Category: Food & Drink

Why You Should Have a Charcuterie Display at Your Next Party

Not only do I love to attend parties but I absolutely adore entertaining too. I enjoy cultivating a guest list from various social groups and seeing how many people we can squeeze into our house. I like putting together food and drink menus and coming up with the perfect dish. So when we found out that Clay would be frocked earlier this month, we knew we wanted to throw a party in some capacity. After briefly considering a third-party site like a restaurant or brewery, we quickly decided that our house would be the best place to host the festivities due to the short-notice and timing of the ceremony.

We looked into having Wegman’s catering the party (we’ve used them before with great success) but when we determined that we wanted a giant charcuterie display as the pièce de résistance, we figured it would be easy to do ourselves. And guys? Not only was it an amazing display that everyone loved and found to be delicious – it was super easy to prep and required very little attention the day of the party. Even though we had a lot of hands on deck with out of town guests, we didn’t have much time in between rushing home from the Pentagon in Friday night traffic and the party starting at 7pm so being able to do most of the work beforehand was clutch.

I bought four large cutting boards that are easy to store when not in use and can easily be used for future parties. The meats and cheeses were sourced from Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Aldi. I printed out the names of the cheeses on card stock and hot-glued them on toothpicks. The night before the party, I arranged everything on the cutting boards and wrapped heavily with plastic wrap and put them in the basement refrigerator. The night of the party, I unwrapped the boards and arranged them on the kitchen table. I added dried apricots, dates, gherkins, blackberries, strawberries, and olives for contrast and color. Seriously guys – so easy.

Some of the Best Things to Buy at Trader Joe’s – Fall Edition

Due to the popularity of my post that highlighted the products I love to buy at Trader Joe’s, I wanted to write another post featuring fall-related items because Trader Joe’s is really on top of their seasonal product game. I plan to do another one during the holiday seasons because Trader Joe’s is amazing when it comes to Christmas and other holiday celebrations. But let’s get the conversation back to flannel, hot cider, and pumpkin spice.

Trader Joe pumpkins

While I appreciate pumpkin flavor, I think we as a society are going overboard – there is an abundance of all things pumpkin spice and I’d even argue that as a society, we are becoming caricatures of ourselves when it comes to the flavors of fall. Many adore the notorious pumpkin spice latte (PSL to those in the cool circles) and I concede that pumpkin bread is one of the best things bestowed to humankind, but pumpkin spice Oreos are unnecessary at best and I am still processing the horror of pumpkin spice chicken wings. As evident by the proverbially vomit of pumpkin spice products that hit the grocery store shelves (yes – even at my beloved Trader Joe’s) this time of year, I think it is safe to conclude that there can be too much of a good thing.

chocolate mousse pumpkins trader Joes

Despite my curmudgeonly attitude displayed in the previous paragraph, there are quite a few fall-related products at Trader Joe’s that I am all about. I highly recommend the Chocolate Mousse Pumpkins. I whole-heartedly agree with the sign – they are cute, festive, and delicious! They are only chocolate (no pumpkin flavor) and can easily be placed on top of a cake for an even more festive sugary celebration of fall.


It’s hard to go wrong with a can of pumpkin and Trader Joes sure doesn’t. We like to eat pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin waffles year-round so I always have a couple of cans in the pantry. For a super easy chocolate muffin recipe, mix one box of chocolate cake mix with one can of pumpkin and bake according to the directions on the box. Is it healthy? Not particularly. But is it easy? Yes.

petite pumpkin spice cookies Trader Joe's

These petite pumpkin spice cookies are quite addicting. It is impossible to eat just one and I find the pumpkin spice not to be too overwhelming. The more I am writing the post, the more that I am realizing that I really don’t care for pumpkin spice all that much. Probably because I loathe nutmeg – so much so that I refuse to put it in my homemade apple pie. However, I find pumpkin spice flavoring that isn’t overwhelming to be satiable most of the time. And these cookies fall nicely into that category.

pumpkin biscotti Trader Joe's

These pumpkin biscotti are made with pumpkin puree and they are amazing. The kids love to eat them for breakfast and I rather enjoy them with a cup of coffee. If you only get one thing from this list – make it these pumpkin biscotti.

spiced cider Trader Joe's

This spiced cider is absolute perfection warmed up – with booze or without!

Ghosts and Bats crispy potato snacks Trader Joe's

If your kids (or you – no judgement here) are fans of veggie crips, then I recommend the ghosts and bats crispy potato snacks. While there is very little flavor beyond a hint of potato and salt, the shapes are a fun addition to the ol’ lunchbox. You can’t beat the price either.

pumpkin and pancake waffle mix

The pumpkin pancake and waffle mix is a pantry staple in our household. I’ve heard great things about the gluten-free version too. In addition to pancakes and waffles, I use it to make muffins (with applesauce instead of oil) and they’re always a hit with the kids.

pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds at Trader Joe's

If you love all things pumpkin spice then you will adore these pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds. They’re crunchy, toasty, and sweet. While many love to eat them on their own, I find them to be a little too overwhelming in pumpkin spice flavor so I prefer to toss them into a homemade granola or pumpkin muffin batter for an added kick.


How fun is this pasta? You can easily add pureed carrots to make a tomato sauce more orange and really lean into the whole fall-themed pasta dish. In full disclosure, I have yet to prepare this pasta but they did have it as a sample and it was delicious so I feel comfortable recommending it. Plus it is pumpkin shaped – how can you not love it?

pumpkin iced sugar cookie at Trader Joe's

And lastly, it’s hard to go wrong with a simple iced sugar cookie. I encourage you to check out Trader Joe’s if you’re lucky enough to live near one. Heck – you can even pick up a PSL on the way. There are plenty more fall products that I haven’t highlighted in this post – these are just a few of my favorites. What are some of your favorite fall-themed items? And if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, what are some of your fall-themed items in general?

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