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There’s something special about connecting with your best girlfriends. While I’ve never needed an excuse to host a fabulous gathering, I certainly do love a special occasion. CeeLo Green coming to town for a show with his catchy beats called for an intimate party. But not just any party, the best kind of party…a beach themed sunset soiree with just a few of my best girlfriends. Everything from the planning, picking the perfect dress, shopping, setting up and then catching up with friends is music to my ears. I love taking the opportunity to make each moment extra special, and that doesn’t have to be complicated. The key to enjoying each moment during the evening’s festivities is to prepare days ahead so that everything is ready.

Low Stress Tip: All of the food shopping is complete at least two days before the soiree, the table is set and food made the day before, and I even get ready, taking my time to enjoy the primping process, early in the day. This sets me up for being relaxed and fully present, ready to focus on making each guest feel welcome and special. After all, one of the main reasons for any get-together is to create an atmosphere where we all gather to feel good.

Low Stress Tip: For my Cee Lo Green Sunset Soiree, I wanted to make all of the appetizers healthy yet glamorous and packed with flavor. I love a good “nibbles dinner”, but it is also my secret to an easy cocktail party.

Low Stress Tip: Copy this popular recipe ( https://maurica.com/sample-episodes/) from the Shangri-La Hotel. I called in a food-genius for this occasion, Executive Chef Allen Fischer from Shangri-La Springs Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs, Florida to my home to share his recipe and preparation of one of their most popular dishes, Beet and Carrot Tartare. This flavor-packed dish is prepared with ingredients from Shangri-La’s own organic garden, located on their property. It doesn’t get any more fresh or local than that! The beets paired perfectly for the beats we enjoyed later that evening. If you are thinking about hosting your very own family or small group of friends gathering, during a time where feeling good, having fun and nutritious food are essential, you can join Chef Allen Fischer and myself right here in this video to learn to make your very own Beet and Carrot Tartare in minutes from home: Shangri-La Stunning Yet Simple Beet Tartare Recipe.( https://maurica.com/sample-episodes/) Each day I aim to create my Best Day Ever (no matter what) and experience joy and ease in each moment. This is no different for a party. Therefore whether I am cooking for just myself, my family, or a party with guests, I find ways to be creative with veggies and create a menu that looks beautiful, tastes delicious, and is easy to make— homemade and fresh. On that note, here are some healthy appetizers that you can use as an “Appetizer Dinner”. These are super fun and a great way for you and your household to taste and try many different new dishes, or even a small gathering or “social distancing get-together”.

Low Stress Tip: To keep it Easy & Healthy, my rules are: A) The less processed cheese the better. B) Make substitutes whenever possible to amp up the health. For example: Use Vegan mayonnaise, you can find it on Amazon.com instead of regular mayonnaise when you make a dip such as Spinach & Artichoke Dip. Simple and
Effective. C) As much as possible make things that are easy to hold with one hand and are a one-bite appetizer. This makes it easy for your guests to eat and chat.

Low Stress Tip: To make things even easier, below are recipe items that you can find or shop for almost anywhere.

My Top 4 all-time Favorite, Easy, Healthy Fresh Appetizer Recipes are:

1) Mini Caprese Salad Skewers – Simply alternate almond milk mozzarella, cutinto small squares or slices, fresh basil, and small cherry tomatoes on mini
skewers. It’s pretty and delicious.
2) Prosciutto Sticks – Guests eat this one up quickly- a sure crowd-pleaser.Here’s how to make it: Select a high-quality, thinly-sliced prosciutto meat from your grocery store, along with a green or orange melon. (You can also substitutesoft local ready-to-eat pears instead of the melon if you like.) Lay out your
prosciutto and cut them in half. Scoop out round pieces of melon with a melonballer (after you remove the seeds of course). Then simply roll your melon ball
(or your sliced pear) in the prosciutto meat. Place on a plate and insert a toothpick. Repeat, until the plate is full.
3) Italian Cucumber – Slice cucumber into round pieces and simply top with canned or fresh tapenade, made from olives. Grate sea salt and fresh pepper on
top. It is both beautiful and delicious.1
4) Spicy Kick – Select 1-2 fresh bunches of asparagus, wash them and slice off the thick end of the stem. You should be able to feel where they naturally break.Then use a double boiler (or 2 pots) to gently steam the asparagus stalks. Watch them and test with a fork. You want asparagus that is firm but steamed enough so it’s not fully raw. If it is limp, they will be over-steamed and then be challenging to hold in one’s hand. Remove them quickly from the heat, and dunk them briefly into ice cold water and remove. This will help keep the bright green color. Serve at room temperature or cool, straight from the refrigerator. Dip: Simply Mix Vegan or Mayonnaise and green Wasabi paste together a little at a time until you get the flavor that you love. Serve with tongs for guests to be able to take 2-3 asparagus spears and add dip to their plate with ease.
Low Stress Tip: A three tiered cake stand is my preferred way to serve appetizers. It is beautiful and accessible for guests. Brought to You by The Best Day ever Cooking Show filled with Healthy Full-day Menus and Recipes here: Maurica.com The Best Day Ever Cooking Show contains episodes of Maurica Hurley’s ’favorite meal plans and cookbook reviews from top health influencers including Celebrity Doctors and Nutritionists. Maurica shares a lighthearted approach to cooking and storytelling. Recipes for loving food, loving life and the magic of mindset are all here on https://maurica.com/