Healthy and Sane

Bbq time!

August 1st, 2010 · 31 Comments · baking, entertaining, favorite recipes, grilling, party

Yesterday Adam and I hosted our first “official” bbq in our new place. We’ve had people over before but this time we actually took the cookout a little more seriously (read: I carefully planned the menu for the night and we invited all of our friends over). It was a lot of fun!

I have to say, I love entertaining but I still always feel like I’m walking the line between fearing that we won’t have enough food for everyone and also making sure that I don’t completely go overboard.Ā  A little bit of delegation this time around helped A LOT. My friend Katie was in change of one of the salads and Shannon took care of one of the desserts. Adam as always was responsible for a clean house and was also my sous chef. šŸ˜‰ Everything went pretty smoothly once I finalized the menu. Menu planning is definitely one of my favorite parts of hosting. I love having an excuse to keep thinking about food. šŸ˜†



  • double tomato bruschetta with Iggy’s baguette (recipe here, I omitted the cheese, halved the oil and used dry packed sun-dried tomatoes… which of course I re-hydrated prior to cutting)
  • chipotle lime two-bean hummus (recipe here, I nearly doubled the amount of lime juice and maybe tripled the amount of lime zest + added 1 chipotle – I really wanted the lime to stand out and the hummus to have a bit of a kick to it)
  • mixed nuts (from Trader Joe’s – dry roasted, unsalted)


  • 93% lean grass fed beef sliders (1/4t pepper, 1T Worchester sauce, 2T ketchup for each pound of beef)
  • chickpea sliders (recipe here, this is my favorite veggie burger recipe of all time – I typically use less vital wheat gluten)
  • black bean sliders (same recipe as chickpeas, sub different bean)
  • teriyaki chicken (from Whole Foods)

Burger fix-ins + sides

  • tomatoes, avocado, cheese, ketchup, mustard, pickled zucchini, sauerkraut, chipotle aoil
  • salad with watermelon, tomatoes + feta (Katie made it)
  • summer corn salad with tomatoes, black beans and jalapeno (recipe here, I used fresh corn (i.e. uncooked) and grape tomatoes + made substitutions based on reviewer Lanaiah’s suggestions)


  • chocolate chip cookies (recipe here, I used choc chips, otherwise followed the recipe to the T)
  • goat cheese cheesecake with raspberry fig puree (Shannon‘s creation, check out her blog for details!)


  • sangria (recipe here, I subbed peach shnapps for triple sec and added fresh peaches and plums, no sugar)
  • beer + wine (guests brought most)

How does that sound? I thought it was a pretty good plan. šŸ˜€


I finalized the menu a few days prior to the party and made a detailed grocery list under 3 categories – farmers market, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. The day before the party we went to all three. Shopping for produce at the farmers market was so much fun!! I felt like I was a restaurant chef buying in bulk. Lugging all the stuff back was a bit of a different story… šŸ˜‰ A good grocery list made shopping fairly quick too. We went in and out stores fast, leaving more time for prep the night before. I wanted to get as much done as possible so that I didn’t have to nix things last moment.


First thing I made was the cookie dough. It needed 24 hours of chilling time which I didn’t even have so I made it as soon as I realized it. Tip on this particular recipe (which I HIGHLY recommend btw) – shape the dough into balls before freezing. It was rock hard the next day and I actually had to let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes before finally just using a super sharp knife to carve pieces out that I then shaped. You could save yourself that trouble (I will, because these may just become my “it” choc chip cookies. They are NOT healthy though. That was my one treat for the evening). Next up, I made THREE batches of sangria. Sangria really needs to chill at least overnight, letting all the flavors meld together. Adam thought I was crazy making so much of it but let’s just say we didn’t have any left by the end of the party. Yes, it was a hit. I love having a “party cocktail” available for guests, as well as the usual selection of beer + wine. Next up I thought the corn salad could use some “marinading” as well. I have to say that that was actually a mistake. It tasted amazing when I made it but the next day it was a little too cold – the fridge was not this salad’s friend. You live and learn, right? :) The last thing I did before hitting the hay was cut up all the veggies for dipping with hummus. At about midnight I called it a night. zzzzzz :)


No matter how prepared you think you are, time really flies the day of the party. I hit up a pilates class in the morning and then slaved in the kitchen until party time (I love cooking though so it was actually fun for me). I made the bruschetta mixture, the bean dip, then the veggie burgers, shaped the beef burgers, baked the cookies and cut up the fixins for the sliders. Adam cleaned, cut up the chicken and all the bread.

Mmm, cookies.

(I had a little mishap with the oven, btw, so they came out too flat but the flavor was still amazing. I have a few frozen dough balls so I’ll make a few soon and share with you how they really should look).


We had about 20 guests, including a few bloggers – Josh, Melissa, Tiffany and Shannon.

The apps + drinks were served outside, the slider fixins + dessert were inside….

After a little while, Adam fired up the grill!

Yes, I mean FIRED up. šŸ˜€

I had one chicken slider + some corn salad. Don’t worry, there was plenty of bruschetta and hummus “tasting” as well. šŸ˜‰

Katie arrived a little later with the watermelon + feta salad. What an amazing combo. I can’t wait to recreate it! (sorry, the picture was atrocious, I’d rather have you use your imagination!)

Don’t forget the dessert! Half of the cookies were gone before we even served the burgers. Everyone LOVED them (including me!).

… and then there was Shannon’s cheesecake. I am a giant fan of goat cheese but was afraid it would be too tart in dessert form. Nope, pure perfection. It was light and airy and absolutely amazing. Like I said, go harass Shannon for the recipe! šŸ˜Ž

Mmm, I love yummy parties. I’m going to say that everything was super flavorful and delicious. I’m patting myself on the back right now (haha) but of course I couldn’t do it without some of my helpers. What’s your favorite part about party planning? Also, any favorite recipes for a bbq? My goal was to keep it seasonal and as fresh as possible… and of course have some chocolate. This blog is called healthy and SANE for a reason. This girl needs her chocolate. šŸ˜‰

Related Posts with Thumbnails

31 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Amanda (Coupon Clipping Nutritionist)

    Wow you guys had so much food! Looks like an awesome party.

  • #2 - Run Sarah

    What a lovely BBQ! I love the idea of making mini sliders to allow for more variety. The sangria looks so fresh as well.

  • #3 - Josh

    Thanks for having us. Can’t wait for the next one. :)

    FYI – Your link for the veggie burgers isn’t there.


  • #5 - Bridget

    Awww I’m SO bummed I missed this!!! I had a family gathering I was trying to unsuccessfully get out of haha. All the food looks beautiful!! Looks like a great time, perfect weather too right!!? Definintely going to harrass shannon for that recipe :) Hope too see you soon!

  • #6 - Allison

    Sounds delish! I can’t wait for a few years from now when I can actully have a nice apt. to host things like this!

  • #7 - Mandy A

    you put together one awesome BBQ!! We are always worried about having enough food, too. We usually try to have people sign up to bring food to help that out and know we have people that are coming for sure because we’re relying on their treat :)

    Smart idea to prep things the night before, too!

    I must try the sangria… it sounds amazing!!!

  • #8 - Megan

    Elina, everything looks fabulous! I’m so sorry I had to miss it. My favorite part about hosting a party is making all the food… and doing all the planning and shopping beforehand. I usally end up with color-coded lists… what order to do things, where to buy ingredients, what things use the same ingredients, and so on.

    Ooh, and your place looks really sophisticated and put together!

  • #9 - Shannon

    love the plannings aspect of this post :) i love all the prep work and making food in the kitchen… getting someone to clean would be ideal šŸ˜‰

  • #10 - Bbq time! Ā« Healthy and Sane – A healthy lifestyle blog | The Top BBQ Info

    […] here: Bbq time! Ā« Healthy and Sane – A healthy lifestyle blog Bookmark It Hide Sites $$('div.d15109').each( […]

  • #11 - Diana @ frontyardfoodie

    How fun! That swirling dessert looks SO delicious!

  • #12 - Lele

    Party planning is the bessssssssssssst šŸ˜€ I had one last week and yours looks just as fun! I do the same thing about worrying about not having enough food- and I tend to just go overboard. My current favorite recipe is mohamarra, from this June’s issue of Cooking Light. It’s smoky and awesome roasted red pepper and walnut dip (and no onions!). There’s a link to it a few entries back in my post about my latest party šŸ˜€

  • #13 - christina

    that is a damn good food plan. i’d love to try that hummus. your apron is adorable! all that food looks awesome. is that your new kitchen!? GORGEOUS

  • #14 - Shannon

    You sure know how to throw a party! Glad it was such a success :)

  • #15 - Heather

    Those cookies look A-Ma-Zing. Yum!! What a great party!

  • #16 - Daisy

    well you certainly know how to throw a party. Your kitchen looks gorgeous! so does all the food & drink.

  • #17 - Katie @ Health for the Whole Self

    You seem like such a fabulous host! I want to come to one of your parties sometime! šŸ˜‰

    Also, not sure if I mentioned this back when you were doing your renovations, but your kitchen is BEAUTIFUL.

  • #18 - Cara

    Sounds like a wonderful spread, I love the idea of all the sliders!

  • #19 - Holly @ couchpotatoathlete

    What a great party! The food looks amazing. I really liked the platter of avocado and tomatoes — they looked beautiful!

    I like having parties, mostly the shopping for food, preparing the food and setting the table. I love setting the table!

  • #20 - Laura

    I LOVE planning parites..espescially the food part! Always scary not to go overboard and can be a challenge, but if the company is good, i always find it much easier to just go with the flow!
    The food sounds and looks fab!!

  • #21 - kitchenbelle

    I am so bummed and so sorry I missed this! It looks like you all had so much fun–and what a wonderful menu! Shannon’s cheesecake looks pretty heavenly! :-)

  • #22 - Elina

    Megan, Kitchenbelle – it’s ok. We’ll get together soon I’m sure :)

    Lele – I saw that recipe. That’s for letting me know that it’s good. Sounds like I need to try it asap. šŸ˜€

    Christina, Daisy, Katie – thanks again for the compliments on the kitchen. I still love it šŸ˜€

  • #23 - Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    I love your apron! So cute šŸ˜€

  • #24 - Kelly

    Looks like it was a fantastic BBQ. I’m just sad I cannot join in your shindigs. :-(

  • #25 - Simply Life

    wow! what a delicious spread of food!

  • #26 - Kerstin

    What a spread – everything looks fabulous! I’m still sad I couldn’t make it.

  • #27 - New meatless favorites

    […] cut the creaminess, I topped these with some leftover tomato/basil bruschetta topping, which was a fabulous move. The tomatoes added so much freshness to this dish! Let’s get […]

  • #28 - Top 10 dishes of 2010

    […] 1. Double tomato bruschetta […]

  • #29 - Top 10 dishes of 2010 | Healthy and Sane

    […] Chocolate chip cookies (the best I’ve ever had – that’s saying a […]

  • #30 - New and old favorite recipes | Healthy and Sane

    […] that Iā€™m committed to reinstating some old favorites ā€“ here is an oldie but goodie. My favorite chocolate chip cookies. Everyone needs a go-to choc chip cookie recipe. Could this one be […]

  • #31 - Ultimate healthified buffalo chicken dip (+few extras) | Healthy and Sane

    […] may want to try roasted red pepper, tomato and anchovy crostini, tofu and mushroom lettuce cups, double tomato bruschetta or chipotle-lime two-bean hummus. And for something a little indulgent, the pizza monkey bread is […]