5 Tips for Entertaining this Holiday SeasonPrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

Taking a break from the food and talking parties. Tis the season… Here are my 5 tips for holiday entertaining.

 

TIP 1: Keep it Simple

I love Caitlin‘s rustic, but elegant approach to her table design. It’s simple. The florals aren’t too high, allowing guests to see one another. Candles varied in height, both small and tall. Layered place setting, with the beautiful touch of monogramed napkins. The touch of holidays in the ornaments placed on the table and the touch of red in the flower arrangement. It’s perfection!

View the full feature HERE.

 

 

 

TIP 2: Candles

You really can’t have enough candles, trust me. Emily Henderson, featured on the Glitter Guide shares her entertaining spread and it’s TO DIE FOR. I particularly love this display with all the candles. Lighting is key in creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

View the full feature HERE. I want to recreate that present “tree”!

 

TIP 3: Depth

If you’re doing buffet style, meal or heavy appetizers, add depth by using cake plates and a thick board. DIY Tip – flip over a bowl and place a plate on top. I believe that’s what she did in the back left corner.

 

 

TIP 4: Bar Setup

Setup the bar away from the food. This helps to avoid one big cluster of people. Camille is THE party expert and creates some of the most brilliant parties around. Back to the bar cart… It’s also nice to have a signature cocktail or leave a variety of alcohol and mixes so people can make their own drink. No need to play hostess and bartender.

View the full feature HERE.

 

 

TIP 5: Centerpiece 

I’m in love with Erin’s rustic approach to her table design. Clearly you don’t need to go overboard on flowers, but with natural twigs [do they have a name?], real fruit and an arrangement of candles, you can create the perfect centerpiece. I also like how the twigs are used as the floral arrangement and also as the name “card”.

View the full feature HERE.

 

The BIG Tip: all this can be setup the night before!

 

How Sweet It Is: Gluten-free Apple CrispPrint Recipe Print Recipe

Look who’s here! Hiiiiiii Jess!!!!

You’re probably familiar with her mouth watering blog, How Sweet It Is.  She continues to blow me away with her creative powers in the kitchen and gives my abs a nice little workout with her sense of humor. Oh AND she makes some of THE best food.

Her and I first met back in Seattle for BlogHer Food, where we were roomies and it was basically love at first sight. I’m hoping this becomes an anual tradition. Except next time, there will be a baby…

Thank you, thank you for sharing this delicious apple crisp, it’s absolutely perfect for the holidays!

 

If there is anything that absolutely SCREAMS fall, it’s apple crisp. Apple pie is one thing, but apple crisp? With its syrupy, sugary cinnamon apples blanketed in crunchy and caramely oats? Ugh. So so so good.

My husband always swears his favorite dessert is chocolate chip cookies… until he eats apple crisp. Then that’s his favorite dessert. Well, until he has cookies again. Vicious cycle. See what I’m dealing with here?

To perfectly appeal to our palates, we’re obsessed with serving this apple crisp with scoops of tart frozen yogurt. You know… when it’s still piping hot. Because then you get rivers of creamy ice cream flowing through those crunchy oats and apples and stuff. And seriously, what’s better than rivers of creamy ice cream?

Nothing. That’s what.

 

 

Gluten Free Apple Crisp

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Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 honeycrisp apples, chopped into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut flour
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup gluten free oats
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a square baking dish or pie plate, combine apples with brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Toss to coat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine gluten free oats, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add in vanilla extract then using your hands, add butter to the mixture. Take about 5 minutes and thoroughly toss, rubbing the butter throughout the dry ingredients with your fingers until it clumps together. Once the entire mixture is moistened, spread it evenly over the apples.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until apples are soft and syrupy and the crisp is golden.

 

*gluten-free 

Gluten-free Walnut Flax Chicken StripsPrint Recipe Print Recipe

Woohoo, the lovely Katie from Yes, I want Cake is HERE!! She’s one of my absolute favorites.

I’ve been following her blog since the beginning, before I was gluten-free and before that ADORABLE baby of her’s. If you need a little exercise inspiration, healthy home cooking recipes, or just need a smile, she’s your girl.

I love her to pieces. You will [or already do] too, just wait.

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The only thing that would make this sweeter would be if I lived next door to Lisa and could actually bring dinner over to her house. And by bring dinner, I mean come over and smell that new baby’s head for a second.

(If that were the case we would also have some cake on the side. I love cake. In fact, I have a blog named after my love of cake and my constant desire for it. But I make – and love – other things, too. Sometimes I even make things that are good for you. And since recovering from childbirth takes a lot of effort and good food, I thought I’d share some chicken strips instead.)

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Bonus points for these being…

(a) gluten-free

(b) a hit with chubby babies

(c) not really fried

(d) all of the above

If you answered (d), you win.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner (oohhh I just HAD to say it).

1-Walnut Flax Chicken Strips

 

Walnut Flax Chicken Strips

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  • 1/4 C flax seed, ground (I grind mine in the coffee grinder, yields about 1/2 C)
  • 1 C walnuts
  • 1 t garlic salt
  • 1 lb chicken, cut into strips
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T milk (I used almond milk)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 T olive oil]

Combine the ground flax,walnuts and the garlic salt in a food processor. Pulse until a coarse meal forms. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Beat the eggs and the milk in another bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over high heat and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Dip each chicken strip into the egg mixture, then the flax mixture and place it in the hot pan. Brown on all sides (about 1-2 minutes per side) then transfer to a cooling rack with a baking sheet underneath.

When all strips have been browned, put the cooling rack + baking sheet in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Cooking them on the cooling rack ensures that they stay crispy so don’t skip that step.

We served ours with mashed cauliflower on the side and the flavors went together perfectly!

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Gluten-free Fruit Filled Oatmeal CookiesPrint Recipe Print Recipe

Introducing….

My first guest, Emily Scott, also known as Em the Gem. We’ve been friends outside of the blogging world for over a year now [thanks to Meg!] and she just so happens to be an outstanding photographer. She took a lot of my early belly shots and some of my profile pictures, such as twitter. On top of her mad skills, she’s an amazing friend.

When I was over at her house one afternoon, she made these gluten-free fruit filled oatmeal cookies. They were so delicious I asked if she’d share the recipe not only with me, but with all of you. Before I knew it, she snapped a few photos and had emailed me the recipe.

These deep dish cookies are super simple and a great dessert to serve guests this holiday season!

 

These are one of my favorite treats for dessert when people come over for dinner because you can make them well ahead of time and they stay good for a few days.

My favorite type of preserves for these are raspberry or blackberry, the chunkier the better. They go perfect with some vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt and occasionally I have been known to eat one for breakfast. Hey, they have oats in them! So I say it’s fair game.

 

Gluten-free Fruit Filled Oatmeal Cookies

[Recipe from Emily Scott]

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats (I use Bob’s red mill GF quick oats)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used Pamela’s GF baking mix as a straight substitute for flour)
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt (sometimes I add a little more to taste but I like a bit more than some people)
  • 12 oz. fruit preserves or whatever jam you have in your fridge

Directions

Combine the first five ingredients and mix well (everything but the jam). Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan or muffin tins. There is enough butter in these babies that you don’t need to grease your pans.

Bake 10-12 minutes at 350. Pull the pan out of the oven.

Spread jam on top of the first layer. Cover with the remaining 1/3 of your oat mixture and gently press down.

Bake another 18-20 minutes of until golden brown.

Cool completely before attempting to pull them out of the tray.

Enjoy!

*gluten-free