What Are You Making for Thanksgiving?

Oh hi!

It's been a while...that's because we jetted off to Aruba last week with my family!

We had such a blast. It was really so special to be back to the place where Shaun and I were married now with our sweet baby girl in tow.

 

The week was filled with lots of sun (and shade for P), pool time, beach time and food. I'm happy to say that outside of a couple of minor meltdowns, Penelope also did pretty well on both 4.5 hour flights. Can't complain about that.

 

We arrived home at 9:30PM Sunday night, which means that I still have suitcases filled with dirty laundry and my fridge and cupboards are bare. This afternoon I'll be braving the rain to pick up the necessary ingredients for all of my Thanksgiving Day treat making. On my list for tomorrow, as well as Thanksgiving Part II on Sunday:

 

Pumpkin Pie...2 of them, actually. Lots of bloggers and food sites go crazy with pumpkin-themed desserts around this time of year, but what ever happened to just a basic pumpkin pie? It's truly one of my favorite foods in the world...slathered with a healthy dollop of whipped cream, of course. So I'll be going Libby's-style and making 2 of them for our large 17-person gathering.

Pumpkin Dip, served with graham crackers, gingersnaps and apples. I just mix pumpkin, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice together for a luscious dip.

These cranberry cupcakes that I spotted in Food Network magazine. I'm oddly intrigued by them and can't seem to get them out of my mind. This is especially odd since I'm typically not necessarily a cranberry person. But if they are good, then I know they will also make a great addition to our Christmas spread.

I also plan to redo the sundried tomato cheesy bread, but this time perhaps with some pepperoni and traditional tomato sauce...I'll let you know how it goes!

That's it for my list today. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving Eve! I am so wishing that I could travel into the city with Penelope to watch the balloons blow up for tomorrow's parade, but I suppose next year might work out a bit better. 

What are you making for Thanksgiving?

And how are you doing on your Thankful Things? I'll be posting mine for the month of November tomorrow!

 

 

Chip 'n Dip Hostess Gift Basket

On Sunday, we were invited to a little gathering at our new neighbor's home. We were so excited to welcome Megan and Nick to the building and we wanted to bring a little something for them. I love hostess gifts that are for post-gathering enjoyment so that it really is something for the host/hostess to have all to themselves. Perhaps on another evening when they want a treat while catching up on their DVR. Or something like that.

 

Since Sunday was also Cinco de Mayo, I whipped up a little gift basket of Mexican-themed goodies. I stocked the basket with quality, organic tortilla chips. Shaun and I love these because they are so thin and salty and I adore the rustic brown paper packaging, which also looks great in this basket.

 

And who wants chips without dip? I picked up 3 different dips for the chips. 2 types of salsa and a con queso...mild to medium heat does the trick I think.

Lastly, we finished it off with a bottle of white wine...something nice that can be chilled and balance out the medium heat of the salsas. A good tequila would also be nice here. I used pretty green tissue paper, tied it all with a purple paper raffia ribbon and added a little note to our hosts.

So there it is. A stocked gift basket that I wouldn't mind receiving anytime! I am a serious chip 'n dip lover, after all. And I think that using high quality, pretty-looking items really ups the ante for a simple gift like this.  

What are your favorite hostess gifts to give? To receive?

Did you celebrate on Cinco de Mayo?

 

Create a Rustic Cheeseboard

On Saturday evening, we had a few friends over.

I got it in my head that I wanted to make a tricked out cheeseboard for our guests. At the end of the day, I could sit and eat only cheese at a party, forgoing all other eats.

Is that weird?

 

Though I adore these cute little reusable flags, which I've used in cheeseboards of yore...

 

this time, I didn't want to serve giant hunks of cheese. And no hunks = nowhere to put the flags. So I had an idea to cover a wooden cutting board with {slightly crumpled and then smoothed} parchment paper, set everything up how I liked, and then simply write on the parchment. I used a fine tip pen for this so that it wouldn't smudge or run onto the food (ack). The result was incredibly subtle, but sophisticated and sweet. I need to hunt down some better parchment-writing implements so that it's easier to read, but as Shaun pointed out, it was nice that the identifiers weren't the star of the platter, but were there in case anyone was interested.

 

For the cheeses, we served up aged cheddar, goat cheese hand-rolled by Shaun in an herb mixture of parsley, oregano and basil, a strong wedge of blue cheese, and a trio of Spanish cheeses, including drunken goat cheese, iberico and manchego.

 

We also added some sliced aged brasaola...

 

some honey (for drizzling on the blue cheese)

 

and some pickled beets.

 

Paired with a tall glass of red wine and it doesn't really get much better than that!

I really loved this idea and looked so pretty on the table. I can't wait to come up with some other ideas for future boards, like additional cheeses, fig jam and maybe some fruit, like apple slices or grapes.

So that's how I dolled up a basic cheeseboard. There's something so rustic about adding the crumpled parchment and I'm loving the fact that I can simply write directly on it so guests know exactly what they are getting!

Questions of the Day:

How did you spend your weekend?

What's your favorite thing on a cheeseboard?