I’m usually pretty lucky in that my
birthday falls close to (or sometimes on) Family Day. This year, my birthday was on a Saturday and Family Day was the Monday, so we decided to have some friends up for the weekend and really enjoy a full weekend! I cooked a couple appetizers for the party Friday and some healthy snacks and breakfast for everyone. Not pictured below was the spring rolls, and ALL the appetizers and wine my amazing friends brought along. Below are some recipes of a few snacks and the breakfast I made.
Gluten-Free No Bake Energy Balls (Makes: 20-25 balls):
Assuming we’d be doing lots of drinking and potentially needing a mid-day energy
booster, I decided to prepare some gluten-free energy balls. These honestly taste like they should be a dessert, but they are very healthy and filling, AND don’t require baking! Ingredients: 1 cup dry gluten-free steel cut oats, 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, 2/3 cup toasted coconut, 1/2 cup organic almond butter, 1/2 cup ground brown flax seeds, 1/3 cup of agave nectar (or honey), 1 tbsp chia seeds, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Instructions: stir all ingredients together, cover and let chill in the fridge for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into bite-sized balls and place in an air-tight container and keep in the fridge for up to one week. *Tip: you might need to wet your hands between rolling (approx. every 10 balls) for them to roll properly and stick together!
Healthy Greek Layer Dip with Pita Or Nachos:
This dip was delicious! Ingredients: 1/2 cucumber, 1 Roma tomato, 1/4 cup red onion, 1/4 cup Kalamata olives (pitted, optional), 2 cups plain Greek yogurt, 10 oz container of roasted garlic hummus (or whatever kind you prefer), 1/3 cup of crumbled feta cheese, pita bread, nachos, or vegetables for dipping. Instructions: blend tomato, cucumber, and onion in a food processor. After processing the vegetables, place pitted olives in the processor with a bit of lemon juice and blend until a ‘tapenade’ consistency. In a separate bowl, use beaters to mix to hummus and plain yogurt together. Place the hummus/yogurt mixture in a 8×8 dish, then place the vegetable mixture overtop, then feta, then olives on top. Serve this with sliced pita bread, pita chips, sliced vegetables, and/or nachos!
Oh She Glows Flourless Gluten-Free Vegan Breakfast Cookies (Makes 12 Cookies):
Of course I had to! These breakfast cookies are healthy, gluten-free, vegan and perfect for a possible hangover. I served these with Muskoka Roastery’s Howling Wolf fresh-pressed coffee. Ingredients: 1 cup mashed ripe banana (2 large), 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats, 3 tbsp ground brown flax seeds, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp raspberry jam (or whatever flavour of jam you prefer) for the centre, after baking, and 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter (if preferred for drizzle after baking). Instructions: preheat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse oats until a coarse meal forms. In a separate bowl, mash bananas and add the rest of the ingredients (except jam and nut butter). With an ice cream scoop (or spoon), place mounds of the mixture on the baking sheet (only 1 inch apart as they do not expand). Press your thumb in the middle of each doughy ball to flatten and create a dip for the jam. Bake cookies for 11-13 minutes. Place a scoop of jam in each centre. Melt nut butter and drizzle overtop for added touch (I did not do it this time). *This recipe says you can place the jam in the centre before baking if you prefer.
The weekend kicked off with my friends Jamie, Nikki, and Emily coming from Kingston, Hayley and Kevin coming from Toronto, and Andrew, Taylor, and Jaimie joining us from Ottawa. We enjoyed appetizers and drinks at our place Friday, followed by the bar. Saturday, we had a delicious and healthy breakfast (and surprisingly no hangovers), then went for a stroll downtown to Winterlude and the canal. The weather decided to be incredible and we were able to have patio drinks at Lowertown Brewery. We then enjoyed the most delicious dinner at the Keg with wine, caesars and all the prime rib and blue cheese I could ask for. Then, we headed out to the bar one last time for Champagne and dancing.
Like I said, my birthday coincides often with Family Day. This year, we visited my grandparents for lunch in Prescott (also some post birthday celebrations). My grandma made fettuccine with her homemade alfredo sauce, caesar salad and pork shoulder. We paired it with Lindeman’s Bin: 85 Pinot Grigio. Ingredients for the alfredo sauce: 2 cups whipping cream, 4 oz cream cheese (at room temperature), 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground white pepper, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley. Instructions: in a saucepan over medium heat, heat 1 cup of the cream with the cream cheese and whisk continuously until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Add the remaining 1 cup of cream, salt, nutmeg and pepper, lower heat to low and cook, whisking until sauce simmers. Serve with 1lb fettuccine (can be gluten-free if you prefer) and top with grated parmesan. After this feast, out came the black forest cake… OK, great weekend guys, but I need to hit the gym every day this week.
I truly am the most thankful for my incredible friends, family, and life at 25. Cheers!