Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone we turn our attention to the winter holidays. That means lots of cooking, baking, cleaning, decorating, and shopping going on. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukka, or other winter holiday you’re probably wondering how you’re going to fit in all the seasonal activities.
One way to reduce your seasonal cookie baking is to host a cookie exchange and swap baked goods with friends and relatives. It may take a bit of planning, but at least you’ll only have to bake one type of cookie and still have a variety to enjoy or gift over the holidays. It’s also a good excuse for a girls day or night out!
Hosting a cookie exchange doesn’t have to be a big fancy affair nor does it have to cost a fortune.
You can easily host one with just your close friends and family on a tight budget.
Here’s a few tips to help you plan your cookie exchange!
1. Decide who you want to invite.
You may want to keep the party small and intimate to keep it manageable. It’s probably not the right time to throw a party with 50 of your friends and their families.
2. Set your date and time.
Send out invitations. Ideally cookie swap invitations should be sent out a month before, but if you haven’t already done so, you should schedule it as soon as possible so guests can plan to attend. Everyone is busy during the holidays, if your guests are able to attend weekday events it may be easier to have your cookie exchange during the week, otherwise you can schedule a weekend day at least a week before the holiday.
I like to send written invitations, but if you’re pressed for time invitations sent via email or text will do. How ever you decide to send invitations always request guest to RSVP and if possible let you know what type of cookie they will be bringing. This will help avoid duplicates and you can gently suggest an alternative before the cookie exchange.
Tell guests they must bring a dozen cookies per guest plus an extra dozen for tasting. Suggest that the cookies they bring should be easy to pack and store. You can also ask them to write down the cookie recipe on a recipe card if they want to share it. Recipe cards can double as table cards and guests can help themselves to a card as well as the cookies.
3. Bake your cookies.
You can make them well in advance and store baked cookies in the freezer. Cookie bars freeze and pack well as do chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar, and snickerdoodles. For a list of cookies that freeze well check out this article from aboutfood.com.
To learn how to freeze cookies click here!
4. Purchase packing supplies.
You can use boxes, tins, or even ziplock bags. You may want to provide ribbons, tissue paper, tags, and other supplies so guests can pack up cookies for gift giving.
You may also want to have small party favors for each guests. Nicely wrapped oven mitts, kitchen towels, cookie cutters, and wooden spoons are all inexpensive and useful items that would make cute favors.
5. Decorate your house, cookie and packing table.
Set out platters and stands for the cookies. To make your own tiered stands click here!
You may want to set up a table or counter to pack cookies aside from the table or tables for the cookies.
Table cards with cookie type is a nice touch, or if guests are bringing recipe cards to share they can double as table cards. Here’s a cute and festive way to set up table cards, otherwise tent style folding cards work just as well.
Glue 3 candy canes together to form a tripod. Place table card on the hook part.
6. Offer guests coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or even wine.
You should also set out a few savory tidbits for guests to snack on. Finger sandwiches, dips, and other bite sized savories are ideal and will ward off the sugar rush from sampling all those cookies.
7. The star of the show are the cookies and the main event is the exchange.
Decide how you’re going to work the exchange to allow guests to choose the cookies they want. You can have a couple of guests at a time choose all their cookies or you can have rounds with each guest choosing a dozen cookies at a time. Guests can choose the same amount of cookies as they brought.
As the Christmas festivities approach, you may already be looking for a fantastic idea to surprise your family. Adopting a pet is a typical Christmas present. However, countless households are not ready for the commitment of owning a dog. Indeed, Christmas adoptions can have a sad conclusion, as families who can’t cope choose to abandon their pet or bring it to a shelter. In other words, if you’re looking to make Christmas magical with a puppy, you need to be absolutely certain that you can commit to the responsibilities of a dog owner. You can prepare yourself by considering the typical complaints that new pet owners have:
#1. It’s another mouth to feed
A puppy might be cute and small, but it is, in practice, another family member you need to cater for. Grocery shopping for pets is a little different. You will need to research the best food for your breed of choice, whether you’re looking into puppy food for large breed dogs or small dogs. Just like you put your family’s health first during your grocery shopping, you need to do the same for your pet. Choosing the best products for your dog is essential to keep your furry friend happy and growing safely. But, ultimately, it means planning for additional expenses, which can be tricky if you work with a tight budget.
#2. Dogs can be destructive
They look adorable. But that doesn’t mean that dogs can’t damage your home. Puppies need to be house-trained before you can leave them safely at home without fearing for your furniture or your carpet. As a result, it can take several months before your puppy behaves appropriately indoors. In the meantime, you are likely to struggle with urine stains on the carpet and chewed furniture. You can reduce the risk of damages by choosing a laminate flooring solution which is easy to clean. As for your furniture, pet owners sometimes use baby fences to block access to specific rooms.
#3. Your dog needs attention
Adopting a dog means dramatically changing your lifestyle. You need to be ready to walk your pet every day, regardless of the weather. Indeed, walking your dog provides the mental and physical exercise your pup needs. Besides, it reinforces your bond as you can spend quality time together. As a pet owner, you can’t afford to be lazy! Taking your dog for a walk outside can sound exciting at first, but you have to be ready to go out every day, at least twice a day.
#4. The spirit of Christmas
Finally, Christmas is all about spreading joy and love around you. If, like most people, you find yourself more likely to perform surprising acts of generosity and help others as the Christmas season approaches, you might want to turn your pet adoption into a positive thing. Adopting a senior dog rather than a puppy can make a significant difference. You are virtually giving an animal a second chance at happiness, which is the best present you could give a dog for Christmas.
Should you adopt a pet this Christmas? There is no right or wrong answer. But if you’re tempted by introducing a furry ball of energy to your household, you need to be aware that having a dog comes with responsibilities.
Gluten-free, paleo-friendly, healthy and delicious is that this Filipino-style coconut chicken curry tasteful with contemporary ginger and alternative spices. We tend to superimpose some sweet potatoes and bell peppers for further nutrition and yum!
The other night we tend to had dinner over at our friend’s house. A missionary visiting from France WHO spoke at our church last Sunday stayed with them. For his last night we tend to determined to possess dinner along, form of a pot luck. I didn’t have time to arrange a main dish as we tend to toured him round the space throughout the day (though I created some French callouts for sweet in his honor). Partner and that i simply determined to urge one or two of rotisserie chicken as our contribution.
We had plenty of food! One amongst the roast chickens wasn’t even touched therefore we tend to had to bring it home. As i used to be curious on what to use the chicken for, I remembered that I haven’t nevertheless created any Filipino curry version for the journal. Whereas we tend to usually use raw chicken after we create curry within the Philippines, i believed mistreatment the already roast one would create cookery easier and shorter, too. Besides, you’ll perpetually use another plan on the way to use left-over chicken, right? This can be one such recipe!
Filipino chicken curry could be a very little completely different compared to our Asian neighbors. Technically, it doesn’t extremely use a flavoring combine however merely place confidence in ginger, maybe some turmeric, too for flavor. Since ginger and turmeric square measure usually enclosed in curry mixes and recipes anyway, i feel this qualifies as curry, too. However, i made a decision to feature some flavoring and a few sweet potatoes to the combo (hubby is making an attempt a additional paleo-friendly diet recently and that i am change of integrity him, too). Bell peppers were additionally incorporated for flavor and color. If you would like to form it additional historically Filipino, you’ll use inexperienced unripe papaya rather than sweet potatoes or sweet peppers. Sadly, I didn’t have any papayas after I created this however be at liberty to sub if you are doing. Likewise, the sugar (or a bit honey as sub) isn’t meant to form this Coconut Chicken Curry however merely to balance the flavors of the dish. Like any cookery, merely accommodates style. If not doing a paleo diet, make sure to get pleasure from this with therefore me bush rice!!! this can be a awfully tasty dish so we tend to hope you are trying it shortly
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2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
6 Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 medium Onion, chopped
2-inch long fresh Ginger root, peeled and sliced
2 Tablespoons Red Curry powder
1 teaspoon ground Turmeric
1 Sweet Potato (Yam), peeled and chopped into cubes
3-4 cups left-over Chicken or 1 ( 3-lb) Rotisserie Chicken, chopped or cubed
1 1/2 cans Coconut Milk plus 1/2 can water (use 14 oz can for measurement)
2 Tablespoons paleo-friendly Fish Sauce
1 large red Bell pepper, chopped
1 Tablespoon brown Sugar (or Honey for paleo), to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Cilantro for garnish (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy cooking pot with a lid. Saute the garlic, onion and fresh ginger until aromatic about 1-2 minutes. Adjust the heat to the lowest setting and add the curry powder and ground turmeric to the onion mixture and stir.
2. Add the sweet potatoes and chicken. Pour the coconut milk plus 1/2 a can of water, fish sauce and some freshly ground pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and then simmer on low for 8-10 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
3. Add the chopped bell peppers and the brown sugar or honey to balance out the flavor (not to make it sweet). Cook for another 2 minutes or until the peppers are heated through. If the sauce becomes too thick, simply add some more water. Adjust the seasoning if desired. Garnish with some chopped cilantro. Enjoy!
Buying a gift for your loved ones can be an uphill task. Just finding something that they will appreciate and have it encrypted in their hearts for life be difficult. The situation will be complicated when dealing with men since they don’t openly disclose what they like. I will advocate that you go for something simple, precious and lovable. Beaded bracelets have and will always work for most men. They will love it, and the site of it on their hands giving the memory is priceless. Here are the three royal men beaded bracelets you must consider gifting your man.
1. Superior gold obsidian
A real man is defined with class. They should be a masterpiece in society. As such the gifts should match the credentials and you can stoop any lower than the royalty state. The royal bead bracelet collection should be your thing if you value the man. The Superior gold obsidian royal beaded bracelet is elegant and bold so that your recipient of the gift will appreciate the present.
Made from gemstones combined with karat, the Royal men beaded bracelets will make the man outstanding from the mammoth. They typically consist of between 8 and 12mm beads in particular combination. They will be a suitable gift for that bald man in your life. You will love their exclusive, stylish and modern nature. They are available in different sizes, and you will be spoilt of choices. Getting the tight-fitting size will be a significant plus. It is also possible to customize the Superior gold obsidian bracelets to reflect the particular personality.
2. Superior Gold Tiger Eye
Every man wants to be the head of the social unit; as such, they should be protective and visionary. Well, in the jungle, we understand the traits of the tiger and is one respectable creature in the animal kingdom. For that man, you deeply treasure, you should revere to them. A man is receptive to all that will complement their character and stump their authority.
No gift can match that which will reflect on one’s desired personality. If they are not tigers already, then this bracelet will make them think otherwise and maybe transform them as they get the self-esteem from the gift. The bracelets are durable since they are made from the tiger eye beads stone as well as the 14K solid gold. The award will be with them for life.
3. Superior Gold Sodalite
Sodalite is one of the most precious stones in the world. The dark blue beaded bracelet should stand out at the birthday party for that dear man in your life. Made to withstand the extreme weather, the bracelet will be a companion to them in your absence. If you doubt, then there is a lifetime guarantee to drive away your uncertainties. You will have to get the measurements right so that the bracelet can be custom made to fit their wrist perfectly. Unwrapping the gift from the box will be sensational since they come with a luxurious box that the recipient of the award will adore and store as well.
Christmas is getting closer and closer, I love it! Dana and I are here to help you with new recipe ideas for the holiday season. Now on Christmas Day we have the usual turkey, ham and all the trimmings but for Christmas Eve we decided to change it up a bit and have lasagna. It feeds a lot of people and really who doesn’t love lasagna? So it is a real crowd pleaser. Since you can assemble it even the night before it makes the hectic Christmas Eve go a lot more smoothly.
This is my go to lasagna recipe, very simple, very classic, we jazz it up a little bit by adding in some Italian sausage. To make it more festive I put a Christmas Tree pattern on it made from bell peppers. I made the tree limbs out of green bell pepper slices, and decorated with chopped red and yellow pepper, the tree trunk is bit of red pepper and a (poorly shaped lol) star out of the yellow bell pepper.
I use no boil noodles and get this put together in no time. I pop it in the fridge and it is ready to go the next day for Christmas Eve dinner. A basket of garlic bread and a huge salad and Christmas Eve dinner is done!
So take it straightforward this holiday and create this amazing Christmas Lasagna! Don’t forget to go away some for Santa!! 😉
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Try this Christmas Lasagna recipe.
1 pound sausage
1 pound hamburger
2 jars spaghetti sauce
4-5 cups mozzarella cheese
32 oz ricottanoodles
1 package no boil noodles
1. Brown and drain the sausage and hamburger together.
2. Add sausage and hamburger to large bowl and pour in the two jars of sauce.
3. In separate bowl mix the ricotta, 2 eggs and 1 cup of cheese.
4. Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 dish.
5. Place noodles on top of sauce.
6. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture on the noodles.
7. Sprinkle with a little more shredded mozzarella.
8. Top with more sauce.
9. Do another layer of noodles.
11. Shredded cheese
14. Cheese mixture.
16. Shredded Cheese.
17. Arrange peppers into Christmas Tree shape.
18.Cover with foil and bake 30-40 minutes at 350 till bubbly
This is such a delicious and decadent tasting food formula for christmas. you’ll simply use chicken instead. Besides the turkey, it’s loaded with veggies, potatoes and butternut squash. every skinny serving has 266 calories, six grams of fat and seven Weight Watchers race SmartPoints Your family can love, love, love this fabulous Turkey Pot Pie.It freezes nice too!
Try this Guilt-free Turkey Pot Pie recipe.
3½ cups Swanson’s reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 cups butternut squash or sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (½ inch cubes)
1½ cups potatoes, peeled and cubed (½ inch cubes)
1½ cups onions, chopped
1½ cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1½ cups celery, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
3 cups turkey breast or chicken, cooked and diced, see shopping tips
¾ cup frozen peas (un-defrosted)
½ cup reduced-fat milk
⅓ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 pkg. Pillsbury Golden Layer Flaky Biscuits (100 calories for each biscuit), see shopping tips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large pan, add 2¾ cups chicken broth, butternut squash, potatoes, onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8 minutes, until soft. Add diced turkey and frozen peas, breaking them up. Bring back to a boil, turn heat to simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Place a colander into a large bowl. Pour turkey, vegetables and broth into the colander. Add the strained broth back to the pan. Set aside the bowl of turkey and vegetables.
3. In separate small bowl, add flour. Gradually add milk to flour, stirring with a whisk, until well blended.
4. Increase heat to the pan of broth to medium and stir in remaining broth. Using a whisk or fork, stir in milk and flour mixture. Cook for 5 minutes or until thicken. Stir often.
5. Add back the turkey and vegetables. Mix in thyme, sage and black pepper. Mix well. Pour turkey stew into the 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and remove foil.
6. Open the package of biscuits, separate them and place on top of turkey stew. Line them evenly over the top.
7. Place the pot pie back in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 14-16 more minutes until the biscuits are golden brown.
8. To serve, spoon about 1 cup into each bowl and top with 1 biscuit. You’ll have 2 extra biscuits!
Serves 8 (each serving ⅛ of recipe, 1 biscuit and about 1 cup turkey stew)
Guilt-free Turkey Pot Pie