My eldest son just had his first actual birthday party, I mean one with friends and decorations and party food. He has just turned 4 and has only ever previously celebrated with close family, as the concept of parties hadn't kicked in yet. Now, I used to worry about what I would do when he reached this age and I could no longer get away with just a gluten-free cake being his birthday treat. But I shouldn't have worried. He had a great time, and the party was a success.
I now firmly believe that a child who eats a balanced diet can afford the luxury of indulging at parties. It's a treat and they know it, as it is a different way of eating from their day-to-day life. I tried to make smart decisions, and not fuss too much, and fill the kids up with savoury food before the sweet stuff. The menu ended up looking something like this:
- Homemade hommus with rice crackers and rainbow veggie sticks
- Homemade guacamole with corn chips
- Plain chips
- Mini smoked salmon & cream cheese toast bites
- Pork and lemon meatballs
- Sausage rolls made with love by Grandma
- Zucchini slice
- Fruit salad with vanilla cream
- Dragon-like birthday cake
- Piñata full of natural lollipops
- Take home bags with toys & natural lollies
I did not intentionally make the hommus for the party because it was heart healthy, but it did strike me while I was making it that it was. And kids need healthy hearts too, right?
I have been helping a client manage his cholesterol levels with diet, lifestyle and natural treatments. This recipe showcases both garlic and olive oil, which are a big part of the traditional Mediterranean diet so highly regarded in terms of cardiovascular health. If you already have a healthy heart, don't let that stop you. Hommus is a healthy, tasty and versatile food, and we all know prevention is much better than cure. I make this in a food processor, but have previously made it with a stick blender too. I love lemon, and my parents have a tree overflowing with lemons at the moment, so I am pretty liberal with it. Reduce it if you are not such a fan. Here is my recipe:
HEART HEALTHY HOMMUS
1 can of drained & rinsed organic chickpeas
1 Tbsp hulled tahini
1 clove of crushed garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice from half a lemon
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend.
2. Taste and adjust flavours and ingredients to suit.
4. Sprinkle with a garnish. Coriander leaves, paprika or cumin all work well.
Make sure you use your leftovers too! You may need to thin it down again with some water after it has been in the fridge. We had organic Morrocan-inspired lamb mince rissoles with hommus and roasted vegetables for dinner one night after the party. I even use hommus as a salad dressing, as you can see below. This was my lunch yesterday: naturally smoked ocean-trout with leftover roast potato cubes, capers and salad. I love reusing ingredients from dinner for lunch, it makes life so easy, and the combinations seem never ending.