Here’s a beautiful tribute to those that keep us safe by Carol Adams. Carol is a proud mom or one of those Canadian soldiers.
Monthly Archives: December 2012
Giving Gifts that Give Forward || Your Home and Lifestyle
Impress your guests with holiday etiquette 101
You’ve spent the entire day in the kitchen cooking the perfect holiday meal. But it’s an hour before your guests arrive and you find yourself standing in front of the table listening to that little nagging voice inside your head.
Do the water glasses go to the right or left? What side does the knife go on? Should you go ahead and put food on the table before guests arrive, or wait until everyone gets there?
“We hear from so many panicked people this time of year looking for a crash course in how to set the table and proper manners,” says etiquette coach Jill Slatter. “Most of us are stretched so thin juggling work, school and home that we don’t have time to sit down together for a proper meal except at the holidays, and then the pressure is on to be perfect.”
Slatter is the etiquette expert for Replacements, Ltd., billed as the world’s largest retailer of old and new china, silver, crystal and collectibles. Based on their most frequently asked questions, Slatter shares a holiday etiquette 101 crash course that’s sure to help you impress your guests.
Set the perfect table
Forks to the left, knives and spoons to the right. The sharp side of the knife blade should be turned toward the dinner plate. Only include utensils in your place setting that will be used for the courses you are serving. “If you’re not serving soup or salad, you certainly don’t want an extra spoon or fork in your place setting,” Slatter says. “Not only will those get in the way and create extra work for you, the extra utensils may confuse your guests.”
The bread plate goes on the left of the dinner plate, glasses on the right.
Wait to pour. Water glasses should be the only glasses filled before your guests arrive. Iced tea, wine and other beverages should be poured once everyone is seated. Wine glasses should be filled halfway, not to the rim.
Salad and bread should be the only food on the table when your guests arrive.
Are you the hostess with the mostest?
Remember, the hostess always sits last.
Passing isn’t just in football. Always pass food around the table counter clockwise to the right and refrain from serving yourself first. Always pass the salt and pepper as a set, even if you’re only asked for one.
Can your guests see each other? Sure those flowers you spent hours arranging for the centerpiece are pretty, but they will only get in the way if your guests have to crane their necks to see each other. Make sure your guests can look over any table adornments.
Be a gracious guest
“There is nothing more disruptive than a cell phone ringing at the dinner table,” says Slatter. “Turn your phone on vibrate, or better yet, don’t even bring it to the table. Holiday gatherings mark the time to enjoy the company of the people you are with, rather than ignore them by chatting with someone who’s not even there.”
Wait for the signal. Your hosts will let you know when it’s okay to begin eating. They may offer a blessing or statement or perhaps start by passing a dish.
If you’re not sure which utensil to use with each course, start on the outside and work in toward the dinner plate.
If you need to excuse yourself temporarily, gently place your napkin on your chair to indicate you will be coming back.
Signify you’re finished with the meal by placing your napkin to the left of the dinner plate, and your fork and knife side by side diagonally across your plate with the sharp side of the knife blade facing inward and the fork tines up.
“Another big question we hear concerns what to do if you accidently break a piece of the host’s dinnerware,” adds Slatter. “You should certainly offer to replace the broken piece especially if it has sentimental value for the host or hostess.”
Slatter says don’t lose hope if your host doesn’t know the name of the pattern or the manufacturer; you can always take advantage of Replacements’ free pattern identification service.
If you’re still in doubt about holiday etiquette 101, help is just a mouse click away. You can watch more of Slatter’s tips on Replacements’ YouTube channel. You can also find cheat sheets of place setting guides diagramming how to set the table for various meals at the company’s website, http://www.replacements.com. Bon appetit!
Caption 1: Forks go to the left of the dinner plate.
Caption 2: Always place liquids to the right of the dinner plate.
Courtesy of BPT
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Holiday baking with kids is easier than you think
Looking for a low-cost activity that brings the family together and produces delicious results? Try introducing your children to baking.
Involving your kids when preparing a meal provides time to bond as a family and can help kids learn a few basic kitchen lessons at an early age. When you start with bread or pretzel dough, you have plenty of simple and fun options that will lead to entertaining adventures in the kitchen.
From the joy your children will derive from making shapes with dough to the simple and tasty dishes you can make together, a day of family baking will leave your whole family smiling and satisfied.
If you’re looking for a place to start, consider Auntie Anne’s At-Home Baking Kit, which includes pretzel dough mix, yeast, and fixings like salt and cinnamon sugar to top your hand-twisted soft pretzels. Here are a few examples of the types of meals and snacks you can prepare using the dough as your base:
Pretzels: What better way to start than with something simple and delicious? Twist into the classic pretzel bowtie or keep it simple with pretzel sticks. Coat sticks with cinnamon sugar for a sweet spin on a savory delight. Or for a fun activity for the kids, create numbers, letters and shapes with your pretzels.
Appetizers: Beef up your pretzels by wrapping dough around mini hot dogs for tasty pretzel dog bites. Or cut dough into small pieces, coat with salt and serve pretzel nuggets along with a variety of your family’s favorite dipping sauces like queso and honey mustard.
Pizzas: One of the easiest and most fun doughy recipes is the simple homemade pizza. Make mini crusts for each of your kids, lay out the toppings and let them go to town making the pie of their dreams. Also great for dessert pizzas.
Breakfast goodies: Monkey bread is a great family baking adventure. Your children can help tear the dough into pieces as you build your masterpiece, then have tons of fun ripping apart the finished product when they dig into the baked pastry.
Desserts: Fried dough is a simple yet divine snack, and you can add extra sweetness with chocolate, caramel or cinnamon and sugar. Or concoct some bread pudding for a sweet and doughy dessert that your kids are sure to love. Or try making apple dumplings for a crisp, sweet seasonal treat.
For more dough-based recipes, visit http://www.AuntieAnnesRecipes.com or try this easy deep-dish pizza recipe:
1. In a large bowl, dissolve contents of one yeast packet in 1 1/4 cups lukewarm tap water (105 F). Let sit about 2 minutes. Water temperature must not exceed 115 F.
2. Add one packet of Auntie Anne’s dough mix to yeast/water mixture. Using a rubber spatula (or your hands), mix until dough ball forms.
3. Place dough ball onto lightly floured surface and knead until soft, slightly tacky dough is formed (approximately 5 to 7 minutes). Add a small amount of flour if dough is too sticky.
4. Place dough ball into a large bowl that has been coated with nonstick spray. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with nonstick spray and place on top of dough ball, tucking sides down around dough (to prevent dough from drying out).
5. Place bowl in a warm spot (85 to 95 F) for 30 minutes so the dough can rise.
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray pan with nonstick spray and dust with flour so the dough won’t stick.
2. Place dough ball in center of pan and gently stretch the dough out to the edge. Press edges up the side of the pan to contain sauce.
3. Pour pizza sauce in center of stretched dough and spread evenly, leaving an inch of uncovered dough around the edge. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the sauce. Optional: top the pizza with your favorite seasonings, meats or vegetable toppings.
4. Place pizza on bottom rack of oven. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese starts to bubble and the bottom crust is crisp. Baking times may vary due to oven variances.
Let cool, serve and enjoy.
Courtesy of ARA
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