ALL POSTS IN Entertaining

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Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone! Today marks the last day of the Carnival season, but the party is just getting started. Parades have been flowing through the streets of New Orleans since early this month, and floats are still making their way through with trinkets and treats in tow. Today’s final night of celebrations will surely be filled with lots of beads, booze and King Cake. (Jealous!)

If you’re stuck, well, not in the Big Easy, then we have eight delicious ways to bring the taste of N’awlins to wherever you may be. Just grab some beads, mix up a hurricane and (mentally) head down South.

Cajun-Style Gumbalaya

Take a trip to New Orleans with this Cajun-inspired dish. It’s a cross between gumbo and spicy jambalaya that’s perfect for those who just can’t decide which Louisiana entree they want. Get the recipe >> 

Shrimp Gumbo

Shrimp Gumbo Recipe

This spicy Cajun gumbo gets most of its flavor from the dark roux and its thickness from the herb file. Onions, celery and green peppers, major ingredients in both Creole and Cajun cooking, add flavor and substance to the shrimp and sausage stew. Get the recipe from FoodNetwork.com >>

More Big Easy Bites

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No matter how you plan to spend Valentine’s Day (or with whom), it’s probably fair to assume there will be chocolate involved. Make it dark chocolate for a healthier sweet treat you’ll L-O-V-E.

Dark chocolate and cocoa are packed with antioxidants, a powerful agent against free radicals, which have been linked to serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease. So indulge in these dark chocolate recipes with your beau or a friend, and they could help protect your heart, even if it gets broken.

Smoldering Heart Dark Chocolate Cookies

heart shaped chocolate cookies

Image courtesy of The View From Great Island

These heart-shaped cookies stand out among the rest. Ditch the pink icing or red sprinkles, and opt for a more “smoldering” dark chocolate look. Cayenne powder in the shortbread cookie adds just the right amount of heat, and smoked paprika on the icing spices things up even more.

Get the full recipe at The View From Great Island

Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Bars

oatmeal chocolate bars

Image courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

This treat may be having an identity crisis: Is it a bar? A cookie? A brownie? But, who cares! They are healthy thanks to filling fiber in the oats, those antioxidants in the dark chocolate, and the recipe calls for coconut oil (jury still out on the potential benefits, there). Plus, they’re done in just 30 minutes flat!

Get the full recipe at Half Baked Harvest

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

chocolate cake

Image courtesy of Heather Christo

Looking at this decadent dark chocolate cake with chocolate-espresso icing you’d NEVER be able to guess its secret ingredient. Zucchini helps keep the cake super moist, and it’s a sneaky way to meet your veggie quota.

Get the full recipe from Heather Christo

Chocolate Dipped Fruit

chocolate dipped fruit

Image Courtesy of Marla Meridith

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a chocolate covered strawberry or five, but don’t discriminate against other fruit that taste equally delish dipped in the good stuff. Create a different kind of bouquet by dipping various berries in melted dark chocolate—blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries were all used here. Stick them on the end of a skewer, and place in a vase for easy access to healthy snacking.

Get the full recipe at Family Fresh Cooking

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

chocolate covered banana and peanut butter

Image Courtesy of Smile Sandwich

I personally love a recipe that calls for items you likely have in the cupboard already. Enter these bite-sized treats that have just four ingredients. Potassium from the bananas, protein from the nut butter, and antioxidants from the dark chocolate come together for a unique homemade sweet to share with whomever you choose.

Get the full recipe at Smile Sandwich

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People celebrate Valentine’s Day many different ways. You may be throwing a big bash, planning a romantic dinner for two or possibly even throwing an anti-Valentine’s Day party. Either way, these all have one thing in common: cocktails. No matter how you feel about this holiday, we can all agree that cocktails are inevitable this Saturday. We’ve listed our favorites that work for any Valentine’s Day celebration.

Sumac Me Smile

Boodles Gin Sumac Surprise

  • 2 ounces Boodles Gin
  • 3/4 ounce pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce sumac syrup*
  • dash grapefruit bitters
  • splash of club soda
  • lemon peel, for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake vigorously. Pour over fresh ice in a rocks glass, and add a splash of club soda. Garnish with a long lemon peel.

*To make one quart sumac syrup, bring 16 ounces water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add six tablespoons ground sumac. Steep 10 minutes. Add 16 ounces white granulated sugar, and stir until dissolved. Let steep overnight, then strain through fine mesh.

4 More Cocktails You’ll Love

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In case you’ve somehow missed the near-constant barrage of jewelry, chocolate and flower commercials: Valentine’s Day is this Saturday! And, if you’re like me, any excuse to indulge my sweet tooth is a good one so I say Bring. It. On.

While store-bought treats are certainly delicious, nothing shows the depth of your affection quite like homemade goodies. Unleash your inner foodie and whip up one of these five decadent delights that are sure to make this Valentine’s Day your sweetest yet:

These artful cookies look time-consuming but decorating them couldn’t be easier. Get Marianne’s easy-to-follow video tips for icing like a pro plus her cookie recipe.

How to Make Beautiful Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

Mmmmm…..chocolate! Truly, is there any flavor more craveable, more decadent? Well, not to me at least. Topped with homemade vanilla and strawberry frosting, these Neapolitan Bonbon Cupcakes are *almost* too pretty to eat.

Neapolitan Bonbon Cupcakes Recipe

If a hot-from-the-oven pie is the surest way to your sweetie’s stomach, give the crust a creative treatment with one of these 8 pro pastry ideas:

9 One-of-a-Kind Pie Crust Ideas

And, although, I personally can’t relate: Some folks don’t like chocolate (I know, the horror!) so this sweet-meets-tart mouthful may be just the ticket.

Homemade Lemon Cupcakes

When whipping up homemade goodies, don’t forget your furry best friend! These crunchy biscuits topped with cream cheese frosting are sure to get tails waggin’!

Homemade Dog Treats Recipe

MORE VALENTINE’S DAY INSPIRATION:

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From Boston to Seattle and everywhere in between, Super Bowl Sunday will have parties filled with fans, football, and oh yeah, food. Many of the traditional game-day dips are high in calories, high in fat, and highly likely to put you in a food coma.

That’s why we rounded up some simple swaps that are still delicious but better for you. There’s no need to “cheat” on any diet to enjoy these dips. Let’s leave that kind of controversy to the NFL.

Skip: Spinach Artichoke Dip
Get: Creamy Avocado, Artichoke and Kale Dip

artichoke dip

Image courtesy of Blissful Basil

Gooey cheese, though delicious, is one of the easiest ways to add saturated fat and calories to a recipe, and it’s the star of most spinach and artichoke dips. When superfood spinach and antioxidant-rich artichokes are mere sidekicks, though, the health benefits get overshadowed. Not the case in this recipe for Creamy Avocado, Artichoke and Kale Dip. The veggies take the spotlight, and not a cheese is in sight. It’s the avocados, loaded with good-for-you fats, that create the creamy texture we love so much. We bet you’ll never be able to look at the classic version the same way again.

Get the full recipe over at Blissful Basil

4 More Skinny Dips

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With controversial commercials already in the headlines and the Patriots’ alleged scandal, Super Bowl 49 is one for the books so far. Well, we’re here to lighten things up. We’ve teamed up with NFL Homegating to share our favorite recipe ideas for your Super Bowl party no matter what team you’re rooting for.

Honey Sesame Chicken Wings

Honey Sesame WingsRecipe courtesy of NFL Homegating

  • 8 to 12 chicken wings
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 4 cups canola oil for deep frying
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a medium bowl, add flour, salt and pepper. Coat chicken wings with flour mixture.

2. In a deep skillet or fryer, cook wings for about 10 minutes.

3. In a separate bowl, add honey and sesame oil. Whisk together and let rest. Drain chicken wings, and toss in the bowl with honey and sesame oil. Add sesame seeds, and serve.

More Super Bowl-Inspired Recipes

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As of today, January 9, I can proudly say there is no more holiday candy in my home. Yes, that means I ate it all. BUT, it’s all gone which means I can move forward and plan for a healthy year. I even redecorated my kitchen a bit so I’ll actually want to be in there cooking yummy, nutritional meals. Doesn’t this kitchen make you want to crank up Pandora while chopping veggies?

Transitional Kitchen

Design by Alyssa Darnell

Whether you call them resolutions, goals or challenges, there are several things we can do throughout the year to better ourselves or our community. I always try to make a list of at least five goals, but I never set myself up to fail with something unattainable. I’ll share one of my brand-new goals for 2015 with you.

Read one book a month that educates me and challenges my mind. (No young adult novels or thrillers allowed.) This one will be difficult because I’m currently in the middle of binge-watching the entire series of Friends on Netflix.

One goal that will stay on my list until the end of time is: “EAT HEALTHY. GET GRILLED INSTEAD OF FRIED!” I bet some version of this is on your list, too. I pulled some recipes that not only look a-ma-zing but are good for you, as well.

Breakfast

Banana Bread Quinoa Cereal

Banana Bread Quinoa Cereal: Get the recipe >>

Plus, discover 20 ways to make breakfast fun!

Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes

Breakfast Smoothies from HGTV Magazine: Get all three recipes >>

Get Ideas for Snacks, Dinner + More

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New Year’s Eve is the last of the winter holidays, so it may take the back burner to Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah. The holiday season may have sucked your wallet dry, but you can still throw a dazzling New Year’s Eve party. I have one word for you: upcycling. Save all your glittery Christmas decor to spruce up your NYE party with our easy tips below. It’s all in the details!

Wrapping Paper Tablecloth

Wrapping Paper Tablecloth

Skip the fancy tablecloth this year, and use leftover Christmas wrapping paper instead. If you don’t have any wrapping paper left, stores have big discounts on Christmas items this time of year.

Learn More Ways to Upcycle

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As you prep for New Year’s Eve festivities, don’t forget a fizzy signature cocktail for midnight toasting. Here are a few of our favorites that are more exciting than just wine or champagne but can still be made in minutes.

Pomegranate Sparkler

Pom Sparkler Cocktail

Photo + recipe courtesy of VOGA Italia Wine

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 3 ounces VOGA Prosecco
  • 1/2 ounce pomegranate juice

Scoop 1 teaspoon of fresh pomegranate seeds into a champagne glass. Pour in pomegranate juice, then top with VOGA Prosecco.

Grapefruit Mimosa

Sparking Grapefruit Cocktail

Get the recipe for this sparkling grapefruit cocktail >>

More Bubbly Recipes for New Year’s Eve

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brown butter eggnog waffles

The big morning has almost arrived and between all of the shopping and wrapping of gifts, have you stopped to think about what you’ll be eating? A great way to begin the special day is with a tasty and filling breakfast (or brunch, depending on how early you awake) and serving Brown Butter and Eggnog Waffles will make it extra special. The golden brown squares have a crisp crust and moist fluffy interior with bits of brown butter streaked throughout. Also, the recipe helps put the last of the eggnog to good use. The batter is purposefully designed to be made the night before, saving you precious time. In the morning when you’re ready to make the waffles, simply heat and oil your waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Serve with a spoonful Strawberry and Orange Topping and a hefty dollop of whipped cream for extra decadence. Complete the meal by serving the waffles along side cooked thick cut bacon and plenty of orange juice. Happy Holidays!

Get the Irresistible Recipe

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galette slice

Clove, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and the like are, in my opinion, front and center in too many holiday desserts. Although a certain amount of the familiar bouquet is enjoyable, when October rolls around America seems to go on spice overload. (I’m talking to you Starbucks!) This golden delicious free-form pie is a way to get your seasonal dessert fix, hold the spice. The flavor highlights the sweet goodness of baked fruit with bright notes of lemon and subtle tones of ginger and vanilla all wrapped in a sturdy crust. If plums aren’t available in your area, try making the galette with another variety of apple such as Braeburn or Gala. It’s truly easy as pie.

Norm’s Notes: H 2 Uh…oh.

When creating this galette recipe, I wanted to make sure the crust resisted becoming overly wet and soggy. This was not only to appease my dislike of gummy textures, but to insure the dessert would easily slice and transfer to plates once cooled. To accomplish the goal, I had to find a way to remove as much of the water from the fruit before baking. Tossing the fruit pieces in sugar and flavorings and allowing it to stand for 20 minutes released enough moisture to reduce the chances of a soggy underside without drastically altering the texture of the fruit. Once the excess juices were drained, two main benefits emerged. First, the bake time became more consistent; second, a syrupy glaze could be created from the reserved juices and drizzled on top after baking. You can use this trick on fruit pies, tarts and turnovers to relieve a soggy crust’s main culprit: excess water.
plum and apple galette

Holiday Plum and Apple Galette

makes 6 to 8 servings

FOR CRUST:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut up into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup ice water

FOR FILLING:

  • 3 to 4 medium-size sweet green plums*, sliced (about ¾ pound)
  • 3 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large pieces (about ¾ pound)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbsp. turbinado sugar
  • Coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts

*Red plums may be substituted

1. Stir flour and next 2 ingredients together in a large bowl until blended. Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender until butter pieces resemble small peas. Stir ice water, one tablespoon at a time, into flour mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened and dough begins to form. Discard any excess ice water. Shape dough into a disk; wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes up to overnight.

2. Toss plums, apples, and next 5 ingredients together in a large bowl until coated. Let stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap chilled dough and place on lightly floured surface. Lightly dust top of dough with flour and roll to a 15-inch circle. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

4. Drain plum and apple mixture, reserving juices. Toss plum and apple mixture with flour until coated and spoon into center of dough, leaving a 3-inch border. Fold edges of dough over plum and apple mixture, pleating as you go and sealing any cracks. Lightly beat egg white until foamy. Brush exposed dough with a thin layer of beaten egg white and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

5. Bake at 350 degrees 40 to 45 minutes or until fruit is tender and bubbling and crust is golden brown. Let cool on baking pan on a wire rack 20 minutes.

6. Bring reserved plum and apple juices to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Drizzle juices over exposed fruit and top with desired amount of hazelnuts.

 

 

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My sweet tooth is unstoppable, and there’s nothing I love more than creamy, chocolate-based holiday cocktails. Calories might as well be unicorns from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. I let myself indulge in foods I won’t see for another 12 months, like most of these lovely bevvies. So, get out all the garnishes and warm up with a decadent dessert cocktail this season.

Peppermint Mocha Toddy

Peppermocha Toddy Recipe

Photo + recipe courtesy of Old Forge Distillery

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce Old Forge Coffee Moonshine
  • 3/4 ounce Old Forge Chocolate Moonshine
  • 1/2 ounce white creme de menthe
  • hot coffee
  • whipped cream, for garnish
  • peppermint candy, crumbled, for garnish

 

Pour coffee moonshine, chocolate moonshine and creme de menthe into an Irish coffee mug. Top with hot coffee. Garnish with whipped cream and crumbled peppermint candy.

Uncle Billy’s Holiday Treat

Holiday Cocktail Recipe

Get the recipe for this creamy cocktail >>

3 More Recipes to Whip Up

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The holiday season is upon us whether you’re ready or not. If you’re hosting a holiday party this year — casual or formal — our easy tips will help you get party-ready in no time.

Cookie Exchange

Around-the-World Cookie Exchange

Take this traditional holiday party to the next level with an around-the-world theme. Ask guests to use international cookie recipes, serve hot chocolate to accompany the cookies and offer to-go boxes so guests can easily take their favorites home with them.

Easy Tips:

  • Keep the decor to a minimum, such as a pinecone garland and other natural elements.
  • Arrange guests’ cookies buffet style to keep hosting duties to a minimum.
  • Ask guests for their cookie recipes in advance, so you can set out recipe cards the day of your party for guests to take home.

Get Cookie Recipes + More Party Tips>>

Get More Holiday Party Tips

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cheddar rosemary shortbread
Is it me or is the holiday season when unexpected company is expected? Even with annual knowledge of this reality, many of us manage to be ill prepared to easily entertain our drop in guests. This year, solve the problem by creating this quick and savory shortbread. The recipe requires no food processor, stand mixer, or any other counter top appliance; just a bowl, fork, and oven will do. It is crafted from pantry staples and intentionally allows one to use the odds and ends of cheese and butter that lie in various refrigerator compartments. You can make it from start to finish in under an hour or stir up a couple batches and store unbaked rolls in the freezer, allowing you to simply slice and bake upon unplanned arrivals.

Norm’s Notes: For all my shorties 
The key to any great buttery flaky shortbread is not only the butter to flour ratio, but the proper amount mixing and kneading. Over-kneading can produce too much gluten in the flour resulting in tough chewy dough. Not enough kneading and the cookie is unable to hold shape and falls apart when baked. The method in this recipe is designed to prevent overworking of the dough and yields a crispy yet tender cookie.

With the butter at room temperature, it gives off more moisture than chilled butter and is quickly absorbed into the flour mixture. Stirring in the cheese and shaping finishes the blending process leaving unincorporated pockets of butter dotted throughout the dough. Chilling sets the butter fragments in place and when baked, water trapped within the butter turns to steam and escapes the dough leaving behind little caverns throughout the layers of the cookie. The benefit of this technique is a shortbread that comes together with little effort and has a heavenly taste and crisp texture that disintegrates in your mouth upon contact.

Get the Easy Recipe

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honey apple cocktail

While most folks will agree that a holiday meal isn’t complete without a serving or two of dessert, I believe a refreshing cocktail should be the finishing touch. Once delicious wedges of pie are all but a distant memory, proceed to your bar cart and shake up a tasty beverage to properly end your feast. This balanced drink is perfect for slow sipping and is not too overwhelming for a stuffed belly handle. Cheers to you!

Norm’s Notes: No Shrubs?

The Shrub (vinegar-syrup based cocktails) seems to be just as popular amongst today’s cocktail connoisseurs as they were before falling out of fashion in the later part of the 18th century. In case you’ve missed their resurgence, the sour-sweet tastes of shrubs provide mouth puckering flavors and a bit of earthiness to cocktails. In my opinion, traditional shrubs can be a bit too strong on the sour notes, but I do love the complexity vinegar gives to the taste of mixed drink. This cocktail channels my favorite parts of shrub trend and leans more towards the sweet side of “sour-sweet.” I favored the acidity from apple cider vinegar to liven up the drink in a very unexpected, yet pleasant way. If you aren’t feeling adventurous enough to add a splash of vinegar to your cocktail, omit it from the recipe and replace with 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice.

 

Honey-Apple Sipper:

Stir 3 Tbsp. bourbon, 1 tsp. honey, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, and 1/8 tsp. ground ginger together in a cocktail shaker until blended. Fill shaker with ice cubes, cover with lid and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled. Strain into a 12-oz. glass filled with ice cubes. Top with chilled sparkling apple cider. Garnish with fresh apple slices and rosemary sprig if desired. Makes 1 drink.

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We all remember our holidays at the kids’ table — that small, isolated table in the kitchen is one Thanksgiving tradition you don’t want to uphold. Reverse the trend this year by setting up a few fun activities that kids will love to do and parents will love to see.

Thanksgiving Kids' Table

Let’s start with the kids’ table itself. Don’t settle for parking that old fold-out table in the middle of the kitchen — dress it up a bit. This adorable Thanksgiving kids’ table will give little ones a grown-up space of their own.

Foam Turkeys

While kids are waiting for the meal to be served, keep excess energy at bay with this fun foam turkey craft. Simple instructions are great for any age and will give them a cute memento to take home at the end of the holiday.

More Kids’ Crafts They’ll Love

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It seems like we’re always prepping for one holiday or another over here at HGTV.com. Finally, one of those holidays has arrived! I’m actually making my first from-scratch pie (fingers crossed!) and trying out a few of our cold-weather cocktails to whip up while we watch traditional holiday flicks. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. Tell me — what do you make year after year on Thanksgiving? Let us know your mouthwatering meal details!

Mood Board Monday: Thanksgiving Inspiration and IdeasTop: Banner, Buffet | Middle: Table, Centerpiece, Vignette | Bottom: Pie, Decor, Cider

Check back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss one? See all the posts here.

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persimmon pomegranate salad

Disrupting a traditional Thanksgiving menu with new recipes can be a tricky proposal. This year, make an effort to slip in a few non-traditional sides to perk up the table and bring your holiday meal into the modern era. Using savory flavors and seasonal produce such as persimmon, pomegranate, and blueberries will help usher in dishes that compliment the classics with ease. Don’t believe me? Take on this simple Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Herb Salad and refreshingly different Farro Salad with Pickled Blueberries and Fennel. The tastes will match your holiday favorites and make just enough to fill up the extra corner of space left on the plate after helpings casseroles and such have been dished.

Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Herb Salad

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 ½ lb.Fuyu persimmons (about 5 medium size)
  • ¾ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup loosely packed parsley leaves, torn
  • ¼ cup loosely packed mint leaves, torn
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Remove stems from persimmons and cut into ¼-inch thick slices. Arrange slices on a platter and top with pomegranate seeds, parsley, and mint. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

Norm’s Note: Sideboard Boost

Pickled Blueberries and Fennel are also great nestled along side turkey in lieu of cranberry sauce. The mixture offers a combination of crisp, sweet, and tart flavors that cleanse the palate in between forkfuls just as well as the favorite American chutney. To serve the quick pickled bounty, simply drain both the blueberries and fennel from the brine and combine in a small bowl. Reserve a couple tablespoons of the brine and stir in a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the brine mixture with the blueberries and fennel and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Pickled Blueberries and Fennel

Makes about 1 ½ cups blueberries and 1 ½ cups fennel

  •  1 ½ cups white vinegar
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ½ cup turbinado sugar*
  • 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 medium-size fennel bulb, thinly sliced

 

1. Bring vinegar and next 6 ingredients to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan.

2. Place blueberries and fennel in separate bowls and divide vinegar mixture evenly among the two bowls. Let stand a minimum of 1 hour before serving or cover and chill up to 1 week.

*Light brown sugar may be substituted.

farro salad with pickled blueberries

When farro’s tender yet hearty grains are paired with tangy pickled blueberries, sticky sweet dried cranberries, and fresh herbs a festive treat emerges.

Farro Salad with Pickled Blueberries and Fennel

Note: Cooking farro is very simple. All that is required is a lengthy simmer in water or flavorful broth over low heat until tender. However, if you are a farro novice the quick cooking variety, although little hard to find, truly saves you time and is almost as foolproof as minute rice.

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (8.8-oz) package quick cooking farro (such as Trade Joe’s 10 Minute Farro)*
  • 3 Tbsp. pickling brine, reserved from Pickled Blueberries or Fennel
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup drained Pickled Blueberries
  • ½ cup drained Pickled Fennel
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted salted pecans
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

1. Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and keep hot. Cook dry farro in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 to 4 minutes until toasted and fragrant.

2. Add hot broth to farro and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until tender. [Note: if using regular farro increase cooking time to 20 minutes.] Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in reserved pickling brine and olive oil; let cool.

3. Toss cooked farro, Pickled Blueberries, Pickled Fennel, and next 4 ingredients together in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

*1 cup regular farro may be substituted.

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I’m always searching for Thanksgiving and Christmas decor, and it’s nice to see something different pop up. The moment I saw how easy it was to make these festive, no-sew table runners, I knew I had to share them with you all.

Rustic Twig Runner*

Twig Table runner

It’s difficult to get place mats to play nice with table runners. This runner is the perfect solution because it allows you to drape two table runners horizontally over the table, replacing traditional place mats, while still having a visual focus running the length of the table. Make your own with these instructions >>

*This one is my absolute favorite!

Upholstery Webbing Runner

Webbing Table runner

Doesn’t this tablecloth just feel like fall? I’m usually not a huge fan of burlap, but the weave technique and the black-notch details give it a unique look. The best part about this cloth is that you can easily adapt the size and shape to fit whatever table it will cover. See just what you need to make this one here >>

Monogrammed Runner

Monogrammed Table Runner

Everyone loves a good monogram. This no-sew sew table runner with black accents is perfect for more modern holiday decor. You can customize your monogram to be more embellished or more clean and sleek — the style is up to you. Swap out the black for your favorite color, or keep it the same for more drama. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Snowflake-Embellished Runner

Snowflake Table Runner

I love how this feels whimsical and light and can last all season long, not just for Christmas. Dress it up with pinecones and evergreen earlier in the season, then swap in glass ornaments and faux snow when Christmas approaches. Make your own with these instructions >>

Share your holiday projects and ideas for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

See What We’re Pinning

  • Learn how to give an old cutting board new life with this

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