Thursday, June 23, 2011

GF/Vegan Entertaining on a Budget

Ahh I love parties! I really do. I'm such a social butterfly; I just love catching up with good friends, cocktail in one hand, some delicious appetizer in the other (or sometimes another cocktail, let's be real). However, I'm hardly ever the one throwing the party. There are a few reasons for that: a) how mortifying would it be if no one showed up, b) how mortifying would it be if people showed up and all the food sucked and c) I absolutely hate cleaning up my apartment and thats basically a requirement of a good hostess.

BUT, I decided to overcome my fear of party failure and throw a little get together for my girlfriends last night. Put out the official facebook invite and everything. Unfortunately, not a lot of people can commit to a random Wednesday night, but there were 8 of my good friends there so I can't really complain! Any more than that and the whole hostess things gets a bit overwhelming. There's only so much catching up you can do when you want to get a piece of everybody right?

I don't think it occured to me until a week or so before this get together that I would need food and booze in order to pull this ladies night off. Um, hello anxiety! How the hell do I make party food that other people will get excited about that I can also eat without inducing a massive body meltdown? Bahhh I've never done this before! As comfortable as I am sharing my recipes with you, its a whole nother story when you have to watch people try your that a real smile and nod or are they covering up the fact that they are choking with disgust? Yikers!

My other issue, of course, is cashola. How do I pull off a classy-ish party with no money in the bank?? I knew I was going to have to get real creative to make this work for both me and my guests.

So, I figured, you can't go wrong with the classics. Make things that people expect at a party, then don't tell them till after that it has been modified. Sheer effing brilliance. My menu? Mexican layer dip, spinach artichoke dip, stuffed peppers and chocolate covered strawberries, all vegan, gluten, corn and sugar free of course! Oh, and a little Andre Peach Passion champagne with frozen and tasty (just don't drink too much unless you love being hungover)!

I was so relieved how everything turned out! So cute right?

I think the favorite was the Spinach Artichoke Dip, people were shocked that it was vegan. I think that was definitely my proudest accomplishment. I did bite the bullet and buy corn chips (they are so cheap and everyone else can eat them!), but at least I bought the organic ones with only 3 ingredients! And I of course, used Beanitos (definitely polished off a whole bag, oops!).

I wasn't as excited about the Stuffed Peppers, mainly because I forgot an ingredient in the filling and was expecting them to be more flavorful, but everyone else loved them! I guess we are usually our own worst critics.

And the Chocolate Covered Strawberries of course! I used unsweetened bakers chocolate that I already had, but you can use any dairy free sugar free chocolate you can find (they are usually spendy though, unfortunately). I topped a few of them with Suzanne's Ricemellow Creme instead of whipped cream, but they are definitely just as good without! Well, my friend Renee thought so anyway....

I did have some leftovers, I planned for like 10-12 people and got 8, so that's to be expected. I know we were all super stuffed afterwords (mainly from gorging on Spinach Artichoke Dip), so thats always a good thing! Including booze, the whole thing cost me around $60, but you know me, I buy organic and stuff too so that factors in. Really, you just can't have a good party with special diet food without spending a little cash, but I definitely think it was worth it!

So without any futher are the recipes! Enjoy kidlets!

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 bag frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry (10 oz)
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained (13.75 oz)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 package firm silken tofu (12 oz)
1/2 c. daiya (I used pepperjack) or nutritional yeast
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute onion, spinach and artichoke in coconut oil until onion is soft. Meanwhile, blend tofu, cheese or nutritional yeast, garlic, vinegar and seasonings in a high powered blender until smooth. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and add extra spices or cheese if needed. Smooth into a baking dish and cook 15-20 minutes (took about 17 for me) or until golden brown on the top. Serve with corn chips or Beanitos!

Stuffed Peppers

1/2 cup quinoa
1 c. vegetable broth (to cook quinoa in...this is where I made my mistake, dont forget this step!)
1 package (12 oz) firm tofu
3 tbsp. minced white onion
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
dash of stevia powder (1 tbsp. agave also works)
1 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
1 tbsp. minced fresh oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
20-ish mini sweet peppers (they are the same size as hot peppers but they taste like bell peppers, please dont accidentally buy habeneros or jalapenos!)

Cook quinoa according to package, subbing the veggie broth for the water. In a large bowl, crumble tofu and add the onion, vinegar, agave or stevia, orange zest and oregano. Stir in quinoa and season with salt and pepper. Slice the stems off the peppers and remove seeds. Fill each pepper with quinoa mixture. I made this the night before and served them chilled...delicious!

5-layer Mexican Dip

1 can vegetarian refried beans
1/2 pkg. pepperjack Daiya cheese
1/2 pkg. King Harvest Jalapeno Hummus (or hummus of your choice)
1 c. tomatillo salsa
1 1/2 c. vegan sour cream (I prefer Wayfare to Tofutti)

Spread beans in a microwave safe baking dish and top with cheese. Mircrowave about 2 minutes until cheese starts to melt. Spread hummus over top with a spatula, then do the same with the salsa and top with  sour cream. You can also add a layer of olives or guacamole!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

1 bar chocolate
However many strawberries you want

Make sure strawberries are dry. Microwave chocolate until it becomes soft, about a minute and a half. Dip each strawberry in chocolate, making sure to coat all sides and place on a cookie sheet. They can also be dipped in coconut, sprinkles or nuts, or topped with whipped cream of some sort. Refridgerate until chocolate hardens, about an hour.

I definitely want to experiment with more party recipes in the future, but here are a few to get you party people started! And make sure to have a drink for me :) Enjoy!

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