19 June 2011

blog hopping: hostess gifts! or, uh, food.

Welcome to MakeHappy, blog hoppers! For my regular readers, I've been invited to participate in this month's “Blog Hopping” by Miranda from Narrating Life. Miranda runs this series each month, and asks a few bloggers (see below) to post about a common topic and share the links for the other blogs so readers can “hop” around for related ideas. Fun!

I have to admit, when Miranda first told me that this month's topic was hostess gifts, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to participate. I don't think I've ever given a traditional hostess gift! Maybe a bottle of wine on occasion, if you count that as a hostess gift. But honestly, when I visit a friend for dinner or a barbecue, I bring food. I love baking, I love cooking, and when I bring food, I feel like I'm both thanking the hostess (or host) and contributing. I love to help, most of all. :)

When I receive an invitation, I always ask the host or hostess what I can bring. (For simplicity, let's just use “hostess” for the rest of this post.) Often, the hostess will ask me specifically to bring salad, or a dessert, in which case I will bring something from my regular repertoire that is comfortable for me and potentially impressive for my hostess and the other guests. 

But sometimes, the hostess will say, “Oh, bring whatever you like!” In that case, I have a list of quick, easy, impressive items that I choose from. When I try a new recipe that goes over well with my family or friends, I add it to the list. I'm going to run down my current list for you. (Follow the links for my recipes.)

  1. Sage biscuits. These are quick, easy, buttery, and deliciously different than a plain biscuit.
  2. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes, from these folks. It is ridiculously easy to make beautiful bread. If you haven't tried it yet, you must.
  3. Roasted garlic foccacia. I make the dough in my bread machine. It's so easy, and it disappears within minutes at any party.
 You can't go wrong with fresh, seasonal, (local if possible) fruit. Especially in the summer.

If you're going to a barbecue, or you know the main dish will be something from the grill, try this Black Butte Porter Mustard from Deschutes Brewery. My brother brought it to one of our family gatherings and it is amazing.

Dessert is perhaps my favorite dish to bring. (Probably because it is my favorite thing to eat!) I tried to narrow it down to my top favorites, which also happen to be the most popular among my friends.
  1. S'more bars. These are a recent find, via Pinterest, and they are delicious.
  2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls. Need I say more? They're a huge hit. So addictive. (Just ask Joel. He loves 'em.)
  3. Peanut Butter Cookie Cups. What can I say? Peanut butter and chocolate were made for each other. (“MFEO.” Name that movie!) These are gluten-free, thanks to the flourless peanut butter cookies. You can make them with just peanut butter, sugar, and egg! Though I add a little vanilla and baking soda, as well.
  4. In autumn and winter, my favorite dessert, hands down, is Pecan Pie Cake. It's from the Cake Mix Doctor and it is chewy and delicious. I don't like pecan pie, but I love this cake.
Bonus: I thought I'd throw this in, because it was on my list. It's not my favorite thing to bring, but it's my favorite thing to make when I have guests over for dinner. Roasted broccoli and walnuts with orecchiette pasta. Simple, quick, fantastic. Vegetarian, too!

Hope you enjoyed my (exhaustive!) list of hostess “gifts.” I had fun putting it together. And if this is your first time here, I really appreciate you hopping over! I look forward to seeing you around.

Be sure to check out the other helpful Blog Hopping posts on hostess gifts:
Miranda from Narrating Life
Amberlee from Giver's Log
Joy from Simply Bloom
Jocelyn from Inside BruCrew Life
Michelle from Chez Moi

Have a great week!


Anonymous said...

What delicious ideas!

Chef in Training said...

yum! Looks fabulous! i am enjoying this blog hop thing! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would check out my blog and follow me too! Thank!

Jennifer said...

I have a huge urge to eat something chocolately after reading this post. I will certainly have to try some of these recipes.

Cathy said...

Fabulous ideas! I'd love it if someone would bring me #2 under your desserts category.

Charlotte said...

Bringing dessert is my favorite thing! I also have a stash of go-to desserts that are always sure to please. I loved reading!

michelle said...

Ooh, I love new recipes! Especially ones that are tried and tested. Thanks for the list. (I am especially intrigued by the sauce!)

weddinglinklady said...

I love it when you put pictures up of your desserts...always makes me want to bake something...or go eat something! :) Delicious!

Bcieloha said...

Sleepless In Seattle, duh!!

Marisa said...

Ding-ding-ding! Brittney got it. :)

Thank you for all the lovely comments, ladies!

Sophie said...

mmh que tout ceci a l'air appétissant !! Du coup, c'est l'occasion de faire connaissance avec les recettes, merci !!

Marisa said...

Merci, Sophie! J'ai eu le plaisir. :)

Miranda said...

It has never occurred to me to bring sauce. That's brilliant! There are always so many delicious dressings and sauces that I want to share. Thanks for the inspiration (and the recipes!).

Grandpa Bill said...

I remember a little girl with big blue eyes who was CONSTANTLY underfoot when I was trying to feed her and her siblings (work schedules made me the dinner cook). She always wanted to help, way more than the others. And sometimes she was helpful, just. It seems her little brain absorbed more than I thought, and I'm very proud.

Marisa said...

Yup. I learned from the best. Thanks, Dad!

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