September 6, 2008

Birthday Celebration

A few days ago a friend of mine celebrated her 60th birthday and asked me to help out with the feast. Happy Birthday! The friends she invited were not all into health, but she really wanted an “all healthy” gourmet meal because of her own dietary restrictions. And of course this means different things to different people. However, if I'm involved in an event food is always the main attraction. I of course always approach a celebration with a gourmet twist and to make sure everything tastes good and looks fantastic. I know that having her friends celebrate her big day was very important so wanted to make it extra special.

The meal started out with a couple of appetizers: brown rice sushi with creamy avocado, crunch carrot and crispy cucumber and a garlic hummus with sundried tomatoes served with flatbreads (these were purchased). Soup was carrot avocado that you wouldn’t believe was “raw” and everyone enjoyed it, whether they were into health or not. The meal consisted of a crunchy broccoli salad with a basil almond dressing, and “angel hair pasta” made from zucchini served with sundried tomato pesto and basil pesto. This was a big hit with the guests.

For desserts we had a sampling of double chocolate coconut balls and a chocolate cake no sugar, dairy, butter, flour or eggs). Even I couldn’t believe the amazing results. The refreshing mango triple berry ginger coconut ice cream wowed the crowd.

I will admit that even I was amazed at what I created. I couldn't believe that I could make a cake that was healthy for you! Come on, I'm the chocolate chiffon queen! Secret, the majority of the dishes were raw. However, unless we told people the ingredients and method of preparation they really would not have known. Everybody felt really satisfied. In fact, guests were saying things like, “I feel great, and not stuffed.” We ate a lot of food but there was not that uncomfortable feeling that we ate things we shouldn’t have eaten and a sense of guilt. Everything was so healthy and so delicious.

I am definitely grateful for being exposed to the “au natural” way of cooking. Simple foods in their natural state can really taste delicious I have discovered. I will be honest, there aren’t many places like Maui where you can get creamy avocadoes the size of eggplants! However, I am becoming more aware that just about anything can be made from the ingredients that come from the earth. It’s quite exciting to see the versatility of what can be made from the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that are all around us.

Lesson learned:
Think outside the box. Just because you’re celebrating or want to make something special it can be healthy and still be good! No, you don’t have to use a lot of sugar, butter and cream. Yes you can use fresh ingredients and come up with something that tastes delicious and wows the taste buds! Cooking is fun, creative and the result is a delicious gourmet-meal that is good for you. Eat well and enjoy the feast!

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