Walk boldly and well-fed into the early 20s

On July 21st, 1989, I graced the world with my presence. Haha, just kidding! I was born on July 21st, but was my birth that monumental? Hmm, well, I contend that it was!

This means that in just a few short weeks, I will enter another year of my early 20s and turn 22. While birthday celebrations excite me in theory, I feel like every time I plan a somewhat large or involved party, it turns into a bust, or at least into a way less fun experience than I had imagined. If I learned anything from my 16th birthday, in which I invited too many girls to a big dinner and then a limo ride through downtown Baltimore (drat MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 for seducing me with ostentatious party ideas), it’s that this birthday girl prefers celebrations with quality people, not a quantity of them.

A trip to Whole Foods earlier this week inspired me to ring in my 22nd in a fun, intimate way. As my mom and I strolled the aisles of brilliantly colorful produce, kooky probiotics and supplements, and freshly prepared meals, I thought about how much food nurtures us and brings us pleasure. I thought about how much I enjoy being in the kitchen and slicing, dicing, sauteing, and baking not only for myself, but for people I love. What better way to celebrate another year of life, a life overflowing with love and goodness, than to revel in company close to my heart and home cooked food?  Since I’ve delved into the world of cooking and baking this summer, and into the world of raw food, I decided to cook a partially raw, very healthy, and wholly delicious meal for a few of my friends.

Because I want to keep this party fun and prevent the stress that plagued me while planning and hosting my Sweet 16, I have crafted a menu of elegant, yet simple dishes to prepare for five of my friends.

My birthday menu includes:

Raw Tortilla Soup

Asian Shrimp Salad

Quinoa Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Cantaloupe/Watermelon slices

Some kind of fancyish bread (any suggestions?)

Raw Apple Cobbler (I’m going to recreate this dessert that my mom and I shared at Zia’s)

Mini Cheesecakes, save the Orange-Cranberry Sauce

Alcoholic beverages of some kind

I like these selections because they contain fresh, seasonal, and raw ingredients packed with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Plus, they’ll delight the taste buds of myself and my guests. Dopamine, here we come.

Background music during dinner, then dance music after dinner will absolutely play a role. What kind of music should I play while we eat our meal? I’m feeling the 70s, but what do you readers suggest?

And what kind of fancyish bread options are out there?

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