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I love this time of year, spending time with family and friends, making great food and taking part in traditions that we have built over the years. This Thanksgiving we were able to visit my mom, sister and sister’s family in Florida, which was so great. It was wonderful to feel warm while seeing the temperatures at home being 0 degrees. One of the traditions we have is family game night. Sometimes it can get a little crazy, but we love it. We went to my sister’s house for dinner and I was in charge of dessert. This would normally be easy the day after Thanksgiving because of all the pies, but my niece has Celiac Disease, so I had to come up with a gluten free option too. I decided to make a fruit platter and made up this Strawberry Vanilla Fruit Dip to go with it. I have to say, this is what everyone gravitated towards, so I will be making it again.
Before I came to Florida, I took a trip to my local Fred Meyer and picked up a Rubbermaid Party Platter because I didn’t know what my mom would have for me to use. It fit nicely into my luggage and since it’s lightweight, it didn’t take any of my precious weight. Good thing because I’m taking it home with me and I have purchases a few items here to take home.
Right now the Rubbermaid Party Platters are on sale at Fred Meyer, but you can also get a $1 rebate using your Ibotta app. Have you heard of Ibotta before? It’s pretty neat. It’s a free app you download on your smart phone. It has rebates for lots of stores in your area and your rebates add up until you cash them in. I haven’t actually used it a lot because I got a new phone and forgot about it. However, I loaded it on my phone again, so I can start saving that money. My daughter has made over $80 in just about 4 months.
This is what the Rubbermaid Party Platter looks like. The walls of the divided sections are tall, so your food won’t run together. It also comes with a container to keep your dips that closes so it doesn’t get everywhere and the lid to the platter locks in place for easy transporting. Lucky for me because I didn’t want to lose my fruit when we went from my mom’s to my sister’s house.
When you’re planning a game night and dinner party, be sure you have enough activities that include everyone. My nephew is only 7, so we wanted a game that everyone could play. Also, be sure you pick food that is easy to serve and versatile enough that everyone will eat something. You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is having fun. We had a nacho bar. I was thinking that the party platter would be great for the nacho bar too, but it was already full of fruit.
We played the game Curses and while we gave this game to my sister’s family for Christmas one year, we had never played it. It was a lot of fun and very active. You are “awarded” curses and you have to do what the card says for the whole game. I had 5 of them at one time, so before I could say anything at all, I had to look them over so I didn’t mess up. Above I’m doing a dance move while I read the card.
My niece had to yell a pizza topping whenever anyone stood up, plus she had to bite her tongue when she talked and do sign language. My mom had to have bunny ears when she talked. Oh, and howl like a wolf when someone clapped. So funny.
My brother in law was finding out that he had to talk like a chicken every time he said something and my sister had to dance for us. This was a really fun game if you’re looking for a new one. A word of caution though. It’s loud. We laughed a lot.
After the game, we all wanted dessert, so I put my fruit platter together. I had already made the dip and cut up most of the fruit, but I did the apples right before we served it so they wouldn’t be brown. My mom thought you needed to see a picture of me cutting the apples, so there it is.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup strawberries, cleaned, with the stems removed
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
- ½ of a 5.3 ounce container of vanilla Greek yogurt - make sure it's gluten free and full fat version
- Place all of the ingredients in a food processor.
- Blend until the strawberries are ground and everything is mixed.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Serve with your favorite fruits.
Everyone really loved this Strawberry Vanilla Fruit Dip and because it was gluten free, my niece was able to have it too. She really loved it.
While I was making the Fruit Platter, I thought that this Rubbermaid Party Platter would be really great for a Veggie Tray too, so I decided to whip one up with a little bit of fancy cutting. The only special tool I used was a crinkle cutter for the carrots. Everything else can be found right in your kitchen.
I love crinkle cut carrots. I think they look so pretty, with the different colors of orange running down the center. Since carrots are round, you have to be careful not to cut your fingers. First I cut them into about 4 inch sticks and then I cut them in half lengthwise with a regular knife. Then I placed it cut side down on the cutting board, so it would stay still. Then I cut each piece into three pieces, lengthwise.
Next, I went to work on some celery. Personally, I love stuffed celery. Usually I just go for some cream cheese with a little paprika sprinkled across the top. Today I decided to try to mix it up a bit. I softened 4 ounces of cream cheese and then finely chopped 2 green onions. I mixed them together really well and then I divided the mixture into 2 bowls. For the celery, I added in a tablespoon of dried dill weed. You can add more if you like more. I didn’t want to overpower the cream cheese. Finally, I spread the cream cheese on the celery.
Do you like cucumbers? I really do and we eat a few of them a week. You can do lots of things with a cucumber, like use that crinkle cutter and make spears out of it or slice it and use a small cookie cutter to cut shapes in it. For this tray I decided to do a diagonal cut. Scrub the skin really well, to get the wax off of it and then cut the ends off. Next, peel the skin off, but leaving lines of the skin on, to make a pretty stripped pattern. Finally, slice the cucumber at a diagonal. They turn out really pretty. The diagonal slice in how a lot of restaurants slice their cucumbers.
Now to the black olives. Remember that extra cream cheese? That is for the olives. Mix into this half of the cream cheese 2-3 tablespoons of dry Ranch dressing. If you like it more spicy, add more. You can also add crushed garlic if you like it. Mix it really well and spoon it into a sandwich bag. Snip the corner off of the bag and then pipe it into the hole of the olives. You can also use a frosting piping bag if you have one handy.
Strawberries aren’t a vegetable, but I decided I wanted to add some to the tray, for a touch of sweetness and because we had some on hand. This is how you make a strawberry flower. I’m not as awesome at it as some people, but you can see what I’m doing and practice. If you mess up, just pop it in your mouth and no one will know.
Place the strawberry stem side down on your cutting board. Lightly apply pressure to the top (bottom) of your strawberry and using a paring knife, slice most of the way through the berry on each ‘side’ of the berry, starting about half way down the berry. Next, come up to about half way up the berry and cut four more slices around the berry, but opposite where you cut the first slices. Continue on a third level. Then, gently pry the cuts apart, forming a flower.
This is the finished product of my veggie tray, nestled in my Rubbermaid Party Platter. I can pop the lid on and off I will go. The perfect addition to any party or dinner.
What are your family traditions during the holiday season? Do you have game nights, go caroling or have big parties? How would you use the Rubbermaid Party Platter in your entertaining? Let me know in the comments below.