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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

14 Christmas Tips for Making it Through as Sane as You Went In - #TipsTuesdays 18


Welcome to my blog this festive season. So today I have gathered together just a few of the small things I have learned about making the holiday period that much easier for Tips Tuesdays 18.

14 Christmas Tips for Making it Through as Sane as You Went In
It's the Little Things
  1. Always write a shopping list in advance for that last shop before Christmas Day or you will forget things. Keep it with you for a few days before the shop and add everything that pops into your head as it does so, so you don't miss anything.
  2. Sprouts taste much better with pancetta (or lardons), pecans and maple syrup than on their own or with just pecans and maple syrup if you are vegetarian.
    * Cook the sprouts as normal until just under done and drain.
    * Cook off the pancetta or lardons until crispy.
    * Add sprouts, pecans and maple syrup to the frying pan with the pancetta or lardons and toss together.
  3. Prepare as much food in advance as possible - the less you have to do on Christmas Day, the less stressful it will be. All the veggies can be prepared the day before and left to stand in cold water ready to be cooked the next day. So can sausages in blankets and stuffing, just leave in the fridge, but remember to get out about half an hour before cooking so they come to room temperature before cooking.
  4. Always have two rolls of tape - we are all bound to lose one, it's a rule of something ;)
  5. To get a crisp edge when wrapping parcels, fold under the edge of the wrapping paper before sticking it down. This hides any mess the scissors may have made of the edge of the paper.
  6. If your wrapping paper won't quite go round a rectangular present, turn the present at an angle, it should give you the few extra millimetres you need.
  7. A snowball really helps stress levels :)
    * Mix equal parts Advocaat and lemonade in a highball glass.
    * Use a straw to drink :)
  8. Singing is good for the soul, belt out those carols and/or Christmas songs on the radio!
  9. Did you realise at the last minute you forgot to buy someone a gift? Vouchers for online retailers like Amazon and Google can be purchased in minutes and emailed or printed out in an emergency.
  10. Need gifts for a group of people, but have few funds? Hand made peppermint creams are really easy and just made of icing sugar, egg whites and peppermint oil/extract/essence and can be made in large batches, then just put in sandwich bags and finish with a bow. Here is Mary Berry's recipe. I've been making a variation of these since I was small and still love them. If you want to make them even posher, drizzle them with dark chocolate once they are dry.
  11. Roast potatoes can take up to an hour and half to crisp up - never underestimate them.
  12. Do not stuff your whole turkey, it will slow down the cooking time enormously and can make the breast dry. Put aromatics to your taste (lemon or clementines, herbs etc) in the main cavity and only stuff the neck. You can cook the rest of the stuffing in balls or a tray, but still have some from the bird for those who love it like that.
  13. A really nice way to make sure the legs of your turkey are succulent and wonderful and so is the rest of the bird is not to cook them together. You can, but we have found that slow cooking the legs in our slow cooker with white wine and a few herbs makes for the most amazing, soft, dark meat to go with the juicy white meat from the roasted rest of the bird. Not totally traditional, but, oh my, so lovely.
  14. And finally ... Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes! (Thank you Bill and Ted)
Holiday cheer to one and all and I hope, to all those who celebrate the big day, your preparations are going really well.

Any holiday tips to share? Please do so in the comments, I would love to hear other people's holiday bolstering techniques.

And while your here, you might like to check out a cover reveal today for Sacrifice of An Angel.

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