Easy Holiday Cheese Board

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So I was annoyingly stressed out these past two weeks thinking about all the holiday events coming up and all the things going on at work to get prepared for the holiday season that I didn't even want to do Friendsgiving. GASP! Friendsgiving is one of my favorite traditions of the past couple years. First headache was gone when my sweet friend Lexy said she would host. Second headache was gone when I decided to bring the easiest cheese board thanks to Hickory Farms

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Quick story time. Me and Hickory Farms go way back. Every year growing up, one of my dad's co-workers would gift his fellow employees with a Hickory Farms gift box. My sister's and I would anxiously await the evening when my dad would come home with the coveted Hickory Farms gift box. We would rip open the box, fight over who got to eat the little strawberry hard candies and then start sampling every meat, cheese and spicy mustard, completely ruining our dinner. 

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I'm often asked what my favorite food is, and struggle to muster up an answer. I could never answer that question with just one thing, but recently I've really been trying to nail down at least my top five favorite foods. So far chili has been put on my list, and after making this epic holiday meat and cheese board for Friendsgiving, it became apparent that cheese boards are also in my top five favorite foods. 

Not only do I love eating meat and cheese boards, I also love making them. But, I will admit going to the store and wandering the cheese aisle can be super daunting. With a million options, textures, colors, names etc. it's overwhelming deciding what cheese and meats to pair. With Hickory Farms Signature Party Planning Gift Box  the stress is gone. Cue the "easy" part of this holiday cheese board.

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Hickory Farms perfectly curates their boxes to make for a perfect holiday cheese board. The Signature Party Planning box consists of four cheeses, three meats and assorted mixed nuts. Exactly what I would purchase if going at it by myself at the store. These amounts will serve about 12 people. Or 10 hungry 20-something girls at Friendsgiving...oops!

My cheese board assembly tips:
-Cut each cheese a different way. Cubes, triangles, slices, crumbles...
-Bring in different textures such as mixed nuts, fruit, crackers, olives or pickles
-Be colorful. Use cheese and meats of different color to keep it visually pleasing.
-Get your greens in. Some kind of fresh herb to contrast all the orange and cream. I used bay leaves because they were on hand. 
-Include some kind of mustard, jam or spread

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Take a slight bit of the holiday stress off buy purchasing a Hickory Farms gift box for your next holiday gathering. Wow your friends and fam with this easy (and epic) cheese board when you show up for Thanksgiving. P.S. If you are last minute and don't have time to order something, and you are local to the OKC area, I know for a fact there is a Hickory Farms kiosk set up right now in Penn Square Mall. It is stocked with tons of meats, cheeses, mustards and pre-selected gift boxes. Cough Thanksgiving is in less than a week cough cough.

Happy holidays from my easy cheese board to yours!

Annie

Thank you to Hickory Farms for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

Bites of My Life

Happy Monday, I mean Wednesday, what? I'm confused. Welcome to the shortest/longest/strangest feeling work week. Taking last Friday off to move out of my house, turned the weekend into 5 days and now the work week is only 3. The restaurant my company has been working tirelessly over the past 2+ years is just days away from opening. This means the coveted 3 day week will be more like a straight 3 week work week. Seeing everything fall into place is extremely rewarding and exciting. 

Last week I moved out of my sweet little home of the last two years. A new place to call home is on the horizon, but I'll never forget the people, things and memories at Mahler Pl. A very long weekend of multiple cook outs, multiple days by the pool (finally) and a few days of rest to catch up on sleep made for a very successful 4th of July! 

-After two straight years of piling into our living room to watch The Bachelor(ette) every Monday, the last Bach watch party at Mahler Pl. called for copious amounts of Domino's eaten on the floor. 
-Happy birthday to the girl who celebrates everyone more than herself! 
-More pizza had to be consumed to morn not living together anymore. 
-Day 1 of the holiday weekend and Vim Vitae's reduce bloat juice was already needed...
-2 batches of festive Perfect CCCs were made over the weekend! Pro tip, serve them with my Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream for a real crowd pleaser! 
-Guacamole needs a place at every cookout. 
-On a mission to make everything I ate over the weekend festive. 
-Another episode feat. ME coming soon to OKC Over Easy
-Peach, Avocado and Cucumber salad from the newest issue of BA. The perfect accompaniment to our Sunday night steaks and potatoes. 
-Flamingos > Swans.
-Only a corner of all the snacks that were consumed. Calorie overload is a must on holidays. 
-"There's only 3 of us, but we love the 4th" ;)

Annie

Last Minute Holiday Treats

I love my job, but if I could quit my job and just stay home and bake all day, I'd be the happiest. And probably the fattest. This time of year especially, all I want to do is bake.

I'm a little down to the wire, but I still had a few special people I wanted to gift with a little something. I made up a batch of my peppermint bark and cookie butter rice krispie treats, with festive sprinkles, of course. Packaged them up and I'm getting them delivered today. Below I have rounded up tasty holiday treats, some made by me, the rest inspired by others.  Co-workers, neighbors, classmates, instructors, yourself ;), anyone who is still left on your list would love one of these treats! Just click on any picture above for it to take you to the recipe. 

The first few recipes are pulled from the TAB archives, but these other gorgeous recipes are from the gals below! 

Baked by Rachel's Chocolate Eggnog Cupcakes with Eggnog Cream Cheese Frosting

Sally's Baking Addiction's Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Cookie + Kate's Peppermint Bark Popcorn

Local Roots Dietitian's Healthy Holiday Peppermint Brownies

And Ina's Spicy Hermit Bars

And because it's the season of giving, I'm giving you a few more ideas that could easily be transformed Christmasy with a few sprinkles or red & green colored candies like my Signature Sugar Cookies (we make these for santa every year), Cookie Butter Rice Krispies, Cookie Butter Popcorn, M&M Cookie Pizza, Homemade Pop Tarts and Slutty Brownies.

I'm spicing my sugar cookies up a bit this year and adding crystallized ginger in them. Inspired by Ina of course. Because WWTBCD? Add crystallized ginger to her sugar cookies! I'll keep you posted on how they turn out. 

Annie

Bites of My Life

The post-holiday slump starts now:( I hate how fast holidays come and go. Thankful that Christmas is around the corner, but to think I have to wait a whole year until dressing, pumpkin pie and creamed corn again, it's just plain sad. 

The Tucker Thanksgiving was top notch this year. The whole fam plus some, hours in the kitchen, multiple food babies, leftovers up to our ears; shopping, walking, drinking, eating, board games, football games, golf games, etc. I wish it didn't have to end! 

-Rice cake, almond butter, pumpkin puree and cinnamon for a quickie seasonal breakfast.
-Cranberry moscow mules to start the festivities!
-I am a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving dishes, but I risked it for the biscuit and updated our pies with homemade crust and the addition of cranberries to our apple pie!
-Cause the apps before the feast are just as important.
-Not to toot our own horn, but nobody does Thanksgiving better than my family of foodies. 
-The classic pie sampler plate to really send the Thanksgiving food baby into it's 3rd trimester. Cran Apple, Pumpkin and Pecan with homemade whipped cream!
-Sister squad. 
-A very happy #manksgiving! Congrats to Courtney and Hunter!
-Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, took a day out of my life. Kathleen and I spent a solid 6+ hours on the couch marathoning all the episodes. I can't help but love it because it's Gilmore and all, but I was also a little ehh about it. It seemed a little silly and like they were trying to hard at parts. Give me your thoughts!

Annie

Bites of My Life

Post-vacation depression, quickly got subbed out by post-holiday weekend depression. Two back to back all-star weekends. I can't complain too much. My days have been full recently making the weeks fly by. I still welcomed the long weekend with open arms though! When I think back, I really jammed a lot in from Friday to Monday. Happy hour, dinner and show, day trip to Dallas, dinner with parents, pool time, drinks with friends, more pool time, 4th of July barbecue and more. All reason why I'm exhausted. Best part of a long weekend though, is the short week that follows!

-Last week was devoted to recreating some favorite D.C. eats. First the colorful mezze bowls from Cava Grill. I did turkey meatballs, a grain mixture of brown rice, barley and quinoa, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, picked onion, feta, tzatziki and tahini. 
-Attempt number two was with fancy mushroom tacos like at Chaia.
-Fell into the Sprout's salesperson's trap, but at least I'm getting in extra greens! 
-Acai bowl made better topped with HIppie Crack brought back from D.C.
-A delicious meal and even better cocktail had with the fam at OKC's new Mary Eddy's on Friday night before seeing Dreamgirls. 
-Took a quicky day trip to Dallas with mom and sis. The highlight was a stop at one of my favorite places.
-Cause a little frito chili pie and a cheese ball never hurt anyone.
-Thank goodness the swan had our backs!
-I get a kick out of being overly festive. A patriotic yogurt bowl was a must.
-Almost too cute to eat, but we all know I ate it anyway.
-Cause every barbecue needs a good salad. I did a combo of arugula, watermelon, feta and chopped pistachios. Salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic. Got real festive with my star shaped watermelon.
-Red just really isn't in our color wheel. 

Annie