Today’s post comes from Kristina– thanks for sharing your recipes!

I love to entertain – and the more the merrier! Just as much as I enjoy a house full of loved ones, I love to plan event details. I love fresh, easy food that I can prepare just before events begin, and I pair those with a few goodies that can be made ahead – either that morning or even the day before!

In the next several weeks, we will host parties, be guests of parties, and join family and friends on holidays. I have two easy appetizers that are full of great flavor! These can be made ahead for your party, and are easily portable to bring to events you are attending.

The first is vegan and the second is vegetarian, both are gluten free. Enjoy!

Red Pepper Dip

2 cups raw cashews
1 cup roasted red peppers
3 tablespoons water
3 cloves garlic
sea salt, to taste

Soak cashews in water overnight in fridge. Drain and add to processor with all ingredients. Blend to desired consistency.

This is so flavorful, and a favorite whenever I make it. I have changed the flavor by replacing red peppers with many things – dates and more water for a sweet dip, jalapenos for spicy, even simply more garlic and white beans for a creamy and versatile alternative.

I serve this with crackers and vegetables – baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, pepper slices.

Olive Bites

2 cups extra sharp cheddar, cubed
1 stick butter, cubed
1 1/4 cup flour (Bob’s Red Mill gluten free)
1 teaspoon sea salt
25 – 30 martini olives

Pulse cheese, butter, flour and salt in food processor. Very quickly it forms a dough ball. Remove and knead a few times, until smooth.

Step by step: Roll into one inch balls, make a well, place an olive inside, form dough around olive. I baked them in my mini muffin pan.

Bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes.

I also made cheesy disks out of some of the dough:

These taste like light fluffy cheese crackers, and are great warm or cold. The olive bites are salty and uniquely tasty; I have made these ahead of time and warmed in the oven prior to serving.

I am always flattered when asked to guest post, and was very happy to be asked by Heather, whose blog I love and read daily! Thank you Heather, and thanks to everyone for reading! I wish you all a fun and happy holiday season!

Kristina, spabettie