Do you like entertaining? Are you one of those talented people that make it all look so easy and perfect?
I like to entertain, but Martha Stewart I’m not. My intentions are good, and often before any special event, I have dreams of making fabulous recipes, setting a beautiful table, and wowing my guests with my savoir fare.
Then I wake up.
Truthfully, as my family will attest, I serve the same things over and over, and stick to the same routine.
And ya’ know what? No one really cares.
At least thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m telling myself as I prepare to feed 33 people for an early Easter dinner tomorrow – including 15 children under 10!
My husband and I have a very large, blended family and have hosted our share of wedding and baby showers.Â In the past 9.5 years, we’ve had six weddings (including our own) and welcomed 14 grandchildren into the family.
Decorations aside, my biggest problem as a natural health geek, has been how to host a wedding or baby shower, that’s both tasty and HEALTHY? Seriously, I have a major guilt trip serving up toxic food, and we have grand kids with food allergies, which really complicates things.
How do you get past all those gorgeous looking store-bought treats loaded with MSG, red dye #40, blue dyes Nos. 1 and 2, or green no. 3?
What do you serve your guests besides drinks laden with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), potassium benzoate, or phosphoric acid?
See, I told you I was a geek! There have to be better options.
So, for what itâ€™s worth, here are six, random, guilt-free recipes with a healthier fare for showers or any occasion!
The first two recipes are from Eating Well magazine and my first choice is a beverage.
Iâ€™m not sure if that’s a comment on my mental state at the moment (wouldnâ€™t you think about relaxing with a little bubbly if you were having 33 guests for dinner?), but serving drinks is standard fare.
This one looks so refreshing, and it’s not-so-toxic as many you’ll find on the market.
1. Elderflower Sparklers
This drink isÂ made with Elderflower syrup, which is apparently popular in Europe. You can buy it at Ikea and online.
It’s made with pure cane sugar – not HFCS, and while it is high in carbs, it doesn’t have some of the a fore mentioned nasty ingredients.
The sprig of mint adds a nice touch, or you could purchase edible flowers for garnish.
That would be pretty!
Get the full recipe from EatingWell Magazine here.
You can also subscribe to EatingWell Magazine through Magazines.com and save quite a lot on newsstand prices. Right now it’s 50% cheaper for a year-long subscription.
2. Chilled Strawberry-Rhubarb Soup Â
Here’s another healthy and delicious recipe I got from EatingWell.
Since rhubarb and strawberries grow in abundance here in Wisconsin, most of us foodies have our freezers well stocked with them. The idea of a chilled, healthy soup was very appealing, especially with warmer weather on the horizon!
I love to make strawberry rhubarb crisp, so I know this combination of sweet and tart is a winner. This soup is appealing to the eye, healthy, and EASY to make. I’m all about easy.
Remember, strawberries are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list (see below). Translation: they’re full of pesticides. Make sure your strawberries are organic or better yet, grow your own!
3. Turkey Cucumber Roll-ups
This dairy free recipe from Vanessa at Plaid and Paleo, looks delicious and it’s very healthy!
Â This is sure to be a popular choice for any weight-conscious or foodie friends and family.
The ingredients are so simple.
You can improvise and make your own veggie dip or follow her recipe, which looks wonderful.
A good veggie peeler is the only other item you’ll need.
Get your turkey from a clean source like Applegate, and voila, you have a delicious and tasty appetizer you’ll be happy to serve any expectant mother!
Get the full recipe here.
Â 4. Hummus and Cucumber Appetizer Bites
Okay, so I said I’m all about easy. These little gems fromÂ KalynsKitchen.com, are really easy to make!
You can make your own hummus or buy your favorite brand without any toxic ingredients.
I like the look of the black sesame seeds, but as Kalyn points out, you can use white sesame seeds if you don’t have the black on hand.
To keep this recipe really healthy, buy organic cucumbers. Cukes are on the Dirty Dozen list, too!
Here’s Kalyn’s recipe.
5. Quick and Easy Chicken Salad
What’s a gathering of women without chicken salad?
I’m proud to say that despite my culinary inadequacies, chicken salad is one thing my family does ask me to make!
I’m always game for a new recipe and found this one at NancyCreative.com. I like her down-home appeal.
You can do your own improvisations, but it’s an easy and attractive salad to make. Here are my edits to make it even healthier:
- Use a non-GMO mayo like this one from Hampton Creek. It’s GMO free, priced great and contains no soy!
- Use organic grapes, celery and apples (see list above!)
- Always use a healthy salt in your cooking!
Here’s Nancy’s recipe – enjoy!
6. Carrot Cake Bars
Finally, you can’t host a shower without some sort of dessert! Who doesn’t love carrot cake?
The carrot cake recipe I’ve used call for 2 cups of sugar!
Made with healthy ingredients like pure maple syrup and coconut oil (say “NO” to rancid, GMO-filled vegetable oil!), this will satisfy your sweet tooth without loading on the calories and carbs!
You will need canned full-fat coconut milk, coconut flour, and raisins, so check your grocery list when you plan.
I liked Heather’s comment about putting a vegetable in a dessert, “It practically makes it a salad!”
I’m definitely going to give this recipe a try.
Next time you’re planning a bridal or baby shower – remember to keep it healthy and have fun!
Please share any appetizer or other healthy recipe ideas with us in the comment section below!