The holidays are upon us and that means entertaining for family and friends. Decorating, planning, and cooking may seem overwhelming, but with a few simple tricks, you will be ready to impress in no time. I will walk you through a centerpiece idea, menu, and gifting techniques to throw the perfect Chinese Gift Exchange Dessert party. Bring on the people, and your doorbell will be ringing more than the Christmas sleigh-bells.
Poinsettias, a traditional holiday flower, can get boring in that potted plant with a foil bottom. To dress it up, but still stay in the holiday spirit, try cut white poinsettias. A single stem is all you need in one silver bud vase, and for a centerpiece start a collection in varying heights. Try silver candelabras or candle stick holders and place a colorful candle stick in each one.
For the menu, take it easy on yourself. Take a hint from Sandra Lee, and try something “semi-homemade.” I found a great product at Williams Sonoma the other day to make Pumpkin Dessert Squares, a twist on pumpkin pie. Buy the jar of Pecan Pumpkin Butter. Here is the recipe from Williams Sonoma:
1 box yellow cake mix
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 TBS. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 jar Pecan Pumpkin Butter
2 Tbs. milk
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Williams Sonoma: Pecan Pumpkin Butter
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Lightly great a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
Reserve 1 cup of the cake mix in a small bowl. In a bowl, stir together the remaining cake mix, the 8 Tbs. (1 stick) melted butter and 1 of the eggs. Pour into the prepared pan.
In another bowl, stir together the Pecan Pumpkin butter, the remaining 2 eggs and the milk. Pour over the cake batter in the pan.
Add the flour, sugar, and cinnamon to the bowl with the reserved cake mix and stir to combing. Add the 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) cold butter. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until pea-size crumbs form and them mixture clumps together. Crumble over the pumpkin butter mixture. Bake until golden, 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool, then cut into squares and serve. (with champagne of course!)
For dressing up holiday gifts, don’t underestimate the power of something a little bit crafty. Next time your at the store, pick up an extra deck of red playing cards. Tying a group of these (just hole punch the corner of three cards) onto a present provides an eye catching and creative addition. Other things to try: buttons, feathers, flowers, and sparkly snowflake ornaments. Everyone will be wanting to choose your gift in the game!
Be Creative With A Playing Card
Mix Gold and Silver and Add Some Sparkle