Last week I attended a media event hosted by Stop & Shop and similar to last year, where I came away with lovely ideas for easy and green holiday décor, I left with some good ideas related to holiday gifting and decor. Specifically, I was reminded of the beauty and ease of prettily packaged food gifts and was introduced to a couple of floral tricks that no doubt will come in handy when I host Thanksgiving later this month.
Given my minimalist mantra, I refuse to give random stuff during the holidays; instead opting for the usable and edible, such as lovely handmade soaps, yummy food, etc. In the past I have made layered cookie and muffin mixes in glass jars with ribbon and paper labels, and Stop & Shop reminded me of this idea (with a chocolate chip cookie jar recipe) and also planted the seed to take the idea to a savory level (with a country soup jar recipe). I didn’t assemble a soup jar, but I did assemble and take home a cookie jar (which, by the way, is blissfully easy even if you don’t consider yourself crafty) and Laurel and I ended up using it this week in the midst of a bad mojo emergency. Though I love baking from scratch with Laurel (she adores all of the steps of measuring and adding ingredients), I must say that given our moods, it was pretty excellent to have a fast project with quick rewards. Simply dump the dry ingredients in a bowl, add a few wet ingredients, and bake; the end result is delicious.
Regretfully, I didn’t manage to snap pictures of the flower arrangement I created, but I came away with two terrific takeaway tips that will make a basic arrangement (mine was of mums, gerbers, and alstromeria) look super special. First, add an unusual adornment, such as a few stems of wheat or cattail (procure from floral department or craft store). Second, add fresh cranberries to the water for an awesome visual and to keep the stems in place while you arrange the flowers. Even my mom complimented my arrangement (and she's actually taken flower arranging courses).
On a total aside, this event took place at Upstairs on the Square, where a truly spectacular caramel apple bread pudding with cinnamon ice cream dessert was served. If anyone has the capability to procure this recipe – or one like it – for me, I will forever be indebted to you.