It’s entertaining season which means chances are you’re likely doing a combination of hosting friends and family in your home, and being invited as a guest. That means you need a go-to appetizer recipe and a great hostess gift idea so you’re covered for playing both the role of hostess and guest. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I decided to take traditional ham appetizers up a notch and developed a new crowd-favorite.
I like to keep my recipes really simple, especially when entertaining. There’s always so much to do to prepare for guests that I never try to complicate things in the kitchen. But during the holiday season I do like to offer guests something just a little more special than normal. So when Maille asked me to partner with them, I was so excited to come up with a new simple, yet elevated, appetizer recipe.
It’s a basic ham and swiss crostini (which even the littlest guests will enjoy), but elevated with fresh herbs and Maille mustard. On top of each piece of bread, I spread on a layer of Maille Black Truffle Mustard with Chablis White Wine–SO DELICIOUS. It tastes like a familiar ham and cheese appetizer, only so much better. (The full recipe is at the bottom of the post).
Maille also makes a fabulous hostess gift or gift for any foodie in your life. I added a jar to a hostess gift basket for a holiday party I was invited to. Any host or hostess would be happy to receive this–holiday season or anytime! And if you have a foodie in your life that you’re shopping for, a gift basket like this will certainly be appreciated. (more…)
It’s pretty well known that I rather decorate things than bake them. I am a big fan of taking store bought desserts and dressing them up to make them look great. Some people love to bake. Me? I love to decorate and hate all the dishes that comes with baking. I’m always picking up desserts from my local grocery store bakery and giving them a twist. Whether its turning pre-made cupcakes into ghost cupcakes, or adding a floral topper to a store bought cake for an engagement party, I’m all about keeping things simple. I got the inspiration for this easy cheesecake when thinking about ways I could use fun Halloween candy. It took under ten minutes to make and looked so cute!
Start with a store bought cheesecake (if you want to bake your own, this cheesecake recipe is so simple I didn’t mess it up when I made it the first time). If you get a frozen one, be sure to thaw it out before decorating. When you’re ready, melt chocolate and drizzle over the cheesecake. Next, top with your favorite Halloween candy. Seriously, that’s it guys.
You could use any candy to make this beyond Halloween. I’ve done it for Christmas dessert and it was really cute! It’s a great way to use up leftover holiday candy as well.
No one has to know you didn’t make it either! I won’t tell (promise!). This easy cheesecake should go in your arsenal of desserts, just saying. Here’s a short video if you want to see me making it in action!
Holiday entertaining season is fast approaching and every year I like to plan a head a bit and file away some easy party appetizers and small bites for when I’ll need them later. Appetizers and small bites are my go-to party food because you can keep the recipes incredibly simple and make a variety small bites which keeps things interesting (and guests happy).
I recently made a tray of small bites using some fresh ingredients at my local farmers market. Each appetizer was different but all three utilized a bit of dip. I’ve partnered up with Heluva Good Dips this season and have been sharing different ways to pair their flavorful sour cream dips with local fresh ingredients (like this bountiful veggie tray I recently shared). I like that their dips are made with real sour cream and lots of flavorful spices so they pair really well with a variety of flavors.
I created a smoked salmon crostini, A cucumber + radish wheel, and a mini heirloom potato bite. Each was unique but really simple to make. When it comes to party appetizers, simple is always my motto.
To make the salmon crostini I lightly toasted sliced baguette pieces in the oven with a bit of olive oil. Then, I added a drop of Heluva Good! French Onion Dip on top. Next I placed a piece of smoked salmon and then garnished with a bit of fresh rosemary. This looks like a really impressive appetizer to serve but it’s really easy to make.
To make the cucumber + radish wheels Top slices of cucumbers with a drop of Heluva Good! French Onion Cup and then place one slice of radish on top.
To make heirloom potato bites
Microwave small heirloom potatoes until they are soft. Cut them in half and scoop out just a little of the potato (just enough to make a small well for the dip). Add a scoop of Heluva Good! Bacon Horseradish Dip to each potato. Top with cracked black pepper and garnish with fresh chives.
Each one of these easy party appetizers took less than ten minutes to make and are crowd pleasers. Using the flavorful dips makes all the difference here, feel free to mix things up and experiment with your own flavor combinations.
Be sure to use the Pinterest button below and save these ideas for later!
Visit HeluvaGood.com for full product info and to find out where you can buy Heluva Good! dips in your neighborhood.
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
This post is in partnership with Bed Bath & Beyond. All opinions are my own.
I absolutely love to entertain in my backyard. We’re pretty lucky here in Southern California and have a long season where we can comfortably host a backyard dinner party without worrying about the weather. I jump at every chance to set a table outdoors and invite friends and family over for a laid-back evening of food, wine, and good company. Are you wondering how to host a backyard dinner party? I’m sharing some of my simple tips with you!
Although it just might seem easier to host your group indoors, I encourage you to consider dining alfresco next time. I’ll show you how to host a backyard dinner party that is simple but feels really thought out. Here are the main steps.
Purchase and gather a few outdoor entertaining essentials
Stage your area by setting up the table and place settings ahead of time
Here’s a glimpse at our set up from the other evening. It all really starts with getting a few essentials for entertaining outdoors. Bed Bath & Beyond is a great place to head if you’re looking for outdoor entertaining essentials like tablecloths, cups, plates, and serving pieces. I recently partnered with them to highlight some of their great finds for outdoor entertaining. Here’s a look at some of the items that set the stage for our recent dinner party.
I just fell in love with this palm leaf tablecloth. It’s stain and water resistant which means it’s perfect for dining outdoors. It just screamed “summer” to me and knew it would make a great base for our palm leaf tablescape.
I wanted to mix patterns and textures to keep it interesting but not too matchy-matchy. I grabbed some melamine serving pieces that had a wood and marble look to them. Melamine pieces are great for dining outdoors–you won’t be afraid to break them. I also layered melamine plates on square natural woven jute placemats. These brought a nice earthy feel to our outdoor table. I also love how versatile they are. We use them regularly.
Next, I layered on some place cards, glasses, stemware, and bowls. I highlight recommend setting up everything you can ahead of time. It gives you time to enjoy setting the table without feeling rushed. You can do this hours ahead of when you expect your guests to arrive.
About 30 minutes before guests arrive, I bring out an arrangement for the table. Flowers tend to wilt fast in the heat so I don’t bring them out too early. I always combine fresh blooms from my yard (in this case roses) with a few store-bought blooms (like the hydrangeas and greenery). A small arrangement just makes your table feel pulled together and adds such a thoughtful touch.
About 15 minutes before guests arrive, I bring out the chilled rosé (though, rosé spritzers would have also been a great choice). I recently got this copper plated ice bucket and am mildly obsessed with it! It’s going to match everything on my bar cart and get used so often. I just love discovering unexpected and unique items like this and Bed, Bath & Beyond never disappoints on that front. (more…)
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Looking for veggie tray ideas for your next BBQ or dinner party? I love laying out a variety of fresh veggies and dip for guests to enjoy. Especially at a summer BBQ where the menu is typically heavy on grilled meats. A fresh veggie tray is a great way to offer guests a great appetizer to snack on without being to heavy.
When possible, I always head to our local farmers market to pick up some fresh vegetables. I love to mix up what I serve based on what’s in season. And I always look for something unexpected to add into the tray–in this case they were some delicious black figs I discovered.
There are several ways you can go when thinking of veggie tray ideas, but my favorite is creating a long board like this that can go in the center of the table. I find when you put the appetizers off to the side or out of the proximity of where your guests are sitting, they often go untouched. Using a long board almost makes it feel like a colorful (and edible) centerpiece. (more…)
My entertaining style is all about creating a beautiful and thoughtful event but all while keeping things as simple as possible. When I was in middle school, I was addicted to two day time TV shows (I used to record them on VHS every day to watch them when I got home. Sad? Maybe. But totally true). They were Martha Stewart and Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee. Martha was all about details and making things perfect and pretty, while Sandra was all about starting with store bought and elevating it a little to make it impressive and “your own.” My style is definitely a combo of these! So, if you’re looking for pretty (but simple) engagement party ideas, this post is for you! The four parts to the perfect engagement party are: Desserts, appetizers, a themed cocktail, and a couple of thoughtful details. Desserts When it comes to creating beautiful desserts for any party, my secret is to start with store bought. Yep, head to the grocery store or local bakery. You can then dress up these pre-packaged good and re-plate them and no one will know the difference. Plus, you’ll save yourself time and stress if baking isn’t your thing. I picked up this chocolate cake and these eclairs from my local grocery store. Then, I simply put them on a serving platter and added some fresh flowers (also from the grocery store). These blooms are not edible so you would just remove them before eating. If you’e worried about it, you can always pick up some edible flowers. I made this “congrats” cake topper using my new Cricut Explorer Air Machine which totally dressed up the cake. It only took a few minutes to make this vinyl decal that I added to a piece of crafting wood I had. I loved how it turned out! Don’t the desserts look pretty? And there was no baking required! Appetizers Another engagement party idea I love is to serve one appetizer that guests can eat while holding a cocktail. If you want to serve two to offer variety, go for it. But don’t do more than that. This simple appetizer took me a few minutes to put together but looked gorgeous on a plate. Just skewer: watermelon, basil, feta cheese, and a blackberry. Such a unique flavor combo! Themed Cocktail Every great party needs a themed cocktail. I created this “love punch” which would be so fun at an engagement party. The grapefruit gave it the perfect peachy-pink color which was so pretty. I think I’m in love with this grapefruit cocktail actually. (Grab the recipe, here.) Isn’t just so perfect? And it tasted delicious! Thoughtful Details Like the cake topper above, I used my Cricut machine to make a couple more thoughtful details for the party. I made these vinyl heart decals for my punch glasses, and also a decal that said “love punch” that I added to a acrylic sign holder which I placed next to the punch bowl. The glasses might be my favorite element! You can let guests take them home as a party favor. Or, if you want to keep them, remove the decal before washing. They come off very easily and leave no residue on your glass. I also love how the white heart pops from the color of the punch when the glasses are filled. If you’re looking for engagement party ideas that look great but won’t cost a fortune (or require you to turn into Martha Stewart), these ideas are perfect. Start with store bought, dress things up, and add a few details, and you’re ready to entertain! Be sure to check back next week, I’ll show you how to create these thoughtful details. I’ll show you the step-by-step one how I used my Cricut to make the vinyl decals.You can also browse the Cricut Design Space–there are so many great projects to make!
Be sure to enter to WIN your own Cricut machine here.
I was invited to participate in the Cricut Party Blogger Program Kickoff.
This experience is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company or PR agency and I have given my honest opinion.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.