Housewarming Challenge

My friends Heather, Becci and Ernie (their labradoodle) just bought a new home in Madison, WI. They are having their housewarming party this weekend and asked if I could help with a simple list of appetizers to serve. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I thought I would cheat and share the menu I served at my housewarming party last November. Considering their party is a different timezone, I’m not worried about anyone noticing.

For my housewarming party, I considered the following criteria:

  1. It had to be inexpensive. Granted, you just purchased a home, don’t go even more in debt by throwing an expensive party.
  2. The food needs to be simple. This party is about your new home and not about your culinary skills. Don’t worry about making everything from scratch. No one will know if you buy some items pre-made from the store.
  3. You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen throughout the party. I choose appetizers that could be prepared in advance and served at room temperature.
  4. I wanted to served the food all around my house so people would explore and not try to cram around the dining room table (my house is fairly small).  

Here is what I came up with:PB080040

  • A big basket of rosemary popcorn on the front porch. Infuse olive oil with fresh rosemary and then pop the corn on the stove. The popcorn becomes infused with the rosemary. It is a perfect salty compliment to a cocktail. Serve in a big basket with sprigs of rosemary.
  • A large assorted cheese tray with grapes and crackers. Pick out your favorite cheeses (you are in Wisconsin) and serve with crackers and grapes. I arrange mine on hydrangea leaves.
  • Belgian endive with hummus and black sesame seeds. Make the hummus yourself or purchase from the store. Put about a tablespoon of hummus on the end of each leaf and sprinkle black sesame seeds on top. I arrange mine on a large circular silver platter.
  • Crudites and potato chips with a homemade dip. Both Ina’s pan-fried onion dip and sundried tomato dip can be made the day before.
  • Sausages in puff pastry served with Dijon mustard. This is basically a dressed up pig in a blanket. People love them (and you know my love for salty pork product). I used Ina’s recipe for Lamb Sausage in Puff Pastry but substitute pork sausage because it was cheaper.

These are just a few suggestions. Did I meet my challenge? I’ll let Heather and Becci be the judge of that. Oh and by the way, Hazelghini – Welcome Home. I can’t wait to visit!


  1. Well, post-party, here’s the update . . . Our menu, largely thanks to C, was a huge hit:

    – grown-up pigs-in-blanket
    – pan fried onion dip w/ chips
    – jalapeno pimento cheese w/ pita crackers
    – hummus on endive w/ black sesame seeds
    – rosemary popcorn
    – a few bowls of various nuts
    – dark chocolate m&ms in a bowl
    – a bowl of tootsie rolls
    – prosecco punch
    – beer
    – small variety of other n/a drinks

    Thanks for the consult. We’ve got a few photos (just of the house & the food) . . .

    Happy weekend, can’t wait to see you at the end of the month!!!

    • Sounds great!! I’m glad it went well and that you threw a couple extras in. I like the tootsie rolls.

  2. good morning from Gainesville! We LOVE your blog!!!! Keep up the good work. Love and Kisses from the YardBirds, including your Momma!

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