Need to make a veggie tray - ugh!

bbstx

A group of us is having a going away party for some dear friends. I’ve been assigned “veggie tray.” I hate making a veggie tray. I feel like it is always the same old same old. Any ideas to make it a bit more interesting? I’ll have access to a Trader Joes, a Fresh Market, and a Whole Foods two days before the party.

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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

Put some 'magic' mushrooms on the tray. That will make the party VERY interesting. lol

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amylou321

I hate veggie trays. If I were FORCED to make one, I would have to make it fancy. Rainbow carrots. Different colored cherry tomatoes, not just red, but yellow and those purplely ones too. Purple cauliflower. Baby bell peppers in all colors. Marinated artichoke hearts. I have seen some very tiny English cucumbers. About the size of a baby gherkin, made especailly for dipping,I would get those. Olives,green and black. And good ones. I would make a homemade ranch or some sort of Greek yogurt dip. And to be honest, I would probably not do that. I would make a roasted veggie tray,just to be a smart alec because I hate the stark raw veggie tray. Roasted eggplant, zucchini, squash, brocolli and cauliflower, potatoes, roasted red peppers,even roasted mushrooms, all doused in delicious olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Way better than a raw veggie tray! But that's just me. If it HAD to be one of those raw trays,, I would go, find the fanciest prettiest stuff and make do.

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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Google gorgeous vegetable trays for ideas!


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bbstx

NEXT QUESTION: With us all being germaphobic (and rightly so), should I make individual “cups” of raw veggies? There are only going to be 24 people, but I can guarantee you, some are going to use their fingers to pick veggies off the tray even if I put out 200 tongs - DH being the leader of the pack. Things like that (tongs, germs, etc) simply don’t register with him.


@LoneJack Zn 6a, KC 😂


@amylou321, I love your ideas. Roasted would be my choice too, but the hostess my shoot me for having people drip oil all over her house. This is going to be a stand up party with pick up food for the most part.

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amylou321

No. I would NOT put any extra effort into a veggie tray by making cups. Especially as not all people have the same veggie preferences. That would just increase waste. Fact is, if germs are a worry no tray at all should be featured. And if it is, true germaphobes will avoid it anyway.

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chloebud

I usually like to arrange the veggie (or fruit) platters by color, similar to the example from Bumblebeez. A tasty dip or two is always nice, but I understand that could be another issue with germs.


ETA - Just wanted to throw this in if you ever want to do an olive platter. I've used these inspiration photos for olives many times, and most people seem to like olives.



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lindac92

If it were me ( and it has been in the past!) I would just cut up some celery, make some match stick carrots, get a box of cherry tomatoes a bag of mixed broccoli and cauliflower florettes and buy a carton of sour cream.....and wait for a more interesting assignment!
Just get it over with...it's like being asked to bring the chips!

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chloebud

"....it's like being asked to bring the chips!"

Pretty much! I was asked to bring a fruit salad to an Easter gathering last Sunday and felt the same way. I ended up doing a fruit platter that was simple but pretty. Also quickly devoured!

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bbstx

Y’all are cracking me up! I’d rather be asked to bring the chips. Then I only have to find a pretty basket/bowl.


I’m thinking I might call the hostess to see if a caprese skewers would be acceptable.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

I agree it is an 'ugh!'. Lots of picking and hands. The first pic above is lovely and a good variety but is a bit germy. So many do not hesitate to double dip in dressings/sauces. Veg and fruit so close...and how do you have a few blueberries?

When I have made big abundance holiday snacking tables for parties I spread things out in height and layers. Meats and pate on one end and cheeses on the other with veg in the middle. Many different bowls and platters not piled up onto one another.

I did a successful veg in small juice glasses for a wedding a few yrs ago. But it took a few months of trial and error. The bride, a good friend, wanted me to make spring rolls I have made for 30 yrs. Way too much work. Gazpacho, then quick pickled veg sticks, then a cubed watermelon, feta, olive, cherry tom skewer. No waste at all but that is rare. The small square shaped glasses were printed as a wedding gift. I made the gazpacho. But had three caterer assistants to help out. They had decent knife skills but no way could I teach spring rolls.

February 2020 I stopped by Ikea. Winter planning for spring parties get me 'happy'.

Who knew that covid would change our worlds. Well known that clean hands do not spread germs like speaking face-to-face. Still not so good. Can get sloppy in a party situation. Dirty hands can spread other issues.

This will not necessarily help much, but this is what I'm doing. Salad, pasta, noodle bar at my next BBQ. Quick pickled veg, greens, fruit, cheeses, in containers as a build-your-own. A dozen tongs, a few hundred bamboo fork pics, ...the Ikea tongs are 99cents. A quick one-two hour pickle in 50/50 apple cider or unseasoned rice wine vinegar does clean. And seasons just enough for flavor.

And makes a very pretty table. Same prep work.

(I pour off the pickle marinade and use it the next day for more quick pickles)...so it does not have to be so liquid at the buffet table. Not messy.

This is when a less waste personal selection is valuable...try this, maybe that. A salad bar selection. Tongs and spoons. Hummus, various dressings. Pesto, vegan cheese, ...build your own. Paleo, keto, vegan, yada.





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plllog

I love making crudite platters, and they are well eaten by my crowd, but just now? No way!!

For a massive mob scene, I got jagerbomb disposable plastic cups, put the dip in the shot compartment, and veggie batons standing around it. I also had a platter on the buffet with more cups, but people didn't get the concept of filling their own. They did very well with the pre-filled ones. If you have a piping gun or bag, filling the dip part is a cinch. Standing the veg isn't much more effort than making a pretty tray, but do check for fit after you're cutting.

Caveat! The desire to make attractive and interesting veggie platters fueled by love and good nutrition makes for desirable food, as with any other kind of preparation. I won't touch the dried out pre-made at the store stuff, or similarly negligent made with hate sad carp. The same would apply to cups. Your desire to do something nice is a great starting point!

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sushipup1

Jicama, add some jicama. That's all I'd eat. ;-)

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bbstx

Scratch the veggie tray. Yippeee!! Hoorah! Cartwheels! 💃 The hostess loves the idea of caprese skewers!! I may try to jazz it up with different color tomatoes, but that’s the most “jazzing” I would do on these. My skewers do have the little knots on the end. Voila!


@plllog, my horizons have been expanded! I never knew there were jagerbomb cups! Had to Google that one.

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chloebud

Caprese skewers sound perfect!

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wednesday morning

I would balk a anything from a communal tray right now. In times past, we accepted it. Now, not so much. It is a step out to just gather together in a group , much less share a communal tray of food.

Individual servings, that is the only way at this time.


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nekotish

Skewers are a great idea. Not onboard with communal trays at this time. I've done the individual cups and dip and honestly, once the veg are cut up, it is no big deal to divide them between cups!

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plllog

Bbstx, it's like this: I figure if I can think of something I want to have, somebody's probably selling it somewhere. So far that includes a foot operated music page turner for digital tablets, ring lap counters, and veg-and-dip cups. I didn't know about the jagerbomb cups either (most of my group don't drink much, and none do shots, let alone fortifying beer with them), though disposable plastic shot cups are common. When I went looking for the dip cups here they were!

So, if you want to have fun with the caprese skewers (much better idea!), you can get styrofoam shapes from the craft store (or cut them out of electronics packaging with a serrated knife if you have any), and cover with colorful tissue paper or burlap, to stick the skewers in. Or you could use a floral frog if you have one. Curved surfaces work well for spreading out the ends of the skewers. You could also used half a melon rind, cut side down, but make sure it's at least an inch thick because they get brittle when you poke holes in them.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

So agree about the happy dance. Some hosts visualize the table and are set in their ways. Even pre-covid veg, fruit, and salad skewers were popular. Like the AvocadoBLT with a crouton at both ends. The Greek ones I like with feta, tomato and an olive. A nice slice of Persian cucumber as the base so it stands up. (the baby Persians have an edible thin skin and do not need to be seeded). Slice and go.

I love the knotted skewers. So easy to pick up and only need a pile of cocktail napkins. If the baby mozzarella balls are seasoned with pesto, and the Greek ones with a bit of olive oil and lemon, sprinkled with fresh dill....no need for any dressing or dipping sauces. Much less messy if very lightly seasoned.

When I took a hiatus from spring rolls a half dozen years ago...(they were so requested I was 'over-it' for a while)...I started making veg 'tacos' using quick pickled golden beets and watermelon radish. Feta, gorgonzola, or goat cheese. Just about any veg I have on hand....a few dozen in a half hour.

I have an adorable co-worker that announces every mid-January..."my birthday is tomorrow...I want song, a cake, and Annie's veg tacos".

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Alice in MD

I encountered this at a reception over ten years ago:


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nancyofnc

Alice - that is what I would have suggested - except when I made it I used hollowed out Roma tomatoes, core-less large mushrooms and lettuce cups. I also put several spoons in the dips so it could be spooned over on their own portion and not "drip dip".

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wednesday morning

Communal dips and trays are things that I have, generally, avoided even before the virus. I used to like salad bars, many years ago. But I soon grew to be acutely aware of what germ factories they are. Any time you are grabbing for a pair of tongs or a spoon to load your dinner plate that any number of other folks have picked up, you would be advised to give it some serious consideration. Of course someone has touched it before you put it on your plate, but not so many as have used that same serving utensil. Ugh!!!

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l pinkmountain

Don't even get me started on what could happen if the party includes little kids . . .

On the flip side, a wonderful chance to use those picks with the fancy fru fru on the ends!

Now all I need is a good use for those little paper umbrellas! Oh how I loved them as a kid . . . fairy umbrellas . . .

I think I am one of the few who misses fru fru party decorations and favors . . .

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Salad bars are so over. I walked into an NYC well known elbow-bumping WallStreet disgusting hot and salad sneeze guard establishment a few years ago and walked out. (gross) Filthy.

Those days are over. That was a '90's thing that hung on for a while. Ick.




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l pinkmountain

The problem with salad bars is they need paid staff to maintain them as far as being neat and clean. Maintenance staff is a thing that is being cut up one side and down the other in so many establishments . . . Most of the salad bars I see in restaurants nowdays (pre pandemic) show signs of being forgotten. Same with those buffet restaurants. Not necessarily a bad idea, but a labor intensive one so who knows their future . . . I never really thought about the problem with the tongs and serving spoons and ladles though . . . and I guess I was way too kind in assuming the level of hand washing out there . . .

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cookebook

Everything Amylou said above with the addition of edible flowers? I'm sure they'd be available at the stores you mentioned.

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bbstx

Let’s talk FETA. If I make a Greek version of the caprese skewer using feta, is the cube going to crumble when I try to put it on the skewer? Is there a particular type of feta I need to buy to prevent crumbling?

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Here is a link...Greek app skewers

A block of feta should cut into cubes fine.

Use mini cucumbers, 'Persian'. They have thin burpless edible skins and seeds do not need to be removed. (or peel quarter a regular cuke) Both the fetta and cucumber will hold up fine on a thin skewer. Even stand up on a cube of feta or cucumber.



Current Facts

Persian cucumbers, botanically classified as Cucumis sativus, are members of the Cucurbitaceae, or gourd family. There are several different cultivars of Persian cucumbers, both heirloom and hybrid, including Figaro and Cordito. Persian cucumbers have become a favored variety of burpless cucumbers, which is a classification describing its thin skin that is easy to digest and very mild, sweet taste.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

^I prefer to add an olive to a Mediterranean skewer...

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

I meant to say cucumber 'rounds' like HERE

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bbstx

Thanks, Dog. After I posted the question above, I found Elie Krieger’s Greek Salad Skewers. They look delicious - tomato, cucumber, kalamata olive, and feta. Several reviewers commented that the best way to keep the feta from breaking was to only stick the tip of the skewer in it. Pushing it farther up the skewer apparently promotes splitting. Depending on how my week is going, I may go full-out Greek and add the olives and cukes!

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bragu_DSM 5

make a tray of broccoli and cauliflower ... you will never be asked to do a veggie tray again.

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HU-685485614

When i was little, it was fashionable to make a pineapple and cheddar hedgehog. It may be another way to never be asked to do this again lol

https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk02vojFVbTcmQh6ld-JsT7prcJJIHQ:1618643559194&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=pineapple+and+cheese+hedgehog&client=tablet-android-samsung&fir=r61TJbQuyQCApM%252CNMx3WocPWh6fhM%252C_%253BuYftVrD8XJe5uM%252CRlOHvySnglZmHM%252C_%253BqI7xC_1JkvE3PM%252C3elc1Nkd2NmB-M%252C_%253BQtjZKdRCvyXxlM%252Cnq4UmBSa3-RASM%252C_%253BBrfPoIgFhX7FbM%252C3jwezQEqAhjCwM%252C_%253BQ2hAjdpowHsY9M%252CY0cjEVA_r36-FM%252C_%253BTjUkHctHqLsI1M%252CGi3IONyaruqhZM%252C_%253BSCDXOo9FHXAMLM%252CLnhpgX0yUVRqnM%252C_%253BETUjrP4XvuZzaM%252Ck8oeNSLuAaevtM%252C_%253BYmUlH2FD65DMqM%252CJWquAxHkTt_VUM%252C_%253B_tGN64G_WfeqcM%252CPdIE1Qv6i_e4CM%252C_%253BQ9pLUnegK6pVgM%252CImt9Uv9vGci4nM%252C_%253Bv815IZLRxkWTeM%252C2IGi0f6X98pyDM%252C_%253BSNyygBCdj9RkFM%252CKmX6hzubTOimkM%252C_%253By9TgWxz49dzDqM%252CvCySs2bhD1lGJM%252C_%253BtL6GMPNYylsKjM%252ClnqjWC-LjtGVeM%252C_%253BMd3C_CFZjJZf7M%252CeWFpYYcxjo8YvM%252C_%253BhpJnYmrFHLaWgM%252COOca7JLbhgQ31M%252C_%253BX8-RP5Wu8QWrWM%252CxMx_HT1IPq65NM%252C_%253BZU4lHlozDssVqM%252CZCaOeF_PrlQaxM%252C_%253BykbqbbcnD8mZxM%252CcFfdXw55gTUjRM%252C_%253Bu1IJQK9objFySM%252Cf9nMBvCj0p-Q4M%252C_%253BYqu-YycDQKu6YM%252CxALqAjMTzKzQvM%252C_%253BnwSeDs_kerO1XM%252CxMx_HT1IPq65NM%252C_%253BLStekY-IaZ-UrM%252CrBf6TMghLaiy0M%252C_%253BqUSmUNtYg5xW0M%252CPh9iRDRgAj1rBM%252C_%253BSVIiCeYO27lX7M%252C-pqObMwmqyES8M%252C_%253B4c9b3jLOU4_aUM%252C4JOqSov46BUoNM%252C_%253BhdDUlDiDbvgGPM%252CZk6W7WY2Onet4M%252C_%253BjcoxiAcEyzFxdM%252Cp1_z86hpQ82-CM%252C_%253B853zHqmLLIaEjM%252CkjXVxz_6txfOHM%252C_%253Bh4-BaMw3x7AMYM%252CTlEooAtrC4pnEM%252C_&usg=AI4_-kTGPx3wE3V9KAaRKTzKwEa9t6811Q&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi89fOS3YTwAhWC7eAKHaQyCrsQsAR6BAgPEAI&biw=1280&bih=800&dpr=1.5

Spear cubes of cheese and fruit, stab onto half a grapefruit. Add a nose. Voila

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bbstx

I made two versions of skewers - Caprese and Greek. For the caprese, I marinated small balls of mozz in olive oil, basil, a tad bit of thyme, kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper. The marinated mozzarella balls were on a short skewer with grape tomatoes. I cut the balls of mozzarella in half and use the flat side as the base so the skewer would stand upright. No basil leaves in the skewers because I could not find any pretty ones.

The Greek skewers were similar. I was pleasantly surprised that the feta didn’t crumble. From reading online, I put the block of feta in the freezer for 15 minutes before cutting. The block had a fissure in it so I used that as one of my cut lines. The cubes were about the size of a die. Marinated them in olive oil, dill, a dash of red pepper flakes, half a clove of garlic minced, S&P but not much S. The feta cubes were skewered with little yellow tomatoes. I inserted the skewer in the feta until the tip of the skewer was through the cube of feta but not coming out the other side. I used the flat side of the cubes to make the skewers stand upright.

The one thing I learned with each was to lightly blot the cheese on a paper towel before skewering. I did not do that with the first 2 skewers I made and oil was pooling on the platter. I noticed that if the skewers were lifted straight up, the cheese would stick to the surface of the platter. Having them laid flat on the platter would have been better from that standpoint.

Everyone who ate one declared it delicious. However, very few people ate one. It could have been because it was not needed. I did not count, but I estimate that I ended up with about 48 skewers. Our cookbook club is 8 women; each brought a dish. Plus the hostess had made 2 or 3 more very substantial platters - pork sliders and a charcuterie board that I recall. There were 14 people at the party. There was enough food for 40 people! I think people eat less when they are presented with an overwhelming amount of food. Is that your experience, too?


Nevertheless, I thank each of you who contributed ideas and who helped me hone the final dish.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

I also find with an abundance of small offerings, finger foods, we eat less. No sense of urgency. No hoarding. But I prefer it. I like to try a few things over a period of time. We never feel stuffed.

Sounds good though. Fortunately all offerings uneaten make for great snacks, salads, and pasta sauces. I made a vodka sauce/puttanesca marriage last night. Feta, motz, olives, tomatoes, veg, sausage...

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plllog

i love that you made the skewers self standing!


The question of how much people eat is deserving of its own thread. I'd think the cookbook ladies would bring appetites, but maybe if they gained the “Covid 19” they were being very careful? When the hoards come to my house the eat like locusts. Less now that the mean age is higher, but they eat. At open to all lunches post-services, where the food is pretty spare—enough for everybody, just, but little variety—there's usually only enough left to prove there was enough for everybody, but if there's a morning bagel breakfast meeting, there are usually a lot of leftovers. I don't know if that's poor planning, if the current generation want something different in the morning, or that the discount for bulk hits right around the quantity needed. Most people don't eat before services and if they're eating after, they're probably not on their way to another meal. Perhaps at a 9 or 10 o’clock breakfast/brunch, they've already eaten or are going to have lunch after. I was once in charge of such things for a ladies’ group, and other than tem asking for more protein and veg, and adjusting the bagel count for those who would break a half bagel in half, rather than taking a half bagel and eating how much they wanted, they all ate well, always.

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bbstx

I’m not certain, but I would bet that everything except maybe the block of cheese and the desserts went into the trash. We were there for 4 hours and were the first ones to leave.


This bunch of cookbook ladies are more likely to bring a thirst than an appetite! Most everyone in the cookbook group is slender - or wanting to be slender 🙋🏻‍♀️


Speaking of thirsty, I had a luncheon for about 12 some years ago. I bought a case of champagne. Maybe 3 bottles were opened. My grad school roomie had a luncheon for her mother within the same year. There were 8 guests. They drank 6 bottles of champagne. Unpredictability like that is why we all over-prepare and over-buy.

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plllog

You mind me of the never ending dinners you sometimes see in Europe, or in the South. Where hosts aren't really prepared for the number of guests, but they have a full larder, and just keep making more food for several hours at least. Sort of like a real (traditional) tapas place, where small plates keep coming out of the kitchen and you graze on whatever looks good. I think you're right on the overbuying, but what a terrible shame about the trash!!

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annie1992

The skewers sound much better than a veggie tray. I know everyone has different experiences but a vegetable tray will sit on my table untouched nearly every time. No one likes them, no matter how much dip/sauce is provided.

I agree on the overbuying, I always want there to be enough with a little left over. Sometimes there is a lot left over, but everyone in my life is happy to take home leftovers, so it never goes into the trash, thankfully.

As long as the company was good, it was all worthwhile anyway!

Annie

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lindac92

Veggie trays are boring, but serves to provide something for those who are "Gluten free" or "Lactose intolerant" or are "vegetarian" or "low fat"....and anything leftover just goes into the soup pot....so they are not all bad.

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HU-685485614

No takers for the hedgehog, then lol

Islay

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bbstx

Islay, that hedgehog was hilarious! It would have been right up my mother’s alley. She loved the combo of cheese and pineapple. For some reason, the standard salad accompaniment for spaghetti (pasta with red meat sauce) at our house was a pineapple ring on lettuce with a dab of mayo in the center of the ring and grated cheese over the top. 🍍

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annie1992

Sorry, Islay, no hedgehog for me, LOL. Grandma did make a salad that had a canned pear half on a lettuce leaf with a dab of cottage cheese for the tail, raisins for eyes and ears made from pecan halves, kind of like these but we never had almonds!

https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/rabbit-out-of-the-hat-salad/6c66506a-8beb-4715-b903-15d23ecd3edd

Annie

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HU-685485614

bbstx and Annie, so funny.

Islay

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l pinkmountain

Lately when I entertain I always have food left over. I think it is a function of age. My cohort just can't eat all that much anymore and not pay a price. College student functions, particularly with males, whole different story . . . At our wedding we bought two cases of beer and quite a few bottles of wine and some hard liquor and sodas. Surprisingly our guests, whom we pegged as big beer drinkers, didn't touch the beer . . . not sure if it was because it was open bar or that my friends had aged out of beer without me realizing it . . . we ran out of wine early . . . probably for the best, no one drove home drunk hopefully . . .

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