If you haven’t caught on, I’m a pretty intense healthy eater. When it became my turn to host this month’s ‘Girls Night Dinner Extravaganza’, I was panicked to find a healthy yet fun theme everyone would be able to contribute to and that they would actually want to eat. And because it finally felt like summer, I wanted to be able to dine outside under pretty white lights, snack on healthy tasty bites all while drinking cool refreshing cocktails participating in fabulous girl talk! My goal was simple, to be surrounded by summer elegance – whatever that is. A challenge perhaps, being that I live in a 300 sqft studio apartment, but that was a challenge I took on and a ambience I was determined to create.
Summer evening, perfect. Outside dining, genius. Menu theme, ? I needed something easy to prep, easy to eat, fresh, fun and HEALTHY! Perhaps a summer BBQ? Oh wait, did I mention I don’t eat chicken or beef nor do I own a grill! Yeah, posed a bit of a problem, more of a challenge really. A creative food challenge so to speak. That being said, I came up with the most random theme and sent it out to the ladies. Theme: SUMMER BBQ: Healthy Style Meets High Class! I bet you are wondering how you have a BBQ without the chicken or beef being the main attraction, let alone having much of a cameo? Well, a little bit of thinking outside the box is all it took!
Everyone was IN and excited to take on this “summer bbq (but not)” challenge! My sexy plexy’s were throwing out great ideas left and right. A fabulous lady in particular, Jinnie – who works for the owner of an amazing restaurant in LA called LA POUBELLE, suggested Panini’s on the Foreman Grill in place of the same ole burgers & hotdogs. GENIUS! Off the top of her head, she ran through a list of ingredients that would create everlasting, mouthwatering bursts of flavors in our mouth. Panini heaven. Yes! Yes! And more YES! That was just the beginning. My neighbor got wind of our ladies night and had the perfect summer cold soup idea. Perhaps “HE” was only interested because he knew he’d be surrounded by some of the prettiest ladies ;), regardless, he was determined to recreate and per-fect a Cold Cucumber Soup he had the pleasure of eating while dining at AMMO, another great restaurant in Hollywood. The ideas & suggestions kept rolling in. Everyone embraced the theme.
(Full Menu is posted at the bottom)
A few of my bestest ladies came over early to help work on the food setup and the creation of Summer Elegance – an atmoshphere I was determined to achieve. INSIDE: I created a bar area filled with white wine spritzers, lambrusco and red wine. Wine glasses of all different sizes were set out and filled with dried hibiscus flowers that bloomed like pretty pink spiders once drenched in delectable sparkling white wine (Amy’s genius move). Another table was dedicated to our savory bites and adorned with cute little signs showcasing the dish name and the calorie count (Another one of Amy’s genius and adorable ideas). OUTSIDE: We threw white lights on the bushes, showered the whole area with candles, laid blankets on the lawn and brought out a cute shabby chic round chair/table for drinks.
IT was ON! SUMMER BBQ: Healthy Style Meets High Class! Done and Done.
Thanks to the most amazing sexy plexies “Girls Night Dinner Extravaganza” was a GIANT SUCCES! They all contributed to the menu with fantastic eats and drinks! Most importantly, we had so much fun because they all came over and we celebrated our friendships. (A little bit of cheese was needed here – what? technically cheesy is a long the food theme blog topic ;)) Shout out to all my sexy plexies: Eden, Amy, Kira, Kate, Jade, Ryan, Andra and Jinnie for her Panini contributions.
SUMMER BBQ: Healthy Style Meets High Class! (MENU):
- Cold Cucumber Soup (100 cal – 1 cup)
- Endive, carmelized pears, cheese with toasted pecan appetizer (45cal)
- Vegetarian stuffed mushroooms (25cal)
- Watermelon slices
- Boiled Shrimp – Large (tossed lightly in 1 tbsp olive oil & Old Bay Seasoning)
- Corn on Cobb (1 inch x 1 inch bite size pieces & tossed in light olive oil, Salt & Pepper)
- PANINI’S: Sourdough bread/ Peaches/ Prosciutto (optional)/swiss cheese/grilled eggplant & zucchini/spinach/mushrooms /red pepper /Fat-Free Mayo or Olive Tapenade (optional). Use any of these ingredients at your liking.
- Bowls of chocolate covered blueberries & pomegranate for tasting 😉
- Giant Mixed Berry Fruit Salad