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Labor Day Inspired Charcuterie Board

Happy Friday friends!  I hope this is the start of a fun filled or relaxing holiday weekend for you.  What are your plans for Labor Day? I’m sure at some point there will be food involved.  And I have a great idea for a Labor Day party appetizer for you today.

Because Labor Day is always celebrated on the first Monday of September all of the items on this charcuterie board are in season in the month of September.

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardA quick google search and I found out that blackberries, cantaloupe, and red peppers are all in season this month.  So I focused my charcuterie board around those items.  And cheese of course!

I composed the board of three distinctly flavored cheeses,.  An aged Gouda, Merlot bellavitano, and a chaumis which is a soft cow’s milk cheese.  I also added in several different flavors of crackers like rosemary, cracked pepper, and sea salt.

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardFor the savory component to the board I used prosciutto, salami, and pepperoni, along with a roasted red pepper spread that I made.  I’ll provide the recipe , just keep reading.

The red peppers were extra sweet because they’re in season right now.

Roasted Red Pepper Spread Recipe

I didn’t get too many pictures of this recipe, but it’s pretty easy not to mess up if you read through the directions below.

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardIngredients:

  • Red Pepper, I used one, but you can use more for a bigger batch of spread
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place your whole red pepper right on the oven rack and roast it for about 20 minutes or until you see the skin turning black and blistering
  3. Once the pepper is roasted, remove it from the oven, and I love this hack, place it in a zip top bag for about 10 minutes.  This will steam it to make removing the skin easier.
  4. Take pepper out of bag and peel the skin off.
  5. Chop up the pepper, removing the stem and seeds.
  6. Place chopped up pepper in a food processor or blender.  Blend until chunky.
  7. Once blended place the spread in a pot with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  8. Let that simmer for a few minutes until all the flavors are blended together.  Just keep tasting it and adding any additional seasonings if you like.
  9. Ta-da, your done!

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardAs you can tell, I’m not super exact when I cook, so my directions and recipes aren’t either.  The good thing is with only four ingredients you can’t mess this one up too badly.

This spread is great on a bold savory cheese.  It’s also good on chicken, beef, or pork so if you have leftovers use it as a sauce the next time you cook dinner.  If you use it during a dinner party, your guests will be so impressed.

Blackberry Balsamic Jam Recipe

If you want to go one step further and incorporate another seasonal ingredient in your Labor Day charcuterie, try making this blackberry balsamic jam recipe.  It’s even easier than the red pepper recipe above.

Ingredients:

  • Blackberries, I used one 5 oz. container
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardSeptember seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese board

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in a pot on medium low heat.
  2. Occasionally stir and kind of mash up the blackberries.
  3. Once the blackberries are mashed up and cooked down to a chutney consistency reduce the heat to a low simmer, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Ta-da!  You’re done!

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardI recommend tasting the jam throughout cooking it to see if you need to adjust any of the ingredients.  I didn’t really measure when I made mine and it definitely could have used a little more balsamic.

This jam is great with cheese and crackers, but I could totally see this on some warm biscuits, yum!  Or even as a filling in a cake for someone that wants a little bit of a different flavor.

These two spreads really amped up the seasonal aspect of this charcuterie board.

I also used cantaloupe on my board because it’s another September seasonal fruit.  I wrapped it in prosciutto and stacked it up.  The combination is very tasty.

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardSeptember seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese board

I hope you’re inspired to try some September seasonal produce, make a charcuterie appetizer, or whip up a new jam from reading this post.  It’s not hard to put in the little bit of effort any of these ideas take to make an extra special dish for Labor Day this weekend.

And this is how I know this child is mine.  He’s obsessed with cheese!  Well basically any food.

September seasonal charcuterie, how to make a cheese board, blackberry jam recipe, roasted red pepper jam recipe, meat and cheese boardHappy Labor Day, if you make either of these recipes let me know by tagging me on Instagram, Facebook, or commenting on this post.  I’d love to hear what you thought of them!

 

 

 

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Fresh and Fruity Summertime Watermelon Salsa

I’m back today with more watermelon fun!  This week is all about celebrating the end of the summer with the iconic summertime fruit, watermelon!  Earlier this week I shared a really easy watermelon drink recipe and today I’m going to share a delicious watermelon salsa recipe.  It’s so yummy!

watermelon recipes, watermelon salsa, summer watermelon ideas, salsa recipeI got the idea for this recipe from Reluctant Entertainer.  I just tweaked a few things to make it my own.

Watermelon Salsa Recipe

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • zest from one lime
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups seeded and finely chopped watermelon
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • a handful of cilantro, finely chopped

watermelon recipes, watermelon salsa, summer watermelon ideas, salsa recipeTo make the salsa just dice everything up and mix it together for a refreshing and delicious watermelon salsa.

watermelon recipes, watermelon salsa, summer watermelon ideas, salsa recipe

Watermelon Salsa Recipe Notes

A couple recipe notes, the original recipe calls for basil, but I think every salsa needs cilantro, and lots of it!  I also think the recipe is sweet enough.  So I didn’t add any sugar or honey like the original recipe calls for.  Trust me you won’t need it with watermelon and mango.

watermelon recipes, watermelon salsa, summer watermelon ideas, salsa recipeAfter serving this with a big bowl of chips I realized it would be perfect over a piece of grilled fish.  One of the very first meals I made my husband before we were even really dating was a similar fruit salsa over grilled fish and rice.  So this salsa brings back some sweet memories for me.

I would also recommend using those hint of lime chips to serve with this salsa.  The lime will give the salsa a little extra zip!

watermelon recipes, watermelon salsa, summer watermelon ideas, salsa recipeThis is definitely a dish that needs to be eaten right away, the longer it sits the more the watermelon will release water and make the salsa turn into soup.  It shouldn’t be a problem though because it’s so yummy you won’t have any leftovers.

watermelon recipes, watermelon salsa, summer watermelon ideas, salsa recipe

watermelon recipes, watermelon salsa, summer watermelon ideas, salsa recipeI love the idea of bringing this to a neighborhood watermelon party.  Or just sit on your front porch and enjoy snacking on this salsa.  We tend to want a snack while watching our kids play in the street in the evening.  Thankfully we live in a cul-de-sac and all the neighborhood kids come out to ride bikes and play. Then the parents get to chat and now, snack!

Be sure to come back later this week to see the last thing you’ll need to host your own watermelon party.  Armed with these two recipes and what I’m giving you on Friday you’ll be hosting your party in no time!

 

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Summertime Watermelon Cooler Recipe

As promised (several weeks ago) I have a great end of summer watermelon recipe for you.  In fact this entire week is going to be all about watermelons!

watermelon recipes, watermelon smoothie, summer watermelon ideas, watermelon cocktailI’ve taken a good chunk of time off from blogging to enjoy the end of summer because August is full of work trips, back to school, and getting back into our routine.  When is the end of summer for you?  I feel like it came way to early this year!

There’s no better way to celebrate one last hurrah than with having a fun watermelon party!  I’ll be sharing several recipes with you this week and a fun invitation to share with neighbors and friends for one last porch sitting party of the summer!

Watermelon is a quintessential summer fruit so it’s only fitting!  First up this week is a super easy recipe.  I actually got the idea from the cutest little girl that wants to have her own cooking show.

watermelon recipes, watermelon smoothie, summer watermelon ideas, watermelon cocktailYou can check out Zoe sharing this recipe on In Zoe’s Kitchen here. I found this recipe a few summers ago when I was pregnant and it was so refreshing, so I’ve been making them ever since.  Her mom blogs over at The Miller Five and is an amazing photographer!

Refreshing Watermelon Cooler Recipe

watermelon recipes, watermelon smoothie, summer watermelon ideas, watermelon cocktailHere are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • cubed watermelon
  • limes or lime juice
  • club soda

watermelon recipes, watermelon smoothie, summer watermelon ideas, watermelon cocktailTo make this refreshing drink:

  1. Combine watermelon and lime juice in a blender or food processor, I use an immersion blender.
  2. Once it turns to liquid, pour into a glass or pitcher
  3. Add club soda for a refreshing bubbly drink
  4. Add a lime or more watermelon to garnish
  5. Enjoy!

watermelon recipes, watermelon smoothie, summer watermelon ideas, watermelon cocktailIt’s a super easy recipe, but it’s very refreshing!  Perfect for one of those last hot days of summer.  Or to serve to friends at one more bar-b-que before everyone is back to school and in their routines.

watermelon recipes, watermelon smoothie, summer watermelon ideas, watermelon cocktail I will say that this recipe is almost smoothie like and you can’t let the drink sit too long or all of the watermelon settles to the bottom, but I doubt that will happen because it’s too good not to drink right away!

And if you have any leftover they make easy popsicles when you pour it into a popsicle mold.  Yet another way to stay cool on those dog days of summer.

Do you think you’ll give this recipe a try?  If so, be sure to tag me on Facebook or Instagram!

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Tablescape Tuesday: Cinco de Mayo

You guys!  Doesn’t it feel like summer is right around the corner?!  It all starts with the warm spring days and then the holidays, like Cinco de Mayo, start happening.  Before you know it you’re next to the pool all day!  I’m getting so excited.

Today, I wanted to share a fun way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  It’s this weekend and the perfect opportunity to have a party.  Plus, it’s also the Kentucky Derby the same day, so you’ll get two for the price of one parties!  Some friends of ours are actually hosting a Cinco de Derby party, and I think it’s the best mash up in a long time.

Taco party, cinco de mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyIt’s no surprise to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with tacos and margaritas, but doing it with fun decorations and a full tablescape takes it up a notch.

Taco party, cinco de mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyI love that Cinco de Mayo lets you have so much fun with color.  Color in the tablecloth and color in the fresh food.  Welcome to my Cinco de Mayo fish taco party!

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyI set my table up using a Mexican themed blanket as a tablecloth.  The perks of living in San Diego for so long was getting some authentic Mexican gear!  Plus all the tacos.  With that as the base I then added our taco bar and decorated with small, faux cactus around the platters and dishes.

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyTaco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyFor the menu I mixed it up a bit by doing fish tacos.  I still dream about the Taco Tuesday shrimp tacos at Cafe Coyote in Old Town San Diego.  They have this white sauce on them that is so delicious!  I tried to replicate that but with a cabbage slaw to add some freshness.

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyHere is a similar Mexican slaw recipe to the one that I used.  It adds a nice crunch and freshness to your tacos.  I made my food prep easier by just using store bought frozen fish.  This kind is great because they have a fairly crunchy outside once they are baked.

Try putting your food out on a big board or platter.  It gives everyone access to everything they need to build their taco.  All it takes to dress up your platter is by adding all the things you are using anyway.  I added extra cilantro and avocados around the platter.

To top off the tacos I made a sriracha mayo by mixing about equal parts and then just drizzling on top of the tacos.

Taco party, cinco de mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyTaco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyI also made a Mexican corn salsa to put alongside the tacos.  Here is a recipe that I used.  I didn’t use cotija, and I roasted the corn for a few minutes before making the salsa. It added a delicious deeper flavor then just having used plain corn.

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyThe table turned out so cute and on theme.  Plus adding a few extra little things like the tablecloth and cacti made the evening so fun.

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyTaco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyTaco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner party

Cinco de Mayo Cucumber Margaritas

To help wash down those fish tacos, I made a yummy batch of margaritas.  I used this recipe to make a cucumber infused margarita that is so refreshing.

I will say that these are somewhat labor intensive because you have to juice the cucumbers.  But they are so worth it!

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner party

Taco party, Cinco de Mayo party ideas, fish taco dinner party, mexican dinner partyCheck out that other Mexican blanket decorating our bar area.  Thanks to my makeshift Christmas card holder, I was able to just put the blanket over the twig and bring the look of the table throughout the whole party.

Do you plan on celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year?  Try doing it with some fish tacos and little cacti!

 

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Tablescape Tuesday: Blue and White Spring Tablescape with Ginger Jars

It’s time again for one of my favorite series here on the blog, tablescape Tuesday.  In this series, I give you inspiration and tips on setting up and designing all kinds of tables around your home.  Dining tables for dinner parties, like today’s post, or coffee tables, end tables, and party tables.

If you were around a month or so ago, you saw that for Lent I tried to have a different family over for dinner every week.  This tablescape was for one of those dinner parties.  I got so much pleasure out of putting these dinner parties together.  Some of the tablescapes, this one included, are some of my favorite I’ve ever done.

blue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatware, spring dinner party

blue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatware, spring dinner partyblue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatware, spring dinner partyI used my super clearanced ginger jars as vases for a spring mix of flowers.  I loved how the blue and white ginger jars tied into my new blue cloth napkins. The napkins are from Homegoods.  It’s a great place to find quality cloth napkins at reasonable prices.

blue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatware, spring dinner partyblue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatware, spring dinner partyPlace cards don’t have to be anything fancy.  A simple tag with some nice handwriting is all I used for this dinner party.

I definitely think when having people over for dinner that haven’t been to your house before it’s a really good idea to use place cards.  Place cards help alleviate that awkward dance around the table where people are trying to figure out where to sit.

blue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatware, spring dinner partyI always like setting out serving dishes on the table before any food is done. This helps me to make sure I know how all of them will fit on the table.  It’s a great way to plan out your tablescape.

One of my best tips is to do this and add post-its to the platters.  Labeling the platters like this lets anyone know where to place food or dishes as they are brought to the table or eating area.

blue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatware, spring dinner partyI was inspired by the menu to make the tablescape my version of what I thought a Tuscan table would look like in spring.  Blues, whites, and texture with wicker.

For dinner I made a beef ragu that cooked in the crockpot all day.  It was so tender and delicious.  I put it atop papparadelle pasta, which is so pretty I’m shocked I haven’t used it before.

blue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatware, spring dinner partyblue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatware, spring dinner partyYou can find the recipe for the beef ragu here. It was pretty easy to put together too, plus it looks so pretty on a platter.

blue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatware, spring dinner partyI added a super simple arugula salad and some crusty bread to round out the menu. I love how the green of the salad and the green in the florals make the blue and white ginger jars pop even more.

blue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatware, spring dinner partyMy goal with a lot of these posts is to inspire you to take something from what I’ve done and have your own celebration.  One easy thing you can take from this post to use at home is to serve dinner from a platter with your family gathered around.

Wouldn’t it be nice to take your typical spaghetti dinner and serve it from a platter around your dining room table?  If you want to add in a nice place setting, centerpiece, and place cards that’s even better.  I hope you feel inspired to do just that the next time you have spaghetti!

blue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatwareblue and white spring tablescape, ginger jar centerpiece, spring table ideas, gold flatware, spring dinner party

 

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Celebrating everyday!