Let’s Celebrate!

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This week we are celebrating! Five years ago a little boy was born who changed my life forever, and so it seemed fitting to finish our series of healthy eating with a party. After all, what is life without the moments of celebration, laughter, fizz and excess? So after playing pass the parcel, supervising gift unwrapping, scraping squashed icing out of the carpet and handing out party bags, Mr 5 was sent resolutely off to bed to sleep off the sugar and adrenaline and dream BB-8 dreams. Once we had the all clear it was time to let my hair down, put on my brightest pink lipstick, and drink in the gloriousness that is feasting with friends and family. Whoop!

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Celebration Cake (Egg, Nut and Dairy Free!)

I have my amazing mother to thank for this recipe.  It is a truly amazing, moist, versatile chocolate cake that is egg and nut free. The magic is in the vinegar and bicarb which act as raising agents (don’t worry, you won’t be able to taste it), and the recipe can also easily be made into cupcakes.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 cup of sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp bicarb soda

1 tsp salt

1 tbs white vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup water

1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180* Celsius and grease and line a 22cm round cake tin
  2. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, bicarb and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  4. Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.

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Celebration Chicken

When I feast I want to be able to prepare as much as possible the days before, so I am free to enjoy myself and my guests once they arrive. Nothing could be easier than marinating and cooking up joints of chicken the day before a party, as these babies are as delicious cold as they are warm.

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbl spoon smoked paprika

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp of ground chilli (adjust to taste, or leave out)

Juice of half a lime

2 tbs rice malt syrup

1 kg of chicken pieces with bone and skin attached (wings, drumsticks, or thighs)

Method

  1. Whisk ingredients together and taste to check balance of flavours and seasoning.
  2. Pour the marinade and the chicken pieces into a large snap lock bag and massage the marinade onto each piece, ensuring everything is coated by the deliciousness.
  3. Marinate for at least 4 hours, bur preferably overnight.
  4. Grill on the BBQ or bake in the oven at 220* Celsius, for approx. 1 hour, depending on your choice of chicken.

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Celebration Sides

Man cannot live on cake and chicken alone, and I can’t go a meal without having some sort of vegetable to balance it out. Feasting is all about colour, variety and texture and offering as many options as you can. Be generous! Be bold! And don’t be afraid to experiment!

Grilled corn with coriander and butter

Shredded salad of carrot, beetroot, broccoli stem, snow peas and capsicum

Baked sweet potato with paprika, lime and coriander butter

Tortillas, avocados, limes, and cos lettuce to serve

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Celebration Fizz

Because life needs a little sparkle, fizz and pop, and let’s face it, pushing a nearly 10 pound baby out after a 36 hour labour is certainly call for celebration!

Sparkling Cuvee

Strawberries

Lime

Laughter

pop! fizz! clink!

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There are so many reasons for why we eat the foods we do. Often, it’s to put something in our tummies to get us through the day. On better days, it is to fuel, nourish and heal. Sometimes we just eat because the food is there, or because we think we should, or because we’re bored. And then there are the moments of celebration that entice us and gather us around the table, when food becomes the vehicle to laughter and togetherness and reminiscing. I love learning to care for my body and about how food can improve my mood, energy and health, but I also love the variety and excitement of a party, when food is there purely to delight and satisfy. My favourite health philosophies are the ones that preach balance; when we are free to nourish and free to indulge; learning that tipping the scale too far either way is unhealthy and counter-productive. So I want to be healthy and vibrant, but I also want to live, and not be constrained by my diet. I love how a feast allows me to leave all my troubles at the door and truly be in the moment, appreciating all that is great about life. There is so much to be thankful so, so much to celebrate, and isn’t it wonderful to be able to pause every once in a while and party with purpose, delight and without guilt? This week, take a moment to pause and breath and ask yourself, what can I celebrate today?

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