My workouts always suffer through the holiday season. I slack
off majorly this time of year and my diet, which is usually pretty healthy,
takes a massive nosedive with all the sweets and cocktailing going on. I’m
already thinking about ways to get back in the groove mentally, but the cold
weather has also been a deterrent for me when it comes to the thought of
talking a long run or walk. Some good cold weather gear will help, like a solid set of gloves, arm warmers, something to keep ears warm, and a light clip-on
strobe light for night time exercise. All of these are highly rated and
reasonably priced…and they’d make a great gift for any outdoor fitness fan.
Go Green: Run the garland across the table using the greenery
(I recommend olive leaves and/or ferns). Tuck flowers in and affix with a light
wire. I recommend building the garland about an hour or so before the dinner to
ensure they are fresh.
Add Flair with Fruit: Add fruit to the garland for an
unexpected twist. I love including citruses, such as oranges and lemons, and
pomegranates. Be sure to have a lint roller on site to clean up the linens as
leaves tend to shed.
Light it Up: Tuck in twinkle lights or tea lights throughout
the garland to create some light around the table, especially if you are
hosting at night.
Make Space: Since the garland will take up a lot of space on
the table, it's important to create little pockets in between seats for serving
trays and bowls to rest on the table.
Give Flowers to Go: As a parting gift, give away the florals
and fruit to your guests! Let them create their own little bouquets, which can
adorn their homes for the rest of the week.
Terrain and the artisanal
cheese-making authorities at The
Farm at Doe Run recently came together to reveal how they create a board
that would impress the most critical of cheesemongers. A beautiful cheese spread is, in my opinion,
the quintessential party appetizer and a staple for all the festive gatherings
taking place this time of the year. See
their do’s and don’ts below, plus links to some of the products they mention:
1. Always pull your semi-soft, semi-hard, and hard cheeses
from the refrigerator and remove them from their wrapping 20-30 minutes prior
to your guests’ arrival. This allows the cheese to reach room temperature for
2. You should always leave the rind on your cheeses, allowing
guests the opportunity to taste the rind as the cheesemaker intended.
3. Never cube artisanal cheese. Instead, cut long triangles
or small wedges of a bloomy rind so that your guests receive the proper
4. Design your cheese board like a road map for your guests.
Make sure to start with your milder cheeses up front or to the left of your
board, then lead into a nice, firm variety, followed by a bolder, washed rind.
Finish up with something salty, like a blue cheese.
signs are a must! Be sure to list information such as the name of the
cheese, type of milk, whether it is raw or pasteurized, and the name of the
local farm that produced it. Spread that local love!
7. Ask your local beekeeper for some fresh honeycomb to put on
the side of your cheese board as a seasonal pairing that also adds visual
The color connoisseurs at Pantone have unveiled their 2015 Color of the Year,
labeling warm, rich color "Marsala." It’s defined by Pantone as
"a naturally robust and earthy wine red," and I can immediately see what’s
so appealing about it.
checking out early today to see my son’s holiday school performance and shortly
thereafter I’ll be fighting the traffic into San Francisco for my husband’s
company holiday party. I plan to be bar-side in a few short hours knocking back
a few cocktails before dinner, and then Sunday we'll spend the day taking an out of town guest wine tasting so it seemed appropriate to post a Christmas
cocktail recipe today. This one come from Food
& Wine and looks like it strikes a nice balance between sweet and tart,
which I love. Have a great weekend.
2 oranges, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup pomegranate
3/4 cup late-harvest
white wine, such as late-harvest Riesling, chilled
Ice cubes, for
bottles sparkling wine, chilled
1 cup diced fresh
pineapple (1/2 inch)
1 cup pomegranate
In a punch bowl, dissolve the sugar in the pomegranate juice,
stirring vigorously. Add the sparkling wine and late-harvest white wine, then
add the orange slices, diced pineapple and pomegranate seeds. Serve the
sparkling pomegranate punch over ice cubes.