Archives for September 2015

Autumn Pesto Blitz (Oregano-Hazelnut Pesto)

If there is one fall tradition I uphold above all, it is making and freezing pesto. Pumpkin spice lattes we can take or leave, but we simply cannot be without multiple batches of homemade pesto as we head into winter.

I keep an eye on the frost warnings, but generally I harvest my herbs during the last week of September. All the basil is set aside for pesto – and a good bunch of the parsley and oregano, too. We like variety in our pesto; it makes up for the fact that we are decidedly unvaried in our use of the sauce. Yep, you guessed it: pasta. I am the mother of three children, after all.

Pizza closely follows pasta as a vehicle for enjoying homemade pesto. There’s hardly a winter pizza we make that doesn’t take a spoonful of the sauce, like this Brussels Sprout, Walnut & Pesto Pizza. Ohh, la la.

Here’s how my autumn pesto blitz goes down, plus a recipe for a new favourite: Oregano Hazelnut Pesto.

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How to host an old fashioned pie social

For those of us in Canada, Thanksgiving is a little over two weeks away and preparations have begun in earnest.

No matter how grand the holiday party plans get, it will be hard to top the pie social we hosted last month as part of a backyard wedding celebration for close family. Since the bride and groom already had a wedding cake out in B.C., it was easy to convince them to go with pie for 80 guests.

Pie just makes so much sense for this time of the year. Berries and stone fruits are still holding their spot at the markets. Pears and apples, as well as pumpkins, have arrived, too.

If you’re thinking pie needs to be in your future this fall, read on for recipes, tips and inspiration.

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How to set up an outdoor buffet in a canoe

Today’s post shows one more example of how to work with what you have when entertaining. Not only is this practical and frugal, but it can be fun to exercise a bit of creativity and think outside the box.

So we were short a table for our recent backyard wedding reception; the outdoor bar occupied our patio table and over a dozen handmade pies camped out on the dining room table, moved out of doors for the occasion. Sure we could have rented something, but I had an idea I wanted to try using our canoe and a few hay bales.

Danny refurbished a beautiful old canoe this summer and to me, it made perfect sense to turn it into our buffet for 80.

Stay with me on this one…it all worked out in the end.

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Outdoor entertaining and keeping the kids happy

This week, I’m running a little series on outdoor entertaining, and a big part of a successful party is accommodating all of your guests, right down to the little chubby-kneed toddlers.

Danny and I are at that stage of life where most of our friends and cousins have two or three children each and those little darlings add up fast at gatherings! At our recent backyard wedding reception, the under-12 count came in at an even two dozen. 24 kids.

Tips for outdoor entertaining and keeping the kids happy || Simple Bites #entertaining #kids

Here’s how we came alongside the parents and helped keep the bambinos fed, watered and having a good time.

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How to build a tiered cheese wheel ‘cake’

This week, I sent out invitations for my annual jam swap, a birthday party for Noah, and our Thanksgiving celebration; ready or not, we’re heading into a new season of entertaining.

If you read my last post, I’m singing the praises of keeping the party out of doors this fall, however, this simple tiered cheese ‘cake’ is perfect for any well-attended event from a grown up birthday bash to a festive holiday party.

Cheese platters tend to be rather sprawling, which is fine if you have all the table space in the world. However, for the recent wedding reception we hosted here on the homestead, I was limited to, ahem, the space of canoe (that story coming soon).

I had to tighten up my whole buffet and a stacked cheese platter in the shape of a wedding cake seemed perfectly apropos.

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