina’s raw carrot cupcakes! You can find Kristina’s recipe demo HERE.
TIP: prepare the cake filling and icing and store in separate containers overnight. The next day, a few hours prior to the party, assemble the cupcakes in the cupcake holders and squeeze icing on top. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
I also made delicious Raw Carob Fudge balls the day before the party as well.
Raw Carob Fudge Balls:
Equipment: food processor
2 pounds of fresh dates (the gooey-er the better)
4 tbsp carob powder
2-4 tbsp raw cacao powder
a couple drops of peppermint extract
1 package of wooden “cake pop sticks” (found at local party store)
Place all ingredients in a food processor with the “s” blade on and process until completely mixed and well combined. If the dates you have are pretty dry, you may need to add a tbsp or two of water, but use as little water as possible. Because the more water you use, the harder it will be for the fudge balls to freeze. If no water is used, the fudge balls will freeze rather quickly. Pour a layer of coconut flakes into a bowl. Then scoop out handfuls of fudge and roll into balls. Coat the fudge balls with coconut flakes and place on a plate. Place a cake pop sick into each fudge ball and freeze overnight.
The day of the party I made Megan Elizabeth’s raw vegan chili, recipe demo found HERE.
I also made a giant bowl of guacamole (because let’s be honest, no matter how much guacamole is made for a party, there is never a lick left over), fruit platters, and separated 3 giant heads of romaine lettuce to use for dipping the day of the party. Serving lettuce cups is a super fun way to serve veggies for people to enjoy.
For the PARTY SIZE guacamole:
Equipment: food processor
2 medium zucchini
8 medium creamy Haas avocados (for our party we used 5 gigantic-bigger-than-my-hand local avocados)
1-2 lemons, juice of
4 sticks green onion, diced
garlic powder, about 2 tbsp or to taste,
black pepper, about 2 tbsp or to taste
Dice the zucchini in chunks and add to the food processor. If your food processor is small, simply process the zucchini until broken down, but not to the point where it gets watery. Then pour zucchini into a large serving bowl and mash the rest of the ingredients together with the zucchini mixture. If you have a large food processor, place all ingredients together in the processor with the “s” blade and process until combined. Adding the zucchini helps lower the fat content of the guacamole a bit and bulks up the dish to boot!
For the fruit platters, simply dice and slice your kiddo’s favorite fruits on a beautiful large serving platter. Buying local and what’s in season is optimal for best tasting and most nutrient dense fruit, but do the best you can based on what’s available to you! Obviously not everyone lives in a location where jackfruits are falling from trees down the street, but many places across the world have unique fruits you might not even be aware of are in your neighborhood (unless you live in a location where you are snowed in for 5 months of the year. In which case, making a trip to your closest organic grocery store is your best bet). This year for Elvis’ party, I served jackfruit, pineapple, star fruit and strawberries, all local and organic.
Oh, and let’s not forget the coconuts! OH, the coconuts! If you want to win over Elvis’ heart, simply bring him a coconut. He absolutely la la loves them, so naturally I picked up a big bunch of coconuts to open and share with the guests.
Lastly, I always like to serve an appetizer served on a platter that I can walk around the party with offering to guests. There is something so fancy about serving food this way at a party. Even though this party was far from fancy, it brings about a bit of fun and surprise to serve food to guests this way. This year I served Raw Mushroom Pizza Bites inspired by Chris Kendall from his “TRA Retreat Treats Ebook”. You can get this ebook from the app store or get it on his website HERE.
After the sun started to set, we all headed inside to sing Elvis “Happy Birthday” and serve the raw cupcakes. They were a hugeeee hit! The excitement in the children’s eyes to devour these little gems was just precious. You see, there’s no need to sacrifice health to have a good time and keep a social life! Just because something is socially acceptable and considered the norm, doesn’t mean it should be. And it sure doesn’t mean we should just follow along with the crowd just because “that’s the way it is”. Both the children and adults truly loved the food that was served, and nobody felt like they were missing out on a good time because hot dogs, processed cake and candy wasn’t being served.
Elvis opened his presents with joy and gratefulness. One very special present I’d like to share with you is when Elvis received a fresh durian brought over to him by our friend Charles. Charles lives on the Big Island, where durian is abundant, and he just so happened to be visiting the island at the time of Elvis’ birthday extravaganza. While Maui has the potential to grow lots of durian on the island, we simply don’t have access to it like the Big Island does. Though many fruit lovers and fruitarians alike are working on changing this. The durian tree can take 20-30 years to bear fruit if grown from seed. If grafted, durian trees can bear fruit in 3 to 5 years. So even though we don’t get much of it now, the future is bright. Elvis was overjoyed for his durian present as he lovessss the fruit so much. Even so, he shared his durian with all who wanted some. What a blessing!
Elvis made a new loving connection that night with a sweet girl named Jahmila, to which he called her “Jammy”. She is the daughter of my friend Jesse Krebs and our kiddo’s connection was such a beautiful thing to witness. He followed her around all night and even the next morning the first thing he said was “I want to play with my Jammy girl!”. (OH, and seriously guys go check out Jammy’s dad, Jesse Kreb’s YouTube channel HERE and his Intagram @jessekrebs811rawvegan! He is a hygienic doctor, has been a raw vegan for 12 years, fruit based for 9 of those years, and his job is so beneficial to this planet! He is a permaculture designer and is basically creating sustainable fruit forests in his client’s backyards. Instead of landscaping, think foodscaping!)
Elvis played with his new ukulele, singing songs for us. And we finished off the evening with all the kiddos sitting around together for story time, read by my sister, Hannah. She wrote a story specifically for Elvis called “The Coconut That wouldn’t Open” and the kids loved it! I really hope she gets the book published for children all around the world to read. She is an amazing writer!
That’s all for now! I hope you found this post helpful and inspiring to share the joy of healthful eating with your friends and family.