‘Tis the season to be jolly, and if you’re looking for ways to create the perfectly wrapped holiday gift, now is the best time to shop for all of your supplies. There are so many choices at The Container Store, Paper Source, Papyrus, Target and Michael’s. Beautiful wrapping paper, bows, gift tags, ribbons, gift bags and all other sorts of added touches are abundant this time of year. Since stores have such a vast selection of whimsical items, it’s actually kind of difficult deciding what to buy!
When our boys were young, I remember most of the gifts that were toys came in really big boxes. I’d always set one night aside to get all of the gifts wrapped while the kids were sleeping and would call that late night session a “wrap-fest”. Thinking back, it actually would have been nice having a glass of wine by my side with holiday music playing. Before I sat down for my late night wrap session, I always wanted to be certain that I had enough paper and ribbon to wrap all of the gifts in one sitting, and not have to go back out and fight the crowds. (It’s surprising how one large gift can take a whole roll of wrapping paper!)
If you want to learn some new gift wrapping tips in person and need inspiration to kick off the holiday season, The Container Store is offering Gift Wrap and Bow Demonstrations at each of their stores at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM through December 23rd! I totally love that they’re offering these experiences to their customers.
Check out the handy items below if you need help storing and organizing your gift wrapping supplies.
There’s nothing better than being with family and friends during the holidays. Attending parties, going to home gatherings and celebrating is what this time of year is all about. It’s also about giving. Showing up with a gift is a nice way to show appreciation to your hostess for being included in their Thanksgiving dinner or holiday party. Below you’ll find some thoughtful and creative ideas.
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is around the corner. For those of you who know me well, I’m a tried and true holiday girl and I love the cooking that goes along with it. Give me a holiday, a birthday or any special occasion and I’m ready to celebrate. Out of all the holidays throughout the year, Thanksgiving happens to be my very favorite food holiday. Southern favorites are always a highlight at our meal whether we’re spending Thanksgiving in Houston or here in LA. I’ve gathered a few of my favorite recipes below to share with you. MASHED SWEET POTATOES WITH BROWN SUGAR AND PECANS
Serves 12 to 14 Ingredients: 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar 1/2 cup chopped pecans 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces 5 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces 4 large eggs 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup 2 tablespoons vanilla extract 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 2 teaspoons salt
Method: Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix sugar, pecans and butter in small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to use. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Cook sweet potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 12 minutes. Drain. Let stand in colander 15 minutes. Purée sweet potatoes in processor.Beat eggs, syrup, vanilla, lemon juice and salt in large bowl. Mix in puréed sweet potatoes. Transfer sweet potato mixture to prepared dish. Sprinkle pecan topping evenly over mixture.Bake until sweet potato mixture is set and topping bubbles, about 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes and serve.
Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients for cornbread. Pour into a lightly greased 9-inch cast iron pan or a 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Before using, crumble into small pieces. Heat butter over medium heat in a large pan. Add celery and onion and cook until soft. Add sage, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper to onion mixture. In a large bowl combine crumbled cornbread and toast. Whisk together milk and eggs and add to bowl. Stir in 2 cups of chicken broth. Stir in onion mixture. Mixture should be very moist. Add more broth if necessary. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Cut butter into small slivers and scatter on top of dressing. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until it turns light brown on top.
Note: The cornbread should be made a day or two in advance.
PUMPKIN BREAD Makes 1 loaf. Enjoy this popular southern recipe!
Ingredients: 3 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 cups canned pumpkin 1/2 cup canola oil 3 eggs, beaten 1/4 cup water 1 teaspoon nutmeg 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon allspice 3/4 cup chopped walnuts and/or chocolate chips
Method: Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda. Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, ¼ cup of water and the spices together in a separate bowl. Then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts or chocolate chips. Pour into a well-buttered 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Bake 60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let it cool on a baking rack. Can easily double the recipe.
** And by the way, I got the Pumpkin Bread recipe above from my college roommate and dear friend Judy Finer Freedman. It’s one of her family’s favorites and now one of our favorites. Thanks so much for sharing Judy!!