Video: How to open a bottle of champagne
Video: How to open a bottle of champagne
Get your home ready for the holiday season with these helpful tips & tricks.
The holiday hustle can make the season seem daunting. The Moody family has some tips on how to make it exciting once again.
When November hits, the pressure is on for any busy family. The real challenge, however, is keeping the holidays as fun and stress-free as possible. Despite hectic careers, hockey tournaments, theatre performances and family gatherings, Surrey, B.C., designer Lisa Moody of Grapevine Designs tackles this feat with panache, along with her husband, Ron, and their kids, Svea, 14, Eston, 12, and Eli, 9. Here, we get a glimpse into their stylish 6,900 sq. ft. home, plus a few of the festive traditions that make Christmas especially merry for the Moody clan.
Homeowner and designer Lisa Moody made this advent calendar garland 10 years ago by combining her kids’ stray socks with some Christmas-themed ones bought on sale after the holidays.
“There will be a day when I’ll have a formal Christmas tree,” says Lisa with a laugh. But when three kids are contributing to the scheme, bright, fun colours and childhood mementoes reign for now.
“We decorate our faux tree at the end of November. It’s nice to get the decorating done early so we can enjoy the season longer.”
The kids (from left), Svea, Eli and Eston, hang out with Lisa (far right) and enjoy Christmas treats in the dining area. The simple modern table and chairs are durable, practical choices for family mealtime.
Lisa packages presents using plain white kraft paper jazzed up with colourful and patterned ribbons as well as left over scraps of holiday gift wrap.
The fireplace, which has a soaring marble-clad surround, is a focal point for the family during the holidays. Can you spot the Elf on the Shelf? It sits in one of the the built-in maple cubbies and is the origin of many hilarious holiday shenanigans.
The Moody home is the place for family parties during the holidays, and the island in the kitchen, with its yellow wooden stools, is where everyone gathers.
“When a big dinner party seems too overwhelming, we’ll have friends over for cocktails and snacks by the fire.”
Lisa hosts a Christmas party for the kids and their friends. This year, they’re decorating gingerbread cookies and enjoying hot chocolate in festive mugs with marshmallows, candy canes and chocolate chips.
Learn how to make the ultimate holiday treat.
These adorable gingerbread guys are great for a cookie exchange or kid-friendly holiday party.
1 Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
2 In a double boiler over medium heat, or in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, combine and stir the molasses, sugars, cinnamon and ginger.
3 When the sugars have melted, add in the baking soda and stir. Once the mixture bubbles up, remove the pot from the heat and set aside.
4 Meanwhile, place the butter in a stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment and slowly pour the warm molasses mixture over the butter.
5 With the machine running on medium speed, mix until the butter has completely melted and the mixture has cooled slightly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
6 With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the flour until it’s fully combined. Then lift the dough from the bowl and place it on a well-floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 1/4" thick.
7 Use a 5" gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut your cookies. Carefully arrange them, about 1" apart, onto two parchment paper-lined baking sheets. You will need to combine the scraps and re-roll the dough several times to use it all up.
8 Bake in the oven until the centre of the cookies are still slightly soft to the touch, about 10 minutes. If you prefer your gingerbread crunchy, bake them for a few minutes longer. Then transfer the cookies onto wire racks and allow them to cool completely before decorating.
9 Meanwhile, spoon the royal icing into piping bags fitted with plain tips, and let the fun begin.
BUY THIS BOOK
Excerpted from Butter Baked Goods by Rosie Daykin. Recipes Copyright © 2013 Rosie Daykin, Photography copyright © 2013 Janis Nicolay. Excerpted by permission of Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House Canada, Inc. All rights reserved.
How to clean your oven
Everything you need to know about getting this in-demand appliance clean – and keeping it that way.
The holidays are a busy time for your oven, whether you’re making a turkey, gingerbread cookies, salt-dough ornaments or all of the above. Winning results require a clean appliance, as built-up grime can affect foods’ flavour or, worse, lead to fires. Repeated heat will burn spills and splatters in place, so make a habit of wiping them after each use, once the oven has totally cooled (a sprinkle of salt will loosen the mess while the appliance is cooling). For a deep clean , make a paste by adding water to baking soda, and apply it generously to the oven’s interior using a clean cloth; leave overnight. Wipe the surface using a damp cloth and scrape off large stuck-on bits with a spatula. If any grime remains, generously spray on white vinegar – it will react with the baking soda to work the dirt off – and wipe clean.
KNOW YOUR OVEN
Get to know your oven’s built-in cleaning function (or lack thereof) before getting started.
Self-cleaning: In an isolated cycle, extreme heat turns grime into ash to be wiped off with a damp cloth. Racks must be removed (and cleaned separately); commercial cleaners are prohibited.
Continuous cleaning: A chemical coating on the walls dissolves splatters during cooking. Avoid commercial cleaners (they may strip off the coating).
None: It can handle both homemade and commercial cleaning solutions.
Your oven racks work hard and, every so often, they could use a bubble bath – literally. Start by lining your bathtub with old towels to protect it. Place the racks on top and submerge them in hot water; mix in several generous squirts of dish soap. Let stand overnight to loosen dirt before wiping clean with a soft sponge.
Behind closed doors
Grease-carrying steam can get in between the door’s interior and exterior glass panes. Cleaning this requires taking the door apart, so check your warranty to see if this service is covered or call in a pro.
Expert tip: “Keep a baking sheet on the bottom rack of your oven to catch spillage. Then simply remove, clean and replace it.” -Natalia Bronstein, Team Leader, Aspenclean.
Dos and Don'ts:
Do: Be patient. Allowing cleaning solutions to sit for the full recommended length of time will minimize your scrubbing effort.
Don't: Get any water or cleaning solution on the door gasket, as it damages easily.
Host the most unforgettable holiday party with help from our savvy hostess guide Source: Tracey Ayton
We asked the experts, consulted the pros and tapped into the minds of the most talented to create the ultimate handbook for the holiday hostess.
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