TIP OF THE WEEK

The holiday season is chaotic enough without the added stress of entertaining. Whether you open your house to family and friends, or attend parties hosted by others this season, these tips will help you keep tensions low and stomachs full wherever you celebrate.

Donít show up empty-handed

Although the invitation didnít specifically say to bring a gift, donít let that be your excuse to show up empty-handed to your family or friendsí holiday festivities. Host gifts donít need to break the bank. Do a little research about what your host would enjoy - maybe itís a decorative candle, a cute ornament, their favorite homemade peanut brittle or an assortment of cheeses alongside festive jams and spreads.

These options donít have to cost a pretty penny - just enough to show your host you appreciate all of the hard work and money put in to hosting the party. Your thoughtfulness will not go overlooked.

Save time and money with a holiday potluck

When you are the host, instead of trying to do it all, look to your guests to help build the perfect holiday party menu. Itís customary for the host to supply the main dish and beverages, while the guests bring the rest.

To ensure your potluck doesnít turn out to be all cookies and pie, create a sign-up sheet for appetizers, side dishes and desserts. That way people get to choose what to bring, but youíll have an even assortment of delicious food to go around.

Add an element of competition by allowing your guests to vote for their favorite dish of the night to earn some holiday bragging rights for next yearís party.

Try not to overindulge

During the holiday season, itís easy to get carried away with heavy entrees and sweet treats as vegetable side dishes fall to the wayside. Instead, opt for a dish that feels indulgent even though itís filled with greens and naturally good seasonal ingredients.

This recipe for Apple, Gouda and Farro Salad from the blog Two Peas and Their Pod is a delicious, healthy and hearty addition to any holiday spread. Itís the ultimate cold-weather salad full of flavor and textures from the apple slices, Gouda bits, farro, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and a simple apple cider vinaigrette. Plus, it takes only minutes to throw together, making it the perfect time-saving side dish for any holiday get-together.

Apple, Gouda and Farro Salad

Makes 6 servings as a side dish, or 4 servings as a meal
Ingredients:

For the salad:
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

6 cups mixed greens

1 large apple*, core removed and thinly sliced

6 ounces Arla Dofino Gouda cheese, cut into cubes

1 cup cooked farro

1/3 cup dried cranberries

For the apple cider vinaigrette:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 Teaspoons honey

1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 Teaspoon minced shallot

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

First, toast the walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the walnuts turn brown and smell toasted. This will take about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.

Place the greens in a large bowl. Top with sliced apples, Gouda cheese cubes, farro, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard and shallot. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Drizzle the salad with the vinaigrette and gently toss. Serve!
*Note: Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples are great options, but any apple variety will work.


ó Brandpoint

EASY RECIPE: Raspberry Greek Yogurt Bark
Recipe courtesy of NourishRDs.com

2 cups plain, reduced-fat (2%) Greek yogurt
1 lemon, zest only
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Line small baking pan with aluminum foil. In medium bowl, combine first 3 ingredients. Add berries and nuts. Fold in until well incorporated. Spread mixture in baking pan and place in freezer for about 2-3 hours, or until hardened.
Once hardened, remove bark from pan and either cut or break up into pieces. Allow to thaw about 5 minutes before eating. Store remaining bark in freezer. You can experiment with any ingredients you have on hand, such as frozen cherries with dark chocolate chunks, frozen blueberries with unsweetened flaked coconut or dried cranberries with pecans.

ó Family Features

NUMBER TO KNOW

7 million: Hammondís Candies in Denver, Colorado, makes about 7 million candy canes each year which is quite a feat as they are rolled, shaped and cut by hand.
ó More Content Now

FOOD QUIZ

In which country did a local candymaker create the first candy cane in 1670?

A. Germany
B. China
C. France
D. Switzerland

Answer at bottom of column.

WORD TO THE WISE
stollen: Pronounced stoh-luh n, a sweetened fruit bread made from raised dough, usually containing nuts, raisins, and dusted with powdered sugar and traditionally eaten in Germany during the Christmas season.

ó More Content Now

THE DISH ONÖ

ďThe Nerdy Nummies Cookbook: Sweet Treats for the Geek in All of UsĒ by Rosanna Pansino

This is the first cookbook of the creator and host of the Internetís most popular baking show, Nerdy Nummies, which combines geek culture and baking. Pansinoís collection starts with a bunch of basic recipes then uses easy-to-follow photo instructions to walk readers through making such things as Apple Pi Pie, Atom Cookies and Moon Phase Macarons.ó Atria Books

FOOD QUIZ ANSWER

A. Germany

ó More Content Now