Mothers Day Brunch Board Ideas

We know shopping for this upcoming Mothers Day holiday is a little challenging this year. It is kind of hard to not be hyper-aware of every shopping trip and item that is arriving in the mail. Still want to plan something special for the mother of your household? How about building her portable platter full of goodies for all of you to share? Don’t have a platter or a tray for this task? Perhaps your should GIFT her one for Mother’s Day? Can’t do that in time? Just use a large cookie sheet. The goal is to cover the whole surface with grab-able goodies. Do you have a great outdoor dining space, a sun room that is extra perfect in the mornings, or how about a backyard picnic? Treat mom to a special brunch, lunch, or plan an snack and game night that you can all enjoy together.

Build a Brunch Board

Pancake breakfast brunch board platter
Breakfast in bed or out on the patio? Make your pancake breakfast feast portable on a tray.

Pile up some pancakes or waffles, surround them with yummy fruits and other toppings and don’t forget the bacon! Brunch boards like this are a great family effort for mom because you can delegate tasks separately to many kids and then get everything prepped and piled as a group. TIP: mom won’t care if this spread has homemade or frozen waffles or pancakes so don’t stress.

Brunch idea with serving items like pitchers or bud vases for syrups
Use fun serving items like pitchers or bud vases for syrups

Get creative by including fun pancake or waffle “toppings” you may have in the pantry like sprinkles or chocolate chips. Another fun idea is to fill up some individual syrup servings using small jars, pitchers, or jars you have.

Let’s Taco ‘Bout How Awesome Mom Is

Taco night grazing board with toppings, shells, and chips
A twist on taco night! Fill a grazing board with toppings, shells, and chips for a build-your-own plate station.

What’s better than Taco Night? How about Taco Day? Start building your taco grazing board by including a dish of your prepared meat. Then spread out your shells and/or tortillas and add toppings in small piles. Leave a corner of your grazing board for dishes or containers for messier toppings like salsa and sour cream and save some space for jars of hot sauces. End up with some empty spaces on this board? Grab some tortilla chips and fill in your gaps because taco and nachos are always a good idea! Want to add a breakfast twist to this idea? How about adding some eggs into the mix and assembling a build-a-breakfast burrito board?

Make your grazing board easy to clean up so you can get back to the party
Prep your boards ahead of time and make perishables easy to cover and clean up so you can get back to the party.

Building a large board packed with yummy food can help make everything portable for setting up and cleaning up. Many of this work can be prepped ahead of time and stored in the fridge until it is taco time! If you bring your board outside to snack on, be sure to cover and clean up your perishable items so they arent left out too long. Trays make great grazing boards because you can pile your messy dishes right on them for easier clean up. Meals like this are meant to be casual and fun so paper plates are fine (and make for even easier cleanup).

Family Game Night Grazing

Mom always up ahead of everyone else in the house? Then she will see that brunch prep coming won’t she? How about instead you invite her to a family game night and prep an amazing grazing board of snacks to share while she picks out some games? Grazing boards and charcuterie plates are meant for snacking and ideal for sharing. These are a great way to clean out some of the almost-finished packages from your pantry or fridge. Plating one up may seem intimidating on your first try. But once you understand that all you are doing is arranging small piles of items together, it’s easier to be successful. Take a look at this example:

Meats, treats, cheeses, crackers, and other snacks all ready for grazing during your next movie or game night.
Meats, treats, cheeses, crackers, and other snacks all ready for grazing during your next movie or game night.

Looks ready for snacking even though it is kind of a mess. As long as you have a fun variety of sweet, salty and savory items you will end up with a successful mix of plenty of interesting colors, shapes, and textures. All I did to dress up the meats in the tray above was change them a little as I unpacked them. One style I shaped into little rolls, and the other is just folded in half once, then again a second time. Meats and cheeses are always great to have on a snack board but don’t forget about some sweets! Here I included some dried pineapple and licorice bites. The truth is, everything looks prettier plated up. You can do this! Have you ever brought home your Big Mac and fries and ditched the drive through packaging for a real plate? Instant upgrade! If you need some added inspiration just check out this board we started on our Pinterest page. Tons of ideas and arrangements to scroll through like S’mores and french fries boards! If you make one be sure to tag us on social media so we can see your creations. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, grandmas, aunties, pet-moms, and female role-models out there!

Build A Leftover Layer Cake This Thanksgiving

Have someone at your Thanksgiving table that just hates it when their food touches on their plate? Well, this recipe is NOT for them. Recently an idea sprung up between coworkers at Village Home Stores that we should build a cake out of side dishes this holiday. It was an inspired moment and we think we even heard angels singing…. until we sent an email out to staff to see who wanted to help out. Turns out a lot of our coworkers were disgusted at our idea. Mainly because our pile of delicious food goes against their preferred separated plate tactics. After a quick poll on our Facebook page, we found out many people don’t like their food touching. But did you know there is an actual term for this? There is! Brumotactillophobia is the fear of food touching other food. So if you really want to sound smart at the Thanksgiving table this year, throw that word out there. Now that we have all learned something, let’s get to how you can make your own creation! Check out our masterpiece!

Village Home Stores employee holding a layer cake built of Thanksgiving side dishes
Pat proudly holds her Thanksgiving cake of layered leftover side dishes!

It truly does take a Village to build something this great! We learned that the day of our “Worksgiving” potluck when we all pitched in to fill the showroom with great food and amazing smells. Building a savory side dish cake like this truly works best when you collaborate. Looking for a fun “Friendsgiving” idea, or just want to make that next-day meal special? Build yourself one of these layered leftover cakes! The best part about this is you can choose your own layers and truly improvise your way to a fun meal. Here is how we stacked ours up.

A savory slice of our Thanksgiving side dish layer cake. Cornbread,sweet potatoes,baked mac and cheese,and stuffing. Frosted with mashed potatoes and topped with green bean and a turkey leg.

Our cake included cornbread, mashed sweet potatoes, baked mac and cheese, stuffing/dressing, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole. Plus of course Pat insisted she cook a bird for us as well so we could have a turkey leg on top! We had each staff member bring in one part to this puzzle. Then we warmed everything up in a KitchenAid wall oven and got to work.

KitchenAid Stainless Steel wall oven with Thanksgiving side dishes inside.
Thanksgiving side dishes in a KitchenAid Wall Oven.

We found that keeping everything similar in thickness helped to keep a good balance. For our Village cake, Elizabeth used 9″ round tins to form layers of corn bread and baked mac and cheese. We set the cornbread as the very bottom of our cake. A smooth layer of Angela’s mashed sweet potatoes “frosted” the top and we then flipped the mac and cheese over in place for the next layer.

Mashed sweet potatoes help bind layers of corn bread and baked mac and cheese together in our layered side dish cake.
Mashed sweet potatoes help bind layers of corn bread and baked mac and cheese together in our layered side dish cake.

Another layer of Angela’s sweet potatoes and we are ready to keep piling on the flavor! Sweet potatoes can be substituted here with any other ingredient that wound help bind the baked layers together.

sweet potatoes help bind the layers together in our Thanksgiving side dish cake.
Mashed sweet potatoes help bind layers of this creation together in our savory side dish cake.

Next up is Pat’s dressing! We stuffed savory scoops into one of the 9″ pans and formed another “cake” layer. NOTE: this was the hardest layer to keep intact when we flipped it over. You may want to try and bake or bind the stuffing together better to avoid a dressing-avalanche.

Thanksgiving stuffing packed into a round pan.
Thanksgiving stuffing packed into a round pan to be used as a cake layer.

We realize the infographic below looks like a science fair project but trust us this cake sliced up to taste way better than it looks! To summarize our final “cake” interior stacked up as follows (from bottom):

  • Cornbread
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Baked Mac and Cheese
  • More Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Stuffing/Dressing
How to layer a Thanksgiving side dish cake: cornbread - sweet potatoes - baked mac and cheese - sweet potatoes - and stuffing.
How to layer a Thanksgiving side dish cake. We did cornbread – sweet potatoes – baked mac and cheese – sweet potatoes – and stuffing.

For the “frosting” Lexy made a delicious batch of buttery mashed potatoes for us to use to frost this cake up! NOTE: this step takes a lot of patience if you are working with warm ingredients. Pat slowly and steadily worked her way around the cake using two spoons to coat the edges and top of the cake.

Mashed potato frosting for our Thanksgiving leftover layer cake
Mashed potato frosting seem appropriate for this savory layered side dish cake.

Chris brought in a batch of green bean casserole because how can you not include this side dish in a Thanksgiving feast?! We piled up a little nest of green beans on top of the cake and then Josh nestled this picture-perfect turkey leg on top. FUN FACT: Josh is of the above-mentioned Brumotactillophobic category. So while he helped us build this cake, we caught him making his own divided plate of food later on.

Thanksgiving cake frosted with mashed potatoes and topped with green bean casserole and a turkey leg
What do you top a Thanksgiving cake of layered leftover side dishes with? A turkey leg of course!

We had plenty of the leftovers left-over after we created this Frankenstein of a cake. The entire staff was able to enjoy a real feast! The “cake” sliced up surprisingly well and held its shape when plated. We documented part of our “piling up” process in this short YouTube video. Press play below to see it.

Do you have a post-thanksgiving get together you are planning or perhaps a Thanksgiving evening tradition? This dish could be prepared as a part of your Thanksgiving Day clean up. Then you could just slice up and reheat as needed. For those that don’t mind their food touching, it is the perfect way to plate up leftovers. Pair a slice of this cake with a turkey sandwich and WOW!

work thanksgiving potluck with slices of leftover layer cake
Work thanksgiving or “Worksgiving” as we call it at Village Home Stores.

If you make one of these crazy leftover layer cakes please please please be sure to tag us online if you post about it. You can tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Speaking of tags, we created a few printables for the Thanksgiving holiday. Are you hosting and want to label your leftovers for guests to grab on the way out? Print of these Take Home Bag labels that even give you the option to remind a guest they need to return your containers.

Thanksgiving Day label for leftovers
Label those leftovers with these printable tags for Thanksgiving day.

An activity that seems to be tradition at many tables on Thanksgiving Day is to circle the table and share what you are thankful for. Start collecting these memories by having guests fill out slips in their own handwriting. Download a page of these thankful printables here. You will love revisiting these year to year.

Printable "I'm Thankful For" slips for your Thanksgiving table.
Printable “I’m Thankful For” slips for your Thanksgiving table. Download and print here from the Village Home Stores blog.

Thanksgiving just happens to be one of our most favorite holidays. Family and friends gather in their homes and enjoy good food and good company. We love helping to create warm and inviting spaces for entertaining on days like this. If your kitchen needs an upgrade before the big day or by next year’s turkey carving just call us! We can’t wait to hear what you are working on. Don’t forget that our Black Friday pricing is valid all month long this November so you can shop before and after the big day. Shop the appliance sale here.

Recipe: Yummy Street Corn Nachos

Village Home Stores Blog Nachos Recipe

When we heard that November 6th is National Nacho Day we just HAD to use that as an excuse to share a fun nacho recipe with you here on the blog. In all honestly, we have never met a nacho we didn’t love. Pulled Pork nachos seem to be a big local Geneseo favorite and can be ordered at just about every tavern and restaurant here in town. We wanted to do something a little lighter that could easily be improvised with and allow you to add your own meat or extra ingredients. Behold our recipe for yummy street corn nachos:

ingredient flatlay for street corn nachos
Ingredients for make-at-home street corn nachos.

Street Corn Nachos Ingredients:

  • Tortilla Chips
  • 8 oz. Frozen or Fresh Corn
  • 1/3 Red Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper, Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 5 oz. Cacique Queso Cheese, Grated
  • 8 oz. Monterrey Jack Cheese, Grated
  • Handful of chopped cilantro (garnish)

Prepare Your Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and chop vegetables as described in ingredient list. Grate the cheeses into a bowl. In a medium sized pan heat 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil on medium high heat. Add the corn kernels, chopped onions and jalapeno and cook 2-3 minutes (stirring occasionally) until kernels are heated through and show some charred marks. To the pan of corn add the Smoked Paprika, Chili Powder, and butter. Stir until butter is melted and spices are stirred in evenly. Turn off heat.

Saute pan of frozen corn and chopped onions, jalapeno pepper.
Saute pan of frozen corn and chopped onions, jalapeno pepper.

Layer Your Nachos

Spread an even layer of chips out on a shallow roasting pan, baking sheet,* or toaster oven tray. Top with a heavy layer of both cheeses saving a few handfuls of reserve for very top layer. *Have a Maytag Microwave with Crisp Element? Use your Crisp Tray (shown below) to heat these nachos up! Curious about this crisping microwave feature? Check out this video on our YouTube channel that describes it.

Grated nacho cheeses over nachos recipe.
Grated nacho cheeses over nachos.

On top of your layer of cheeses, spread out all of your seasoned street corn evenly. Add a second lighter layer of chips to your nacho pile of yumminess. Want to see how we stacked our nachos up? Press play below to watch this quick video.

NOTE this quick and easy seasoned corn, onion, and pepper mix is also a great thing to add to salsas, omelettes, and even include as a pizza topping! Make some extra and stash it in the fridge for another use. Add the remaining reserve of cheeses topping the newest top layer and any exposed corn mixture.

Grated nacho cheeses over nachos recipe.
Grated nacho cheeses over nachos recipe.

Now you are ready to bake! Be sure to warn anyone within the smelling radius that it’s about to smell amazing. Decide now if you have made enough for sharing and establish boundaries haha! You deserve these nachos and it’s up to you if you want to share them! We had to make so much extra for the hovering staff this day.

Maytag Dual Crisp microwave with nachos on crisp tray.
Maytag Dual Crisp microwave with nachos on crisp tray.

Now it’s time to bake them! We pre-heated our crisp pan and used our Maytag 522 Over The Range Microwave with crisp element to make ours. In a conventional oven, bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes or longer if you want a more crisped snack. Don’t forget that your oven has a window and a light for a reason. Every time you open our oven door the inside of that oven cavity loses a lot of heat. You can always check on your baking progress by just turning on that light and peeking through the glass.

Street corn nachos made at home
Nachos with a variety of cheeses and seasoned street corn topping.

Now they are done and ready to be devoured! Think of how good these would be with some leftover taco meat or as breakfast chilaquiles with an egg on top! This recipe is great on its own but made even greater with your creativity. Having fun and improvising in the kitchen is what snacking is all about!

recipe for street corn nachos with images and text
Ingredients and Recipe For Street Corn Nachos

Want to print off a copy of this recipe? Click here for a printable version. If you make these nachos be sure to post about it and tag #villagehomestores ! You can find us on social media on many sites. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and more! Want to see this crisping microwave in person or learn more about Village Home Stores? Stop by and see us at 105 S State in Downtown Geneseo, Illinois. Want to make an appointment? You can call us at (309) 944-1344 or complete this short online form for an appointment request. Happy snacking!

Village Home Stores phone number 309 944 1344

Recipes From Our Village Staff Soup Cook-Off

Village Home Stores Staff Soup Cookoff wemakeavillage

Last week at Village Home Stores we held our second annual Staff Soup Cook-Off and almost immediately when we started posting photos from it to our social media we had messages coming in with requests for recipes. We had many entries this year and once again, each was different from the next! It was pretty much the best work potluck on a snowy February day EVER!

Great soups this year for the Village Home Stores Staff Soup Cookoff #villagehomestores #wemakeavillage | villagehomestores.com

Before we get to all of the delicious recipes we have to of course give a proper shoutout to this year’s winner of the coveted “Golden Ladle” ::: drumroll ::: congratulations to MaryBeth Farber for her winning Baked Potato Soup!!! Of course she was very excited to beat last year’s winner Gregg Swanson (he looks thrilled doesn’t he).

The winner of the Village Home Stores Staff Soup Cookoff was MaryBeth. She was beyond thrilled to steal the title from her brother in law Gregg who won last year.

The winning recipe was MaryBeth’s Baked Potato Soup! She also staged up her serving station with decorations and had a whole buffet of toppings for the soup. If you are looking to find a delicious winter soup to feed the masses this is your new favorite!

The winner of the Village Home Stores Staff Soup Cookoff was MaryBeth's Baked Potato Soup. YUM! | villagehomestores.com

Print off a copy of MaryBeth’s Baked Potato Soup recipe by clicking here.

Winning recipe for baked potato soup from Village Home Stores Staff Soup Cookoff | villagehomestores.com

And now for the other incredible entries! We kinda hope that the party planning committee decides to make this annual event quarterly because we had so many different and creative soups compete this year!

Recipe for Italian Wedding soup from Village Home Stores Staff Soup Cookoff. | villagehomestores.com

Print off a copy of Angela’s recipe for Italian Wedding Soup by clicking here.

Recipe for beer cheese soup from Village Home Stores Staff Soup Cookoff. Serve with popcorn | villagehomestores.com

Print off a copy of Rachele’s recipe for popcorn-topped Beer Cheese Soup by clicking here.

Recipe for Pumpkin Apple Bacon Bisque from Village Home Stores Staff Soup Cookoff. | villagehomestores.com

Print off a copy of Elizabeth’s recipe for popcorn and bacon-topped Apple Bacon Pumpkin Bisque by clicking here.

Recipe for sweet and spicy Mulligatawny Soup from Village Home Stores Staff Soup Cookoff. | villagehomestores.com

Print off a copy of Gregg’s sweet and spicy recipe for Mulligatawny Soup by clicking here.

Village Home Stores Staff Soup Cookoff 2019 #villagehomestores #wemakeavillage | villagehomestores.com

What a fun time and who knew six crock-pots full of soup could feed a Village! Did you find this post because you were looking for a soup recipe? Well allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Village Home Stores and we are a small business located in downtown Geneseo, Illinois. We provide appliance sales, service, cabinetry, countertops, lighting, flooring, wall tile, and custom window treatments for the entire extended Quad Cities Region. Learn more about our store here at villagehomestores.com or stop by and see us sometime! You may even luck out and show up during a fun event like this soup cook-off!

Phone number for Village Home Stores 309 944 1344

Our Holiday Host and Hostess Gifts to You

Ideas for your worksgiving.

Are you hosting a get together this Holiday? At Village Home Stores we think entertaining guests in your home is such a wonderful gift to all who experience it. When people gather, memories are made. We want you to enjoy your time at home and make the Holidays as easy as possible for you. So with the approaching Thanksgiving holiday this week, we thought we would put together a few host/hostess gifts from our family to yours.  Are you hosting a meal this week? Wanting to find a polite way to ask everyone to “park” their glowing screens someplace else other than at their place-setting? How about giving them a polite instruction and location for it:No phones at the table policy? Enforce it politely with this free printable sign. | villagehomestores.com

Find a location to place a small basket for your guests to “park” their phones in during mealtime. Download this sign fro us for free!  Tap HERE For This Be Present Printable and find an unused frame to put it in. We made these printables simple and easy to crop to fit a frame. Speaking of phones, it has become a norm of modern hospitality to offer your home WiFi to guests. If you want to avoid having to repeat the information every time the doorbell rings, grab this sign to customize:Have houseguests this Holiday? Let them hop on your wifi with this free pdf printable sign. | villagehomestores.com

Just tap HERE For a WiFi Printable and add your network name and password before framing. This can be located near the appetizers, home bar, or in the powder room when entertaining. NOTE: this framed sign is a very thoughtful addition to a guest bedroom if you have overnight guests. Is your home is a “shoes off” house? Remind your guests with a Friendly Shoes Off Sign that reads “Leave all worries (and your shoes please) at the door”. Is your house a shoes off please house? Enforce it politely with this free pdf printable sign. | villagehomestores.com

Last week we hosted a “Worksgiving” event after hours here at the store. “Friendsgiving” and “Worksgiving” events are becoming more and more popular and we totally understand why! Who doesn’t love an excuse to get together to snack and sip!? Since Village Home Stores is in the business to creating beautiful spaces for entertaining, it should not be a surprise that we can also create a pretty amazing pot luck feast! For last week’s “Wine-Down Worksgiving” we each brought an appetizer to share. Easy appetizers for holiday entertaining, friendsgiving, and worksgiving events. | villagehomestores.com

Of course we had countless crock pots full of so many tasty snacks and the showroom smelled so good all day we could hardly wait until 5pm. We posted a few of the appetizer recipes to the Village Home Stores Pinterest page just in case you are looking for a last-minute recipe for your own gathering. Find a simple Caramel Apple Dip, Apricot Crustini Bites, and Spicy Sausage Stars on our recipe board. Easy appetizers for holiday entertaining, friendsgiving, and worksgiving events. | villagehomestores.com

Love crock-pot season? We do too! Be sure to scroll through and follow that whole board on our Pinterest page because we have pinned a lot of great crock pot and toaster oven recipes there for our clients who are currently going through a remodel and don’t have a full kitchen at the moment. We think a Worksgiving was a great way to gather as a work family and get us ready for the Holiday season. Our new lighting showroom made for the perfect space to do it.
Hosting a get together and want every to ditch their screens? Enforce it politely with this free pdf printable sign. | villagehomestores.com

Need to service your appliances before a big meal? Call our expert appliance service team at (309) 944-1344 for a service appointment. We service most major brands. Shopping for new appliances this month? Don’t forget that we purchase from a multi-million dollar buying group and offer our Local Low Price Guarantee to all customers! That means we have prices competitive with the box stores but you get to have the award-winning expert customer experience you deserve! Our team will help you find the right deals and the right models for your lifestyle and budget.  Shop our Black Friday savings here onlineBlack Friday and Small Business Saturday deals from Village Home Stores. | villagehomestores.com

We want to remind you that Village Homes Stores is a family-owned small business and we proudly stay closed on Thanksgiving Day so all of our staff can enjoy the Holiday. We will be open Black Friday from 9am until 5pm and again on Small Business Saturday from 9am until noon at 105 S State in Downtown Geneseo, IL. Stop in and see us! We always have fresh baked cookies for our guests. No matter where you are spending your holiday, we hope you are safe and blessed. A very special thank you to all of our amazing clients who are preparing their first Thanksgiving meals in their new kitchens from Village Home Stores this year! Cheers!