Consider two holiday challenges solved--unexpected snackers and last-minute gifts.

Challenge #1: A delicious and showy, instant appetizer
Every year, Glenn and I end up having a few spontaneous holiday gatherings at home. Neighbors drop by... Everyone decides to meet at our house before the movie... Family from out of town stops in... You know the drill. This season, we're ready for anyone. Our secret weapon is a stock of marinated goat cheese from Belle Chevre and a few bottles of sparkling wine. Just add crisp, salty crackers, and we're set. The cheese is beautiful and tastes great, (it has won more than 50 national awards).

Challenge #2: The forgotten or unexpected gift
This is as universal as the instant-party--the panicked realization that "I don't have a gift for ___!" We're completely relaxed on this front. The supply of goat cheese is giftable. Just add a bow and a gift tag. Real Simple even selected Belle Chevre marinated goat cheese as one of their "50 Gifts Under $50."

You can find Belle Chevre at many Target and Whole Foods stores or order the cheese on their site.

Last summer we took our cameras to Belle Chevre's creamery in Elkmont, Alabama with Local Flavor. Take a video tour of the creamery and see owner Tasia Malakasis make some yummy, goat cheese treats.

What are your favorite apps to keep on hand? Are you a chips and salsa person or do you keep something more elegant at the ready?