Girls Night (Part 3)

I hosted "Girls Night" on Friday. I've said it before and I'll say it again... we always have the best time at "Girls Night".  This time it was Rae, Becca, Leanda, Michelle, & Janet.  Kim had little Juliet on Wednesday so, obviously, she couldn't make it, but, she was definitely the first topic of conversation (you were there in spirit, Kim!). Catching up on all of our latest "news"  (we cover everything... no really, everything) and making future plans. Five hours go by in a flash.

I wanted to keep the menu light this time as it is Summer, after all... and, it's been super humid and muggy. 

To kick it all off - I made mojitos - everyone gets an umbrella! (mint from my deck garden, lime, simple syrup, & soda).  

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I've actually never made deviled eggs, but, I  l o v e  them! I thought it would be a nice cool protein-rich treat to add to the assortment.

They were easy!  (organic egg(s) yolk, organic mayo, dry mustard, squeeze of honey, salt, pepper - all to taste). This recipe looks about right, you can swap in the honey instead of relish or even capers or pickles for a salty flavor. I just kept them classic and simple.

Tip: Fill the mixture in a gallon size bag and cut off the corner to easily fill each egg.  Then, sprinkle with paprika.

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As I was preparing... I made sure to build my 'serving' table. Bring out the cheese 1-2 hours prior to guests arriving (depending on how hot your place is). Soft cheese should be soft, when served. I also picked up some fresh tulips to add some color and brightness. (The dip you see in the middle is just tabouleh & hummus mixed together - SIMPLE and SO good.)

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Next, my specialty: Avocado/pesto/chickpea dip. I came upon making this one night when I was making avocado pesto pasta. The girls LOVED this. And, it is so easy, loaded with protein, fiber, antioxidants, & omega-3s! 

To make: 3 ripe avocados, juice of 2-3 lemons, 3 cloves garlic (more or less to liking), can of chickpeas, handful of basil (from my garden), salt, crushed red pepper, couple tbs of parmesan. Toss it all into the food processor and serve. YUM. 

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I love this cheese board. These are three of my favorite cheeses to serve. Manchego is a harder cheese with a nice salty bite, port salut is mild and really creamy, brie is creamy awesomeness. (See how they are nice and melty)

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Here is (almost) the final table. Rebecca brought the freshest bruscetta (top right) that tasted like summer.  It was delish.  I toasted up whole grain baguette to pair with the avocado pesto dip.  Fresh local strawberries pair nicely with the cheese. Fig jam is a pairing must with all three cheeses - it is really addicting - warning you now.  I also made my famous healthy panko baked buffalo nuggets.  We sat outside on the deck - threw back the mojitos, a couple bottles of a wine and caught up on life.  I think this was actually the perfect amount of food. Many times, I completely over do it - this time I made sure to balance the carb/protein ratio and I think it worked out just right.  What is your go-to appetizer?? I'd love to try some new recipes at the next Girls Night.

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Hope you all have a great week and a very happy & FUN 4th! xo