Holiday Entertaining Survival Guide: 5 Top Tips!

Candy Cane Cocktail made with home infused Candy Cane vodka

We are officially in the heat of holiday madness. Salvation Army Santas are bell ringing on every corner, tinsel abounds everywhere one looks and we are being pummeled with holiday sales ads on TV and the internet. Holiday spirit can quickly befall a pressured sense of obligation leading to anything but ‘Joy to the World’ feelings, especially when it comes to entertaining. This time of year, truly over any, IS the season to enjoy friends and family, laughter and good food; AND it is possible to do so with a few little tips! Over the years these are things I’ve found to ensure success, reduce holiday entertaining stress and make happy memories with those we care about. 1. Make a Plan. This sounds like ‘crib notes from a Type A personality’ I realize. I however have learned I am a … {continue reading}

Buried Treasure Mint Brownies buried treasure mint brownies

I have often metaphorically referred to December as trying to shove a size 22 woman into a size 4 dress for all the activities and demands.  There seems to be a magnetic quality to the volume of obligations this month, or a ‘don’t leave anything out’ attitude afoot.  Despite this I’ve had a fairly relaxed December refusing to panic over all the appearances, deliverables and required creative thinking. On the roster this week are both a Teacher Appreciation meal task where families of one of my children’s grades are being asked to contribute dishes to comprise a full meal for all the school’s grade-level teachers and their families (it’s Middle School so there are numerous teachers).  On the same day I am co-coordinating dinner for 250 (yes, two hundred and fifty) for a bonafide Medieval … {continue reading}

Bombur’s Vanishing Cobbler and The Hobbit #Giveaway! vanishing cobbler the hobbit recipes from Middle Earth 338-a

Whether having read The Hobbit sometime in the last 75 years since the book’s original publication or having been introduced by the epic film trilogy of The Lord of the Rings, there are few not anticipating the release of the first (of a trilogy) The Hobbit movie December 14.  I for one read the book in my youth, enchanted by all the distinct magical civilizations and characters to whom I became quickly devoted.  My foggy memory of the details of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work was vividly jolted back intact by the Lord of the Rings movies which I’ve seen multiple times, most recently back-to-back in a thrilling marathon over last Christmas break.  The plot, though at times dark (supposedly motivated by Tolkien’s experience of the rise of Hitler) is captivating not only from the visual grandeur but … {continue reading}

The Best Roasted Chestnuts

How to Roast Chestnuts |

A clear highlight of the holidays are all the unique foods that are woven into family traditions, either due to their particular history or their seasonality.   Roasted chestnuts are a certain winter treat that only seem to pop up in December.  Perhaps that is when I look for them, after breaking out the holiday music CD’s, reminded of roasting them on an open fire (sadly Jack Frost has not nipped at anyone’s nose yet in Colorado but we have hopes for his appearance this weekend!). Roasted chestnuts are a delicious and unique signature of the holiday dining-scape, as well as very easy to prepare.  The chestnut itself is a large, soft, sweet-tasting nut enclosed in a beautiful, hard mahogany-looking shell.  You will find them in grocery stores now (available as ‘organic’ too), ready to … {continue reading}

Cookbook #Giveaway from iconic Vail ‘Sweet Basil Restaurant’ {and recipes}!


Avocado Relish + Winter Citrus + Pickled Red Onion + Orange and Star Anise Broth
Photo credit: Sweet Basil Vail.

In the late summer I spent a weekend on a Culinary Adventure in Vail Colorado becoming reacquainted with one Colorado’s iconic ski towns with worldwide cache.  It’s a beautiful location, nestled directly at the foot of the mountains making it an easy travel spot to be in-the-mix for any of the abundant multi seasonal activities Vail offers. What many don’t know is Vail is a dining hot spot as well.  Certainly blazing the trail for that is Sweet Basil, a 35 year strong eatery churning out extraordinary food and dazzling chefs who have gone on to rise to the top of the culinary world in their follow on endeavors. When I visited I was traveling with a group of female journalists and it’s safe to say our group had a ‘gift of gab’.  However while at Sweet Basil the only sounds to be … {continue reading}

Candy Cane Cocktail with Homemade Candy Cane Infused Vodka candy cane cocktail 257-004

I don’t think there is a more universal symbol of Christmas than the Candy Cane.  Dating back to the 1600’s, they were originally candy sticks fashioned into the shape of a crook, all white with no peppermint flavoring.  In the early 1900’s candy canes took on the familiar peppermint flavoring and stripes, though definitive historical roots for the changes remain a bit unclear.   Welcome 2012 when candy canes change form once more in the Boulder Locavore kitchen; they are made into booze. Blame it on untethered curiosity, a devout passion for ‘repurposing’ and loving a novel cocktail, when stumbling upon these enchanting metallic pink and cream candy canes (organic nonetheless) I knew they were destined for something more; someone’s jolly holiday cocktail. I befell temptation … {continue reading}