Today’s giveaway is an awesome gluten-free baking set from Coogi!
These gluten-free flours are made from a simple blend of rice and sorghum, and the cake-and-pastry version is excellent for more celebratory concoctions that need a lighter touch.
PLUS: The CONACADO farmer collective in the Dominican Republic grows and processes the organic cacao used in this rich cocoa powder from Equal Exchange, which is ideal for every chocolate baked good imaginable.
Opening your home to guests for the holidays?
A significant share of that anxiety, according to author Sandy Coughlin, is rooted in self-consciousness. When we host, we worry about being judged. Is our furniture OK? Is the bathroom spotless? Will the food turn out?
- Keep it small and simple. People have different levels of comfort with entertaining, says Coughlin, and if throwing a huge holiday bash isn’t easy for you, invite a few friends over for tacos instead. You can work up to larger groups and more complex spreads as your comfort grows. Or not.
- Clean selectively. Coughlin advocates for moderation. “You do not have to clean the whole house when guests come over,” she says. “Pick things up, wipe off the counters, clean one bathroom, have one entertaining space that you’ve made comfortable. Then shut the doors to the other rooms.”
- Be a connector. Coughlin suggests building your guest list around the idea of who would enjoy meeting whom. Bringing people together who will enliven and inspire one another is the best way to help keep things lively, and almost guarantees your guests will have a good time.
- Scale back the self-critique. “People are coming to your home to see you,” not to scrutinize the silverware or judge the wallpaper, says Coughlin. “They’re probably very grateful to be invited over.” When Coughlin attends a gathering, she’s so thrilled to be reconnecting with friends, “the last thing I’m going to do is criticize my hosts’ housekeeping.”
- Know that guests empathize. Almost everyone has been in your shoes, so your guests will sincerely appreciate your efforts. If dinner doesn’t turn out or the dog keeps misbehaving, good friends will understand, not find you lacking.
Hike-in inns, camper cabins, and ski-in lodges offer the satisfaction of a true escape — with the safety of a solid roof.