Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Making a frugal fruit and cheese tray

My husband needed a snack tray for an afternoon meeting. I shopped with an open mind: sandwiches? vegetables? cookies?

Whatever's on sale!

This huge wedge of Brie was reduced to $3 (from $9), a much better value than Kraft. I had some cocktail breads squirreled away in the freezer for toasting.

Let's total the cost:
  • Brie $3
  • 1 sleeve crackers .50
  • cocktail breads .25
  • grapes 1.50
  • apples & pear FREE from neighbor
  • carrot sticks .25
  • tray .35

Under $6--not bad. Less than the tailgating styrofoam cheese trays, and a whole lot prettier!


Meredith said...

Note: I could have come in cheaper with a batch of homemade cookies or fresh bread with a cream-cheese spread made at home, but with gestational diabetes, I just don't trust myself to do more than assemble food!

I also probably wouldn't have splurged on the Brie except that it's my husband's favorite cheese, and I like to make sure he has a low-carb treat instead of cookies whenever I send something to work.

Jerri Lynn @ Southern Sassyness said...

Very pretty spread. It amazes me what you can put together with so little money - inspiring!

Kelly said...

I often find gourmet cheese reduced for sale at Kroger's . They are such a treat . I freeze what I do not use right a way .
What a lovely tray !

Anonymous said...

Great tray, Meredith! I should think about putting aside money for hospitality each week - that would be extra encouragement to really do it.

I was wondering if you might consider posting about your favorite diabetes-friendly dishes. I'm not diabetic, but I have PCOS, and 50% of those with PCOS end up diabetic by 40. I'd like to prevent it, and if anything, improve my insulin resistance problem, and I know diet is a key part of that. I've read your archives, so I know I could go back through there again, but since you are dealing with it right now, I thought it might be a fun post for you too. Or else drop me a comment with a few ideas if you get a chance.

Have a great day. :)


Jenny's Vegcafe said...

It looks lovely and delicious. Good job.

Carie said...

Gorgeous! I love it! Your Hubs is one lucky man! I'll bet he was so proud to set that out!

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

Oh, goodness! You don't have to justify why you spent on the foods you did, rather than baking something. If I'm remembering correctly, your husband is a coach at a school? I can say from my former teaching days, that there is often a plethora of sweets available at school in the teacher's lounge or at meetings. A healthy snack like that at a meeting would have been welcomed!

Stephanie Appleton said...

$3 Brie?! I'm salivating here.

The Nester said...

When I grow up I want to be you! I adore your frugal mindset! Going to the store with an open mind--that's where I would have faltered!

Anonymous said...

Hi Meredith,
Just wondering of your husband has an expense account for all the "entertaining"? You seem to have to put together alot of food trays.

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

Wow, I am so impressed. You have such a gift for this sort of thing! I'm inspired!

Meredith said...

It's kind of tricky, Coleen.

For a large event like the ice cream social, something that would benefit the entire staff, he would submit some of our costs for reimbursement.

But for small things like this, it's out of our budget--by our choice.

I consider it an extension of personal hospitality and something I do from me to my husband.

On an afternoon like today, where he'd have one long meeting after meeting planned, he still needs to have a snack for his blood sugar. So it's often easiest if I arrange something he can share with the group instead of wolf down in the bathroom alone.

Anonymous said...


I think these posts about taking food for your husband's school events are my favorite. I love how you honor him with the elegant presentations and then show us how inexpensively you did it.

Keep 'em coming.


Anonymous said...

Snack trays are a frivolous waste of cash. You should have served flashlights and bottled water from a flat-rate postage box.

Meredith said...

That's one reason we pay cash out of our own budget.

When you're not spending someone else's money, you have the freedom to set your own priorities.

Anonymous said...


And brie that was on sale! Rock on, Meredith. You've inspired me to whip up a batch of cookies (even though we're in the throes of moving and I have NO supplies in my kitchen at the apartment. Maybe I should go test out my new oven at the condo... ;) )

Being thoughtful of your husband's needs, while meeting the needs of his staff is just, so...so...what we're called to do as Christians. :)

Anonymous said...

Looks yummy to me!

Christina said...

Lovely tray. Love the hospitality envelope idea. I'm sure your husband was pleased, as well as his staff.

Beautiful presentation as usual.

Angie @ Many Little Blessings said...

Gorgeous! You're so darn smart!

Anonymous said...

I agree!...and you always do it so well, it looks like it cost a whole lot more. I often tell my kids "presentation is everything." The humblest bowl of soup & a slice of bread look (& sometimes even, taste!) better when attractively served.


Anonymous said...

This is why I read your blog every day! :)It's amazing that you can make snacks look sooo elegant, and yet cost so little!

Laurie in FL

DeeAnn said...

Meredith, I think the tray looks gorgeous. Your Southern Hospitality inspires this Southern girl. Sure, you could have whipped something up in the kitchen but frugality is about affording luxuries without paying full price. Your an inspiration to us all. Makes me want to start my own blog about frugality & decorating.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tray, Meredith. And yummy and healthy, too! Question: how do you keep your apple slices from turning dark? I've heard you can spritz them with lemon juice or Sprite. True?

Meredith said...

Yes--you need to use something with citric acid.

I've found that lemon juice, straight up, is too sour. I dilute some in a small amount of water and dip each slice before adding to a tray. Sprite would work well, too, and be a little sweeter.

zakkalife said...

The tray looks lovely. Brie for only $3, what a deal.

Antonella said...

As usual you have an impeccable taste and sweet ways of showing love to your husband. I hope I'll be like you if I ever get married

Hopewell said...

Much nicer than gunky ranch dip and past-their-lifespan carrots. Great job!

Quirky Cottage Owners said...

Meredith, you've done it again, beautifully. Your love language of food and presentation is inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if you keep a supply of china plates, utensils and cocktail napkins at the office (or bring them with your trays) or if you use paper products.

Melmo Momoko said...

wow looks good... yummy yummy now I'm hungry ;)

Anonymous said...

What Laurie said. And Hopewell Mom.

So, today, before serving lentil soup and bread to my vegetarian daughter when she came home starving ... I actually cleared (most of) the table first.

I haven't got that presentation thing down yet.

Anonymous said...

Not a brie fan at all - Nonetheless - your gift is definitely making room for you -
the gospel according to meredith's wonderful skill and art of entertaining -
You really make your hubby look good with all these wonderful cost-effective presentations -
Now, I must get back to work - Great job!

latrice - working mama in nw

Anonymous said...

Funny and true, Hopewell mom. : )

Such a pretty selection, Meredith!

Now thinking of brie ... One way my friend serves her Brie in the winter (won't work as a cold tray) -- she tops the wedge with a loaded tablespoon of raspberry jam and then warms it in the oven on an ovenproof dish, until oozy. Then serves with skinny rounds of crispy baguette. If your hubs likes brie, such an elegant after meal almost-dessert.

deb meyers

Anonymous said...

Hello, just stopped by from Ernestine