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Motherhood, wine and cheese have to be synonymous…don’t you think? Add summer to the mix and VIOLA! You’ve got yourself the perfect ingredients for hosting a girls night in. What’s more: no babysitter required if they bring over their kids to run around and play together with your kids. Moms get to connect and the kids tucker themselves out in the fresh air catching frogs + fireflies. I call that a mom win!

There is something to be said for a warm summer evening alfresco spent sipping wine amongst friends. The magical golden hour that seems to linger on forever is the perfect ambiance for hosting an outdoor soirée. Using this ambiance brings an element all of it’s own to hosting, and throwing something together that compliments the scene doesn’t have to break the bank.

This past weekend I hosted such a gathering to share the details with you on how simple it can be, in partnership with my friends at Roth Cheese.

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First, let’s talk ambiance. I grabbed items I already had in our home to bring some charm outdoors: a few throw pillows, a neutral blanket, an antique travel case to double as a table…then set it all up in my backyard. I added a few trays I had as makeshift tables and an ice bucket to keep the wine chilled. Throw in some cloth napkins, plates and wine glasses and you’re all set.

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Now let’s discuss the menu. I created this cheeseboard with a budget in mind! The entire thing was made for just $20. Want to go a step further? It’s all 100% organic!

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The idea is simple: build a stunning cheeseboard for $20 using a combination of store bought items and pantry staples. For this cheeseboard, I used Roth’s Organic Cheddar and Grand Cru cheeses, then built the board around these flavors.

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I prefer to carry color themes throughout my cheeseboards, so I stuck to browns, greens and bright oranges. The finishing touch was some rosemary from my garden for aroma and visual effect.

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I also had the most amazing organic wine from Scout and Cellar on hand sent to me via my beautiful friend, Becca (it can be ordered here.) Organic, clean, sans chemicals and NO HANGOVER – that benefit pairs well with everything!

This Sauvignon Blanc from Chile is bright, acidic, super crisp and so lovely. It’s now a favorite of mine that will be stocked for evenings just like these.

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Just because you’re the host, doesn’t mean you have to front the entire wine consumption cost! If you have friends as lovely as I do – ask them to bring a bottle of wine to the party. My typical rule of hosting a small gathering is to have at least 2-3 bottles chilled or at the ready, and ask friends to bring 1 to contribute as well. They won’t find it rude.

Aside from that, I always have fresh veggies and hummus on hand, so I put a plate of that on the side and let the main star of the show (the cheeseboard) speak for itself. Here’s a breakdown of cost on how I put this together:

The cheeseboard

Grand total: $19.51

Pantry staples

  • Dried fruit. You can use anything here, but I always have raisins, dried apples and dried mangoes on hand. My kids eat them by the fist full. I chose no sugar added organic dried mangoes.
  • Nuts. Same idea here, any nuts will do. Those I have on hand on the regular are pistachios, cashews, almonds and peanuts. Occasionally I have Marcona almonds, which are an absolute favorite on cheeseboards, but I didn’t assume those to be as staple in everyone’s pantry. I selected organic lightly salted almonds. 
  • Fried potatoes. I always have an assortment of potatoes in my pantry. It’s not unusual for me take 1-2 potatoes out in the morning and fry them in avocado or olive oil in a skillet. I used 6 baby potatoes, quartered and fried, then added salt and pepper after they were crisp.
  • Crackers. I feel like this is a staple on every cheeseboard. The crunch is essential in my opinion, and I used an assortment of gluten free crackers that I always have on hand like Crunchmaster and Mary’s Gone Crackers.

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There you have it! An entire girls night in (well…in but outside) on a budget. The takeaway? You can put together a beautiful cheeseboard for $20 or less, provide a couple bottles of wine, but then ask your friends to bring an app or bottle to share.

It’s more about sharing in good company and conversation than it is about spending an arm and a leg. Cheers to curating more experiences that linger and practicing hospitality!

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