happy hour at home [two]

hhtitleAs a table person, few combinations are better than friends and good food.  Naturally, I’m constantly dreaming about menus and parties based on what I love to eat and what I want to try.  New recipes or techniques don’t scare me.  It’s an organic practice that drives me to be better in the kitchen, at the table and surrounded by people.
I think everyone should take a whirl at entertaining or, more simply, bringing your people together to eat.
My philosophy on food and entertaining is to keep it simple and elevate ordinary ideas to make them special without totally losing it.  If this sounds good to you, please follow along!
My goal is to share a variety of quick and simple small snack menus with varying flavors and ingredients, focused on allowing you to have a good time with your guests.  Whether it’s girls’ night in, book club, game night or an awards’ show viewing party, it should be way more fun than stressful.  And the first rule for any good party: must have good snacks.
My hope is that whether you use a happy hour at home menu entirely or choose different items from separate posts that you are inspired to entertain more and worry less, and perhaps focus a little more on gathering together. 

popcornLet’s start with a very simple crowd pleaser: white chocolate popcorn.  I’ve served different variations of this snack at many recent parties and gatherings and it is always a big hit.  The secret is that it really is so easy to make.  Just make popcorn and in two batches per regular bag of the microwave stuff, drizzle white chocolate on top and stir to combine.  Add sprinkles for fun (shown in red and pink for a Valentine’s girls party).  I like to spread the popcorn out on sheet pans while I get everything else ready to allow the chocolate to harden and dry out a bit before serving.  This one can be made a day in advance.

strawberriesSince we began with something salty-sweet, let’s add fresh and slightly decadent: chocolate covered strawberries.  While uncomplicated to make, they feel special.  But that doesn’t mean you need to save them for “special occasions!”  Make them for a casual, last-minute happy hour, too.  I have been loving the Ghiradelli melting wafers in dark chocolate (I found them at Target), but you can use any candy melts or chocolate chips.  I prefer to use a dark or bittersweet chocolate with fruit and let them dry/harden on parchment or Silpat sheets.

brieWhen serving a couple of decadent snacks to 10 or more people, I always end up setting out a good sharp cheese or brie with bread for something non-chocolate/sweet (shown above with jam for those who aren’t afraid of more sweet things with creamy brie ;) ).

This round-up is great with wine–especially bubbly!

Cheers.

xo, mh

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