We had our first GAPS legal birthday party on the weekend, and it was a roaring success!
Over the past 6 years, birthday parties, especially when they are not for close friends who understand, have been a bitter sweet affair for my kids and me. I spend the whole time hovering around them, making sure they are not being offered food that we will pay for later, with rashes, vomiting, swollen bellies and mood swings. And my kids spend a lot of the time feeling resentful and disappointed that they can’t just tuck in like the other kids. Especially when it come to the birthday cake: there’s the pageantry of singing and blowing out candles, followed by me leading the kids away to give them their coconut muffins, where they can’t see the other kids fighting it out for the cake with the most blue icing on it. And parents who don’t know us or our situation probably spend a bit of time chatting about the food freaks in the corner.
So when it came time to celebrate my son’s 6th birthday, I was determined to prepare them a feast, where they could eat every single item on the table without looking to me for a nod of approval. And it was an awesome, joyful occasion. And I learnt a really valuable lesson too: the food matters far more to the parents than the kids. I include myself in this sentiment.
The kids who weren’t used to GAPS food, either tucked in and enjoyed the treats on offer, or ran off and enjoyed the Soccer games that were put on for the occasion. There was no complaining about the lack of chips and popcorn and soda, just polite requests like: “Excuse me Mary, what’s THIS?” followed by a choice to either eat it or leave it. For the most part, it was eaten, and we were left with a satisfyingly empty table of food at the end of the day.
The foods were all grain-free, refined sugar-free, and processed weird stuff-free. Here’s what we had:
Prosciutto wrapped Melon (We found a prosciutto that only had two ingredients: pork and salt! Most processed hams and salamis are a concoction of sulphites, other toxic preservative numbers and colours)
Rainbow fruit sticks
Chocolate covered banana slices and strawberries
Guacamole and carrot sticks
Raspberry and Lemon Jellies (just add a cup of frozen blended raspberries to THIS recipe)
Activated nuts and organic raisins
Sausages and homemade tomato ketchup (the butcher makes us sausages in bulk with four ingredients: garlic, salt, pepper and fatty pork)
Steak, sliced up and served with ketchup
Double chocolate birthday mudcake
Champagne for me!
The result? My favourite sight after all that cooking...
No food waste! And no sugar meltdowns either. All in all, a wonderful, happy, real food party!
And now, here is that coveted chocolate almond mud cake recipe:
2 cups almond nut butter (You can either buy this from a health food store, or use almond meal and beat it in a food processor until it releases its oils, then add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil, and process it a bit more)
1/2 cup raw honey
1T vanilla extract (check the ingredients for any processed crap)
1/2 cup organic cocoa powder
1/2 cup kefir yoghurt (or just regular greek/natural yoghurt if you don’t have excess kefir yoghurt)
1t baking soda
1/2 cup melted dark chocolate (optional: I make my own chocolate, recipe HERE, but you could use the darkest 85% plus organic chocolate you can find. Like Lindt. But it does have a tiny bit of sugar in it, so your choice. We are really strict about sugar; hence I make my own chocolate, or leave it out of the recipe if I don’t have any to hand.)
Mix the nut butter and eggs together until smooth and pasty.
Add honey and vanilla, continue mixing.
Add kefir and baking soda (at the same time so that the baking soda is activated), turn the mixer to slower, add cocoa, and then finally the melted chocolate.
Pour into a greased cake tin, cook on 165C for 35-40 minutes.
(Handy cleaning up tip: just roughly line your tin with baking paper, forget about the greasing. The cake lifts out perfectly afterwards, although the edges are not as smooth as it would be if baked in a greased tin).
Chocolate Ganache Icing:
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, gently heated to melt if it is solid.
½ cup of organic cocoa
¼ cup honey
Dash of sea salt/ Himalayan rock salt (any salt that is unprocessed and mineral rich will do).
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Combine all the ingredients well in a dry, clean food processor/ blender/ mixer. (Ooh make sure no water gets into this mixture or it will turn to rubber. Can you tell that I did this?)
Either pore the liquid over the cake, or let it set a bit in the fridge and spread it on the cake. If it’s too stiff, you can mix it up again in the blender.
You can also roll this into balls, and dust it with coconut or cocoa to make chocolate truffles. You can add a Tablespoon of orange zest to make chocolate orange ganache. Best part is, you can store it in the cupboard for the next time you need icing! Or you can be like me, and take a teaspoon and when no one is looking you can dip it in and eat a teaspoon of it, until it’s suddenly all finished and you have chocolate all over your face.
You could do that.