I once read that Jools Oliver liked to pack a snack box for her children to take with them when they went to Birthday Parties. I remember thinking it was a bit over the top – that was, before I had children of my own.
I have been thinking about how I can approach this subject without coming over like the Fun Police…but really, there is no way around it…traditional kid’s party food is totally crap. Luke warm frankfurts, frozen sausage rolls and party pies reheated in the microwave, lollies of all colours, fizzy, sugary soft drink…the list goes on. Now, I’m not saying you have to serve a Mung Bean Salad and I know not everyone has the time to whip up everything from scratch, but a few healthy alternatives wouldn’t go astray…especially if they were cheaper, easier and healthier than their feral-child-inducing counterparts.
The lovely Miss L turns eight today. We have a system in our house where you get to have a birthday party every second year. The system doesn’t work! We usually end up having some kind of party for everyone, every year. This year, Lucia decided to have a Surf and Swim Beach Party complete with Sausage Sizzle. Great idea! I’ll cut up some fruit, make some dip, get some good sausages, make a salad…here is where it went down hill…Salad? It wasn’t a popular idea and I guess as one prominent 20th Century parenting role model says…”you don’t win friends with salad”. Okay, I’ll settle for coleslaw. Miss L is not a cake fan so it was ice-cream for dessert. Easy, not too unhealthy but still festive…right?
And now on to the Lolly Bags…hmm. Sometimes, they are great, filled with bubble blowers, balloons and maybe just one or two sweets but it’s the bags filled with hard core red, green, blue and yellow bits and pieces that don’t even resemble food and give your kids a monster sized tantrum-tears-meltdown that I really try to avoid (give them to the Dads – they love them!) I usually pop these ones up in the cupboard to save for after dinner but somehow, they always mysteriously disappear…
Now before you think I’m a total Scrooge…of course…we do party bags. I usually make these Celebration Cookies, which are really simple and can be made a day or two in advance. If you don’t have time to be baking as well as all the other preparations, you could try one of these ideas…
- Get the kids on board…one friend of mine sets out art and craft supplies for the kids to decorate their own party bags or noodle boxes. Then, she gives away sweets as prizes for the party games and each child gets to fill up their own little treat box.
- Decorate your own cupcake…have the kids decorate their own cup cake with icing, sprinkles, sweets and then pop in to a little cellophane bag for them to take home with them (and hopefully give to mum to eat with her cup of tea).
- Treasure Hunt…hide treats around the garden and let kids find them and fill up their little bags…as long as little brothers and sisters aren’t worded up as to where the bulk of the loot is hiding!
- Instead of sweets add stickers, badges, cheap kids jewellery to bags to fit in with your theme…Two-dollar shops have heaps of this kind of stuff.
Makes 24-32 depending on how big you make them
250 grams butter, softened
3/4 cup castor sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
White Chocolate, around 100 grams
100′s and 1000′s – get the “All Natural Colours” variety – makes you feel much better about the whole sugar issue.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
- In the electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla and the egg yolk and beat again.
- Add the flour and beat until a soft dough forms.
- Roll a tablespoon of dough at a time into a ball and flatten slightly between your palms. Place on the tray and continue with the rest of the dough.
- Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.
You can really go for it here but this is what I do…melt the white chocolate in a jug and place 100′s and 1000′s in a shallow bowl. When the cookies are completely cooled, dip half in the melted chocolate and hold it up over the jug for the excess to drip off. then dip in the 100′s and 1000′s and place on a tray lined with baking paper until set. Pop in bags and tie with coloured ribbon.
Share with us!
Please feel free to share your ideas for healthier birthday treats with us. We’d love to hear about them and maybe even do a follow up post featuring some of your great creations.