Hey y’all! well, it’s almost the 1 year anniversary of the blog. I started this blog around Christmastime last year, and this year, I’m reminded why. Because Christmastime leaves me feeling happy, inspired, and creative. I love all the decorations everywhere, the good moods people are in, and the Advent season in the church. It’s a special time of year to be around friends, family, and coworkers.
While I love this time of year, it can also be a bit stressful. My family lives in different areas, so the planning, traveling, shopping and cooking can be a bit tiresome. Not to mention, now that I am married, I have TWO families to be with during the holidays. While I feel blessed to have a second family adopt me, I like to feel prepared for everything the holidays throw at me. Not to mention, we have 3 kids that everyone wants to see. So, like every normal person with anxiety who’s mind runs when they lay down at night (you know you do that too), I thought last night to write up a few blog posts sharing some of my Christmas essentials that I keep on hand at all time in order to celebrate the holidays with grace, style, and hospitality. So my next few posts will be mini blog posts of my must-haves during this time of year!
My mom, being the good, Southern woman that she is, always taught me to have a few staples in my home at all times. She was always ready for visitors and enjoyed being hospitable to anyone who came to her home, especially during the holidays. The holidays is a time of year where people bring gifts to each other, visit family, and we all have more visitors than usual. So, it is of utmost importance that a Southerner’s kitchen maintains certain important culinary delights to share with our guests who visit. So, put on some Christmas music, light a Christmas tree candle, plug in your tree and let’s be jolly dammit!
My first post is simple, and all about one of my favorite things in the world…. a cheese tray! Every time I visit my mom’s house, I swear by the time I go to my room to put down my bag, she is greeting me with a beautiful tray of cheese, fruit, crackers, and cured meat. It makes me feel so loved and like I am back home again. My sister in law, Blair, is the master of a charcuterie, where she displays many different kinds of cured meats, cheeses, and fruits. Blair has an eye for how to make a charcuterie look perfect because of her talented, artistic design styles she displays in pretty much everything she does. She brings a charcuterie to every family function and it’s always a hit. Anyone can make this…buy the things you like, plate them up on a pretty cheese plate, pour some wine or champagne for your guests, and enjoy. Christmas guests will feel special, welcomed and loved whilst nibbling on yummy bites and sipping a glass of cab. Also, if you get invited to a last minute Christmas soiree, this is super impressive to bring there.
Heres what I did to create my cheese tray. Here we go!
Music: Christmas music, duh. I’ve been listening to Michael Buble’ Christmas Pandora Station. So many good classics as well as newer Christmas hits.
Wine pairing: During the holidays it’s important to have several options for guests. My mom always taught me to have 1 white wine, 1 red wine, and a champagne cocktail option in my home at all times. I will do another post later specific to this. But for now, make sure you have 1 good red, and 1 good white.
Crackers (my mom swears you have to buy “upscale crackers” or “Boujie crackers”…basically Ritz are unacceptable here. find something that is grainy, flavorful and substantial enough to withhold all the meat and cheese.
Cheese of your choice- I went to Rouses and chose a Havarti with Dill as well as a Henning Mango Fire cheddar cheese. Other good options are Brie, Goat cheese, or Boursin. If you go to Whole Foods they let you sample the cheese which is amazing, kind, and gives me hope in humanity.
Nuts of any kind, but preferably a good mix of nuts that are candied. Many areas have fantastic local businesses that sell these kinds of treats- find them and buy them! Today I found some almonds and put those out but plan to sugar my own nuts during the holidays, because…festive.
For the cured meat I chose Crespone. It is described as country-style salami with a buttery finish. The meat looked well seasoned and I liked the bite-size slices. It is yummy and tastes great folded around the cheese.
Other good additions to the cheese tray are smoked salmon, boudin (because yes) or any other cured meats you may enjoy (prosciutto, salmi, pepperoni, etc. Try something new!)
Place the items on your tray, pour your wine, and enjoy those around you. Christmas=love.
Any un-eaten cheese, meat, or fruits can be re-refrigerated and prepared again for your next guests, or holiday soiree. Or, maybe just for you. Because sometimes we are alone but want to be festive, eat good food, drink good wine, and enjoy life dammit. I mean, I’ve heard other people say they do this. (not me)
Next posts will be fun and will include my choices for wine, cocktails, sweets, and overall atmosphere setting in the home during the holidays. Ahh I love this time of year!!
be merry. don’t be an asshole. simple right?