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COOKIES one recipe

nine ways

Making An Edible Tree





IN THIS ISSUE CREATE: Handmade Holiday

Expert tips on adding a personal touch to your holiday decorating and gift giving. Gift wrapping ideas + an exclusive look at holiday genius Matthew Mead.


GURU: Cookies

From transforming basic sugar cookie dough to a host of cookie ideas you weren’t expecting, we solve your holiday cookie conundrum.


TRADITION: Edible Christmas Tree Embrace a new tradition this year with a totally edible holiday tree. Learn the basics for making all the elements and putting the finished look together.

GATHER: Holiday Brunch



Don’t worry about squeezing your holiday event in with the other many nighttime affairs. Celebrate with friends and family over brunch. Start your planning with our simple look.

CHEERS: Party Season

‘Tis the season for parties. Get ready with our expert tips and tricks on stocking the bar and party planning + what to do in the worst case scenario.




EDITOR IN CHIEF Coryanne Ettiene CREATIVE EDITOR Sam Henderson MEDIA RELATIONS Coryanne Ettiene ART DIRECTION Sam Henderson LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER Sam Henderson GUY WHO MADE US LATTES Zach CONSUMER RELATIONS Not Mike Tyson BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR Holding out for Howard Schultz MUSE 1 Nigella Lawson MUSE 2 Laura Calder RECIPE DEVELOPMENT Meg van der Kruik Sherrie Castellano Janelle Shank Sam Henderson Coryanne Ettiene CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Matthew Mead John Cain Meg van der Kruik Janelle Shank WRITERS Mindy Lockard Chris Nease Dawn Sandomeno Elizabeth Mascali Brett Torrey















ON THE COVER: Bottle brush trees, starred ribbon, and birch logs add natural charm to a winter brunch table. Photo and cover design by Sam Henderson.





“I’m old enough to know that hangovers are pure evil.”

“I was not prepared for the amount of laughter that would come from our Christmas in August antics.”


I’ve been toying with the idea of a magazine for years. For some reason or another it always got pushed down on the list to make room for more practical pursuits. Then something happened at the end of the summer between chuckles and sips at the Ettiene house. What started as a ‘what if’ quickly spiraled into ‘Whoa! We’re really doing this thing.’ Creating holiday content in the summer is fairly common for me. However, because I typically work alone, I was not prepared for the amount of laughter that would come from our Christmas in August antics.

In August, with the sun high in the sky and a Sangria in my hand, it seemed perfectly reasonable to set about launching a magazine. November seemed like a lifetime away with plenty of space to create something….then the joys of life and work set in. Reality, it would seem, is a real buzz kill, and creating a magazine is as close to giving birth as you can get. You say all the while, “I will never do this again”, but your cries are ignored, and someone keeps telling you to push while they hold your hand and tell you anything you want to hear to get you to stop screaming. As you guessed it, I have a flair for the dramatics. It was not all a scene of pushing and screaming; but I still look back at the August version of myself and whisper in her ear “you silly girl, you will get there, but it’s not all rainbows and gumdrops”. But wait…we had gumdrops! Plenty of gumdrops. One of my favorite memories from the creation of our inaugural issue was seeing my children look on in complete amusement of having our whole house staged for Christmas, and the giggles that came when we sat around the table stringing 10 feet of popped corn and 5 feet of gumdrops in 100˚F heat. It would seem, that no matter what time of year, an edible tree spreads holiday cheer to those near and dear. And I can’t wait to do it all again next month!

Beyond being our premiere issue, this issue is special because it reminds me of so many things from my childhood. The pink and white pinwheels are exactly like the ones that filled trays on our holiday buffet table when I was a kid. Cookies make everything better and our set was certainly no exception. I think they and my photography equipment earned me a new friend. In fact, the thing I’ll cherish the most from this first issue is not about the magazine at all, but a heart-warming note and a hand-drawn picture of me and my camera (and a strange Coryanne sitck figure with squiggly boobs) made by tiny hands. Like parenthood, this experience was at once one of the most challenging and most rewarding things I’ve done. And so now our baby is born. She is cute, and small, and full of energy. I hope you find inspiration within her pages, whether it is from a new recipe to add to your box, handmade gifts for the holidays, or how to get a little of the styling genius that is Matthew Mead.

As I write this, we are days from publication, and I am eyeing a bottle of Champers that I’ve been holding onto just for this occasion. I’m old enough to know that hangovers are pure evil and I avoid them at all cost. So while I will be passionately sipping that Champers tonight, I will be feasting on a fried egg sandwich with crispy bacon tomorrow morning, because for me, nothing cures a hangover like a fried egg and bacon sandwich.

Tonight is the last night of full work on the issue before it gets published. After the final button gets pushed you will find me curled up on the sofa with a bottle of red wine and a bowl of popcorn the size of my head.

I hope that something inside this issue sparks a real life moment for you, Coryanne.

Savour... holidays. Sam 3


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HANDMADE HOLIDAYS CREATE Make the season merry and bright with DIY projects that are hand picked to fit into a busy modern lifestyle. Get step-by-step instructions for homemade Christmas gifts, ornaments and decorations including hand stamped silver, scented gift tags and our Box 9 fave — a PVC wreath.

MAKE IT MERRY SIMP LE T R EE BUNT ING Look, Mom! N Ski p r i bbon t h o sew! t his bunt ing f is year and use or gift wrappin g, t oo! . ! e n o n i s t tI ’s t wo gif

R IBB ON WRAP P ED C O O K IE CUT T ERS So simple and so cute. Takes just a few minutes t o make. Makes a great teacher gift!

SCENT STUFFED HEARTS Easy and inexpensive. Adorn it with ribbon or jute. Use it as a door hanger or ornament. STAMP ED SILVER Save money by shopping thrift stores, but invest in a good stamp set. make it personal ! 7

mmm. . cinnamo


SCENT ED Under $10. M G IF T T AGS and add t hemake more t han you need t o your tree f o ra handmade feel.

P VC WREATH Add a little modern merriment to your mantle. This wreath is unique and super cool.. Fill the holes or leave them blank. CREATE

TS O P D E T N I A HAND P d under 1 hour. under $10 an l t hr ift st ores We sho pped l ocar c osts l ow. t o keep ou jazz it up with some jingle. 8

Food is what brings us together. It binds us, and reminds us of our past and the special people we have shared meals with. No matter the craziness of family dynamics, there is something healing that happens when we come to the table. The food that nourishes us and the flavors and smells of dishes that transport us back to the tables of our childhood. #FamilyRecipes and the traditions we pass on are what keep our memories alive. They connect us to the magic of childhood and our loved ones who are no longer with us. The beauty of a family recipe is, through teaching—or those well-loved, stained recipe cards—we not only hold the recipe in our hand, we hold a little bit of the person who first shared it. For me, anything with my grandmother’s handwriting is a treasure and a sweet reminder of her love of food and of me. In our digital age, recipe sharing is often done through a click of a button. And while it’s effective, it leaves a little something out—the human component. A handwritten card does more than communicate our favorite recipe. It is an extension of our being. In today’s day and age, sometimes the only times we write are in a note tucked into a lunch box, a birthday card, or even a simple to do list. No matter the reason, this writing is yours and something your children and grandchildren will remember and love you by. The more imperfect, the better. Sometimes it’s those imperfections that make us self-conscious or keep us from writing and sharing. But to our loved ones, it’s a beautiful reminder of a life welllived and loved, and anything you write will be saved and cherished for years to come... especially when it comes to #FamilyRecipe. So, let’s keep the traditions and connections alive this Holiday Season! Starting with... Get comfortable with your handwriting! Write more! One way to improve your handwriting is with practice. Use a nice pen. You don’t have to spend a lot on a pen to elevate your penmanship. My favorite pen is the Sheaffer Sagaris. It comes in beautiful new colors and is what I like to call Spanx for my handwriting. It smooths it out and always makes me feel more confident. This season, keep a pen and recipe cards on hand! Write down your favorite recipe, who it came from, and perhaps even a little story on the back. Share with Family! Share these cards and ask your family members to bring their favorite family recipe to holiday gatherings. These can be written on five to eight recipe cards. Or, provide a pen and a stack of recipe cards to be filled out at the gathering. You can provide twine or ribbon for your guests to exchange and bundle the recipes together. A little take-away this holiday season that everyone will be thankful for in years to come! Lastly, give the gift of #FamilyRecipe to friends! Start with a beautiful glass jar, carafe, or even a clay growler. Make your favorite beverage. For me, it’s a fabulous Cranberry Tea that can be served warm in a mug, over ice, or with a splash of your favorite spirit!

Wrapping Outside the Box





Recycling heirloom fabric gives your present a tactile touch that paper simply can’t offer. Go bold by wrapping your present in fabric and creating a braided rag ribbon, or use a ribbon braid to accent your paper wrapping. Use a salt dough star as a gift tag to complete this handmade, vintage look.

Go the extra mile for your travel savvy gift recipient. Try wrapping your gift in an old map of a location that either sparks a memory of a fabulous trip or inspires an upcoming wanderlust adventure. You’ll find plenty of them at used book stores. Tie it up with a dashed ribbon and a pinpoint gift tag.

Beyond twigs and pinecones, give your natural theme a modern twist by using a stencil to paint on a wood effect directly on to the box or a sheet of packing paper. Go bold with bright colors or use lighter shades to create a subtle effect. Bring the theme together by accenting natural branches with the same color as the wood effect to complete the look.

Find inspiration in some unexpected places. Spend a little time in the home improvement store for your wrapping inspiration. The textured craft paper was found on the paint aisle and the shiny silver wrapping is metal tape used for duct work. Finish off the look with a hex nut gift tag.

visit Portland Growler Company and enter #BOXNINE20 for 20% off


love that growler?

Pour your #FamilyRecipe beverage into a jar or container. One of my favorite ways to give is with a Portland Growler Company growler, topped with the recipe handwritten on our #FamilyRecipe “Mama Said” card, tied with a shiny red bow and shared with love! What could be cuter?

While the holidays can feel overwhelming and busy, it’s often the traditions that bind us! Take a moment this season to put your #FamilyRecipe traditions in writing! Just a few moments will help your children and their children celebrate the memories and flavors of your family for generations to come! Follow #SheafferLiving #FamilyRecipe on Instagram and twitter through the month of November for inspirations, simple tips, and giveaways! Use hashtag #FamilyRecipe and follow @SheafferPen on Instagram to enter to win. Giveaway will take place on December 1st!

CHRISTMAS 2014 WRAPPING TRENDS Get in touch with burlap - natural, full of texture, and on every craft store aisle. We love the rustic charm burlap offers Twinkle with bling - bright, shimmery, and irresistable. All that sparkles is on trend this holiday season. Embrace the bling by accenting your ribbons, gift cards or even going all out by looking for textured wrapping paper. Gold - always a classic and rarely out of style. This year gold is the color of the season. Wrapping papaer, ribbons, decor... there is not a single element of Christmas that should escape this trend. Naturals - embrace the beauty of the great outdoors. Inspire your wrapping and decor. Go traditional with pines or embrace a modern touch by using birch.

Mindy Lockard, The Gracious Girl, is an internationally recognized lifestyle and etiquette expert and the founder of Mindy Lockard Gracious Living. Through her work, Mindy strives to uphold traditional values with a modern spin.


HOME FOR THE with MAT T H E W MEA D HOLIDAYS story and interview by Sam Henderson photos and styling by Matthew Mead



hances are you have swooned over some of the craftiness, styling, and photography of Matthew Mead over the years. It is possible that you didn’t know it was his work, but you loved it all the same. As a writer, photographer, lifestyle editor, and noted style expert, Matthew’s work has appeared in countless books and magazines over the past three decades. These days, when he is not busy creating stunning books, he is hard at work as the official food photographer for the Associated Press and creating content for many magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens. Matthew’s work is geared toward inspiring readers and lifestyle enthusiasts to find their own sense of style... to open their eyes to a way that they have or can easily find to transform all aspects of life into a more engaged sense of LIVING. Drawing on traditions is the basis of his creativity. As he states, “I love creating a home... adding new design elements and cooking and entertaining which really brings family and friends together.” Matthew has shown us holiday designs from cottage to modern, but what is Christmas like at his house? We caught up with him recently to learn more about how he celebrates the holidays. B9: What do you love about the holiday season? MM: I love family gatherings, entertaining, and all the sights and scents of the season. B9: What family holiday traditions do you have? MM: We like to shop together, make special meals, and play trivia games as a family. B9: Who cooks? MM: Mostly me. My wife is an excellent sous chef. We like to bake, make favorite meals and set the table. B9: How long have you been creating holiday publications? MM: I think we’ve done six issues. But I have always done Christmas for some publication. So many, many years. B9: What design speaks to you personally? What would we expect to see in your home for the holidays? MM: Simplicity, fresh greens and living plants, bowls of fragrant spices, dressed-down easy on the eyes decor


“I like things to be calm and natural and not busier then my everyday decor.”


that will be pretty right through January. B9: If we want your look for our homes, where should we start? MM: I think I practice restraint. I try to keep everything a bit spare and fresh so I have real “peace in my heart” when I am home and able to relax. Think simple greens, silver ornaments, uncluttered wreaths and arrangements. B9: What is the most common mistake people make when decorating for the holidays? How can I avoid overdoing it? MM: Clutter. Too much stuff. I get claustrophobic if there is too much around. I like things to be calm and natural and not busier then my everyday decor. Pick from a monochromatic color way and keep things unadorned. B9: Do you put lights on the outside of your house? MM: We have lights strewn in trees and around bushes... simple and not perfectly wrapped. B9: What’s on your wishlist? MM: Honestly just health and happiness and being together. We have so much. Also, we want to create a first floor master bath so that is on the wish list. Matthew Mead is a designer, photographer, producer, stylist, art director, and interior designer living in New England. Find more of his beautiful work at




HUNGER IN AMERICA. Host a Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry to make a difference. Every $1 raised can connect a child with up to 10 meals. Visit to get involved.

“Our bake sale started out as a way for us to teach our children how to be charitable. What has evolved has exceeded our expectations. The Great Chappaqua Bake Sale is a true community effort that proves that a small community can make a big difference in the fight against childhood hunger. In four years, we have raised $50,000 for No Kid Hungry.” –Jessica Reinmann, Allison Spiegel, Holly Blum

Help Coryanne raise $10,000 for No Kid Hungry. Click HERE to learn more. 14



t h e ki 15

h tc

n e photo by Janelle Shank



photo by Meg van der Kruik


dutch oven bread herbed butter scented fruit bundles infused vodka chocolate citrus peel homemade grenadine candy cane sugar

for the kitchen lover in your life, check out the latest book from Vinny Lee, Kitchenalia. available at 16

HANDMADE HOW TO SCENTED HANDMADE GIFT TAGS Supplies: • baking tray • parchment paper • rolling pin • cookie cutter • 1 cup of flour • ½ cup of salt • ½ cup of warm water • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon Instructions: 1. In a dry mixing bowl add the salt, the flour, and ground cinnamon and mix until fully blended, then add the water and knead until the surface is soft and smooth. 2. Roll into a large ball and portion into quarters. Cover with a slightly damp cloth to keep the unused quarters from drying out while you are making your tags. 3. Roll out the dough to a ¼ inch thick and use a cooker cutter to create the tag shape. 4. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place a toothpick at the top of each tag to create the hole needed to string it later. 5. Bake at 200˚F for 4-6 hours to completely evaporate the moisture from the dough. 6. Once dry, string and then use a permanent pen to address the tag. HAND PAINTED MINI POTS WITH SUCCULENTS Supplies: • terra-cotta pots • potting soil • succulents • spray paint • sticky raised dots Instructions: 1. Apply the sticky raised dots to form the phrase “HO HO HO” and then spray with white paint. 2. Allow the paint to dry and then plant the succulent. NO-SEW HOLIDAY TREE BUNTING Supplies: • a cardboard triangle shape, no bigger than 1 ½ inches tall for mini bunting • scissors (or a fabric rotary cutting tool) • ruler (or fabric cutting edge) • fabric pen • no-sew binding tape • iron • fabric starch (optional) • fabric • cording

Instructions: 1. Cut a triangle shape out of cardboard. 2. Lay your fabric flat, and then use your fabric pen to trace out the triangle onto your fabric. 3. Once all your triangles are complete, cut them out. Scissors are fine, but for a quicker step and a cleaner line, use a fabric rotary cutter with a cutting mat and a straight edge to keep your bunting neat and your prep surface protected. 4. Place 2 triangles against one another and then position the no-sew binding tape in-between the two pieces. The position of the tape is where the “hem” will be, so take care to keep it neat and as close to the fabric line as possible. 5. As you iron each triangle, insert the cording across the widest part (or top of the bunting triangle). Iron the cording and the triangle into place at the same time; ensuring that the “hem” is secure before moving on to the next triangle. VINTAGE FABRIC HAND STITCHED PILLOWS FILLED WITH SCENTS Supplies: • sheets of 4x4 inch fabric for each heart, (quilting squares make this craft simple) • needle • thread • scissors • heart shaped paper cut out to trace the heart onto the fabric • stuffing • fabric pins (optional) • fabric pen • pinch of dried herbs, flowers or spices Instructions: 1. Draw a heart onto a sheet of paper that fits inside your 4x4 inch fabric square; Use that to trace the shape of the heart onto the inside of the fabric using a fabric safe pen. 2. Place your fabric squares together so that the outside of the fabric (with the heart shape drawn on it) faces the outside, and the fabric you want shown on your heart faces the inside. Secure the shapes together using pins. 3. Thread your needle and start at the bottom of right side of the heart, sewing along the edges until you get mid point along the other side of the heart; leaving a small gap at the bottom left side of the heart. 4. Use your fingers to turn the heart right side out and then stuff the heart by inserting the stuffing in the open gap you created, and then add your scent ingredients.


5. Once stuffed, pin the gap closed, and seal the heart shut by sewing the remaining space with your needle and thread. HAND STAMPED BUTTER SPREADERS Supplies: • vintage silver spreaders • liquid food coloring • hammer • stamping letter • silver polish • tape Instructions: 1. Polish the spreaders and then use a strip of tape to mark where you want your letters to go. 2. Start stamping from the center of the letter out to ensure it remains centered while you stamp. For example, if you are stamping, “Santa”, start with the “n” and work your way out. 3. To stamp the letter, position it in place, and with a single, hard hit, impress the stamp into the silver. Too hard will create a border around the letter to show the stamping block; too light and you may not get the full letter. 4. Once the letters are stamped, use a silver polish cloth to clean the spreader again, and then dab on liquid food coloring to darken the letter imprints. Give it a final wipe down once the coloring is dry. PVC WREATH Supplies: • PVC pipes in a variety of diameters – the example is made of 5 foot lengths right from the hardware store shelf • PVC cement (16 oz can) • spray paint • sandpaper Instructions: 1. Cut the pipes into 5 inch pieces with a table saw or a box saw. 2. Peel off any stickers, lightly sand edges as needed, and wipe off dirt with a damp cloth. 3. On a flat surface, lay the pipe pieces out in a pattern with the sizes evenly distributed around the wreath. Use a round object in the center as your guide such as a mixing bowl. 4. When you are satisfied with your layout gently move all but the innermost circle back just a few inches. 5. Apply PVC cement to the both sides of two of the tubes where they are to be joined. Hold together for 30 seconds. Release. 6. Repeat this process all the way around the circle. 7. Begin adding the remaining pieces by applying adhesive to both surfaces where any

HANDMADE HOW TO and every joint will be made. 8. Allow proper drying time (about 2 hours) before continuing. 9. Turn wreath over and clean the front of your wreath before painting. 10. Spray paint the wreath following the paint manufacturer’s instructions. RIBBON WRAPPED ORNAMENTS Supplies: • holiday cookie cutters • long lengths of ribbon • scissors Instructions: 1. Unroll ribbon from spool. 2. Start at the top of the ornament or from where you would like it to hang. Leave a 10 inch tail and begin wrapping the ribbon around the cookie cutter overlapping the last pass just a little each time. Pull the ribbon tight. 3. When you have reached the starting point, use the tail from the beginning to tie a knot around the base of the tail and the loose ribbon. Cut away any excess. 4. Use your fingers to push the knot under the last pass of ribbon to hide it. DUTCH OVEN BREAD Ingredients: • 3 ½ cups all purpose flour • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 ⅓ cups room temperature water • 2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt Instructions: 1. Add all ingredients to your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mixing until a dough forms. The dough will be soft and ragged looking (if still sticky, add a little more flour and mix a bit more until dough is easy to handle) 2. Cover with cling wrap tightly and store in a warm place for two hours, or until dough is almost double and when you put a thumb in it, it bounces back to original form easily 3. Preheat oven to 450˚F and put empty uncovered dutch oven in to warm up. 4. Take dough out of bowl and knead slightly to form a ball, pull ends underneath. Cover with a towel and let rise for 20 minutes. Score top with knife (I just make three slight slits). 5. Carefully take hot dutch oven out of oven and place dough inside, covering and baking for 25 minutes. Take lid off and bake for another 15 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 200˚F.

6. Cool on a rack and serve. Bread will last at room temperature wrapped tightly for 3-4 days or you can cool completely and freeze. CANDY CANE SUGAR Ingredients: • 1 cup sugar • ½ cup crushed candy canes Instructions: 1. Add ingredients to a food processor and blitz. 2. Place sugar in a decorative jar and embellish with ribbon. DRIED FRUIT SCENTED BUNDLES IN POUCHES Ingredients: • 1 lb of clementines • 1 lb of apples • 10 cinnamon sticks • 10 star anise • bay leaves (optional) Instructions: 1. Thinly slice the fruit and place it on a drying rack atop of a baking tray, ensuring that the sides of each fruit are not touching. 2. Place inside a preheated 200˚F oven and bake for 4-6 hours, rotating the tray every 2 hours until the fruit is dry. 3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before placing the dried fruit and spices into pouch. HOMEMADE GRENADINE Ingredients: • 1 quart 100% pomegranate juice • 2 cups raw sugar • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water Instructions: 1. Place the pomegranate juice in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat until you see steam whipping up from the pot and the beginning stages of a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it has completely dissolved. 2. Stir in the orange blossom water and set aside until the grenadine has cooled completely. Once cooled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.


INFUSED VODKA Ingredients: • good quality vodka • flavoring such as orange peel • cinnamon stick • star anise • peppercorns Instructions: 1. Add flavoring to bottle of vodka and let it steep for a few weeks. CHOCOLATE DIPPED CANDIED CITRUS PEEL Ingredients: • 2 oranges • 1 lemon • 2 cups water • 2 cups granulated sugar • granulated sugar for coating • 8 oz of bittersweet chocolate Instructions: 1. Use a vegetable peeler to peel large strips of lemon peel from top to bottom of lemons. 2. Cut the peels into smaller strips around¼ inch wide. 3. Bring water to a boil in a small pan, and add lemon peels. Boil for 2 minutes. Strain, discard water and refill pan. Again bring to a boil and drop in lemon peels. Boil again for 2 minutes. 4. Repeat process one more time. 5. Put 2 cups of water in a small pot with 2 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil, add peels, and simmer until transparent (45-60 min). 6. Drain, and allow to dry at least 2 hours. 7. Roll in granulated sugar. 8. Place the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl. 9. Put the bowl in a shallow pan with about 1½ inches of water. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat to melt the chocolate. 10. Dip the dried candied peels in the chocolate and place on a sheet of parchment to set completely. 11. Store in an airtight container. FRENCH INSPIRED HERB BUTTER Ingredients: • ¼ cup butter (store bought or homemade slightly softened) • ⅛ teaspoon crushed garlic • ¼ teaspoon finely chopped scallion • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme • ¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley • pinch of salt Instructions: 1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 2. Mix well. 3. Pipe into crocks or make pats and return to refrigerator.



andmade goods, no matter what the kind, remind me that we as humans have the two greatest tools on earth: our hands. When those tools are used to create art and craft, we bring out the best of ourselves and it is one aspect of existence that unifies us as citizens of this planet. I’m constantly amazed at what people create. You can pick any genre of craft and find countless examples of unique applications of both technique and design. Take for instance leathercraft. I can think of three artists off the top of my head that are creating well-made, modern goods, each with a totally different aesthetic. For instance, Noah Marion, an Austin-based artist produces some really fine leather goods that seemlessly blend vintage designs with modern styling. His Black Line is a favorite of mine. Contrast his work with the Budapest team over at TheBétaVersion. Zsófi Rainer and Cili Varga make these stunning leather bags that I like to call ‘haute handmade’.

Jerome Daksiewicz / NOMO Design: Jerome, a Chicago-based architect and graphic designer, has a collection of prints that celebrates airport runways from around the world. This gent is also a Kickstarter champ, with a few successful campaigns under his belt.

They’re ridiculously good at what they do. Right in the middle, you have Sonia Scarr, whose original designs are as functional as they are beautiful. When I started to blog back in 2009, I knew I wanted to focus on the global handmade community. Etsy made it easy to find makers to feature, and I soon discovered that there were a lot of talented makers and artists out there who get lost in the shuffle. As more e-commerce platforms started to emerge, I realized that makers needed a platform that was solely dedicated to showcasing the best of modern craft and I wanted my blog, which eventually became, to be such a platform. I spend countless hours searching through all the major e-commerce platforms and on social media, looking for artists that match my ‘modern handmade’ aesthetic. Makers these days need more than just a great product line. They need social media and they should also be including active blogging in their marketing strategy. I call it the Handmade Trifecta and I’m glad to see more and more makers embracing this model. Brett Torrey is an artist, blogger and an advocate for the handmade community living in Hawaii. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and read his blog at IAMTHELAB.COM.

Robert & Brenda Zurn / DAMM Design: I personally believe that this dynamic duo is producing some of the most innovative lighting on the web. The HOMBRE and the FUVEA are standouts.

Noah Marion Quality Goods: I have one of his wallets that Noah made for me while I was visiting him in Austin, TX this year. It’s beyond perfect. Noah’s collection, as I mentioned, is primo.


by Brett Torrey

Caridad Isabel Barragan Barragan Paintings: I love digital art, but my first passion has always been painting. Caridad is based out of Umbra, Italy and I just adore her work. They’re the kind of pieces that bring warmth to any space. She also offers classes in Italy that I would love to take.

Nicole Deponte Lillian Asterfield: If you want to see what upcycled done right looks like, you have got to see Nicole’s Lillian Asterfield shop. What she does with old ties blows my mind. She just recently introduced a line of fringe bracelets that are a LAB favorite for fall.

Michèle Guevara: Crocheted jewelry finds its modern interpretation with Michele’s collection. What she creates from her Toronto studio will blow your mind. Her attention to detail is incredible and her designs are so fresh and current.

Anna Alicia Johnston / A Alicia Hand Made Accessories: London-based Anna Alicia is an artist I’ve watched for years now, and I’m a huge fan of her ceramic jewelry. It’s the best of both worlds: expertly made ceramic art and jewelry. How can you go wrong?

Brett’s Top Tips for Buying Handmade Online • Remember that handmade goods take time to produce. This is especially so for solo makers. I’ve seen some pretty insensitive exchanges on social media in the past few months that reminds me that folks don’t always understand that many items are made-to-order. My advice: be patient. The end product is usually worth the wait. • Request customization if you want it. A lot of makers are open to customizing their products, so feel free to kindly ask. • Don’t be afraid to purchase from international sellers. I’m all about supporting local economies and makers, but there are just too many talented creators out there to limit yourself to one location. • Connect with makers on social media. Most makers and artists advertise their sales on social media these days and I’ve found some amazing deals that way. Also, sign up for the newsletters for favorite designers. It’s a great way to find out what’s on sale and in limited supply.

Shelly Martin / Vitrified Studio Shelley makes some of the most sublime pottery on the web and she is a master at social media marketing. The colors and hues she uses in her collection, produced in Portland, OR., are warm and inviting and her unique designs are timeless.


GURU Whoever said “no one likes a know-it-all� never met a Cookie Guru. Everyone should have Cookie Guru in their email signature and leave a trail of sugar lips in their wake. Cookies blanket your home with the aroma of love, turn dull moments into cherished memories, and make fast friends out of strangers. Cookie Gurus make the world a better place.















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Ingredients: • 1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature • 1 cup of granulated white sugar • 2 medium egg yolks • 1 teaspoon of vanilla (or almond) extract • 2 cups of all purpose flour • pinch of salt Instructions: 1. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed in a stand mixer until the mixture is fully blended. 2. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, taking care to scrape down the sides to evenly blend the mixture before adding the extract. 3. In a dry bowl, mix the flour and salt, then gradually combine to the butter mixture on a low speed until you have a consistent cookie batter. 4. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for an hour in the fridge before creating the perfect cookie.

use this recipe for these cookies and the next 3 pages! 23

ONE DOUGH NINE WAYS Shapes, glorious shapes… so many shapes to choose from that you need loads of cookie batter to cut each one. Mix it up with traditional shapes decorated with holiday themes and holiday shapes for simple decorations. If you’re old enough to hold a cookie cutter in your hand, you’re old enough to create holiday magic; just roll, cut and frost. BASIC BAKING INSTRUCTIONS: Bake at 350˚F for 12 -15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow your cookies to rest on the tray for 3 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely. ROYAL ICING STARS For the icing combine 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, ¼ cup milk, 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, and ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract in a bowl. Use a piping bag made from parchment paper or a plastic storage bag with a small opening cut from one corner to make an outline around the cookie shape. Let the outline harden (about 30 minutes). Thin the icing with just a few drops of water and spoon some into the drawn shape. Spread it out with a toothpick to meet the edges of the outline. While it is still wet add silver dragees. Allow icing to harden before serving. CHOCOLATE SWIRLS Melt 1 cup of dark chocolate. Use a piping bag made from parchment paper or a plastic storage bag with a small opening cut from one corner to make an outline with the chocolate around the cookie shape. Fill the outline with thinned royal icing. While it is still wet, pipe melted chocolate in horizontal lines across the cookies. Use a toothpick to drag through the icing and the chocolate, alternating up and down strokes. RUM RAISIN Make royal icing from above substituting rum extract for the vanilla extract. Use a piping bag made from parchment paper or a plastic storage bag with a small opening cut from one corner to make an outline around the cookie shape with royal icing (we colored ours). Stir ¼ cup of finely chopped raisins into thinned icing. Fill in the outlines with the thinned icing. Top with candies as desired.

Roll & Cut


Hand Shape

GURU ONE DOUGH NINE WAYS Roll it, bend it, twist it. Get your hands dirty and make holiday magic happen one cookie at a time. Crescents, thumb prints, candy cane twists... there are endless possibilities when you start shaping your cookies by hand. Mix it up by adding a splash of coloring to your dough or keep it traditional and let the flavors make them pop. BASIC BAKING INSTRUCTIONS: Bake at 350˚F for 12 -15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow your cookies to rest on the tray for 3 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely. PINWHEELS Separate two equal balls of dough. Add red food dye to one ball and knead it in (just until fully blended). Roll the balls out into a rectangle shape about 6 inches wide and 12 inches long, ¼ inch thick. Stack the two rectangles together and roll them together tightly starting with the long edge. Wrap the resulting 12 inch long log tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. Remove the plastic wrap and cut into ½ inch rounds with a sharp knife. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake using basic baking instructions. HAZELNUT THUMBPRINTS Use a small cookie scoop to divide dough into a dozen balls. Roll gently and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Gently press the center down with your thumb. Bake using basic baking instructions. When cooled add a small dollop of chocolate hazelnut spread and top with a few chopped, toasted hazelnuts. COOKIE FRIES Press dough through a ricer with square holes. Place strips on a parchment lined sheet in a single layer. Separate strips with at least 1 inch between each. Bake using basic baking instructions. Serve in a small container with your favorite topping.


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ONE DOUGH NINE WAYS Let us count the ways…. berry, minty, salty, citrusy, gingery, chocolatey, coconutty, spicy, tangy…. get the idea? Once you start dreaming of your favorite cookie filling, there is no stopping how glorious these bites can be. BASIC BAKING INSTRUCTIONS: Bake at 350˚F for 12 -15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow your cookies to rest on the tray for 3 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely. COCONUT CREAM You will need ¾ cup of shredded sweet coconut and 1 cup of vanilla butter cream frosting. Roll the basic sugar cookie dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out 12 circles with a cookie cutter. Slather on a generous portion of vanilla butter cream frosting on to the top of the cookie base, then top with the second cookie. Press down so that the creamy buttercream oozes slightly out of the sandwich and then roll along a bed of coconut. PEPPERMINT CREAM You will need ½ cup of crushed peppermints and 1 cup of vanilla butter cream frosting. Roll the basic sugar cookie dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out 12 circles with a cookie cutter. Slather on a generous portion of vanilla butter cream frosting on to the top of the cookie base, then top with the second cookie. Press down so that the creamy buttercream oozes slightly out of the sandwich and then roll the edge in a shallow bowl of crushed peppermints. LAZY LINZERS You will need ¾ cup of your favorite jam and ½ cup of confectioners’ sugar. Roll the basic sugar cookie dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out 24 small squares with a cookie cutter. Spread jam onto the back of one of the cookies and top with another. Lay the sandwiched cookies on a tray and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.







top tips for a great cookie party

top tips for getting cookies right

1. Keep an eye on guest count. Consider your kitchen and how many people it will accommodate and build your guest count around that. 2. Select your recipes in advance. Knowing how many people will be attending and what you will be baking allows you to buy the ingredients ahead of time, ensuring that the focus is on the baking and not on the logistics. 3. Create recipe invites. Rather than sending out a standard invitation, send a post card with one of the recipes printed on the front to give them a hint of what is to come and a keepsake for future baking adventures. 4. BYO. If you do not have enough measuring cups, mixing bowls, baking sheets, parchment paper and other essential tools for baking, ask guests to BYO to the party. Or better yet, give each guest a baking bundle as a party gift. 5. Opt out of hostess gifts. Rather than accept a hostess gift, ask your guests to bring their favorite recipe printed on a card for each guest attending. It will keep the theme of the night focused on baking, and give your guests an added take away at the end of the night. 6. Create baking stations. An hour before your guests arrive, set up baking stations with all the ingredients and recipes on hand to ensure that there are no delays in the baking process. 7. Compile a holiday play list. Everyone loves to cook to music, and creating a play list of festive holiday songs is a great way to get everyone in the holiday baking spirit. 8. Serve a party punch. Set up a serving station with a slow cooker filled with mulled wine and allow your guests to help themselves. 9. Serve baked goods. Set up a baking bar with cookies, mini pies and holiday breads that keep your guests sweet tooth at bay and make snacking easy for your guests. 10. Send off. Be sure to have plenty of baking boxes, gift bags, parchment paper, jute twine and other supplies needed to wrap up the baked goods and take them home.

1. Measure accurately. Use a kitchen scale with grams for accurate and consistent results. 2. Ingredient temperatures matter. Butter and eggs at room temperature affect your recipe differently than those that are chilled. Plan ahead. 3. Use an oven thermometer. Ovens vary in accuracy. Get and use a thermometer to make sure you have the right temperature. 4. REALLY cream butter and sugar. When the recipe says ‘until the butter is light and fluffy’ it means it. Room temperature butter and sugar will fluff up in just a few minutes. Be patient. 5. Start with quality ingredients. The best ingredients produce the best cookies. Eggs and butter? Sure, but don’t skimp on vanilla or maple. Choose the best quality you can afford for the best results. 6. Let your dough chill. Most doughs can benefit from hours or overnight in the fridge. Flavors meld. 7. Rotate trays while baking. Bake two trays at once with racks in the center third of the oven. Rotate the trays and swap them at least once at the halfway mark. I sometimes do this twice depending on baking time. 8. Use baker’s dozen format. Arrange cookies in 3-23-2-3 format for a baker’s dozen. 9. Transfer to cooling racks. Do not leave cookies on tray to cool. The heat will make them cook more. Move right away or wait a minute if cookies are soft. 10. Note baking times. Write the actual baking time on your recipe for future reference. They are often wrong. 11. Don’t crowd the cookies. Make sure cookies have elbow room on the tray so they can be cooked by dry heat. 12. Avoid overmixing. This is the cause of many a tough cookie. Just mix until it’s moist. That’s it. 13. Check doneness with fingers. You can’t always see lightly browned. Learn to judge for doneness with your fingers in the center (a bit soft) and on the edges (slightly harder or crispy). 14. Cool completely before storing. Warm cookies in an airtight container lead to soggy cookies. So there. 15. Get the scoop. For consistent results, use a cookie scoop.



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MAKING 7 SPICE 2 tablespoons black pepper 2 tablespoons paprika 2 tablespoons ground cumin 1 tablespoon ground coriander 1 tablespoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

7 SPICE CORNMEAL COOKIES Ingredients: • 1 ¾ cup flour • 1 teaspoon baking soda • 1 cup cornmeal • ½ teaspoon salt

• 1 tablespoon 7 spice • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened • 1 ¼ cups sugar • 2 large eggs • ¾ cups currants

Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 350­­­˚F. 2. Sift together flour, soda, cornmeal, salt, and 7 spice in a medium bowl. Whisk to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated. 3. Place butter and sugar in mixing bowl and cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). 4. Add eggs one at a time and mix completely after each. 5. Add dry ingredients and mix on low just until combined. Add currants and mix just until combined. 6. Use a spoon or medium size cookie scoop to place rounded dough balls on parchment lined sheets at least 2 inches apart. 7. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. 8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on tray for 2 minutes before moving to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

TUXEDO COOKIE Ingredients: Cookie: • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened • ⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar • ⅔ cup flour • ¼ cup cornstarch • ⅓ cup unsweetened baking cocoa • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips for garnish Cream: • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softnened • 4 oz mascarpone cheese • 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar • ½ teaspoon vanilla Instructions: Cookie: 1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. 2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. 3. Sift the flour, cornstarch, and cocoa over the butter/sugar. 4. Mix until well combined to form a dough. 5. Roll out dough to a thickness of ⅛ to ¼ inch on a lightly floured surface. 6. Cut out cookies with a square cutter and bake on a parchment lined sheet for 12-15 minutes. 7. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. 8. Fill with mascarpone cream and press sides in mini chips to coat. Cream: 1. Beat the butter in a medium bowl until smooth. 2. Add the mascarpone cheese and blend until well combined and smooth. 3. Add the sugar and vanilla and blend until smooth (about 2 min). Refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

RUM SHORTBREAD WITH DATE FILLING Ingredients: Shortbread: • ½ cup powdered sugar • ⅓ cup chopped pecans • 1 cup butter, softened • 2 tablespoons rum • ½ teaspoon vanilla • 2 cups flour • ½ teaspoon baking powder • ¼ teaspoon salt

Filling: • 1 cup sugar • 3 tablespoons corn starch • 1 ¼ cups water • 2 tablespoons rum • ⅔ cup finely chopped pecans • 1 cup finely chopped dates • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon • ¼ teaspoon allspice • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg • dash salt

Instructions: Shortbread: 1. In a food processor grind the pecans with the powdered sugar until finely minced (about a minute). 2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together butter, rum and vanilla. Add pecan mixture and combine thouroughly. 3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. 4. Add flour mixture to wet mixture gradually and combined completely. 5. Separate dough into two equal parts and roll into logs about 9 or 10 inches long. Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. 6. Preheat oven to 375˚F. 7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 8. Remove the dough from the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and cut ¼ inch slices. Place slices on the tray. 9. Bake for 10-12 minutes rotating the tray half way through. Edges should be very lightly browned. 10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least 3 minutes before attempting to move. 11. Move to wire cooling rack and cool completely before filling. Filling: 1. Place sugar, cornstarch, and ¼ cup of the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. 2. Add remaining water, rum, nuts, dates, and spices. Cook over medium low heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently. 3. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool. Cool completely to room temperature before filling cookies. 4. Fill cookies by matching up sizes as closely as possible and putting together in pairs. Turn one of the cookies over and place a teaspoonful of filling in the center. Place the other cookie on top and press carefully, but firmly to distribute the filling evenly. 5. Store in an airtight container. 30



aving the proper tool for the task at hand can be critical. This is true of many tasks including baking cookies. You can utilize shortcuts and substitute tools, but it will produce less successful results. The good news is once you have your arsenal built, the tools are very sturdy and easy to maintain. They should last for many years. SAM HENDERSON


Measuring spoons - I prefer to use a set with several increments. I like the narrow sort that will fit into spice jars. Measuring cups – I keep a set with several sizes for dry ingredients and a graduated liquid measuring cup. Rubber or silicone spatula – The kind that Rachel Ray calls “spoonula” is my favorite. Wire whisk – You can decide whether you want it to be coated, but keep one of these on hand for uniformly incorporating dry ingredients into flour before mixing into the wet ingredients. Aluminum rolled rim pans – These pans are a workhorse for commercial or home use. I keep several in my home kitchen. Find these at a restaurant supply store for far less than a regular retailer. Parchment paper – This stuff is like magic! You can use one sheet for several batches until it starts to brown. Then you just discard it. I don’t remember the last time I greased a cookie sheet or scrubbed off baked-on dough. Aluminum foil - Not every cookie is baked on parchment paper. Foil is perfect for those that will have a crispier bottom. Use the dull side up for some (but not too much) reflection. Metal spatula – I prefer metal to plastic because of the tight edge. Beyond that, the plastic edges tend to erode with use. Oven mitt – I think this is obvious. Wire cooling rack – Cookies generally need to be taken off of their cookie sheet shortly after coming out of the oven. This will prevent further cooking and drying out. Choose a rack that raises the cookies a little off of the counter. Cookie scoop – Scoops come in a variety of sizes. Choose one or two that will produce at least a small and medium cookie. They will make sure you get consistent results and cookies of uniform size. Rolling pin – This is a necessity for rolled cookies. Really every kitchen should have one for a variety of reasons. Basic cutters – While you may wish to stock up on other basic shapes, a circle cutter is a must. Buy a biscuit cutter and it will serve double duty. Sifter – Sifting is often required for baking. The weight of a cup of flour can vary significantly based on settling and packing. Sifting breaks up clumps and makes measuring more consistent and uniform. Scale (with grams) - If you want to make those cookies exactly the same the next time this is essential. Convert any recipes you have that don’t already list grams to make your life easier and get consistent results. Mixing Bowls - Don’t romanticize the nostalgic looking ceramic bowls from Williams Sonoma. Think light weight. You are going to have to man handle them, after all. I use super light stainless steel bowls and a stack of thin plastic dollar store ones. Seriously, a stack for under $10.


You may already have many, if not all, of these items in your kitchen. They are basic, but these tools produce consistently good results. Oh, I have been lured like so many others by shiny new products filled with promise. However, there is something to be said for tried and true. The only exception I will make is in terms of a mixer. Many cookie recipes can be (and some should be) accomplished with a wooden spoon and a very strong arm or a 20-yearold hand held drug store mixer (experience talking here). I make dozens of cookies every month. For my money and time, there is nothing more valuable than a stand mixer. It is not required, but can make cookie baking so much easier.


essentials pantry raid: cookie essentials all purpose flour baking soda baking powder dutch cocoa powder baking chocolate chocolate chips white chocolate chips cinnamon ginger butter eggs salt walnuts almonds pecans espresso powder orange liqueur amaretto crystallized ginger cardamom vanilla extract rum extract peppermint extract confectioners’ sugar granulated sugar brown sugar molasses figs raisins assorted peppercorns coconut oil honey almond flour almond milk almond paste jam


TRADITION Every family has a similar but uniquely different holiday tradition. Traditions bring with them a certain anticipation that builds as the moment gets closer. It is familiar, comforting and over time, becomes the fabric of who we are. They inspire authentic memories, knowing glances and an almost ritual motion from the participants.






hristmas is a sensory experience, and when you break it all down to sight, sound, touch, taste and aroma, there is not a single element of this festive season that cannot be traced back to the Christmas tree. As our family grows, so too does our Christmas tree tradition. What started with a simple “My Tree” and “The Family Tree” tradition, soon became a “Yours”, “Mine” and “Ours” tree collection.

with my husband, made me giddy with anticipation to rekindle the tradition my mother started and share it with our children. Knowing that the salt dough process can take a weekend to go from start to finish, we looked for other edible tree projects that we could double up on to make the entire weekend dedicated to trimming the tree that would bring us together as a family. No longer a home with a “My Tree” and a “Your Tree”, rooted somewhere between tradition and accident “Our” tree became a significant event in our Christmas celebration. Focused around the kitchen table where our modern life slows to a space in time where the clock stops ticking and memories are made in a room that triggers the five senses. Gingerbread wafts through the air, gumdrops linger on the tastebuds, salty fingers carefully crafting, eyes watching as the family comes together and tradition and laughter lingers between us. We don’t care what the tree looks like, or who hangs what. We only care that we are there, in the moment, embracing our Christmas tradition.

Mine because it is only glanced upon from a distance and comes with a ‘do not touch’ unspoken warning that quite possibly is the most OCD display of my personality — I spend hours making sure that everything is evenly spaced, correctly hung and trimmed to the point of a coordinated headache. Yours because the children have complete control over how to decorate their 4 foot tree that is bursting with color and personality (not to mention a tinsel garland that I hope one day will become discarded. We got along quite happily with this tradition until one night, after few bottles of wine, the idea of an edible tree was born. My husband Alex and I knew that at a certain point the magic of Santa would fade away and we wanted to be sure that when it did, there was plenty of magic to keep the festivities memorable and full of anticipation. At every turn the conversation became animated with talk of our childhood Christmas memories, and at the core were the moments we shared at our kitchen table. For him it was board games and hanging chocolate coins on the tree, for me it was making salt dough.


As a child, my mother would gather my brother and I around the kitchen table for a night spent making salt dough ornaments. My mother, whose artistic talents have never stopped amazing me, would create these brilliant hand crafted ornaments, while my brother and I fumbled with the cookie cutters that resulted in wonky stars and imperfect snowmen. The table would fill with laughter. Our fingertips would be dry and salty from the dough and the anticipation of hanging them would fill the air. I remember the concept of making ornaments when you could buy better ones at the store being both exciting and curious at the same time, that beaming pride of seeing yours hung on the tree, and of the care my mother took to make a weekend event of the whole process. Somewhere between being a curious child and a feisty teenager, that memory was all but forgotten, but sitting there sharing this memory 36

TRADITION “Our fingertips would be dry and salty from the dough and the anticipation of hanging them would fill the air.”

SALT DOUGH Ingredients: • 1/2 cup of table salt • 1/2 cup of warm water • 1 cup of all purpose flour

Instructions: 1. In a dry mixing bowl add the salt and the flour and mix until fully blended, then add the water and knead until the surface is soft and smooth. Roll into a large ball and portion out smaller balls to each person making ornaments. Cover with a slightly damp cloth to keep the unused balls from drying out while you are busy creating. Either opt for the simple option of rolling out the dough into thin slabs and cut with a cookie cutter to create your shapes, or get busy sculpting more elaborate decorations. 2. Once your ornaments are complete, place a toothpick at the top of each ornament to create the hole needed to string it later. Bake at 200˚F for 4-6 hours to completely evaporate the moisture from the dough. Once dry, use acrylic paint to decorate, then spray with clear varnish to seal the ornament and give it a bit of holiday shine. Essential Tools: • parchment paper, great for using as a worktop surface that can be transferred ripht on to a baking sheet • rolling pin • cookie cutters, Play-dough equipment, potato ricer, butter knives, forks, and anything that you can think of to give your ornament a little razzle dazzle • toothpicks or wooden skewers to pierce a hole • various baking sheets • acrylic paints, paint brushes and cupcake wrappers to use as paint pots • clear varnish • ribbon, wire, or string to hang your ornament


GINGERBREAD MEN Ingredients: • 5 ½cups all-purpose flour, more if needed • 1 teaspoon baking soda • ¾ teaspoon salt • 2 teaspoons ground ginger • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg • Pinch of ground cloves, optional • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature • 1 cup packed light brown sugar • 1 large egg, at room temperature • 1 cup unsulfured molasses • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Instructions: 1. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed in a stand mixer until smooth, and then add the molasses and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. 2. Add the vanilla, and beat again for a minute to fully blend the batter. Then stir in the dry mixture 1 cup at a time, blending until smooth. The dough should gather into a semi-firm mass. If it’s not firm, gradually add a tablespoon of flour, but avoid over flouring it so that it turns crumbly. 3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, then divide in half. Flatten each half into discs and wrap in plastic before refrigerating for 2 hours or up to 1 week. 4. Preheat oven to 350° F. 5. On a floured surface, roll each disc to ⅛ inch thick. Use gingerbread-man cutters to make shapes. Transfer them to a large, parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart and bake until firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. 6. Cool slightly before transferring to a rack.

make enough to account for mischievous helpers. 38

TRADITION “We don’t care what the tree looks like, or who hangs what. We only care that we are there, in the moment, embracing our Christmas tradition.”

CANDIES Anything goes when it comes to a candy garland. Keep it bright, playful and colorful and skip all the worry about how it will look on your tree. In our house, we keep our edible tree as fun as possible. After all, this is the children’s tree so we love how creative they get with stringing garlands. Our only problem is having enough candy on hand to keep the garlands growing, because making candy garlands is hungry work. Various candy: Swedish Fish, Gumdrops, Gummy Animals, Lifesaver, really anything that either has a hole or a is soft enough to pierce with a needle. Dental Floss Needle Thread your needle with dental floss and pierce each candy to begin stringing them, moving the pieces slowly in to place and taking care not to tear the candy as you move the needle through them. Cold candy works best as it makes it slightly more solid and less tacky to work with. Once you have 3-4 inches of dental floss left, tie it to another piece, thread the new piece and begin again. Once you have completed your garland, trim the loose strands of dental floss and hang on your tree, across your windows, or any place that needs a sweet touch…but avoid anyplace that offers a heat source; the last thing you need is a melted candy dripping on your floor.

OTHER GARLAND OPTIONS: • fresh cranberries • cinnamon sticks • mini pomander balls • dried fruit • Fruit Loops or Cherrios for tiny fingers • cookie garlands • dried herb garland

thwe options are endless. a g o n w h e e mini marshml apallsotwas?? tiny donuts?

STRINGING POPCORN Nothing smells as grand as freshly popped popcorn. It practically breathes life into a dull moment and makes everyone giddy with anticipation for that first bite. Just seeing popcorn makes people smile, and more so when it is strung up and adorning a Christmas tree. The tradition of a popcorn garland started in Europe when people would adorn their trees with nuts, fruit and popped corn so that the birds could thrive in the long winters. This practice has faded over the years in Europe, but continues to thrive in America. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t long for a popcorn garland, or have a memory of making one. Supplies: • bowl of fresh popcorn, from the kernel and void of any buttery nonsense • white thread • needle Instructions: 1. Thread your needle long enough that you can string the popcorn, but not too long that you get tangled in the process. 2. Pierce each piece of popcorn gently and begin stringing them, moving the pieces slowly and carefully into place. This is a delicate process, so set aside plenty of time to take it slow. 3. Once you have 3-4 inches of thread left, tie it to another piece, thread the new piece and begin again. When you have completed your garland, trim the loose strands of thread and hang on your tree. When Christmas is over, don’t toss the garland, rather, place it on a tree outside. The birds will love you for it.

DRIED FRUIT The beauty of dried fruit is that it keeps all season and gives your edible tree an authentic feel. This is a long, lazy afternoon project, perfect for a day when all you want to do is put on cozy socks, sip hot cocoa, and unwind by the oven. There is no end to how creative you can get with dried fruit; you can accent with nuts, herbs or spices, or stick to a color theme by using just oranges, lemons and pale pears. One thing is true of this craft, it’s not an inexpensive undertaking, you will need pounds of fruit to make this perfect, so plan your other kitchen crafts around it and use the trimmings to make scented pouches, or pies. Supplies: • assorted apples, pears, and oranges, thinly sliced in the middle to ensure an even slice • upholstery needle • twine, or unwaxed/unscented dental floss • cookie rack • baking sheet sheet Instructions: 1. Slice fruit into ¼ inch slices, through the center of the fruit. 2. Place sliced fruit on a cookie rack on top of a cookie sheet. 3. Bake at 175-200˚F degrees for five to six hours, taking care to remove each slice of fruit once it is visibly dry. Then allow to cool at room temperature before threading. 4. Use the needle and about 10 inches of thread or floss to make a hanger for the dried fruit. Tie the ends to make a loop.


Texas GATHER ’Tis the season to be a merrymaker and spread holiday hootenanny, so chill the Champers, mull that wine and bring good tidings to all who pass through your door. Whether you are planning a gala bash or a last minute soiree we are opening the box on party planning, cocktail mixing and a mischievous dose of advice you shouldn’t take too seriously.


outdoor entertaining with Southern Living’s Kimberly Schlegel Whitman

story and interview by CORYANNE ETTIENE styling by KIMBERLY SCHLEGEL WHITMAN photography by JOHN CAIN


ver the years Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and I have been exchanging tweets and Instagram greetings, but like all things in the social media world, friendship chemistry only ignites when you meet in real life. And as I sit across from her at lunch, I feel like I am sitting with an old friend. I’m drawn to her relaxed charm and grace despite having just returned home after a series of projects as the Editor at Large for Southern Living, and wrapping up the final details of her new book. Her attention to detail and her entertaining style is what makes her unique in a sea of experts and I could not wait to dig deeper into what inspires her style and approach to entertaining. B9: What inspired this table top and what elements are your favorite? KS: It typically starts with one item that will inspire the entire table. In this case it was the cloth. I found this beautiful old textile at ABC Carpet and Home in New York but I have found similar things at estate sales. This one called out to be outside so I hauled out a folding table and started to get set! Our big oak tree seemed like the perfect cover and setting and there.

Author, Editor at Large for Southern Living, and lifestyle expert. Read more about what inspires Kim on Buy Kim’s book, The Party Planner for more great ideas on how to make everyday occasions remarkable events.


Bonus - it is right off the kitchen so it is easy to get the food out! I wanted to include gourds and pumpkins but I didn’t want to get into oranges and greens so I stuck with whites, wheats and creams for the centerpieces. I also wanted to pull out the deep rich reds in the cloth so I added a few pomegranates and figs. The china is a bit odd which is why I like it. My husband and I bought it on a trip so it has some sentimental value, too. It is a modern take on very traditional designs. B9: What are your tips for entertaining outdoors when the weather gets cooler? KS: This cooler weather is my favorite after our hot Texas falls! Throw blankets and wraps on the backs of the chairs so that, when the sun goes down, your guests can add layers. I also love to serve warm soups and ciders. The temperature, taste and the fragrance will warm the heart, too. We also have an outdoor fireplace which is the perfect place for both pre-dinner drinks and post-dinner desserts. B9: What tiny details do you love adding to your tables? KS: I always scrounge around my house for little things to add. I’ve added little trays and boxes from my vanity before and filled them with flowers. I grabbed the “starburst” on this tablescape from it’s perch on our living room coffee table and moved it to the table for a touch of something extra. B9: How do you store all of your table top items? KS: We renovated our kitchen last year and that was my main concern in our new design. More cabinet space! I have lots of deep cabinets and flexible shelf heights so that I have room to store my obsessions. I can’t seem to stop collecting! I place felt disks between each plate when they are stacked so that they don’t scratch each other and I have narrow drawers lined in silver cloth for the serving pieces. B9: If you could chose any 1 person, living or dead to attend a dinner party — who would you invite, and who would join them? KS: Oh wow! Love this question! Number one for me is always Dolly Parton. She is so positive and encouraging and she makes everyone around her feel good and isn’t that how you want all of your guests to feel at a dinner party? The rest of the crew would be my darling friends and family that I don’t get to see nearly as much as I would like to. I wish I had more time with my favorite people. Life is way too busy these days!

Kimberly’s Top Tips Napkins on the tray instead of at the seat... this comes from my friend in Paris who always hosts the most elaborate and amazing dinner parties - I mean - Marie Antoinette would be jealous of his table! At one dinner he forgot to put out the napkins so his server brought the napkins out on a silver tray and passed them to each guest. The guests ooooohhhed and aaahhhhed at the gesture so my friend told a little white lie and said that was how Napoleon used to do it. He was joking but everyone believed it so he just stuck to his story. Now he does it at every dinner party! When I was setting this table, I couldn’t figure out where to put the napkins so that they didn’t distract from the interesting plates so I thought - I’ll pull out the tray! Move it around... I love my dining room but when I to mix it up, I turn to my trusty stash of folding tables in my garage. Pulling them out is easy and it inspires me to do different things with my table setting. This was the first time in the seven years we have lived in this house that we set the table up in this spot! I loved it and it is my new favorite area!





CONVERSATION STARTERS We’re all about getting to know the people at our tables better, and the more creative you get with your dinner party conversation, the more you learn about each other. Toss out the small talk and make room for conversation starters. Pick 2-3 that you just love and put them in your play book at your next party.



What is your favorite holiday tradition?


Where was the last place you went on vacation?

Goodbye ugly sweater… Shake things up this holiday season with a movie themed party your guests won’t be expecting.

What is the best Christmas present you have received?

The Grinch: Encourage your guests to embrace the crazy HooVille hair styles and garish holiday colors to create the perfect holiday dress up party. And by all means, be sure to serve roast beast. A Christmas Story: We caution against daring your guests to stick their tongue on a lamp post, and instead order Chinese take out, spend $40 on a leg lamp and make it the focal point of your buffet table, and keep Ralphie’s mother happy by serving plenty of wine.

If you could be famous, what would you be famous for?

Christmas Vacation Party: Buy a dozen moose mugs and set up an eggnog station and encourage all your guests to come dressed as their favorite character. For a real party kick, greet each guest with Aunt Bethany’s jello, shot version of course, we can’t have you serving cat food can we?

I know every word to the song ___________.

If you could have a private concert, who would you have play? And where would it be?

Elf Party: The perfect family friendly party…..Go crazy with paper chains and paper cutouts, even go as far as setting up a snowflake table and let your guests get in on the action. No Elf party is complete without a candy bar or a hot cocoa station. It goes without saying that everyone should come dressed as an elf.

I could quote the movie ___________ ‘till it bored you.

Bad Santa Party: If you prefer to be more naughty than nice, this is the party theme for you. Invite your guests to come dressed as Bad Santa Grotto characters, and then set up a Grotto photo both and pass around a polaroid camera so your guests can embrace the Bad Santa spirit. Serve plenty of strong cocktails, bar food and let the naughty take hold.




If you had a time machine, would you go back in time, or towards the future?

What is the first thing you do when you get home from work?





If they made a Hollywood film about your life, who would play you?




WORST CASE SCENARIO 1. My guests won’t leave. How do I get them to leave without just pushing them out the door? CE Turn off the Christmas lights, turn on the indoor lights, shut off the music and start doing the dishes. If that doesn’t work, open the door, the chill will get them moving to someplace warmer in no time. SH Go put on your pajamas. Blast some opera music. If that doesn’t work, start cleaning. That always scares people off. 2. Someone tagged me drunk at a party last year. How do I avoid this happening again? CE Smile and ask to see their phone, then spill your drink on it by accident; in all seriousness, just tell them you would prefer not to be tagged. People get that, and if they don’t you can always unfriend them, but that is so 2004. SH Tell any suspected taggers that you can’t explain why, but anyone known to be associating with you could be in grave danger. Grave danger? Is there any other kind? 3. Someone just broke a family heirloom. What do I do? CE Short of falling on the floor and weeping for the whole party to see, there is nothing you can do. If you’re hosting party, and booze or small children are involved, accidents happen. Next time be more prepared. SH Weep… a lot…like the kind that makes you gasp for short breaths. Seriously, what can you do besides be prepared? Don’t shame anybody (outwardly). 4. An uninvited, and rather annoying guest arrived. What the hell do I do? CE Unless you are a cast member of the Real Housewives, smile, offer them and drink, and consider it free entertainment. SH Ask them to help you clean something (see #1). 5. No one is talking. How do I resuscitate this train wreck? CE Play social ping pong and bounce around the room introducing everyone if you are hosting a cocktail party. Failing that, turn up the music and hope that a good play list will save the day. If you are at a seated dinner party, have a few conversation starters printed on the back of your place setting. SH Pick the most animated person in the group and ask them something about themselves. Everyone likes to talk about themselves. Don’t have anyone animated in the group? Get new friends. 6. The ugly sweater party theme was canceled, and I’m the only one with a crappy sweater on..? CE You and Bridget Jones appear to have the same luck. Own it, darling. If anything, anyone new you meet at the party will remember you so be on your best behavior. SH Fly your freak flag, and don’t get near any open flames… until you get home. Then put that sweater directly in the fire and never buy another one. 7. I know that the food is going to suck. Can I pack a snack? CE No. Not if your life depends on it. But take a leaf from my book, eat beforehand and play musical food. Take lots of small bites and talk like you’ve never talked before… that way you can blame the great conversation and not the bad food on your full plate. SH Only if you want to go down in infamous flames. Nobody will EVER forget that you brought your own food. Take ‘no thank you’ helpings of just about everything and plenty of what you like. Pray for a cheese and olive plate. 8. I keep getting unwanted advances from a guest. What do I do? CE Rub a little lipstick on your teeth and smile like you’re on Broadway. If that doesn’t work, surround yourself with people and keep a pack mentality at the party. No one likes to be shot down in front of a group of witnesses. SH Try not to be so damned charming. If that fails, introduce your stalker to someone new, get a conversation started, and walk away. 9. A guest is really drunk, like totally drunk. How do I get them to leave before they puke on my carpets? CE Honesty hurts, but it also works. Dilute their glass to nearly all water and tell them they are drunk. Then order them a cab. A good friend stops the problem before it splashes out before them. SH Ugh! This one is the worst! Just put on your big girl party panties and deal with them. Take their keys, cut them off or water down any other drinks, and keep them distracted until you can get someone to help them home.





skip the f1owers and make a doughnut tree instead for your holiday brunch


Somewhere between endless evening invitations and the long, lingering holiday lunches we all love stands the neglected hour where rules are forgotten. Sugar dusted donuts and savory bacon linger on the same plate. Strong coffee and cocktails perch side by side, while the sound of children giggling and grown ups talking waft over the table. This is the witching hour where anything is possible and entertaining is easy. Everyone’s sweet tooth is satisfied, savory delights are dished up by the spoonful and time stands still between morning and afternoon. The holidays are not complete without a family brunch, especially when there is a donut tree involved. I really wanted a donut tree for no other reason than I did not want flowers. With a neutral theme, a hoard of pinecones from the thrift store, and a long forgotten bag of crafting snow, the idea of a golden winter forest started taking shape with the sugar donut tree as the focal point. Sometimes the best ideas come from a pile of junk, which is why I adore this table — it is a table of “misfit toys” brought together to create the perfect holiday brunch table.

FOR THE TREE: You’ll need 10 minutes, a big stack of toothpicks, 2 dozen donut holes and a foam cone to make a donut tree. Start by positioning your foam cone into place, then insert a toothpick into a donut hole, and position at the bottom of the cone, working your way around the base of the cone upwards until the cone is covered in donuts.



for Spontaneous Entertaining this Holiday Season. by Party BluPrints We’ve asked our favorite party planning duo, Party BluPrints, for their top tips on spontaneous entertaining this holiday season, because let’s face it, some of the best parties are parties that just spring to life at a moment’s notice. 1. Make an area of your home pop-up party ready. Prepare an “entertaining space” in your home that’s prepped for holiday visitors who pop in for a surprise visit. Your advance effort gives you the freedom to spontaneously entertain and enjoy casually celebrating the holiday season. 2. Stock a supply of ingredients for a simple go-to menu that you feel confident cooking at a moment’s notice. Hint: Pasta is quick and easy. You can also keep a few casseroles in the freezer for entertaining a crowd. 3. Create a “Cocktail Caddy” filled with cocktail napkins and forks, appetizer plates, stirrers, festive straws and picks. It’s perfect to pull out for last minute get-togethers or casual holiday entertaining. 4. Pack your pantry with non-perishable essentials for an impromptu or a casual cocktail party. Snacks like nuts, crackers, olives, breadsticks, a nice wedge of Parmesan cheese, pepperoni/salami, and chocolate are perfect for noshing and nibbling. Also, keep a supply of sparkling water, your favorite bubbly, wine, beer, and martini makings on hand. 5. Create a party vibe easily and instantly. Keep an ample supply of candles and a long-handled lighter to set the mood in minutes. 6. Bake in advance. There’s nothing that says holiday comfort food like baked goods. When baking holiday cookies or cakes, double the recipe and freeze the extra. When guests come to call simply pull them out to defrost, plate and serve. 7. Music is a must, especially during the holiday season. Prepare a party space that is “music-ready.” If you don’t have a music sound system in your home, create a music mix on your smartphone, dock it and play. Take advantage of free services such as Spotify and create a variety of playlists to last all season long. 8. Prep your powder room. Keep an extra supply of hand towels, a special liquid soap, toilet paper, tissues and a scented candle at the ready. When you entertain simply replace all your everyday basics with this supply and light the candle. 9. During the holidays, keep your coat closet neat with space for guests’ coats and handbags. Stock it with extra hangers to make arrival and departure a breeze. 10. Tidy up before heading out. Feel confident to invite guests back after an activity/event/party by simply straightening up your “entertaining space”, kitchen, and powder room before you leave home. Dawn Sandomeno and Elizabeth Mascali, co-founders and owners of Party Bluprints Inc. and The Party Bluprints Blog, are lifestyle and entertaining experts and the authors of Plan to Party. They’ve been featured on NBC’s TODAY show, Fox TV Good Day NY, InStyle, Woman’s Health, Self, Good Housekeeping, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, Consumer Report’s Smart Shopper, Redbook Magazine, Woman’s World Magazine, Huffington Post Food and Martha Stewart Living Radio and are contributors on








! S E Z I R P H S A

win C

Coryanne is a Food & Lifestyle expert, and the host of an AOL web series sharing food, entertaining and lifestyle trends. Featured in several national magazines, Coryanne is on a mission to make the kitchen fun again.

Sam is a photographer and graphic artist specializing in Food, Lifestyle & Travel. You can see his work at Today’s Nest, Savour Imagery, and as a regular on and



Join our Twitter Party to share ideas on how to give back this holiday season. Wednesday November 19th 8|7c. Follow your hosts @CoryanneEttiene and @IamSamHenderson and use #Box9Mag to join the conversation and a chance to win cash prizes. No RSVP required. Open to US residents 18 years or older. No purchase necessary. Winners will be chosen at random and announced during the party.


party season

CHEERS Cheers! Nothing dull ever began with Cheers! It is the battle cry for merriment, mischief, and memories. It is the start of something festive, where smiles are broad, glasses are full, and anticipation lingers around every clink. Say it loud, raise your glass and let the good times roll.

Frosty the Snowman Christmas Punch, recipe page 54





n a g e v s i e n o this uten free! and gl Eggnog Latte Cocktail

1 ounce chilled Fair Cafe Liqueur 3 ounces So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog Freshly grated nutmeg In a cocktail shaker combine the chilled Fair Cafe Liqueur and the coconut Nog. Shake vigorously for 5-10 seconds, pour into a rocks glass and grate fresh nutmeg to taste over the top. Serve immediately. recipe and photo from Meg van der Kruik of Beard and Bonnet


COCKTAIL & PUNCH RECIPES Cranberry Cider Smash

Frosty the Snowman Christmas Punch

2 ounces bourbon 1 ounce cranberry juice 4 ounces apple cider 1 teaspoon agave or honey (or more…to taste) crushed ice 1 fresh apple, sliced thinly

2 quarts coconut sherbet 2 liter ginger ale 46 ounces pineapple juice Shredded coconut

Add the sherbet to your punch bowl top with ginger ale and pineapple juice and allow it to fix for 10 minutes before stirring. Sprinkle with shredded coconut for a frosty effect and serve in punch glasses rimmed with coconut. Garnish with cherries for the little snowmen at the party, or add a good serving of light rum for the grown ups.

Combine the bourbon, cranberry juice, apple cider and agave in the shaker with just a bit of ice. Give it a nice shake then pour into a glass with some additional ice and a few slices of apple. recipe and photo from Caroline Hurley of Taste Love and Nourish

Sam’s Gingle Fizz

Holiday Cranberry Punch

1 part gin 3 parts Ooba sparkling hibiscus drink 1 hibiscus blossom plus a few drops of the syrup 4 parts champagne 3 or 4 large mint leaves a sprig of mint

2 quarts cranberry juice 2 cinnamon Sticks 1 cup granulated sugar 2/3 cup of lemon juice 1 ½ cups of orange juice 4 ounces of water or Vodka

Muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of a shaker. Fill the shaker 2/3 full with ice. Add the gin and hibiscus juice. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. It should be jet cold. Place a hibiscus blossom in the bottom of a champagne flute. Drain the cocktail mixture over the blossom halfway up the glass. Fill the remainder of the glass with champagne. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Boil cranberry juice and cinnamon sticks in a pot for 10 minutes. Add sugar and return to a boil. Add lemon juice and orange juice and simmer for 5 minutes. Top with water or vodka. Serve over ice or warm. (recipe courtesy of Junior League of Eugene) from Mindy Lockard of The Gracious Girl

Cranberry Vanilla Mimosa

Fill a champers glass with champagne, top with a splash of cranberry juice and garnish with a vanilla bean pod.

Coryanne’s London Mulled Wine 2 clementines, peeled and juiced 1 lemon, juiced 1 cup of granulated sugar 4 whole cloves 1 cinnamon stick 2 fresh bay leaves 1 whole nutmeg, about 10 gratings 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways 1 star anise 2 bottles Chianti 3 apples sliced 4-6 ounces of brandy orange juice, optional

Sparkling Ginger Punch

1 (750ml) bottle of cold dry sparkling wine 3 cups of cold ginger ale 1 ounce orange liqueur cup of frozen cranberries one orange sliced for garnish. Pour into a punch bowl, stir and serve over ice or let the frozen cranberries do all the chilling for you.

Add your celmintine peels, juice and sugar to a large sauce pan and simmer on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, adding a splash more orange juice if needed to cover the sugar. Add the clove, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, nutmeg and vanilla. Top with a few glugs of red wine. Let it all simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine and then bring to the boil. Turn up the heat and move to a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you’ve got a thick syrup. Then turn the heat down to low and add your star anise, the brandy, and the rest of the wine. Gently heat the wine on low before serving.



Cider Tequila Hot Toddy 1 part Sauza® Blue Reposado 100% Agave Tequila ½ part orange liqueur 8 parts apple cider 2 parts cranberry juice cocktail lemon or lime slice (for garnish) dash of cinnamon (optional) dash of nutmeg (optional) In a saucepan heat the apple cider and cranberry juice just until steaming hot (do not let the liquid boil) and remove it from the heat. Stir in Sauza® Blue Reposado and orange liqueur. You can add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg if you want a bit more spice. Serve Hot Toddies in mugs, garnished with lemon or lime slices.



THERE is something utterly indulgent about a fabulous mug of homemade hot cocoa, and when you give it a little kick, it simply rocks your world. You’ll never see hot chocolate the same after you have tried our favorite ways to put that “Cheers!” into this winter tradition..

GO BOLD irish cream + bourbon MINTY FRESH creme de menthe

s ' e n n a y r co orite! fav

OLD SCHOOL kahlua SOUTH OF THE BORDER tequila + cinnamon FLUFFY marshmallow vodka + marshmallows ZINGER triple sec ISLAND STYLE spiced rum + cinnamon sprinkles TASTE OF THE NORTH POLE vodka + candy cane sugar NUTTELLA INSPIRED brandy + frangelico SWEET TOOTH cherry brandy + whipped cream

sam's go-to goodness!





Coryanne Ettiene

I am a strong believer that the biggest dinner party disaster of them all is when the booze runs dry and your guests start going thirsty. For most people, attending a holiday party is more about enjoying the people than the food or drink, but making sure that you have plenty of all three on hand is a guaranteed way to host a successful party. Calculating beverages can be daunting, but with a little planning and know-how, you will never find yourself running out of drinks before the party is over, or left with half empty bottles that die a slow painful death in your home bar when your hangover sets in. Before hosting your next party, define two signature cocktails to make shopping and serving a breeze, and then stock your bar with the following general essentials for a successful party: Water: Ensure that you have an equal supply of both sparking and still water, and then provide 1 litre of water for every 2 guests. Wine: Stock your bar with both red and white wine, taking into consideration that one bottle will serve 2-3 guests. Beer: Offer your guests both light and dark beer, and supply 2-3 bottles per guest if you are also supplying cocktails and wine. If only beer, ensure that you have 3-4 bottles on hand for each guest. Cocktails: Serving 2 signature cocktails makes bar tending simple. Buy your liquor in quarts, as once they are opened, they deteriorate within a few weeks. Plan on 1 quart of liquor serving 10 guests. Ice: Generally speaking a host will use more ice in the summer than the winter, however the average norm is to have 1 lb of ice on hand for every 2 guests, more if you are serving cocktails.

Don't forget the ice! CHEERS

Chris Nease

Nothing says “Make yourself at home” quite like a drinks station. It takes all the stress out of hostessing and ensures that your guests have everything they need at their fingertips. Party planner, speaker and entertaining expert Chris Nease, shares her top tips for setting up a holiday drinks station. Choose a location for your bar that’s away from the food table or other high traffic area, and make sure there’s room for people to move in and out easily. You don’t want a bottle neck effect, because it WILL be the most popular location at the party. You know your guests best, so choose your spirits accordingly. No need to spend on gin if everyone is drinking bourbon. Buy mid-priced liquor when stocking the bar for a party. Save the top shelf stuff for more intimate gatherings. Conversely, serving ‘cheap’ liquor can seem inhospitable. To make the bar look more attractive, pour the liquors into clear decanters. Label each by tying on a tag made from card stock with ribbon. Pour juice mixers into pitchers and once again, label them with ribbon and cardstock tags. As for soda, the mini sizes look far better than large 2 liter bottles sitting out. Add a retro vibe to the party by setting up on a classic rolling bar cart. One of their most useful features is that they have 2 or 3 shelves which can be utilized for different accoutrements: top layer may hold the spirits and bar accessories, while the lower level can house glasses, mixers, and ice. You don’t have to serve a multitude of drink options just because it’s call “the bar.” Set up your space with a signature drink like pre-mixed punch, or wine. Bar accessories can add tons of personality to your drink station. From vintage to modern, the small items like cork screws, jiggers, swizzle sticks, shakers, etc. add charm and interest. Don’t forget to add a small bowl of nibbles {nuts or popcorn}, garnishes {limes, maraschino cherries}, and Chris Nease is a party planner, whimsical cocktail napkins speaker and entertaining expert. Most importantly, make For more ideas on setting up a drinks station, visit her sure to provide plenty of CelebrationsAtHome Blog. non-alcohol beverages for the DD’s and to stave off tomorrow’s hangover. 57

winter punch 2 bottles of good champagne ½ gallon of fresh apple cider ½ gallon of orange juice 1 liter of ginger ale ice 1. Add 2 bottles of champagne, and the orange juice and cider to the punch bowl. Stir with a spoon and then top with ginger ale and ice just before guests are to arrive. 2. Serve in a large punch bowl {if you don’t have one, rent from a local party rental company}

photo and recipe courtesy of Valley & Co.

*Freeze edible flowers in a small Bundt cake pan filled with water for instant beautiful ice cubes.

Holiday Tip from Nick and Aleah of Valley & Co: A warm welcome is always appreciated. Greet your guests with a tray of cocktails at the ready and let them garnish at a fun bar station. Fill small jars with frozen cranberries, edible flowers or cedar sprigs for a festive feeling they can add to their glasses.


winter cocktail


Earl Grey Tea Concentrate

Ingredients: 1 ounce Earl Grey Tea Concentrate 1 ounce gin 2 ounces champagne lemon twist sugar for the rim (optional)

Ingredients: 2 cups of filtered water 8 Earl Grey tea bags 2 tablespoons raw local honey

Instructions: Sugar the rim of a martini glass and set to the side. Shake together the earl grey tea concentrate and gin with a few ice cubes. Pour it into the martini glass. Top with the champagne and garnish with the lemon twist.

Instructions: In a tea kettle heat up 2 cups of water. When it whistles pour the water into a large glass jar. Steep the tea for 5 – 10 minutes, depending on how strong you like it. Remove the tea bags and let it cool to slightly warmer than room temperature. Stir in the honey, seal and keep refrigerated. This concentrate will stay good in the refrigerator for about a week.

photo and recipe courtesy of Sherrie Scaglione Castellano of With Food and Love




50 THINGS TO DO THIS HOLIDAY SEASON 1. Donate your ugly sweater and other warm weather clothes to a homeless shelter 2. Adopt a family in need this holiday season and buy them a Christmas tree 3. Chop down your tree— visit a tree farm or get a forest license to drive in the forest Griswold style 4. Make a sled, then test it out on a giant hill 5. Learn the words to Auld Lang Syne 6. Go caroling 7. Make a Christmas Pudding 8. Host a baking party 9. Skip the store bought wrapping paper and make your own this year 10. Throw a holiday movie watching party 11. Have a snowball fight in your bathing suit 12. Wake up hung over on Christmas morning 13. Hang mistloe and use it to spread the love 14. Buy the groceries of the person in front of you or buy their gas. 15. Buy the best wooly socks money can buy 16. Hug your hot water bottle 17. Choose 5 people who you have lost touch with and write them an overdue letter. 18. Dress up and go to the Nutcracker 19. Tour Christmas lights 20. Make salt dough ornaments 21. Fill the house with Christmas cheer 22. Make real hot cocoa and drink it by the fire 23. Read How the Grinch Stole Christmas 24. Make a gingerbread house from scratch 25. Make paper snowflakes and hang them from the ceiling 26. Make a popcorn garland 27. Take pictures with a polariod camera 28. Dance on a table 29. Volunteer at an old folks home 30. Actually do things on this list 31. Have a whipped cream fight 32. Build an igloo 33. Give more than you receive 34. Shop local 35. Get in a cab and shout “follow that car” 36. Attend a high school holiday concert… even if you don’t know anyone in high school 37. Make snow ice cream 38. Read “The Gift of the Magi”… aloud… to someone 39. Roast chestnuts… on an open fire 40. Spend at least one entire day in your pajamas 41. Designate one day as ‘unplugged’ 42. Make peppermint bark 43. Help your kids devise the perfect Santa trap 44. Go to your local holiday parade 45. Go ice skating 46. Make a wreath from scratch 47. Get mischievous with Secret Santa and send a SantaGram instead of a gift 48. Spike the office coffee… just for kicks 49. Hide Granny’s pills 50. Skip the neighborhood, go caroling in the grocery store… now that is entrainment 60

arts & crafts supplies

$8 holiday garland


punch bowl & glasses


white plates



hat do you get for $50 when you go thrifting with Box Nine? A little bit of everything to season your holiday spread, plus a few surprises and a whole lot of fun people watching. We spent the day cruising our local thrift stores looking for items that sparked our imagination, Some items were on our ‘wish list’ and were never to be found, others just jumped out and whispered “I dare you two to repurpose me in some way”. By far our favorite find, the Carnival punch bowl and glass set. Imagine the conversations it has heard in its lifetime and what a fun conversation piece it will be. Twitter blew up with tweets of delight and excitement when we posted the behind the scenes photo featuring it, and nearly every single person had a memory of one of these at their childhood holiday parties. 61

6 silver spreaders

clay pots



glass mug & saucer

$2 vintage fabric stack

$1 pine cones


cookie cutters




The award for most unexpected find goes to table cloth. Brand new, packed and ready to go. This crisp table linen made for the perfect back drop to our brunch table. Rest assured we have no expectations it will look clean after brunch, but who cares‌ sometimes you need to live on the wild side.



Box Nine Magazine: Holiday 2014  

The debut issue of the digital Food and Lifestyle Magazine featuring modern recipes, party tips, DIY, and design for Christmas 2014.

Box Nine Magazine: Holiday 2014  

The debut issue of the digital Food and Lifestyle Magazine featuring modern recipes, party tips, DIY, and design for Christmas 2014.