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Sunday we talked about making food for a crowd with a deft hand of aid from the local bulk warehouse (or market if it’s easier for you).  

But-personalize it.  With gourmet mustards, sandwich spreads, mayos, dips and chips-there’s no reason to just zip off the protective covering and plop it down!

Serving the typical tortilla and potato chips?  Buy the salsa of your choice and add some chopped up canned peaches or pineapple to it.  Your crowd into hummus?  Buy the plain and fancy it up by adding pureed roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, chopped up artichoke hearts or green onions.  Even chop up some roasted veggies and stir it in.  It will taste better than buying it gussied up and then you can say “of course I made it” honestly.

As for those cookies-that’s usually where I draw the line.  I’d rather bake these myself.  I just make them as bars.  Much less work on my hands and I can cut them the sizes my crowd will enjoy.  Also, I love to create new tastes.  I usually have one very typical kind-oatmeal chocolate chip and then one that isn’t so typical.  Such as a spicy peanut butter and dark chocolate one.  I also try to make my biscotti as well-especially if I’m serving coffee later in the evening.

Which brings us to the end of the meal-no matter what’s for dessert, I always have a coffee bar ready.  I have to serve decaf for everyone’s various health reasons, but I have many things out to dress it up.  I usuallly serve a flavored coffee and have the table covered with:

raw and regular sugar, the pink and the yellow sweetener, powdered chocolate, cinnamon sticks/ground and various flavored and plain creamers.  To finish off the choices, I have some cool whip ready for a dollop.

Again, these are all steps to easy, carefree entertaining.  Nothing that most of you haven’t discovered for yourselves, but hopefully, this will encourage you to have the family or friends over for an end of summer soiree very soon.

And if you have any handy help hints to share, bring them on!


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