The Easy Way To Make The Perfect Cheese Board

 

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard // Ile De France Cheese

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard
Magazines and Pinterest are always showcasing them–overflowing with perfectly ripe fresh fruit, high-quality cured meats, perfectly flavored cheeses… Is it any wonder why putting together a cheese board or cheese platter can be such a daunting task for those of us who aren’t cheeseboard experts?!

I’ve been pretty intimidated by cheeseboards myself, but I’m finally getting comfortable with them. The truth behind putting a cheeseboard together is that it can be as simple or as complicated as you would like it to be. I wouldn’t call myself a cheeseboard expert but with these steps and tips, you’ll be all set to put together your own cheeseboard with ease.

You’re only a few quality ingredients and a few steps away from putting together a beautiful and inviting cheeseboard. 

Here’s what you need to know!

Decide what kind of cheeses you would like to put out.

Soft, semi-firm, aged, or bleu, there are so many different types of cheeses you can put out! To keep things simple, it’s best to stick to one or two types and perhaps get a couple of cheeses that fit into each of those categories. Here I have goat cheese, brie, and Saint André, which are all soft cheese, and a bleu cheese for those who love the flavor. 

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard // Ile De France Cheese

Here are the exact cheeses I’m using:

  • Ile de France Brie 
  • Ile de France St. Agur
  • Ile de France Saint André
  • Ile de France Plain Goat Cheese

Each of these cheeses should be available in your local supermarket! Ile de France brings great flavor to all their cheeses. 

Decide which crackers/bread you want to put out, based on the cheeses.

There are so many types of crackers and breads to choose from, just like how theres plenty of cheese to choose from, too. Whole-grain? Water crackers? Woven wheat crackers? Multigrain? Seed crackers? White bread baguette? Breadsticks? One or two simple but tasty crackers and/or breads are a good choice for a cheeseboard. If you’re looking to make things simple and easy, pick crackers that will go will multiple cheeses and be able to hold the weight of the cheese. 

Any jams, dried fruit, or nuts to go with the cheese and crackers?

The stronger cheeses can be tied together with simpler ingredients like honey and nuts, while the milder cheeses will be well complemented by flavorful jam. You can also go the savory route with tapenades, pestos, and hummus spreads. Remember that you don’t need to have any of these, but they do add to the cheese and crackers, helping to tie all the flavors together. 

Any components to complement the cheese and crackers?

This is where you can get creative and think of what meats, fresh fruits, dried fruits, olives, etc. go with the flavors of your cheese board. Salamis, grapes, dried apricots, marinated olives, etc. help to really make the cheeseboard like it’s overflowing with so many options and flavor combinations. Don’t be afraid to add some color, texture, or flavor. 

If you’re skipping the toppings for the cheese and crackers, do make sure you have a few options to complement the cheese and crackers. If you’re skipping the meats, fruits, and other snack foods, have more options for spreads, jams and toppings for the cheese. Just don’t serve plain cheese and crackers–you’ll need something to make it look, feel, and taste more like a cheese platter. 

Arrange the board!

Layer the cheese and crackers in between all the other components of your board. To make things pretty, think of patterns in which you can arrange things. I’m using a simple wooden cheese board here so that the food on the board really stands out. 

Set out wines that pair well with the flavors of the cheeses!

Keep in mind that you may need to have 2-3 bottles to pair the wines and cheeses well, but it’ll be well worth it. Do a little research to figure out what types of wine go well with the cheeses you’ve selected. 

On this cheese board, the bleu cheese goes well with a cabernet sauvignon, the Saint André pairs well with a chardonnay or a white blend, the brie pairs well with any white wines, and the goat cheese pairs well with Bordeaux wines. So I’ll need at least a cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay or white blend, and a Bordeaux (which is closest to a merlot and cabernet sauvignon blend) to get the best flavor pairing. 

Here are the exact wines I’m using:

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard // George Duboeuf Wines

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard // Legende Wines

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard // George Duboeuf Wines

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard // Legende Wines

The Légendes wines are quite elegant but also affordable at about $18 each. The Georges Duboeuf wines are highly rated with the ones I’ve used rated at 90-91 points. The prices however are anywhere from $10-$35. Both makes are excellent, and I highly recommend their wines. 

And… that’s about it! Keep these simple rules and steps in mind, and you’ll put together a cheese board that no one will be able to keep their hands off of. Make a plan and stay cool! It’ll look great, and taste even better!

Things to keep in mind:

If you really want your cheese board to leave a good impression, you’ll want to read these tips. Keeping these things in mind will help you to assemble the best cheese board for your guests! 

Dietary restrictions and food allergies. Do any of the people you’re entertaining have dietary restrictions or food allergies? Any vegetarians in the group, or perhaps someone with the need for a gluten-free diet? If you don’t know or are unsure, it’s better to play it safe by keeping the certain components of your cheese board separate. It’s totally alright to arrange two or three smaller boards with those ingredients grouped separately, say by meat, cheese, and crackers. Your guests might thank you for it!

Cheese preferences. While most of us are probably big fans of cheese (the more, the better am I right?!), not everyone loves the same cheeses. Even within my own family, everyone has their own preferences when it comes to so many varieties of cheese. Stronger cheeses might not be universally loved by all your guests, even if you personally live for something as strong as a bleu cheese.  Do a little research and make sure your guests love the cheeses you wish to place on the board. It’s safe to have a mix of mild and strong flavors. Be sure to have different cheese knives for the different types of cheese so that they don’t mix! 

Labels. Labeling the items on your cheeseboard with little picks or maybe with a chalkboard next to your cheese platter will help your guests decide what they want to eat! It will help answer a lot of the questions your more curious guests might have. 

Show guests how to pair their wines and cheeses. It’s best to not assume that everyone is an expert when it comes to pairing their wines and cheeses. Kindly recommend some wine and cheese combinations for guests who may be a little shy, anxious, or just don’t know what to pair together! You can also put up a sign next to the cheese with some recommendations if you’re hosting a larger group of people. 

Use high quality ingredients. Sometimes it can be tempting to assemble a cheeseboard with inexpensive ingredients. I’m talking raisins, saltine crackers, overly-salted nuts, etc. It’s so much better to stick to a few high quality ingredients than to deck out the board with a variety of snacks. 

Add some character with some decorative flair! Candles, flowers, foliage, and other decor can take the look of your cheeseboard display to the next level! Just be sure that people can still get to the food easily enough. You don’t want anyone burning their sleeves on a tea light just because they wanted to slice some brie. 

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard // Legende Wines

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard // Legende Wines The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard // Legende Wines The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard // George Duboeuf Wines

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard

The Easy Way To Build The Perfect Cheeseboard

What do you think? How do you feel better about assembling a cheeseboard now? What else would you add to your cheeseboard?

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: For Beauty Lovers

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Beauty Lovers

Finding good gifts for beauty lovers can be a lot more complicated than we think. Unless the beauty lovers in our lives explicitly say they want such and such product from this store, it’s kind of a long shot whether they’ll like the beauty gift you give them.

And it’s not your fault. The beauty lover is just so knowledgable about what she wants. It takes a level of dedication to really know the ever-changing beauty industry inside and out. She might even stay up until midnight just to get her hands on the latest beauty launch. Every beauty junkie has her own (or his!) favorites, her own style, and her own beauty regimen. 

Instead of getting frustrated over what to gift the glam queen in your life, I’ve put together a list of beauty products that should be pretty safe to gift! Either I love and have tried these products, or the beauty community has (bloggers, customer reviews, YouTube reviewers, etc.). Also, they’re classic in a sense, coming from brand new and very popular brands, but also some from brands with name-power–the ones that are well-known because they’re just that good. 

Here we go!

Beautyblender ‘Pure’ Sponge Applicator, Size One Size – No Color – $20

Beautyblenders are one of the most popular tools in beauty right now. . Just wet the sponge, wring out any excess moisture, and use it to apply skincare products, foundation, blush, concealer, or even a setting powder. $20 is the usual price for the classic Beautyblender. Usually you see them come in pink, but the one right here is free of any colorful dyes. I like the idea of a no-color sponge because the sponges can sometimes bleed color when you clean it.

Occasionally, you can find good deals on value packs, like the one shown below. Two beautyblenders, a cleanser, and blotterazzi for $34 (on sale at the time of post) is a very good price, and $40 normally.

Beautyblender Gold Mine Makeup Sponge Applicator & Cleanser Set – $40.00 but on sale for $34

This set is a great deal! This value pack is worth about $60 and is on sale for almost half the price. Even if you purchased this for yourself (shhhh I won’t tell :)), you’re saving a lot of money. 

La Mer Mini Miracles Collection – $85.00

La Mer is well-known for their luxury skincare products. This mini bundle is perfect for someone stocks their vanity with very high-end beauty products. The price is definitely a little steep for a gift, but if you’re okay with the price, chances are that you can’t go wrong with this gift! It’s very thoughtful. Plus, it’s great for those of us who are very on-the-go, travelers, or minimalists. 

Arcona Triad Toner Pads – $36

With so many 5-star reviews, it’s hard to go wrong with something as convenient and nourishing as these triad toner pads. They’re so easy to travel with, keep in a desk drawer, or throw in a gym bag.

Foreo Luna(TM) Play Facial Cleansing Brush – $39.00

No batteries needed for this tiny cleansing brush! It’s smaller than the palm of my hand. I love the size because it’s small enough for me to pack or stow away in the bathroom, but big enough to actually clean my face. As someone who wears makeup on a daily basis, it’s nice to add a cleansing brush to my skincare routine to ensure I’m cleaning my skin well.

Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E Micro-Dissolve Cleansing Oil

Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E Micro-Dissolve Cleansing Oil – $38.00

Sunday Riley is one of my favorite skincare brands right now and I have to say, this cleansing oil is a holy grail product for me. As someone with oily skin, I finally found a cleanser that doesn’t totally irritate my skin minutes after using it by drying it out. Plus, the best way to get rid of dirt and debris in oily skin is to use an oil-based cleanser like this one. Once I started using it, I never looked back.

Almost any Sunday Riley product would be greatly appreciated by a beauty lover!

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane – $15.50

The Ordinary is a brand taking the beauty world by storm right now. This brand sells pure and powerful skincare formulas and basics for rock-bottom prices. $15.50 is the high-end of what you’ll pay for products from this brand. Foundations start at $8. You can get beauty oils for $5-7. And the skincare products are purely made up of the powerful skincare ingredients you’ll find in high-end skincare. The Ordinary has guides on what to purchase for your own customized skincare regimen and how to layer the products, making it one of the most affordable beauty lines right now. It’s so popular that many items are consistently sold out across the internet, so keep your eyes peeled for in-stock notifications. 

BabyFoot-Exfoliating-Foot-Peel

Baby Foot Original Exfoliant Foot Peel – $25.00

Baby Foot is the best product you can buy for dry feet and cracked heels. Slip on the booties for an hour, and wash off the product. Then, in a few days, you’ll see dead skin cells peeling off, leaving you with baby smooth skin in a week or two. I’ve tried a cheaper product that totes the same results, and it didn’t compare AT ALL to Baby Foot. This is the only foot peel I can personally recommend. Typically this product retails at $25 but sometimes you can find it for cheaper at other stores!

Invisibobble I Live In Wonderland Collection ORIGINAL the traceless hair ring holiday trio – $8

Finding good hair ties or hair bands can be pretty tricky. And once you find your favorite one, stretched to the perfect size, you lose it. After seeing a few blogger recommendations, I tried Invisibobble and I’m never looking back. I always have an issue with hair ties and bands leaving lines and marks in my hair. Even the soft hair ties made with foldover elastic, I still had soft traces of the band in my hair. That issue is long gone for me with these Invisibobbles.

FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA Match Stix Trio

FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA Match Stix Trio – $54.00

URBAN DECAY Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette

URBAN DECAY Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette – $54.00

The Naked Palette series by Urban Decay is now a classic! So many companies try to duplicate the palettes since they’re well-loved by the beauty community. I don’t wear eyeshadow often but I have a couple of Naked Palettes I rely on when I do need to wear something more than eyeliner and mascara on my eyes. The only way you would go wrong with a Naked palette? If your favorite beauty lover already has one! 

Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Eyeshadow Palette

Huda Beauty Desert Dusk Eyeshadow Palette – $65.00

Huda Beauty is a brand new line by world-famous beauty blogger Huda Kattan. Her products flew off the shelves just like Rihanna’s! This eyeshadow palette is one of the most popular products at Sephora right now. 

Kiehl's Since 1851 Disney x Kiehl's Healthy Hydration Set

Kiehl’s Since 1851 Disney x Kiehl’s Healthy Hydration Set – $35.00

Kiehl’s skincare products are classic. This value set features $66 worth of products for $35. Since hydrating products are a must in winter, you can’t go wrong with this set!

L’Occitane Hand Cream Collection – $42.00

This limited edition set of hand cream by L’Occitane will be well-loved and used by dry hands all year long. What I love about this set is that you can break up the set and give out 1-2 hand creams in gift baskets or bundles.

What do you think? Were you able to find a good gift on this list? Beauty junkies–are there any beauty products you would add to this list? 

Let me know in the comments–I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Adulting Made Easy with Made In

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Made In, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Made In Cookware

Made In Cookware

Made In Cookware

When we move into our first apartments, many of us are faced with using the kitchen on our own for the first time. We’re pros at timing microwave ovens so our bagel bites don’t bubble over too much and can practically brew coffee with our eyes closed, but not everyone moves into their first apartment knowing how to use their stove or oven. 

There’s a learning curve that comes with learning to “actually cook”. It takes patience, practice, a little luck, and a lot of skill. Plus, we all have to get to know the quirks of our stoves, ovens, and cookware. 

When I was on my own for the first time, cooking was a big chore. I didn’t know the quirks of my kitchen or my brand new cheap cookware I purchased during back-to-school season. I didn’t have time to learn how to cook with everything else I was doing. I still really wanted to cook at home because it’s far healthier and much less expensive than easting out every meal. 

Even though I had a kitchen available to me, cooking was too frustrating to deal with.

Then I started asking myself what I could do to make things easier. I mean, there are so many people who cook every day with schedules more hectic than mine…how can I do it, too?

One of the first things I learned was that having quality cookware in the kitchen made a big difference in how much I was motivated to cook at home. Simply put, it makes things far less frustrating.

Cookware is available left and right, in-store and online, in so many different colors, styles, and shapes. Home cooks, especially new home cooks, have to do a little research and shop around for what’s best for them. It’s too easy to purchase the wrong cookware for your needs, just because there is so much out there. 

I’ve definitely purchased the wrong cookware before–I’ll admit it. Instead of buying something that works well and lasts a little longer, I went for the cheapest cookware I could find.

How did that turn out? Well, my kitchen smelled like fish every time I made pasta.

Gross. 

So, how do you know that you’re buying quality cookware? Where do you shop for it? How much does it cost? Is what I have already good enough? 

Instead of extensively researching what to buy for hours, it’s much easier to stick to a good brand that is known to create quality cookware. Who really has time to spend hours on researching cookware anyway?

After getting the chance to try a nonstick 10-inch pan from Made In, it’s clear that they’re great at creating quality cookware that looks good, too. The pan I have is a beautiful and shiny sapphire blue with a stainless steel handle. Lighter than a MacBook pro, it’s easy to maneuver in the kitchen especially when making things that require you to lift the pan away from the flame, like omelettes. 

I hate making omelettes. They’re simple and something most people know how to make, but I never really got the hang of it. Bad advice led me to believe that homemade omelettes just don’t turn out the same as restaurant omelettes and that restaurant omelettes are just plain better. I think I would always overcook them or let them sit just a little too long. 

Anyway, to test out this pan, I made an omelette. Yeah, I went ahead and made a food that I don’t really like to make and also don’t really care for the taste. I didn’t add any special ingredients like mushrooms or spinach because I wanted to see if I could really make a simple omelette with no help from supporting ingredients. 

Made In Cookware

Made In Cookware

Made In Cookware

I have to say, even a simple omelette turns out great with this pan. The omelette turned out soft and full of flavor, not dry. The omelette heated and cooked evenly, even though I know one side of my range is hotter than the other. It totally debunked my belief that homemade omelettes don’t taste as good as restaurant omelettes. This was one of the freshest and softest omelettes I’ve had the pleasure of having. 

This pan has a recipe for omelettes etched into the back, so those of us who just can’t seem to remember all the steps or need a refresher could always consult a “cliffnote” version of the recipe. I thought that was pretty cool, especially for people who don’t make omelettes often like me. 

When it was put to the test, the Made In 10-inch nonstick pan definitely shined. 

A couple of things to know about Made In products:

  • Made in the USA
  • Their non-stick coating is PFOA-free. 
  • You don’t need oil and butter, but this cookware won’t go bad if you use oil or butter. 
  • Dishwasher safe (but it’s always good to hand wash your pots and pans! Be gentle!)
  • Induction compatible. 

Made In Cookware

Made In Cookware

They also have a Stainless Steel Cleaner (green bottle) that helps keep your stainless steel cookware nice and shiny. Stainless Steel can lose it’s luster over time, so this stuff will help keep your cookware looking brand new. In addition to that, Made In also has some great care tips for their products that come with their cookware. 

Instead of buying every item you want on their website one by one, Made In offers kits that bundle their products based on use. The Starter Kit, for example, is perfect for a studio apartment and comes with a fry pan, sauce pan, and stock pot. Buying all the pieces individually would cost far more than buying the kit. 

Today is the final day to get 20% off sitewide and up to 35% off on kits, plus a free cleaner. Just use the code “BLACKFRIDAY”.

Made In cookware is perfect for your own kitchen, but it makes a great wedding gift or Christmas gift, too. 

It goes to show that quality cookware can make simple recipes so much better. Good cookware and kitchen tools mean it’s much simpler and far less frustrating for first-time cooks to put easy meals together. 

Made In Cookware