Crappy Dinner Party (It’s A Good Thing!)

crappy dinner party

I am blessed to have the most fabulous neighbors. When we moved in almost seven years ago, my immediate next door and kitty-corner neighbors welcomed us with enthusiasm. Since then our families have played together, eaten together, traveled together and spent Christmas Eve together.

However, we are a busy bunch, and it can be difficult to find time when we can all come together. Between high stress jobs, kids’ activities, and family commitments, weeks and sometimes a month or two can go by before we can see one another. For a couple of years we’ve been talking about the concept of the Crappy Dinner Party, wherein everyone pitches in whatever they have in their fridge (no shopping allowed!) and the host family does no cleaning, no fussing and no elaborate anything. The point is to allow us to spend time with one another without stress. I’m happy to say that this Sunday my family hosted the Inaugural Crappy Dinner Party. I made some vegetarian tostadas from a meal kit service that I was planning on making anyway. Catherine brought turkey taco fixings that she was making for her family that night regardless and some drinks for the kids. Tom brought gin (because, COCKTAILS) and grapes and veggies. I threw some buttered noodles in there for the kids. We cut up a watermelon. I didn’t even wipe up the crumbs from the dinner table from the previous night BECAUSE CRAPPY DINNER PARTY RULES ARE NOT TO BE BROKEN. We used paper plates (that we composted, please don’t yell!) and it was probably the most relaxed dinner party I’ve ever had in my life. And this was with 6 kids and 5 adults!

Some integral people in my friend zone were missing, as I threw the dinner idea together somewhat last minute. Deanna had to work (so she sent her husband and kids), Shawn and family had plans, and Erika (a new friend to me but a dear friend to my friends so obviously she’s on the list!) couldn’t come, but here’s the thing: now that we’ve started this it’s going to happen more frequently. Once you release the pressure of cleaning and putting together an elaborate spread, it becomes a joy and not a burden. Catherine has already planned the next one at her house.

How do you host your own Crappy Dinner Party? Let me summarize the rules for you:

  1. DON’T CLEAN YOUR HOUSE. Move some piles if they get in the way of eating but otherwise hands off.
  2. NO GROCERY SHOPPING. Make what you have, even if it’s beans and rice.
  3. EVERYONE BRINGS SOMETHING THEY CAN CONTRIBUTE. Even especially if it’s gin.
  4. ENJOY YOURSELVES.
  5. REPEAT again and again because it’s fun and you realize your friends just want to see each other, even if the house is messy.

Do you have your own Crappy Dinner Party rules? Let me hear them!

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Mocktails — Green Tea Mojitos

cocktailsmocktails

My 12 year old daughter is having a sleepover tonight and instead of the usual soda, I think I will make this Green Tea Mojito recipe for them to try (obviously as a mocktail).  I want to test it out for an upcoming dinner party we are attending. The dinner party is on St. Patrick’s Day and I have a 5k the next morning that I’ve been actually training for these last couple of months. And I want to do well. Generally if you want to do your best in a 5k you do all the right things the night before, which includes getting enough sleep, eating nutritiously  and abstaining from alcohol. Totally boring, I know. But I’m committed this time!  My usual M.O. is to sign up for a 5k with plans to “really train this time”.  And then a week before the race I realize that I methodically have trained 3x week using a calendar that I’ve printed out and taped up on the wall failed to do any training whatsoever. So I suck it up and do the 5k and want to die by 1/4 mile in because I’m not at all prepared. But something clicked for me this past fall and I’ve been as committed to my exercise as I have been to my other healthy habits. Hence the “dry” St. Patrick’s Day.

I thought this recipe with green mint looked fun for St. Patty’s day . I love mint and I love green tea. Did you know green tea has lots of antioxidants and cancer-fighting polyphenols? Studies have also shown that people who drink green tea regularly have less belly fat, lower cholesterol, and better blood sugar control.  The original calls for white rum, and I figure I can bring a carafe of the mix without the alcohol and people can add it if they want.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

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Super Bowl Cocktails — The Grapefruit Margarita

grapefruit-margarita

Seems like just a year ago I was posting a recipe for Super Bowl Cocktails. Oh, right! How time flies. The Spicy Michelada was last year’s pick. This year I’m going in a different direction by not including beer in the mix.  And we are going sweet instead of savory.

So for this Super Bowl I’m featuring a Grapefruit Margarita. Margaritas are universally loved, but it’s always fun to do something a little different with them for special occasions. And I love the idea of giving a nod to the Mexican culture so prevalent in Texas.

This cocktail features the bright and fresh flavors of grapefruit and lime. And after the past couple of weeks here in the U.S., I think we could all use a little bright and fresh, don’t you agree?

What I love about this recipe is that it’s super easy to make and doesn’t take a lot of time, which frees up your hands for eating too many finger foods (guilty as charged) and making crude totally appropriate gestures at the referees.

NOTE: If you feel like adding some heat to the recipe, place a sliced round of fresh jalapeño pepper at the bottom of the cocktail shaker and muddle it with the ingredients. You can also add a few shakes of chili powder to the salt for a spicy rim (just keep it 3 parts salt to 1 part chili powder)

INGREDIENTS:
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce pink grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice (keep the wedges for a garnish)
Ice cubes
1 slice of fresh jalapeño (optional)
Course salt for the rim of the glass (optional)
Chili powder for the salt rim (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all the ingredients up to the salt in a cocktail shaker and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a margarita (served up) or a rocks glass (served over ice) with a salt rim (use the lime wedge to wet the rim). Garnish with lime wedge.

GO TEAM!

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