Holiday Handbook

Hank's Holiday Handbook

Stories 1 to 12 of 12

Holiday Brunch

Holiday Brunch What a spread! Eggs Baked in Prosciutto di San Daniele CupsKale Salad with Grana Padano and Citrus DressingMontasio Cheese Thumbprint BiscuitsProsciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano Frittata (Family Features) A holiday celebration at home should be as much fun for the hosts as for friends and family. With a little advance planning, the goal of effortless entertaining is suddenly within reach. First, make it brunch, typically lighter and simpler to prepare than dinner. Buffet style is another smart choice - just arrange the dishes on pretty holiday linens and invite guests to serve themselves. Half of the work is done when you go with full-flavored imported Italian cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano and Montasio, and air-cured hams like Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele. As PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) products, they belong to a special group of high-quality European foods that can be made only in specific geographical regions. Four dishes that add up to a no-stress brunch buffet: A frittata with the deeply savory flavors of Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. It's equally delicious warm or at room temperature, whichever is more convenient. Thumbprint biscuits featuring melted Montasio ... READ MORE:

Gift Makeovers Made Easy

Gift Makeovers Made Easy   (Family Features) If you find holiday shopping more stressful than fun, you might be tempted to put it off or just grab something generic and slap on a pretty bow. That can lead to some unfortunate gift choices and a lot less merriment for everyone. But with these savvy tips from lifestyle and DIY expert Brooke Peterson, you can personalize the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Consider these five tips for low-fuss gifting ideas that are sure to make a big impression: Make it a Group Thing The secret to making your recipient feel like their gift has been thoughtfully selected just for them is to group smaller items together. Is there a wine lover on your list? Select an attractive bottle of wine, several classic or artistic wine glasses, a book on wine pairings, and tie it all together in a wine bucket. Are you shopping for a tech lover? Pair smartphone-ready gloves with iTunes® gift cards. It's All in the PresentationAdd a personal touch to holiday gifts by wrapping them up in a way that says you care. Consider using a decorated tree ornament instead of a bow, or top ... READ MORE:

Great Gadget Gifts for Life on the Go

Great Gadget Gifts for Life on the Go   (Family Features) Technology is always high on holiday gift lists, and this year is no different. Recent trends in mobile phones, an ever-growing range of tablet and e-reader price points and styles, and fashionable accessories mean you have more great options than ever.  Thanks to some of the hottest handsets coming to no-contract plans, smartphones are truly giftable for the first time. Get the ultimate in flexibility with no long-term commitment from providers like RadioShack No-Contract Wireless, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. Time to upgrade or on an existing contract? Consider a gift card, or look for the best deals at a retailer that offers top contract carriers. For the video or book lover on your list, tablets and e-readers come in many brands, sizes and price points to meet their needs and manage your holiday budget. They are very portable and are a great way to make waiting in line or at the doctor fly by much faster. Consider buying a device on the same operating system as the recipient's smartphone so app purchases will go twice as far. Plus, some people are loyal to one camp or another and ... READ MORE:

Recipes to Spice Up the Holiday Season

Recipes to Spice Up the Holiday Season   Pork Roast with Spicy Cranberry-Orange Glaze (Family Features) Create a three course meal with little preparation, but bursting with flavor this holiday season. Start off with a Roasted Beet Salad combining beets, feta cheese, walnuts and a spicy citrus vinaigrette. Follow with a Pork Roast with Spicy Cranberry Orange Glaze seasoned with Tabasco brand Original Red Sauce. Finally, finish the evening with some sweet and spicy Chocolate Chunk Cookies, oozing with chocolate and spiced with a few dashes of Tabasco Original Red Sauce. To find these recipes - and more - sure to add some zest to your holiday season, visit Pork Roast with Spicy Cranberry-Orange Glaze Ingredients 1 5-pound pork loin center rib roast (with bone) 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 cup sweet orange marmalade 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 2 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco brand Original Red Sauce Rosemary sprigs for garnish Preparation Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle pork roast with salt and ground ginger. Place pork roast, fat-side up, in large roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer into center of roast, being careful that pointed end of thermometer does not touch bone. Roast ... READ MORE:

Holiday Food for Everyone!

Holiday Foods for Everyone Gluten-Free Tips for Entertaining Apple Cranberry Cobbler (Family Features) As guests descend on your holiday party, are you prepared for the growing list of food allergies, dietary demands and menu requirements? For instance, the number of people eating gluten-free has grown to more than 20 million households, so it's likely that you will receive a gluten-free RSVP. By relying on a few simple changes and substitutions, hosts can feel good about serving delicious and festive dishes everyone will love. First, gluten-free breads and other products have come a long way in the past several years, making them delicious enough for everyone to enjoy. By finding a gluten-free baguette for appetizers or dinner rolls for family meals, no one will have to worry about separate foods. This makes hosting simpler and removes the guesswork for gluten-free guests, so everyone can enjoy each other's company and savor this festive time of year. Celebrity chef and author of the New York Times best seller "Now Eat This! Italian," Rocco DiSpirito, uses this strategy in his dishes. "Bringing people together at the table is one of the great joys of being a chef. But finding delicious options that are safe ... READ MORE:

Take the Stress out of Holiday Cooking

Take the Stress Out of Holiday Cooking Tips for making a hassle-free holiday meal (Family Features) This year, nearly 70 percent of people will cook all or part of a holiday meal. For some, that could mean cooking enough food for at least nine or more friends and family. But with some smart planning and a few easy tips, you can make something that everyone will remember and still have time to actually sit down and enjoy it yourself. "The holiday season can be a busy one, but it needn't be an overwhelming one," says Gail Greco, editor of Carefree Cooking Magazine. "Some basic entertaining ideas and tips on which you can rely will make planning and creating a great meal the easiest part of your holiday season." Have a plan. It is important to plan ahead of time, especially if you are cooking for a large group. Choose recipes and shop early, giving you time to enjoy the process. Head to the grocery store with a list that matches store aisles, and while there, choose time-saving ingredients such as pre-chopped nuts and any sauces or condiments you will not be making from scratch. Shorten your to-do list by precooking ... READ MORE:

Get Cookie Inspired

Get Cookie Inspired   Peppermint Bars (Family Features) Baking is among the most fun, flavorful holiday traditions - and one that brings family and friends together in the kitchen. In fact, nearly 60 percent of home cooks are expected to bake holiday cookies this year.¹ Whether you're baking gifts for teachers, sweets for a cookie share, or a nibble to enjoy after wrapping gifts, surprise and delight friends and family by taking seasonal favorites and infusing new twists.  "The holidays are marked by cherished baking traditions and enjoying the season's most-loved flavors and treats, like gingerbread men, sugar cookies, peppermint candies and eggnog," says Mary Beth Harrington of the McCormick Kitchens. "This season, we've taken a favorite recipe, Peppermint Bark, and added a fun, new take to create holiday-inspired cookie bars. Layer fudgy brownies with smooth peppermint crème, chocolate glaze and candy cane toppings for these delicious Peppermint Bars." For more holiday baking recipes like Spiced Holiday Sugar Cookies, and White Chocolate Kissed Gingerbread Cookies, visit¹ Measuring Cup, 2011 Holiday Survey Trends Peppermint Bars Ingredients 1 package (21 ounces) fudge brownie mix 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar 15 tablespoons butter, softened, divided 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream 1 ... READ MORE:

Holiday Gifts on a Budget

Holiday Gifts on a Budget   (Family Features) From family and friends to teachers and coaches, finding the perfect present for everyone on your list can be a daunting task. But with a little creativity, you can find a great gift without breaking your budget. Choosing the Perfect Gift The key to finding the perfect present? Taking time to consider what your loved one most cherishes. Do they favor a specific hobby? How do they spend their free time? If you're picking a gift for someone you might not know well, such as your child's teacher or school nurse, consider giving them something to help them unwind and relax. Here are some ideas to get you started: For teachers, school nurses and coaches The role models in your child's life are often the people that would benefit most from a pampering present. Help them indulge in some relaxation by packaging up a basket of spa-inspired items. Moisturizing beauty products with seasonal scents - such as the Softsoap Wintermint Wonderland and Enchanting Sugar Plum body washes - will keep skin smooth and glowing throughout the season's festivities and conjure up images of favorite winter memories. Bundle with a lush loofah, mini ... READ MORE:

Popcorn snacks and crafts

Pop Up Holiday Fun   Holiday Popcorn SnowmanFestive Popcorn TreesHoliday Wreath Popcorn TreatsPopcorn TrioGingersnap Popcorn Snack Mix (Family Features) This year, pop up some holiday fun by making these clever - and delicious - popcorn treats. With these recipes it's easy to create edible d√©cor, gifts for friends and neighbors, and munchable snacks for the whole family. You can find more creative holiday recipes at Holiday Popcorn Snowman Ingredients 1 1-pound package large marshmallows 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 10 cups popped popcorn Decorations: sprinkles, licorice, gum drops, cinnamon candies, cookies, etc. Preparation Melt marshmallows and butter in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let stand for 5 minutes. Pour over popcorn and stir. Butter hands well and form popcorn into balls. Decorate as desired. ServesYield 10 balls, 5 snowmen (2 balls each) Festive Popcorn Trees Ingredients 10 cups air-popped popcorn 1 10-ounce bag miniature marshmallows 2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Decorating sugar (green, blue)* 1 tube of white frosting (with decorating tip) Assorted small colorful candies, such as sprinkles and miniature silver drag√©es Preparation Place popcorn in large bowl. Place marshmallows ... READ MORE:

Breakfast Fare for the Holidays

Breakfast Fare for the Holidays   Baked Eggs (Family Features) When hosting guests for the holidays, it's often easy to focus on the feast. But breakfast and brunch play a major role in the spirit of the season. After all, there's nothing lovelier than waking to a full house, enjoying a fresh cup of coffee and homemade breakfast, all while knowing you don't have to rush off to work, carpool and errands. This year, focus on simple-to-prepare breakfast dishes that will allow you to spend more time with your guests. For example, this recipe for Baked Eggs incorporates flavorful ingredients that will leave your home smelling of fresh, homemade fare. And because the recipe incorporates the creamy flavors of Sabra hummus, it's not only flavorful, but better for you as well. Plus, because this recipe is simple to prep before popping it in the oven, you have more time to enjoy a nice cup of coffee before guests awaken. Side DishesServe your main dish with savory and sweet sides, as well. Here are some options to help complete your breakfast menu: Homemade rolls or fresh-baked bread - Some dough recipes can be prepared in advance and will rise overnight. ... READ MORE:

Five Tips for a Happy Holiday Gathering

Five Tips for a Happy Holiday Gathering (Family Features) The holiday season is all about gathering family and friends together. But hosting any kind of holiday gathering means stacking a lot of items on your plate during an already busy season, taking the fun out of the festivities. With a little planning and the right attitude, you can pull off a fantastic event and enjoy being the holiday host or hostess. Author and television host Katie Brown understands that when it comes to hosting a gathering - especially a holiday event - success is in the details. Here she shares her top five tips to help you entertain with less stress and more holiday spirit. Make it Easy on Yourself You don't need to create an over-the-top, gourmet feast that keeps you slaving in the kitchen. Choose dishes that you can make several days in advance, and then pace yourself. Soups, casseroles, marinated salads and some desserts taste even better when they've had time for their flavors to fully blend. Don't Worry about Stains When people are having a good time spills are bound to happen. But it doesn't have to ruin your holiday cheer. If an accident happens, you ... READ MORE:

The A to Z Family Guide to the Holidays

The A to Z Family Guide to the Holidays (Family Features) Whether you're looking to fill the family calendar with fun holiday activities or need a few ideas to make the season more meaningful, this guide to family holiday fun has you covered. "Whether it's finding a great gingerbread cookie recipe and biting one arm off each one (like we do), or just making cards for the family, it's lovely to give your kids something uniquely their own to look forward to each year," said Liz Gumbinner of Cool Mom Picks. Here are some A to Z ideas to get you started today: A Start a calendar to build anticipation for all holiday celebrations. You can buy one or make one, and it can be as simple or as fancy as you like. Make angels - snow angels, construction paper angels, angel ornaments or even angel food cake. B Make bird feeders out of empty milk jugs or small cardboard tubes rolled in peanut butter and birdseed. Host a book exchange with friends, where everyone trades books they own and have already read. C Gather some friends and go caroling around the neighborhood or at a retirement center. Cook something ... READ MORE: Contests