Don’t even ask me how we did it, but somehow Ryan and I managed to throw a Holiday Party last Saturday night.
Even before the baby came, we had this party planned and I knew I wanted to make it an unprocessed party. Why? Not because I’m crazy, but because it’s important to me and (mostly) because rarely do I get to enjoy the food at other holiday parties. If I’m going to throw a party, you better believe I’m going to eat, drink and be merry at it
My clients ask me all the time,
What is a Gutsy dish I can bring to my holiday party to ensure I’ll get to eat, too?
Here’s how I did it, and here’s how you can, too.
But first, let’s leave “reality” for a moment.
Dessert is my favorite, so I always plan that first and so I also must tell you about the dessert I served before I tell you about anything else.
Cacao Peanut Butter Fudge with a Peanut Crumble
I made this on accident, and it just might be my favorite recipe from 2013. It was such a hit that, at some point, it may be added to the A LOVING SPOON, LLC portfolio. (In the meantime, if you are local and want it made for you/your event, I can do it for you! See: Private Chef, order and/or contact me.)
The Cacao Peanut Butter Fudge with a Peanut Crumble is 100% unprocessed. It uses my Honey Vanilla-Bourbon Peanut Butter, and it was a huge hit!
Back to reality…..
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Two Weeks Before Your Holiday Party
Make a list of all the recipes you want to make. You can search the Internet for your favorite recipes. If they are highly processed, you can make substitutions so they become unprocessed (Need me to do it for you? Click HERE; I’m happy to!). Starting two weeks ahead of time will ensure that if you need to do a “practice” run on those altered recipes, you have ample time. This is exactly what I did with the Cacao Peanut Butter Fudge with a Peanut Crumble above.
One Week Before Your Holiday Party
Be certain on your final menu. Make a list of all recipes, along with their ingredients. Take that list and create another list of the ingredients you do not currently have at home. Write out all the ingredients you need to buy at the grocery store. If you’re like me, you may need to go to various places to gather the ingredients, so in parentheses next to each ingredient denote where you will purchase the ingredient from.
2-4 Days Before Your Holiday Party
Head out to gather all ingredients. If you will be buying frozen things, they can be bought at anytime. However, with fresh ingredients that spoil quickly, try to only buy them a couple days in advance (i.e. fresh vegetables and herbs).
Day of Your Holiday Party
Early in the morning, gather all recipes/instructions in one place. For me, I always use my own recipes so the only thing I need is my noggin’ and/or my iPad (Did you know that you can open my ebooks in iBooks? When the ebook PDF is sent to you, click on it on your iPad and tell it to “open in iBooks.” And ps. if you read recipes directly from your iPad, grab a screen protector like mine. I think it’s from Williams-Sonoma.)
(Click above image to download the ebook for free!)
pot cup of coffee and plan out the day. Depending on your menu, you’ll need to plan for prepping (washing, cutting, etc.), grilling, baking and ensuring there is enough space and time for it all. We used the oven a lot, so I had to plan what needed to be done first (and could be “warmed” until consumption) and what needed to be prepared last. For us, this meant the Mini Bison-Bacon Meatballs needed to be done first and could then go in our 2-slot warmers and the Kale Chips had to be done last (so we could preserve as much of the “crunchy” as possible).
And then, just start on in. Prep as many things as possible early on in the day. This creates much less stress later on!
Keep what you can in warmers or covered in tinfoil or anything else you might need to do to keep the food fresh and delicious! Eat your own, unprocessed food, often throughout the night – obviously the best part!
So what did we make?
But of course I’ll give you our menu!
- Mini Bison-Bacon Meatballs
- Roasted Butternut Squash (recipe HERE)
- Warm Fall Salad with Homemade Apple Cider Vinaigrette (gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, unprocessed) (note: this time, I omitted the apples; everything else was the same -> yes, I even made up the Vinaigrette!)
- Chicken Tenders (We bought plain, boneless, skinless chicken tenders with no hormones or antibiotics. Ryan seasoned them with just sea salt and pepper, and then grilled them.)
Non-Dairy Tzatziki Sauce (brand new recipe to go with the meatballs and/or chicken tenders!)
- 1.5 c. full fat coconut milk (make sure to place in fridge overnight prior to using so it gets really thick ->http://instagram.com/p/hy8fAgpSHi/)
- 1 c. cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and diced
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp. fresh chopped dill
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
Place it all in a food processor and blend together. Chill until ready to serve!
- Kale Chips (an easy How to Make Kale Chips)
- Classic Slow-Cooked Apple Cider (some people spiked it for an extra Holiday-ish spirit!)
And finally, I did make the Gluten-Free Puppy Chow from my 2012 Holiday ebook. This year, I used my own peanut butter, the Honey Vanilla-Bourbon Peanut Butter from the A LOVING SPOON line. This recipe is NOT unprocessed. I used top-quality 72% chocolate, my peanut butter (which is clearly unprocessed) and organic powdered sugar (which doesn’t make it any better). But….the gluten-free cereal is still processed; Rice Chex. I didn’t eat it, but I knew people would love it – and that they did!
It’s just as easy to host an unprocessed Holiday Party as it is to throw any other party (unless of course you cater it all in). It can also be just as delicious. Are there items that we served that people might turn their noses up at? Um, yes!
But at the end of the day, there was bacon. A lot of bacon. And isn’t that what a Holiday Party is all about?!
Love your guts,