There is something so inspiring about the abundance of fall. The warmth of fall colors, the flavors, and seasonal fruits; they all lend themselves so nicely to a Fall Inspired Cheese Board.
I absolutely love creating cheese boards for easy entertaining. They make the most beautiful centerpieces on any table and are the most uncomplicated appetizer offering you can possibly serve. But we’ve all see a rather blah and boring cheese board…let’s be honest. So what’s the secret? Variety and abundance…and not overthinking it! If you see fruit or nuts or crackers that inspire you in the store, grab them! Pile it high and fill in all of the nooks and crannies with goodies for guests to pick at. Here what I did…
Cheese: When I’m shopping for a cheese board I always start with the most important part, the CHEESE! Usually one soft cheese like a triple cream brie or a soft blue cheese, one hard sheep’s milk cheese, and one hard cow’s milk cheese. But I also like to have fun with the cheese selection and try new things. I found an apple pie cheddar cheese at Trader Joe’s that is to die for topped with a few pistachios and a drizzle of honey. It’s perfect for a Fall Inspired Cheese Board. Paprika sheep’s milk cheese is also fun and gives a beautiful bright orange color to board. Add a sprig of rosemary or a few nuts to the top of brie to dress it up.
Crackers & Bread: Next, pick crackers and a baguette for slicing. Sliced baguette goes really well with soft brie while grainy whole wheat crackers are delicious with a hard cheddar. Bread sticks and flat bread are also nice!
Dried Fruit, Nuts & Seeds: Fill in the spaces between the cheese and crackers with piles of pumpkin seeds, pistachios, and golden raisins. More is more! Dried orange slices are pretty and unexpected. Dried apricots, figs and pecans are other favorites of mine.
Fresh Fruits, Jam & Honey: Pick fruits that are in season like crisp apples for slicing, persimmons, and golden raspberries. Fresh figs are also lovely cut in half for a pretty presentation. Set out small jars filled with jam and honey for drizzling over the cheese and crackers.
Meats: I planned to include thinly sliced prosciutto on my cheese board but Mom-brain got the best of me and I left it in the fridge. Ah, well. I’ll have a nice salty treat to snack on with my left over cheese!
Boards & Platters: One large platter will definitely work but if you can, try breaking up your offerings into multiple platters! I used one small wooden cutting board and two sliced wooden serving boards clustered together. Surround the boards with dried Indian corn, apples, pears, small pumpkins or gourds…whatever you have that feels fall-like will work.
A beautiful cheese board really can come together so quickly and with hardly any prep work, aside from slicing a few pieces of cheese to get the snacking started of course. It’s fun to see what sorts of combinations your guests will make. It’s all about crafting that perfect cheesy bite! For me that’s means Brie topped with some sort of fruit or nuts and a little drizzle of honey. Perfection!
photos by Leah Bergman
Happy Friday, Friends! I’m so honored to be joining a group of fellow bloggers in a series called Real Talk with Real Moms. In the past the ladies have covered everything from sleep to co-parenting, and even growing their families. I’ve followed their posts and always loved how honest and open they are with their own experiences and views. So, I’ll be jumping in from time to time to write about topics that I can relate to or that I have experience with like this month’s topic on the holidays and creating traditions.
Pumpkin patch visits and pumpkin carving, choosing a Halloween costume, and trick-or-treating, it always feels like the holiday season starts with these things and a whole lot of pumpkin baking! But growing up, the holidays were not always the easiest time for me.
My sister and I grew up in a divorced household which meant that holidays were always split. One year we spent Christmas with my Dad, the next my Mom, and so it always went until we were old enough to drive back and forth stuffing ourselves full of TWO Thanksgiving meals, and attending late night present opening for Christmas numero dos. Not a whole lot of opportunity to create yearly traditions with either side of our family.
My Mom did her best to make sure we had our own little traditions like opening one gift (usually pajamas) on Christmas Eve night. At my Dad’s house my Grandma would send us each a yearly Christmas ornament, a tradition she still continues with all of her grandchildren to this day. I remember feeling like I was missing out growing up so far away from family here on the west coast while my family was all on the east. This is largely why the traditions of food and holidays that I create with my family now are so very important to me. Every recipe that has been passed down to me by my Grandmas, Great Grandmas, and Mom are like little bits of gold. They fill in the blanks of holiday traditions I missed out on. They are just as much a part of me as if I had actually been there each and every holiday to prepare them.
Now that I’m a Mom, tradition and family are more important than ever. Before we ever had babies, Jason and I discussed the importance of creating our own family holiday traditions together, no matter how challenging that might be with two sets of divorced families. Christmas mornings will always be spent at home opening gifts with the babies and enjoying our Christmas breakfast together. There will be some sort of homemade sticky roll and of course plenty of bacon. Naturally, I petitioned to host Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner every year as well but I do have to make a few sacrifices.
Holiday traditions and memories don’t always have to be grand and elaborate Christmas Eve dinners either. Baking my Grandma’s Christmas cookies with Jackson and Millie is something I am really looking forward to. Visiting pumpkin patches and picking out Christmas ornaments, attending our favorite tree lighting ceremony, and taking Christmas card photos. Those are the traditions the create a family culture. The fun and playful, happy memories that build the fabric of the family. Ok, so family photos do not always equal happy and playful but hey, I’m trying here! If nothing else I hope the twins have fond memories of their childhood holidays and a love for the season spent with family.
Of course I will take every opportunity to host Thanksgiving and Christmas and NYE if it’s given to me. I do make a damn good turkey! But for now, while the twins are small, I’ll stick to pumpkin patches and trick-or-treating, to matching pj’s and Santa Claus. There are plenty of future years to host an old fashioned family Christmas, Griswald style!
So, how do you balance the holiday season with your families? Do you have any favorite traditions? You can read what the other ladies have to say about the holiday and their families in the links below!
*Above photos from our first annual pumpkin patch adventure at Underwood Family Farms! Jackson would have loved nothing more than to sit in the patch and play with the littlest pumpkin all day while Millie ran around touching every single pumpkin in the patch.
Gummy eyeball stir-sticks and sprigs of rosemary turn your everyday blood orange margarita into something much more monstrous. Monster Mash Margaritas that is, and just in time for Halloween!
You know I love a good spooky themed cocktail, so when I found these gummy eyeballs in the grocery store I HAD to turn them into a grotesque Halloween garnish. Simply skewer gummy eyeballs onto plastic stir sticks and pop those babies into your cocktails. Creepy and delicious!
As for the margarita it’s simple, blood orange juice, lime, simple syrup and tequila! This time of year I buy blood oranges in the grocery store and at the farmer’s market but you could always use a blood orange-cranberry juice and skip the simple syrup if that’s all you can find. Either way, blood orange makes one tasty margarita! Boris would approve.
…Then you can mash, then you can monster mash!
photos by Leah Bergman
- 2 oz Silver Tequila
- 4 oz Blood Orange Juice
- Simple Syrup- to taste
- 1 oz Lime Juice
- fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish
- slices of blood orange and lime for garnish
- gummy eyeball candy skewered on stir sticks
- Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake until well chilled. Pour over a glass of ice and garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary, slices of blood orange and lime and a gummy eyeball stir stick.