Friday, December 15, 2017

The Best Trader Joe's Charcuterie Board

Happy Friday, friends!  Who is headed to a Christmas party this weekend?  If you're still looking for something to bring, check out my host with all my favorite hostess gifts (click here).  If you're like me and hosting this year, I have the perfect charcuterie board to add to your menu that will impress all your guests and doesn't break the bank.

I absolutely love hosting hors d'oeuvres and appetizer parties.  It's so easy to put things together ahead of time then actually be able to enjoy the party with your guests.  Plus, having a variety of options, like this cheese and meat tray, give friends and family tons of options. 
I work across the street from Trader Joe's, and it's deadly.  I go in at least once each week to grab lunch (their freezer meals like the burrito bowl are so good) and end up with at least two bags of delicious things: fresh produce, wine, some type of chocolate, and usually flowers.  I thought it would be fun to round up some of my favorites that make the best holiday appetizer.  This post was in no way compensated or sponsored by Trader Joe's, these items are just some favorites that I had to share!
Let's start with the meet and cheese, the base of the tray.  Turkey Summer Sausage, Wisconsin sharp cheddar, and cranberry goat cheese are my favorites.  I put these on different corners of the tray and cut a few slices of each to start.  I've found that if the meat and cheese still looks intact, no one will want to reach in to be the first to take a piece.
Next is the crackers.  My absolute favorite are these Fig & Olive Crisps, and they also make Raisin Rosemary and Pumpkin Cranberry that are delicious.  Don't forget some traditional crackers like Golden Rounds or a cracker trio for even more options.
Lastly, the finishing touches might be my favorite.  Fill in all of the open spaces left on the tray with dried fruits, yogurt and/or chocolate covered raisins, or this English Toffee - so good!
There you have it!  Find me one person who can't find something they enjoy on this tray they love - I bet you can't.  Pair this with a couple of bottles of Trader Joe's wine, and you have yourself a party!
What is your favorite party appetizer?

And before you go, one more thing!  Head over to my Instagram page (@megd_taylor) and enter to win Starbucks gift cards for you and a friend to enjoy a holiday drink together!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas Wish List

Happy Wednesday!  This is always one of my favorite posts to put together, it's my twenty-first century letter to Santa.  There is definitely emphasis on the word wish in this list.  Some of these items are absolute wishes, but that's the fun part of making a list - just like when I asked for a pony when I was little!

Let's start with my wishes - first those headphones.  On Black Friday, we were at Best Buy getting new phones, and I wandered over to the audio section and tried on these pretty white headphones.  The store was so loud, but as soon as I put them on, it was silent.  They have a hefty price tag, but again, that's why we call it a wish list - haha!

My other wishes include prints by the amazing Teil Duncan here in Charleston.  The colors of the Sullivan's Island beach would be perfect for our living room, and the picnic blanket and oranges match our kitchen so well.

Now for more useful gifts; I am in desperate need of a new camera strap.  I want a long one that I can wear across my body, and I love how thin this Etsy shop's styles are.  I also love that hat and vest.  I don't wear winter jackets very much anymore in South Carolina, but vests are so perfect for the weather down here.  While it might not look like a useful gift, I have been wearing the same cocktail dress to work events for like two years, and I would love a new look.  The sweater and midi skirt look is so pretty, and I love the colors on this skirt from Nordstrom.

And lastly, the pretty things: who doesn't love some new jewelry and shiny sneakers?!

What's on your wish list this year?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Family Traditions: Cinnamon Ornaments

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #ShareMagicSpreadJoy #CollectiveBias

Growing up in New England, the holidays were everything.  When I think of the month of December, I think of snow on the ground and bundling up in the car to go on drives to see Christmas lights.  Now, living in South Carolina, life is a little different.  I was still in shorts last week, and we take our golf cart out to see the lights around our neighborhood.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love where I live, but nothing beats heading "home" to see family.

This is why I'm so excited about Publix's Home for the Holidays Sweepstakes.  Visit Publix this holiday season and shop for Coca-Cola® to find the code to text and enter to win airfare for two, anywhere in the continental United States to travel home for the holidays.  Five winners will be chosen and the sweepstakes ends 12/30/17.  If I won the sweepstakes, Mike and I would use the money to make our annual trip back to Rhode Island and Connecticut for the holidays.  Mike has so much family in Connecticut that we would not be able to see everyone if we didn't travel there.  Plus, my parents dress my childhood home up so nicely each year with their tree and Christmas village that it's always a highlight for me.
Because we only spend a few days home with family this time of year, we've begun incorporating some of our families' traditions into the holidays at our own home.  From filling our stockings the same way Mike's mom did each year (complete with an orange at the bottom) to opening each door of our advent calendar with excitement (which is still filled at Thanksgiving by my mom), we are all about traditions.  Each of the last few years, I have made cinnamon ornaments for our home, and they smell so much like my childhood.  Growing up, my mom and I would roll out the dough on the kitchen table each year, and cut them into holiday shapes to hang on the tree.
Last time I was at Publix, I grabbed the apple sauce and cinnamon I needed, along with a 6-pack of holiday-themed Coca-Cola® for a fun afternoon of crafting.
What you'll need: 
- 1 cup apple sauce
- 1 1/3 cups ground cinnamon (plus a little more to keep dough from sticking)
- 2 tablespoons school glue
- rolling pin
- wax paper
- cookie cutters
- straw
- cookie sheet
- ribbon
What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
2. Combine apple sauce, cinnamon, and glue in a large bowl and mix until smooth.
3. Lay one piece of wax paper on a flat surface, and place the dough ball on top.
4. Cover the dough with a second slice of wax paper, and roll out the dough until it's just thinner than the diameter of the straw.
5. Uncover the dough and cut out shapes using the cookie cutters.
6. Place another piece of wax paper on the cookie sheet, and lay each ornament on the covered cookie sheet.
7. Use the straw opening to cut out one hole on each ornament (for the ribbon).
8. Bake in the oven for 1 hour on the wax paper.
9. Take the ornaments out of the oven, remove the wax paper, and place the ornaments back on the sheet (same side up) to cook for an additional half hour.
10. You will know they're done when they are no long doughy on the bottom.
11. Let the ornaments cool on the cookie sheet and when cool, tie with a piece of ribbon for hanging.
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Where would you travel if you won the Publix Home for the Holidays Sweepstakes?

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