Growing up my mom called it snack night. Little did I know that it would be called charcuterie and I would join a group of creators and artists that serve it up in the most incredible of ways!
I am the oldest of four kids and both my parents were teachers (dad still is, mom is now a principal) so the budget was limited for our groceries, but both my parents taught me how to meal plan, cook from scratch and how to create wonderful food with what you have on hand. On snack night, my mom would lay out a cutting board and use up anything from the week about to go bad. This would include apples, grapes, carrots, lunch meat, American sliced cheese, crackers, leftover breads and anything we could whip up as a dip! We were then able to create our own plates and take it to the living room to veg out! Getting to eat together in the living room was also out of the norm, they instilled family dinner at the table as the best way to have dinner and end our days as a family.
Although my parents are now divorced and have found other wonderful people to share their lives with, the family core values of breaking bread together I think is what keeps us stable as siblings and brings us together with comfort and safety. Sitting around a table together is still where we all find ourselves at home with one another. Even though it was a million little things that led me here, I think if I had to pick one thing that lit the match for Southern Willow it would be that family time and those core memories. With that, I hope to hand you something to try at home with your kids for your own snack night. Let them get creative, explore their pairings, and have fun eating with their hands as a family!
I thought since Fall is here, which brings with it the desire to take it easy and snuggle up on the couch, I would share a fun and easy fall themed snack night for you and your family! With my boys, I like to sit out all the choices and let them decide what they want on their boards. Tonight's snack night brought with it a fall colored array of choices that delivered a cool and spooky breeze into our home filled with veggies, cheeses, fruits, and of course some kid approved guilty pleasures.
Here's what you will need:
Boards - This can be plates, cutting boards, a tray or anything you have on hand.
Fruits & Veggies - Add things you have on hand! This is also a fun way to add new things for your kids to try. My rule is something “safe” you know they love and something “new” to ask them if they want to try. My favorite trick to trying new foods is to make it fun! I love to let them wash and prepare it or we look up how it grows and where it's from.
Cheeses & Meats - Keep it simple or explore with these. Go with your family’s favorites and add some festive new choices to their options.
Add-Ins & Extras - Carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, tortellini pasta, spinach dip, breads, crackers, naan, popcorn, chocolates and anything else they may want to fill their boards with.
For our fall themed night I chose to use festive Halloween plates and my trusty cutting board to serve it all on. I used fall colored fruits and veggies including grapes, cutie oranges, plump black berries, mini bell peppers and the always loved baby carrots. Our cheeses were colby jack cubes and mozzarella slices cut into ghost shapes. I didn’t put any meat on tonight’s menu. Even though my boys are meat eaters, they aren't fans of the staple charcuterie meats. Go figure! I think next time if I cut them into pumpkin shapes, they wouldn’t even notice the taste! The extras tonight were exciting for everyone! I loved getting to be “extra” with the theme! I served up cheese puff balls, skeleton Cheetos, Doritos, pumpkin shaped cookies, orange sugar covered marshmallows, little chocolates and gummy eyeballs.
To inspire their creativity I decided to encourage them to make a pumpkin themed board! I made one so they would have something to go by and also had my laptop up with a picture of a pumpkin. I'm no expert on the subject but this doubled as a STEM project of sorts! WINNING! You can really get as creative as you want or keep it as simple as you want. I have learned that anything different and new is fun for kids, even if it's just crackers and cheese on a cutting board. Especially when they get to “play with their food” as long as it's presented with excitement they will receive it with excitement!
Check out how cute these pumpkin plates turned out!
We got to spend the evening laughing and creating as a family and then curled up in our living room to veg out and watch our favorite Halloween movie to welcome Fall into our home!
I hope you enjoy this as much as we do! Maybe on your next too long of a day or “nothing to cook night” you can incorporate a charcuterie snack night for your family!
Happy Fall y’all! Let's eat!