Dinner For Eight

by HEAB on September 8, 2012

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We used to go out with our friends, Nick and Whitney every few months for pizza night…

One of our get-togethers pre-babies.  At the time, I was about five months pregnant with Summer.

Getting together is a little more challenging now that there are four kids total between both families, but we missed our pizza dates!  So, we invited Nick and Whitney over for pizza at our place…meaning I went and picked up take-out.

NY Pie - my new favorite pizza place in town.

The veggie pie was delicious – fresh mozz, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes.  I hear the meat pizza was good too, but I was too busy inhaling veggies to try it.  Plus, there was little room left for pizza on my plate since it was filled with Whitney’s delicious salad…

Spinach, pears, goat cheese, pecans, and fresh figs with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  Totally my kind of salad and totally delicious.  Thanks again Whitney!

Time for dessert.  My one homemade contribution to the meal…

Almond Flour Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Elana’s Pantry’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are soft and dough-like and pair really well with vanilla ice-cream.   The perfect ending to a lovely evening with good food and friends.

What’s your favorite meal to cook for guests or do you just get take-out?  I used to completely stress out when people were coming over for dinner.  The house had to be spotless, the food had to be perfect, etc.  Now there are toys strewn all over the place, and half the time when people arrive, we are in the middle of putting at least one child to bed while our dogs bark like crazy in-between trying to steal the half-prepared dinner off the counter.  Crazy times at our house, but I’m much more relaxed and mellow.  The cleaning and cooking can wait.  Now it’s more about just being with our friends. In other words, I’m thinking take-out needs to happen more often around here! :)

{ 46 comments }

Heather September 8, 2012 at 11:23 pm

I’m so jealous, that pizza looks amazing! And if I was anywhere near those cookies I would be inhaling them. Totally going to try that salad since I realized my new love for figs. Hope you and the new bundles are doing great!

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Heather, pizza was amazing, and I pretty much inhaled those cookies. I need to make them again! Bundles are doing great. Sleeping soundly at the moment. :)

Averie @ Averie Cooks September 9, 2012 at 2:12 am

The cookies look awesome! Great job on those…mmmm, yes, I want one now! And so happy that you all could get together. There’s just something to be said for getting together with friends…and eating pizza and cookies :) Sounds like a plan to me!

lindsay September 9, 2012 at 6:13 am

you sound like me, going into a frenzy cleaning. I love the pizza idea with a good salad. Or i make/pick up a roasted chicken and some sides. Pretty easy there too. Phew!

Michelle @ Eat Move Balance September 9, 2012 at 7:50 am

That salad looks amazing! I just tried my first fresh fig last week. I’ve been missing out!

If I’m entertaining, my go-to dinner is “build your own tacos”. So easy, because all I really have to do is prepare the meat and/or fish. I set out tortillas, shredded lettuce, beans, salsa, avocado, and shredded cheese. Everyone can then help themselves and build whatever type of tacos they prefer!

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Michelle,
I love that idea – not sure why we don’t do taco night more often!

Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free September 9, 2012 at 8:06 am

That pizza looks amazing for takeout! And the salad and cookies do, too :D :D

I really change it up when I have guests over. Sometimes it will be something like a big salad with salmon and some home-roasted nuts. Or something simple like tacos or a stir fry. Then there are the days I go all out and make pork chops and antipasto!

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Alex,
I’d be an easy dinner guest for you as a plate full of bitter chocolate cake is all I would need. :)

Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free September 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Deal!

Kelly September 9, 2012 at 8:30 am

Yum! That entire meal looks awesome!

Ana September 9, 2012 at 9:21 am

Everything looks delicious and I am sure you all had a great time. Thanks for sharing the cookie recipe, it looks so good, and that salad sounds amazing too!
Love your approach to being more mellow and less stressed, that’s how I have been lately too and it is the best way to be. This way everyone enjoys the party, including ourselves!
Ana

The Delicate Place (@misathemeb) September 9, 2012 at 9:39 am

mmmm fresh figs! my standard entertaining meal is really easy: roast a whole chicken with herbs + garden salad (usually with beets + walnuts + fennel), a starchy side either cauli mash or sweet potato. dessert varies but it’s usually something from trader joes! i love that they have everything from pies to macarons! something for everyone :)

oh yeah…and i NEVER forget the wine! a bottle of red/white and you’re all set!

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) September 9, 2012 at 10:04 am

Pizza night is always fun, but we never do that for friends to come over. Normally we do pork or last week with did pot roast with homemade apple tart. I am so much more relaxed with people coming over now. Seriously, we get together for the companionship…not the food. I think take out is perfect! That pizza and salad (FIGS!) look like a perfect meal and the cookies look like the perfect ending! I’m glad you guys are finding some normalcy in your busy schedules! xoxo

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Sarena,
Oh, I hope you’d do pizza night if I came over. I want your socca crust for one! :)

Colleen Murphy Stewart September 9, 2012 at 11:28 am

I’m starved and your dinner pics are killing me :) YUM! I’ll have to try the cookie recipe. I’m not eating gluten ;) I love your attitude and you are so right! It’s about family and friends. Not how perfect the house looks!! I get so caught up in the cleaning and the food being “perfect” Thanks Heather for that reminder :)

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Colleen,
You’re welcome, and yes you must try those cookies…over ice-cream. Both are gluten free. :)

Hannah September 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I’ve often made kangaroo chilli con carne, particularly when I’m having men over (wait, that makes me sound like a bit of a floozy… you know that’s not what I meant! :P )

I would give my socks for that salad and cookies right now…

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Hannah,
Oh, I hope they’re fun socks. LOVE fun and crazy socks. :)

Hannah September 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Right now I’m wearing toe socks from Japan. One says “Are you an octopus?” and the other says “Are you a squid?”

Gretchen September 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Heather,

That pizza looks amazing! Quick question: Have you read the book ” 6 weeks to OMG”? His theories are quite interesting and I would love your take on it. He has several times been misquoted so unless a person has read the book they wouldn’t understand what he was saying in a quick blurb so he has gotten some bad press. If you haven’t, pick it up…interesting read.

Congratulations on your beautiful family!

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Hi Gretchen. Pizza was amazing, and no I have not read 6 Weeks to OMG. However, I did read some reviews after receiving your comment, and the book sounds like it contains the same type of info I’ve read before on various Paleo and Primal eating type blogs. Does sound interesting.

Monica September 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm

What do you think it is about having more kids that makes you more forgiving? I am crazy about how clean our house is, if the fridge is organized, if the blinds are even…. and I drive myself nutzos. One kid has mellowed me out a bit, but I am hoping more will completely chill me out! :)

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Monica,
I’m still anal about some things, but I find if I don’t relax more, I just go crazy and make myself miserable. I just keep reminding myself that when I look back on these early years with the kids, I want to remember all the cuddles and first smiles, etc. That kind of stuff matters so much more than whether or not the photo frames on the bookshelves were in their proper places…although I still kind of go crazy when they’re not. Hehe, working on that! ;)

Tabitha September 9, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Oh that salad looks amazing. We never have guests, my two chums passed away and hubs is a weirdie cat loner, I’d love to have chums round.

Joelle (on a pink typewriter) September 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Mmm, pizza AND cookies? Perfect night. Happy Sunday, HEAB!

Marcia September 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm

OMG that pizza does look good. And the cookies too. I think I’ve made those before…or something similar.

Hollie Birckhead September 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm

My mouth is watering! I am going to have to find a way to have some of that pizza soon!!

Natalie September 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Cookies look amazing! looks like a fun time :) where are the pics of all the kiddos!

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Natalie,
Summer was asleep, and all the little ones were in bouncy seats around the dining room table. It was too funny, but I didn’t get a photo. :(

Lou September 10, 2012 at 1:15 am

The cooking + cleaning can wait = AMEN!

Looks like a lovely lovely night (those COOKIES!) ….. easiest thing for us to do is a big old BBQ…. heaps of salads, breads, meats (veggie burgers for the non meat eaters!) and some cold beers. So easy + so good…. especially on a sunny afternoon/evening…. kids running around the yard tormenting our dog = bliss :)

Marty September 10, 2012 at 3:01 am

The pizza, I want some! If it was only gluten-free…bummer! And the salad delish! Cookies, will try those soon, no Kerrygold here, will have to sub something else. Maybe they’ll have it in Idaho.

Glad you had friends over, dinner is so much fun with friends and not worrying about all that cleaning stuff. You’re so there, I’m not yet! Xoxo m

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Marty,
I bet the cookies would be amazing with coconut oil!

Marty September 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Great idea Heather! I’ll have to try that, David will love them!

Jess September 10, 2012 at 7:04 am

The food all looks amazing! I’m with you though cooking and cleaning are overrated. It is just a pleasure having company over ever now I’ve got kids!

Ameena September 10, 2012 at 9:52 am

We used to see our friends far more regularly but yes, kids get in the way of that. Love your approach though, my house does not need to be spotless to have guests…I must remember that!

Tracy September 10, 2012 at 11:56 am

Yummy cookie recipe!

We’re all about the takeout here unless we’re doing something simple like burgers. We just had pizza and salad for a fun group of adults and kids at our house this past Saturday night. So fun even though our football team(s) lost!

Rebekah September 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Thai and Vietnamese is one of my all time favorite take outs, though Pizza is a close second. :) I have really let a lot go since having my little boy. I’d much rather spend my time with him then being neurotic about a spotless house – and it shows!

Melanie September 11, 2012 at 6:30 am

That pizza looks amazing. Since I live in Michigan, I am always drooling over the restaurant food you post and wishing I lived closer.

I noticed you seem to always sub the maple syrup for agave when you use the almond flour recipes. I was just wondering if that is a taste preference or a health reason that you avoid the agave nectar?

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Melanie,
Yes, but Michigan has all that amazing ice-cream! :)

And regarding the maple syrup, I prefer the taste, and I’ve read that agave contains a higher percentage of fructose. Not a fan of fructose.

Hayley September 11, 2012 at 7:18 am

I’m so glad you’re writing more often again! Happy and also incredibly impressed. I can’t imagine it’s easy but major kudos to you for taking the time to do so. I don’t always have the time to comment (umm…that’s a poor excuse considering I have one child :) ) but I do read and I love seeing pictures of you and your beautiful family. You really do glow…

Here’s a totally random question – do you still use coffee creamer and if so, what kind? I read a post from 2009 about your creamer confession and wondered if you still the same stuff?

Lots of love to you guys!

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Hayley,
I know I already responded to you via Facebook, but I’m answering here as well in case anyone else was wondering about your question. Yep, still use coffee creamer, and these days it’s half-n-half. That being said, I’d accept the liquid sugar-free vanilla Coffee-Mate if offered. I just don’t buy it for myself anymore.

Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning September 11, 2012 at 8:19 am

Ohh- that meal!! I love a pizza covered in veggies. I’m not much of a “meat” person for pizza- unless you’re talking about prosciutto…
Strangely enough, I have yet to purchase or ever use almond flour. But I do love Kerrygold butter!

Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily September 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Some of our best dinner parties have involved take out and everyone sharing a dessert.

Brianne @ pootimestwo September 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I feel you completely (fellow mother of twin infants here heyooo!) takeout is such a nice option! We either do that when we have friends over, grill something fast and have pre-prepared side dishes ready, OR use the trusty old crockpot like we did tonight ;)

HEAB September 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Brianne,
LOVING the crockpot these days! :)

Jen @ Existential Evolution September 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm

So glad you were able to meet up with your friends. My hubby and I don’t have kids but most of our friends do which makes getting together more rare. We definitely appreciate our time together more now. BTW I am a long time Heab fan but 1st time commenter. My fav is your cookie dough oatmeal recipe.

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