Planning a Fair Fete with Whole Foods Market

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 If you've been reading our blog for a while, you'll know we have a serious obsession with Whole Foods Market. As our go-to source for fairly traded and ethically sourced foods, we shop here often to get things we can't find in other markets. We are so excited today to partner with our local Whole Foods Market to show you how easy it can be to incorporate thoughtfulness into party planning. From decorating with flowers to finishing with dessert, a small gathering with friends can make a big impact in the lives of farmers everywhere. I know that when I say "fair trade" and "party" in the same sentence you can literally feel your wallet getting lighter. Well have no fear my fair and frugal friend! While these ideas do contain ethically sourced items, I think you'll find that making things from scratch is just as cost effective, dare I say, might even be cheaper, than catering or buying pre-made frozen party foods. 

 

Start with Flowers

With the wealth of incredible ideas to be found on pinterest I think it's easy to become totally over stimulated and overwhelmed when it comes to party decor. I'm not very crafty so I think keeping things simple works best for me. I love a big statement piece with a few smaller pieces to help carry the theme throughout the house. Whole Foods Market has an incredible assortment of "Whole Trade" (the Whole Foods Market identification for some of their fair trade items) and locally grown flowers. The Northridge location staff have been helpful to me in the past to find just the right pieces to put together beautiful bouquets. Remember, flowers are pretty just because they're flowers. You can't mess it up! If your budget only allows for a few fair trade bunches get creative and use flowers you can find! We love the wild bougainvillea thats growing all over L.A right now as a stand alone option that packs a lot of color for free! 

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 Get Cooking

To keep this from being the longest.post.ever, I'm going to tell you about what we made for our party and then show you the recipe and basic directions below. If you have questions about the specifics of any of them please do not hesitate to comment below and I'll be more than happy to fill in any details!

We went with Mexican inspired dishes that could serve as appetizers or full meal. We wanted to do something light, that still packs a ton of flavor and utilizes the best fair trade options of the season. I'm most excited to share our quesadilla that we created specifically for this collaboration with Whole Foods Market Northridge! We loved creating and trying new recipes and it was extra fun knowing that our dishes supported a movement we are passionate about. In the recipes below, all of the items we found a whole trade/fair trade version of in the store will be bold so you know what you're looking for! 

 

Roasted Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese Quesadilla with Balsamic Honey Glaze

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You will need: 

6 flour Tortillas

1 1/2 cup creamy spreadable goat cheese (not the crumbly kind)

2  Bell Peppers (I prefer red, yellow or orange for this recipe)

1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon olive oil for grilling

This is how you make it:

- Slice bell peppers into long thin strips. Grill them with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until very soft and just blackened.

 - Spread 1/4 cup of goat cheese evenly on one side of each tortilla

- Make the quesadilla by placing bell pepers on the cheese side of one of the tortillas. Then place another tortilla, cheese side down, on top of the bell peppers and press. 

- Place entire quesadilla in a lightly oiled skillet over low heat. After about 2 minutes flip the quesadilla and cook for two more minutes. You want both sides of the quesadilla to be golden brown with a slight crisp. 

Balsamic Honey Glaze

Note: I find balsamic glaze a bit annoying to make but I promise it makes all the difference for this recipe. 

Pour balsamic and honey into sauce pan and cook over very low heat, whisking constantly. After about 2 minutes you'll notice your glaze begin to bubble and thicken. Keep whisking. After about 2-3 more minutes you'll notice that the glaze is beginning to stick to the whisk. When the glaze coats the whisk you're done!  The perfect consistency will be similar to honey, however just eyeball it,  don't touch it because it's sticky and really hot making it basically like lava...trust me, it's unpleasant. 

Put it all Together:

With a sharp knife cut each quesadilla into 6 pieces. Lightly drizzle glaze over the top of the quesadillas. Serve immediately or keep warm.  Serves 3 as an entree, 6-8 as appetizer

 

Whole Foods Market Fresh Pineapple Salsa 

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 2 cups diced fresh pineapple

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (I'm not a cilantro fan so I only used 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to use. Serves 8-10

 

Pineapple Mango Upside Down Cake 

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You Will need:

4 tablespoons salted butter

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup of fresh diced pineapple ( you can buy it in a can buy fresh makes it sooo much better)

1 cup fresh diced mango (ditto above)

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

6 tablespoons of softened, unsalted butter

2 eggs

7 tablespoons whole milk 

1 teaspoon of vanilla

this is how you make it:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees (what isn't baked at 350?)

using a skillet or 9 inch cake pan melt salted butter and coat the entire pan. It'll pool at the bottom...you want that!

-sprinkle 3/4 cup dark brown sugar on top of butter in bottom of skillet

- wrap pineapple and mango in a clean tea towel and gently squeeze out extra juice. The butter makes this cake so moist so the extra fruit juice can make it too soggy

-spread pineapple and mango evenly across botton of pan

-whip the butter, eggs  and sugar together until creamy. Maybe 30 seconds on medium speed or 2 minutes by hand.

-add all of the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed

-add milk and vanilla extract and mix until just smooth

-pour the batter on top of the fruit layer and pop in the over for 35-40 minutes. To check, stick a knife it in after 35 minutes. If the knife is goopy, keep cooking. If the knife comes out clean, you're done!

Put it Together:

-Let it cool for 5 minutes and then carefully flip it onto a platter. The easiest way to do this is to hold the platter upside down on top of the skillet and flip them together. Serves 8-10

Serve warm or at room temperature. I prefer room temperature with a little ice cream. 

This recipe is very loosely adapted from the only cookbook you'll ever need The Joy Of Cooking

 

So there you go friends! It's summer time and the perfect time to try something fun and new. Let us know what recipes you enjoy and what inspiration you find with this seasons fair trade offerings!

 

This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market Northridge. The statements made here are all mine! Thanks for supporting the brands that support our blog. Be sure to find and follow your local Whole Foods Market on social media so you can stay up-to-date with everything happening at your local store!