Our Co-op Kids program turned 8 years old last week (that's eight years of positive programming for the kiddos in our Co-op community), so of course we had to celebrate! Here are some photos from the birthday party, along with some tips for throwing your own little ones a birthday party- Co-op style.
We know that there are a variety of dietary issues facing our little ones nowadays, so we offered a vegan chocolate cake and gluten-free vanilla cupcakes. It's always good to check with other parents to find out if their kids have any allergies or food sensitivities. It's really nice for children with dietary restrictions to feel like they can participate in the fun at a birthday party. Look for the recipes we used at the bottom of this post!
While it's easy to spend a ton on birthday parties, we like to recycle items we already have, like newspaper to make birthday hats and colorful paper to make decorations. For these goody bags, we used sample sizes of kid-friendly snacks, little puzzles, some temporary tattoos and plantable seed paper.
We also made sure we had a special drink station for the grown-ups with coffee, tea and hot chocolate. We used a chalk runner to write a message, but you could also run this down the middle of the kids' table and let them draw as part of the festivities.
Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe: 1 1/4 cups flour 1 cup sugar 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup warm water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, until well combined. Add the water, vanilla, oil, and vinegar, and mix again so that it's really well combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides if necessary. Line the bottom of a cake pan with parchment paper and pour batter into pan. Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Cool on a rack completely. To make a layer cake, double the recipe and bake in two separate cake pans.
Gluten-free Vanilla Cupcakes 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend, like Bob's Red Mill 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoons kosher salt 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup white granulated sugar 1 large egg 3/4 cup almond, soy or cow's milk 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Combine the flour mix, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt in a medium mixing bowl and whisk. In another mixing bowl whisk together the sugars with the egg, milk, vanilla and oil. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth and it starts to thicken slightly. Be careful not to over mix the batter or cupcakes will become dense. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins and bake for 18 – 22 minutes or until they are golden brown and the tops spring back slightly. Makes 12 cupcakes.