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3 Easy steps to picking the right bottle of champagne for you

Christmas and New Years are right around the corner meaning one very exciting thing — it’s solidly champagne season. We associate the pop of the cork and those sparkling flutes with fun and celebration. But while you may want to down a glass, or two… or three, over the holidays, sometimes all of those choices at the store can be confusing. If you’ve ever hit the wine store and didn’t know what to buy, or feel like an amateur this time of year in the alcohol department, read on for a beginners guide to shopping for champagne. Remember, whichever you choose, make sure it’s in a dark bottle to help keep light away and preserve the intended flavors of the drink inside, but relax. It’s champagne! And no one should ever take a drink this fun and fizzy too seriously. Also see, Tips to prevent a champagne hangover. Step 1:…

Cute Christmas Reindeer Cupcakes for Kids

These ridiculously moist chocolate cupcakes are made from scratch and completely adorable. Kids will love the fun, festive reindeer design, but adults with dig the rich, delicious chocolatey flavor. Bring them to a holiday potluck or send them with your kids to school. No matter the holiday occasion, your cupcakes are sure to gather compliments. Homemade cupcakes are always the best, but if you’re crunched for time, there’s no shame in the boxed cupcake mix game either. Just pick up a package of your favorite cupcake mix and frosting and bake according to the box. Let cool, and decorate per the instructions below. Happy holidays! Cute Christmas Reindeer Cupcakes for Kids Makes about two dozen+ cupcakes Ingredients 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda 3/4 unsweetened cocoa powder 1/8 tsp salt 3 tbsp butter, room temperature 1 1/2 cups sugar 2 eggs 3/4 tsp…

Pomegranate Gin Fizz with Rosemary sprig

The Pomegranate Gin Fizz is perfect for all types of holiday and winter gatherings. It’s seriously crisp and refreshing and makes the perfect Christmas cocktail. This beautifully bright red fizzy drink bursting with juicy arils and aromatic herbs will impress any guest. Holiday tip: Mix a large pitcher ahead of time and pour over ice as guests arrive. Pomegranate Gin Fizz Makes 1 drink Ingredients crushed ice to fill glass 1 ounce gin 2 ounces pomegranate juice club soda to top spring of fresh rosemary (for garnish) 2 tsp pomegranate arils (seeds) Directions Pour gin and pomegranate juice in short whiskey glass. Fill the rest of the glass with crushed ice (almost to the top). Sprinkle with arils and garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary. Also see, A perfect holiday punch recipe. Follow us on Instagram.

How to make turkey gravy without the drippings

Thanksgiving dinner just wouldn’t be the same without a generous pour of delicious gravy to soak through that stuffing and bring the whole plate together. But with the popularity of deep fried or air-fried turkeys, some folks are wondering how they too can have homemade gravy (usually made with the leftover drippings from the baked bird). So how do you make homemade turkey gravy without the drippings? What are drippings? In case you’re confused about drippings, let me give a quick explanation. Drippings are the liquid that falls from the bird into the pan as the meat roasts. That liquid caramelizes and browns and takes on a deep, rich flavor (it’s what gives gravy almost all of its flavor). You would take those drippings and add butter, flour, broth, and some seasonings, and whisk that into a delicious gravy. So how to make gravy without drippings? You can still…

Easy no-bake wreath Christmas cookies

Cornflakes get all dressed up for the holidays with these super cute and easy no-bake wreath Christmas cookies. All you need is 5 ingredients and about 15 minutes, and you’ll have dozens of adorable little wreaths ready to serve on their own, or add to any holiday cookie tray. These cookies are easy to make, but after years of trial and error dealing with this sticky marshmallow “dough”, I’ve learned the secret is to rub your hands with non-stick cooking spray. Spray your hands and rub together — like you would rub in lotion — so that the spray coats the sides of your hands and fingers, too. That way, you can mold the marshmallow-coated flakes into wreath shapes. Also, transfer the “dough” to a piece of parchment paper once removed from heat. Spread it out and bit and let it cool for just 3 – 4 minutes. This will…

The most-Googled Thanksgiving recipe in each state

Each November when the leaves start to fall, we turn our attention to the upcoming Thanksgiving feast. But while we all look forward to plates piled high with food, what’s on those plates can vary greatly from region to region. Cooks everywhere turn to the internet to make sure they’re ready with recipes that will please their guests. Satelliteinternet.com analyzed all of those food-related searches to find out which states are mostly likely to each which dish. It’s no surprise that turkey was the most-Googled Thanksgiving dish across America, but beyond that, plenty of cooks were looking for other advice. And depending where you live, you were definitely more likely to search for different dishes. Green bean casserole and corn casseroles were the next most-searched recipes after turkey, with a particularly heavy following in the Midwest. Other searches were more localized. For instance, Vermonters seems to include ambrosia salad in…

10 great hostess gifts that aren’t wine

Anyone can run to a nearby liquor store and pick up a bottle of wine, but your hostess will be much more impressed with your thoughtfulness if you opt for something else. Whether it’s something they share that evening with guests, or something they save for themselves, these gifts will be greatly appreciated. Soyil Natural Soy Wax Candles (Starting at $14, everybodyshops.com) Show your smart and savvy hostess you appreciate her hospitality with a dye-free, natural soy wax, small batch candle. Seasonal fragrances can help her warm her home with a welcoming scent, plus, soy won’t mark up walls with that nasty black soot. Wine Glass Mahogany Appetizer plates ($19.99, everybodyshops.com) You can bet your host won’t be able to wait to break these out for guests to use atop their wine glasses as they graze all of the amazing food at the party. Each set includes four plates, and…

24 restaurants open on Christmas Day 2019

After a whole holiday season of cooking and hosting, you just might be too tired to cook and host by the time Christmas Day arrives. From intimate feasts to more elaborate buffets, there’s surely somewhere on this list that can match whatever type of celebration you like. It’s still early, so many restaurants haven’t announced their official 2019 Christmas or holiday menus yet, so check back as we update with more restaurants and more details. And remember to call and confirm your local restaurant’s holiday hours before heading out. Often time, hours can vary by franchise location. Restaurants open on Christmas 2019: Benihana Throw tradition out the window, and head to Benihana where you can catch shrimp in your mouth and watch your meal cooked right in front of you. Select locations will be open on Christmas Day, so be sure to call ahead. Boston Market Who better to bake and…

Cranberry crockpot turkey meatballs

Looking for an easy way to feed a crowd this holiday? This delicious recipe makes for a fantastic appetizer or a tasty twist on your classic meatball sandwich. Turkey meatballs swimming in a sea of cranberry chili sauce is the new must-make recipe of the season. These meatballs are tangy, sweet, and oh-so-addictive! Guests can pick them with toothpicks or plate them for a fancier affair. And the best part? You — you fabulously smart and savvy holiday host — just dump three ingredients into the crock pot, walk away, and about two hours later, you have a hot and hearty snack everyone will love. Now that’s a happy holiday. Also try this Warm brie with cranberry jalapeño jam recipe.  Note: I use turkey meatballs since a lot of people shy away from red meat. Plus, the turkey and cranberry combo is obviously a classic. But feel free to use whatever kind…

Starbucks releases 2019 holiday cups

And the holiday season has officially begun. Starbucks announced the much-anticipated return of its annual holiday cups, just days after Dunkin’ came out with its new decked-out designs. The new designs feature a modern block letters, polka dots and pops of holiday colors. Coffee lovers across the U.S. and Canada can kick off the holiday season beginning Nov. 7 with the four brand-new designs: Polka Dots, which is basically a traditional red cup dotted with green circles; Merry Dance, has red and green letters spelling out ‘MERRY COFFEE’ overlaying a white cup; Merry Stripes uses a dark green cup and features small white lettering spelling out ‘MERRY COFFEE’, and Candy Cane Stripe is adorned with red and white stripes and large, green letters spelling out ‘STARBUCKS.’ According to the official press release, they’re meant to “evoke mini moments of joy for our customers and partners — it’s fun, festive, and…