A whole food baby shower

Yesterday I hosted my first baby shower. It was a beautiful afternoon, bursting with love and joy. I was thinking as I watched everyone tuck into the food, that catering for others can be so intimidating, reaching for the tried and trusted premade or pre packaged foods is so very tempting. Yet it doesn't have to be like this.

The Mama-bear to be and I had discussed a simple but flavoursome menu, she lived on a very wholesome diet and wanted to be able to enjoy the foods she was used to but also make sure everyone else would enjoy them too. Once we had sourced all the ingredients, we carefully prepared the menu of healthy treats together.

She was absolutely glowing as we laughed and chatted merrily about her growing bump and what motherhood would be like!

I am kicking myself that I didn't get any photos of the actual event -- but I guess that's what happens when you are too busy having so much fun... so in lieu here is a description of our afternoon...

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Everyone arrived at 1pm. My beautiful Mama-Bear Martina had requested that we keep the decorations simple and clean, so white flowers adorned the table and guests were welcomed with champagne glasses of passionfruit laced water (and bubbly for those who could).

We sat together on a balcony of a friends newly built home, with glimpses of the ocean in every direction and tropical potted palms dotted around us, the ocean breeze blew softly making them sway and cooled us as we sat chatting for a few blissful hours.

The sun hung low in the sky before I took myself and my sleepy little ones home. Contented faces all round!

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Pistachio & Lime stuffed Dates
- 16 medjool dates, pitted
- 1/2 cup pistachio
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons lime
- pinch Himalayan salt

1. Remove the seed from each date, make sure you only cut only half way through the date, so it remains intact.
2. Blend together all the other ingredients, I used a hand/stick blender with the blade attachment, you could do this all by hand if you wished, just make sure that the mixture ends up reasonably smooth.
3.Stuff the dates with the pistachio mixture and enjoy. Easy Peasy!

Powerballs (makes 45 balls!)
- 3 cups pitted dates
- 3/4 cup cacao powder
- 6-8 tablespoons water
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 cup almond
- Pinch salt
- Extra cacao and shredded coconut to roll the balls in

Blend all ingredients - you may want to do the nuts separately and then add them to the dates afterwards so that you can control the consistency that you are after. We made very smooth powerballs, if you like a chunkier consistency then blend the nuts for a short period of time. Once the 'batter' has reached your desired consistency (add or lessen water to suit), roll mouth-sized balls. You may need to refrigerate the batter so that it is less sticky. We made roughly shaped powerballs then refrigerated them and once cold they rolled much better into smooth even sizes. Once reasonably even we rolled 50% in cacao and 50% in shredded coconut. Done!

[powerball photos from createnourishlove.com]

Vegetable & Herb Rice Paper Rolls
- 1 carrot
- 1 red capsicum
- 1/2 cucumber
- Broccoli sprouts
- 1 handful coriander
- 1 handful mint
- 1 packet of teriyaki tofu
- 1 packet of rice paper rolls

Dipping sauce
- Tamari/soy sauce, ginger, lemongrass, sweet chilli sauce, rice malt syrup, olive oil.

Slice all vegetables and tofu into thin strips, pick and wash herbs. Fill a large bowl with water and soak one rice paper roll, after about 20 seconds check and if soft remove (place another one in water while you make the roll), layer the vegetables, tofu and herbs on the roll and follow the folding instructions on the packet. Lay the rolls on a separate plate making sure they don't touch each other as they will all stick together. Continue on until all the vegetables are used - we made 12 rolls.

Combine the ingredients for the dipping sauce, we started with about 2 tablespoons of tamari and added the other ingredients tasting regularly until we found a good combination.

Spinach & Parmesan Dip
- Two handfuls of spinach
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- Good dash olive oil
- Vegetable stock (to reach desired consistency)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt to taste

Wasabi Beetroot Dip
- Tin baby beets (drained)
- 1 teaspoon wasabi
- 175g feta
- Vegetable stock (to reach desired consistency)
- Dash balsamic vinegar
- Salt & Pepper to taste

Hummus
- Tin chickpeas (drained)
- 2 clove garlic
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
- salt and pepper to taste

For all dips, blend ingredients together to reach a semi smooth consistency and serve.

Peach & Bourbon Cupcakes

Cupcakes:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup fresh peach puree (about 2 large peaches)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon bourbon

Frosting:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, room temperature
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh peach puree (about 1 large peach)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Whisk together coconut milk, peach puree, sugar, oil, vanilla, and bourbon. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners with a scant 3 Tablespoons of batter (cups should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 20-22 minutes or until lightly golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

For frosting, cream butter in electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Slowly add half of the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until smooth. Add peach puree and mix until combined. Add remaining confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add bourbon and mix at medium-high speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add more sugar as necessary to achieve proper consistency. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

This recipe was selected by my Mama-bear from this site: http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2010/07/peach-bourbon-cupcakes.html

I absolutely loved working with Martina on this beautiful event. Watch this space for some more Nourish Your Soul whole food events!!

Love, J x