The holiday season is here and with it comes one of the most popular of all tasty treat – cookies. Holiday cookie baking won’t be difficult if you choose the right tools to help you. Professional bakers know that starting with high quality ingredients will help create the most delicious end products. There are two main types of cookies including drop cookies and rolled cookies. You can make drop cookies uniform with a cookie gun. It comes with various inserts that allow you to create a variety of shapes using soft cookie dough. Simply insert dough and pull the trigger to place them onto a prepared cookie sheet.
Rolled cookies can be made into shapes by using cookie cutters. Holiday shaped cookie cutters help you make cookies in festive shapes. Once the cookies are baked you can decorate them with frosting. Use a deluxe icing set to decorate cookies. The set has a selection of tips and bags so you can create professional looking cookies with ease. When making rolled cookies it is helpful to place the cookie dough in the refrigerator for a while before rolling it to prevent sticking and to make the shapes form properly. Bake cookies on an extendable baking sheet.
Holiday cooking can be a fun family project if you’re well organized. When baking with young children measure the ingredients and have everything ready before you begin. Allow the children to participate by giving them safe and easy tasks and keep them away from a hot oven. Let them assist in decorating cookies with as assortment of candies, sprinkles, and frosting they can use to make unique creations. Place cookies in bags or airtight containers to keep them fresh for up to a week. If the cookies are for a bake sale, place several cookies into each plastic package and tie with a colorful ribbon so they can be sold in small quantities.
The holidays are here and it’s time to start thinking about gift giving. Of course your family and friends are on your gift list, but what about giving gifts to other people? You’ll need to consider giving gifts to people who provide regular service to you throughout the year including your children’s teachers, and your boss and work associates. Tipping is appropriate for some gifts such as your hairdresser or nail technician. Holiday tips should be about double a regular tip.
Parents need to purchase gifts for their children’s teachers but not all gifts are appropriate. Stay away from wine or related gifts and avoid gifts that are too personal. Opt instead for useful gifts that are unique. A cute print insulated lunch tote makes an ideal teacher gift and won’t break the bank. A metro cooler basket is another fun choice. When shopping for the boss, be sure to keep the gift professional. Consider a personalized gift but be sure to order in advance so you’ll have it in time for the holiday office party.
If you have a large office, consider conducting a secret Santa. Each person picks a name and buys a gift for that person. This allows you to buy only one gift rather than many. While it may be tempting to buy a funny gift, it’s better to choose a nice gift that the person can actually use. There is usually a set price limit (sometimes about $25) so you’ll have to get creative. For men, shop for sports related gifts or for hunters, consider gifts for the hunter. Other good choices are gardening, cooking, and pet related gifts so choose an option based on the person’s interests. When giving gifts, a good rule of thumb to follow is to give a gift that is something you’d love to receive. Keep your choices simple and have fun finding the right gift for everyone on your list.
The holidays are just around the corner so it’s time to start thinking about family food get-togethers. According to the National Turkey Federation, Americans eat 46 million turkeys at Thanksgiving. This equates to about 736 million total pounds of turkey making turkey the most popular meat item for the Thanksgiving holiday. Proper organization ahead of time will make holiday cooking a breeze. Using the correct roasting pan will ensure a bird that is cooked to perfection. Choose an oval roaster set with a rack so the turkey won’t rest directly on the bottom of the pan. This will provide the best heat distribution.
Roast the turkey without the lid for the first hour so the skin will get brown. Then, place the lid on the roaster or cover the turkey with foil to keep it from drying out or getting too crisp. Roast the turkey with the breast facing up in a 325° F. oven. The length of time needed to cook the turkey depends on the size of the bird as well as whether the turkey is stuffed. For example, a stuffed turkey that weighs 9 to 18 pounds will need to roast for 3 ¾ to 4 ½ hours. Use a fast read food digital thermometer to determine when the turkey is done. The temperature should be 165° F. in the breast or stuffing and 180° F. in the thigh.
Before carving the turkey, allow it to rest for about 30 minutes after taking it out of the oven. In the meantime, use the pan drippings to make delicious gravy. Remove the rack from the pan. Add some turkey or chicken stock to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Heat the gravy on the stove, adding flour and butter mixture to thicken it before serving.
One of the best ways to create a festive home interior is with decorative holiday lights. You don’t need a lot of lights to make a cheerful room but choosing the right style and placement is important in making a wonderful look. Lights can transform your room into a winter wonderland. String some star garland around the perimeter to instantly give the room a warm glow. For some soft color, add a string of lighted sisal balls or bells in gold or white. They add a natural look to your display. Cordless lights are best because you can place them wherever you like and they don’t have to be near an electrical outlet.
Adorn your tables and staircases with small battery operated lights. Take a strand of lights and place them in a small pile for an instant bright centerpiece. Place small lights along the top of your fireplace mantle. Cordless flicker candles make the perfect finishing touch. Place them on every windowsill and on your side tables to make a beautiful display that looks good from both the inside and outside. Set luminary walkway lights around the inside of your home to add a blush of light that will radiate from the floor.
For the holidays, remove some of your regular wall décor and hang holiday themed lighted canvas signs. Choose brightly colored designs to brighten your walls and make sure they have cordless lights so they can be placed anywhere. Complete your indoor lighting décor by adding some wreaths. A cordless lighted wreath adds warm appeal to your door and also looks great when placed on the inside of a large window or sliding glass door. Use suction hangers to place them on any glass window or door you like. Place a cordless wreath above your fireplace to make a pretty focal point for the room.
Happy Valentine’s Day! What’s your favorite thing to do on Valentine’s Day? Do you give gifts? Cards? To be honest, I don’t care much about Valentine’s Day, but I do enjoy some of the cute things that come out of it.I love that whether you have a significant other or not, Valentine’s Day can still be celebrated however you like.
Some of my friends give everyone in their office or department candy or pens. Some of my girl friends get together and eat chocolate and popcorn while watching movies. Some of my “coupled” friends make a big deal and make dinner reservations at expensive restaurants and buy expensive gifts, and the other treat it like any other day.
For me, the two best parts about Valentine’s Day are 1) You have every excuse to wear as much pink as you want all day; and 2) You have every excuse to eat chocolate all day without feeling the slightest bit guilty. So, whether you receive a special ring box with jewelry inside, or if you gather with a group of friends to laugh together, I hope you have a sweet Valentine’s Day today.
Happy Monday! I hope you had a nice weekend. Wherever you’re located, you probably had decent weather this weekend. Over here, on the east coast, we are having a crazy winter. One day it is 20 degrees and the next day it is in the mid 50’s! I’m enjoying the warm days as they come.
This weekend, I made every effort to be outside. Most of my errands were within a 3 mile distance, so instead of spending an hour indoors on the treadmill and I took a hike in lieu of Pilates. I’ll be back to using the indoor equipment this week when it’s cold or too dark outside before and after work, but it felt really great to take advantage of the nice weather and fresh air!
What a great spring weekend in the middle of winter!
Do you ever see something in a store that reminds you of something from when you were a child? I feel like most of the time I do not remember much of my childhood (sorry mom, I know this makes you sad), but there are some items that will spark a memory, or at least trigger a past moment that makes me smile.
Recently I have had two moments just like these. Both of my moments made me think of my grandfather. When I was in the grocery store ice cream isle the other day, I saw black cherry ice cream. Usually impossible to find, it brought me right back to having ice cream with my grandfather on a hot, sunny day. Then when I was in line at the pharmacy I saw candy orange slices. I don’t like them, but they, too, remind me of my grandfather as they were his favorite candy.
When I brought these moments up to a friend of mine, she told me she always remembers seeing the clear plastic gumdrop trees during this time of year. They are these little Christmas tree servers that get decorated with gumdrops. Apparently, she remembers the gumdrop tree at parties when she was younger. I have never seen a gumdrop tree, but now that I learned about them, I wouldn’t mind having one.
Is anyone else in holiday shopping panic mode? As of today there are just 9—count them, NINE—shopping days left! I have just realized there are people I’ve forgotten to buy gifts for, gifts I somehow thought I purchased but did not, and I still need host/hostess gifts for holiday parties and some stocking stuffers. I would like to get all of these things online as I have limited time and the malls are crowded. And if they were all in one place online, that would be even better!
All this week on Live With Kelly, they are sharing great gift ideas on the Holiday Gift Giving Guide. A few of the products they showed are exactly what I need! On Tuesday they shared gift ideas for guys, you can see the entire video here. Two items really piqued my
interest; the Rip 60 Training System (shown at 0:25). And a Portable Grill (shown at 1:37). This isn’t the same grill as shown on Live With Kelly, but it’s the same price and has the side tables!
On Wednesday, they showed some great stocking stuffers. They showed a wine bottle cover that looks like a Sock Monkey! (see it at 5:20). They said it was $12 on the show, but Taylor Gifts has it for just $9.98. This is such a great hostess gift…I’m getting a couple to have on hand!
After ordering a few of these items, I’ll be almost done my shopping!
Then I have to start wrapping…
It is now less than 2 weeks away from Christmas. Have you purchased all of the gifts you need to buy this year? Has any person or item slipped your mind and you need ideas fast? Now is crunch-time! Make a list, check it twice, and be sure you don’t forget someone important to you. I have made my list below of some of my favorite stocking stuffer ideas. Check out this link for even more stocking stuffers
Personalized Pendant Necklace
Personalized Stainless Steel Charm Bracelet
GPS Cup Holder
Micro Touch Max
As I drive and walk around the city, I always look at the Christmas decorations. I Get it from my mom. I always loved driving around with her, looking at the lights people had put up on their homes for the holiday season. So far this year I have come across a few great Christmas decorations and I thought I might share my top five favorite Christmas decorations with you. In no particular order, you can find my list below.
1. Solar Powered Christmas Lights
2. Solar Christmas Path Trees
3. Outdoor Pre-Lit Reindeer
4. Polar Bear with Lights
5. Giant Lighted Poinsettia