dining alfresco with healthy eats + treats!

Truth be told, nothing gives me more joy than entertaining. The flurry of activity — the menu, table dressing, napkins, music and the placement of my kitty (SOPH!) — is akin to a minor victory and a major rebirth. Over dinner plans are hatched, ideas are born and friendships are intensified. It’s a wonderful thing to celebrate the ones you love with food, and I had the great privilege last weekend to open my home to my work team. For nearly four hours, we laughed, traded stories and chowed down. All work talk was verboten, rather this evening was devoted to building bonds within our team.

And can we talk about the menu?! I’m a firm believer that you can entertain with healthy food without sacrificing flavor. And what better way to reward your virtuosity than with a slice of crumble blueberry pie??!

Kicking if off, I made a homemade orecchiette pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Halve grape tomatoes, coat them in salt, pepper and olive oil and roast on 375F for 10-12 minutes. Add al dente pasta, fat balls of cheese and fresh basil for the finish. This salad is divine pipping hot or room temperature. Although I made the pasta from scratch, box will absolutely do.

Turning up the volume on a fruit salad, I decided to toss in some salty prosciutto and it was an UNEQUIVOCAL WIN. For maximum flavor and texture play, toss in watermelon, grapes and raspberries with a basil chiffonade. For the dressing, I mixed in a tablespoon of honey, 5 tablespoons of garlic-infused olive oil, juice of a lime, and salt/pepper. Mix and dress the salad.

A bowl of pipping hot edamame with sea salt, a kale salad with spinach, coconut chunks, blueberries and sundried tomatoes dressed in olive oil is the perfect segue into the blueberry pie crumble.

And what a cinch! I used a store-bought organic pie crust. For the filling, I used 1 1/2 cup of blueberries, 1 tablespoon of rhubarb syrup and 3/4 cup of cane sugar. For the crumble, I mixed 3/4 all-purpose flour, 6 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of cane sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon.

The result? A famished team feasting on delicious, wholesome chow; a well-fed team cackling on volume ten on a cool Sunday evening; a happy team traveling home with oodles and oodles of food.

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