Easy, Inexpensive Dinner Party Recipes

We all want to be able to spend more time hanging out with our friends and family over a meal, but eating out can quickly get expensive and honestly a little boring.  Change things up by inviting everyone over to your place for an easy and inexpensive dinner party.  You provide the food and make those friends bring the wine!

Pickled Shrimp

Pickled Shrimp

Homemade Hummus

NRR Hummus Hero

Bruschetta with White Beans and Mustard Greens

Skillet Bruschetta with Beans and Greens / Christina HolmesSkillet Bruschetta with Beans and Greens / Christina HolmesImage result for bruschetta with beans and greens

Braised Short Ribs

Roasted Chicken with Winter Vegetables

Flank Steak Panzanella

Braised Chicken with Artichokes and Olives

Braised Chicken with Artichokes and Olives / Leo GongBraised Chicken with Artichokes and Olives / Leo GongBraised Chicken with Artichokes and Olives / Leo GongImage result for braised chicken with artichokes and olives

Affogato

Make an Italian Affogato

Fruit Crumble

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12 Vegan Recipes Perfect for Fall

Now I know we’re technically still a week away from the start of fall, but once September hits, I always feel ready to dig into some of my favorite cool weather dishes.  Here are 12 vegan recipes to help you get a jump start on all the great flavors of the season.  Now all we have to do is count the days until the temperature actually warrants pulling out our sweaters…

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats! Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, refined sugar free. Perfect for an easy and healthy breakfast!

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Super Moist Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes! minimalistbaker.com #minimalistbaker

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Healthy fall salad with delicious and only clean ingredients | littlebroken.com @littlebroken #quinoa #butternutsquash #salad

Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Sriracha Aioli

Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts with spicy Sriracha Aioli! The perfect healthier appetizer or side dish! #vegan #glutenfree #healthy #appetizer #minimalistbaker

Potato Cakes Stuffed with Mushrooms

Vegan Potato Cakes stuffed with Mushrooms - Delicious way to use leftover mashed potatoes. Perfect for summer, fall or winder lunch, use different herbs to change the flavour | Imagelicious

Roasted Carrots with Mushrooms and Thyme

Roasted Carrots and Mushrooms with Thyme found on KalynsKitchen.com

Butternut Squash Chili

Butternut squash chili

Pumpkin, Spinach, and Walnut Spaghetti

pumpkin spinach walnut spaghetti

 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Date Bars

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Date Bars

Cinnamon Baked Pears

Vegan Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

These vegan Salted Caramel Apple Pie bars the the most amazing apple dessert! So much easier than apple pie and they are incredible!! Such a great fall baking recipe.

Chai Ice Cream Sandwiches

GF V Ginger Cookie - Chai Ice Cream Sandwiches! So soft, creamy and delicious! #minimalistbaker

14 Romantic Valentine’s Dinners and Desserts

Well the big day’s coming up, and whether you’re in a relationship or not, everyone can appreciate an awesome dinner.  So skip the cheesy, prix fixe menus and cook a delicious, romantic dinner at home!  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Roasted Pork Loin with Apples and Fennel

This Roasted Pork Loin Filet with Apples and Fennel is perfectly seasoned gets a quick pan sear then roasts with smoked bacon crumbles on top and is served with honey roasted apples and fennel. Ready in 30 minutes, too! keviniscooking.com

2. Grilled Steak with Herb Butter

Perfect Grilled Steak with Herb Butter features a homemade dry rub and melty herb butter finish. Absolutely mouthwatering! #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

3. Port Braised Lamb Shanks

Port Braised Lamb Shanks - easy to make slow cooked lamb shanks in an incredible port wine sauce! www.recipetineats.com

4. Chicken in Champagne Sauce

5. Farro Risotto with Morel Mushrooms and Asparagus

6. Quick Chicken Picatta

35 Minute Chicken Piccata Recipe - made of pounded chicken breast, freshly squeezed lemon juice, garlic, onion, capers and white wine sauce. It's Ridiculously Delicious!!! - http://www.munchkintime.com/

7. Sage Roasted Pork Belly

8. Brown Butter Scallops with Parmesan Risotto

Brown Butter Scallops with Parmesan Risotto and Garlic Spinach - a cozy, romantic recipe that feels like a fancy restaurant meal at home! | pinchofyum.com

9. Roasted Cod with Olives and Lemon

roasted cod with olives and lemon

10. Strawberry Rhubarb Tart (dairy and grain free)

Strawberry Vanilla Tart

11. Chocolate Strawberry Pavlova

12. Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Tart

13. French Silk Cupcakes

French Silk Cupcakes - these easy chocolate cupcakes are filled with an eggless french silk filling and topped with whipped cream!

14. Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake | giverecipe.com | #cake #chocolate #lavacake #mothersday

Happy Valentine’s Day!

7 Healthy(ish) Super Bowl Snacks

Super Bowl weekend is almost upon us!  And while I may only be tuning in for the halftime show and commercials, I will certainly be partaking in some stellar Super Bowl snacks.  Let’s dig into some delicious healthy(ish) options for game day!

1. Caramelized Onion Potato Skins

IMG_2450

 

2.Easy Pico de Gallo

Pico De Gallo - Fresh tomato, cilantro, onion, and jalapeno make the best salsa ever. the-girl-who-ate-everything.com

 

3. Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Vegan Ranch

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites and Ranch Dip | gluten free and vegan

4. Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

No need for crackers or chips with this dip, stuff a mushroom instead! These Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Dip Stuffed Mushrooms are packed with flavor and perfect for parties.

5. Truly Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings

Truly Crispy Oven Baked Buffalo Wings - no false promises here, these wings are seriously crispy and unbelievably easy to make. Tossed in a classic Buffalo Sauce and served with blue cheese sauce. Watch the recipe video to HEAR just how crispy these are! www.recipetineats.com

6. Healthy Peanut Butter Blondies

Healthy Peanut Butter Blondies! Using chickpeas makes these bars a dessert you can feel good about eating! They are gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar free and vegan friendly!

7. Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies - 100% whole grain (can also be made with all-purpose flour), dairy-free, and have no added fat other than what is in the chocolate chips! So gooey and chocolatey, nobody will have a clue that these are made healthier

9 Foods to Add to Your Diet Today

Now that it’s the new year, we’re all trying to be a little bit healthier.  Sure we all know that adding more fruits and vegetables is the quickest way to get us there, but you can only eat so many salads!  Fortunately there are tons foods out there that have all kinds of amazing benefits–here are just a few of my favorites!

1.Salmon

Benefits: B vitaminstaurine, phosphorous, and omega-3 fatty acids

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2.Almonds

Benefits:  high in vitamin E, antioxidants, and magnesium

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3.Beans

Benefits:  high in fiber and minerals including iron, folate, and manganese

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4.Spinach

Benefits:  high in vitamins A, B6, C, and K as well as antioxidants and calcium

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5.Berries

Benefits:  lower blood pressure, brain function protection including flavanoids and antioxidants that help prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

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6.Sweet Potatoes

Benefits:  low glycemic index, high in vitamins B, C, and D, high in magnesium

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7.Avocados

Benefits: high in monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium, and fiber

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8.Ginger

Benefits:  reduces nausea, relieves muscle and joint pain, protects against Alzheimer’s

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9.Peppers

Benefits:  improved circulation and digestion, cancer prevention

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Allergen-Friendly Road Trip Tips

It’s the most wonderful time of the year when many of us are traveling home.  While I love a good road trip, having food allergies can make the whole process a little more complicated.  I’m sure you know how it feels:  at home you have complete control over everything you cook and eat, but when you’re thrown out in the real world, it can get pretty scary!  Don’t worry, here are a few of my favorite tips for staying healthy, happy, and safe during any of your travels.

 

1. Plan Ahead

Ok, this is probably my favorite tip.  List making is my favorite past-time, and I’m only partially kidding.  But even if you don’t crave bullet points like I do, taking a few minutes to plan out your trip can really make a huge impact.  Think through travel snacks, allergen-friendly restaurants, and hotel accommodations.

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2. Pack Snacks

While making pit stops to stock up on Cheetos and Coke are no longer an option for me, if I’m road tripping, I still have to have some awesome snacks on hand!  Some of my favorites are popcorn, fruit, hummus with veggies, and rice cakes with peanut butter.  I also like to make all kinds of trail mix with whatever I have in my kitchen.  Chex, Cheerios, chocolate chips, dried fruits, toasted nuts–anything goes!

Image result for healthy trail mix

3. Do Your Research

Before you leave home, think about the places you’ll be traveling through.  If you’ll be at the airport, check out what restaurants are available in the food courts and go through their menus.  For chains, you can usually find these online, and often they even have allergens listed.  If you’re driving, decide where your best stops will be.  Often I find it really helpful to call restaurants ahead of time (preferably when it’s not a busy time for them) to ask what options they will have that you can eat.  If all else fails, have a picnic!  This is by far my favorite option.  And sure you can go off on a little side trip and have a legit picnic complete with a checked blanket and a bottle of rosé, or, more realistically, you can take advantage of public rest stops.

Image result for summer picnic

 

4. Plan Your Hotels

Honestly these days my husband and I usually stay at extended stay hotels.  Yes, some can be a little sketchy, but there are actually a lot of really good ones out there.  These places are amazing because you typically have a full sized fridge, an oven, a microwave, and basic cooking tools.  It makes it so easy to take leftovers from home or restaurants along with you, and it also gives you the option to cook simple meals for yourself while there.  However, if I’m not staying at an extended stay place, I’ll definitely call the hotel ahead of time and see if they can offer a mini fridge and microwave.

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*See!  Look how much fun this girl is having!*

Happy travels, everyone!

 

 

5 Steps toward a Healthier Life

If you’re anything like me, these tips have been drilled in your brain since you were a kid.  But somehow I still forget to practice them!  Here’s a happy little reminder list of ways to make each day just a little bit healthier.

1. Drink more water

“Always drink a glass of water before eating.” “It’s easy to confuse hunger with thirst. Staying hydrated before a meal can prevent you from overeating.” |  Body Hacks To Make Your Life Easier:

 

Wake up with a big glass of water and continue to drink it throughout the day.  I try to keep a large water bottle by my side as a reminder, and sometimes I like to add a squeeze of lemon, sprig of mint, or even a splash of juice to keep things a little more interesting.

2. Get your 5 a day

Carl Troiano | imgfave |:

We all already know this one, but somehow it just doesn’t always happen.  Remember that you teach your body what foods to enjoy–if you load up on fruits and vegetables regularly, you’ll start to crave them more and more.

3. Don’t forget to move

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In the words of our beloved Bob Marley, “get up, stand up.” And what’s more, “go on, put your hands up.”  Ok, I get it, he probably wasn’t singing about the fact that Americans aren’t getting nearly enough exercise, but we aren’t.  So, you know, get up!

4. Get enough sleep

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Sleep deprivation not only leads to workday sluggishness, but it can also cause weight gain, memory loss, poor motor skills, and increased illness.  The general rule is to aim for 7 to 8 hours a night, but just get to know your own body.  You may be running strong on 6 hours or might need more like 9 to really feel your best.  I do know that good sleep doesn’t come easy to all of us no matter how hard we try, so if it’s a problem for you, definitely bring it up with your doctor.

5. Make time to breathe

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For many people, the word “meditation” has them running for the hills faster than you can say “I only drink 100% organic non-gmo raw flaxmilk.”  You don’t have to be granola to get the benefits of taking a few deep breaths.  Calming down your mind for a few minutes can have a huge impact on your mental and physical health.

10 Healthy Fall Salads

I don’t know about you, but I have yet to come down from my sugar high from last night.  Yes, Halloween was as delicious as ever, but personally I’m ready to get back to some healthy eating…if only to prepare myself for Thanksgiving.  Here are a few healthy salads to get you back on track, but don’t worry, they’re full of flavor too.

1. Butternut Apple Chicken Salad

apple-butternut-chicken-salad

 

2. Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Goddess Dressing

 

3. Roasted Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Salad

The best hearty and healthy Thanksgiving salad - mixed greens with roasted sweet potato, seasoned wild rice, cranberries, almonds, avocado, and cheese with a creamy lemon balsamic dressing. Plus some shortcuts to make this salad even quicker and tips to make it ahead of time!

 

4. Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad

Fall Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad is crispy and crunchy, and full of fresh and savory flavors! | iowagirleats.com

 

5. Harvest Cobb Salad

Harvest Cobb Salad - The perfect fall salad with the creamiest poppyseed salad dressing. So good, you'll want to make this all year long!

 

6. Pomegranate Kale and Wild Rice Salad with Walnuts and Feta

Pomegranate, Kale, and Wild Rice Salad with Walnuts and Feta - a perfect way to freshen up the table this Thanksgiving! | pinchofyum.com

 

7. Apple Chicken Salad

 

8. Roasted Vegetable Salad with Pepitas

Roasted Vegetable Salad | Brooklyn Supper via @withfoodandlove

 

9. Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Healthy fall salad with delicious and only clean ingredients | littlebroken.com @littlebroken #quinoa #butternutsquash #salad

 

10. Autumn Crunch Pasta Salad

A delicious Fall pasta spinach salad

 

Healthy Halloween Treats

Halloween is right around the corner, and I could not be more excited!  A holiday based around costumes and candy?  Yes, please!  However, if you have an allergy, trick-or-treating can be a bit of a minefield.  So here are a few healthy-ish treats you can make at home to still get your sugar rush on.

1. Raw Vegan Caramel Apples

Recipe here

 

2. Apple Monsters

Spooky green apple monsters for Halloween party

Recipe here

 

3. Dia de los Muertos Hummus Dip

This healthy appetizer idea of Dia de los Muertos Hummus Dip is dressed to impress your guests for your next Halloween party!

Recipe here

 

4. Monster Halloween Candy Bark

All your favorite vegan candy bars coated with vegan white chocolate to make this EASY Halloween Candy Bark.

Recipe here

 

5.  Frozen Boo-nana Pops

Recipe here

 

6.  Candy Corn Trail Mix

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Recipe here

And in case anyone is craving some real candy this Halloween (pretty sure that includes all of us), then check out this list of allergen-friendly candies or make your own dupes of traditional candy.  Happy Halloween, everyone!

10 Fall Dinner Party Ideas

Yes, I’m one of those girls who gets thrilled at the first sign of 75° weather.  “Basic,” I know, but who cares?!  Fall is a fabulous season, and it always puts me in the mood to celebrate with friends.  Here are a few of my favorite fall recipes for an easy and seriously delicious dinner party.

1. Autumn Cheese Board

Start the evening off with an easy but oh so impressive cheese board.

How to Assemble the Perfect Fall Cheese Board

2. Baked Brie with Figs and Walnuts

Or make your appetizer a little more special by making a warm baked brie.  I think the point here is that cheese is always a crowd pleaser.

baked brie recipe with fig, walnuts, and pistachios

3. Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash

Cold weather food doesn’t have to all be heavy and hot.  Opt for a light arugula starter salad topped with pomegranate seeds and roasted acorn squash.

Autumn Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash, Spiced Pecans and Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette I howsweeteats.com

4. Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

If kale and brussels sprouts don’t immediately turn you on, you might be swayed by the added dried cherries, toasted pecans, and honey dijon vinaigrette.

A light gluten free Autumn Kale & Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad infused with crispy bacon, edamame, and a surprise sweet fruit that compliments the dish perfectly. The ultimate side dish you need on your table this holiday season! |joyfulhealthyeats.com

5. Cranberry Apple Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf

This side is a perfect pairing for any fall feast.

Easy one pot Cranberry Apple Pecan Rice Pilaf simmered in herb seasoned chicken broth and apple juice and riddled with sweet dried cranberries, apples and roasted pecans for an unbelievable savory sweet side dish perfect for the holidays. Everyone always asks for this recipe!

6. Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Spice things up with a warm bowl of Thai curry for a spin on the fall favorite butternut squash soup.

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup.  I'm obsessed!  So flavorful and satisfying on a cold Fall day.  | hostthetoast.com

7. Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin

The tenderloin is delicious covered in garlic, rosemary, and balsamic, but even better than that are the potatoes that soak of all of that flavor.

Garlic and Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin - Easy to make, flavorful, incredibly tender pork loin rubbed with a Garlic and Rosemary Balsamic mixture makes for a crowd pleasing dinner with very little effort.

8. Cider Roasted Chicken with Walnut Goat Cheese and Grapes

If you haven’t tried roasted grapes before get ready to have your mind blown.

Fall Harvest Cider Roasted Chicken with Walnut Goat Cheese + Grapes | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

9. Spiced Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

This grown up version of a childhood favorite makes for a fun end to any dinner party.

Spiced Pumpkin Whoopie Pies | The Chunky Chef | Soft and light spiced pumpkin cookies sandwiched together with a decadent, yet easy to make, browned butter maple cinnamon frosting!

10. Apple Galette

Everyone loves a classic.  And the fact that this dessert is delicious served room temp just gives it bonus points.

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