Cutting corners definitely saves time and saving time keeps Jane sane, especially during the holidays.
During the holidays, it's easy to become stressed by to-do lists and shopping trips, not to mention wrapping gifts and decorating for company. There is shopping to get done, Christmas cards to write, parties to plan or attend, and the list goes on. Getting by is not how I want to proceed with my holidays. I would much rather be celebrating and enjoying every minute, but as the years have passed and my schedule grew to demand it, I learned to cut corners in order to survive.
This is my confession. The confession of a Martha Stewart wannabe. (Pirate!)
Yes! You can create wonderful holiday experiences with less. (Another reason why I like Sara Lee!) All your recipes don't need to be made from scratch. Your decorations don't need to be handmade. Gifts can be simple or extravagant, whatever your budget will allow. There is a shortcut for everyone. The trick is to find one that works for you.
I used to make all my Christmas gifts, but quickly ran out of time as my kids got older. I make cookies for all my neighbors to this day and deliver them on Christmas Eve. Doubling recipes helps me get platefuls of cookies, fudge and chocolate-covered pretzels. The most time-consuming thing on my list- Gingerbread Men. (But it is the one thing my neighbors look forward to.)
Here are some things I've learned to cut corners on:
1. Peanut Butter Hershey's Kiss cookies can be made quickly and easily using store bought Peanut Butter Cookie dough. Simply dump dough into a bowl, pick off a piece, roll dough into a ball, dip in sugar, fill cookie sheet with same. Cook. Immediately when the cookies come out of the oven, insert Hershey's Kiss into the center of each cookie. Let cool undisturbed. (I often put a batch in the freezer for a bit to help the chocolate set faster.) Voila!
2. Sugar Cookie dough can be store bought. Roll out dough, shape or cut into shapes, decorate with sprinkles or paint (if painting, mix egg yoke with food coloring to achieve exact color needed for paint. With small brush, brush paint onto cookies, then sprinkle with plain sugar for crystalized affect). Once baked, the painted cookies will resemble stained glass. Definitely a hit with my young bunch and safe to eat too!
3. Use store bought pie crust. (Though I always make my own because I still suffer from Martha Stewart mania.)
4. To make pull-apart Monkey Bread for breakfast, use plain Pillsbury biscuit or crescent roll dough, roll into balls, roll balls into cinnamon sugar, place in greased angel food or bundt pan, and bake when all balls have been added, one on top of the other. Makes a yummy breakfast treat!
5. When having company over, use candlelight. Candlelight masks any signs of dust or dirt in the room.
6. For a quick room freshening trick, spray room freshener on any artificial plants or arrangements in the house. The scent sticks and permeates throughout the room, keeping the air fresh and clean while your guests are in the house.
Do you have any helpful tips for keeping your holiday stress free?