Yes, food is how we fuel our body but it is so much more than just energy. Food is indirectly woven in to most facets of our life, including birthdays. So when I invited my friends over to celebrate my best friend's birthday, I knew the food had to be yummy (and healthy of course).
An appetizer and a dessert were needed since we had plans to go out to dinner. For the appetizer, I decided to make a Greek 7 Layer Dip. How many ingredients make up this yummy dip? You guessed it, 7 (hint: read the recipe name again). If you are feeling ambitious, you could make your own hummus, which would add a few more ingredients.
This delicious dip is packed with all kinds of nutrients. The hummus, feta, and olives contribute healthy fats and protein, while the vegetables provide vitamins and fiber. I served the dip with baby carrots, sliced peppers and whole-wheat mini pitas, which yield additional nutrients such as vitamin A, iron and fiber.
Here are some helpful grocery shopping tips for the required ingredients. When buying hummus, spice it up by choosing a roasted garlic or roasted red pepper spread. I have found that flavored hummus turns the "hummus haters" in to "hummus lovers", too! Second tip, choose a small can of artichokes packed in water (not oil). Final tip, I would recommend getting full fat (regular) feta cheese. Feta is a cheese naturally low in fat so no need to go fat-free with this cheese.
Greek 7 Layer Dip
8 ounces hummus
1 small cucumber, diced
1/4 cup red onion
1/2 cup diced artichokes
1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup diced black olives
1. Spread hummus on the bottom of serving dish.
2. Layer with cucumbers, onions, artichokes, tomatoes, cheese and olives.
3. Serve with sliced vegetables and whole- wheat mini pitas.
Since this was a birthday celebration, cupcakes were an essential part! Being that I am more of a chef than a baker, I went with a boxed cake mix. I bought the Pillsbury Sugar- Free Devils' Food Cake Mix. There are various brands and types of cake mixes, so I would love to hear what you like to bake!
The box's instructions read to combine the cake mix, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup oil and 1 1/4 cup of water then to mix together. To cut down calories and fat, I decided to use 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup Natural Motts Applesauce. I used 3 whole eggs per the box recommendations, but if desired, you could use 5 egg whites.
What would make these chocolate cupcakes even more delicious? A homemade, mouth-watering peanut butter frosting! And it was quite simple to make too.
Peanut Butter Frosting
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey
2-6 tbsp. almond milk
1. Combine peanut butter, honey, and vanilla.
2. Refrigerate until ready to spread on cupcakes.
Once the cupcakes were done, I set them aside to cool. Once cooled, I scooped the icing into a plastic baggy and cut one corner off. Who needs a fancy icing bag when you have a plastic baggy?!
The important concept to take away from this post is that when celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or any other life event, you can make small adjustments in recipes to make them healthier while still maintaining great flavor!
So what party food is your biggest weakness? What healthy modifications do you like to make to your appetizers or desserts? Comment below!
I am a registered dietitian, licensed nutritionist, foodie, fitness enthusiast, traveler and runner, living in the city of brotherly love. I have a passion for cooking and sharing delicious, healthful food. I enjoy working with clients to help them achieve their health and nutrition goals.