Last-Minute Thanksgiving Details

Thanksgiving is this week, and in the midst of your holiday preparation it is easy to overlook a few details. Here are three quick tips to help you with your last-minute planning:

1. If your turkey isn’t completely defrosted, don’t despair. Immerse the bird in the plastic wrap and put it in ice-cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes to avoid dangerous bacteria from developing, according to Butterball. It will thaw quicker than leaving it in the refrigerator.

2. Double-check your menu. Go over each recipe and make sure you have all of your ingredients. You don’t want to have to run around on Thanksgiving morning looking for a store that’s open because you’re out of flour.

3. Count your place settings. Make sure you have enough plates, forks, knives and napkins for everyone. Don’t forget the settings you’ll use for serving food, and have a couple on hand in case someone brings an unexpected guest. If you’re shy a few settings ask someone to bring extra.

Stocking Your Pantry For The Holiday Season

This is the time of year when lines at the grocery store grow longer with people getting ready for holiday meals and baking. Instead of running down to the store to pick up that one ingredient you need, stock up so you have essentials on hand. A full pantry also helps you avoid last-minute take out during the hustle and bustle of the season. Here’s a list of 20 things to have on hand:

1.     Brown rice (or other whole grains)

2.     Dried spices

3.     Potatoes

4.     Oatmeal

5.     Peanut butter

6.     Flour

7.     Sugar

8.     Baking powder and soda

9.     Canned tomatoes

10.  Kosher salt and pepper

11.  Garlic

12.  Onions

13.  Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce)

14.  Quinoa or rice

15.  Pasta

16.  Olive and vegetable oil

17.  Vinegar

Stocking Your Refrigerator For The Holiday Season

The holidays are the time of year when family and friends gather. If you’re hosting guests, you’ll want to have a stocked refrigerator to keep everyone going. In addition to your Thanksgiving meal ingredients, here are a dozen things you should put on your grocery list:

1.     Cheese, such as parmesan or cheddar

2.     Eggs

3.     Butter

4.     Vegetables, such as carrots and broccoli

5.     Hummus (for a quick snack)

6.     Chicken broth

7.     Yogurt

8.     Milk

9.     Orange juice

10.  Mayonnaise

11.  Lettuces and salad extras

12.  Lean protein, such as chicken or fish

Easy Apple Crumble Pie

Fill your home with the mouth-watering scent of apple pie this weekend. Here’s an easy apple crumble pie recipe:



1 (6 oz.) graham cracker crust

Vegetable cooking spray

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds

2 pounds sliced apples, such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of graham crust with vegetable cooking spray. Bake 5 minutes; cool on wire rack.

Meanwhile, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in almonds.

Place cooled crust on baking sheet. Spoon pie filling into crust. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over apple filling. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until crumb topping is golden. Serve warm.



The Dining Room Makes a Comeback


For the past two decades, people have designed their homes to be casual and inviting. Formal dining rooms have been converted into home offices or media rooms, and builders focused on designing open floor plans that combined living and dining.

Well, formal dining is back and so is the formal dining room. This return to elegance and entertaining has brought a renewed emphasis on dining room furnishings. One of the best things about the dining room is that it is meant to be special, and that gives you permission to choose dramatic designs that show off your style.

Here are some ideas for creating a place where you need no reservations:

Sideboard Light

Choose a focal wall. The focal wall sets the tone for the room, so take your time choosing your impact piece. An important piece of art or an ornate mirror would make a beautiful choice.


Use dimmable lighting. Lowering the lights can help set the mood, but sometimes you want to have a bright setting. Put your lights on a dimmer so you can create the right atmosphere. We love using a statement chandelier or set of pendant lamps.


Pay attention to the flooring. Choose furnishings that complement instead of matching your floor. If your flooring is light-colored wood, for example, choose a darker wood table. Or use an oversized rug to set your furniture apart.

Sideboard Bold

Go for balance. Design the space symmetrically to add to the formal, finished feel. You can also achieve balance by adding pops of color evenly around the room, such as in accessories, artwork or a rug.