This week our blog will be dedicated to the celebration of our 10 year anniversary, Saturday January 21, 2012.
Today’s post is focused on the center of our party – the AMAZING FOOD! Make sure you read the entire post for a giveaway of 1 dozen Out of the Box Paleo(ish) Cookies and the recipe for the smash hit of the night, Northwest Catering’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers!
We’ve mentioned before that we didn’t get fat on accident. We love to eat and sharing meals with friends and family is one of the most favorite of our activities. So, when planning the renewal, we knew we wanted great food. But, all of the well reviewed catering companies in the area didn’t even have a concept of what gluten-free whole foods was, let alone have a menu we could customize with them. We felt strongly that everything served at the event must be grain-, legume- & refined sugar-free, especially considering many of our friends, some due in no small part to our influence, have also adopted a similar lifestyle.
We searched high and low to find a caterer that would be able to accommodate our somewhat unusual restrictions but kept coming up empty handed. After New Years, Matt and I had resigned to the fact that we would be catering the event ourselves. We had started brainstorming what we could make and what we could buy from Costco or Whole Foods. Then one day I was putzing around on facebook and found a reference to a grain-free bakery, Out of the Box.
I about jumped out of my seat with joy when I visited her site and realized that Jennifer’s unique approach to baked goods was EXACTLY what we wanted – and she catered! Could it be true? A Paleo-friendly bakery local to us?! I started stalking her, calling and e-mailing several times an hour until she was finally free. As soon as she told me she had the date available, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and may have squealed out loud like a teenage school girl.
I visited Out of the Box’s site, got ideas from her available online product listing and then we started brain storming the menu. I explained that I wanted our menu to be simple: dessert served as part of the main course. I wanted a variety of delicious sweet treats to be enjoyed by all of the many gluten-free and paleo guests – but most of all, I wanted Matt and I to be able to enjoy every food served (obviously). I told Jennifer who I was and she (to my shock) knew who we were and immediately “got” our idea of food.
She thoughtfully researched our recipes and decided to use a few in her preparations, to include my replication of Nona’s Chocolate Nut Butter Eggs because she knew it was sentimental. Seriously, how incredibly sweet is that? And she agreed to make these vegan Pecan Pie Bars from Without Adornment with our simple promise that they were great. I can’t imagine catering someone’s event not working with my own recipes!
She also reviewed my Pintrest wall and made sure to include coordinating ideas and color schemes. The level of commitment to a quality product and level of detail was beyond my wildest dreams. I was so impressed with Jennifer… but what was I going to do about food? I joked with her about just getting some Costco shrimp platters to compliment the dessert buffet and she told me there was a Paleo caterer in the area, too.
WHAT?! How could I have missed BOTH of these awesome vendors in my months of searching? Turns out, in the DC area many local Cross-fit gyms get deliveries of popular prepackaged, fresh, paleo meals from a company called Power Supply (formerly Catalyst Meals). Turns out Rachelle, the chef for Power Supply DC also owns a catering company called Northwest Fresh. Low and behold, this wonder-chef also eats paleo, does Cross-fit, and is, in general, one of us! Jennifer was kind enough to take my menu (and Pintrest) ideas to Rachelle and the two of them worked non-stop with me over the 2 short weeks we had to put the menu together for the party. Rachelle even helped me get some rental stuff (like cocktail tables) and took care of pick-up and drop-off!
Rachelle and her awesome staff for the night, Katie and Andy, arrived early and spent hours perfecting our huge food buffet. Then Jennifer and her team arrived shortly after to set-up and show off the sweet treats which we also served as a main course.
Our Out of the Box dessert menu included:
- Fudge Balls
- Ginger Snaps *see below to win these cookies*
- Chocolate Chip Cookies *see below to win these cookies*
- Mini Chocolate Brownies w/strawberries
- Nona’s Chocolate Eggs
- Vegan Pecan Pie Bars
- Coconut Cupcakes w/Coconut Frosting
- Carrot Cupcakes w/our Cinnamon Ginger Frosting
- Red Velvet Cupcakes w/Butter Cream Frosting
- Chocolate Cupcakes w/Chocolate Frosting
Our Northwest Fresh savory menu included:
- Rainbow fruit kabobs
- Sesame Chicken Satays with Cashew Butter Sauce
- Caprese Salad Skewers with Balsamic Glaze
- Mini Lamb Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce
- Crudité platter with guacamole in cabbage bowl
- Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
These Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers were the talk of the night. Every room I went into someone would ask me, “Have you tried the Jalapeno Poppers yet?” and then I’d have to hear about how “they have such a kick, they’re so good – I can’t stop eating them!” When I asked Rachelle if she wanted to share something with the readers, I couldn’t have been more thrilled that she choose the this recipe – I think you’ll just love it. And, if you’re not indulging in a limited serving of dairy (as we were on this special day) then Rachelle says using a nut cheese (like Jenni’s Cashew Ricotta at Urban Poser) would work well in this recipe, too!
Northwest Fresh’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
- Fresh jalapenos (about a dozen)
- 8 oz full-fat best quality cream cheese, or sub a paleo nut cheese
- 12 oz thick cut nitrate-free applewood smoked bacon
- Salt and pepper, to season
- Olive oil (a few tablespoons)
- Toss the jalapenos in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to lightly coat.
- Roast in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees to soften.
- Cut down the center of one side of the jalapeno (do not cut off the top or cut completely open), remove the seeds.
- Stuff with 1T-2T cream cheese and mold back to the shape of the jalapeno.
- Wrap with 1 piece of bacon.
- Bake on a lined or well greased baking sheet at 350 degrees until bacon is crispy.
Makes about a dozen poppers. Serve warm and store chilled. Not a kid recipe, unless they like spicy! However…
These AMAZING paleo(ish) cookies ARE kid friendly! And Out of the Box is offering a box for a (local) DC Metro reader! Jennifer will make arrangements for you to pick-up at a mutually convenient place, like a coffee shop or Cross-fit box.
To enter to win 6 each of the huge thick and chewy gingersnap and chocolate chip cookies, “like” Out of the Box on Facebook and comment on this post. For an additional entry, “like” Northwest Fresh and leave another comment.
Jennifer from OOTB is sorry, but she’s not able to ship – so, this giveaway is only open to local readers. Feel free to share with your local non-Paleo friends and family, because EVERYONE loved these cookies at our party – Paleo or not!
Everyone in attendance was dazzled by the sheer volume and quality of the delicious food and couldn’t wait for the feast to commence. And a feast it was! Everything was so wonderful from the tiniest blueberry to the giant cookies! Many of our guests came up to us to express the excitement they had in knowing that everything single food was safe to eat for them, a rare find in the whole food eating world. That was one of the greatest joys of the entire event!
I was surprised at how affordable this feast was – the ladies were very accommodating in coming up with items we could make into finger foods, a cost effective way to feed our crowd. If you’re wishing for something similar in your area for your own event, my suggestion would be to ask the Cross-fit boxes in your area. I had no idea these ladies existed, yet they are exactly what I was looking for and couldn’t have been more perfect!
Note: a special thanks goes out to Aimee Buxton Photography, Issa Michel Photography and Erin from SweetSassy for their volunteered services in making our day the most special it could be. You are all true friends Matt and I could not possibly thank enough!