We’ve all heard the expression “You eat with your eyes first.” And while that typically refers to food presentation, the same could be said for the first impression that your holiday table makes upon guests. Before the turkey has been carved and the pie de-voured, friends and family will have already taken in your table design. But creating a beautiful table doesn’t have to mean pricey floral arrangements or im-possible craft projects. Instead, I love to create centerpieces using grocery store mate-rials that can easily be tacked onto the end of my shopping list. Today I’m sharing easy, affordable and exciting ideas for creating a striking centerpiece that’ll have guests talking until next year’s holiday season. Read more
During the holidays, cakes have always been part of our Southern Yuletide tradition. Coconut, caramel and red velvet cakes grace sideboards, alongside buttery pound cakes and loaves of spicy gingerbread. The Southern sweet tooth is a force of nature! These festive layer cakes are grand, over-the-top creations, sweet and sensational, with bonus points awarded for stature. From the coconut cake’s snow-white icing spiked with coconut to the boozy, cherry-studded fruitcake, there’s no lack of theater on display. A layer cake waiting on a sideboard under a glass dome is both celebration and welcome. A layer cake defines Southern hospitality. Read more
By Camille Styles, photography by Molly Winters
When gifting presents to friends, family and coworkers, the act of wrapping each individual package can be tedious, to say the least. But for me, gift-wrapping is the highlight of the season. And because no two presents are wrapped the same, each wrapping job is an opportunity to break out the crafts and challenge myself to put as much thoughtfulness into the packaging as I do the gift inside. Looking for a relaxing holiday activity to escape the madness? There’s nothing like turning on the holiday tunes and sitting down with a cup of cider to lovingly wrap each holiday gift.
For those of you hosting guests and dinner parties during the holidays, here are a few centerpiece ideas to spice up the room without breaking the bank.
Fa la la la la, the holidays are here — and it’s about time you started eating like it. Instead of opening up a recipe book, get inspiration from your favorite holiday carols with a little help from Food Network. Even if you aren’t much of a caroler, these carol-inspired recipes will surely strike a chord.
When it comes to the holidays, everyone tends to let loose a bit and go for the extra cupcake, so why not make them as memorable as you can? These simple cupcake toppers can be made in less than 10 minutes and are perfect for turning a homemade or store-bought cupcake into a dessert centerpiece. Read more
As a Southerner, I’ve had some form of slow-cooked greens served alongside a serving of Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day nearly every year of my entire life. Hoppin’ John, a dish made of peas and rice, is supposed to bring luck — although no one’s quite sure why — and the greens are supposed to bring money. The resulting meal is a plate of hearty goodness, which, lucky and money-conjuring or not, is the perfect way to start a new year.
There’s no reason to limit greens to just one day! Winter greens such as collard, mustard, turnip, kale and chard are all good, good for you, and a most-welcome departure from sometimes-dreary starchy winter roots and tubers.
With a brand-new year nearly at your doorstep, you’ll need a few fresh dishes to fortify you and your guests for the New Year’s Eve festivities. To guarantee a happy start to 2014, try some of Food Network’s top recipes for New Year’s, starting with a fizzy toast, of course. Giada’s Sgroppino is a classic Italian cocktail that combines Prosecco with chilled vodka, fresh mint and a lemon sorbet float. Refreshing and full of festive sparkle, it’s a great way to cleanse guests’ palates before dinner and build excitement for the big night ahead.
While some may be content to watch the Times Square ball drop on New Year’s Eve from the comfort of their pajamas while cuddled on the couch, Southern at Heart host Damaris Phillips is no such celebrator. In fact, this Louisville, Ky., native dons her most-elaborate outfit and her fanciest footwear for a night on the town as she prepares to ring in the new year. FN Dish caught up with Damaris toward the end of this year to find out more about her New Year’s traditions and best memory of the holiday. Read on below to learn her New Year’s resolution from last year and get her top tips for easy party fare.
How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve these days?
Damaris Phillips: I love going out. I love getting dressed up fancy. I love sparkly clothing. Like, there’s not a lot of occasions to wear sparkly heals, and I have maybe 15 pairs, so I love New Year’s because it’s the perfect time to put on sequins and rhinestones and glitter and get real dressed up. And I love to dance; I like to go to places where they have, like, an old-time ball kind of New Year’s, and my gentleman loves New Year’s. Like, it’s his favorite holiday, so I know how special it is for him, and it’s always fun to be celebrating together. I come up with New Year’s resolutions. For sure.
Whether your New Year’s plans include mingling with friends at a swanky late-night bash or watching the ball drop from the comfort of your living-room couch, it’s best to be surrounded by a spread of celebratory eats and drinks as you say goodbye to 2013 and welcome in the New Year. Champagne is a must-have sipper when the clock strikes midnight, but beyond straight bubbly, what munchies and cocktails should you serve? Look to Food Network’s top-five recipes for New Year’s to find sweet and savory picks plus a dressed-up cocktail from some of your favorite chefs, like the Neelys, Rachael, Giada and Ina.
5. The Neelys’ Pigs in a Blanket — Made with just a handful of everyday ingredients, the Neelys’ two-bite snack is ready to eat in a hurry thanks to store-bought crescent dough, which serves as the blanket for mini hot dogs.
4. Whoopee Pies — The beauty of these part-cake, part-cookie treats is that they’re eaten like a sandwich — with soft cocoa shells surrounding fluffy marshmallow filling — so guests can pick them up to enjoy while they’re mingling.