You can entertain without sugar, crackers and cheese

I love entertaining. Sure I get stressed out while I’m cleaning and cooking and baking, but ultimately I love feeding my friends and watching them enjoy new recipes hubby and I would have tried for the occasion.

Switching to a Paleo lifestyle – which restricts one from eating any grains, dairy, refined sugars and legumes – presented us with quite a challenge when we had friends and family over.

Initially, we felt obliged to continue to offer our guests sugar-laden sweet treats, crisps loaded with MSG and the obligatory crackers and cheese. But I’ll admit, it felt wrong – even hypocritical – that while we avoided these foods, we were willing to serve them to our guests.

When we put out Paleo snacks, no one complained

So the next time we entertained, we put only Paleo-friendly foods on the table. And guess what? No one complained or went home hungry.

You see the problem is that we’ve become so accustomed to serving high-carb, sugary treats like crisps, sweets, chocolates, crackers, cheese and over-processed, ready-made dips, that we’ve forgotten how to get creative about what we put in our bodies.

However, if you’re someone who needs a bit of inspiration to get the juices flowing, there are loads of ideas on the internet. Among the many we have picked up, was a simple recipe for sugar-free, dairy-free chocolate made with coconut oil and cacao and sweetened with honey. We sometimes add nuts, cranberries or seeds and this is what we’ll be sharing with our family instead of Easter eggs.

Special diet items are pricey, cook them yourself

And while many health stores are now stocking wide varieties of low-carb, no-sugar, no-whatever-else products, by making them yourself, you’ll save yourself some money – because those special-diet items are expensive – and you’ll have complete control over the ingredients used.

In the past, Chantel the entertainer was known as the cheese queen. Come to my place for a party and you’d get to eat cheese to your heart’s content – all different kinds of. And crackers too.

With some minor adjustments I’ve made my parties more Paleo-friendly by serving things like biltong and nuts, fresh fruit, home-made meatballs, home-baked coconut bread with sliced meat, and dips made with pureed veggies. We give our guests the option of having fruit-infused water instead of sugary drinks if they don’t want to drink alcohol.

I’ve even become quite adept at baking with nut flours – and who would have thought that whipped coconut cream could be just as delicious as its dairy counterpart? It can also be used as an alternative to milk in warm beverages, but don’t use too much because it’s very rich.
I guess the lesson is to break from the norm and not be afraid to try different things.

 

Paleo apple crumble with whipped coconut cream

Don’t underestimate your friends – they’ll be open to new things

I often find that my guests are also open to trying something new. And one of my favourite Paleo alternatives is egg coffee. I was once one of those office gals who stopped in at a nearby coffee shop for a tall cappuccino every morning before work, but when I cut diary from my diet, cappuccino was no longer an option. Then I discovered local blogger Melissa Thomas’s recipe for what she calls “titanium coffee”, which has a similar consistency. Simply whisk together, with a stick blender, three-quarters of a cup of coffee, two teaspoons of coconut oil, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a raw egg. Don’t knock it til you try it.