My mom has been BEGGING my husband and I to have her over for dinner (so needy, right? jkjk I love you, mom), so last night we finally did. My youngest brother (15) came along with my mom and my stepdad and we had such a great night. They were originally supposed to come over on Friday but had to postpone due to the storm and the terrible roads. We spent the night chatting, and playing trivia - a perfect sunday night!
My parents and brother aren't vegan, so I wanted to make a meal that wasn't going to be filled with fake vegan products like tofu meat, and heavily processed vegan cheeses. I wanted to make dishes that were vegetable based and had simple ingredients - I'm so happy with what I decided to make.
For the appetizer/grazing for when they arrived, I made a vegan cheese plate/charcuterie board type thing. The great thing about this, is that you can put nearly anything on it. I used fruit, nuts, two types of cashew cheese (one a dip, and one a firmer cheese), natural peanut butter, bruschetta, fresh bread, crackers, pretzel chips, and dark chocolate covered cranberries. Since there was so much of it, I left it on the table during dinner so we could keep picking at it :)
For the main I made Stuffed Acorn Squash (from Hot For Food), with a side of roasted carrots with a homemade creamy garlic sauce on top. The stuffed squash is a perfect meal to make when you have guests, because it looks a lot fancier than it is - it's so easy make and you can make the rice ahead of time so all you have to do is bake the squash and then sauté the filling. You can also make them just before your guests arrive and then leave them in the oven to keep warm for a little bit (that's what I did).
For the carrots, I got really thin ones and then washed them (but didn't peel them), tossed them with a tiny bit of olive oil and then baked them for 30 minutes at 400. I used leftover cashews from the dessert (spoiler!), to make a quick and easy creamy garlic sauce. Add 1 cup of soaked cashews (about 4 hours), 3/4 cup of water, and 3 cloves of garlic to a vitamix and then blend until smooth - SO EASY! I then spooned it into a ziplock bag and put it in the fridge. When dinner was ready I cut a whole in one of the corners, and then drizzled it on the carrots. Such an easy way to make them look fancier! My stepdad was weirdly impressed by the carrots - I think the different colours, combined with the drizzling of the garlic sauce made them seem a lot fancier than they were haha.
For dessert, I KILLED IT. Or should I say, Minimalist Baker killed it (what else is new). My friend made these a few weeks earlier for her boyfriend's birthday and told me that I had to try them. They were so easy to make, and I also loved that I could make the desert earlier in the day and not have to worry about it while I was making the rest of our dinner. These (seven ingredient) no-bake cashew cheesecake's are absolutely amazing. I made half of them blueberry and half of them peanut butter, and the only thing I changed from the original recipe was swirling peanut butter on the top of them. I used natural peanut butter for the filling, but Kraft peanut butter for the swirl because it's easy to melt it in the microwave to make it easier to swirl (if you know how to make natural peanut butter melt in the microwave, go for it... but I can't! Maybe on the stove?). The crust is made with only dates and walnuts, and the filling is just cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, lemon juice... that's it!! I HIGHLY suggest that you make these - everyone loved them!
Overall, it was a successful night!!! I hope this helps you for the next time you're cooking for guests!