Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Very Warming Housewarming

The spread- vegan summer buffet style
This weekend, after almost two months in our new place, we finally had a housewarming party. I think it has actually taken that long to get settled... I was still hanging pictures two days ago...but I am love with our new spot, and just the feeling of being home. So on yet another sunny, warm day, it was the perfect time to host our housewarming party. As my dinner parties usually go, it was of course filled with lots of treats that I was excited to share. So time to share them with YOU!

Flowers from my Mom :)
I love hosting parties, but I sometimes (?!) go a little overboard- like my mom, I have a sort of hyper-active hostess quality. And as a vegan, I almost feel like I have something to prove; although I'm sure my friends would be happy with chips and beer, I want to show people how impressive and delicious vegan food can be. But more than that, I just want to make people happy, and have them love what I make. And, ok- I want the rave reviews, what can I say ;-) I know other vegans- and hosts- feel the same way. My problem is decision making. I see amazing photos on Pinterest, Finding Vegan, other blogs, and in my cookbooks, and get totally inspired. TOO inspired. I want to make it all! I definitely overextended myself this time around. I was, as they say, in the weeds when the first of our guests arrived- still frosting cupcakes, and hadn't gotten around to salad making. So some of my ideas had to get shelved. But here's what I ended up serving:

The Menu - Vegan Dinner Party, Summer Buffet Style
  • Fresh Olive Bread, from our local Farmer's Market
  • Cucumber slices with hummus and fresh dill - a quick easy app that's a little more special than crackers & hummus
  • Dill pickels
  • Pretzels
  • Coconut cinnamon sugar popcorn (Inspired by this HHL post, this popcorn was a total hit. Everyone was asking how it was so good, so see the end of this post for my recipe!)
Round 1
Oh and in the spirit of dessert first, I had the truffles and cupcakes out right at the start as well ;-) But we'll get to those below.

In addition, a friend brought a corn salad- similar to this. Originally, I was going serve salads in mason jars, but it turned out to be not so practical for 20-30 guests (shocker, I know)- so instead, in addition to the salads above, I just had out some jars of fresh arugula, orange cherry tomatoes, and roasted golden beets- for more veggie sides. I had also been planning on grilling some artichokes and corn as well, but there was plenty as it was!

Round 2

  • White chocolate truffles (from SMBP, my second time making these, and it was definitely easier this time around! These truffles are decadent, delicious show stoppers). 
  • Pineapple mini cupcakes, half of them with a rum pudding filling
SMBP's tuffles, made the night before
Round 3: A sweet spread

A little more on the menu...
I was pretty psyched to get Chloe's Kitchen in the mail this week, and knew I wanted to make her black bean sliders. Originally, I was going to make the mango puree and guacamole she posted on her blog, but given my time constraints, I whipped up a quick mango guacamole instead, and topped the burgers with a slice of mango. FYI, the mango I had was an XXL mango, and I kid you not, it was nearly the size of my head. And frickin' delicious.
Black bean sliders with mango guac
These burgers did NOT last long. I recommend doubling the recipe if you are having more than 5-6 people. These suckers are DEEEEE-lish. Total crowd-pleaseers.
Servin' up yumminess
Also completely delicious and flavorful was this pineapple quinoa- with an added wow-factor because it's served in a pineapple. I loosely followed the recipe here, but used more quinoa and kale, simplified a few things, and went a little light on the dressing. I'll post my version soon!

Finally, for the desserts, I used Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World's pineapple right side up cupcakes, with a vanilla buttercream frosting (I halved their buttercream recipe, which was just the right amount for mini cupcakes). I also made half of them boozy - for these ones, I added some shredded coconut to the cake batter, and made a tropical rum pudding to fill in the center by blending some banana, pineapple, vegan vanilla yogurt, and tapicoa flour to thicken it a bit. Oh, right, and a bunch of rum ;-) I added about a 1/4-1/2 tsp of this pudding to the centers after scooping out  an equal amount of the cupcake after baking. Originally, for the frosting, I was going to make some of it coconut and some of it rum, and add some toasted coconut flakes to the top- but, well, I ran out of time and chose drinks with friends over secluding myself in the kitchen ;-) Next time, though...

Tropical "take me away" cupcakes with rum pudding filling
I was totally touched by all the sweet gifts people brought- cute little house items, fancy soap, homemade Bloody Mary mix for the next morning, beer, wine, champagne, and so many flowers I was starting to think we should host housewarming parties all the time ;-)

And one friend even brought a vegan carrot cake. I am always so thankful when non-vegans go out of their way to think about what I can eat. This girl has a young baby, and I just thought how amazingly sweet and thoughtful of her to take the time to find and make a vegan recipe. And carrot cake, at that- my FAVORITE.

This cake rocked. I will update the post with a recipe link when I get it from her. It was soft, perfectly spiced and sweet, and the top of the cake reminded me a little of my mother's pumpkin bread-a deliciously moist thin layer of almost-gooey-top-of-cake goodness. Plus, I thought she was really smart - rather than a heavy, thick frosting, she topped it with a light sugar drizzle icing instead. Perfect complement.

And look how cute these are! LOVE:
A few of the cute gifts we got
The entire day made me feel very warmed, for sure- thankful for my new home and my amazing friends to fill it with. I can't wait to host more parties! Next time, I'll just scale back a bit... ok, who am I kidding, I'm sure my obsessive hostess genes will take over yet again ;-)

Check back soon for recipes for the pineapple quinoa, black bean burgers, and more! Til then, here's some popcorn to tide you over:

Sweet tropical popcorn
  • 1 bag natural, no butter popcorn
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon sugar
  • 1.5 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • A few shakes of sea salt
Simply cook popcorn according to instructions. Immediately after popping, pour into a large bowl and drizzle with the coconut oil. Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar and toss to coat. Serve and enjoy!


  1. You went all out once again! I love the look of the pineapple rice, I've always wanted to try that! And I love the toppings you used for your veggie burgers - I would definitely be a happy guest at one of your parties! Congrats on the new place :)


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