This past weekend we hosted one of my favorite traditions, our Holiday Cocktail Party! Filled with good friends, Christmas beverages, and small bites- a great excuse to dress up and hang out!
Of course I pondered over the food menu for weeks, trying to figure out the perfect mix of enticing savory and sweet treats that I could put out and forget. I love hosting but I hate being in the kitchen all night; I wanted appetizers that could be served warm but be just as delicious after an hour on the table.
For starters, one of my favorite appetizers- herbed mushroom triangles from Chloe’s Kitchen. My parents used to make these all the time for dinner parties, a special treat when we were able to sample some. Theirs featured sausage and cream cheese, my vegan version contains mushrooms and herbs.
The real beauty of these apps is that they can be made ahead of time, frozen and then baked… right from frozen! I made a big batch the weekend before, kept the oven on and just popped in what I needed as the party progressed. Simple is good, especially after a few glasses of wine!
The sleeper hit of the night, my meatball sliders, were another great 2-bite appetizer. Hearty enough to stand up to the many eggnog martinis that were flowing throughout the night. I’ll be sharing this recipe tomorrow.
The other savory item, one that I regretfully did not get a photo of, were the French Love Bites with Cranberry Sauce. A simple, yet impressive vegan appetizer I plan on making again and again. The recipe, found in The Native Foods Cookbook, features a simple tempeh pate rolled in puff pastry, baked and sliced into pinwheels then topped with cranberry sauce. So, so good. If you are looking for a wow vegan appetizer for your next get together, I highly recommend this one!
To prep, I made the pate ahead of time and rolled it into the puff pastry that afternoon. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Then, place on a baking sheet, bake for 25 minutes, let cool slightly and slice.
Rounding out the menu, my favorite part- dessert! Featuring two bar recipes from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, another must-have cookbook.
Just like the mushroom popovers, I made the bars the day before and sliced them into small bites the morning of the party. Those were then placed into containers, kept in the fridge and replenished on the platters as needed!
Lastly, to celebrate the season and bring everything together- we served vegan eggnog martinis! Yum! I’ll be posting that one on Friday.
Is it too early to be thinking Superbowl?I don’t know about your house, but the Superbowl in mine is given almost as much billing as other top holidays. A day solely reserved for football, beer, and food.
Maybe it’s because I live with someone who has almost convinced himself that he plays for the Packers, but football tends to be a topic of much discussion. Mostly, how it in going to ruin run our weekend? What day can I plan for us to do something, and which day is BL going to be parked in front of the TV?
While I would never call myself a fan, I actually don’t mind the enormous amount of attention that BL gives his games. It allows me to enjoy almost an entire weekend day to grocery shop, cook, and work on this blog. All without interruption from B. That being said, I am also ready to kiss this season goodbye! I’m excited to get him back to enjoy Sunday brunch, workouts, and weekend get-aways.
Whether your favorite team is playing or not, chances are good that you will be spending this day with family or friends, enjoying commercials, questionable halftime shows, football & food. Think of the Superbowl as a second Thanksgiving, with the average day of grazing clocking in at well over 1,000 calories and a day’s worth of saturated fat. For New Year’s Resolutioners, it’s the first ‘big test’ of the year. No matter what your goal, here are my top picks for surviving, no thriving, during the Super Bowl.
I’ve also included 5 yummy recipes that will be featured in my Superbowl Spread. What are you making?
Cauliflower Buffalo Wings
You knewthese were going in the mix, right? I’m officially obsessed.
Tip #1: Bring something for you, and others, to enjoy. Try creating a healthier version of your favorite dip or entree for you, and others, to share. Bean chili, cauliflower chicken wings, low-fat dip and vegetables, or guacamole are all easy, mostly familiar choices. That way you can fill up on healthier choices, while still leaving room to indulge in your favorites.
Tip #2: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Most Super Bowl spreads are meant to be enjoyed over the course of 4+ hours, so no need to over indulge before the halftime show. Use smaller plates and place a small amount, just a bite or two, of foods. When finished, put down the plate. Wait at least twenty minutes before going back for seconds and only get stuff that is truly worth it.
Tip #3: Watch the alcohol. Ice cold beer pairs so well with bar-type food, even more so when the game is on. However, we all know that alcohol isn’t calorie free. Not only does overindulging make you more likely to overeat at the buffet table, it also contributes to empty, non-filling calories. Choose a light beer and stick to 1-2. My favorite drink? Ginger Beer & Vodka. Keeping it classy in the DK household
Tip #4: Exercise the day of. Since most of the afternoon/evening will be spent on the couch, make it a point to move earlier in the day. Enjoy a walk with family, go on a bike ride, or take a class at the gym, whatever motivates you to move!
Buffalo wings. Synonymous with beer, football, and lazy Sundays.
Ever since BL and I started dating, Sundays from September through January are reserved for bar food and hours of endless football.
Besides Nachos, Buffalo Wings are one of BL’s favorite foods. Since going vegetarian, I know he has missed wings the most. I’ve tried replicating the flavor in my buffalo chix salad, but I know it’s just not the same.
There’s just something about dipping a hunk of buffalo sauce into creamy, cool ranch dressing! I’ve never gotten the appeal of buffalo wings, but I totally understand the obsession with the sauce. I loved these nuggets and will definitely be making them for Super Bowl. In fact, at the end of the day, I think I ate more of these than BL did!
Whether you are vegetarian or not, these are the perfect solution to traditional wings, but much healthier and lower in both calories and fat. You could eat the entire recipe for the same about of calories in 6 regular wings! What’s not to love about that?
First, chop a head of cauliflower into bite size pieces. You want them big enough to be able to pick up and eat in one bite.
Mix together 1 cup all-purpose, whole wheat or gluten free flour of your choice with 1 cup unflavored non-dairy milk. I used 1 cup whole wheat flour with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk. Add 2 tsp. garlic powder & 1 tsp. onion powder. Whisk to combine.
If you want a more traditional, greasier wing, try frying them in a tempura batter and covering with buffalo sauce.
Dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter, making sure each piece is thoroughly coated. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven. Mix 3/4 cup buffalo hot sauce with 1 tbsp. melted butter. Dip each piece of cauliflower into the buffalo mix. Return to the baking sheet and cook another 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining sauce. Serve with your favorite dressing and celery sticks!
Cauliflower Buffalo Wings
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup flour
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 head cauliflower
3/4 cup buffalo sauce
1 tbsp. butter, melted
Preheat oven to 450 F
Combine flour and milk together. Whisk until no lumps are left. Add garlic and onion powder.
Cut cauliflower into bite size pieces.
Dip each piece into the flour batter.
Place onto a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes.
Combine buffalo sauce with melted butter.
Dip each piece into the buffalo sauce. Place back onto the baking sheet and cook for 5 more minutes.