Wednesday, August 3, 2011

All-American Party Food

It's party (food) time!

This past weekend was my birthday so I had a few friends over one day and some family over the next (maximizing the "clean house" look). I was busy in the kitchen trying to show-off my skills and ability to hostess. Before, I lived in a studio apartment that had a two-butt kitchen. I could easily fit plenty more people in the new kitchen - and that's where everyone gravitates during a party anyways!

My one friend asked if everything I made was gluten free. I looked at the spread - carrots, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, peanut butter dip, hummus, rice crackers, chex mix and cupcakes and jokingly told him, "The carrots were really hard to get gluten free." A trip to Edgewater Produce drastically drove down the cost of the fruit (so much so that I ended up buying much more food than I needed) and the rest was relatively inexpensive.

On to two of my All-American Party Food recipes!

Michelle's Hummus
1 15ozcan chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 c tahini (found near peanut butter in grocery stores)
2 crushed cloves of garlic
1 T oil
2 T water
3 T fresh squeezed lemon (the juice of about 1 lemon)
1/4 t cumin

Combine all ingredients in a Cuisinart or a blender until smooth (or preferred consistency). Serve with fresh veggies, chips, or gf crackers. This recipe only takes minutes to make.

Italian Chex Mix (modified)
I used this recipe from the Chex cereal website as my jumping off point. (Check it out - there's loads of variations and they even utilize gf and microwave symbols!) I used both Rice and Corn Chex cereal and deviated from the recipe by using Season Salt instead of Italian seasoning (that makes it "all-American" - right?), salted cashews rather than soy nuts, skipped the cheese and made my own popcorn. Almost all microwave popcorn contains butter, so I've been buying "naked popcorn". Just the kernels in a plastic bag from the farmer's market. I add a small amount to a brown paper bag, fold the bag and use my microwave's popcorn setting for delicious and healthy popcorn. I followed the directions as written and then tossed in some Glutino pretzel twists. I'm a little shocked it took me over a year of being gf before I made Chex mix. For my first 9 months or so, I only ate Chex cereal. But now, I'm crabby because I ate the last of the mix today (I had one and a half sandwich bags worth as a snack) so don't have more readily available. But since this is such a fast an easy recipe, I should quit my complaining and make more already! This is a great recipe to have on hand - whether for on-the-go healthy snacking or at a party! My sister kept grabbing handfuls of it when she was over!

What are your favorite party foods to serve that are gluten and dairy free? Do you have any ingredients that ALWAYS go into your Chex mix? What about other additions to a basic hummus recipe?

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