Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 15, 2011: Natural Fragrance For Your Christmas Party

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Every year I always want to entertain at Christmas but for some reason or the other, never actually plan a party. Not so this year! We are having a cocktails and hors d’oeuvres party Saturday night. Of course, I can’t just go buy premade food and beverages and put them on the table. I’ve got to plan and bake and plan and cook so that everything is just perfect for my guests.

One thing to keep in mind when planning a holiday party is that you should think about all five senses. Not only do you want your guests to taste delicious food and see spectacular decorating, you will want them to smell something yummy when they walk through the door. Here’s two easy ways to do this.

Clove-Studded Oranges

I’ve been making these at Christmas time for decades and I still enjoy the sight and smell of these easy decorations. Simply take several oranges and poke whole cloves through the skin. Feel free to get creative with designs. You don’t need to cover the entire skin of the orange with cloves, either, although the more you use, the more fragrant it will be.
The mini carnations in the vase? My husband got them for me for our anniversary - 3 WEEKS AGO!

In this picture, I’ve taken my oranges and put them into three wine glasses of varying heights. They also look good grouped together in a crystal bowl or vase or even placed in a row on a silver tray.

Simmering Spiced Apple Cider

A traditional Christmas drink, spiced apple cider not only tastes good, but it smells good as it simmers away. Either place all the ingredients in a kettle on the stove or use a crock pot to keep this drink warm until guests are ready to imbibe.

Spiced Apple Cider

1 gallon real apple cider (thick and murky, and definitely not the powdered packets)
1 medium-sized orange, thinly sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
½ t. ground cloves
½ t. ground nutmeg
2 cups dark rum (optional)

Place all ingredients in a kettle or crock pot. Simmer over very low heat for up to two hours.

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