Holiday Host Gift: Challah Wreath

Challah Wreath Host Gift

Most of the parties I get invited to at this point in my life are accompanied by a case of Bud Light or boxed wine, but there are certain situations that require a host gift that doesn’t come in a cardboard box. And I’m not talking about wine (Let’s all get a little more creative!). Here’s a gift that’s easy to make, under $10, and is guaranteed to be a hit every time.

After the smash success of Challah French Toast and the realization that honey in braided bread might be the best thing since sliced bread, I now present the Challah Wreath. All you do is follow the recipe below to make challah (I doubled the recipe to make a larger wreath), then braid the challah into a circular braid. To do this, braid the challah on a baking sheet, braid the end pieces into each other and tuck them in so that the start and end points are disguised. Also, remember to put a small bowl or other oven-proof object in the middle so the hole doesn’t close up!

Once baked, place fresh rosemary into the challah to look like branches, and add either edible flowers or cranberries for some color. As a final touch, put a soft, round cheese in the middle so that the challah can be shared around the table with some delicious cheese for the perfect hors d’oeuvre!

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25 Days of Food

Online Advent CalendarOne of my favorite things about December mornings are the cheap, slightly-plasticy-but-nonetheless-delicious chocolates that I eat every morning from my advent calendar. It invokes the nostalgia of counting down the seconds until Christmas. Because I can’t hand out chocolates to each and every one of you every morning, here is an e-version of an advent calendar, filled with prizes and delicious photos of food!

Check back every day for culinary treats!

 

Giving & Thanking: A Guest’s Last Minute Guide

Giving & Thanking

If you’re anything like me, you’re sitting at home with your family (still in your pajamas) watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or you’re sitting on your bed listening to your boyfriend play guitar while you wonder what to wear since it just started snowing, and what to get for a last minute host gift. If you’re in the latter category like me, here are some tips to get your Thanksgiving going without a hitch:

Bring the perfect host gift. Resist the temptation to bring wine (unless asked). Many hosts will have already bought all the necessary wine and booze to go with your meal, and by bringing a bottle, you will be throwing an impostor into the mix. If pressed for time (which, let’s face it you probably are), pick up an expensive bottle of Olive Oil or Vinegar. If you have a couple of hours before the feast, try making this centerpiece. It’s gorgeous – and edible!

Get into the holiday spirit. I am usually fairly against watching the television during the holidays – with two exceptions, one of them being the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (the other being It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve). There’s nothing like watching a hydrogen-pumped fake turkey to get you into the mood of eating one. If you’re in New York City this year, catch the balloons uptown where there are fewer tourists – anywhere above 51st Street and Sixth Avenue is usually prime for viewing!

Call your mom. If you aren’t lucky enough to be with your family this year (or consider yourself lucky for dodging that bullet), take time today to give your parents a call. Even if it’s for a quick chat, one phone call can go a long way. On that note, text your friends – they’re basically family too and it never hurts to let them know you’re thinking of them!

Find the perfect outfit. Whether finding inspiration from your closet, or running to JCrew to find something acceptable to wear to Auntie Carol’s, just remember that black is slimming, and leave room for that food baby. And a last coat of nail polish can go a long way in making an outfit look more polished.

Get outside. On the food baby note, getting some exercise on Thanksgiving never hurt. Whether it’s an early morning Turkey Trot, or a long after-dinner stroll, take time to stretch  your legs. Your post-Thanksgiving belly will thank you.