All Posts In Holidays

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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How to Make a Perfect Chocolate Souffle

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 13th, 2014

A perfect rich-yet-airy chocolate souffle is the ultimate wow-factor Valentine’s Day dessert. But souffles can be intimidating, both for expert bakers and novice cooks. So we asked Pastry Chef Robert Parks, lead instructor of the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland, for his no-fail, no-fall recipe, plus five top tips for souffle success.

1. Make a “cream-based” souffle: This is the key to Chef Parks’ no-fail recipe. Cream-based souffles include starch, which makes the souffle more stable and less sensitive to movement.

2. Use the right type of ramekin: deep and straight-sided.

3. Don’t overwhip or underwhip the meringue: It should be stiff but not crumbly or dry.

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DIY Chocolate Desserts for Valentine’s Day — Comfort Food Feast

by in Holidays, February 13th, 2014

DIY Chocolate Desserts for Valentine's DayIt’s February 13. Whether you’re a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife — or even a good friend — you have just enough time to plan something special for Valentine’s Day. No, we’re not suggesting a last-minute swing by the convenience store for one of those cardboard, heart-shaped chocolate boxes moments before the big date. Instead, show your love by baking up decadent chocolate desserts in your own kitchen. These heart warmingly homemade chocolate-centric recipes come to you just in the nick of time, working as a romantic treat for two or an irresistible dessert for a troupe of sweet-toothed singles.

A fudgy brownie is a no-brainer, but Ina Garten’s Brownie Tart (pictured above) cuts down on flour so that it’s extra rich and chocolatey. She deepens the flavor of chocolate by adding coffee granules, making the whole house smell like brownies.

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5 New Red Velvet Treats

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 11th, 2014

Red Velvet DessertsWhen it comes to red velvet, think beyond cakes and cupcakes. After all, you can now find red velvet ice cream and even red velvet tea in the grocery store. Inspired by this beloved flavor, the chefs in our Food Network Kitchen came up with five all-new red velvet recipes that are perfect for Valentine’s Day — or any day, really.

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