Today’s Sesame Street “Word On the Street” was Fiesta, which reminded me that I never posted the menu for E’s second birthday party, our FPIES-Friendly Fiesta! (And yes, we might be watching a little too much PBS during this rainy week.)
Whenever we have any type of gathering at our house I do my best to keep the menu safe for E. This makes him feel included and gives me a chance to let my guard down and relax a little. Of course, with 7 known allergens and my fear of untested foods, it is difficult to come up with an entire menu of food that goes well together and is party-worthy. I mean, E might be happy eating PB&J with a side of salmon patty, but frankly that’s just weird and we can’t really expect people with no dietary restrictions to enjoy that type of meal.
Luckily, this summer E passed a pepper trial. Not only did this open up a lot of possibilities for our every day cooking, but along with some of his previous passes – corn, avocado, black beans, etc – he is now able to eat a lot of Mexican dishes (sin queso)! So, we were able to put together an entire mexican fiesta that was safe for E and delicious. It’s so rare and exciting to have an entire FPIES-Friendly, company-worthy meal that I had to share it!
Here’s what was on the menu:
E loved everything we served but the corn cakes were by far his favorite!
Corn Chips & Guacamole
We kept the appetizers pretty straightforward and on-theme. I’ve found that most plain corn chips only contain corn, oil, and salt. Depending on the type of oil, these ingredients are all safe for E. Jonathan and I love the Frontera guacamole mix. E actually hasn’t had it, but I feel comfortable eating it around him. While there are some foods in the ingredient list that he hasn’t had, there isn’t anything in it that should be a problem. This combo has been a lifesaver for us at parties – we now have a safe snack that everyone loves and E can eat.
The main dish was fajita chicken. I sautéed strips of chicken with onions and red and green bell peppers in olive oil with ground cumin, ground chili pepper, a little sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. I don’t have a formal recipe, because that’s pretty much it. You can add the amount of each ingredient that looks good to you – I just eyeball it. By the way, this is a super-easy meal to throw together and it was the primary recipe that I used for E’s pepper trial (without the added spices). We ate it with forks, but you can also serve it on corn tortillas. I was afraid that serving it that way would make people miss the cheese.
Mexican Cauliflower “Rice”
The first side dish was the Mexican Cauliflower “Rice”, that I posted a couple of weeks ago. It’s a grain-free and flavor-intense version of an old family favorite. I actually created the recipe for this meal but I am now making regularly. An added perk to this one was that it was really easy to make ahead and then reheat in the oven right before serving.
Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers, and Avocado in a Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette
Another side dish was a Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers, and Avocado in a Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette from Once Upon a Chef. I can’t take any credit at all for this absolutely delicious salad. The only change I made to the published recipe was that I used frozen corn kernels instead of taking them off the cob (because I’m lazy, not because corn on the cob isn’t safe). We did trial the salad ahead of time because E really hadn’t had cilantro or lime before, but everything else was a known safe and the salad was a hit with E and our guests. This salad was great for a party because the colors of the veggies made it a beautiful addition to the spread and it actually tastes better if you make it ahead of time.This picture is from the Once Upon a Chef site.
Corn Cake Mini Muffins
These corn cake muffins are one of my favorite recent finds! I made it from a Chi-Chi’s mix. A mix that doesn’t contain soy is so rare that I quadruple-checked it and then made my husband double-check it. But it’s safe! You add water, a can of creamed corn, and butter to the mix and viola – E’s new favorite food! I used Green Giant Cream Style Sweet Corn, which is just water, corn, and cornstarch and substituted the butter for Soy-Free Earth Balance. I’ve started keeping the mix and canned corn in the pantry so that I can whip up a safe treat for E at a moments notice.
We ended the meal with a Vegan, Soy-Free Construction-Themed Birthday Cake with Chocolate-Peanut Butter “Dirt” that was awesome to look at, play with, and eat!
E’s second birthday party was a success! Our guests seemed to really enjoy all of the food and I didn’t have to worry about anything falling on the floor where E might pick it up or anyone touching E with messy, unsafe hands. It was a wonderful day and also a turning point for us because we learned that we really can make an entire meal that everyone, even E, can enjoy! I couldn’t have been happier!
Have you successfully thrown an entirely FPIES-Friendly party? What did you have on the menu?