Sunday, July 22, 2012

Birthday Bonanza!

Cutie Pie's birthday was a BLAST!!  My little girl turned one - I can hardly believe it.  Where did the last year go? 

As a last minute addition, Cutie Pie's mamaw decided to come up for the weekend and bring along Cutie Pie's uncle and a few of her cousins, so we had quite the full house to celebrate.  My goal all along was to make everything we had at her party FPIES friendly, and I'm going to be quite vain for a moment and talk about how amazing everything was.  Delicious.  There were hardly any leftovers - and considering four of the guests were picky eaters between the ages of 11 and 13, I'd say delicious would be a unanimous descriptive for the food.  And then there was the cake.  I ended up deciding against the watermelon "cake" that I originally planned and created a coconut macaroon cake with chocolate ganache frosting.  It was amazing.  It tasted like one giant mounds candy bar.  Incredibly sweet and chocolaty and delicious and messy.  We got some amazing photographs of one intensely chocolatey Cutie Pie.  I cried while taking the pictures because they were pictures I never thought I'd get to have from her first birthday.  What did we eat you ask?  Well let me share some pictures and recipes!  These were all definitely keepers!!

First up: 
Coconut Chicken Nuggets

I overheard Cutie Pie's uncle (age 11) tell someone else I had dipped the chicken in sugar.  He could taste it.  They did have a slightly sweet aftertaste that was really quite nice.  I made two huge cookie sheets of these nuggets and I think I was left with about four at the end of the party.  

*I'm guessing on the measurements.  I'm more of a pinch-of-this, handfull-of-that kind of cook*
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I had two big packages) cut into chunks
1/2 c Coconut flour
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
coconut oil
4 eggs
1/4 c coconut milk

1.  Preheat oven to 350 and lightly coat cookie sheet with coconut oil (I use a pastry brush)
2.  Mix eggs and coconut milk in a small bowl.  (I really didn't measure the milk - just poured some in until it looked like the right consistency to coat the chicken)
3.  Combine coconut flour and shredded coconut in another bowl.
4.  In small batches, dip chicken nuggets into egg mixture and then bread with coconut mixture and place on cookie sheet, making sure to spread out as much as possible.
5.  Bake for 20 minutes.  

Fruit Kabobs

1.  Cut up safe fruit.  Put on a stick.  We did watermelon (cut into E's and 1's with cookie cutters), peaches, blueberries, and raspberries.  

We also had safe potato chips and a cold green bean and potato salad from this recipe which even my granny, a self-professed green bean hater, enjoyed. 

But then there was the big finale:  

Coconut Macaroon Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting
(adapted from a recipe by François Payard)

 This stuff was RICH.  And in now was was it a low-calorie, low fat food.  The coconut milk I used has 22grams of fat in one serving, and there were 3 servings in the can.  That's not even including all the sugar and chocolate.  I'd be afraid to know the actual nutritional content for this delicious wonder-food.  

1 2/3 cups coconut cream or 1 can GoldenStar brand coconut milk  (if going for the coconut cream, get a can of full-fat coconut milk and let it sit in the fridge overnight to seperate and gently scoop the cream off the top.  If I were you, I'd just go for the GoldenStar brand.  I found it at Wal-Mart in the Asian food section)
1 bag Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
coconut oil
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
10oz unsweetened grated coconut (I found 5oz bags at Kroger, so 2 bags was perfect!)

1.  Heat coconut cream in a saucepan until barely boiling.  As soon as you see the first bubbles, take the pan off the heat and add the whole bag of chocolate chips.  Mix until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  It would probably be better to go more like 2-3 hours.
2.  Preheat oven to 350, line jelly roll pan with parchment paper and then coat paper with coconut oil.  
3.  Prepare a double boiler.  (This really isn't hard.  Just put an inch or so of water in a saucepan and get a good heatproof bowl that will sit on the top without touching the water.  I use a round pyrex bowl).  While the water is heating, mix the eggs, sugar, and salt until smooth.  
4.  Set bowl over water and wisk until egg mixture is warm to the touch.
5.  Remove from heat and beat until the mixture has tripled in volume (about 5ish minutes). 
6.  Fold in all but 1 cup of the grated coconut.  That extra cup will be used as a garnish.
7.  Spread coconut mixture onto the pan in as even a layer as possible and bake for 20-25 minutes.
8.  When cool, flip cake onto a parchment paper lined work surface.  I then used the top of a cup to cut two round circles for the layers of Cutie Pie's smash cake, but you could do the layers however you want.  For the everybody cake I used two big rectangles.  
9.  Use the refrigerated ganache to spread between the layers and then to top the cake.  Press remaining coconut onto the sides of the cake and refrigerate until fully set (mine sat in the fridge overnight).  

It sounds pretty complicated, but in all reality it wasn't that bad.  I've said it before - I am NOT a chef and just look at how much Cutie Pie enjoyed it:

It was a lot of cooking to get everything ready, but we had a great time.  I just still can't believe my little Cutie Pie is already a year old.  Time needs to hurry up and slow down already!  It doesn't seem like a year ago I was bringing home a not-so-tiny 8 1/2 pound newborn.  One year, a million questions, a hundred frustrating days of trying to figure out this FPIES thing later I have one beautiful, stubborn, happy TODDLER!  AHHH!

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