Celebration of Celebrations 2009

Mark and I have an annual summer party, called the Celebration of Celebrations, that usually coincides with a visit from Smucky. This year’s party was this weekend and like last year, I managed to not take any real pictures of any of the food I made. However, I did get several requests for recipes, so here’s a run-down of what I served, as well as some horrible photos. Most of the food had already been wolfed down before I was able to get a second to take pictures.

Here is some of the spread:

That’s homemade Italian bread, and with it a dip of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and freshly ground pepper. I bought a ton of snacks: several different kinds chips (including Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos for the novelty of it because they are vegan and I haven’t had a Dorito in a million years), peanut-filled pretzels, and Virginia peanuts. It was junk food heaven. I made ranch dip, which is what I got the most requests for recipes for. Unfortunately for the world, I just throw things together when I make dips (well, when I make just about anything, really), but this is approximately what I did:

Vegan Ranch Dip
1 jar Vegenaise
1 cup vegan sour cream
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp dried minced onion, reconstituted briefly in hot water then drained
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried dill
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together then refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to blend.

I balanced all the junk food out with some veggies and hummus. I was going for unusual colors of ordinary vegetables (purple peppers and yellow baby carrots!):

I made two different types of hummus: roasted red pepper and extra garlic.

Hummus, Two Ways

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 can chickpeas
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic (or more to taste for extra garlic flavor)
optional: 2 roasted red peppers (for roasted red pepper flavor)

Combine the liquid ingredients in a food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t make my own salsa; it’s usually Mark’s job to make salsa but he didn’t grow any hot peppers this year so he’s not interested in making it. I did, however, make guacamole, which I served with chips and store-bought salsa.


1/4 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
2 ripe avocados
Tabasco, to taste
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 tomato, chopped

If you have a molcajete, place the onion, garlic, and salt in it and mash with the pestle. Add the avocado and mash, then add the Tabasco and lime juice and continue to mash. Stir in the tomatoes, and serve in the molcajete. If you don’t have a molcajete, put all ingredients except tomatoes in a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth-ish, then stir in the tomato.

The guac was such a hit that I had a request/demand to make a second batch around 1 a.m. – it it was all gone by the time I cleaned up around 4.

At Smucky’s request, the main course was a pasta bar of sorts. I cooked several different kinds of pasta, including a gluten-free penne, and made a couple different sauces.

Marinara Sauce

2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (or to taste)
2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes (I like fire-roasted)
1 tsp dry oregano
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
salt to taste
juice of 1 lemon

In a large pot or Dutch oven, bring some olive oil to temperature over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook for 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and seasonings. Let simmer for 20 minutes to half an hour, add the lemon juice, then use an immersion blender or blend in batches in the blender until to desired chunkiness or smoothness.


2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups (packed) basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup Dragonfly’s Bulk, Dry Uncheese, or nutritional yeast

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

The main attraction, however, seemed to be Hamburger Noodle Bake, of which I made a double batch and had only a small bit leftover – even after filling everyone up on junk food for a couple of hours before serving it. I was a little surprised how popular it was considering there were no other vegans or vegetarians (I don’t think, anyway) at this shindig. Even the ever-skeptical Smucky enjoyed it! I prepared it Friday night, put it in the fridge overnight, and baked it up Saturday afternoon, which made it perfect party food because I didn’t have to worry about it the day of, everyone loved it, and it tasted fine sitting out buffet style all night long. I can definitely recommend that recipe for appeasing omnivores!

I didn’t take any pictures of the pastas, but in this photo by Smucky – which also shows you the snacks in much better detail – you can see them at the far end of the table:

I also made mint chocolate chip ice cream, it being Smuck’s favorite flavor, but I forgot to tell everyone it was in the freezer! Fortinbras made short work of in the morning (and by morning, I mean “3 p.m.”, which is when I think he got up), however, when doing his usual rummaging and foraging, and Smucky’s had a bowl or two today…and I’m having one right now!

Smucks also got an unattractive shot of me looking a bit crazed while putting all the food out:

But hey, guess what? I finally got to spend most of the weekend in the pool, so maybe I’ll stop complaining about the lack of summer? I sure hope so and I’m sure you all do too!

And finally, here are me and Smucky celebrating!


  1. Josiane Said,

    July 13, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

    Wow, you clearly know how to throw a great party! No wonder why you were asked for your recipes! Thanks for sharing them. I don’t often have people over because I’m so not a good hostess… but this post will certainly help me do a better job next time!

  2. smucky Said,

    July 13, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

    Thanks for all the preparations tiny, it was a great party!

  3. trinity Said,

    July 14, 2009 @ 9:46 am

    glad you had fun! i love your blog…thanks for sharing.

  4. Jes Said,

    July 14, 2009 @ 10:16 pm

    What a fantastic spread! Aren’t those Doritos kind of awesome? I was so stoked to eat a personal-sized bag of them last year. And hooray for the pool!

  5. Monique Said,

    July 20, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

    Everything looks so incredibly fantastic! Sounds like a good time.

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