We must interrupt our regularly scheduled Meatless Monday offering to share with you our weekend collaboration: The second birthday of Lily! Lily (Anne’s daughter and Donna’s granddaughter) has become an ardent fan of Elmo, also known in this household as The Red Menace, and we decided to thrill her with a Sesame-themed party – our favorite part being, of course, the food! We worked with quite a few food blog recipes to make the theme food, and have to share the love here.Â
First, The Count’s number crackers – SESAME crackers, of course – from Elena’s Pantry. Simple and super easy and SO delicious. They worked perfectly as cut-out cookies (thank goodness).
Then we served up some unbelievably nutritious cookies from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. Cookie Monster himself gave them a huge thumbs-up. Gluten-free, vegan, flourless, no refined sugar, packed with almond protein – these are rockin’. And you can feel good about giving them to your kids. How about that? (Yes, these are the ones I blogged babblingly about a few weeks ago. Since discovering them I use ANY POSSIBLE EXCUSE to make them, they’re that good.)
Bert served us up some spicy “pigeon” wings, courtesy of White On Rice Couple. I loved the flavor – we added a little hoisin sauce and they were delicious. I definitely vote for cilantro at the end, by the way.
Big Bird offered up some lovely candy egg nests! Bake at 350 had a nice version. It doesn’t get much easier than these! Huge hit with the littles.
Oscar’s offering was our own standard crowd-pleaser: yep, The Chili again, only this time we served it in “garbage cans” complete with roasted broccoli Oscar heads. I used Israeli couscous for the eyes, planning on using peppercorns for irises, but they were much too big. In last-minute-assembly desperation, I stabbed each eyeball with a caraway seed, and it basically worked.
Abby Cadabby helped me whip together a tasty pasta salad with whole grain alphabet noodles standing in for the farfalle in this recipe from the Party Line guys via Serious Eats. The combination of lemon, basil, and tomato was lovely, even if a bit early in season. I used quartered grape tomatoes here, I think it was a bit better than your average grocery store tomato this time of year.
Super Grover lightened things up with some sundried tomato hummus and crudite. This is barely even a recipe – I make hummus so often that I just improvise as I go.
Lemme see if I can summarize: 2 cans chickpeas (or the bulk equivalent), about 1/3 cup tahini, the juice of 1 lemon, 3-4 cloves garlic, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, a touch of salt and pepper, and for this variation, half a jar of sundried tomatoes (using their oil). Blitz all in food processor.Â Start tasting: first try some more acid if it needs something – I actually like to use rice vinegar. Then perhaps a touch more oil. The maybe a bit of salt, and round and round until it’s juuuuust right. Mmm.
Okay, so, the chips and salsa didn’t come from anywhere but a store, but we really do like Muir Glen’s salsa when it’s not summertime and fresh from the garden.
And finally, the piece de resistance, the Elmo Cupcake. This was accomplished via gluten-free vegan cupcakes from Gluten-Free-Goddess, with vanilla buttercream frosting, marzipan eyes and noses, and Elmo fur coaching from My Food Affair. I tried piping the fur into individual strands for a few, but had some serious snafus with the freezer bags, and ended up just spreading the frosting on to them and then sort of distressing the surface with a butter knife, which worked in a pinch. (PLEASE DON’T SEND THESE TO CAKE WRECKS. I AM NOT A PRO!)
As you can see here, that red food coloring is some scary stuff, check out my red right hand.
A fabulous, and at least somewhat frugal, time was had by all.
— brought to you by the letter L and the number 2