Appetizers ASAP

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Unexpected company does’t have to mean another mad dash to the store. As the Boy Scouts say “always be prepared.”

It’s happened to all of us. Ok, well if it hasn’t happened to you, it’s happened to me…that last minute phone call, right when you’re getting off work, and definitely do not have time to head to the grocery store, “hey honey, I invited a few friends over, they will be here by 7PM. You don’t have to do anything, it will just be an easy night, you don’t even have to cook because they aren’t staying for dinner. Hope ya don’t mind!”

Oh s*$t.

If you’re like me, the following thoughts go through your head the moment ya get that call:

– Have I done the dishes? Did we wash the wine glasses? Do we have ANY clean glasses?
– Shoot, now I have to clean the countertops.
– And the table.
– And the bathrooms. Ug. 

– Did he mean they aren’t staying for dinner like they ate before they came….or they are going to leave before they are hungry?
– I’m hungry. Whoa. Super hungry.
– We need SOMETHING to eat with drinks. Hmm.
– Why does this somehow not feel like an “easy Friday night” at home..

Always Be Prepared

Although I love to entertain, there are always those occasional nights that pop up on me that I don’t expect to have guests over, and that I definitely have not prepared my home nor entertainment space for. To help you eliminate some of the stresses…and store visits….if and when this ever happens to you, here are a few tips for products you should always have on hand to ensure your unexpected house guests feel like you prepped for this visit all week.

And remember, being prepared doesn’t mean you need to have a three course meal in your back pocket at all times. It just means there are certain things you can pull off quickly and easily to transform that last minute gathering at your home into an affair your guests will think you slaved over.

Cheese Please

There is something very classy about a cheese tasting board. It is the perfect compliment to a wine or cocktail night, and it takes virtually NO prep work and zero cooking to pull off!

You can fridge/freeze cheeses for longer than you may think – so the next time you make that weekly grocery trip, pick up a few of your favorite blocks. And if you don’t use them for entertaining, there are PLENTY of other uses for them in the meantime (think homemade pasta sauces or sandwich and burger toppings..). This ensures you’re either prepared for guests – or get to have a little fun finding creative ways to utilize a few bricks of good stuff if your home is void of guests for a bit.

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Just a friendly reminder – actual “cheese boards” can come in a multitude of shapes and materials and are certainly not limited to wood. If you’re looking to add that extra finishing touch, consider slate trays. Not only are they fun to write on, but you can create your own at almost any building supply store for virtually nothing!

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My Friend Joe

Trader Joe’s can be any party planners best friend. This post is to help you find quick solutions for last minute adventures with friends and family – and what’s easier (and creates less mess) then a microwavable appetizer? Sure, home “cooked” meals are always ideal, but sometimes there just ain’t time!

TJ’s offer a vast selection of appetizers, all at typically far less expensive prices then your standard grocery store chain. From flat bread pizzas, to pastry cheese puffs, to sausage bites, to wontons…you get the point. The trick with micro meals however, is presentation. So you only set the timer for 3 minutes and didn’t have to lift a finger otherwise to make these tasty treats….your guests certainly don’t need to know that! Always remember to plate your dishes. Take the time to place your apps on serving dish ware that matches the event’s ambiance. And remember that sprigs of leaves from the yard, or herbs and flowers from your garden all make fabulous garnishes to add that extra finishing touch.

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Practical Tip of the Day:

Go A Little Nuts

As a note, nuts can be bought and stored in your freezer for a LONG while. You can add nuts like walnuts or pecans to any cheese board, as a garnish to a dip you’re serving or they can be served as is in your favorite bowl. (More posts on easy dip recipes coming soon…but hopefully this is a start to helping you realize that last minute guests doesn’t have to mean added stress).

“Always be prepared.”

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