Ideas for a Gathering of Friends

I can’t wait to host another dinner party for my friends.  I’m just dying to cook and eat again!!!  I think this post will offer some very simple and affordable ideas for your next dinner party.

Judy Baggett of Judy Baggett Interior Design hosts the best dinner parties you could imagine.  They always have a creative and inspired twist.  This dinner party was inspired by her recent trip to Maui.  Her signature punch fit in perfectly with her tropical theme, too.  This punch is always a huge hit at her parties.

Judy_Baggett_Interior_Design_Punch_recipe_dinner_partyEven her classic wedge salad had a little tropical flare with fresh pomegranate seeds sprinkled over the top…  SO GOOD!!!

Judy_Baggett_Interior_Design_Easy_Healthy_Wedge_SaladYou can create this delicious salad by cutting a head of Iceberg lettuce into quarters or sixths (depending on how large you want your servings), then top with chopped red and yellow cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, crispy bacon, and pomegranate seeds.  It doesn’t get any easier than that!

And my favorite snack this visit, was her Hawaiian Trail Mix.  Be careful though, this stuff is addicting.  I couldn’t get enough!  This huge bowl needed to be refilled throughout the party, so don’t hesitate to add it to your line up!  And it will look good on any spread because of how colorful it is.  The leftovers make a perfect afternoon snack, too.Judy_Baggett_Interior_Design_Hawaiin_Trail_Mix_recipe

Tropical Punch Recipe

2 1/2 gallon cartons of Strawberry, Banana, Pineapple Juice, frozen
4 liters ginger ale
1 Orange, sliced
Raspberries
Mint

In a large punch bowl, place the frozen strawberry, banana, pineapple juice (you may need to run the cartons under warm water to get the blocks of juice to slide out of the easily).  Pour the ginger ale over the frozen juice.  Top with raspberries, fresh mint and orange slices.  I recommend that you prepare this 30-45 minutes prior to serving to allow the juice to thaw and to cool the ginger ale.

About reducing sweetness and making this punch healthier:

While I don’t personally care to use diet sodas (or diet anything) due to the sweeteners used, you are welcome to substitute the gingerale for diet gingerale.  What I like to do to reduce the sweetness in this punch is use half gingerale and half club soda.  I recommend that you experiment and see what you like best, as everyone has different preferences.

Hawaiian Trail Mix Recipe

1 cup Macadamia Nuts  (I prefer raw, and unsalted)
1 cup Pistachios (I prefer raw, and unsalted)
1 cup Almond  (I prefer raw, and unsalted)
1 cup Dried Pineapple* (I prefer unsweetened)
1 cup Dried Cranberries (I prefer unsweetened)
1 cup Shredded Coconut (I prefer unsweetened)

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until evenly distributed.  If you use the unsalted version of each of the nuts, I recommend sprinkling a little finely ground sea salt to taste.  I believe that salty and sweet combination make this trail mix perfectly satisfying!  AND you get to control how much salt is in your trail mix, rather than using roasted and salted nuts that are very high in sodium.

Healthy Note: Using raw, unsalted nuts and unsweetened dried fruit in the Hawaiian Trail Mix will maximize the healthy in this recipe as you’re eliminating extra oils, sodium and lots of sugar.

* Trader Joe’s has a great dried pineapple that is full of flavor, and isn’t sweetened. I Highly recommend it over the large chunks of dried sweetened pineapple you may find elsewhere.  Trader Joe’s Dried Pineapple come in thin rings, and I just cut them in to small pieces, as you can see below.


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