A Few Really Great Food Ideas for the Holidays

Over the past few weeks, I’ve hit fifth gear a few times in the Simple Bites kitchen. This is one of my favourite times of year to play with my food.

In my flurry of cooking and baking, I’ve come up with a few really great food ideas for the holidays that I just had to share. Nothing here is planned, more of series of inspired moments that turned out to be quite fun.

Read on for a cheery crêpe Christmas tree, a brilliant use for leftovers, an elevated winter pie and an introduction to the #Jarcuterie trend.

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How to Host a Modern Dinner Party

I count myself among those who have realized that the act of gathering is much more important than a styled table or fancy food.

When I take a close look at the modern dinner party these days, I feel like it is about embracing the simpler things in life and valuing relationship above all else. We’re busy people, and getting together with friends is sacred in this digital age because face-to-face interaction is essential for true community.

My table – indoors and out – is going to be packed this summer; not only do we have a stream of family members coming to visit, but we’re making friends here in our new province. Everyone is invited over, basically, beginning with my cookbook club in June. Hooray!

So with summer entertaining kicking off I thought we’d take a look at the modern dinner party here on the blog. Read on!

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What to eat for the holidays

How did it get to be the week of Christmas? I have no clue, but here we are and it’s high time to make a plan of action.

My holiday cooking strategy has been a little helter-skelter this year. December threw us a few curveballs, but this is Life; you can’t expect things to always go according to plan.

I have a feeling I’m not the only one just sitting down now with pen and paper and wondering “What to eat for the holidays?”. If you’re asking the same thing this Monday morning, then today’s post will be right up your alley.

I’ve rounded up some of my top hits from the archives, from drinks to dessert, main event and aaaaall the sides. So pour a coffee, start a grocery list and let’s figure this out together.

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Classic Gruyère Gougères: A make-ahead party snack for holiday entertaining

I’ve spent the past two weeks preparing myself for the upcoming holidays by stocking a sizeable portion of my deep freeze with an assortment of homemade chewy caramel candies, sugar and gingerbread cookie doughs, pie crusts, soups for quick and nourishing weeknight dinners, and no less than five different varieties of gougères ready for last-minute entertaining and party-going in the coming month.

Lest you think I’m hyper-organized (okay, maybe I am a little), most of it is due to the large amount of recipe testing I’ve been doing for my forthcoming book, and the fact that December is my busiest working month of the year, and there is simply no time to let myself fall behind when it comes to holiday preparations.

While all of the items I’ve stockpiled are essential sanity-savers, none are more important to me than the gougères I mentioned above. They are my secret weapon when it comes to holiday gatherings, and I always, always have a bag ready to be baked between December and January, when surprise visitors pop by or I’m in need of a last-minute party nibble.

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12 hosting tips for putting your best plate forward

It feels like Thanksgiving crept up on me this year, and as fate would have it, my kitchen is going to be swirling in a chaos of renovations on the upcoming long weekend.

I won’t have a functioning cooktop, but I will have an oven, so Maple Pecan Pie is still on the menu. Whew. Actually we are dining with family both Saturday and Sunday, so I won’t have to wrangle any sort of mid-construction holiday dinner in my own kitchen. (PS. Stay tuned for a full kitchen tour coming soon when everything is back in place.)

If you’re welcoming guests on Thanksgiving weekend – or any day, for that matter – then today’s simple entertaining tips are for you. I’m a big believer in details, and know that even small gestures can make a big difference when receiving guests.

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