This past weekend I co-hosted a baby shower for my very best friend. We have been BFFs since high school, and have remained extremely close through college, grad school, and now into adulthood. We’ve seen each other through many life changes, and I was beyond thrilled when she called to tell me she is expecting.
Hosting any kind of celebration is always fun, but can also be overwhelming. Luckily, I had the help of a couple other powerhouse women to share the planning and prep responsibilities. Our mutual friend really took the lead and offered to host in her beautiful home, took care of the invites, all the awesome decorations, alcoholic beverages, and dessert (all the decorations pictured here—all her!). My BFFs mom and sister also helped with planning logistics, and took the lead on shower activities. I offered to play photographer and to take care of the food (of course!).
My BFF’s sister came up with the idea of a fiesta theme, and a taco bar seemed like the perfect option to feed a crowd. I love taco bars because each person can individualize based on his or her own tastes, preferences, and dietary restrictions. I selected recipes that included only real, whole ingredients, and that were barre3 Challenge friendly (always!). I loved knowing that the mom-to-be was eating fresh, real, whole food. So here's the menu. I hope you'll find some inspiration for your next baby shower, or any party!
For appetizers, I went super simple with fresh, homemade salsa and guacamole. Both are a snap to make and so much better than store bought. We served the dips with organic, non-GMO corn chips, plus a large veggie tray.
Pico de Gallo from The Pioneer Woman
On to the salsa! This post from The Pioneer Woman also offers a good guacamole recipe—bonus! For the Pico, I like to chop the onions and soak them in the lime juice for a bit in order to take the edge off the rawness factor. If you make this ahead of time some extra liquid might accumulate in the bottom of the bowl. Just drain it off before serving and you’re good to go.
Guacamole from 101 Cookbooks
There are very few things better (in my opinion) then homemade guacamole. Other people seem to agree. Whenever I make it for a party it is always completely gone by the end of the night. There are a ton of recipes out there for the stuff. I like this one because she takes you step-by-step through the process and also offers a little tutorial on selecting ripe avocados—the most important part of making good guac! Feel free to use this recipe as a base and make it your own. My BFF's mom also provided some goodies for toppings. Yum!
For taco fillings, I wanted a variety to please many different tastes. I also selected recipes that I could prepare in my slow cooker so the dishes would stay warm throughout the evening. I actually own two myself, and borrowed the third from my mom. We served these with organic flour and corn tortillas. Here are the recipes:
Slow Cooker Flank Steak Fajitas from 100 Days of Real Food
I liked this recipe because it included veggies and meat all in one. Be sure to look for grass-fed beef if you can find it. This recipe would also be great for a weeknight meal.
Beer Braised Chicken Tacos from Pepper and Salt
I wanted to offer a chicken option as well, and this one was perfect. I skipped the beer and substituted the same amount of no-sugar added tomato sauce. I also snuck one chipotle pepper in adobo in for a little something extra. The entire dish was gone by the end of the evening.
Vegetarian Refried Beans from Kitchen Treaty
Oh man, these were so good! Making refried beans is the easiest thing, and so cost effective. One thing to note about this recipe is that you’ll need to soak the pinto beans overnight. You can soak them directly in the crock pot insert, or in a separate bowl. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can always transfer to a blender or just use a potato masher and mash away!
Last but not least, I made a huge Mexican Chopped Salad to go along side. I personally used the salad as a base for the taco filling instead of using tortillas. So tasty!! To make the salad, I chopped two Romaine hearts, then topped with thinly sliced purple cabbage, diced cucumber, carrot, radish (my current obsession), and tomato. For the dressing, I whipped up the barre3 Cilantro Balsamic Vinaigrette. Yes, please!
My co-host did an amazing job setting up the drink bar, and making homemade margaritas (just tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur). We also had sparkling water, and a special real, whole non-alcoholic drink.
These Virgin Mojitos from Clean Eating Magazine were so good!
For dessert, my co-host picked up a spectacular cake, but if you’re looking for a real, whole option, this Strawberry Lime Mango Crisp from Oh She Glows looks to-die for. Rhubarb would also be a nice addition this time of year.
It was so fun to celebrate my BFF, her husband, the new baby on the way, and to do it the Real Food Whole Life way. We can’t wait for the little guy to arrive! Love you BFF!!