Healthy and Sane

Dinner party, vegan style

June 13th, 2011 · 28 Comments · 30 by 30, dessert, entertaining, vegetarian meal

Sorry for the sporadic posting recently. I’ve been working on living a full and guiltless life lately which means that if other activities take over with no time for blogging, as much as I miss it, I’m okay with it. All of it. It’s the happiest I’ve been in a really long time and I’m embracing it! [PS – if you just type in the URL to see if there are new posts, I know it may be frustrating to not know if there is going to be something new and checking back over and over with no good news. May I suggest email alerts? Hopefully that makes things easier and I do hope my schedule normalizes soon).

Now onto something fun I did this weekend. The weather was dreadful (stoopid rain) but we still had a chance to eat at East by Northeast – a sustainable Chinese tapas place, which happens to be on my 30 by 30 list. The place was adorable but the lighting was not good for pictures so Adam and I happily enjoyed a photo-free dinner.

I continued to plow through my list (ok not exactly “plow”) by inviting Josh and Melissa over for dinner. I’m totally crushing my goal of 12 dinners this year (this one was #3 already in less than a month! Told ya I’ve been busy!!).

Scenes from the kitchen…




IMG_4940 IMG_4947



[Tofu pressing]



Melissa is vegan so dinner was a 3 course vegan meal. On the menu:

[Recipes linked to the names]

I don’t think that having a few friends over for dinner needs to be a big production, but if it’s the weekend and I have time, I love making things a little more special. I’ve mentioned it before but I just love browsing through recipes and having a theme in mind (vegan in this case) was actually fun.

Tofu and mushroom lettuce cups


I doubled the recipe to make sure we have enough and it made A LOT.


This was quick and very flavorful. Would make for a really great entrée over rice.


While the guys were chatting it up, I went back to the kitchen to make the hand pies which… were a pain in the ass. Instead of butter (not vegan) the dough had coconut oil which was pretty hard to work with. It was either rock solid or almost mushy the second it started to warm up. I persevered and made 5 large and 1 mini hand pie and crossed my fingers that it would bake up into something edible.


Oh it did.


While the coconut oil was hard to work with, it made these taste so much more special. It had the texture similar to any short dough (given the high fat content) but had a natural sweetness that was very appealing. Btw, I added some black beans to the filling (and omitted the onions of course) which was a great decision. Some hot sauce over the top and these were lip-smacking good. We devoured them within minutes! (I saved the dough and the remaining filling and am determined to make a few more pies for me and Adam to enjoy later this week). I’d make these again and see if practice makes perfect Smile

Dessert time!


[How cute is my ice cream container???]

Cookies fresh from the oven with homemade ice cream. Does it get any better than that??! It doesn’t. I speak from experience. Smile



I used dark vegan chocolate chips instead of white, and dried cranberries instead of cherries for the dough balls and am very happy with the results. Just like the peanut butter chocolate chip dough balls the dough was quite dry, but the taste was nothing short of amazing. Pea Daddy said “Those will be gone by midnight”… well ours were gone by 10! Open-mouthed smile

The vegan ice cream was delicious as well. If you put it side by side with the “cows milk” ice cream, it wouldn’t win but in a class by itself, it was very delicious (and well, if you’re vegan – obviously that taste test would never even happen). I LOVED the cookie dough made of cashews, dates and chocolate chips (larabar-style) and will make those again just for a random dessert soon for sure (I ran out of cashews, otherwise I would have doubled the recipe right there!). Nice job, Lauren! Smile

Happy bellies all around. Checking things off the list has never been tastier Smile with tongue out

I realized at the end that we never took people photos so here are Josh and Melissa with their “party favors” (aka a box from our popchips stash)


Haha, don’t they look like proud (popchips) parents or something? 😆

All right, that’s enough rambling. Say hello in the comments if anything strikes your fancy Winking smile See you soon!

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28 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    Yummm! Wish I could be an attendee at one of your vegan dinner parties!

  • #2 - Melissa

    Thanks again for having us over. I wish I was eating everything all over again right now!

  • #4 - Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    The tofu cups sound delicious! I love tofu and always looking for new ways to enjoy it.

  • #5 - Elizabeth

    Elina this meal looks AMAZING. As a former vegan, I know it is no less awesome than food with animal products. The cookies look SO good.

  • #6 - Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living

    Wow – what a great spread of vegan goodies! I’m glad the ice cream went over well :). I need to get a few of those ice cream containers considering I seem to be on a major homemade ice cream kick lately.

    • #7 - Elina

      They were a great buy (I have 2) – take up so much less space in the freezer too. I used to have big tupperware containers that were just a pain.

  • #8 - Michelle

    I’m blogging a lot less too…and living life more. :-) I am supposed to cook a three-course vegan meal for my vegetarian friends…except that the one who was a vegan is now eating meat! I’m still planning on hosting a vegan dinner party. :-)

  • #10 - Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    Wow, what a delicious meal! I think it is so fun to get a little more creative in the kitchen and challenge yourself when you have time. Looks like everything turned out wonderfully, even if the hand pies were a pain! So glad you are enjoying life, it comes out so clearly in your writing:-)

    • #11 - Elina

      Thanks! It’s sort of weird to be so ok with things that used to freak me out and just going with the flow :)

  • #12 - KellyB

    So I started pressing my tofu with a jelly roll tray with a cookie cooling rack on top. So when you put the cook books on top, the water drains into the pan. Saves a ton of time and less mess.

    • #13 - Elina

      Ooh, interesting trick. I just put a bunch of paper towels under and over the tofu (with 2 cutting boards, again under and over) and it’s been easy but I’ll give your way a go next time! 😀

  • #14 - Shannon

    what an awesome meal!! loving every dish :) i’m with you, lots going on but enjoying it and not worrying about the blogging!

  • #15 - Kelly

    Glad to hear you are loving your current lifestyle. I’m trying to have my own kind of balance so I can appreciate that and respect it. Good for you!

  • #16 - kitchenbelle

    Wow, I am impressed! What a meal! I love how you embraced the challenge and had fun with it. Sounds (and looks) like everything was delicious.

  • #17 - Kerstin

    I’m so impressed – everything looks delicious. Glad you’re enjoying your blogging break too :)

  • #18 - inna

    honestly, the cookie dough balls look so good “raw” i think i’d just serve them in the bottom of an ice cream bowl. with the ice cream on top ( obvy!).

    the hand pies look deeelicious too :)

    • #19 - Elina

      WARM cookies + ice cream can’t be beat! Both are delicious for sure though :)

  • #20 - Ashley @ the fit academic

    Sometimes life just totally needs to come before blogging! Your eats look delish!

  • #21 - Elina

    Thanks all for your sweet comments. I thought the pictures didn’t do the food justice at all but I see you have good imagination :) [or I have my way with words, lol] Everything really was delicious!

  • #22 - Bridget

    Gorgeous dinner!! I think making a full vegan dinner (when you aren’t vegan) would definintely be a little challenging, but sounds like everything you made was a hit! I LOVE that icecream container…think I need one :)

  • #23 - Cara

    Awesome menu – vegan or not!

  • #24 - Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere | Lost in the Beer Aisle

    […] weekends ago we went into Boston to have dinner with our friends Adam and Elina. Elina cooked us a yummy vegan dinner (Thanks Elina!!). At the time I was in the beginning stages of my week-long misery. The abdominal […]

  • #25 - miri leigh

    Great ideas for a vegan meal. Thanks for posting!

  • #26 - My 30 by 30 list | Healthy and Sane

    […] The Naked Chef Takes Off. I am seriously obsessed with his cookbooks lately! Update on 6/13: dinner #3 […]

  • #27 - Greenderella

    Wow, what a great dinner! These pictures make me hungry! :-)

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