Holidays are crazy. There's so much to do and everything has to be perfect... so we think. Sometimes "perfection" doesn't need to be hand made but simply a way that you enjoy the holiday. Someone just came into the store asking for a suggestion of where to order cookie trays. She said, "I love cookies. Hate to make them. So I buy them." Brilliant woman. Certainly my lightbulb moment for the day.
Entertaining, whether it be for your boss or simply your family (you can decided which is easier), is one more thing that makes us crazy. Cooking can put people over the edge on a good day, let alone a holiday filled with so many extra things to do. Let me offer a few suggestions:
1. Find simple but great appetizing food - Since most of us don't have appetizers with every meal, it's a meal element that changes the every day into something special. Unfortunately for the host, it's one more thing to think about, to plan, and prep. 1 word - CREAM CHEESE (maybe that was 2 words... but one concept). Tom Hamilton, of Towhee Hill Farms, taught me this. They make great things that come in a jar like hand picked Raspberry Jelly, Peach Pear Salsa, and Hot Pepper Spread. Tom says everything is better with cream cheese. Towhee Hill Farms has a great Hot Pepper Sauce which was made to go over cream cheese! Every time I've served it, people go nuts over it. But Tom also says Jalapeño Jelly goes great with cream cheese, Miller's Mustard (another local favorite) goes amazing over cream cheese, Garlic and Hot Pepper Jelly from Batch goes great over cream cheese. And it looks beautiful! So grab a spread or sauce or jelly, grab cream cheese at the store, and stick them in your kitchen until you need them. Both stay for a while and are a perfect addition to a fancy or impromptu gathering.
2. Mixes make show stoppers in minutes - Another pantry item you can pick up and keep in your kitchen until needed are mixes. Having overnight guests, grab a muffin mix and wow them. Or, if you are really trying to impress, grab a scone mix and fresh jelly (Frankferd Farms makes a great scone mix). WOW! How about a quick pancake mix so you can whip up breakfast or even your family members who ended up crashing in a basement.
3. Relax - The holiday season is supposed to be joy filled and fun and something to remember. This can't happen if you are stressed out about menus, cookies, handmade gifts, or whatever makes you nuts. Do what you enjoy! I don't love Christmas cookies (as a group they have a severe lack of chocolate) so we don't do marathon cookie making day. We make a batch or two each week of whatever the kids want to eat. Then I'm not trying to make the perfect tray with the prefect mix - we make what we want.
Slow down, enjoy, and celebrate with things that bring you and your family joy. And don't forget the cream cheese!
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- Tags: Batch, Burnt Cabins, entertaining, Frankferd Farms, Hot Pepper Spread, jelly, Miller's Mustard, pancake, Peach Pear Salsa, Towhee Hill