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Holiday Tips

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Holiday Tips
to have fun without the stress...

  • Consider hosting a holiday brunch - prepare and freeze dishes ahead so you need only heat and serve in the morning.

  • Casseroles are labor-savers and can be dressed up for the holidays with fresh herbs or drizzle with sauce, bread crumbs or grated cheese before baking
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  • For speedy clean up, line baking dishes with aluminum foil. You can lift the cooked food out of the pan easily using the edges of the foil and will save scrubbing the dishes when done.

  • When baking cookies use parchment paper on the cookie sheet and then you throw the sheet away when done makes clean up easy.

  • When you need to grate cheese or citrus rinds or other items that stick spray your grater with nonstick cooking spray first to help in quick clean up.

  • When making traditional holiday foods but you want a different look, present it differently - garnishes of veggies, herbs or fruit help make any holiday food brighter.

  • When making holiday treats, make them to double as decorations. Set out cookies, cakes or cupcakes if they don't need to be refrigerated and they can serve as a decoration as well as a wonderful treat. An example would be to make cupcakes into reindeer using pretzels as antlers, mini marshmallow eyes, red gumdrop nose and red hot mouth on top of chocolate or light brown frosting with brown candy sprinkles.

  • Instead of making pies or cakes large, make individual servings using a muffin pan or tart dishes. Your guests will feel special when they get a dessert that is made for them.

  • Don't stress if you don't have time to bake - you can take any prepared dessert and dress it up by adding garnishes of whipped cream, drizzled sauces, cut up candy bar pieces, fruit, etc. No one has to know you didn't bake it your self.

  • Serve cake try cutting differently with a new look to it - cut larger squares then cut diagonally to create triangle pieces or cut wedges instead of squares.

  • Host a cookie swap to save you time in baking because you are going to make a lot of just one type of cookie instead of making a batch of several types of cookies. Don't forget you don't have to bake them - you can purchase cookies and decorate them for the holidays too!

  • Make edible place cards using cookies (Graham crackers are great) and frosting or decorating gel to write names on them. You can make them stand up by using triangle shape wedges and edible glue and place it on the back of the cookie to make it stand up at the table.

  • To crush candy, cookies or nuts without making a big mess - place them into a ziplock type bag and lay it on top of a towel on your counter and another towel on top - pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin.

  • Make or purchase mini loaves of a sweet type of bread and slice and serve on a platter.

  • Use cookies or mini loaves wrapped in plastic then dressed up by using a festive napkin, opening it up and placing the items in the center gather napkin and tie with a pretty ribbon or bow and add a festive tag.

  • If you give a gift of homemade jam or jelly add a loaf of bread or tea bags or crackers to be eaten with your gift.

  • When giving someone a pie for a gift, add a pie server or if you give cheese maybe a cheese knife.

  • When giving cookies or brownies in a jar, be sure to give baking instructions along with fresh items like eggs or butter that need to be added.

  • Wrap food items in freezer paper that you have decorated with stamps or marking pens and tie with ribbon and put into a holiday stocking.

  • Use individual disposable pans to make mini loaves or cakes and after it has cooled wrap in a tea towel and tie with a ribbon or raffia.

  • When you give a gift in a jar, add a decorative spoon to the jar with ribbon or raffia.

  • Make goodie baskets by purchasing inexpensive baskets - line with tissue or festive napkins add your goodies and use cello to wrap and tie with ribbon.

  • When shipping your goodies, be sure to pack in a gift box first then in a shipping box that is larger with packing material all around it and on the bottom and top to ensure that it makes it to your destination safely.

  • When packing cookies and there is space between the cookies and the lid, add folded festive napkins to cushion them between the lid of the canister or box.

  • Have a dessert party or buffet style party.

  • Make party beverages fun.

  • A frugal way to have a great party is to make it a potluck - this helps save you time and money and allows you to have a great variety of foods at your party.

  • Host an ornament exchange - make a limit of $5 or $10 dollars and each person brings it wrapped - place them all in the middle of a table and each guest gets a turn to pick a package. Then you could put a twist on it and the second person gets to choose the ornament the 1st person just opened or a new package. Keep going until the last package is opened then go around one more time letting people steal an ornament from someone else and giving them theirs - the last person to go has the best advantage because they get the pick of the crop.

  • Try a Holiday Ice Breaker game to help loosen up the guests and get them talking.

  • To keep your party rolling and fun, try breaking up the night by having small events throughout the evening like maybe a half hour or hour after the ice breaker game stop everyone to sing a festive song or play another quick game.

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