Good times that are good for the planet? Yes, please! This month’s Earth Day on April 22 has us excited to take action and show our concern for the environment by emphasizing a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. There are plenty of simple ways to share environmental awareness with family, friends, and neighbors, like cleaning up the block, supporting local farmers, and finding ways to reuse and recycle what you would ordinarily toss in the trash.
You’ve heard of a clothing swap, but this time it’s cleaning out the kitchen cabinets instead of the closet. That pasta maker that's collecting dust may be perfect for an Italian food-fanatic friend. Whatever cookware is left over, the host can donate after the party.
A swap can be action-packed, so bite-sized apps work best. Serve a few dips like this Lemon-Mint Hummus and Simple Tzatziki with pita bread. Meat on a stick is pretty portable, and this Chicken Satay with Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce goes perfectly with a brightly colored Gin Kimchi Cocktail. (Photo courtesy of Stockxchng/Jazzndre)
Meatless Monday Dinner Party
Meatless Mondays have been a great way to promote sustainable eating, so sharing it with friends ups everyone’s carbon offsets. A truly elegant vegetarian feast won’t leave anyone pining for beef or thinking of tie-dye and patchouli oil.
Kick off the party with Mini Corn and Leek Flautas and Champagne Margaritas. Once everyone’s seated, ladle out this Butternut Squash Soup with Chickpeas and then serve a platter of Broiled Tofu with a Spicy Mango Sauce and a side of brown rice. Pass bowls of a Beet and Blood Orange Salad and a zesty White Carrot Salad around the table so everyone can serve themselves.
Herb Potting Party
This party takes a little planning. First stop: The plant store to pick up a range of herbs, soil, and small potting pebbles — plan on three plants per person. Next, tell the guests to bring their own clay pots. Find a big bucket or something to hold the soil and some large spoons. Whether you’re inside or outside, it may make sense to put the herbs and bucket of soil on a table with newspaper underneath (that you can recycle). Then people can gather around to pot their herbs.
In keeping with the theme, use some fresh herbs to make a homemade salsa and serve with an assortment of chips. Fresh Tomato Bruschetta and Goat Cheese with Honey are also good warm-weather complements to this equally refreshing Winthrop Gimlet Cocktail. (Photo courtesy of iStock/BlueMoonStudioInc)
Curb-Cleanup Neighborhood Party
It’s like a block party but with an emphasis on greening things up with your eco-friendliest neighbors. Cleaning up the litter around the block is not exactly the most fun activity, but everyone will feel proud of their efforts afterwards. Arm the troops with some latex gloves and large trash and recycling bags, but first fortify them with Rum Fix Cocktails to get them in the fix-it mood.
Keep the community spirit going with a light group meal. Ahead of time, put together all the fixings for Jennie's Fish Tacos . Once the cleaning is done, everyone can assemble their own taco, served with ice-cold Mexican beer like Corona or Dos Equis. End on a sweet note — treat guests to some luscious brownies.