It wasn’t long ago when I shared about my version of a healthier bridal/baby/anything shower, and you guys left so much love and asked so many great questions, that now I want to share more about my little behind-the-scenes healthy party/entertaining style. Especially as we approach the season of it in the next coming weeks.
Ok. First of all, entertaining. That word. It’s so Martha, circa 1996.
I love her, but I also can’t stop the visions of meticulously mapped out tablescapes, china sets, fancy proper food (that, come on– no one really loves), and formal dining rooms.
I just can’t.
It makes me want to cuddle up into a little ball and roll away.
So I just call it a cozy party instead.
With great food and deep wines and conversation that spans the depth of tinkling laughter to the stuff that’s really on our hearts.
And gives us a little pause in the daily to-do’s, to feel connected, nourished, encouraged, full of love and grounded again.
Welcoming people into your home, just to feel loved on.
Not to show them how fancy your dishware is, or how pinteresty perfect your candle arrangement is.
When you look at it like that, entertaining is, and can be a such a beautiful thing. A gift of sorts you can give others.
But, only if you don’t freak out about how it’s supposed to be traditionally done.
And given the events of this past week, it seems like there is no better time to make the time for love and connection on the most human of levels, instead of the things that divide.
Personally– my motto is to just keep it simple. Always, in life. But especially with this party thing.
With simple, good food (that just so happens to be healthy and easy to prep), a joyful and somewhat whimsical setting (stuffy just isn’t my jam), and EASE. For all involved.
So today, a little inside peek at a holiday menu I did with Metropolitan Market, here in Seattle. And how you can take it and re-create it at home too, at any point this holiday season.
The recipe game plan: For parties of any kind, my rules are always the same, food wise: I need easy, make-ahead, colorful and hearty recipes.
Most of which that can be prepped ahead of time, so we don’t have a #hotmesshostess situation on our hands. There is literally nothing worse than a stressed out, sweaty and half-hair curled host trying to set out cheese and talk at the same time, so let’s just be clear on that. Nope.
So, needless to say, this is not the time for those crazy complicated recipes you have flagged in your cookbooks. This is time for fail-proof, healthy comfort food that everyone loves- no matter how healthy or unhealthy they are. Food that you wouldn’t be mad at having leftovers of.
A Simply Real Holiday Menu:
The Ultimate Party Charcuterie Board (below)
Set that moooooood baby. You can set all of this stuff up 1-3 days before, and secretly enjoy it all to yourself. #dailyjoys is right.
I am a fierce believer that you don’t need a lot of money or fancy things to pull off a great (and gorgeous) vibe. A few things to think about, ‘biance wise:
All of these things I picked up at Met Market, while I bopped around for my food:
candles: Always. Usually I’m not one for tradition but these taller moody and gorgeous burgundy ones kinda killed it on the table.
napkins: a heathered gray, nice and neutral to let the oranges and fall food colors shine. I mean, give me one season or occasion I couldn’t use these for.
flowers: Duh, always. I am obsessed with these little maroon poms this season, and paired them with reddish brown springs in tiny milk glass vases. The best part? Both last for 2-3 weeks so you can enjoy them to yourself afterwards.
pumpkins/decor: I got 3 small heirloom and multi colored little ones, right down the middle of the table. Unfussy, beautiful, and you can still see people over the top.
1-2 days before, prep everything food wise that you can. It’s so worth it. See Cozy Roasted Parsnip Soup Recipe, Tahini Roasted Carrots Recipe and Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Bacon Recipe for deets.
Step 4: The party day itself. Finish food prep and 30 minutes before people arrive, set up your big bad Charcuterie Board. Use small bowls and dishes to give everything it’s own little place, and set out the cheese last to keep it chilled.
The Ultimate Party Charcuterie Board: A Flexible Guide
Hard salami (uncured and nitrate free)
Softer sliced salami (coppa is my favorite, uncured and nitrate free. Get it freshly sliced at the counter)
Wild smoked salmon
Aged cheddar (I adore Coastal and Dubliner’s irish cheddar and beecher’s flaghip- because no one is ever mad about it, ever)
Gouda cheese (I used their house aged gouda from Metropolitan Market, because of it’s awesome fall color)
Goat cheese/brie or blue cheese
Castrevelno olives (the bright green ones with pits)
Large black olives (from the olive bar, not the canned kind)
Mama’s Lil Peppers
Fresh or dried figs, apples, pears, persimmons or apple chips
Side tip: I keep 2 boxed sets of stemless wine glasses just for parties. TJ Maxx, Marshalls or Target are great for this kind of thing. Nothing kills a good vibe like a 15 minute broken glass clean up.
Step 6: Get your head in the game as a host.
Have the salad prepped and covered in the fridge, the soup on the stove with it’s garnishes nearby, and the carrots on a baking sheet to re-warm.
Pour yourself a little glass of wine, you got this thing down sister.
Turn up that fun playlist (sooooo, you do have one right? If not, this is key to set the vibe and ‘biance just right. Make one– you’ll use it over and over again, and is so worth your time).
Or find a spotify or pandora playlist or station: bossanova or Leon Bridges anyone? Always.
Light those candles. Add the cheese.
You did it.
You little healthy cozy party extraordinaire you.