A Bright Brunch Table

On a crisp and snowy Christmas morning, the bold color of red is stunning against a wintry white table. For a vibrant floral arrangement, purchase an assortment of red and white flowers (such as…

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Add Warmth to a Winter Table

CHASE AWAY the winter blues with these colorful ideas for warming up your dinner table.

Instead of white linens, use brightly colored cloth or paper napkins and tablecloths.

Add an…

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An Eye-Catching Buffet Table

Although a host of special appetizers may be the star of your party, using other items on your buffet table can add even more visual interest.
Rise to the Occasion. When all of the…

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Appetizer Stemware Servers

With the assortment of hors d'oeuvres at your appetizer buffet, guests will likely have their plates piled high! Instead of having them juggle already-full plates, use stemware to dish out…

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Avoid a Brunch Crunch

You don't have to crack under the pressure when hosting a breakfast or brunch. The key is selecting a good assortment of foods and getting a lot done the night before.

When selecting recipes…

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Bandana Napkins

For a casual outdoor gathering, fashion fun napkins from bandanas! Look for inexpensive, cotton bandanas in a variety of colors at discount department stores. Wash and, if needed, quickly touch up…

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Body-Parts Party Game

Have the guests at your Halloween party gather 'round for a fun game that focuses on feeling frightfully fun foods. Place the "body parts" listed here in separate, large resealable plastic bags,…

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Bunny Napkin Fold

To make these festive napkin folds, start with well-starched square napkins. Fold the bottom third of the napkin up and the top third down, making a rectangle.

Find the center along the top…

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Christmas Tree Napkin Fold

Spruce up the place settings on your Christmas brunch table with napkins folded to resemble evergreen trees. This fold works best with a stiff square cloth napkin that holds a crease. Spray starch…

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Cold Punches

Chill all punch ingredients before mixing so that you don't have to dilute the punch with ice to get it cold. Or consider garnishing a cold punch with an ice ring (which lasts longer than ice…

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Cranberries and Boughs Centerpiece

When creating a centerpiece for your holiday buffet table, look no further than the foods and foliage readily available during the season.

For our stunning arrangement shown at right, we…

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Easy Patriotic Centerpiece

A table topper for July Fourth or Memorial Day doesn't have to take a lot of thought or effort. A patriotic bowl brimming with red raspberries and blueberries is a simple centerpiece you can…

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Embossed Place Card

Add even more elegance to your table top by making embossed place cards.

Stop at your local craft store for plain place cards, a rubber stamp in the design of your choice, embossing ink, an…

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Enjoy Your Party

So that you can spend more time with guests, look for appetizers that can be made ahead and require little last-minute fuss. Also supplement homemade nibbles with purchased party fare.

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Festive Ways to Serve Butter

INSTEAD of having a stick of butter in a dish, impress guests with fun and festive shapes.

To create butter cutouts, cut a chilled stick of butter into 1/4-inch slices. Cut out shapes with…

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Flower Napkin Basket Liner

Place the napkin on a flat surface an bring all four corners together to meet in the center. (This will create a square.)

Carefully turn the napkin over, preserving the folds you just made.…

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GI Cap Napkin Fold

As a hat's off to all soldiers, turn napkins into GI caps! Start with well-starched tan, khaki, army green or gray fabrics.

Fold the napkin in half. With the fold at the top, bring in the…

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Grade-A Graduation Party

Get the Grad's Input. Ask the graduate if he or she would like a big bash with lots of relatives and friends or a more intimate gathering with immediate family.

Pick a Date. With last-minute…

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Great Tips for Tailgating

You're guaranteed a successful tailgate party with these winning helpful hints:

Keep the menu simple. Guests aren't expecting a seven-course meal at this kind of casual get-together. Three…

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Guest-Worthy Baked Goods

To dress up ordinary bar cookies or pastries to serve to guests, I place individual servings in muffin cup liners for a quick, attractive presentation on a pretty serving plate. —Renee Z., Tacoma,…

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Holiday Buffets

We feed a lot of people at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, so my sisters and I always set up a big buffet on the kitchen counter. We put each side dish in a slow cooker (mashed potatoes,…

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Holiday Luminaries

As you and your neighbors make the rounds from house to house, light the way with these festive luminaries. They can be made well in advance. Simply light them just before your guests…

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Homemade Napkin Rings

To dress up my table, I make pretty napkin rings that cost next to nothing. First, I watch for clearance sales on festive craft ribbon. I also save the cardboard tubes from gift wrap and paper…

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Hosting a Fondue Party

The best part about hosting a fondue party is that you do the prep work in advance, then guests do their own cooking! Here are some helpful hints to make your fondue party go off without a…

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Keeping Dips Warm

Warm dips can be prepared ahead and then heated in a slow cooker instead of the oven. A slow cooker will also keep your dip warm during a party.

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Making Sit-Down Dinners Special

THE HOLIDAYS are a perfect time to add a little elegance to the table. Instead of a casual family-style supper, where food is passed from one person to another, host a formal sit-down dinner,…

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Making Tortilla Pinwheels

Spread one side of each tortilla with the filling mixture. Roll up tightly and wrap each roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate.

Slice each roll into 1-in. pieces and arrange on a tray.

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Marbled Easter Eggs

With a wire egg holder, spoon or fork, dip, the egg into the food coloring with vinegar and oil mixture, swirling in a circle.

When desired color is achieved, remove egg and let dry on paper…

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My Entertainment Journal

We frequently entertain family and friends, so I keep a record in a notebook of the date, who attended, which recipes I used and which were especially popular. With these notes, I don’t serve the…

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Orchestrate an Appetizer Party with Ease

Hosting an appetizer buffet with no set seating is easy on the host. But to make it more manageable for guests to mingle while munching, make note of these key tips:

Think about guests who…

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Patriotic Picnic Table

When dining outdoors on Memorial Day or July Fourth, show your patriotic colors with a red, white and blue table trim.

First, cover your picnic or patio table with a white tablecloth,…

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Patriotic Pizzazz

It's a snap to give your Fourth of July picnic some festive flair with these fun (and fast!) ideas:

  • Turn strawberry shortcake into a red, white and blue dessert by…

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Perfect Cheese Fondue

To serve a smooth and delicious cheese fondue, keep these tips in mind. Cheese can curdle easily when overheated. So reduce the heat to low before stirring the cheese into hot liquids. Keep the…

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Pizza Party Plan

You won't be defeated by last-minute details at your pizza party if you follow these timely tips.

If you plan on baking more than one pizza at a time, look for recipes with the same baking…

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Planning a Child's Birthday Party

Hosting a child's birthday party at home doesn't have to be a bear! Here are some tips to make your party a success:

Purchase invitations. Or make your own by using festive paper and a…

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Planning a Neighborhood Round Robin

Organizing a holiday gathering is simple when others help with the hosting. Here are some pointers for planning a successful round-robin for you and your neighbors:

Early in fall, send a…

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Remember the Meaning of Memorial Day

Although Memorial Day has simply come to symbolize the start of summer for many people, its true purpose is to honor the men and women who lost their lives while serving our country. Here are a…

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Ribbon-Wrapped Candles

Wrap a piece of double-stick tape around the entire metal band on the outside of the tea light. (If you're using a lacy ribbon, be sure the tape is transparent.) Press one end of ribbon (we used…

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Selecting Successful Side Dishes

TRYING to decide which side dishes to serve with your entree can be overwhelming. Here are some suggestions to help simplify your selection. Variety is key to pleasing all of your guests. So have…

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Setting Up a Buffet Table

At a buffet, the table filled with flavorful food is the main focus. An easy way to make the table especially attractive is to create risers in varying heights. You don't need special equipment to…

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Slow Cooker Keeps Chicken Warm

When serving chicken wings and drumsticks on a buffet table, keep them in a covered slow cooker on low. The chicken will stay warm and moist for your dinner guests. —Alan Robertson,…

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Starting a Time Capsule for the Baby

Looking for a fun tradition to begin at a baby shower? Help the parents start a "time capsule" of the baby's first year of life.

Select a durable container that will last for years, such as…

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Story of the Sedar Plate

DURING the Seder, the story of the Exodus is reenacted using a special Seder Plate. It contains the following key elements of Passover:

Betzah (a roasted or boiled egg), commemorating…

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Sugared Fruit Centerpiece

A stunning Sugared Fruit Centerpiece is guaranteed if you review these helpful hints before beginning.

You can sugar whole pieces of fruit as well as cut pieces. For cut pieces, it's best to…

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Surprise Party Invitation

Keep your favorite teen guessing about her very own Sweet 16 event by making it a surprise party. When you pen the invitations, remember to tell guests not to spill the beans about the bash. For…

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Table Settings for a Crowd

Preparing casual, make-ahead foods for a holiday buffet certainly makes entertaining easier on the cook. But serving a large group can pose another problem when you realize you don't have enough…

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Teapot Poinsettia

When hosting a dinner or brunch during the holidays, don’t just set a potted poinsettia on your table for a centerpiece. Instead play upon the hospitality theme by using a teapot or coffeepot as a…

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