Nothing says "Christmas!" like a beautifully decorated home. Fragrant greens, twinkling lights, holiday centerpieces all set the stage for a merry holiday season.
But at what cost?
If you believe catalog vendors, department stores and florists, be prepared to lay down a bundle to create that holiday home. Each year sees a set of new colors, new images, new trends, all designed to part you from your holiday dollars. Read More >>
The holidays are here, with wall-to-wall shoppers at the supermarket. Who wants to have to join them?
Instead, assemble a holiday survival kit. Before you shop for the holiday meal, check supplies of these often-forgotten items for your holiday gathering.
Pencil these items into your regular shopping list--and save a last-minute trip. They'll keep the fun in the festivities!
Automatic Dishwasher Detergent. Hosting a holiday gathering means lots (and lots and LOTS) of dirty dishes. If you use an automatic dishwasher, be sure it's stocked and ready to roll!
Club Soda. It's the non-caloric drink of choice with a squeeze of lime ... but an extra bottle can be a cleaning lifesaver when applied to the inevitable spilled food. Use it to blot fresh wine, gravy or pie stains for tablecloth or carpet first aid.
Paper Towels. Unfamiliar cooking routines, helpers washing their hands and little-kid clean-ups can burn through a roll of paper towels in record time. Keep a backup waiting!
Toilet Paper. If it's "just us chickens", a missing roll is no big problem. Not so when you've got a house full. Avoid red faces with a fresh supply!
Camera Batteries. Don't make the family wait to dive into the feast (while the cameraman raids the childrens' toys for fresh batteries). Stock up or charge rechargeables now.
Sandwich Bread. What's the number-one reason for a Black Friday trip to the supermarket? "We're out of bread!" Grab a loaf today, and be ready for turkey sandwiches (and no cooking!) on Friday.
This potent illusion grabs us by the throat sometime in September. It lifts only on the afternoon of December 25, in concert with the 3 p.m. Christmas post-gift letdown. It's a fancy subscribed to by many well-meaning holiday planners. It sells one heck of a lot of Christmas magazines.
Twenty years ago, I was a newcomer to Washington State. With so many friends in other parts of the USA, I wanted to share some of the tastes of our new home. Result: this original recipe, now my holiday specialty.
These biscotti feature dried Washington cherries (you can substitute dried cranberries, too!) and local walnuts. Dipped in white chocolate, they're a tasty and elegant accompaniment to that other Washington State tradition, gourmet coffee.
Best, biscotti are easy to make and easy to pack. Stand a few on end in a latte mug, add a small bag of gourmet coffee beans, and you've scored a quick Christmas cheat!