I love food! And I love my friends! And I absolutely love feeding my friends! This is why I always host big dinners around all the major holidays. It’s a bit of a masochistic thing, really, because I spend three days in the kitchen and stress about having enough food non-stop, but the reward is colossal! This is why when I had my first visit with Dr.Z and found out that I have to go on a diet that does not allow me any real human food (jk, jk), the first thing that came out of my mouth was: “but what about my Christmas dinner???” The idea of having to give that up seemed way too cruel! I live to host those dinners! Once one is over, I immediately start planning the next one. I love going through recipes and pictures, writing out the menu, sending out invitations and all that stuff. I dream about how everybody will get together and eat and everyone will be so happy, because nobody else can feed them like I can. I was not willing to make peace with giving that up. I was pretty much set on cooking the dinner anyway and just not eating anything myself.
After some research and a little bit of getting used to, I learned to accept my diet as a culinary challenge. I really did turn it into a game: what else can I do with the food that’s available to me. I decided that my big goal, the climax of the whole thing will be putting together a Christmas dinner (and I usually have between 15 and 20 people) strictly according to my diet guidelines without sacrificing the WOW factor. So after experimenting in the kitchen for a while, here is the menu that I put together:
- Rabbit, slow cooked in red wine and prune sauce
- Salmon, roasted with ginger and thyme
- Quinoa and avocado salad with pine nuts
- Lentils with dried apricots in a nutty sauce
- Walnut rice
- Lemony Brussels sprouts
- Roasted beets with dill and walnut vinaigrette (I was not going to use dill at first, but was able to bring it back into my diet right before the dinner)
- Carrot and pear salad (I added this salad last minute when I found out that I could now have carrots and pears)
- Dessert (the only exception I made, because I can’t deprive my guests): chocolate cheesecake, with whipped cream, topped with peppermint cheesecake, iced with whipped cream, topped with marshmallows…) – people say it was delicious haha, I guess the only dietary standard it fit was the gluten – I make all my cheesecakes without the crust because my best friend is celiac)
The dinner was a huge success! I was extra nervous this time around that there might not be enough food or that people will leave hungry, but everybody was very impressed with the table and nobody would have ever guessed that it was a special diet meal! Here is the only picture I have from the dinner (I really need to invest more effort into pictures!) Unfortunately, very few guests are in it (we had 16 people that night) and you can barely see the food, but it still gives you an idea.
And here is another great thing about this night: I always get anxiety before and during events like this. I get stressed out and nervous when I’m getting everything ready, as a result I don’t eat anything throughout the day and then get completely sick during the dinner. As a result I can barely eat the amazing meals that I make. My stomach starts to turn, my face starts to flush, I get all lightheaded and by the end of it I secretly hope that people start going home. None of it happened tonight!!! I didn’t get stressed out while I was cooking (and I expected to get extra stressed out, because I was much less organized this time and barely got anything done in advance!). I had three proper meals before the event and was able to eat during. I didn’t even get any hot flashes! After the dinner, I actually still had it in me to do all the dishes!!! Bottom line: I had a wonderful day with all my wonderful friends and I am so happy I was able to fully enjoy it!
PS If you allow, I will not be doing the food log and all that stuff for today, since you already have a huge list of things I ate tonight and everything else was pretty unexciting… Porridge rules my life right now!