The holiday season is quickly approaching and with the changing weather, the end of the year is wrapping up with parties, gatherings, and lots and lots of food! To prepare for the season, I like to plan out my menus ahead of time, shop days before, prep all necessary items, then, execute the day of. I like to mix and mingle with my guests, so I keep in mind that I will do very little cooking when my guests arrive for the fun & festivities. Most host(ess) don't mind having their gatherings around the kitchen, only because either some items aren't finished, or because people like to gravitate towards the smells of the holiday! I like mingling either on the deck or in the family room with everyone else as a movie or some music going for everyone to enjoy each other. Besides the gatherings with family and friends, enjoy celebrations with co-workers and even your boss. Just remember that it is a "work-related" event, so, keep the alcoholic beverages to a 2 or 3 drink minimum. Even if you can handle your alcohol, being employed is better than being the 'talk of the job' because you didn't know how to control yourself at the holiday party and now you no longer have a job because of your behavior.
Between shopping for gifts for the family, friends, co-workers, pets, & bottles of wine for your 'arrival' gifts, you could break the bank this season in your purchases alone. I like to look for the bargains, clip the extra coupons, and look online for the extra coupons or even the sales that you can benefit from your online only purchases. A lot of people I know are gravitating towards the online shopping to avoid the crowds at the shopping plazas, but I love getting inspiration from the malls and stores. It's the season decorations, the smells, and even the mall Santa that puts me in the mood! This time of year can put you in the giving spirit, but be careful for the frauds and crooks out there. There have been some organizations that are out for bad, but trust and give to the same reputable organizations that you've given to in previous years. If you choose to donate to a new charitable organization, check out the background and make sure they're associated with the BBB or another reputable company that ensures their authenticity. Sharing the holiday season online and at the workplace is a great idea, but be cautious as to how much information you choose to share. Something simple as a post informing everyone that you're going out of town can let others know that you won't be home and your home and everything in it is up for grabs, so, BE CAREFUL! I will plan this season like my last, but hoping for new and different memories to create with new people and old friends this holiday. And as with every 'Tasty Bite' we continue to wish you all a safe and blessed holiday season!
Chef Tara L. Browning
P.S.- Listed below is a link that helps enhance your decorating abilities and a few recipe ideas!! :)