I simply adore hosting dinner parties. Since I was a teenager I've loved it. When I got my very first apartment in California at nineteen my very favorite thing was hosting dinners around a big table in my apartment in Valencia. Cooking up food to share with friends & staying up talking & laughing until the middle of the night was the best way to spend an evening.
And here I am, years later, married to my Mr. Charming who shares in my love of entertaining. I got lucky with this one.
I've mentioned our Godson on the blog before, he is seriously one of the cutest kids you'll ever meet. His mom, Karly, and I have been friends for years. We met through music and clicked from the beginning. She is in PR and was my publicist for my first album and is currently working for my label as a publicist as we gear up for album number two. It's crazy how time flies. The sad part is that she no longer lives on the West Coast, so it's a plane ride away to visit with her, our Godson and her awesome new husband. As I was pondering what to make for our dinner, I sorted through the amazing products I got from the Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo in Phoenix and I stumbled across my box of Garlic Toasted Onion Fettucine by Viviana. Our Godson has to eat gluten-free too, as does my sister who joined us with my niece, and Karly likes to to be healthy, so I thought it'd be fun to cook up something gluten-free that the guys could enjoy that felt like normal home-cooked meal comfort food.
For the littles I bought gluten-free Annie's macaroni and cheese, but our Godson opted for the fettucine instead! Which made me happy. My niece on the other hand adores all things macaroni, so when we can get her to eat the gluten-free, organic versions, all the better.
As for what we ate, the Viviana pasta is gluten-free and vegan and is made from brown and white rice, xanthan gum (which I'm not totally crazy about), garlic, toasted onion and extra virgin olive oil. Because I was cooking for such a large party, I did not have enough of the fettucine on hand from the expo so I mixed in some gluten-free spaghetti to add volume. I have to give props to Viviana because it was one of the BEST, if not THE best, gluten-free pasta I have ever had.
We served it with an organic italian basil spaghetti sauce and my home made meatballs. For dessert I baked gluten-free chocolate chip cookies which I count as a hit since my Godson, who is four, came up to me covered in gooey chocolate and said "Mandi, these cookies are really good!"
Seriously. Want a harsh food critic to help you know if you're doing something right? Give the food to a toddler.
As the guests asked for seconds I knew we chose the right option. You can never go wrong with a hot Italian dinner. When served with a crisp green salad the balance was perfection. I will be purchasing more of this pasta, probably only ever so often because like I mentioned before I try not to consume to much of any "gum" products, but it is definitely something to keep in the pantry when I want a good, flavorful, savory pasta.
As for hosting, I caught the bug again and I am on the lookout for new recipes and ideas for my next party. So, if you get an invitation I promise we will serve up something yummy and healthy!
Welcome! My name is Mandi & I hope you stay in this happy little space a while. I'm a Christian, a wife to my Mr. Charming, mama to baby Greyson, healthy food-lover, traveler, professional journalist and Personal Nutritionist who hopes to inspire others with my story...
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