Appetizer: Sesame Glazed Meatballs

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It’s so easy to make this dinner appetizer ready for your next holiday gathering. Instead of spending hours prepping food in the kitchen, you’ll be able to join the party and enjoy time with family and friends.

Direction

  1. Cook as instructed.
  2. Skewer each with a toothpick for a savory treat.
  3. Add a drizzle of sauce for a pretty presentation.

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Halloween Week Meal Plan

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Holidays, Recipes | October 26, 2014 | By

Need a little help with meal planning this week? We’ve got a week’s worth of easy dinners perfect for busy nights and festive Halloween-themed meals all planned out. Be sure to follow our Fall Favorites board on Pinterest for even more ideas!

Sunday:
You might need a little extra time to make this Roasted Butternut Squash Spiderweb Soup, but the delicious fall flavors are worth it! Another option is to make your favorite creamy soup and draw a spiderweb on top for an easy, fun dinner.

Monday:
These Halloween Baked Potato Skin Pizzas are easy to throw together with a little help from the kids. Use pizza toppings such as pepperoni and olives to create everything from Dracula faces and mummies to spiders and jack-o-lanterns.

Tuesday:
How fun are these Jack O’Lantern Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Peppers? They’re also deceptively simple to make. Just use a paring knife to carve faces in your orange bell peppers and fill them with mashed potatoes, browned ground beef, veggies and gravy.

Wednesday:
Surprise your kids with this spooky Halloween Spaghetti! A dose of black food coloring takes this recipe from your typical week-night spaghetti to a creepy Halloween treat.

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Holiday Family Night Ideas

Christmas, Holidays | December 20, 2013 | By

oasted_pecan_chickenThere’s no doubt that the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. But even with all the shopping and prep work that needs to be done, the parties and get-togethers you plan to attend, it’s important to spend some time relaxing with your family.

Try making our Toasted Pecan Chicken with Mashed Potatoes for savory comfort food the whole family will love. Then whip up some hot chocolate and pick out a favorite holiday movie for a relaxing family movie night. Need movie ideas?

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National Cocoa Day (December 13, 2014)

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Though the weather outside is frightful, curling up with a cup of hot cocoa can make your day so more delightful. Especially when today is National Cocoa Day!

The difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate is that hot chocolate is made with melted chocolate and hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder. To make the perfect cup of microwavable hot cocoa, combine a heaping teaspoon of cocoa powder with two heaping teaspoons of sugar and a dash of salt in a mug. Add two teaspoons of cold milk and stir until smooth, then fill the cup with milk and microwave on high for a minute or until hot.

The great thing about hot cocoa is the endless variety of flavor combinations.

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Grace, an Opportunity for Gratefulness

When I was little we said grace ‘jingles’ before our meals like, “God is great, God is good let us thank him for our food.”  Today, my husband usually says an impromptu grace and, in our family, we like to hold hands.

I love the habit we have and how it draws us together as a family, focusing our hearts on being thankful.  Grace reminds us that ‘apart from God, we have no good thing.’

‘Saying grace’ or ‘saying the blessing’ refers to the custom of thanking God for the meal. It’s hard to say where grace began as most religious practices share this common heritage. Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” and it was his common practice to thank God before meals, “before he fed them he broke the bread and gave thanks to God for it (Matthew 14:19).”

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Decorating Your Holiday Table

Christmas, Holidays | December 9, 2013 | By

While decorating for the holidays is all part of the fun, sometimes preparing your home for holiday entertaining can result in unnecessary stress. Instead of worrying about getting it all done by yourself, enlist a few helpful hands and take advantage of the opportunity to spend individual time with a loved one.

Decorating your table for holiday get-togethers is a great project to collaborate on with your mother, daughter or best friend. Whether you’re picking out the perfect place settings or creating your own floral arrangements, you can turn an item on your endless to-do list into quality time together. Here are some ideas for table décor that are simple to create, but are sure to impress.

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Creating Holiday Traditions with Your Family

The holiday season is filled with family traditions. From decorating a tree together to making a favorite recipe, these traditions are often the things that create the most treasured memories. Carrying on traditions from generation to generation is something special that helps to strengthen a family’s identity. If you have young children, here are some ideas for holiday activities your family could cherish for years to come.

  • Between the stress of holiday to-do lists and the anticipation of the day itself, it can be hard to remember to be thankful throughout the holiday season. Create an Advent Calendar that helps your family remain thankful this month by hanging 25 clear plastic fill-able ornaments from a ribbon. Each day, have a member of your family fill an ornament with a note about something they’re thankful for.
  • Help your kids give back this holiday season by introducing “Santa’s Toy Swap.” Have your kids pick out old toys to leave under the tree for Santa to take back to the North Pole to repair for other children.

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Are your Thoughts all in a Flurry? Here are some Holiday ‘Stress Busters’ to Help!

family holiday timeOur heart is to make the holidays meaningful and magical. Yet, with our lists being long and our time being short, pressure looms like the Grinch around every corner.  Here are some stress busters that have helped me keep the joy, and be a joy, during the busy holiday season.

1.  Creating nostalgic traditions at the holidays is important. Try to Scale Down and be Satisfied with Good Enough.  We all set expectations on ourselves that could use some serious reevaluating and downsizing. We can get carried away from lighting one tree to lighting the porch, yard, deck, windows, and the 2nd and 3rd trees. It’s beautiful, but, takes so much time!  If I loved stringing lights, I’d cut corners elsewhere, but, this year I’m being selective and decorating just one tree and my entryway.

2.  Delegate. If my guests offer to help, I accept. I’ve found especially at parties, giving friends tasks like answering the door, serving beverages, and setting out food diminishes social discomfort and turns casual neighbors into good friends. Teen girls are fun to include as I work through holiday responsibilities like shopping, wrapping,

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2013 Holiday Cooking Timeline

Holidays, Thanksgiving | November 8, 2013 | By

Use this sample schedule for easy preparation of your Dream Dinners Holiday Roasted Turkey and sides. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • 3 -5 days before: Thaw all of your holiday items in the refrigerator.
  • Approximately 3 ½ hours before: Bake your Holiday Roasted Turkey. Remove holiday sides from fridge and bring to room temperature.
  • 2 ½ hours before: Bake your Holiday Green Bean Casserole 40-45 min., then add French onion topping and bake an additional 10-15 min with turkey in oven. ** hold
  • 1 ½ hours before: Bake Holiday Sweet Potatoes with Maple Brown Sugar 30-35 min., then add marshmallows and bake an additional 8-10 min. with turkey in oven. **hold

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How to Turn Dream Dinners into Appetizers

Cost of product seen in the video is just $75 dollars to make this appetizer table that serves a party of 15. That’s $5 per person versus the price of catering.

  • See how the Chicken Bruschetta presents on skewers?
  • Just slice up the chicken in strips and bake as directed on skewers.
  • Herb Crusted Flank Steak, grilled, chilled, and sliced into bite sized appetizers.
  • Combine the chicken and beef with fresh veggies and cheese and crackers.

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