Forget about getting a reservation this late in the game. Here’s your solution: Call the neighbors who decided to “keep it low-key this year,” drag them out of bed, and throw together an impromptu soiree. Author and entertaining expert Matthew Mead gives us the foodie 411 on rocking it until the ball drops.

“It is important to keep key ingredients stocked for spontaneous get-togethers,” Mead writes. “Keep the following items on hand, and you will always be prepared to entertain drop-in guests.”

Last-Minute New Year's Eve Entertaining

  • In the cupboard: Several types of crackers and crisp breads to accompany spreads and cheeses, canned Mandarin oranges (to top cake or add to trifles), and jam, coffee, and tea.
  • In the refrigerator: Semisoft cheese, hard cheese, dip, and salsa. Two bottles of white wine, ginger ale, cranberry juice, seltzer, lemons and limes, and whipping cream. At holiday time, consider a spiral-sliced ham or smoked turkey breast.
  • In the freezer: Fruit bread, biscuits, cheesecake, pound cake, frozen cookie dough.
  • In the entertaining pantry: Red wine, taper, pilar, and votive candles.

 
Excerpted from Entertaining Simple by Matthew Mead (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). Copyright 2008.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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December 30, 2013

 

You’ve spent the last few weeks scrambling to get all your gifts. Now the moment has come to scoop up something for yourself. For the last day of her 12 Days of Gifting, Rue magazine Editor-in-Chief Crystal Palecek shares her personal indulgences.

Crystal Palecek's Gick Picks for the Home

Seda France Candle and a Cashmere Throw
“Now, curl up with a holiday flick and a mug of hot cocoa.”

Find these gifts and more in our A Gazillion Gifts Boutique now. Then click here to see all of Crystal’s must-have gift picks.

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Continue reading “Gifting with Crystal Palecek: It’s (Finally) Time to Treat Yourself” »

December 13, 2013

 

Any recent college grads on your gift list? Rue magazine’s editor, Crystal Palecek, suggests a must-have for new kitchens – and soon-to-be cooks.

Crystal Palecek's Gift Pick for the College Grad

WMF “Prep and Cook” 12-Piece Set
“Bonus idea? Include a bag of groceries to get them started.”

Find this set and more in our A Gazillion Gifts Boutique now. Then click here to see all of Crystal’s must-have gift picks.

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December 10, 2013

 

Know a chef whose cookware collection is never complete? Rue magazine Editor-in-Chief Crystal Palecek suggests something practical and colorful.

Crystal Palecek's Gift Pick for the Home Chef

Rachael Ray 16-Quart Stockpot
“Say hello to hearty winter dishes – and your next dinner-party invite.”

Find this pot and more in our A Gazillion Gifts Boutique now. Then click here to see all of Crystal’s must-have gift picks.

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December 9, 2013

 

Rue magazine Editor-in-Chief Crystal Palecek knows how to make the brood’s Friday night in extra special. For day seven of her 12 days of gifts, she recommends these chocolate-drizzled treats for your next family movie night.

Crystal Palecek's Family Gift Pick

Hampton Popcorn 6-Piece Tin Set
“Did someone say ‘Elf‘?”

Find this set and more in our A Gazillion Gifts Boutique now. Then click here to see all of Crystal’s must-have gift picks.

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Continue reading “Gifting with Crystal Palecek: Get Something for the Whole Family” »

December 8, 2013

Thanksgiving was a full week late this year. Which means the next big meal is around the corner. Cease your frantic recipe search. If a December 25 brunch is in the works, stylist and Rue Living Inspirer Matthew Mead has sweet and savory covered – from spinach strata to maple syrup–filled muffins. So click, print, and pour the eggnog. It’s time to prep.

Savory Stratta
“It’s easy to make and bake. Serve in slices with a crumble of feta cheese for extra piquant kick.”

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December 8, 2013

 

Next on Crystal Palecek’s list? For day six of her 12 days of gifting, the editor-in-chief suggests something sleek for the kitchen countertop that you can also bring to the office.

Crystal Palecek Gift Pick for Tea Drinkers

Chantal Portable Electric Kettle
“Join an old friend for a pot of tea to relieve that holiday stress.”

Find this kettle and more in our A Gazillion Gifts Boutique now. Then click here to see all of Crystal’s must-have gift picks.

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December 7, 2013

 

What to get that soon-to-be or veteran sweets expert, you ask? Rue magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Crystal Palecek, has a gift pick at the ready on day five of her 12 days of gifting.

120613_blog

Joseph Joseph Baking Gift Set
“She wants to be the next Cake Boss. Be supportive.”

Find this set and more in our A Gazillion Gifts Boutique now. Then click here to see all of Crystal’s must-have gift picks.

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December 6, 2013

Rue Living Inspirer and lifestyle expert Camille Styles shares a few frame-filling thoughts – beyond photos. “I’ve realized that a picture frame is so much more than the sum of its parts. It not only holds cherished memories – whether through a photograph or a memento – but a well-chosen frame can also bring style and sophistication to elevate the atmosphere of any room.” Here are four artful inserts to try.

Camille Styles Picture Frame Tips

Continue reading “From Invites to Infant Clothes: 4 Items Made for Framing” »

December 5, 2013

 

 Crystal Palecek, editor-in-chief of the online lifestyle magazine Rue (we’re not related, but love her all the same), chose her top 12 gift picks for every tough-to-shop-for friend. Today’s pick? Something every kitchen space craves.

Crystal Palecek Gift Pick for the New Homeowner

Boston HandyWorks Cutting Board
“Bring it over filled with cheese. Then, leave it as a housewarming gift when you go.”

Find this cutting board and more in our A Gazillion Gifts Boutique now.

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December 5, 2013
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