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Holiday Entertaining: Tips To Breeze Through The Season

Contributed by: News Canada

(NC) - Most Canadians are constantly on the move, juggling both professional and personal responsibilities. The holidays are an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. Families don't have a lot of time to worry about entertaining. Therefore, planning a meal can seem an insurmountable task. In order to make the holiday season as enjoyable as possible, for both the entertainers and those being entertained, Ocean Spray has a number of festive ideas and time-saving tips that will make entertaining a success from start to finish.

Planning makes perfect

  • Get the entire group involved in the celebration and host a potluck dinner. A few weeks before the celebration, ask guests to bring specific dishes, like stuffing or dessert. Serving dishes and attractive decorative table favours are also helpful.

  • Make a list and check it twice! Write down everything that is needed for the big feast. Consider ordering a pre-cooked turkey to avoid watching over a hot oven all day. Include ingredients for all dishes, as well as colourful/mood-setting candles, table linens, flowers, etc.

  • Collect creative and unusual food containers and paper bags so leftovers can be given to guests as they leave.

  • Electrify guests with a beautiful collection of votive candles as the table centrepiece. Arrange them in a line down the centre, so the whole table is aglow.

Dress it up

  • Create beautiful holiday decorations with a hint of nostalgia, using fresh or dried cranberries. Impress family and friends with the following ideas:

  • Stringing fresh cranberries and popcorn together is an easy way to make a traditional garland to garnish the Christmas tree. Fresh cranberries should be used as previously frozen cranberries are too moist and will eventually drip.

  • Floating fresh cranberries around a candle in a water-filled glass dish or vase makes a pretty holiday decoration or centrepiece.

  • Cranberries can also be used in ice rings for festive holiday punch.

  • Cranberries, either fresh or dried, are a perfect addition to decorative wreaths. Incorporating crimson berries with green pine boughs makes a striking wreath.

Turkey trivia

  • Fresh or frozen? Choose a turkey from a reputable source ­ ideally, a fresh one. Frozen turkeys are usually deep-basted with extra juices and added fat to the meat and must be completely thawed before roasting. Turkey should be defrosted in the refrigerator as opposed to on the counter, because the turkey surface could become warm enough for harmful bacteria to form.

  • New breeding practices mean that turkeys now have a higher proportion of white meat. As a result, less roasting time is required, so make sure to keep an eye on the oven and clock!

  • Can't forget the cranberries!

  • Fresh Ocean Spray® cranberries are available from September to early December. Buy two packages and freeze one for year-round use.

  • Store fresh cranberries in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Before using, just sort and rinse cranberries in cold water. One 12-ounce bag equals three cups.

  • Chop cranberries by hand or process three cups at a time in a food processor.

  • Freeze cranberries, without pre-washing, in their plastic bag for up to one year.

  • Cranberry sauce makes a great base for marinades and glazes, for everything from turkey to poultry to pork.

  • Create the perfect gift basket for the host. Include fresh cranberries or Ocean Spray® Craisins® Sweetened Dried Cranberries, Macintosh apples, and seasonal vegetables including squash, corn and gourds.



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