4 Delicious Ingredients that Multitask for Easy Holiday Cooking

Manic:  Figuring out how to cook smart when making the big holiday meal so that we can get out of the kitchen to spend precious time with family and friends.

Managed: Using these four ingredients that include Shamrock Farms Half & Half, Zesty Jalapeno Sour Cream (yum), Shamrock Farms Calcium Plus Milk and eggnog to make multiple recipes.  This also frees up that much needed fridge space for leftovers since each ingredient container can make numerous recipes all in the same day.  So from breakfast to snacks to the main meal to dessert, check out these ideas that will have you working smart so you have more time for holiday cheer and less time hovering over the stove.  How about adding Zesty Jalapeno sour cream to your eggs for a little spice or making eggnog fudge for a scrumptious dessert?  These ideas and more are all here, so check this out…

 

shamrock farms nov 2014 (1) from Rachel Harris on Vimeo.

 

 

This delicious segment was sponsored by Shamrock Farms.  My opinion about how much I love Shamrock Farms foods is 100% my own. 

No More Hectic Holidays: 4 Things You Can Do Now to Streamline the Season

Manic:  Holiday planning!  Be honest: How often do you actually sit back and kick up your feet between November and January? Does the “most wonderful time of the year” feel more like a nonstop cycle of bake, clean, shop, wrap and repeat?!  Most years it does for me, especially since I had kids!

Managed:  These four tips that will get us ahead of the game!  Let’s do it and enjoy a managed, not manic, holiday season where we moms, hosts and holiday planners actually get to relax, too!

1.  Be prepared for guests. Help out-of-town guests feel at home with a welcome stocking filled with toiletries, non-perishable snacks, reading material and their favorite coffee or tea. stocking stuffAssembling everything ahead of time will free up those final precious moments for last-minute chores.  Also, keep a secret stash of snacks on hand for unexpected company. Stock the pantry with nuts, popcorn, crackers and chips, which is the perfect accompaniment for any variety of the Shamrock Farms delicious assortment of flavored sour cream.  Keeping a bottle of Shamrock Farms delicious eggnog on hand will also instantly up the festive factor of even the most casual get together.

bananabread_withpackaging

2.  Make-ahead meals. Who wants to cook after a day of battling holiday crowds? Avoid going overboard on take out by putting aside a few hours now to create make-ahead meals. Some family- and freezer-friendly options include chicken and sour cream enchiladas, Roxie’s easy lasagna  and Hungarian goulash.  (For best results, freeze the enchiladas and lasagna before baking. When ready to eat, pop the frozen dish into the oven for about 50 percent longer than the original cooking time.)

3.  Create go-to gifts. Avoid the last-minute dash for forgotten gifts by stocking up on several of one item – from candles to gourmet coffee to holiday tea towels. If you’re feeling particularly domestic, try your hand at preparing homemade vanilla extract in vintage bottles or a DIY body scrub.

My teen daughter actually made this DIY body butter.  We found the recipe online.

My teen daughter actually made this DIY body butter. We found the recipe online.

 

4.  Wrap it up. You may be weeks away from wrapping, but who needs the added stress of a midnight run for Scotch tape? Take an hour this week to take inventory of your wrapping supplies and stock up on scissors, tape, paper, tissue paper, gift tags, ribbon and bows. Keep it simple by using just one or two gift wraps for everyone on your list (it really doesn’t get much easier – or chicer – than brown craft paper wrapped in colorful twine).

Now, sit back, relax and actually enjoy all of the fabulous memories you’ve worked so hard to create. You deserve it!

 

 

This helpful holiday article was sponsored by wonderful Shamrock Farms.  My opinion about how much I love Shamrock Farms foods is 100% my own. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ideas For Welcoming New Family Into Holiday Traditions

Do you remember when you celebrated the holidays at your new husband’s family home?  Or how about when your younger sibling brought her new spouse to your home for the holidays?  I recently had a friend ask me for ideas to integrate new family members into old holiday traditions and how to best make them feel at home during a holiday visit.  That got me thinking about how fortunate I am to have been welcomed with open arms into my husband’s family more than 22 years ago. (That time went by fast!)  Check out these tips to create new traditions with your family – and great memories along the way.

One of our family traditions is a picture by the tree sporting Santa hats and in the background, ornaments with pictures hang on the tree.

One of our family traditions is a picture by the tree sporting Santa hats and in the background, ornaments with pictures hang on the tree.

*Ask the new family members to bring a favorite recipe from their family holiday cookbook.  A great example of this is my sister-in-law’s Pumpkin Supreme recipe.  Her family’s southern Texas tradition has now become our family’s annual delicious dessert as well. A bit sweeter than traditional pumpkin pie, this delicious recipe calls for yummy ingredients like pumpkin, vanilla pudding, cinnamon, pecans and more.  pumpkinsupremeYou can get the recipe for Stephanie’s Pumpkin Supreme at www.shamrockfarms.net.

If you aren’t asked to contribute to your new family’s feast, but would like to, ask the hostess what the menu is and then suggest bringing an appetizer, side or dessert. It’s best to suggest new items to the menu, rather than asking to replace a family recipe already in use.

*Welcome the new family member with a gift basket.  If this is your brother’s new bride, create a special holiday gift basket with monogrammed dish towels, his and hers coffee mugs and the couple’s favorite coffee paired with Shamrock Farms Half & Half.  new SF picFill the basket with her favorite candy or mixed nut flavor and add that to the basket with a festive gift like Shamrock Farms Eggnog.  Being greeted with a holiday gift basket, either presented to her upon arrival or in the guest room, will make her feel welcome and appreciated.

*Ask about their family holiday traditions.  Find out ahead of time if the new family member has a family tradition that they would find fun to share.  Maybe his family all wear ugly Christmas sweaters on Christmas Eve or perhaps they have a favorite board game they like to play.  Once I married into my husband’s family, I discovered that they all eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck.  If your new family member honors that tradition, be sure to have some black-eyed peas on hand. To add a little kick to this traditional dish, top it off with yummy Shamrock Farms Zesty Jalapeno Sour Cream.

*Snap pictures of the holiday gathering and then make your new family member a memory book.  With online sites like Shutterfly, Snapfish and Kodak, it has never been easier or quicker to put together a scrapbook. mem bk
A few weeks after the visit, mail the finished memory book with a card thanking your new family member for spending their first holiday celebration with your family.

These are just a few ideas on how to welcome a new member to the family during the holiday season.  Chances are they may be missing their own family and feeling a tad blue; these ideas will help make them feel welcome and celebrated.

What suggestions do you have for welcoming a new family member into the family holiday celebration?  Share in the comments section because we love to share and try each other’s suggestions.  I’m wishing you a wonderful holiday filled with warm family memories.

 

 

This post was sponsored by the awesome Shamrock Farms.  My opinions about how much I love Shamrock Farms foods are 100% my own. 

Excellent Eggnog: Ten Ways to Enjoy the Nog!

Manic:  The official holiday season has arrived!  Are you ready?

Managed:  Made a decision to relax and go with it this year.  I’m going to stress less and enjoy the holidays this time around, so I’m kicking off the season with today’s article about experiencing festive and tasty eggnog ten different ways. Read on for creative ideas for that delicious eggnog that both you and your guests will enjoy.  Cheers to that!

Everyone defines the start of the holidays a little differently. For some, it’s Thanksgiving Day; for others, it’s when you hear your first Christmas song playing overhead. And then there are those who kick off the season with a deliciously creamy glass of Shamrock Farms eggnog!

 If you’re a nog lover like me, you’ll appreciate these 10 festive and unique ways to enjoy this holiday staple.

 Give the gift of nog.new SF pic

  • For an affordable and creative hostess gift, pair a bottle of Shamrock Farms festively packaged eggnog with holiday mugs, a handful of whole nutmegs and a mini grater.
  • Bake a batch of mouth-watering eggnog fudge and share the love.
  • A mason jar filled with the dry ingredients in this amazingly moist eggnog cake, a bottle of eggnog and printed recipe card make a sweet gift!

 

Spice up your morning.

  • Use eggnog in place of your usual coffee creamer or…
  • Whip up an eggnog latte to kick start your day.
  • Wow breakfast guests with this take on French toast.
  • For an even easier – and protein-filled – breakfast option, soak your favorite oats in eggnog (about two parts liquid to one part oats) in the refrigerator overnight. Sprinkle with spices and dried fruits and enjoy hot or cold.

 

Dress it up.

  • Top prefilled cups of nog with a dusting of nutmeg in the shape of your favorite holiday icon by using a die-cut stencil (available at craft stores).
  • Prepare batches of Shamrock Farms eggnog in red and green by adding a few drops of food coloring and watch the little ones gulp it down.
  • A self-serve bar complete with trendy mason jar mugs, decorative paper straws and mix-ins like cinnamon sticks and candy canes will have your holiday guests eagerly awaiting the start of eggnog season year after year!

What are your creative and festive eggnog ideas?  Share here in the comments section.  We love to trade ideas, especially during the busy holiday season.  Happy Holidays!

 

 

Today’s article is sponsored by awesome Shamrock Farms.  My opinion about how much I love Shamrock Farms and their delicious products are 100% my own.