Last night, I had a little pumpkin-carving party. While there were healthy eaters present, I was the only paleo-person in the group. So, how to make food that I could eat and enjoy, but still please the crowd? Here is what I did:
1) Uncured sorpressata hard sausage, with sliced sharp cheddar and crackers. For me, the sorpressata. For everyone else, the sorpressata, cheddar, and crackers. This was a last-minute thing, but it all got eaten!
2) Turkey meatballs in marinara, with garlic bread and cheese. My turkey meatballs came out great! I shredded zucchini & carrots, and chopped green pepper, mushrooms, and garlic. I sauteed the garlic in olive oil, and added the shrooms and peppers. I squished it all together with eggs, basil, and oregano, and shaped it into balls. The non-paleo part is that I also added rice “breadcrumbs” and some parmigiana for additional binding. But not much. 🙂
I baked them on olive-oil greased cookie sheets. 400 degrees, for about 20 minutes, but with an interruption halfway through to turn all the meatballs over. They’re delicate, soft, and delicious. I made them the night before. then, the night of the party, I put them in a roasting pan, covered them in marinara, and heated them in the oven. For the non-paleo folks, I made garlic toast and bowls of shredded mozzarella and parmigiana reggiano. Good stuff.
3) Shrimp/avocado salad. Whole Foods had a BIG sale on frozen cooked, deveined shrimp. I was going to make them into a shrimp cocktail. But guess what? When I defrosted a few to test them, they were only “ok” tasting. So, I needed to find a way to dress up these shrimp. I chopped up a red bell pepper, a yellow bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and squeezed some lemons and limes. I mixed that together with the shrimp. Ok, now we’re talking.
Then, because one of my firm’s office assistants is awesome and climbed an avocado tree, I had a couple of huge avocados to chop up and mix in with the shrimp. Add some fresh black pepper, and I had a fancy shrimp salad that tasted great!
4) CUPCAKES. Here is where the paleo train is derailed. I made a box of regular, Betty Crocker yellow cupcakes. These are for my husband, who loves yellow cake with cream cheese frosting above all other cakes. I also made gluten-free chocolate cupcakes with a “Pamela’s” brand mix. Far from being grain or sugar free… but it was a party, and I enjoyed every second of eating my chocolate cupcake.
The cream-cheese frosting was quick and easy: 8 oz. of cream cheese, a stick of butter, vanilla extract, and sugar. I’ll be glad when these are no longer in the house. 🙂
5) Grapes – green and red seedless grapes.
6) Veggie tray (actually brought by my great gym buddy, and is usually what I bring to parties to make sure I have something healthy to munch on).
7) Another friend brought currant/spice cookies. I sampled a tiny bit of a bat-wing, and they were quite good. But, because I had plenty of options, I left the cookies to others.
8) DRINKS! Since it was a halloween party, I had soft and hard apple cider, pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers, bloody mary mix (homemade). I skipped the beer I used to love drinking, and stuck with gluten free options. Hard cider is actually a nice replacement for beer. Yes, it contains sugar. No, it’s not health food. But it doesn’t give me the yuck feeling that I now realize comes from the gluten.
9) “Paleo” chocolate cake. Bittersweet chocolate, maple syrup, coconut oil, eggs… My husband found the recipe online for me. It’s a wonderful, delicious recipe. I poured the batter into little paper cups, rather than doing the spring-form pan and water-bath that is called for in the recipe. They came out very nicely, and a little fluffier than when I did the spring-form/water bath method.
10) There was probably other stuff? I put out plates of candy including gummy worms, and chocolate covered almonds. At the end of the party, I sent all uneaten candy home with a guest who had young nephews… Glad to not have those things in the house!
Everything turned out well. I had plenty of healthy, delicious food to eat, without feeling like I was imposing “diet food” on my guests.
This little party coincided with my reaching the 40 pounds weight-loss milestone. I feel happy and healthy, and this paleo-ish party was a great way to celebrate!