I chose the menu keeping in mind I was inviting young children, vegetarians, several people with food restrictions and others who might have religious food restrictions too. I wanted to avoid all nut products and wanted to have choices which did not contain gluten. I decided to stick with a vegetarian menu. Some of the items would include eggs or dairy but there would be alternatives in case any one had problems with those items.
According to Shaun the Sheep (http://www.shaunthesheep.com), sheep love pizza and apples. In one episode of Shaun the Sheep the flock watch the farm get pizza delivered to the farm and decide to get their own. The episode is about how they get to town to bring pizza back to the farm for the flock. We decided that ordering cheese pizza would be a nice covenant food to feed our flock. We called ahead to make sure the local pizza shops would deliver to the park.
But for those who have wheat, gluten or dairy allergies or intolerances pizza just wouldn't do. So to supplement the cheese pizza I made a homemade vegan chili. (KISS Vegan Chili recipe below.) I had a chafing dish to keep the chili warm but the wind was blowing enough there was no chance to keep the Sterno can lit. I kept half of the chili warm in a recycled Styrofoam cooler in the van and one tucked in a bucket surrounded by party favors. Since lunch was one of the first things we did the chili was still plenty warm for the guest.
In another episode the flock take on the naughty pigs to have fresh crisp juicy apples. Another healthy simple food to serve. We purchased 3 varieties of apples to serve. Our guest didn't have to take on naughty pigs but were able to choose between gala, Macintosh, and red delicious apples.
(Keep it simple :)
2 - 16oz cans of each (drained & rinsed)
Pink kidney beans
Dark kidney beans
Garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1 -16oz black beans (drained & rinsed)
2- 28oz crushed tomatoes
1 tsp ground cunim seed
2 tbl ground red pepper (or/& crushed red pepper seeds or chopped jalapeño peppers to taste)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp black ground pepper
1 med sweet onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 tsp garlic
1 tbl sugar
Place all ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker. Choose a cooking time: 1) Low flame or setting for 12 hours. 2) Med for 6 hours. 3) Boil for 20 min then simmer for 30 min
She did WHAT? (Explanations):
I used canned corn to avoid wheat but frozen can be used. Some frozen foods spray the inside of the plastic bags with a plant based product which has traces of wheat/gluten. This stuff keeps the contents from sticking to the bag, but it can make some people very sick.
I used canned beans for convenience but an equal amount of soaked dry beans can be used.
Adjust spices according to how fresh or how "strong" they are. Herbs and spices dry out with age and can loose their potency. You may also adjust according to you taste. If I have guest I often make it on the milder side and serve hot pepper slices or hot sauce on the side. Guest can always add "heat". If it is too hot it may be a problem for some.
Cumin seed is often uses in bean recipes. It is added because it has natural anti-gas properties.
I add a little sugar to many of my recipes which use tomatoes. Tomatoes can be sweet or a bit on the acidic side. A little sugar can bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes and be a nice contrast to the hot spices. If your tomatoes are already sweet leave the sugar out. If they are very acidic add a little more sugar.
All of these ingredients can be eaten as is. Cooking is more for the blending of flavors. Like most stews they always seem to taste better when they cook longer.