Tag Archives: holiday’s

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Everything Bright With Winter White

During the winter months it’s easy to find ourselves seeking refuge from cold and dreary days. With a bright pop of white you can turn any space into a cozy, bright, and inviting environment. There’s a trend in decorating that is transitioning to more neutral tones of beige, grays, and soft colors. Who’s to say that same transition can’t be made with a few simple steps and without robbing the bank?

Cozy and Bright Mantels
Candles, candles, and candles! If you do not utilize a wood burning fireplace there’s still no reason you can’t enjoy the relaxing firescape canvas of burning flames. Maybe you don’t enjoy the labor of building a fire, but with a variety of pillar candles you can add a little heat and enjoy the winter glow. Simply add 15-25 candles inside your fireplace and light. Grouping candles on the mantle is always a wonderful addition. Keep the colors of the pillar candles neutral. Whites, off whites, and even silver are excellent color options to brighten up dark mantel spaces.

Pleasant Pine Cones
We all have plenty of pine cones around our homes to choose from. Grab a few of them from the yard and bring them inside. To dry out the cones, place them on a cookie tray for 10-20 minutes on 200 degrees and they will fill your home with the woody aroma of pine as they dry. Once the pine cones are dry, take them into a nice open area and spray with white spray paint. Adding them to a bowl or around a decorative votive will brighten dark corners and fill any space for pennies.

Mirror Art
Take an old mirror or an affordable one you’ve found at a retail store in the size of your choosing. You’ll also need vinyl lettering, initial letters, or a vinyl decal that you like for your space. Get 1-2 spray cans of flat white paint or a quart size container of traditional paint, plus painters’ tape for masking. Laying the mirror on a flat surface, apply the vinyl lettering or decals to the mirror. If you want to preserve the mirror’s frame, cover it completely with masking tape to avoid paint from adhering to it.

In a well ventilated area, lightly spray the mirror with spray paint, leaving a light coat. It will take several coats to get to the desired color background, but keep the coats light and let dry completely between coats. Once the paint has dried fully (be sure allow 24 hours drying time), carefully remove the decal lettering or vinyl graphic from the mirror. The vinyl can be easier to remove if you use tweezers, but be careful not to scratch the paint outside of the vinyl area. Place the mirror on the mantel or in another decorated space, then toss in a few other decorative white items and you’re done!

Popsicle Snowflakes
This is a great activity that can get the kids involved. Grab a pack of regular size Popsicle sticks from the local craft store plus a hot glue gun and some spray paint in the desired color for your snowflakes. Think outside of the box with the colors. You might want to try silver, gold, or even blue as your snowflake colors. To start the project, line up your Popsicle sticks, crossing over each stick end to end until you have the snowflake pattern in the size you desire. Once you like your pattern, start hot gluing end to end with a small dot of hot glue.

Once the Popsicle snowflakes are completely glued together let them dry and lay them flat on a surface covered with newspaper or craft paper. Lightly spray the Popsicles snowflakes until you reach your desired color. Once they are completely dry, find the perfect place for your Popsicle snowflakes and enjoy your winter wonderland. These decorations make for great place settings at a holiday table or, for larger pieces, enjoy them as wall décor!

Keep it White with Fur
Decorative fur letters are a great addition to any space. Simply buy either foam letters or wooden letters from the local craft store. You can buy them as initials for your name or spell out holiday or winter words. Joy, Season, Snow, Twinkle, Cold, Brrr! are all great ideas for this project. All you need is some furry white fabric of your choice. White feathers will also work. Simply glue fabric or feathers to the letters to create a unique and cozy decoration this season.
Rustic Bleached Nature Elements
Pine cones and sticks are a cost effective way to turn natural outdoor elements into beautiful whitewashed colors for your tablescapes, mantels, or side tables this year. All you need are a few pinecones, cleaned up sticks (remove any hanging bark or leaves), and a vase or container to use as the display holder.

Place the sticks in a glass container (like a baking dish), laying each stick flat and not allowing them to overlap. Carefully pour bleach over the sticks until all parts are completely submerged. Relax and watch the bleach turn them into a beautiful whitewashed color. Leave submerged until your desired color is reached. Once you are satisfied with the whitewash, simply remove the sticks and set aside. Depending on the type of wood you’ve chosen, you may wish to remove the bleach smell. To do this, mix one-half cup baking soda to three cups water and wash the sticks. Lay them flat until dry, and then place them in your decorative container. Follow these same instructions for pine cones, acorns, and branches. Enjoy!

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A Homemade Holiday

The Start to Finish Guide to Building Timeless Memories

Welcome to the hustle and bustle of the rat race during the holidays. Focusing can be hard to do with so much to do this time of year. Sure, the holidays can be a stressful time, but for many, it’s one of the most enjoyable times of the year. Family that you don’t get to see that often makes a visit; memories are made and stories are shared. This start to finish guide will make it a foolproof holiday for anyone. Starting with aromatics, moving on to a holiday meal and finishing it off with a vivid tablescape, this guide will help you do it all without the stress.

Making Scents this Season
Aromatics have a way to lock places and times into memory. Have you ever walked past someone and smelled cologne or perfume that reminded you of someone special or a place you visited? Here’s how you can lock special memories into your loved ones’ minds this year. Nothing says, “Welcome home” better than the smell of oranges simmering with spices on the stove. Make your home memorable by warming this recipe on the stove or in a crock pot for a continuous smell of “wonderful.” The refreshing citrus of the oranges combines with the comforting warmth and spice of cinnamon, clove and other spices. Using this simple “stew” is a wonderful way to welcome guests into your home during the holidays or anytime throughout the year.
Simply remove the peel (as little white as possible) from two oranges. Put those in the little crock pot or sauce pan along with a palmful of whole cloves, whole allspice, and three or four cinnamon sticks. Cover with water and plug in the crock pot or turn the stove on to warm and let the smell work its magic!

Gather ‘Round the Table
Yum! A simply delicious holiday meal can be fixed without a lot of work. The holidays are about the time spent with loved ones versus the time it took you in the kitchen. With this meal plan, you’ll spend more time sharing laughs than stewing in the kitchen.

Citrus Olive Salad
Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. orange juice
1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 large clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash crushed red pepper
4 large oranges
1/2 red onion
1 c. large olives, halved (a little less than 1 can)
Chives, chopped, optional garnish

Instructions:

In a jar or plastic container with a tight lid, combine the dressing ingredients: olive oil, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Shake until well incorporated. Slice the orange, removing the membrane portion of the orange. If time is an issue, you can always substitute mandarin oranges. Halve the red onion. Cut the half in half then slice thinly. Slice the olives in half. In a medium bowl, combine the oranges, red onion, and olives. Right before serving, pour on as much of the dressing as you prefer.

Rolled Maple Orange Glazed Stuffed Turkey 
Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
8 lb turkey (deboned or boneless turkey breast)
3 Tbsp. softened butter
¼ c. maple syrup
Juice of one orange
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Stuffing Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. butter
½ c. crispy bacon (chopped)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 c. breadcrumbs
1 ½ c. green apples, peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
Zest of one orange

Directions:
To prepare the stuffing, melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium high heat. Once the butter is melted, add bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in the onions and cook for a further 4-6 minutes until the onions are soft. Add the apple and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in breadcrumbs, orange zest. Season the mixture with sea salt and ground black pepper. Allow to cool before covering and storing in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unroll the turkey or turkey breast and add stuffing mixture to center. Tie off with string to keep together and place in a large roasting pan. Rub with butter and season generously with sea salt and ground black pepper. Roast the turkey for approximately 2 ½ hours or until a meat thermometer reads 150˚F. If the skin is looking too brown, just cover with tin foil. Whisk together the orange juice and maple syrup and pour a little over the turkey every now and then to baste. saving half the mix to add to the gravy.
Remove the turkey from the oven and brush with maple syrup and place back in the oven for about 20 minutes more or until a meat thermometer reads 160˚F. Remove from oven and let rest 10-15 minutes before cutting. Scrape the juices from the bottom of the roasting tin into a small sauce pan along with the remaining maple syrup and orange juice and bring to a steady simmer until it reduces a little. Use remaining juice/gravy as side to turkey. Enjoy!

http://www.donalskehan.com/2011/12/boned-and-rolled-maple-and-orange-glazed-turkey-with-apple-and-smoked-bacon-stuffing/

Crock Pot Greens

Ingredients:
2 large bunches of collard greens (can combine turnip greens and kale)
1 lb. ham hock
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
¼ – ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 c. water
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
In medium saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Place in the bottom of crock pot. Add greens to crock pot. Special note: If greens will not fit, you can do a quick sauté to wilt them so they will fit, but don’t overcook them during this special step. Add ham hock, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and water. Cook on low for 6 hours or more if preferred. Greens will come out perfectly seasoned and taste great!

http://squishablebaby.com/crock-pot-greens-recipe/

From Pillsbury

Orange Baklava Pinwheels

Ingredients:
1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 ¼ c. sweetened dried cranberries
1 c. chopped pecans
½ c. sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. grated orange peel
1 egg
2 Tbsp. water
½ c. honey

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Unroll pie crusts and press each into 10 1/2” square. Brush with melted butter. Place cranberries, pecans, sugar, cinnamon and orange peel in food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Spread half of mixture on each pie crust square. Roll up each pie crust into a log. Pinch edges tightly to seal. In small bowl, beat egg and water until blended. Brush egg mixture over each log. Cut each log into 10 slices. Place slices cut side up one inch apart on cookie sheet. Replace any dropped filling and reshape slices if necessary. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove pinwheels and place on cooling rack. Spoon a teaspoon of honey on each slice. Serve warm or cool.

Orange Spice Centerpieces

The key to a great table is an inviting one. Make your table pop with a few of these festive ideas sure to welcome guests all season long.

Wash and dry oranges. The number of oranges depends on the size of the table and size of the dish you wish to use to hold them. A great suggestion is to use a minimum of three oranges per dish for even the smallest of tables.

Poke cloves into oranges in any pattern of your choice. If you’re having trouble getting through the skin, use a toothpick to create the whole then insert the clove. You can also dot your pattern on the orange with a fine point marker. (Keep the dots small so they don’t bleed when the juice hits them.)

To dry the centerpieces, place them in a paper bag for a few days to weeks. The bag will draw out the juice and the oranges will shrink in size. If you choose this method to keep the centerpiece for a long time, make sure to watch out for mold during the drying process. Discard any that generate mold.

Add to a dish with green pine needles and pine cones that you’ve gathered form outside. You can accent with magnolia leaves as well. Use what you have from your yard to keep the cost of these beautiful centerpieces affordable.

Now it’s time to sit down and enjoy the time with family and friends. From our holiday table to yours, Happy Holidays!