Well before my daughter, Indira's second birthday, I began browsing Pinterest for ideas ... my husband suggested a jungle theme, so running with that, I began to pin jungle related recipes, decorations, and party ideas.
I do NOT recommend doing this. As, for an average mortal nothing I make turns out like it does in the beautiful images found on Pinterest. I created this vision in my head of something I wanted to create for my daughter that was to be honest: highly unachievable.
The day before her birthday I spent over 12 hours straight on my feet in the kitchen (at 32 weeks pregnant). And at the end of the day, I could not even speak for fear of crying. Everything seemed ruined: my cake looked nothing like the one I’d pinned. The laminations I tried to make were bowls of gooey mess that in no way would ever look like a lamination, the muffins I made had to be frozen or else they would melt, my hummus dip was too thick, and my lentil walnut mince for a seven layer dip had too much cumin.
It was also forecast to thunderstorm which did not bode well for a party at the park with a BBQ and adventure race activities. I felt like a complete failure. And I was only at birthday 2. After a big cry, I decided to move the party to our place, asked my friend Sara to come early to help decorate and my friend Fi to help turn some of my failed foods into something edible. And you know what. The images from Indi’s big day may not be pinned on Pinterest and it did heavily pour during her party, but in the end it wasn’t really about how things looked and what was served … Indi had the best time ever, so delighted to see all her friends. And having everyone we care about near hovering over a fire under a marque in our yard (thanks for lending Aaron), or around a parchment of paper and crayons in the living room as our toddlers tore around was what really made the day so special. It was a celebration that we made it to 2, a celebration shared with loved ones.
And although the food did not look as good as I had pinned, everyone said it tasted amazing. Epic even, with one comment that the cake was the best tasted since a carrot cake in 2010! Food is all about the ingredients and nearly everything was sourced fresh from the Farmers Markets, most things organic, and all things vegan!
We served this vegan white cake from The Cake Merchant. The orange carrot cupcakes made were these from One Green Planet. These laminations did NOT turn out, but Fi and I used the bowls of ingredients to make remarkably delectable bliss balls. One flavour with added dates, cinnamon, and rolled in coconut. And the other using the chocolate, with added toasted salted coconut flakes, and rolled in cacao nibs, salt flakes, and cacao. mmmmmm.
I made chia puddings with just chia, my homemade almond milk, and mixed organic berries.
The 7 layer dip turned into a 4 layer dip, the extra cumin balanced with a simple guacamole, mixed fresh tomato & cilantro, and my homemade cashew cheese. The hummus was okay in the end. Served with containers of sliced veggies and plates of fresh fruits.
Biggest thanks to Indi’s loving grandparents Susan and Geoff who are seasoned in birthday parties and helped ensure Indi had a most fabulous birthday weekend!