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Entertaining Essentials: What You Need On Hand
Monday, June 4, 2012 - 2:56pm
Natalie Mason - Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers
“Nothing makes me happier than a fabulous glass of wine, Mexican food, and good shopping,” says Southern gal Natalie Mason, who confesses to a healthy side addiction to reality TV.

Having a toddler means that we entertain at our house a lot. It is easy to put our little one to bed and then have friends over for happy hour. I have a few essentials that I always keep on-hand in the fridge for quick or last-minute entertaining purposes. If you stock up on these things during your regular grocery store visit, you'll always be prepared for invited (or uninvited) guests!  Plus, who doesn't like tasty snacks and booze sitting around their house?


My three favorite wines that I always keep in on hand are:







All three wines are under $15 and always crowd pleasers. I buy FoxGlove at our local ABC store (on Harborview) and you can find the Chalk Hill and B.R. Cohn at Costco.  If you are looking for a great bubbly to have on-hand, I highly recommend Contempo Prosecco. It's light and refreshing and not too sweet. Most grocery stores carry the Contempo line.




My favorite go-to appetizer is a cheese tray.  I like to always have three different varieties of cheese on-hand. Usually, an aged gouda, soft brie/goat cheese, and a white cheddar.


My favorites are:  A Dutch Masterpiece aged Gouda, KerryGold White Cheddar, Triple Créme Goat Brie.




In addition to the three cheeses,  I always put out a dish with Kalamata olives (Krinos) and pickled okra (Talk o' Texas). If I have time, I like to buy fresh olives from the case but I usually keep a jar on hand for times when I can't stop at the store.


I like to serve one meat with the cheese, either pepperoni or salami. 



Add a few crackers and you have the perfect, easy-to-toss-together appetizer. Currently I am loving the 34 Degrees Crispbread Crackers. They are so thin and super crispy and pair great with cheese. I buy these in bulk at Costco, Earthfare carries them as well.

This is a tray I threw together last minute a few weeks ago with what I had on hand.  See, it pays to keep these few things stocked up in your house for unexpected guests.


Two other staples I also always keep on-hand are Sabra Hummus and Palmetto Pimento Cheese. Both are my favorite snacks and easy to toss in a dish and serve with crackers for guests. I always put the hummus in a dish and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika- it makes it look fancy!


Keeping a few simple things on hand makes your entertaining life much easier!  So sit back enjoy that wine and don't stress about impromptu guests!

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