DIY Holiday Centerpieces

Check out these easy at home center pieces and table top ideas to add some elegance and warmth to your dinner parties, wine tastings, or holiday gatherings. 

 

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Similar to the “Popcorn Keneral Candles” we shared with you last month, this centerpiece is a unique way to use some food items you may already have in your cupboards. Buy a candle that will fit into your cynical container leaving about ½ an inch from the glass all the way around. Simply slide a cookie stick around the candle, leaving no gaps. To finish it off, wrap twine at least 4 times around the glass and tuck the end into place, or tie a bow. You could also change this look a bit by trying it out with candy cane sticks and red ribbon on the outside!

http://designdininganddiapers.com/2012/05/simple-tips-for-decorating-on-a-budget/

 

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This elegant centerpiece is the ultimate “reuse” project! You are going to need some old jars, long stem flowers, lace, and ribbon. Assemble the band for the jar before attaching it to the jar. When using one width strip of lace, find a decorative ribbon that matches with the party’s colors and hot glue it onto the middle of the lace strip. When using two smaller strips of lace, glue the edge of both lace strips onto the sides of your favorite ribbon. One the band is assembled, just glue the edges onto the jar and let dry. Feel free to mix it up a bit and alternate ribbons and/or widths of lace strips.

http://designdininganddiapers.com/2012/05/simple-tips-for-decorating-on-a-budget/

 

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Comfort, warmth, and elegance, and nature are all wrapped up in this simple centerpiece. You do not have to use your fancy cake stand for this, buy a cheap one from a local store (as long as it has a nice foot to stand on!). Place a cluster of candles around the center of the stand by making a small circle around one candle placed in the middle of the stand, using about 7 candles in total. These candles can be in holders, or not, it is up to you! Alternating between one large pine cone and a piece of evergreen, place the decoration alongside the corners where each candle meets another candle.

http://carolinacountryliving.blogspot.com/2011/01/simple-winter-centerpiece.html

Baklava Recipe

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INGREDIENTS

Syrup:

  • 3 cups sugar, or 2 cups sugar and 1 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (optional)
  • 2 (3-inch) sticks cinnamon (optional)
  • 4 to 6 whole cloves, or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • Filling:
    • 1 pound blanched almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or any combination, finely chopped or coarsely ground (about 4 cups)
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or cardamom (optional)
    • 1 pound (about 24 sheets) phyllo dough
    • About 1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter or vegetable oil

PREPARATION

1. To make the syrup: Stir the sugar, water, lemon juice, and if using, the corn syrup, cinnamon sticks, and/or cloves over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stop stirring, increase the heat to medium, and cook until the mixture is slightly syrupy, about 5 minutes (it will register 225 degrees on a candy thermometer). Discard the cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. Let cool.

2. To make the filling: Combine all the filling ingredients.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-by-9-inch or 13-by-9-inch baking pan or 15-by-10-inch jelly roll pan.

4. Place a sheet of phyllo in the prepared pan and lightly brush with butter. Repeat with 7 more sheets. Spread with half of the filling. Top with 8 more sheets, brushing each with butter. Use any torn sheets in the middle layer. Spread with the remaining nut mixture and end with a top layer of 8 sheets, continuing to brush each with butter. Trim any overhanging edges.

5. Using a sharp knife, cut 6 equal lengthwise strips (about 1 3/4 inches wide) through the top layer of pastry. Make 1 1/2-inch-wide diagonal cuts across the strips to form diamond shapes.

6. Just before baking, lightly sprinkle the top of the pastry with cold water. This inhibits the pastry from curling. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake until golden brown, about 15 additional minutes.

7. Cut through the scored lines. Drizzle the cooled syrup slowly over the hot baklava and let cool for at least 4 hours. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 1 week. If the baklava dries out while being stored, drizzle with a little additional hot syrup.

Recipe originally published on Epicurious.

Client Review: New York University (NYU)

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“On behalf of the NYU Langone team, I want to thank you for your delicious catering and attentive staff for our Faculty, Staff, Student Appreciation Lunch and Dinner this week. I know the back-to-back events were aggressive, but your team handled everything with ease. We served more meals than we ever had before thanks to your delicious food. Thank you for all that you do to make these events so memorable every year. We couldn’t do them without you.

Regards,

Lori”

Spooky Stuffed Halloween Roasted Peppers

 

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Serves about 4

Ingredients: 

  • 4 orange bell peppers
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounce package frozen spinach, defrosted
  • About 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the quinoa, onion and spinach mixture, salt, pepper and Parmesan to a large bowl. Mix to combine.
  3. Meanwhile, de-seed the peppers and cut off the tops. Using a sharp, small paring knife, cut out eye, nose and mouth holes into the front of the peppers (to make the jack-o’-lanterns).
  4. Fill each pepper with about 1/2 cup of the quinoa mixture. Serve immediately.

Original recipe from SheKnows.

Preparing for Trick-or-Treaters

You want your home to be scary this Halloween – but not for the wrong reasons! Start this Halloween off right by considering the safety of your visiting trick-or-treaters when making your preparations. By taking care of a few minor details around the outside of the home, you can help keep kids and parents safe during the holiday!

trick-or-treaters

  • Keep walkways to the front door safe with no broken or uneven stepping stones, and remove clutter or debris that could cause someone to fall.
  • Repair loose railings on outdoor steps to prevent an accidental fall.
  • To make dark walkways safer all year long, illuminate with solar-powered lights.
  • Don’t leave burning candles unattended indoors or outside. Try using small flashlights instead. If you’re hoping for some ambiance using lighting, try Halloween-themed flashlight covers.
  • Keep your yard free of debris, branches, rocks, yard tools, toys or anything that could cause someone to slip, trip or fall. That gnome will enjoy a night inside for a change!
  • Make sure the porch light is working and on if you’re giving away candy.
  • Be sure to plan for your pet(s). Some animals may become frightened by the noise and costumes, and could bite or bolt through an opened door.
  • Trim hedges and bushes so that anyone walking by can easily be seen.
  • In addition to watching out for kids and parents on your property, you can also keep a watchful eye on those in your neighborhood. While greeting happy trick-or-treaters, be sure to observe any vehicles lurking around that aren’t with children and keep an eye out for older kids that may be harassing younger children with no escort.

Post originally published on Homes.com.

Halloween Roasted Red Pepper Deviled Eggs

 

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Ingredients

8 large eggs
1/4 cup drained and chopped jarred roasted red peppers
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika, plus more for sprinkling
Salt and pepper
3 chives, cut into 16 1/2-inch pieces

Preparation

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Gently lower eggs into water, return to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook eggs 11 minutes, drain and place in a large bowl of ice water. Cool completely, at least 10 minutes.

2. Crack eggs and carefully peel under cool running water. Slice in half lengthwise, scoop out yolks and place them in a food processor with peppers, mayonnaise, mustard and paprika. Cover and refrigerate whites. Process yolk mixture until smooth; taste and season with salt and pepper.

3. Transfer yolk mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip or a large ziplock bag. If using a bag, squeeze out air, seal and snip off a corner. Pipe about 1 Tbsp. filling into center of each egg white, to resemble a pumpkin. Set a piece of chive diagonally into filling to resemble a stem. Sprinkle yolks with paprika. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to a day.

 

Recipe on MyRecipes.com