Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Turning 3, free of eggs, milk, peanuts and treenuts

Happy Birthday my not so little man! For some reason, this age seems to be more significant as I see our son go from nappies to undies, and watch him really play with other children in such a way that shows he really is not a baby anymore.

This year we decided to split his birthday celebration into two separate parties to ease the pressure and allow us to enjoy more time actually chatting to people. I'm not convinced that the first aim was achieved, but at least we did get to enjoy talking to friends more when the party size was halved. Having the first party at a friend's place was by far the best part though! Thanks Mei and Vince!!!!

As I compare the party last year to this year - there are so many differences! Food wise, we had so much more variety this time around and we didn't have to cook nearly as much special food for the kids. For those of you who also have allergic kids, we had Parkers Pretzels (mainly wheat), Red Rock Deli Potato Crisps (mainly potato and salt), Coles Spring rolls (cabbage and other vegies) and plain corn chips (mainly corn) freely available on the table... there was no cheese or cheese dip in sight, no nuts obviously and not even crackers with dairy or egg traces. It is quite a relief and surprisingly relaxing when you supply all the nibblies on the table, and for at least the first part of the party, you can let your highly allergic child run free - he was even allowed to help himself to the shared nibblies since I knew they had not been contaminated. Admittedly he ate way too many potato crisps, but I'm not complaining.

The main food event was of course the cake. A Wiggles cake for Party #1. I used the basic egg free, milk free, nut free recipe for one layer, and a new chocolate recipe for the second layer. We've managed to find a milk free and nut free cocoa powder (Planet Organic Cocoa) - which isn't as easy as you would think to find. The icing was simply icing sugar, water and food colouring. The greatest tip I have for cake decoration is simply to buy a toy to put on top! Forget trying to carve something out of cake... this is so much easier plus your child gets a toy at the end :-) We used Sweet William soy choc chips as well as SF Health Foods Premium milk free marshmallows for the added decorations, and to hide any imperfections in icing technique.

And for Party #2 the theme was Cars... I actually bought a Lighting McQueen toy to place on the race track, but our son found the toy the day before, and do you think I could find it on the day I needed it?! Oh well, I ended up washing some of his other cars and placed them on top instead... he was till happy with that... of course! I'm pretty sure us mums create some of our own headaches. The green grass was made using dessicated coconut mixed with green food colouring. Soy choc chips made the race track while the magnificent finish line was made by printing the chequered pattern onto an overhead transparency, secured with toothpicks. In the end I think I was more happy with the Wiggles cake - I think the simpler it is, probably the more glamourous it actually looks.
For lunch, we served small dinner buns (allergen free) and sausages for the kids. For adults we simply ordered BBQ chicken and I did buy some pre-made salads (which did contain dairy). But with the number of allergens significantly reduced by providing all the food, actually a lot of stress was removed and we really did enjoy having friends and their kids over. To be honest, most of the stress came from having to assemble a bunk bed and a trampoline, ready for the main event (while we were also suffering from a household bout of gastro... but that's another story all together).

And when you see something like this, with no rash at the end of the day...

... success!


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