Entertaining: 5 Simple Tips

 Now that we are practically in the middle of December, entertaining season is in full swing- one of the reasons why this is my favorite time of year! Today I'm sharing a few of my tips and tricks for entertaining.

1. Serve the easiest cheese platter. If you have a Trader Joe's in the area it's the most affordable place to get creative and delicious cheese. Offer guests three of your favorite cheeses, I always pick one rich cheese like gouda and one soft like brie or goat (not shown). Serve a sweet jam, chutney or honey for guests to serve themselves. I find this is a lot less messy than drizzling over the hunk of cheese. I chopped up fresh rosemary and mixed it with plain honey, aromatic and so easy. Dress up your platter with grapes, cherries or dried apricots and a sprig of whatever fresh herbs you have on hand.

2. If you're making a punch or pitcher drink - use cheap wine and champagne, yes this means Andre! The restaurants do it, and you can too. Save your money for nice bottles of wine and liquor, your guests will never know (I guess mine do now!).

3. Have fruit and veggies on hand for guests on a diet or with food allergies- especially apple slices that can act as a cracker. Always coat them in lemon juice to avoid browning.

4. Use fancy dishes to dress up snack foods - like gourmet potato chips or flavored popcorn. This gold bowl (from Target several years ago) is one of my favorite pieces!

5. Make labels! Guests love this personal touch and it can help with confusion for larger parties. I love to let guests mix their own cocktails but put out recipes and ingredients for a few of my favorite drinks.

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