Make Holiday Entertaining Easy This Year

Well, it's December. Not sure how we've already made it 11/12ths of the way through 2017 — I feel like just yesterday I was ringing in the new year at the Honi Honi Bar in Deep Creek, MD. If you're ever looking for a good time, I'm telling you, that's where it is. Enough about that though, my main point is that it's December 1, which means it is holiday party season.





MAKE ENTERTAINING EASY

For me, holiday party season isn't just about going to parties — I want to get in on the action! But, I also, want to put minimal effort in. So my holiday entertaining is all about good wine, simple food, and good friends.

I don't want to spend hours preparing to entertain during the holidays, and I doubt you do either so I've worked with Wente Vineyards to bring you my tips on how to make holiday entertaining easy. There are other things to do, namely most of us are still working through the holiday season, so I can't devote an entire day to party prep. If I want to have people over, it needs to be easy.





BUT, HOW?

How do I do that? First, I skip the dinner party and pick just a couple appetizer dishes to make. I try to select things that are quick to assemble, quick to cook, and use as few ingredients as possible. Honestly, it's the simplest dishes that are often the crowd pleasers. Pigs in a blanket, Neiman Marcus dip, crock pot meatballs. Trust me, these are what people will keep filling up their plate with. I love cooking a gourmet recipe as much as anyone, but holiday season is not the time to experiment with novel ingredients and steps that go past four.

Second, I have lots of wine. If there's wine, people will have fun. End of story. Right now, I'm loving the reds, particularly this Cabernet Sauvignon, from Wente Vineyards.

Lastly, set the ambiance. Light candles, turn on the Christmas lights, and pull out your holiday best in dishware and glassware. Use the prettiest serving dishes. Label dishes with place cards. Incorporate sparkly touches wherever you can. These are the details that take just a minute but make all the difference.





CRANBERRY PECAN BRIE

This year I have a new holiday recipe in my repertoire that fits right in with my easy recipe requirement. Let's try out Brown Sugar Brie.

1 round wheel of brie
12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Mix cranberries, sugar, water and orange juice in saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and smash cranberries.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place wheel of brie on top of foil on baking sheet with plenty of room around it. Cover the brie with the cranberry sauce. Mix pecans and brown sugar before sprinkling over top of brie. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese has softened. Serve immediately with crackers and lots of wine. Enjoy!





OUTFIT DETAILS

I originally saw this vest on Nordstrom, but it was sold out on my size. So, of course, I took to Amazon and found it not only in stock, but $60 instead of $180! It looks like they're low on stock, however, so get it before it sells out. It looks like these J.Crew mules are now sold out, but they still have them in velvet. Also, this turtleneck dress is from Madewell from a few years back, but I'd highly recommend adding a turtleneck dress to your winter wardrobe. It's the perfect layering piece for dressing up or down.





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