December 25th, 2015

How To Keep Your Christmas Merry

How to Keep Your Christmas Merry

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I mean, isn’t it?

Well, sometimes, it can get out of hand. With feuding relatives, inflated expectations, persnickety houseguests and a myriad of other intangibles, holiday time can be … not so nice. So let’s you and I make a pact to be the ones to rein it in when it gets hairy. Deal?

Think – MERRY instead of HAIRY.

In my house, everything begins and ends with food. So a delicious meal actually solves a lot of problems.

Is your 13-year-old nephew looking bored because his mom told him this is a “no-phone zone?” Teach him how to season a steak!

It’s a fun little activity that will serve him well in his later years. And it’ll get him up off the couch and DOING something. Hey, he’ll be spending special time with you so the day won’t be a total loss. Score!

These holiday meals can be a wonderful time of bonding and sharing. So make sure to serve something special that everyone will love.

We all just scarfed down a smoked turkey over Thanksgiving. So why not try a prime rib roast this time?

It’s so tender and juicy and the aroma coming from the oven makes for some wonderful memories.

Keep an eye on the seating chart at this spectacular meal, though. And create a scenario where the meal can be successful – if you know what I mean.

YOU know who shouldn’t be sitting next to whom. So make sure you control that. Then, everyone can focus on the amazing food and not Cousin Phil’s annoying knee clicking.

There’s bound to be more time for complimenting the chef that way. See? We all can win!

Be mindful of all the landmines that are inevitably there when a large group of varied personalities gets together and keep the focus on the food – and ALL will be merry and bright.

Happy holidays!

November 23rd, 2015

Last-Minute Thanksgiving Tips

Are you as excited as I am for Thanksgiving this week? All the cooking, family, friends, merriment, gratefulness. Food!!!

Last-Minute Thanksgiving Tips

Or are you stressed out and overwhelmed?

I used to get that way every year. Then, I changed my mindset, made a plan and turned a stressful time into a joyful time.

You can, too. All you have to do is DECIDE that’s how it’s going to be.

We have no power over Aunt Freida’s mood or Grandpa’s constant complaining. If those things are going to happen, well, they’re going to happen.

But the things we CAN control – like the food! – we can make spectacular!

You still have time to plan out your Thanksgiving menu and bowl everyone over with the dining experience – even if they have to sit by Freida.

  1. Purchase all your ingredients now. If you’re serving a turkey it needs to be thawing.
  2. Create an order in which you will prepare the food. There’s nothing worse than cold yams that weren’t meant to be cold. Make a plan ahead of time to account for all these little details.
  3. Think through your guest list. Is there enough food for this group and is there something everyone will like? (Remember Freida?)
  4. Make at least one specialty item – a new recipe, something out of the ordinary, something memorable. You still want to provide all the old favorite Thanksgiving recipes but mix it up a bit. People will remember.
  5. Think through your seating – both number of chairs and WHERE people will be seated. If Freida is annoyed by little children maybe she should be seated as far away from the little ones as possible. For YOUR sanity.
  6. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. This one seems like it would be a given, but it’s really not. Stop and be thankful for the day and the people who chose to spend it with YOU.

Now THAT’s something to be thankful for!