How to: Make a Perfect Cheese Plate

Since it’s one of my favorite foods (duh), I figured we should do a little round up of some great cheese plates. There are certain things that make a great cheese plate in my opinion, and it goes beyond the cheese selection. So here’s what I think a cheese plate needs to have:

Cheese Plate Essentials:

  • 2 or more cheese with a variety of sharpness and hardness. So not all stinky cheese, and not all mild. And not all brie, and not all parmesan. Mix it up, people are particular about their cheese.
  • Fruit(s) that pair well with cheese. I like berries, figs, and apples. (Apples can double as a cracker).
  • More than one type of cracker. Gluten free is a safe bet now as well. And I like nutty/seedy crackers.
  • Compote of some sort. I like pepper jelly and cream cheese (who doesn’t). It’s a nice “wildcard” on the cheese plate.
  • I like to throw in some other wildcards, like olives or cornichons. Ooh, or pickled anything (okra is great). It’s a nice tidbit to nibble on in addition to cheese.
  • Nuts. A great addition for folks who don’t want carbs (crackers), and maybe for people who don’t even want cheese. Plus it’s a great CRUNCH factor.

So I’ll start with this pretty one that I made for ladies night a few weeks ago. All the essentials. Yum.cheese plate

And here’s another lovely cheese plate via The Party Dresscheese plate 1Is that mozzarella on the bottom right? What is that? I WANT IT.

Moving on to another lovely cheese plate, via Honestly YUM. cheese platter 2Being a vegetarian, I’m a fan of meat on another plate, just so there is no touching of the meat to the cheese, but I’d probably still eat all the cheese surrounding the meat. Who am I kidding.

Any other cheese plate tips to share? Let me know in the comments!



Black Bean Cakes and Mango Salsa

Everyone loves burgers in the summer, and so when David and I found this recipe in Cooking Light (thanks, Mom!), we knew we had to give them a shot. My mom made them at the lake a few years ago, and like most things eaten on a porch overlooking the mountains, they were delicious.

The only thing we changed this time was we made the black bean cakes and mango salsa into a salad, rather than a traditional burger. We eat carbs, but we also try not to over indulge in heavy carbs at dinner time. So anywho, ours was a salad. And it was are the ones we had (still experimenting with pics in the new kitchen, so it’s not great light). You get the idea.

black bean cakesoh, and our recipe made 8-9 cakes, so we’ve had leftovers which has been great. I’ve eaten bean cakes in a pita for lunch, or bean cakes with an egg and spinach for breakfast. For vegetarians like myself, we’re always on the hunt for protein at every meal, particularly natural proteins (that aren’t a meat substitute or something), so this is a great way to do it. Yum…..IMG_1273

New Dining Room: Before and After

dining room before and afterDon’t you love a before and after that starts with the before and after? Or should I make my readers work scroll for it? Anyways, we are really beginning to settle into our new place, which feels nice. We’ve had some friends over, we’re beginning to find the right places for things, and we’ve gotten back into a bit of a routine, which is great.

I find that having people over is the best way to get motivated to get a house together, so that’s what we do. Give ourselves ridiculously unattainable deadlines to get it together, and miraculously, a room or two indeed come together. Sure, some rooms (spare room and guest room in particular) are still very disorderly, but beyond that, we’ve done pretty well.

You’ll remember before the dining room was dark and yellow (aka armpit stain yellow). And the previous tenants large (and in charge) lego collection. Did this person not have dishes? Or a bar? is the before.

dining room before 1These pics are the day we moved in. So…lego collection and vintage table gone. Yellow walls and abnormally slanty floor, ready to be transformed. Well, not the floor, because we’re renters. (But man, if you want to buy this house, make sure you check the foundation. We’ve had a hard time placing furniture because only 3 of 4 legs will sit on the uneven floor).


IMG_0593So great blank canvas, yes? Great light. Decent hardwoods (OKAY, for renters anyways). This is also the day we moved in, and we quickly thought, well crap, we have way too many things. IMG_0616And now here she is (the dining room is most definitely a girl now) in her newer, brighter, shinier glory.  Yes, I think the computer may be opened to Love Ya Bean It. Shameless plug. It’s a computer in a computer…in a computer. whoah…..dining room after 2

DSC_0065This little bowl was a wedding gift from David’s twin brother. He made this bowl since he’s very crafty and cool. (Ladies! Better get on that! Who doesn’t love a man that can make you a wooden bowl?)

So you can probably tell I took the after pic and these pics a few days apart. Our house is constantly evolving and when I got this throw (West Elm), I thought it added some nice color to the dining room. Bar cart is Ikea. Dining table is an heirloom (my mother’s grandmothers table).


Here is our sweet little bar. Most of these decanters and whatnot are vintage. Vintage ice bucket. Vintage decanters. Carafe was a wedding gift (Crate and Barrel). Copper mugs were a Christmas gift to David last year. St. Germain glass is from a thrift store.DSC_0059And one more time, to save you a scroll, here’s the b&a. What do y’all think? Lighter? Brighter? My what a different paint, plants and art can make.

dining room before and afterTo see the full house tour, check out the video on YouTube, and to see the bathroom before and after, click here!