A few weeks ago, I decided to make our Sundays more special by adding some flair to our evening snacks. Maybe I was influenced by the upcoming holidays. Who doesn’t spend November and December thinking about food?
When the kids were little, we used to have Sunday sundaes. Ice cream was our dinner every Sunday night during warm weather. It was a fun tradition, and I stayed free of ovarian guilt by offering bananas, nuts, and other nutritious toppings.
Now we’re all a bit older and we recognize that foods don’t have to be sweet to be delicious. We always have a big fellowship meal at church, so the evening meal doesn’t need to be heavy or formal. Snacks are what we do. We love sausage balls and I think we could happily eat them every week, but we want to experiment with new and different foods, and more interesting ways to present the usual snacks. My goal is to use presentation and novelty to make our snacks more exciting without breaking the budget. I think a modest splurge here and there with a side of creativity and a willingness to work can make a fancy feast that is still relatively frugal.
Old fashioned popcorn made on the stove top and drizzled with butter was fun and yummy, but I wanted to step it up a little.
Three Sundays ago I tried my hand at bruschetta, and it was a big hit. It’s cheap, easy, and delicious, and it looks very pretty on a big white platter. I made some of Smockity’s artisan style bread because I already had the dough in my fridge. I shaped it like baguettes, then topped it with a combination of fresh tomatoes and pesto. I don’t know just how authentic it is, but we topped some with sliced green olives (ugh!) and various cheeses. We also tried broiling some after adding the toppings.
The following week, we tried some baked brie in a homemade sourdough bread bowl with pear filling, but that was not a big hit. Nearly everyone decided they just didn’t care for the yeasty flavor of the brie. I bought it at Costco and used it very promptly, but I’m slightly suspicious that our Brie was past its prime. So many cheeses are stinky to begin with, it’s hard to tell a good stink from a bad stink when you’re not familiar with a particular variety of cheese. The fact that the remainder of the Brie wheel had pink and purple areas after just 7 days made me even more suspicious.
Last Sunday our church didn’t have the usual fellowship meal so our snacks at home were heartier than usual. We all worked together on a huge platter with 3 different types of sausage slices, smoked gouda, swiss (my favorite), pepper jack and sharp cheddar cheese, and 4 types of crackers. On the side we had baby dills, black olives, and bruschetta. There was wine and hot spiced apple cider to drink. It was glorious!
I think I’d like to try some sort of savory mini tarts – maybe little quiches since the big ones always go over well with the kids. Homemade, of course. And maybe we’ll serve up some shrimp cocktail. A $5 ring of shrimp will feed a big family when you point out to the children just how much shrimp resemble huge bugs. Just to reinforce the point, try to get into the habit of calling them Sea Cockroaches.
What fancy snacks have you tried? What’s on your list to try someday?