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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and even though it’s coming right in the middle of our month-long move (yes, we will be in a rental for a full month) I can’t help but celebrate it. I love Valentine’s Day! There’s nothing that takes my mind of the stressors of the hour like spending time with my girlfriends, so this year I thought I would share a sweet and special Galentine’s Luncheon you can throw for your besties. It’s so festive, and the food is healthy AND easy. What’s not to like?!
You all know how much I love pink, and for my Galentine’s Luncheon I decided to go all out with the pink, gold, hearts, and sparkle. If you can’t do it with your girlfriends then when can you?! I also made sure to put cute little favors at each place setting that also served as place cards. I love these mini heart piñatas by Meri Meri– they come with confetti and temporary tattoos inside and you can slip in whatever else you want. I think a tube of lipgloss, a bracelet, or even a Starbucks card would be perfect additions!
For the menu, I wanted to keep it light: Creamy Roasted Beet Soup to start, followed by my fave Grilled Shrimp Salad, and finished with whipped-cream topped espresso with heart-shaped black and white cookies. Perfection! I just love how the soup is all creamy pink for the holiday…my kids even ate the leftovers! Oh, and it’s not a girly party without a pretty little cocktail. I poured Champagne, and served them with skewers of colored cotton candy balls. This makes for my “Tie Dye Champagne Sparkler Cocktail”. I love it because it’s delicious and dynamic! While a classic champagne cocktail utilizes a sugar cube, I put a spin on it with these little balls of cotton candy. The cocktail is interactive, too! You can slowly drop each cotton candy ball in to your glass to watch the colors mix together like the prettiest tie dye firework. So fun!
Creamy Beet Soup With Goat Cheese Crumbles
(serves 4 people)
- 1 lb Red Beets, peeled and boiled until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Chop in to 1 inch pieces (You can also buy pre-cooked beets at most grocery stores, which is what I do!)
- 2 leeks, chopped (white parts only)
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbs Butter (I use Earth Balance)
- 1 pinch ground Ginger
- 1 pinch ground Allspice
- 1 pinch thyme
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 4 Cups Vegetable Stock
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream (I replace with coconut cream for Dairy Free)
- 1/4 cup Goat Cheese crumbles.
In a large soup pot, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, celery, garlic, and onion, and sauté until the onion is translucent– approximately 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ginger, allspice, and beets, and stir continuously until the spices are fragrant, approximately 3 minutes. Add the bay leaf and the vegetable stock, and turn the heat to high to bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 25-45 minutes, until the vegetables are fully cooked and the flavors are well combined. Remove the bay leaf, and turn off the heat. Allow the soup to cool slightly, then mix in the cream. Working in batches, pureé the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Garnish with the goat cheese crumbles and serve. This recipe can be made the day before and reheated! Just be careful to reheat gently and do not boil. Enjoy!
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Photographs by Julia Dags