I am swamped! The holidays are so hectic – I feel like I”m running around with barely a chance to stop, catch my breath and just enjoy all of the wonderful moments.
I’ve been collecting some great tips and links to share, and finally sat down last night to put them all together for you.
So remember that pomegranate-champagne punch from last year? I used to be able to find packaged seeds, but no longer – and those guys are a bear to remove. I recently read this tip on how to easily remove the seeds, and you guys – it really works!
Simply halve the pomegranate and hold one half, cut side down, over a bowl. Using a large spoon (I used a wooden spoon), give the fruit some hard smacks all over. The seeds will literally fall right into the bowl.
I advise doing this over the sink, wearing a dark shirt or apron – there’s not much spattering but that juice stains like crazy.
I asked Mike (the food shopper in the family) how much butter, on average, he thinks I go through during the holiday season. Are you ready?Fifteen pounds!! That’s a lot of butter, and almost every recipe calls for it to be at room temperature. You’d think by now that I’d have that covered, but I’m embarrassed to admit how often I forget to take it out of the fridge in time. Or, I find some extra time and want to do a little baking, but can’t wait for the butter to warm up.
Here’s a great tip – use your cheese grater. Grate the butter on the large holes and it will soften really quickly – usually by the time you get your other ingredients assembled and measured. Brilliant, right?
I was out to dinner last weekend and commented on our server’s lipstick. She showed it to me and said that it not only lasts through her whole shift, but it’s really comfortable too (I typically find long-wearing lipsticks to be too matte and drying). It was a deep but subtle red that looked like it would be flattering on just about anyone.
I got this color – “Romantic” – and love it. It really is long wearing, and moisturizing too. Check it out……
Are there enough gift guides around this season? There are a lot of good ones out there but my very favorite this year comes from In Honor of Design. Anna is a talented DIY-er (is that a word? I’m saying “yes”) with impeccable taste, who cleverly recreates pretty much every hot trend out there for a LOT less. And she has assembled this fantastic gift guide that I know you will love.
There are lots of easy craft and homemade gift ideas (really easy, I promise), as well as reasonably priced items for pretty much everyone you know (many with discount codes). I’ve purchased several lovely and unusual gifts, ordered a bunch of cool tags and trimmings, and am definitely making that berry syrup (on page 29).
And finally: you know how I love to force forsythia buds in late winter. But I never thought about trying it at this time of year. Every December I get a bunch of magnolia branches to put in my vintage milk bottles – I usually just trim them to fit, and plop them in. But this year, because I bought them much earlier to have for Thanksgiving, I placed them in water. I figured this would keep them fresher through December.
And then this happened:
What a beautiful and unexpected surprise! So if you happen upon these at your local nursery, snatch them up – and for heaven’s sake, put them in some water!
Have a great weekend – I’m off to fry about 100 latkes (recipe to follow, of course!)