Friday, June 21, 2013

Potluck Day!

I work with these amazing people. Really. We've had some crazy times in our office. Really. Somehow we manage to stay sane and keep it together. One of the ways we cope and celebrate whenever we have an excuse is to host a POTLUCK! 

Not from the midwest? Potlucks are part of our culture! Everyone brings a dish to pass and you spend the day chatting and grazing (I mean...working). You never know what you're going to get, but I tell you, the folks in our office take potlucks to a new level! Every event is an opportunity to display their incredible creativity and originality so I thought, wouldn't this make a great blog post?! (...and I don't even have to do the cooking!)

So here it is... check out a typical potluck day and some great recipes from some pretty incredible people.
Click the titles below the pictures for easy-print recipes.

Homemade Soft Pretzels by Joel with dip from Wildtree

Even the gentlemen get in on the action in our office. No one can compete with the breadmaking mastery of Joel. These awesome little pretzel bites were as beautiful as they were delicious. For a twist, Joel made the pretzels into 1x2 inch pretzel bites so they were perfect for dipping.

Isn't quinoa (keen-wah) just the "it" food right now? Fiber, iron, lysine and protein--this supergrain is taking health food markets by storm. Combine it with some other super foods like spinach and almonds and a touch of sweet yogurt, lemon and cherries and it's a perfect trendy treat. 

It just wouldn't be a midwestern potluck without some "bars." [insert Minnesota accent here] We always invite our students to join in and chow but never expect them to spend their time and money on feeding us pros. Our sweet student Sarah shared this awesome treat with us--a nice twist on a Reese's and so much better!

We have a few staff members who work from off-site offices in the Minneapolis metro area so sadly they're usually not able to participate. Fortunately for us this potluck was to welcome a new member of their team so they drove up to join us (...for training, not just the potluck). To continue the healthy options, Angie brought this super healthy layer dip (served with sliced cucumbers) and Jess brought a delicious fruit salsa with cinnamon-sugar pita chips. Sure glad they could be here!

Jess's Fruit Salsa

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples – peeled, cored and diced
8 oz raspberries, diced
1 (16 oz) carton of strawberries, diced
4 tsp Truvia, or other natural sweetener (original recipe called for 2 TB white sugar & 1 TB brown sugar)
1 TB raspberry jalapeno preserve (original called for 3 TB fruit preserves, any flavor)

Serve with cinnamon pita chips!

Nina's Mango Pineapple Fruit Salsa

What did I bring? Apparently Jess and I were on the same wave so often happens with potlucks! I brought a spicier version of fruit salsa with my Mango Pineapple Fruit Salsa.

1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and diced (about two cups)
2 medium mangoes, peeled, cored and diced (about two cups)
1/2 small red onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 small jalapeno, diced (take out the seeds and ribs for less spice)
2-3 TB chopped cilantro
juice of one lime
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Adjust ingredients to taste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to let flavors combine. I served with multigrain tortilla chips but it's awesome with pita chips, on top of salads or chicken or white fish. 

There were at least another half-dozen items shared by the team but I didn't get a chance to capture them all... guess that means I better make this a series. :)

Thanks everyone for sharing your recipes with me! 

Can't wait for the next potluck! You know, the 4th of July is coming up. I smell a red, white & blue theme. Just saying... 

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