Gift Wrap Ideas (on the cheap)

I find the easiest way to save money for is to plan in advance, be creative and re-use what you already own. Since most folks don't have a ton of time, I thought I'd help out with a few ideas for the holiday's that I hope save you stress. This week I'll show you some creative ways to wrap gifts. Thank you to Sisi Soestrisno for these great gifts used at the My Great Gatherings entertaining store.

Items you'll need:
Glue Gun
Dollar store wrapping paper
Old Christmas Ornaments
Packaging Paper
Scotch Tape
Pine Cones from your yard or Bed Bath and Beyond sells them for .99 a bag
Birch Bark or Tree bark from outdoors
Cinnamon Sticks also from Bed Bath and Beyond

NEWSPAPER CHIC-Wrapping gifts in newspaper can be cool. As a nod to our economic woe's, Sisi used the "Financial Times" a newspaper that has a nice pinkish hue. You can use your hometown newspaper too. They key with newspaper is to embrace it and make it look crafty. Once the package is wrapped instead of a traditional bow, add an accordion folded fan out of paper or cut snowflakes out of newspaper and add on top. You can also add pine cones with a glue gun for a few pennies more.

DON'T HAVE ENOUGH PAPER- Don't fret if you have swatch of paper that does not fit the gift, you can still use it. The present in the photo covered with a strip of birch bark is used to mask the two inches where the paper ran short. The present with the brown packaging material is also used to hide the lack of paper.

NEED RIBBON?- Use newspaper instead of ribbon this year. Strips of newspaper make for great decoration on your gift!

INSTEAD OF BOWS- Pine cones, Cinnamon sticks, newspaper, old ribbon from years past, old ornaments or dollar store ornaments look terrific on presents and your recipient will rave over how creative you are!

DOLLAR STORE DECOR- I love Jack's .99 store in NYC, but any Dollar Store has gift wrap, tissue paper and bags. So in a pinch you can always find inexpensive ideas right in your own home town!

If you have great money saving gift wrap ideas please comment on this blog for all to use!

Spinach and Artichoke Frittata Reciepe

On Saturday I hosted a holiday party at My Great Gatherings in Annapolis, MD. I shared my favorite tips for celebrating an economical Thanksgiving and a festive Christmas! The caterer was The Main Ingredient. They supplied terrific food, including a wonderful recipe for a Spinach and Artichoke Frittata. I've had a lot of requests for the recipe below. They also had a FANTASTIC server, Connie King, who was a great help and a wonderful person.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and don't forget to take time to be grateful for the family, love and support you have in your life!

This makes enough for about 40 bite size triangles, hors d'oeuvres size.

Spinach and Artichoke Frittata
12 Eggs
6 cups of Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cups of Bread Crumbs
1 cup of melted Butter
3 #'s of Artichoke Hearts
3#'s of Spinach, frozen chopped is best
1-1 1/2 cups of chopped Onion
1 1/2 tsp. fresh Garlic
1 1/2 tsp. Oregano
1 1/2 tsp. Tabasco
Salt and Pepper to taste

Grease a 9X13' baking pan. Bake at 375 until firm.

MY GREAT GATHERINGS Holiday Drink and Receipes

Yesterday I had the pleasure of hosting an event at My Great Gatherings. This is an amazing entertaining store with a location in Annapolis, MD. We had such a great time I wanted to share all of our holiday tips with you including my favorite holiday cocktail and my "Leftover Makeover" ideas for what to do with your delicious holiday food after the celebration ends.

My friend Elayne Duke, a fabulous NYC mixologist, created a special cocktail that we enjoyed. Its a fantastic drink made with clear ingredients that won't stain the rugs or carpet. And, an amazing catering company called the "THE MAIN INGREDIENT" helped me create all of the "Leftover" recipes below. I hope you enjoy for your upcoming celebrations

White Frost

1.5 oz Ciroc Vodka

1/2 oz Cantonne Ginger Liqueur (you could use Ginger Brandy also)

1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice

1 oz White Cranberry Juice

1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Served chilled in a sugar rimmed martini glass

Garnish with Cranberries floating on top

Cathy's "Leftover Makeover"
compliments of the The Main Ingredient Caterer.

Mini turkey, cranberry, green leaf lettuce sandwiches served on a mini potato roll

Mini honey baked ham sandwiches served with honey mustard on The Main Ingredient's famous Pumpkin Rolls

Small baked Fingerling potato's stuffed with sour cream and chives

Sweet potato croquet's topped with a cinnamon and sugar dipping sauce

Artichoke and Spinach Frittata

Three easy, affordable, ideas for your holiday table

Below are three fun and inexpensive table ideas for your holiday entertaining.

Table one:
Here I have a simple, white plate on a sparkly gold place mat. I've rolled my napkin and wrapped it with raffia and cinnamon sticks, which smell amazing! For my name card I've taken a snow flake stencil and spray painted it gold to keep with the burgundy, brown and gold color scheme.

Table two:
The "oh wow" factor for this table is that my place card is on a pine cone. Use natural elements for your decor and save money!

Table three:
I've used a burgundy or red place mat or table runner. I have a bowl of pine cones and a beautiful apothecary jar filled with holiday ornaments. The place card is an old Christmas tag on a brown "pope folded" napkin with a few dried leaves.

Holiday Decor made Simple

This week, I created a big holiday presentation for a Live Webinar, my first ever. You can click on the link above to see part of it. I love sharing information that helps make people's entertaining lives easier. For your own celebrations this season here are a few tips; choose two colors, like burgundy and gold, and build from there. I made a centerpiece from Pomegranates, evergreens, leaves and cinnamon sticks. And, you can have your kids help make a centerpiece too, mold and bake chocolate chip cookies on a skewer add them to an arrangement of brown leaves. To make your own centerpiece you will need floral foam or oasis, floral sticks with wire (to attach leaves, which then get placed in the oasis) pomegranates and leaves from your yard. You could also use Christmas ornaments instead of pomegranates. Happy Holidays!