Thursday, December 14, 2006

Less Stress = More Fun During the Holidays

Why should your guests be the only ones having fun this time of year? And, by the way, have you noticed that when you go to someone’s home and they’re stressed that the vibe is contagious?

Well have no fear, I have a few ideas to minimize your stress level.

If you’re having a big dinner party, you can check here to see how you can get organized so that the last minute "OOPS's...I forgot....!!!" are kept to a minimum.

But there's more to this time of year than the "formal" dinner party....what about those drop in visits "on the way to somewhere else" or the overnight guests who need some kind of munchies in the morning? You can check here for some breakfast ideas that don't take much thought.

Here are some ideas for foods to have on hand so you're always ready for company:

Marinated olives - (you can buy your favorite olives and add some mixed Italian herbs, minced garlic and some red chili pepper flakes) they keep well for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Large Pita pockets - because they can be transformed in seconds to make the best chips ever - great with dips or by themselves; homemade pizzas (have tinned pizza sauce in the pantry and homemade pesto- or store bought, but homemade is so easy. It takes 5 minutes to prepare and keeps in the fridge for weeks); sandwich option for left over turkey/roast beef, roasted veggies .

Cheeses - whatever you like to artfully put on a board, plus soft cheeses like cream cheese & goat cheese to spread on bagels, etc. , with jam and feta cheese to crumble in omelets or salads.

Crackers - for dips and cheeses.

Nuts & chocolate - what can I say beyond the obvious!

Pasta - the easiest meal to throw together for "surprise" visitors at meal time.

Shrimps in the freezer - they only take 5 minutes to defrost under cold running water and 5 minutes to do whatever else you want - tapas style, sauteed over couscous or rice (which will just take a little longer), kebabs....

Chorizo or other smoked sausage...great on homemade pizza, quick pastas, stir fry, frittata etc,...

Now if you're looking for themes and activities...check out the latest issue of Real Simple Celebrations. It's chock full of great ideas.

So have a great holiday season - enjoy the time you get to spend with family a friends!!!

Let's see what ideas others come up with.If there's anyone out there with other ideas, please share them in the comments. I'll be doing a roundup with all your brilliant tips.

Please email me any of your questions, and if I don't have the answer, I'll certainly try find it for you.

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