Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Another Birthday Dinner

One of my very first posts was a birthday dinner I did for a friend.  She does an AMAZING birthday dinner for my sister and I, so it was one of my, 'return the favor', meals.  I went a little overboard.  Not in a good way.  There was enough food for twelve people and it was just four adults.  Everyone wanted to puke.  And then the main course came.  Yeah, a little overboard.

Anyyyyyway, my sister and I joined forces this year for her birthday dinner, instead of doing two separate ones.  I have a ton of pictures, as usual, but I'll also be giving you links to all the recipes.

Under normal circumstances, I obsess when we have people over for dinner and all the hubbub that goes with it, but feeding her is even worse.  She doesn't do dairy.  Or wheat.  Um, I am the bread and cheese queen. Have you seen my Appetizer board on Pinterest?  At least 95% of the recipes involve cheese.  Or bread.  Or cheese and bread.

Speaking of Pinterest boards, any time you see, "Zeina friendly" on one of my pins, that means it's dairy and gluten free.  Just FYI for anyone out there who also needs those kinds of recipes.

So my sis and I put a meal plan together that fit that criteria.  We donated the 7-pound New York roast, (that The Dad got for Christmas from his boss), to the cause, and then filled in around that. 

Here's dinner in photos:

The table was all set when I got to my sister's house.
She used camellias, out of her yard, and candles for the centerpiece.

Lemons with little paper flags for place cards - too cute.
(Did I ever post those napkins?)

First up, the cocktail.
She used the lavender-infused vodka I made her for Christmas and made Lavender Lemon Drops.
Then added just a splash of violet liqueur. 

Sugar rim and a lemon slice and you're good to go.

 Next up, appetizers.  
She made Sweet Chili Chicken Bites and used the homemade sweet chili sauce.
Have you made that yet?
I'll be brewin' up another batch this week.
You can find the chicken bite recipe here.

 I made Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Bites.
The link on Pinterest goes to a recipe that calls for using bread as the base.
Clearly that was out, so I used bite-sized, round, corn tortilla chips.
Rice crackers, or something similar, would have worked too, but they're so dang expensive.
I put the leftover avocado spread, which was super creamy with a secret ingredient, in a bowl to serve with plain chips.
Ya know, for the non-shrimp eater's club.  
Which I am the only member of.
Everyone voted the shrimp really, really good.

And here's the avocado dip chillin' solo.
Super tasty.
Would be really good on a sammie.

I have to share pictures of the table once the candles were lit.
So pretty.

 Next up, the salad.
It was yummy.
The main ingredients were beet and Asian pear, and the dressing on them was really good.
My sister added arugula and some feta for the cheese eaters.
So good.

She used this recipe for the roast.
It was accidentally cooked more than medium-rare (or may have just rested too long), but it was still really delicious.

To go with, she made this mashed cauliflower recipe, but used non-dairy substitutes for the cream cheese and Parm.

She also made roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, squash and red onion, with a balsamic drizzle.
So good.

That recipe is here.

Here's dinner on my plate:

Yeah, I smuggled in bread in my purse.

And we consumed wine.
Of course.

I was responsible for dessert.
Which is the hardest when you're doin' gluten and dairy free, I think.
Lindsay, if I you had posted your flourless chocolate cake a few days earlier, I would have been all over it.
I ended up doing picky desserts.
I did chocolate, chocolate-peanut, and salted caramel dipped strawberries.

Chocolate Crunchies, which are basically melted chocolate (I used dark) poured over a mix of cornflakes, dried cranberries and slivered almonds (you can mix and match the dried fruit and nuts), then stirred together and dropped on parchment paper to make yummy little bites of goodness.

And last, I made new recipe cookies that I was super excited about.
Until they failed.
Seriously, they were a disaster from start to finish.
And then we ate them.
And they were heaven.
So it didn't matter that they looked like a hot mess.
They were SO GOOD.
They're Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk.
No dairy.  No flour.
The recipe is here.

Here's my treat plate:

Phew, that was a long post.
Hopefully you found a recipe or two to add to your next dinner party.
Happy birthday, Z!
Looking forward to next year.

Please see my sidebar for the parties I link up to.


  1. Wow. What a feast! How delicious it all must have been. And the setting...well it's obvious your sister is equally gifted in the decorating department. I bet it was a lovely evening.

  2. Mindy, that table is gorgeous! I love the single red flowers. The food looked delectable, even the non-dairy stuff, which I'd typically snub because I'm a dairy addict.

  3. What a beautifully planned and executed Birthday dinner. You did a fabulous job from table to food choices. Wonderful!!!! xo Diana

  4. Oh I love treats better than big desserts any day. Mmmmm,.....everything looks fabulous. I wish I could drop by and dine with you and your sister. Truly. :)

  5. Absolutely gorgeous. You two are amazing. Yuuuummmm!!

  6. Ah shit lady Seriously!?!?!?!?! This is flipping AMAZING!!! I'm so afraid to post any of my food posts because yours are out of this world!!! I mean the flowers and the napkins and the fooooood oh the food! I think you have a calling! Just saying! You should throw dinner parties for people..yep that is what you should do! People should pay you for setting up beautiful intimate dinner parties in their homes...hell I love to cook and I'll pay ya!

  7. I meant to say shoot but was so excited I just realized I said the other word! Sorry!


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