Carissa Stanton had the Mediterranean on her mind this summer. Or, more accurately, bringing together a Mediterranean-inspired menu full of vibrant produce, fresh ingredients, and bright, fun drinks. The Brocc Your Body founder is a Los Angeles-based food blogger who creates healthy, simple, and delicious recipes. Carissa collaborated with Hauste™ on a full-scale how-to host guide to manage a thoughtfully curated dinner party, featuring a detailed menu, two cocktail recipes, and design inspiration. During the summer, she hosted a stunning dinner party for eight in her home, which featured a few of our kitchen and dining essentials and outdoor entertaining serveware. We had the chance to speak with Carissa recently about how cooking is her love language, why simple, accessible recipes with fresh ingredients are central to Brocc Your Body's mission, and some go-to tips on preparing for hosting your next gathering. Scroll for more from Carissa, read her Mediterranean margarita recipe, and see pieces like our handcrafted ceramic candleholders and drinkware at her dinner party.
Shop Carissa's Dinner Party
Founder of Brocc Your Body, blogger, chef, etc.—your career has always been marked by healthy living. Tell us a bit about how you got your start and what inspired you to start blogging about your health expertise and knowledge.
I have always had such a huge passion for food, and when I studied Kinesiology in college, I started to understand how important nutrition was. I combined my knowledge of nutrition, the functions of the human body, and my intense passion for food was how Brocc was born!
What brings you joy throughout the whole process of cooking and hosting a dinner party? What do you love most about it?
Cooking is my love language, so having the people I love altogether and making them a meal is truly my definition of joy. There's nothing better than preparing a meal and seeing people enjoy it. I also love prepping everything earlier in the day to ensure I don't have much work to do later. It's therapeutic for me.
For those about to enter their first holiday season entertaining, what is your favorite tip for cooking for large groups?
Prep, prep, prep!! You should do as much work as possible before your guests arrive. I always have veggies chopped, dips made, and everything ready to go the night before. No one likes a stressed-out host.
What qualities do you like to always be present in your recipes?
I always make sure that my recipes are approachable and accessible. My goal is that when you skim over my recipe, you either have all the ingredients on hand or know exactly when to get them at the grocery store. I don't want them to feel complicated or foreign. I also love cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients. I tend to avoid anything too processed or artificial, not just for health reasons but because they just don't taste good.
What was the inspiration behind this meal? Any seasonal vegetables we should be adding to our menus?
We wanted to make something really light and fresh, inspired by the Mediterranean. We really leaned into what was fresh at the market for the meal, from the halibut we served to the vegetables for the crudité. We also used a ton of fresh herbs, which I try to incorporate into every recipe I make. It just adds so much bright freshness to a dish, as well as a ton of flavor.
What drew you to these Lulu and Georgia pieces for this meal? Any favorites you're loving on your table this season?
Lulu and Georgia is my go-to for anything home related. All my favorite pieces in my kitchen are from L&G. The Shelly Pitcher and matching cups we used are perfect for batch-making cocktails so your guests can serve themselves while you finish dinner!
What were some of your favorite pairings on your crudité board? Similarly, any tips for laying out a board this size?
Pita, cucumber, and hummus are my go-to. If you haven't made hummus at home, it's a must! The trick to curating a snack board is ensuring there's never any blank space. Whether you fill in the gaps with nuts, herbs, or whatever you want to add, just make sure it's all filled in. I also love drizzling the veggies with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. It makes it taste better, and it also makes it more visually appealing!
Is there any seasonal produce you're focusing on right now?
Right now, I am really soaking in the last of summer by using tons of tomatoes and watermelon. The salad we served at this dinner party is the perfect way to utilize these!
What feelings do you hope to evoke in people when they come over to enjoy a meal with friends?
I just always hope that people are able to relax, enjoy delicious food, and hopefully, they are inspired to do a dinner party themselves. I also love connecting people and bringing different friends together, so if people leave with a new friend, that makes me ecstatic.
What's next for you and Brocc Your Body?
I am always working on fun projects, whether a dinner party collab or something bigger. As always, my passion is bringing my audience accessible, nourishing meals, and I will always post new recipes on Instagram and TikTok!
½ cucumber, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp. mint
12 limes juiced
2 lemons juiced
4 oranges juiced
8 oz. Cointreau
16 oz. tequila
2 tbsp. agave
Sumac and agave for the rim
Rim the glasses with agave, then sumac. Muddle the cucumber, mint, lime, lemon, and orange juice together in a pitcher. Add the remaining ingredients and top with ice when ready to serve.