Holiday Entertaining with Harry & David

Holiday entertaining is right around the corner, with Thanksgiving and Christmas and the million parties in between, something is bound to end up with you as the host. You couuuuld go to several different stores and buy all the different meats and cheeses and wines or you could also just head over to Harry & David and have all the options at your fingertips shipped straight to your house.

Before when I thought of Harry & David I would just think of boxes of pears delivered monthly so it was a nice surprise when they reached out and asked if I’d be interested in trying out some of their holiday options like organic charcuterie and cheese plate, California creameries collection (a personal favorite), and Gourmet Serving Tray Gift with Wine that ended up being most of the spread I put together because it has so many good options for a well rounded spread.

They’ve also got some great new wine, namely their new sparkling wine that’s a nice alternative to champagne for people who want the bubbles but not the champagne taste.

My other favorite thing about getting such an assortment for snack tables is that it makes it easier to spread out in a lot of different little bowls and plates. I think sometimes people think they need giant boards or platters for cheeseboards but the easier thing is to just decant it all in smaller bowls and a couple of larger plates, it takes up more room this way and makes everything look more bountiful, win win for us all.

Special shout out to Harry & David for sponsoring this post and helping keep this site/me moving/shaking/twisting.

Cocoa Streusel Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Cocoa Streusel Coffee Cake
Makes 1 9″ cake

For the Streusel:
2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons butter, melted and warm

For the Cake:
1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, or cinnamon
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons neutral oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Start off by preheating your oven to 350ºF and spraying a 9” springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.

To make the streusel In a medium sized bowl mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and salt. Sift in the cocoa powder and stir to roughly combine. Pour in the warm melted butter with a spatula as much as you can, then switch to your hands and make sure everything’s fully incorporated and clumps start to form. We’re using warm butter here to help sort of bloom the cocoa powder and make it that much stronger of a chocolate flavor, the world won’t end if the butter’s melted and cooled, but it might if your butter’s bubbling hot and you use your hand to mix so make sure it’s a good in between.

To make the cake, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, kosher sale, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together the pumpkin, butter, and oil then add both the eggs and whisk to combine. Add to the dry and stir together with a silicone spatula just until combined. Add half the batter to the prepared springform pan and smooth it out with an offset spatula. Add half the streusel to the top in an even layer, I sort of throw it on there in the same way I do flour when flouring a board to roll out pastry.

Take the remaining batter and sort of plop it all over evenly (the batter is thicker so this gives us a head start with spreading it out without destroying the first streusel layer) then carefully spread it out with your offset spatula. Take the rest of the streusel and clump it up by squeezing handfuls of it then breaking it up and sprinkle that evenly over the top of the cake. Lightly press the crumbs into the cake then move the cake to the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out with no batter. There might be some chocolate from the middle streusel layer that’ll throw you off but if you’re not sure just go another 5 minutes in baking.

Let the cake cool completely before removing the outer ring from the springform and serving. Keep covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Salted Maple Snack Mix with Sprouts Farmers Market

Special shout out to Sprouts Farmers Market for sponsoring this post and helping keep this site/me moving/shaking/twisting.

It’s that time of year again, where all your favorite foods suddenly turn into the shape of a foot or a finger all for the sake of halloween. Well today we’re going to dip our non meatloaf toes in the water and celebrate with this salted maple snack mix (perfect for halloween parties) complete with dark chocolate covered almond and raisin spiders.

The mix itself is actually pretty straight forward and perfect for any party. It’s sweet with caramel notes from the maple syrup and salty with a nice pinch of kosher salt. There’s the usual snack mix suspects: pretzels, cereal, nuts, and a little twist with the oyster crackers; plain and dry before hand making them a perfect palette for the buttery maple bath they get to take in the oven.

Sprouts is actually the perfect partner for this because of how you can customize and purchase so many mix in options from their bulk dept. and grab the rest from the great selection of all natural and organic products they have lining the aisles.

And these spiders? All from the bulk dept. We’re building them with chocolate covered almonds, chocolate covered raisins, and dark chocolate to top any snack mix (or dessert or party tray) for your next party.

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Fruit Crisp Smoothie with Sprouts Farmers Market

Today’s post is brought to you by Sprouts Farmers Market, and the letter s, for strawberries and smoothies. Summer might be over, which means r.i.p. good fresh strawberries but we have nothing to fear because for every instance where we need them that’s not fresh, Sprouts delivers on flavorful frozen organic strawberries.

And today we’re going to take said strawberries and run with a fruity smoothie that’s reminiscent of my favorite summer dessert: fruit crisp

It’s very filling with the addition of oats, dairy free with Sprouts organic almond milk, and has an extra boost of crunch with pistachios and cashews. It’s a perfect way to send off summer and officially welcome fall while also getting that filling breakfast in less than 5 minutes.

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Arugula Pistachio Pesto Crostini with Cello Cheese

This blog post has been sponsored by Cello Cheese

Summer is starting to feel like it’s winding down, so lately I’ve been doing everything to hold on to all the summer produce I can: Eating tomato toast every morning, grabbing all the peaches at the farmers market, taking handfuls of berries every time I open the fridge, etc. So when Cello reached out to me about trying their Copper Kettle cheese and sharing it with you I figured it was a perfect way to use up all the produce from summer. In the words of Wilson Phillips: Hold on for one more day.

The cheese itself is so elevated, it’s perfect for snacking with the crackers and fruit; it has a nutty flavor with a caramel finish.Cello’s Copper Kettle Cheese is cooked in copper vats, and then aged for 16 months to develop complex flavors unlike any other cheese you have tried! To take it to the next level, I whipped up an arugula pesto to make a delicious summer crostini bite.

The pesto’s perfect because you get the bite from the arugula evened out with pistachios, and then the nuttiness is amplified even more with the nutty flavors from the Copper Kettle cheese. The fruit just finishes up the balancing act.

All of this works really well for something you can make ahead of summer parties, too. The pesto and toasted bread can be prepared ahead of time so all you have to do is slice the fruit and serve.

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