Make a Poinsettia Garnish, Candlelit Centerpiece or Angel Place Marker

Meal photo

Meal photo

Celebrate the spirit of the season by adding sparkling touches to your dinner table. Whether it's a poinsettia garnish, candlelit centerpiece or angelic place marker, table toppers like these take just minutes. Best of all, each idea is easy and inexpensive, too.

Fashion Peppers into Pretty Poinsettias

Bring a bit of holiday cheer to a serving platter with a red pepper poinsettia. The festive flowers are easy to assemble and make a colorful accompaniment to a special-occasion entree, as shown with the Orange-Glazed Cornish Hens. Also featured in the group photo are Strawberry Banana Crepes, Mandarin-Cashew Tossed Salad and Hearty Twice-Baked Potatoes.

Pepper Poinsettia

You'll need one sweet red pepper and one green onion for each poinsettia.

Step 1 imageOn a cutting board, slice off the stem and top 2 inches of the pepper. Discard this portion as well as the pepper's seeds, core and any white membrane. Place the pepper cut side down. Carefully make an upside-down V-shaped cut about 1-1/2 inches long in the pepper. Discard small piece of pepper.

Repeat this step, beginning each V where the previous one ended, four more times or until you have worked your way around the pepper. Turn the pepper over and, if necessary, trim the petals so they are uniform.

Step imageTo make the center of the poinsettia, trim the root end of a green onion. Gently insert one blade of a clean pair of small scissors into the root end, placing the tip of the blade above the circular center of the onion. Make a V-shaped cut about 1/2 inch long.

Repeat these cuts around the center of the onion. Bend the cut edges away from the onion's circular center and soak in cold water until sides curl slightly.

Now trim the green end to make onion about 1-1/2 inches long. Break a toothpick in half. Discard one half and insert the other into the non-curly end of the onion, leaving some of the toothpick visible.

Gently place the onion in the center of the pepper flower, pushing the exposed toothpick into the pepper.