Fresh Opening Acts

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These 3 cuties were too young to enjoy the spread, but their moms loved it all!

It’s Monday afternoon – are you already thinking about the company you have coming over on Sunday for the cookout?  Or maybe the friends you have promised to host someday?  I love to entertain so I am always thinking about the next get together!

My mom use to serve hot appetizers and hors d’oeuvres when they hosted parties.  Maybe because I lived in California for eight and a half years and we did much outdoor entertaining, but I love a fresh-looking spread as the opening act for our guests.  I am obsessed with colorful plates and bowls filled of fresh fruit, veggies and different types of cheese, spreads and plenty of crackers.  IMG_2120

IMG_1589We did a lot of entertaining in The In Between back then.  Read about it here! 

I start with olives and almonds on little plates. I then put out a bowl of cherry tomatoes and one of carrots.  I rinse off some strawberries and put those in a bowl, along with some fresh cut green apples.  I also put out some chips and salsa or green chiles.  Both men and women will nosh to their heart’s content!

I make a lot of guacamole as well.  Read my blog post for the best recipe and a few tips.

I also buy humus at the Farmer’s Market (last Sunday’s cilantro and avocado hummus was amazing!).  A friend of mine gave me this canned jar of Cayenne Pepper mix and I love to put it out just like this! I have learned to can applesauce, tomatoes and strawberry jam — this Cayenne Pepper mix is my next canning project!

My new craving is a slice of Sierra Nevada Baby Bella/Creamy Jack organic cheese on a cracker with some avocado slathered on top of it.  When I cut up the avocado, I put the pit on the plate along with some fresh slices of lemon and lime. I finish it with a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel salt from Napa Style.  Forget about salami and cheese – this combination will be your new snack hankering.

I put it all out on our coffee table on a big tray with some crackers and chips.  I bought 10 of these green salad plates years ago at a garage sale with my mom for $18 (she told me I didn’t need that many plates!).  Fresh food looks so pretty on them and I love them because of the curved lip around the plate!

IMG_3875We have plenty of cold water and Pellegrino on hand because people are thirsty when they walk in the door. After that, we pop the champagne and pour the cocktails.  I ask people to come over STARVING because there will be plenty to eat and drink.

Lastly, I love fresh flowers in the house.  But to switch it up, I cut some fresh herbs that grow in our little garden and make a bouquet (peppermint and oregano).  Or put out a little bowl with freshly-planted succulents.  Anything that makes the spread feel fresh, fun, and inviting!

OK, who is ready for the weekend already?

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