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HOLIDAY entertaining

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Snowman Cupcakes and Christmas Pudding Truffles

snowman cupcakes by annabel karmel

snowman cupcakes by annabel karmel

These two Christmas treats are eye candies. These recipes from Annabel Karmel, a UK’s best-selling author of seventeen books on baby and children’s food and nutrition.  They will make awesome party favors.

Snowman Cupcakes

Kids will be in awe when they see her Snowman Cupcakes. But they will be happier to learn that they can decorate their own. All you need for decorating the snowman cupcakes are

  • Marshmallows
  • Red Fizzy Laces for the scarves
  • Tubes of colored Writing Icing (available in supermarkets)
  • Sugar baubles (for cake decoration) or silver baubles

Christmas Pudding Truffles

Christmas pudding truffles by annabel karmel

The Mini Christmas Pudding are in fact truffles that are dressed up to look like mini Christmas pudding. It requires more skills to transform these truffles. The results are worth it. You will need:

  • ready to use fondant icing
  • icing sugar
  • meringue powder or dried egg white powder
  • water

Cookbook for Parents

Annabel Karmel's Complete Party Planner cookbook

If you like her work, you may want to grab your copy of Annabel Karmel’s Complete Party Planner Annabel Karmel’s Complete Party Planner.

RECIPES:
+ Snowman Cupcakes
+ Mini Christmas Pudding Recipe
+ Annabel Karmel’s Complete Party Planner $20.75 CAD at Amazon.ca [affiliate link]

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Printable Holiday Photo Booth Accessories | Etsy Find

Printable Holiday Photo Booth Accessories by Paper and Cake on etsy

Printable Holiday Photo Booth Accessories by Paper and Cake on etsy

DIY photo booths are a popular, budget-savvy solution for weddings and parties. They provide both an ice-breaker and entertainment for guests, while capturing the special and hilarious moments from the event.

Many families use the holidays as an opportunity to update families photos, so why not consider staging a DIY photo booth as a smart alternative for the overdone, and often embarrassing, traditional portrait.

The printable holiday photobooth accessories from Paper & Cake include Santa’s hat and beard, Mrs. Claus’ glasses, reindeer antlers, Rudolph’s red nose and other backdrop decorations. They’re sure to guarantee smiles for the photo and for the photo’s recipient.

SOURCING:
+ Printable Holiday Photo Booth Accessories by Paper & Cake $9.95 USD on Etsy
+ via Hostess with the Mostess

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Gingerbread House Decorating Party

gingerbread house decorating party

gingerbread house decorating party

Move over cookie swap. There’s a new holiday baking party idea that’s sweetening up the neighborhood! Decorating a gingerbread house is a holiday tradition that will resonate with nostalgic adults and excited children. Both groups will love this delightful idea for a holiday get together from Sara and Brittany of One Charming Party.

If gingerbread seems too labour-intensive, consider pre-assembling graham cracker houses so guests can skip straight to the fun part: decorating! The miniature size is perfect for little hands and is easily transported at the end of the party.

Be sure to use the adorable invite to create excitement with guests. And check out One Charming Party for more hosting and gingerbread house decorating tips.

SOURCING:
+ photos by Sara Westbrook

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookie Recipe

Candy Cane Cookies

candy cane cookies :: chocolate peppermint crunch cookie recipe

I haven’t started my holiday baking yet, but I have been on the hunt collecting new cookie recipes for giving, sharing and, of course, eating.

Chocolate and peppermint are a classic Christmas couple – which is why these chocolate peppermint crunch cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod caught the attention of my taste buds.

This simple rolled cookie is coated in chopped candy canes before baking. The melted candies add a bit of crunch and create a sparkling effect without adding extra decorations of sugar.

SOURCING:
+ Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookie recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod
ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

DIY Advent Calendar Idea Using Kitchen Tools

Bakeware Advent Calendar

Bakeware Advent Calendar

Advent began on the 1st of December, but if you haven’t created a calendar for the countdown to Christmas here are two easy and adorable options using tools from your kitchen.

Turn a baking or cooling rack into a colorful display for photos and notes. Use stickers, wrapping paper or even old Christmas cards to create special sentiments for each day in December. Tie them to the cooling rack using pretty ribbon or – better yet – baker’s twine.

A muffin tin is the perfect receptacle for sweet treats. Whether you choose a mini or full size pan, be sure to use a 24-count pan to countdown every day leading up to Christmas. Alternatively, you could use a 12-count pan to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. Magnets are decorated with stickers and decorative wrapping paper to cover each cup.

Both are easy projects that require minimal effort but deliver a daily dose of holiday delight.

SOURCING:
+ Cooling Rack Advent Calendar from Kerry Barker at Two Peas in a Bucket
+ Muffin Tin Advent Calendar from OZ-somestamps
ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Holiday Printables Round-Up – Part 2: Decorations

Holiday Printables :: Christmas Subway Art and Banner

Holiday Printables :: Christmas Subway Art and Banner

There are so many amazing FREE printables available for Christmas. So many, in fact, that we had to split our round-up into four parts! If you haven’t started decorating for the holidays Part 2 is decking your halls with cute, printable and FREE options.

The sisters at Eighteen25 created this poster that’s a typography lover’s dream. It would make a sweet holiday addition to a mantle or entryway. Don’t miss the instructions for the coordinating pennant banner.

This paper chain garland style from WhipUp is likely a flashback to the Christmases of your childhood, but the downloadable patterns in fresh colorways give it a modern update.

Holiday Printables :: paper and gingerbread garland

Kids will love this printable gingerbread man garland from Amy Karol at Angry Chicken. It’s an easy project for kids to decorate their bedroom or play area.

Missed part 1? Check out our round-up of printable holiday lists. Up next: printable cards and tags!

SOURCING:
+ Christmas Subway Art and Banner from Eighteen2
+ Paper Garland from WhipUp
+ Gingerbread Garland from Angry Chicken

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Holiday Bakeware for all the Family

snowy railway cake pan

snowy railway cake pan

When I decided to write a post about cute holiday bakeware for families with young children, I head to my top 3 shopping destinations for inspirations. And I found plenty. Each one has its own style.

snowy village cakelet pan

Display the Railway Cake Pan and the Snowy Village Cakelet Pan on a footed cake plate or a large rectangular tray. Cover the floor with icing sugar. It will simulate a nice floppy snow.

christmas bake :: non-stick silicone molds by lekue

The most tempting molds for me were the 3D Christmas tree molds available in two sizes. Use them to make your own chocolate Christmas trees. The assembly is so simple to do that it can be done by a young child. They will be easy to demold since they are made of non-stick, 100% platinum silicone.

gingerbread man cakelet pan

For fans of the gingerbread house, I have 3 suggestions. A gingerbread man cakelet would be a fabulous treat for Santa. When you have time to relax between Christmas and New Year Eve, bake with the kids your own gingerbread house. I suggest that time because many parents are too busy before Christmas to spend one afternoon baking a gingerbread house. Here are the recipes by Wilton to make a Christmas Chocolate Candy House and the traditional Grand Gingerbread House.

gingerbread house mold pan by wilton

A simpler project would be to bake a big gingerbread man cake. It would be a hit on your Christmas dessert table. The only drawback is that, for reasons that I cannot explain, almost no retailers carry Lékué’s Celebrate collection in North America.

SOURCING:
+ Railway Cake Pan $36 USD at Williams-Sonoma
+ Snowy Village Cakelet Pan $36 at Williams-Sonoma
+ Gingerbread Man Cakelet Pan $19.95 at Williams-Sonoma
+ Big 3D xmas tree by Lékué 18.56 EUR / about $23.34 USD
+ Small 3D xmas tree by Lékué 18.56 EUR / about $23.34 USD
+ Gingerman by Lékué 22.80 EUR / about $28.68 USD
+ Gingerbread House Pan $24.95 at Crate & Barrel

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Happy Thanksgiving!

happy thanksgiving :: cider-brined roasted turkey

happy thanksgiving :: cider-brined roasted turkey

Many of you must be in the kitchen right now, cooking for your family. Do not stress out and try to enjoy the last preparations. I wish you all a wonderful time with your loved one.

I am taking this opportunity to share why I am thankful this year. First of all, I am thankful to be married to such a wonderful guy. Being with the right partner makes all aspects of life easier and more enjoyable. Second, I am thankful to carry our child inside my belly and that the pregnancy is going well. Third, over the last couple of years, both my husband and I have been able to successfully pursuit our dream career. I am blessed that my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law and their kids are all healthy, happy people. Life is great! And I do my best to appreciate every minute of it.

Lastly, I wish to all my American readers a Happy Thanksgiving! If you are looking for very last-minute recipes, check out William-Sonoma Thanksgiving past and present menu.

SOURCING:
+ Cider-Brined Turkey
+ Wild Mushroom, Chestnut & Sausage Dressing

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Six Last-Minute Place Card Ideas for Thanksgiving

clay conifer place card holders :: diy project made of crayola model magic

clay conifer place card holders :: diy project made of crayola model magic

Since Thanksgiving is the culmination of the harvest season, it seems only “natural” to find tabletop inspiration in nature. With a few materials and a bit of creativity, fruit, vegetables, leaves and nuts can be fashioned into charming place cards that add a personal touch to your table – even if you don’t have a lot of time.

For our American readers who will celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, I collected four easy yet impact full ideas that will leave you plenty of time to socialize with guests and snack on stuffing and squash.

+ Simple is often the most sophisticated. Crisp leaves get a glittery touch by writing your guest’s names in gold ink in these two very different tabletop looks. The high contrast of sculpting your own conifers against a brown leaf – like Kate Pruitt did for Design*Sponge (top picture) – is fresh and contemporary.

leaf placecard

The warm, tone-on-tone approach of writing the name on a simple leaf is more suitable for a casual gathering with friends.

acorn and pine cone placecard holders for thanksgiving or a fall dinner

+ Pinecones and acorns are in abundance at this time of year. Pair them with a note of gratitude – either handwritten or printed on card stock – for a thoughtful place card option.

diy thanksgiving place cards :: pilgrim hats

+ Miniature pumpkins are a versatile option for festive Thanksgiving decorating. Use a harvest-hued marker to write guest names on chic miniature white pumpkins, they layer them at each setting with a pretty napkin and scatter a few leaves. Alternatively, guests can claim their spot at the table with personalized flags created from festive ribbon or card stock. Cut them to size, glue them to a toothpick and stick in a gourd or pumpkin.

+ Finally, the Pilgrim caps were done by painting terracotta flowerpots.

SOURCING:
+ Clay Conifer Placecard from Design*Sponge
+ Leaf Placecard from Sunset Magazine
+ DIY Pinecone Placecard Tutorial from Honey We’re Home
+ Felted Acorn Placecards from Southern Living
+ Ribbon Placecards from Better Homes and Gardens
+ Pilgrim Cap Place Cards from Better Homes and Gardens

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Creative Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving Appetizers

It can be a challenge to come up with a creative Thanksgiving menu, especially if your guests are turkey-and-mashed-potato purists.

You can serve something special and satisfy traditional tastebuds by using typical Thanksgiving ingredients in surprising ways. Consider adding one or two of these dishes to your dining table, or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, make it a truly memorable meal with our suggestions for Thanksgiving menu alternatives.

Appetizers

Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Goat Cheese from Smitten Kitchen. Typically served as a side, sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving must-have. But when thickly sliced and topped with a seasonal mixture that includes cranberries and pecans, they’re an unexpected appetizer.

+ The Winter Squash Dip is a flavourful, garlicky dip that can be made ahead of time, so you can spend time enjoying it with guests. From Martha Stewart.

Sides

Thanksgiving Side dishes

+ Haricots Verts, Roasted Fennel and Shallots. Boring green beans get a sophisticated upgrade when roasted with fennel and shallots. From Bon Appetit

+ Stir-fried Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Parmesan from Simple Bites. Brussel sprouts have a bad rap; kids and adults alike tend to steer clear of this cruciferous veggie even when it’s in season. Surprise their taste buds with this stir-fried version. A healthy splash of lemon and a pinch of parm keep the flavour light, balancing out a typically heavy meal.

+ The Wasabi Mashed Potatoes will add fusion flavour to your Thanksgiving table!

Desserts

Thanksgiving Desserts

+ Pumpkin Spice Creme Brulee that is baked and served inside a mini pumpkin. Better Homes and Gardens gave this classic dessert a Thanksgiving twist.

+ Cranberry-Poached Pears. For a light dessert option, this sweet and tart dish looks gorgeous and takes advantage of the season’s fruit harvest. From Martha Stewart.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

How To Host A Cookie Swap: Tips from The Creative Mama

Espresso crinkles for a cookie swap

Espresso crinkles for a cookie swap

When my friend mentioned a holiday cookie swap the other day, I immediately said yes, than mentally started sifting through my catalogue of favourite cookies. Sure, it’s only the middle of November, but as Bree Hester of Baked Bree points out, baking takes planning – especially when you have a lengthy holiday “to do” list, multiple events to attend and family and friends to visit.

The idea behind a holiday cookie swap is simple: each participant bakes multiple batches of one type of cookie. Then one participant hosts a get-together and everyone swaps sweets. Not only does it reduces the amount of time spent in the kitchen, but you get to sample and share new recipes with other bakers.

It’s a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season. The hardest part – as I’ve quickly learned – is deciding what type of cookie to contribute. Check out Bree’s post on The Creative Mama for more tips on hosting a swap and packaging your sweet treats.

SOURCING:
+ Photo: Espresso Crinkles Cookie Recipe from Cooking Light
+ How to Host a Cookie Swap on The Creative Mama