A Squared: Foodie Finds: Holiday Party Season

Friday, October 14, 2016

Foodie Finds: Holiday Party Season

One of my favorite aspects of food blogging is sampling great new products and then getting to share them with you. With Eating Season-- that entire stretch of time between Halloween (or maybe even Labor Day?) and New Year's Eve-- upon us, a ton of tasty products have crossed my path lately. And just in time to share with you as you prepare to host or attend events over the next several week! Here's a roundup of my current favorites and a few ideas about how to use them too:

Hope Hummus - Hummus has been a staple in my fridge for many years now. It's a filling healthy snack and comes in tons of different flavors. I recently tried Hope brand hummus though and their Sriracha organic hummus may be my new favorite. This hummus is organic, dairy free, and vegan approved and is seriously some of the creamiest and most flavorful hummus I have ever eaten. The sriracha flavor packs a ton of that signature tangy heat. I also love the Spicy Avocado hummus which is reminiscent of a super creamy and spicy guacamole. And if you find their elusive Dark Chocolate Spread let me know where... I am dying to try it!
Use it... as an easy, healthy, and tasty addition to your game day spread! Sunday entertaining is tough, but you don't have to go crazy when you're hosting a Sunday football watch party. Just open up some Hope hummus, serve with pita chips and pretzels, and devour!

CHEVOO  - Any goat cheese lovers out there? [Raises hand] This product is for you! CHEVOO is the marriage of chevre (goat cheese) and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), hence the name. As if those two ingredients weren't good enough already (on their own or together), unique and bold flavor combinations like smoked sea salt & rosemary or California dill pollen & garlic have been added to this mixture for what is by far one of the tastiest and most unique food products I have tried in quite some time. Marinated goat cheese may be out of the ordinary here in the US, but CHEVOO's creators are Aussie transplants who brought this tradition to their current home in northern California wine country, an area not only known for its wine, but also for its locally produced goat cheese.
Use it... to create a delicious and flavorful side dish to bring to any holiday season potluck or dinner party. I added the Aleppo-Urfa Chili & Lemon variety to cooked orzo along with fresh spinach, arugula, roasted red peppers, and pine nuts for an easy to make and transport side dish that's sure to please a crowd.

Ransom Gew├╝rztraminer - Ransom is not your typical winery. Located in Oregon, Ransom produces small batch wines and also functions as a distillery, creating artisan spirits from the same local grapes. The Sunnyside
Gew├╝rztraminer is dry and described as "opening with aromas of wild rose and apricot, the palate is a deft balance of terroir-driven minerality and crisp, mouthwatering acidity, with tantalizing flavors of white strawberry and Turkish delight. The finish is long, lithe, and scented of apple blossoms."
Use it... for serving at the Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve table. This wine pairs really nicely with rich dishes (like you're probably serving alongside that turkey) and also with shellfish, making it a great option for a Christmas Eve Feast of Seven Fishes dinner too. 

Face Rock Creamery Premium Aged Cheddar - More cheese, please! Like Ransom wine, this is another artisan food product brought to you by the great state of Oregon. Face Rock is only a few years old, but as already received accolades for their high quality cheeses (particularly cheddar) produced the old fashioned way-- without artificial or unnecessary ingredients and using milk from grass-fed cows. And you can taste that kind of quality and purity in their rich flavorful cheeses. I especially loved the sharp flavor of their aged cheddar!
Use it... as the start of an amazing fall charcuterie plate. Add a few more cheeses (maybe a blue and something soft), some hearty meats, and some festive fall accompaniments like sliced apples, toasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and fig jam for a no-cook and holiday party-ready appetizer.

Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil Travel Kit - Coconut oil is a trend that is just not going away-- and for good reason. From cooking to oil pulling to moisturizing, it has a ton of uses and health benefits. Skinny & Co. is a unique producer of coconut oil products due in part to their production method: their patented Nutralock System™ crafts coconut oil at below 100 degrees F and they source it solely from their own factory, guaranteeing high quality production and ingredients in every batch. From there they have created tons of specialty coconut oil products. One of my favorites is their sugar scrub made of coconut sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla. It exfoliates and moisturizes at the same time (a huge plus for me postpartum, as the keratosis pilaris on my arms came back x1,000)-- and it smells amazing too!
Use it... as a hostess gift. This beautifully packaged set of coconut oil products is such a thoughtful gift for any holiday party hostess-- especially one that has a soft spot for naturally nourishing ingredients. This gift set is the perfect way for a hardworking hostess to pamper herself after a successful holiday party!

Backpack Wine - Guys, this is a fun one: Wine. In a can. It just sounds like it's made for camping/cookouts/kayaking/tailgating, right? Backpack wine was created here in Chicago (hooray for drinking local!) and was inspired by those gorgeous warm spring and summer days we have here after a long hard winter. What better way to enjoy that weather than with a crisp wine that doesn't require a corkscrew, cups, or the threat of broken bottles? And Backpack was born. It's available in two fun varieties: Cheeky Rose and Snappy White, both sold in 4-packs-- perfect for bringing along to your next indoor or outdoor party!
Use it... as a beer alternative at your next tailgate. Fall is prime tailgating season and what's more fun than grilling and drinking with friends and fellow fans in the crisp air? Beer is usually the beverage of choice at these events, but for those who prefer wine (like me) Backpack Wine is a great option. Put them in the cooler along with your favorite beer and forget about the dangers of a broken glass bottle or the mess of open keg cups. 

Editor's Note: Complimentary products were provided in order to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed herein are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support A Squared!

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