When we bought our house last July, I had grand plans for it to become the neighborhood hang out place. The communal congregating spot. And over the past year, it has, but not necessarily in the ways I was expecting. Back in January, I began a monthly supper club that the husband dubbed “Dinner with the Darbys.” We discussed a guest list and invited two couples each month whom we wanted to get to know better that we knew would also get along with each other. I had a seasonal menu planned for each month. We had conversation and questions and laughter and fun. And then Summer came. My internship ended. We went to Europe. I took the RD exam. We went to Colorado. I spent two months on the couch nauseous and exhausted. So monthly dinners were skipped. I barely cooked at all over the supper, let alone had the energy to do so for other people. But last month, we had an impromptu dinner. And it was wonderful fun. I realized how much I missed those dinners, and schemed with the husband to bring them back this fall and through the end of the year.
When I have people over for meals, I have a very bad habit of making brand new recipes. Sometimes my own, sometimes ones from cookbooks or blogs. But never a tried-and-true, we-know-this-is-good type of recipe. And last month was no exception. So while, yes, I want to impress my guests with my food and my nutrition and cooking skills, I don’t tend to pick the best recipes to do so. I usually stick to a 3 course meal to corral my excitement and prep time. I pick an appetizer or a side dish, an entrée, and a dessert.
Some ideas from past month’s dinners include:
- Spaghetti, salad, molten chocolate cakes
- Fajita tacos with guacamole, pie
- Grilled burgers, corn on the cob, watermelon, ice cream
- Grilled make-your-own pizzas, salad, fruit
- Baked pumpkin risotto, kale salad, brownie sundaes
As we go into the holidays, I am tending toward more snack and hor d’oeuvre style meals so everyone can hang out and eat as they want. We are hosting Thanksgiving this year, and maybe another New Year’s party, and it’s always more fun to make more treats. Although, a sit-down meal is probably less work, as I tend to get carried away with party foods.
What are your go-to entertaining meals? And who wants to come over for dinner next year? We are looking forward to keeping the tradition going as much as we are able to!
There have been so many delicious recipes this month (and last, that I missed sharing!) that I cannot wait to get home and cook all of the things. Instead of the usual neat and nutritious favorites, here is a double dose of nutritious goodness for your Friday.
- Vegan Raspberry Coconut Scones by Love and Lemons // This recipe makes me wonder why I don’t make scones more often!
- Green Matcha Smoothie Bowl by Nutrition Stripped // Summer weather is coming, and all I want are smoothies, all the time.
- Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup by Oh She Glows // Angela always makes the BEST soups, and this one is no exception.
- Easy Weeknight Curried Chickpeas and Spinach by The Full Helping // Easy pantry recipes are my go-to meals right now, and this one is hearty and delicious and perfect.
- Chickpea Scramble Breakfast Bowl by Well and Full // Savory breakfasts on slow week day mornings are one of my favorite things right now.
- Balsamic Sauteed Sweet Potato Bisque with White Beans by Plant Powered Kitchen // I am addicted to balsamic and lentils together, so I can only imagine how well balsamic and sweet potatoes go together.
- Lemon Garlic Tempeh with Turmeric Hemp Dressing by Edible Perspective // Bright, filling, and packed with super foods.
- Crispy Baked Tacos with Pineapple Salsa by Minimalist Baker // Fruit salsa equals summertime to me. And these tacos are perfect for a simple, al fresco dinner with friends.
One of my all time favorite Austin events is Texas VegFest. One day of all the vegan things. All the food, all the swag, all the people. I volunteered at the event two years ago and again this year (I missed last year when we were in Chicago). I love volunteering because I get in early, can help get the event set up, meet a ton of fun new people, and get in the food lines before it’s all gone!
This year I noticed how unhealthy a lot of the food is. Don’t get me wrong – I will take a vegan doughnut any day! But it seems to me like the majority of vendors there had vegan versions of standard food favorites that are unhealthy to begin with. I feel it’s absolutely necessary and awesome to have these foods, for those who are new to a plant-based diet and not wanting to give up old favorites. And for the plant-eating veterans who just want some good ol’ comfort food. But it would be awesome to have more of a balance. I was thankful for a few healthy options this year. There’s always juice vendors, and I made sure to start my eating adventures with a quinoa spring roll from Unity Vegan Kitchen, which was delicious.
My eating adventures then took me to Capital City Bakery where I had to get a vegan strawberry pop tart. The flaky pastry dough was ten times better than any butter version I’ve ever had. So so worth every bite.
Mad props have to go to Reverie Bakeshop who had the most melt-in-your-mouth vegan macarons ever. The pistachio chocolate one was perfection.
And of course, my meal had to include a vegan bacon cheeseburger from Arlo’s, hailed the best vegan burger in Austin. And it was alright. Definitely not my favorite, but a pretty good contender.
After a full day running around in the cold and then eating all my favorite junk foods in one sitting, it was definitely time for a big kale salad for dinner. All things in moderation!