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Imagine hosting a party, laughing with your friends, enjoying a few cocktails AND not breaking your healthy habits. It’s totally doable.
I recently hosted a Healthy Happy Hour for my girlfriends to show you that it is easy, and most of all, fun, to live your healthiest life.
You can have foods and drinks that taste amazing and are good for you.
So take notes as you plan a party to toast the new year, celebrate a birthday, or just to celebrate amazing friendships.
Grab a glass of wine and follow along.
Plan Your Vibe:
The key elements for me to focus on in hosting a get together are simplicity, FUN, laughter, and serving delicious, healthy things.
I want to focus on conversations and being in the moment. I don’t want to be running around and checking the oven if I can help it. Or stressing about details.
Plan Your Food:
First, I look for recipes that are healthy, easy, and where a lot of the prep can be done the day before. I decided on all appetizers for this gathering because not only was this a Happy Hour, I love small plates and having a little bit of several different things.
It can help to think of a theme, like Mexican, or sushi, or Italian, etc…. Brainstorm ideas of food that should be easy to make and are related to the theme. Then search for healthier versions of those recipes. For example, if you are having a super bowl party, I would google things like healthy 7 layer dip or dairy-free 7 layer dip or healthy wings. You get the idea.
Next, look through the recipes that come up until you find one that looks easy, and has clean ingredients. If you need some help on where to start with that, check out my post on the top ingredients to look out for in our food.
Another way that I choose recipes is by going to my favorite food blogs and searching their websites for apps or whatever I’m looking for. I definitely have a few favorites here. Here are just a few of my go-to’s: JS Health by Jessica Sepel, Hummusapien by Alexis, Real Food Whole Life by Robyn, The Real Food Dieticians, and Isa Chandra.
Plan Your Drinks:
After I choose my food, I plan the drinks. I like to have one signature drink, one mocktail for those not having alcohol, and then I have a stocked bar with healthy wine and other choices so people can help themselves.
If you choose to drink, alcohol, in moderation, does have some health benefits. Some alcohol is better for you than others. Here are a few tips when choosing alcohol:
There is a reason top shelf drinks are more expensive. They are often made with higher quality ingredients.
Another consideration is to choose spirits that are lower in sugar and cleaner. These tend to be scotch, gin, and vodka. Avoid sodas and sugar-filled mixers and instead, choose soda water or sparkling water. Adding a lemon or a lime supports digestion and the liver.
When choosing wine look for Organic or NSA which means no sulfites added. Conventional wines have a list of additives that make the wine a better color, have more alcohol, add flavor at a low price, speed up fermentation and more. Vineyards also use pesticides and herbicides. So choose wisely.
Now that I’ve shown you my process, let me show you my menu.
Raspberry Chipotle Black Bean Dip
- 1 tub Kite Hill almond milk cream cheese
- Bronco Bob's Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
- 1 can organic black beans drained and rinsed
- 1/3 of a red onion chopped optional
- 1/2 bunch of organic cilantro chopped
- 1 Cup chopped cashews
Spread the cream cheese in about a 1/4 inch thick layer on a platter. Add the rasperry chipotle sauce in about a 1/4" thick layer on top of the cream cheese. Add the rest of the toppings. Serve with organic tortilla chips.
- 2 Cups raw, unsalted cashews
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chili pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Toss the cashews and extra-virgin olive oil together on a baking sheet.
- In a small bowl mix all the spices together.
- Sprinkle over the cashews, turning to coat thoroughly.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Serve warm.
Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Dip
- 1 head cauliflower
- 3 Tbsp. coconut oil melted
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 Cup hot sauce
- 1 Cup Kite Hill almond yogurt plain
- 1/2 Cup blue cheese crumbles
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 450. Clean and chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Pat it dry. Place it on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and drizzle with the coconut oil and some salt. Toss the cauliflower with the oil. Spread it out on the baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes turning once.
Buffalo sauce: melt 2 Tbsp. butter. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and add to the butter. Add the hot sauce and stir.
Blue cheese dip: Combine the yogurt, blue cheese crumbles, 1 tsp. salt and a dash of pepper.
When cauliflower is done, remove from the oven and add the buffalo sauce. Serve with blue cheese dip and celery.
Adapted from www.acouplecooks.com
I also served Cranberry Orange Goat Cheese bites by Alexis from Hummusapien. Not only do these look great, they taste amazing and got rave reviews from the girls.
For dessert I made Healthier S’mores Dip from Eating Bird Food. I added a little more maple syrup than they called for to sweeten it up a bit.
Sparkling Kombucha Mocktail
- 1/2 Cup organic cranberry juice
- 2-12 oz. bottles Original Kombucha
- 1 bottle of Q Drinks ginger ale found at Whole Foods
- fresh cranberries and rosemary for garnish
Put ice into 4 double old-fashioned glasses. Split cranberry juice equally between glasses. Add kombucha leaving 1 inch at the top of each glass. Top each drink off with ginger ale. Garnish with cranberries and rosemary.
Adapted from The Real Food Dietitians
Bubbly Cranberry Cocktail
- 8 oz. vodka
- organic 100% cranberry juice
- Prosecco or Champagne
- fresh cranberries and rosemary for garnish
Put ice in a shaker and add vodka. Shake until chilled. Pour vodka into 4 champagne or martini glasses. Add a splash of cranberry juice. Add Prosecco to fill the glass. Garnish with fresh cranberries and rosemary.
Add in your very best girlfriends, some great music, a lot of laughs and you’ve got a guilt-free celebration.
Cheers to living your healthiest life!!!
With love + gratitude,