So I pulled it off … our first “real” party in over ten years, and aside from dipping into the holiday beverages just a wee bit too much, I would say it was a smashing success. By my count, we had 20 in total, 16 adults and 4 extremely active tots running about until midnight.
To make it special for everyone, my husband (aka Santa) bought a toy gift for each of the little ones. This was a huge hit, and I must tell you that the Tonka Toughest Mighty Truck is the best gift ever for toddler boys. The picture does not do this baby justice, it is big, awesome, and both the little boys (ages 2+ and 3+) we gave them to loved them! A friend whose little boy wasn’t there even asked where he could get one for his son. Luckily, santa had an extra one hiding in the back just in case his son had made it!
Now, lets get back to the food, shall we? I had planned to make a couple of dips from scratch, including the Black Bean Butter recipe that Chrysta recommended. But in the end, I had to “cheat” with the dips, since we had so many other things on the go. We defaulted to some fresh salsa, Tribe Hummus (40 spices), and Eggplant dip from TJ’s with tortilla chips, carrots, and some blanched broccoli and cauliflower. I know, boring, but trust me, the food does get more exciting …
As mentioned, I decided to do a Hot “Buttered” Rum welcome drink from Cooking Light’s December issue. I didn’t have time to pre-test the recipe … big mistake! Holy rum! Warning, this beverage is out of control strong. To doctor it, I doubled the sugar (boiled some more in a little bit of water and added to the batch) and added another 1/2 tablespoon of Earth Balance Soy-Free. This brought it up to the sipable stage, prior to that it was purely shot-worthy.
For hot food, we had Simple Roasted Veggies, Pulled Pork with Homemade Wheat Buns, From-Scratch Cheeseless Pizza (used the crust recipe in Go Dairy Free), Stuffed Mushrooms, Prosciutto-Wrapped Wild Prawns, and Chicken Satay (one peanut sauced and one more of a curry).
Easily the most popular item was the stuffed mushrooms. All night long people kept asking, “So everything was dairy-free? Really? Even the mushrooms?” I didn’t even bother telling them that they were also gluten-free, soy-free, and egg-free; I thought that might send some of them over the edge! I used 1.5 lbs of mushrooms and 1.5 lbs of filling, and they were still gone in minutes.
The prawns were next on the popularity list (and oh so easy!), followed closely by the pulled pork and pizza. The only item I was a bit disappointed in was the satay. I didn’t even cook all of it up. But luckily the rest of it will be very good on salads, and the meat is very tender. It just didn’t wow flavorwise as a stand alone appetizer.
For dessert I baked up Pumpkin Spice Bread, Peppermint Oreo Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats, and Snickerdoodle Blondies. I am still humming and hawing about sharing the rice crispy recipe as the results were delicious, but a tad crumbly. I used Marshmallow Fluff, which was new to me, and it was really hard to work with. I may try the recipe again with marshmallows and post it after that.
But, I am prepared to share these awesome Snickerdoodle Blondies with you!
I was going to make one of VeggieGirl’s awesome blondie recipes, but had a serious amount of AP flour to use up and a tub of Earth Balance Soy-Free that was begging to be tested in some sort of cookie concoction, so I went for an un-healthified version. Hey, it’s the holidays after all!
Recipe: Dairy-Free Snickerdoodle Blondies
Summary: I watched as our guests attempted to guess what these wonderful bars were. One came awfully close when he said it tasted like snickerdoodles crossed with gingerbread. But oddly enough (and to my husband’s delight), there isn’t a speck of ginger in this recipe. These blondies were adapted from Recipezaar.
- 2-2/3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 3 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon, divided
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Cups Packed Dark Brown Sugar (I used TJ’s organic brown sugar)
- 1 Cup Dairy-Free Margarine, at room temperature (I used Earth Balance Soy-Free, which is salted)
- 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature (see notes above for egg-free/vegan option)
- 1 Tablespoon Real Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside.
- In large bowl, beat together margarine and brown sugar until well combined.
- Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
- Stir in the flour mixture until well blended.
- Spread the batter evenly in your prepared pan (I lightly greased a spatula for easy stick-free spreading).
- Combine the 2 tablespoons of sugar and the remaining 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a small dish. Evenly sprinkle the mixture atop the blondie batter (it may seem like a lot, but go for it).
- Bake the blondies for 25 to 30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. They will be firmer and raised around the edges, sinking in the middle. No worries, this is okay.
You can make it Egg-Free and Vegan by substituting Ener-G Eggs for the Eggs. The results will vary slightly, but should still be delicious.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegan
Number of servings (yield): 12
Copyright © Alisa Fleming.
Let the blondies cool in the pan completely before cutting (if you can resist!).
Yields 20 to 30 blondies, depending on how you slice them