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Neighbors of Kane County

Holiday Hacks

Nov 14, 2016 02:38AM ● By Family Features
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(Family Features) The air is getting cooler, leaves are changing colors and days are getting shorter. All of these seasonal changes signal that the holidays are fast approaching. While many people love gathering with family and friends at this time of the year, entertaining can take the jolly out of the holiday. This year, take the stress out of hosting with these five simple holiday hacks.

Buy in Bulk. One month before your holiday gathering, buy nuts – almonds, pistachios, walnuts – in bulk. Pour the nuts into screw-top mason jars, label with brightly colored tape and store in your pantry. When guests stop by, bring out a few jars, unscrew and serve with seasonal cider.

Candy Cane Lane. Candy cane flakes work wonders – from holiday drinks to topping off cakes and ice cream. Crush candy canes in a blender or smash between paper towels and store in an airtight container. Simply sprinkle for seasonal ease and festive yum.

Double Duty. Buy flavorful refrigerated salad dressings – think sriracha or ranch – and use to top salads or potatoes, or as a quick, delicious dip. One jar offers many solutions.

Bee Smart. Be prepared for unexpected gift-giving moments and keep several simple and affordable gifts on hand. Pour local honey into mini mason jars, wrap the neck with holiday twine and include a message that works for all, “Have a BEE-autiful Holiday.”

Tis the Seasons. For entertainment ease, keep versatile products on hand, like Simply Artisan Reserve Simple Seasons, a soft, finely crumbled cheese in a shakable jar. Sprinkle the cheese on flatbreads, sliders, desserts and more – and enjoy the flavor in every bite. With just 15 minutes of prep, you can make a seasonal dessert that looks like you spent all day in the kitchen.
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Rustic Pear Galette
Serves: 4-6
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Pie crust

  • 3-4       medium pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1          tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1          tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4       cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/8       teaspoon cinnamon (optional)


  • 2          teaspoons honey
  • 1/2       teaspoon boiled water


  • Simply Artisan Reserve Feta Cheese Simple Seasons
  1. Heat oven to 425° F. Line 15-by-10-inch baking sheet with parchment paper; spray paper with cooking spray.
  2. On lightly floured surface, roll crust into 11-inch round. Drape crust over rolling pin, transfer to baking sheet.
  3. In large bowl, toss pear slices with lemon juice. Sprinkle in cornstarch, brown sugar and cinnamon. Toss until pears are evenly coated.
  4. Arrange pears in mound in center of dough, leaving 2-inch border. Fold border over filling to cover pears partially. It does not need to be even.
  5. Bake 15 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350° F and bake additional 40 minutes until pears are tender and crust is golden brown.
  6. In small bowl, stir together honey and boiled water to make glaze. When galette is done, remove from oven and brush honey glaze over top of fruit and crust, and sprinkle liberally with feta cheese.

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