On a chilly Wednesday night earlier this month, I trekked to Whole Foods. This time it wasn’t for my monthly shopping spree when I make a serious dent in the bulk flour and nut bins, rather it was for a blogger event on how to entertain with style while on a budget.
It was a blast. Everyone there had a story to tell about satsumas or truffles or cheeses and the pilgrimages made to find the best of them. I met local food bloggers Nicole Kutcher of A Bushel of What, Mary Nelen of ValleyLocavore, and Sarah of Hadley’s Whole Foods Market blog.
We toured the store and sampled Prosecco and citrusy sparkling cocktails, spiced nuts, tofu in endive boats, baked feta cheese, artichoke dip, and cashew coated chocolate truffles. I tasted budget wines, winter coffee blends, and cheesecake bites. Sarah showed us how to make punch and roll truffles.
I left with a handful of recipe ideas and a few tips on how to throw a smashing holiday party. Feel free to share your own tips and I’m always looking for new ideas and holiday playlists (hint, hint…).
Five Ways to Throw a Fabulous yet Frugal Holiday Party:
1. Create a budget-friendly menu. Serve a number of small bite recipes such as, Ina Garten’s Chipotle & Rosemary Spiced Nuts; Roasted Feta with Thyme Honey; Black-Eyed Pea Pate with Pickled Onions on Flatbed Crackers; Pan-Roasted Coconut-Lime Brussels Sprouts; Nutty Red Pepper and Thyme Dip; Baked Coconut Lentils or Layered Pasta and Veggie Bake; and Sarah’s Dark Chocolate Pretzel Truffles.
2. Shop the produce and bulk aisles for the most nutritious and cost-effective ingredients on your list. You’ll find the majority of your ingredients for the above recipes around the perimeter of the store (fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, and whole grains). For the rest on your list, buy only what you need and shop the sales.
3. Save on your bar tab. Instead of offering a full bar, come up with a signature cocktail to serve along with beer. Plus a selection of non-alcoholic drinks—seltzer water, apple cider, and virgin cocktails.
4. D.I.Y. decorattions. Cut out large snowflakes from recycled paper, string popcorn for the doorways, or make your holiday arrangements with greens and berries.
5. Set the scene with music. Create a personalized playlist for the occasion and push the living room coffee table aside to make space for a small dance floor.
Enjoy your festivities!
p.s. I’ll let you know when I finish my holiday playlist…