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Carmel Valley native and cake decorator Lisa Altfest appears on Netflix’s “Sugar Rush,” a Christmas-themed spin on the competitive baking show, creating cookies, cupcakes and a stunner of a Christmas tree cake on a time crunch with Roanna Canete of Coronado’s Gluten Free Baking Company.
Over the years, I’ve attended many holiday parties, and hosted even more. I’ve appreciated all festive offerings, and while I would never turn my nose up at a jar of caviar or good bottle of wine, the gifts I’ve enjoyed the most came from creative minds and loving hearts. A particularly memorable one was a forest green ceramic planter filled with fresh sprouting seasonal herbs, including rosemary, sage and thyme, potted in an edible soil of crumbled dark chocolate brownies. These whimsical treats can be tailor-made to accommodate the dietary restrictions of the host (low cholesterol, or gluten-, lactose-, tree nut-, or sugar-free), and preferences (mild, hot, smoky, crunchy, sweet, savory, or vegan). You will need some simple supplies like Mason jars, cruets, clear gift bags, decorative tins, ramekins, twine and labels. Now let’s get this craft party started!
From the first model train his father brought home in 1954, Cardiff resident Bob Shultz now has a collection of about 100 train sets in his home that have delighted local children and other visitors for years.
Years ago, my aunt hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for 20 people. She prepared a turkey feast from scratch and it was delicious. The next day, 18 of us had a date with the toilet bowl and were queasy for days. The only two who weren’t impacted were the vegetarians. We were all stymied and started asking questions trying to deduce the source of our illness. Remember the board game “Clue”? Well, Mrs. Peacock poisoned Mr. Boddy with a contaminated turkey leg in the dining room. Turns out that Auntie left the unwrapped, partially frozen turkey on the counter to thaw overnight, so the vegetarians were unscathed by her “fowl” deed. Here are some cautions to help keep your dinner guests healthy, happy and free from harm.
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With Thanksgiving approaching at gigabit speed, we’re all gearing up for the big day with a main course of stress, and side dishes of angst and doubts about menu choices, modes of preparation, presentation (and dinner guests). To help make this feast a delightfully memorable one, I’ll now take your questions and offer cooking tips.
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