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I have to admit that I learned how to do theme parties from my parents. My dad’s favorite one every year is “Celtic Fest”. He goes all out with decorations, games for the kids, backyard Scottish games, kilts, and more.

Even more over the top at Celtic Fest is all of the food. Do you see all those crockpots full of beef stew and lamb stew? There were Scottish flag cookies too, but they were devoured before I pulled out my phone.

This year, I wanted to contribute some food allergy-friendly dishes. I used this recipe to make candied popcorn. I did burn one batch of the sugar, leaving the liquid candy brownish rather than green. Don’t leave out the vanilla – it really does change the flavor. I was just afraid of turning another batch brown unintentionally. I followed the directions exactly with the orange though and it was lovely. In fact this recipe was an easy way to keep the food in the theme colors, that it will likely show up at other parties in the future.

I also used the recipe for Turkish Cake to add more green to our table. The green is from pureed spinach, but you won’t taste it. The cake was gluten free, dairy free, made with spinach, (and without the vanilla – the recipe’s directions left out that step) and I still had people asking for the recipe. I think that makes it a winner. I thought it was extremely moist and had a great flavor.

Because I made it dairy free, I tried to make my own whipped cream topping out of cans of coconut milk, but that didn’t work. On my way to the party, I stopped at Whole Foods where they had a spray can of soy cream, but then we could not get it out of the can. In the end, it only had a dusting of powdered sugar, but my intention was to add a green sugar shamrock to the top – maybe I can do that for St. Patrick’s Day. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, something is going to go wrong.