Sunday, December 9, 2012

HoHoHoliday Party

Time for another vegan dinner party! Although, this one was filled with so many sweet holiday treats, I'm not sure it's technically accurate to call it a dinner party.... salted caramel corn, ginger spice cupcakes, "Mexican hot chocolate" cupcakes, pretzel bites, spiced Nog, mulled wine, and more!

So I have to apologize for the photos- mostly iPhone shots, and I didn't get a chance to photograph everything. When I host a party, I am literally rushing all over the place, doing like 10 different things at once, all day before the party. No time to set up good photos! Plus, at this party, the food seemed to disappear the minute I put it out...This is the first party we've had where there were absolutely no leftovers. Nothing. I put food out, turned around, came back, it was all gone. Guess people liked it ;-)

Here's the menu:
  • Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip, served with tortilla chips and fresh veggies for dipping. The recipe is from Chloe's Kitchen, and everyone loved it. Creamy and decadent tasting. No-one could tell there was a tofu base, and I had to elbow my way in just to make sure I got to eat some of it ;-). My notes: I slightly reduced the amount of nutritional yeast in the recipe, since I know it's a taste that can take some time getting used to, and I added just a tiny bit of Daiya mozzarella cheese to mix in a little more meltiness.
  • Soft Pretzel Bites- I've posted the recipe for these amazing, buttery, doughy little bites of heaven previously. Obviously, they were a total hit. I should have doubled the recipe, they went FAST.
  • Salted Caramel Corn- The recipe comes from the Sweet Life Online- it is very easy to make, and very delicious. Crazy delicious. There should actually be a warning on this recipe: Don't make it when you're home alone, you'd be in danger of amazingly delicious sweetness willing you not to overdose on it ;-) At first I was thinking about halving the recipe, because 12 cups of popcorn sounded like a lot- but I'm so glad I didn't, because trust me, it goes quickly. I think we had around 30 or so people, and it only lasted maybe an hour or two. I easily could have had more.  Notes: I used the idea of serving some of it in cupcake holders, which was great- we had some friends bring kids over, and the pre-portion serving cups were great. I used plain organic microwave popcorn, though as she notes you can of course pop your own kernels. Also, I used half brown rice syrup and half maple syrup, since the recipe specified either and I had both and figured why not use a mix! The taste was deliciously sweet, just like the best caramel popcorn, but freshly made at home! 
 Salty and sweet...
 ... the perfect holiday treat! This popcorn would also make for great little gifts!
  • Pumpkin Arugula Pizzas on Farro Crust- I highly recommend these if you are having a cocktail party or buffet-style dinner party with lots of food options, since they are so easy to throw together, but are really delicious and satisfying too. Simply use the frozen, pre-made farro crust I posted about here. For the "sauce" I used canned pumpkin that I'd mixed with just a little maple syrup. Next, I added "nota riccotta" - firm tofu, drained well, cooked in a little olive oil with some onion and garlic, and then pulsed gently in a food processor with a little lemon juice, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. After cooking the pizzas with the pumpkin & riccota, I added a heaping pile of fresh arugula, drizzled with some balsamic, and sliced them into thin pieces. I made 2 of these pizzas, and again- both were gone quickly. Luckily I made sure I got some! Always an important rule, that I have to remind myself when hosting a busy party- make sure you make time to enjoy it yourself too! 
  • Ginger Spice Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting and Caramel Drizzle-Another Chloe's Kitchen recipe, another hit. I followed the recipe as in her book, but instead of soy or almond milk for the frosting, I used Nog. Light, spiced vanilla cupcakes that melt in your mouth, rich vanilla bean frosting sweetness on top. Yummmmmmmm...... 
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes- A chocolate and Kahlua cupcake with a creamy marshmallow and vanilla Kahlua frosting, and melted chocolate center. Yes, they are as good as they sound. Inspired by Kahlua, brought to you by me ;-) Recipe coming soon. 

I had also wanted to make holiday sugar cookies, and some other incredible desserts I've pinned, but as you might guess, I didn't have time. Sigh. So many vegan recipes to share, try, and enjoy, so little time. 

For special holiday drinks, we had:
  • Mulled wine (Red wine heated with orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices)
  • Poinsetta cocktails (Champagne, Cranberry, and Vodka)
  • Hot spiced cider (Apple cider with Apple Jack)
  • Holiday nog (Soy nog with spiced rum)
Luckily, after the pizzas came out, I got to just relax, talk to friends, and enjoy the mulled wine, nog, and some ridiculously incredible spiced rum a friend brought ;-)

Fun details:
Candy Canes and Biodegradable Paper Straws
Our tree
Whoooo doesn't want vegan holiday treats? ;-)
Even my dog got holiday treats!
Check back soon for recipes for Vegan Holiday Nog and those yummy Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcakes! Tis the season!


  1. Wow, I have no idea how you managed to make all of those things yourself - and feed 30 people! No wonder everything disappeared quickly, it all looks great! I would have wanted to try all of those drinks too - so festive!

  2. Update on the popcorn, for anyone interested: I have made it multiple times since this, version I like best is as follows:
    -sub 1/2 of the brown sugar for vanilla coconut palm sugar
    -use 1/2 brown rice syrup and 1/2 grade b maple syrup
    -use 14 cups popped popcorn rather than 12
    -note that you can also use Smart Balance Lite (also vegan) rather than Earth Balance if you want a little less fat.


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