Don’t even ask me how we did it, but somehow Ryan and I managed to throw a holiday party last Saturday night so today I’ll quickly teach you how to host an unprocessed holiday party.
Even before the baby came, we had this party planned and I knew I wanted to make it an unprocessed party. Why? Not because I’m crazy, but because it’s important to me and (mostly) because rarely do I get to enjoy the food at other holiday parties. If I’m going to throw a party, you better believe I’m going to eat, drink and be merry at it 🙂
My clients ask me all the time,
What is a Gutsy dish I can bring to my holiday party to ensure I’ll get to eat, too?
How to Host an Unprocessed Holiday Party
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Two Weeks Before Your Holiday Party
Make a list of all the recipes you want to make. You can search the Internet for your favorite recipes. If they are highly processed, you can make substitutions so they become unprocessed. Starting two weeks ahead of time will ensure that if you need to do a “practice” run on those altered recipes, you have ample time.
One Week Before Your Holiday Party
Be certain on your final menu. Make a list of all recipes, along with their ingredients. Take that list and create another list of the ingredients you do not currently have at home. Write out all the ingredients you need to buy at the grocery store. If you’re like me, you may need to go to various places to gather the ingredients, so in parentheses next to each ingredient denote where you will purchase the ingredient from.
2-4 Days Before Your Holiday Party
Head out to gather all ingredients. If you will be buying frozen things, they can be bought at any time. However, with fresh ingredients that spoil quickly, try to only buy them a couple days in advance (i.e. fresh vegetables and herbs).
Day of Your Holiday Party
Early in the morning, gather all recipes/instructions in one place. For me, I always use my own recipes so the only thing I need is my noggin’ and/or my iPad (Did you know that you can open my ebooks in iBooks? When the ebook PDF is sent to you, click on it on your iPad and tell it to “open in iBooks.” And ps. if you read recipes directly from your iPad, grab a screen protector like mine.)
(Click the above image to download the ebook for free.)
pot cup of coffee and plan out the day. Depending on your menu, you’ll need to plan for prepping (washing, cutting, etc.), grilling and baking to ensure there is enough space and time for it all. We used the oven a lot, so I had to plan what needed to be done first (and could be “warmed” until consumption) and what needed to be prepared last. For us, this meant the Mini Bison-Bacon Meatballs needed to be done first and could then go in our 2-slot warmers and the Kale Chips had to be done last (so we could preserve as much of the “crunchy” as possible).
And then, just start. Prep as many things as possible early on in the day. This creates much less stress later on.
Keep what you can in warmers or covered in tinfoil or anything else you might need to do to keep the food fresh and delicious! Eat your own, unprocessed food, often throughout the night – obviously the best part.
So what did we make?
Of course I’ll share my menu.
- Mini Bison-Bacon Meatballs
- Roasted Butternut Squash (recipe HERE)
- Warm Fall Salad with Homemade Apple Cider Vinaigrette (gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, unprocessed) (note: this time, I omitted the apples; everything else was the same -> yes, I even made the Vinaigrette!)
- Chicken Tenders (We bought plain, boneless, skinless chicken tenders with no hormones or antibiotics. Ryan seasoned them with just sea salt and pepper, and then grilled them.)
Non-Dairy Tzatziki Sauce
This is a brand new recipe to go with the meatballs and/or chicken tenders.
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- 1.5 cups full-fat coconut milk (make sure to place in fridge overnight prior to using so it gets really thick)
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and diced
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend together.
- Chill until ready to serve.
- Kale Chips (an easy How to Make Kale Chips)
- Classic Slow-Cooked Apple Cider (some people spiked it for an extra Holiday-ish spirit!)
This recipe is NOT unprocessed. I used top-quality 72% chocolate, my peanut butter (which is clearly unprocessed) and organic powdered sugar (which doesn’t make it any better). But….the gluten-free cereal is still processed; Rice Chex. I didn’t eat it, but I knew people would love it – and that they did!
It’s just as easy to host an unprocessed Holiday Party as it is to throw any other party (unless, of course, you cater it all in). It can also be just as delicious. Are there items that we served that people might turn their noses up at? Um, yes!
But at the end of the day, there was bacon. A lot of bacon. And isn’t that what a holiday party is all about?!
You will heal. I will help.