All Posts In Holidays

A Beatrix Potter Inspired Easter Party

by in Entertaining, Holidays, April 16th, 2014

A Beatrix Potter Inspired Easter Partyby Camille Styles (photos by Kate LeSueur)

I love hosting parties with guests of all ages — they’re the perfect opportunity to get creative, explore a fun theme, and add a touch of whimsy to the decor for an event. For this year’s Easter celebration, I wanted to create an outdoor event that would be fun for kids and parents alike. I didn’t have to look further than my daughter’s own nursery to find inspiration — the illustrated works of Beatrix Potter. The English author’s collection of sweetly illustrated children’s tales provided just the right tone for my backyard bash, and her Tale of Peter Rabbit was the perfect source of cotton tailed inspiration. With fun carrot-and-ranch snacks served in tiny terra-cotta pots, homemade bunny-tail bunting, and fresh centerpieces made from garden vegetables, this was one Easter celebration that we’re pretty sure Peter himself would approve of!

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How to Rise Above Bread for 8 Days of Passover

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 16th, 2014

Salmon with Baby Artichokes

Last night marked the last of this year’s Passover Seders. If you’re celebrating, that means your first shards of matzo and bowls of matzo ball soup are behind you. But what happens between now and the big break on the eighth day? Zapping matzo pizza in the microwave may hold you over for the first couple days, but it won’t be long before you start craving something more. This year, load up on spring veggies and hearty proteins for dynamic, satisfying meals that leave nothing to miss. That way, you can make it till the end without a carb-craving meltdown — or a matzo-induced belly ache. Read more

Best 5 Easter Ham Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 15th, 2014

Roasted Fresh Ham with Cider GlazeThe beauty of a ham is that, like a Thanksgiving turkey, it’s a big-batch entree that can feed all of your holiday guests at once, so there’s no need to prepare individual servings of dinner. But also like a turkey, ham needs a bit of dressing up before it’s ready to take center stage at your Easter feast, and in most recipes that next-level addition comes in the form of a glaze. Sweet, spicy, tangy or nearly anywhere in between, glazes complement the natural richness of ham and can play to your guests’ tastes. Check out Food Network’s top-five Easter hams below to find wow-worthy recipes that are a cinch to prepare from Trisha, Melissa, Ina and more chefs.

5. Baked Ham with Brown Sugar-Honey Glaze — Made with just two ingredients — brown sugar and honey — Trisha’s fuss-free glaze tops the ham well into the cooking process, so the sugars don’t burn before the meat is cooked.

4. Ginger-Peach-Glazed Ham — Food Network Magazine recommends letting the ham chill in a ginger-spiced brine for at least 24 hours before cooking it and finishing it with a sweetened Dijon topping.

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12 Easter Ideas for Kids

by in Family, Holidays, April 15th, 2014

12 Easter Ideas for KidsWith just enough spring sun to warm their little cheeks, Easter is one of the sweetest days of the year for kids — and these are some of our favorite ways to celebrate. We’ve got surprisingly simple cookies, cupcakes, brownies and even a few sugar-free options. Here’s to a happy Easter ahead!

1. Easter Bunny Cake: Complete with coconut “fur,” this bunny cake is surprisingly simple to make (hint: It starts with a boxed cake mix!)

2. Little Lamb Pull-Apart Cupcakes: As a busy mom of three small fries, I love the idea of a specially shaped dessert I can actually make. Starting with a simple batch of 24 cupcakes, this recipe lays out exactly how to do it.

3. Giant Easter Egg Cookie: Another crowd-pleaser for busy cooks, this awesome egg can be as easy as baking a batch of store-bought cookie dough.

4. Hard-Boiled-Egg Chicken Family (pictured above): The lengthiest step in this easy creation is boiling the eggs. If you’ve got the eggs, a carrot and a few chia seeds, you can do this one in minutes.

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Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

by in Holidays, How-to, April 14th, 2014

Perfect Hard Boiled EggsDissolving little tablets of dye into vinegar-spiked water and dipping hard-boiled eggs into the bowls was a rite of passage growing up. For my own children, though, it’s a foreign experience. It’s a myth you might say, like the Easter Bunny himself. We actually ate the cooked eggs growing up, and while egg salad was never my thing, I did love eating the freshly peeled eggs with a sprinkling of salt. It’s still my favorite way to enjoy them, with my Mediterranean Tuna Salad coming in as a close second.

My girls aren’t fans of eating hard-boiled eggs, though, regardless of how they’re prepared. Because one woman can eat only so many hard-boiled eggs, we usually skip the whole ritual. This year we’re mixing things up for the Easter holiday and driving to Toronto to celebrate with friends. Egg coloring will be in full swing. The girls will get to dip, tie-dye and color away, and I’ll be ready with some of my favorite recipes to put all those leftover Easter treasures to delicious use.

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Butternut Squash and Watercress Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 11th, 2014

Butternut Squash and Watercress Salad with Champagne VinaigretteWhen I was growing up, Passover wasn’t a holiday we celebrated with any regularity. My mom was Jewish, but she had grown up in a very secular branch of the family. Occasionally we would attend a Seder at our Unitarian church (they were very into the world religions back in the 1980s), but it was not an annual thing.

Once I moved to Philadelphia, however, I found myself surrounded by family that, while still pretty New Age and multicultural, was far more observant when it came to the Jewish holidays.

And so Passover has become a staple holiday on my yearly calendar, second only to Thanksgiving in terms of eating. The meal is coordinated by my mom’s first cousin Amy, and she distributes dish assignments at least a month prior to the meal (so that people can practice and get things just right).

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Best 5 Scalloped Potato Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 8th, 2014

Scalloped Potato GratinEaster is just a few weeks away, and while you may already know that a crowd-pleasing ham or juicy lamb chops will be the star of your spread, it’s time to focus on the all-important side dishes to round out the meal. Both simple to prepare with everyday ingredients and endlessly family friendly, scalloped potatoes are a holiday staple, and whether you stick with a classic rendition featuring cheese and cream, or dress them up with fresh vegetables or meat, they’re sure to wow guests this spring. Check out Food Network’s top-five scalloped potato recipes below from The Pioneer Woman, Bobby, Tyler and more Food Network chefs to find out how they serve this tried-and-true indulgence.

5. Scalloped Potatoes and Ham — Follow Ree’s lead and beef up big-batch scalloped potatoes by layering diced ham among thinly sliced russets and creamy Monterey Jack cheese.

4. Scalloped Potatoes with Tomatoes and Bell Peppers — After quickly broiling the fresh vegetables to bring out their natural sweetness, tomatoes, peppers and onions are baked in a rich potato casserole with a breadcrumb-Gruyere topping for an added crunchy texture and a nutty flavor.

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Green St. Patrick’s Day Desserts

by in Holidays, March 15th, 2014

Shamrock CupcakesOn March 17 you’ll likely be decked out in green attire, so why not whip up some green desserts to go with the theme? It’s been noted that blue was originally the color of St. Patrick’s Day; over the centuries this evolved based on the color of St. Patrick’s shamrock and the color in the Irish flag.  Green is now the color of the day, and these treats are true to the Emerald Isle.

1. Shamrock Cupcakes (pictured above)
Make an old-fashioned boiled frosting that’s both creamy and fluffy for these cupcakes. Three frosted cupcakes plus a halved cupcake covered in green sanding sugar turn these hand-held desserts into shamrocks.

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5 Steps to a Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day

by in Family, Holidays, March 6th, 2014

5 Steps to a Family-Friendly St. Patrick's DayDespite my last name (which is Armenian thanks to a distant relative somewhere in my French husband’s family), I’m actually an Irish gal (my maiden name is Donovan). So I’ve celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with the gusto of an Irish lassie my whole life.

St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, and the shamrock was originally a symbol for the Holy Trinity. According to tradition, the rules of Lent were lifted on St. Patrick’s Day, which meant Catholics could eat and drink relatively freely for one day in the midst of Lenten fasting. And somehow that morphed into rowdy visits to Irish pubs, drinking green beer and singing “Seven Drunken Nights” (who could see that coming?). So St. Patrick’s has become a cultural celebration, and for our family, St. Patrick’s Day is a day of wearing green, playing fun leprechaun tricks for the kids, and eating green foods and traditional Irish fare. Want to join us? Here is our five-step approach to celebrating St. Patty’s Day in style:

1. We wear green. I almost didn’t even write this one. Because duh. (Plus, I have green eyes, so this really only makes sense.)

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Chocolate-Orange Fondue — The Weekender

by in Holidays, February 14th, 2014

Chocolate-Orange Fondue - The WeekenderWhen I was in my mid-20s, some girlfriends and I started a Valentine’s Day tradition. Being that we were all single at the time, we chose to spend the evening of February 14 together instead of pining over ex-boyfriends and lost loves.

My friend Cindy would be on cocktail duty. Ingrid was in charge of selecting the movie. Una always brought the appetizers. And I took care of making our chosen dinner — fondue.

We’d start with a pot of cheese fondue with bread, steamed broccoli and grilled chicken for dipping. Once we’d had our fill of the savory course, I’d bring out a small pot of chocolate fondue with strawberries, orange segments, pound cake cubes and pretzel sticks. It was such a fun way to celebrate our loving friendships on a day most often reserved for romance.

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