5 Tips for Holiday Entertaining

The holidays mean getting together with friends and family.  And that often means that you’re the host of the gathering.  Here are my top 5 tips for Holiday Hosting:

1.  Keep it simple.

I’m not a perfectionist.  I’m not fancy.  But I don’t let my lack of themed decorations and perfect place settings get in the way of having friends and family over.  I just keep it simple and relaxed.  And I’ve found that most people really enjoy a time to kick back and laugh together, without worrying about anything more.

2.  Set up a buffet.  

Whether you’re doing desserts or a full meal, buffet style is easier to pull of than a sit down dinner.  Guests can serve themselves, go back for seconds and generally find what they need when a party is set up as a buffet.

3.  Ask about special diet restrictions.

It’s always nice to know and plan for guests who may avoid sugar or who eat gluten free.  They’ll appreciate your extra effort for them.

4.  If you have kids coming, make it kid friendly.

Kids love munching bite-sized fruits and cheese cubes.  Parents will appreciate if you keep the cookie and chocolate trays up high so toddlers and preschoolers can’t help themselves.

5.  Think through the cooking time of your recipes.

If you’ve got two ovens, you’re in luck.  You’ve got plenty of flexibility.  If you only have one, you’ll have to plan well.  Try using slow cookers for some of the dishes.  I recently found this Breville Smart Oven and it’s now on my wish list.  It can do anything from make toast to bake bread to make crispy pizza.  It will even roast a chicken.

Breville has released new, time saving products such as the Smart Oven, just in time for the holidays! Take the guess work our of holiday cooking with the Smart Oven, the oven that does the thinking for you. Check out their website for more information on this product and other great gift ideas. 

And don’t forget to reply below for two chances to win your choice of amazing Breville products either for yourself or as a gift to a loved one: YouBrew, Tea Maker and Smart Oven products ($250 ARV)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Breville. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules

Cooking Meat to Freeze for Later

I know that picture has nothing to do with meat or cooking, but it does show what freezing looks like :-)  That was our Mickey head antenna topper last year during the ice storm.

The forecast is for snow here.  I’m writing this post a few days early, so by the time you read this we could have several inches of snow.  My kids have their fingers crossed!

Now, onto cooking.  One of the questions I get asked often is how I cook meat for freezing.  I use a lot of chicken and I like to cook it up and keep it in the freezer for casseroles and soups.  It really speeds things up when I pull fully cooked chicken from the freezer. [Read more...]

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