Food & Drink · Uncategorized

How to make the ultimate charcuterie board.

The holiday season is finally here!

For most of that means it’s the season for good friends and family, great wine and tons of delicious food!

I have come to find there are two types of people that host holiday gatherings. The first type are the ones who reach deep into the freezer for the same boxes of frozen appetizers year after year and pop them in the oven a half hour before their guests arrive. I love that group of people and I know when I go there, they’ll have those bomb mozzarella sticks they have every year that I look forward to expect! Although I love them, the second type are the ones I personally identify with. The perfectionists and over over achievers. The ones who wake up the day of at the crack of dawn and start zipping all over the kitchen to prepare everything on the carefully selected serving ware for the event that you know are going to match the carefully selected cocktail napkins they purchased months ago. Side note: you can confirm with Tyson – it’s best to leave these types of people alone while they are in the zone.

When we first deemed our house to the gathering spot for events I knew I needed to move from the frozen food people to the made with love people. I wanted our friends and family to leave our house with full stomachs and for them to talk about the party for weeks after.

One of the easiest ways to jump from the first category to the second is with a charcuterie board. I always always always do a few charcuterie boards when we have company. They’re full of so many bite sized goodies and you can mix them up each time with different flavours, textures and colours.

I will break down the essentials to a charcuterie board for you below but you don’t have to stick with this at all – go crazy and mix it up! I do find that I like to do a few different boards because I scatter them across the kitchen counter, kitchen table and into the living room – the three areas people tend to congregate in our house. I do mine on wooden platters / wooden cutting boards because I like the rustic look of them when they come together but you can use any platter you’d like really.

charcutie 1

Essentials for a charcuterie board:

You’ll want to incorporate a variety of crackers. These will of course compliment your cheeses but will also provide some much needed crunchy texture. I try and always have the following:

  • Bread sticks
  • Traditional style crackers (a mix of traditional, veggie, flax etc.) the more flavour, shapes and colours the better
  • Bagel chips
  • Toasted pita

Cheeses are an essential component to every charcuterie board. Be sure to offer a mixture of different tastes and textures. Don’t forget, you’ll need to set out cheese knives and toothpicks! For the hard cheeses I like to cube them up for easy eating but it’s not necessary)

  • A hard cheese (such as cheddar, marble, provolone and gouda)
  • A medium-hard cheese (such as swiss or jarslberg)
  • A semi-soft or soft cheese (such as havarti, brie or neufchatel)

charcuterie 2

Dried fruits as well as fresh fruits are great for a charcuterie board because they add a subtle sweetness and also lots of colours. Pick and choose a few, you don’t have to go over board here.

  • Dried mango – my personal favourite so I always like to serve it
  • Dried pears – these pair well with buttery cheeses like brie, triple cream, cheddars etc.
  • Dried apricots and cherries – these both go best with a tangy goats milk or sheep milk cheeses, blue cheeses or any funky aged cheese.
  • Dried peaches – these pair well with sheep and cows’ milk cheeses. Cheeses that have nutty undertones like in a jarlesburg swiss and esquirrou make a great option
  • When picking fresh fruit, it’s important to pick things that will hold up their appearance as the night goes on. I would recommend raspberries, grapes, and berries. Stay clear from choices like pineapple, kiwi and oranges.

Top off your board with a mixture of nuts, cured olives, mini pickles and either some humus or a spinach dip and you’re all set to entertain!

Do you have a signature dish or food item you whip together for gatherings? I’d love to hear about it!

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Real Talk · Uncategorized

9 Things to do right after you get engaged.

It’s December which to many of us mean, it’s engagement season!

In case you are new around here, Tyson and I get engaged this past January and are now well underway to planning our March 2020 wedding.

Getting engaged is super exciting and I can’t urge you enough to pause and let the moment soak in before you rush into any decisions. You’ve paused and are ready now? OK, so now I want to talk about what comes next! I’m guessing there are a few of you out there who might be in the same boat as me right now, or you’re women’s intuition is going off and you’re sensing an upcoming engagement, which is why I wanted to write a post all about what to do right after you get engaged. Some of it may seem a little like common sense, but some things have even taken me by surprise!

Whether your engagement is a few months or a year, I hope this post is helpful for any brides-to-be out there like myself. And if you have any other important tips on what to get done ASAP, please share in the comments!!

Celebrate!

I wanted to include taking a minute to celebrate because hello!! You just got engaged!! Trust me, I totally get how easy it is to dive in head first to wedding planning mode without even taking a minute to digest the fact that you’re getting married. But it’s totally worth it to slow down for a second and take it all in. Lucky for us, we were on vacation when we got engaged so that gave us a few days to spread the word before we arrived home to our friends waiting with bottles of champs!

Insure your ring and get it sized.

OK, so this is VERY important. I’ll be honest – I didn’t even really realize this was something you have to do, but you 100% should. Get it done right away too because if anything happens to your ring, you want it to be covered!

This is also a good time to get your ring sized if you need to (Tyson was adorable and crept into my closet to measure my rings before he proposed. However, he accidentally measured my thumb ring for my right hand which is much larger than my left handed ring finger. I needed to take mine in to be sized from a 6.5 to a 3.25. He was smart enough to bring temporary spacers for the ring on our vacation so I could wear it in the meantime). It sucks to be without your ring for a little bit, but you don’t want it falling off or be too tight! Some jewellers can do it day-of on the spot like mine did so call around!

Set a wedding budget.

This is one of those logistical things that isn’t very fun but has to be done. Think about the kind of wedding you want (big, small, local, destination, plated dinner vs buffet, etc.) and get an idea of what your budget will be. Do this ASAP so you can start booking vendors and thinking about all the fun details! I suggest starting an Excel file and adding every budgeted amount and every purchase so you can stay on track.

Nail down your most important vendors.

Speaking of vendors, you want to nail them down basically as soon as possible. This would include things like your venue, your photographer/videographer, your planner (if you’re having one), the florist, caterer, DJ or band, etc. These people book up months (sometimes years!) in advance so start doing your research right away and then book visits so you can make a decision sooner rather than later.

Pick your date.

You basically can’t do anything else until you have your date set in stone, so while you’re contacting all your top vendor choices, be sure to get a few available dates from each of them to help you narrow down what date works best overall. Take into consideration weather, if you want something inside or out, in-season vs. out of season prices, the type of vision you have and all that!

Share your plans with close friends and family.

As you start booking things, you’ll definitely want to keep your family and close friends in the loop. You don’t want to pick a date that doesn’t work for one of the most important people in your life but you also don’t want to be living on other people’s agendas, so keep this circle small-ish. If you want a big wedding, it might be best to do something more off-season so you know more people will be able to attend!

Choose your wedding party.

If you are having a quick engagement, choosing your wedding party is something to do right away! If you’re having a longer engagement it may not seem quite as important, and I would almost have to discourage you from making a quick decision on this. Friendships can change overnight and when you add a wedding into the mix, sometimes people change. Your girls are going to want to get to work planning showers and a bachelorette party for you so giving them as much time as possible is always helpful but make sure you think this through before hand. If you aren’t doing a party, you can obviously skip this!

Gather inspiration.

Now it’s time for all the really fun stuff! I’m neck-deep in wedding inspo right now and it’s been so dang exciting! Grab a big glass of wine and get over to Pinterest ASAP because you’ll be both fascinated and overwhelmed by all the different styles of weddings that are possible! So. Many. Choices.

Go dress shopping.

Ahhhh!! This can be the most exciting part but it can also take some time! I suggest starting this sooner than later once you have a clear idea of your venue and decor. You might be like me who falls in love after the first dress and you’ll know that’s the dress without trying on others. Or, you may go to every bridal stone in your town and try on everything! Even if you have a year-long engagement, I definitely wouldn’t wait too long to pick your dress!

Sometimes I still have to pinch myself that I’m engaged and all of this is happening so fast! Where are you at in your planning cycle? What do you have done and what do you have left to do? Any other March brides here or destination brides?

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Real Talk · Uncategorized

How to deal with negative self-talk.

Today’s post is something I’ve been wanting to write for a while, but is kinda heavy so I think I’ve subconsciously been putting it off. Negative self-talk is an issue I deal with frequently and I want to put it out there because I think we all can be unnecessarily hard on ourselves every once in a while. I know I write a lot about positivity and self-care, etc. but the truth is I have some down moments of my own and can find myself in a really negative head space sometimes. I try really hard to be self-aware enough to know when I’m in this space, which is what I want to touch on in this post.

I sat down and put some thought (basically did a brain dump and pulled out what made sense) into it and the following is what I came up with for how to deal with negative self-talk.

Be aware enough to know when you’re doing it.

I mentioned this above and I think it’s the most important thing to take away from this post. Knowing when you’re in a tough spot mentally and taking it all out on yourself is key. Because, no matter what your situation is, being mean to yourself isn’t going to help solve anything. Honestly, I think self-awareness is one of the best characteristics a person can have.

Ask yourself why.

If you find yourself talking or thinking negatively about yourself, pause for a second and ask yourself why? Did you miss a deadline? Forget an appointment? Drop the ball in some way at work? Doing any of those things can make you feel like a failure darn quick. I GET IT. But how does beating yourself over it help in any way? Instead, ask yourself why you’re being so hard on yourself and then write a quick list of two or three things that you can do to change the circumstance for next time. Take action! Rethink your priorities, evaluate your goals. etc. There are just a lot more productive things you can do to help yourself than sitting around making yourself feel like total crap, know what I mean?

Do something you enjoy.

This kind of goes back to the self-awareness thing, but you need to know how to get yourself happy. KNOW what gives you true joy! That way when you need to bring yourself back up you know exactly what to do. For me, it’s going on a walk or having some quiet time snuggling with Winston, or even a call to my grandmother always seems to go a long way. Whatever it is for you, just do it and get yourself smiling again.

Give yourself grace.

This is another very important lesson I’ve learned in the last year or so. Giving yourself grace means you’re not being so critical of yourself and you’re making room for those “mess-ups” or “drop the ball” moments. The more I learn to extend myself some grace, the less I find myself in a bad spot mentally. It makes a huge difference, trust me!

I truly, truly hope you find this helpful. This is definitely an issue I’m still working on myself, but if putting it out there helps any of you then it’s worth it!

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.