Entertaining Friends without Limits

 I recently posted about having some friends over a few weeks ago who are Vegan. I also shared that another family (their daughter and my daughters are friends, and their kids are in our youth group) are also Vegan. We have some friends who are lactose intolerant, and a few more friends who are trying to avoid gluten. We even have friends who eat "Kosher" (still haven't figured that one out yet). Then there is my family, who, while we'll eat pretty much anything company serves (we don't have allergies, or certain dietary restrictions), we do prefer lighter, healthier, beef-less meals (but we'll eat them). 

This got me thinking about entertaining and wondering how many people "avoid" having others over for meals because of dietary needs or preferences, or "avoid" accepting invitations for meals because of the same reasons. They feel LIMITED and don't want to make things AWKWARD!

This shouldn't be so!

For quite awhile it was never really an issue for me, as the majority of people we knew and had over ate whatever I served. Then things changed and I had a choice to make. Was I going to limit those I had over because I was afraid of not knowing what I was going to serve them. Was I going to tell my girls they couldn't have their friend over because I didn't know what to give her to eat. Or was I going to jump in headfirst into this new adventure of finding and trying new recipes for all the new friends in our lives (oh and a few old ones who changed their ways..)

Guess which one I chose? If you guessed the latter, you're right.
There is no way I'm going to let something like food get in the way of spending time with friends. I don't even look at it as being "limited". Quite the opposite really. My options have just been expanded.

Here are some things I do:

~If it's someone who has never been to our home, I will ask them if there is anything they do not like or cannot have. Sometimes I will even let them know what I plan to make and ask them if that works.

~Thankfully, even though we are not Vegan, we always have a lot of fruit, veggies, whole grain bread, hummus, nuts and wraps on hand that we eat, so if there is a last minute guest I don't have to panic. 

~When we have youth group kids over I always make sure I put out un-buttered popcorn, or popcorn with coconut oil (my new favorite) some fruit and crackers that I know everyone can eat. I've even found some cookie and brownie recipes that we make.

~If serving a large group I look for ways to alter recipes so everyone will/can eat and enjoy them. I'm in the process of doing this right now. We are taking our youth group seniors on a retreat and I need to find recipes that both Vegan and non-vegan can enjoy because there's no way I'm making seperate meals.

Here are some "new" recipes I've tried that I know we can use for anyone

Vegan Crepes...can't tell the difference between these and the regular

Waffles....there are several of these recipes out there, but Kat and I found these and loved them..

Black Bean Burgers...this is not vegan because it has an egg in it (I couldn't find the link for the site I got my vegan one from...but they are out there and I think there are vegan alternatives for eggs.

Adaptable Oldie recipes:

Rice and bean burritos/taco's...great option for everyone. If a large group is here, have your meat on the side. All your options can be set out buffet style.

Spaghetti....use whole wheat pasta, make 1/2 the sauce without meat, 1/2 with meat.

Garlic Bread....instead of butter use olive oil, or find a vegan alternative.

Veggie chili..yummy..everyone will love it.

Black Bean Brownies...see this post for my Black Bean escapade!

Lasagna...I haven't tried this recipe but it looked good

How about making veggie pizza's, it's grilling season so grill a bunch of veggies with baked or grilled potatoes. Always have whole grain bread and wraps as well as veggies (cucumbers, red pepper, onion, lettuce, avocado) on hand for veggie sandwiches and wraps. Don't forget all the veggie soup and salad options out there. Served with crusty whole grain bread!!!

Are you getting the idea? There are so many options available out there! There's no reason to wait any long to invite someone over who has different dietary needs than you do.

With Joy UNquenchable,


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