Many retailers are implenting the birthday offer into their retention and loyalty strategies and I truly think it’s one of the best perks (spoken like a true marketer, right? Haha). But really, as a customer I love the time of year when my inbox is flooded with birthday offers. It’s a nice gesture to show the retailer cares about your business and you as a customer. One of my favorites is from Cold Stone Creamery. I mean, who doesn’t love ice cream?! 🙂 My go-to? Birthday cake ice cream with brownie and walnuts. Yum!!
A dessert parfait is one of the easiest and prettiest desserts you can make. It’s perfect for dinner parties to finish off the meal with something light and slightly healthy (well it is fruit!). A parfait is simply just the layering of some sort of cream/pudding and fruit in a glass. While I don’t make the true version, because whipped cream typically is just used on top, I love the version I make because it’s layers of just whipped cream and fruit. Yum. And the key is the whipped cream – only fresh whipped cream will do.
Making your own whipped cream is super easy and tastes so much better than the store bought. You’ll need 2 tbs sugar to every 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. The trick to great whipped cream? Putting the bowl and whisk into the freezer for 10 minutes so it’s super cold while you’re mixing. This will create the peaks you want in the cream. Whisk until the cream thickens and creates those peaks.
Now it’s time to layer! Don’t have parfait glasses? No problem. Just use any wine glass. Make them earlier in the day and store in the fridge until dessert time for your next dinner party! Enjoy!
Cheese and crackers are the classic appetizer for any party. When I think of cheese platters I think of my mom’s 1970s cheese board. It’s dark wood with a tile in the middle with flowers on it. It had a knife attached onto the handles with a chain. She used to put it out every Christmas Eve with cheddar cheese, swiss cheese, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. Oh and triscuits of course. And all us kid cousins would love being able to cut our own slice of cheese or pepperoni. But how do you make the perfect cheese platter you ask? Well for starters, have fun! But here are a few tips to follow when creating your cheese board:
What kind of cheese?
Be sure to choose an aged cheese, a firm cheese, and a soft and/or blue cheese in your assortment. But know your crowd. If you have guests who don’t like blue or brie cheeses, stick with a soft cheese like a fresh mozzarella.
No one ever knows how much cheese to buy. I don’t even know sometimes! From what I’ve read, 3-4 ounces per guest should suffice
What to pair with it?
This is the fun part! I always pick some sort of meat, dried fruit, fresh fruit, olives and crackers or breadsticks. A honey or fig spread are always good options too. My most recent cheese board consisted of a genoa salami, dried apricots, grapes, castaleveno olives and flat breadsticks. Yum!
Knives and labeling
I got these really cute chalkboard cheese picks for Christmas last year to label my cheese. These are great because you can reuse them time after time and they look awesome with your spread. Make sure to also invest in cheese knives if you’re going to serve your cheese without having already cutting it. Not only do they cut the cheeses in the proper ways, but they look great on your platter.
Again, have fun! I’ve invested in some really cute boards to arrange my cheese platters on and you really don’t need to spend a lot. My latest wood board I got at Ikea for like $14. Arrange the cheese and meat on the board first. Then get some height in with bowls and cups for the breadsticks and olives. The dried and fresh fruit goes last in the empty spots. Stick the labels in and knives around and you’re done! Feel free to pre-cut your cheese also for easy grab and go for your guests.
A few additional tips
Cheese is best served not right out of the fridge. Let it sit for a half hour to an hour before serving. If your pre-cutting your cheese and meat, don’t do it too far in advance as you don’t want it to dry out or get funky. A few hours before should be good.
My latest cheese board:
So I asked my dad to search for my mom’s cheese platter to share with y’all. He couldn’t find it (he’s still looking though!) but did find one we must have inherited from my grandmother. It’s not the one I grew up with but I had to share so you get the full vision. So 1970s!! Want more of what these boards looked like? Google 1970s cheese board. You’ll get the idea!