Interview: Holiday Entertaining Must Haves with Ceci Carmichael of Home Made Simple on OWN

With Thanksgiving just a week away, food and entertaining goddess, Ceci Carmichael of Home Made Simple on Own stopped by to share her best tips for throwing a flawless holiday party! 


Ceci Carmichael Holiday Party Home Made Simple Food Expert – Ceci Carmichael





Ceci Carmichael: “Candace, my twitter friend.”

Candace Rose: Hi, Ceci, how are you?

Ceci Carmichael: “How are you?”

Candace Rose: Good to be with you this morning.

Ceci Carmichael: “I was looking forward to you today so much!”

Candace Rose: You too! How was lard-a-palooza? (inside twitter joke) 

Ceci Carmichael: “Lard-a-palooza was oh my God- if it wasn’t tied down, I fried it.”

Candace Rose: (laughing) That sounds amazing.

Ceci Carmichael: “I should have tweeted to you and asked for suggestions if there was anything you wanted to see fried.”

Candace Rose: Oh, everything!

Ceci Carmichael: “I made the best fried chicken too. For some reason I can never make fried chicken but man it was amazing.”

Candace Rose: Oh that sounds so good.

Ceci Carmichael: “And donuts!”

Candace Rose: Just about everything, right?!


Ceci Carmichael Thanksgiving


Candace Rose: So what’s the first step to throwing a great party with pizazz and how do we get started?

Ceci Carmichael: “Well, I think that; what I tell everybody, I think people get really stressed out about entertaining because they think it’s going to be too much work and they’re already stressed out it’s the holidays. But organization, I think my game plan is for people to a week out make your menu list, make your shopping list and then about three days out, go grocery shop- get that out of the way. There’s nothing worse than having to go grocery shopping, especially around the holidays when it’s really packed. Go a little bit early when it’s not so packed, then a day or two early make as many of the things that you can make ahead of time that can be either reheated or served at room temperature or served cold so that on the day of you’re doing absolutely the last thing that needs to be done- whether it’s the turkey or whatever feast you’re serving and that way you can actually sit down and enjoy your family and friends which I think is the point and I think people kind of forget that.” 


Candace Rose: Do you have any tips when it comes to decor?

Ceci Carmichael: “Well, I think you know people have asked me that and I think that I tend to want to go a little more how you say organic- sort of free range, whatever I have around the house. I don’t think people; again people get sort of stuck in their tracks because they go it’s going to be too expensive, I don’t have the right tools; mismatched plates, it doesn’t matter. You know you have a beautiful scarf that you like- use it as a table runner. Get the kids to run outside and collect beautiful colored leaves and just sort of (these aren’t real but) go get a real leaf and just sort of scatter them around the table. And this is just an inexpensive necklace that gives a little bling to the table. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be you.”


Candace Rose: How about when it comes to meal planning?

Ceci Carmichael: “Well, I think that, I’m a big fan of appetizers because I think it allows you to get a lot of variety into your menu and without working too hard. One of my go to favorites every year on my cheese board is boursin cheese. It’s got a sophisticated taste, simple presentation and it elevates your gathering in a way with a very little effort, I think that’s the key. Anything that makes you look really good without a lot of work is okay in my book and it comes in five flavors. I have the garlic herb here which I adore and it’s everybody’s favorite and I just think it looks elegant on your cheese board. I love the way it looks. So if you go to great menu ideas to help you plan your menu.” Boursin cheeseboursin cheese –

Candace Rose: And when it comes to drinks?

Ceci Carmichael: “Drinks- I think that everybody appreciates a great cup of coffee after dinner. People get kind of like they eat too much and they get a little drowsy and if you really want to impress your family the Jura Ena 9 One Touch is the most amazing. I have one at home, I adore this thing. It brews authentic cappuccinos, latte macchiatos with a single touch of a button. You don’t even have to move the cup, the beautiful featherly light foam comes out; I mean it’s like those expensive coffee shop drinks but in your own home. It makes espressos, coffee cremas, so it’s just a really beautiful cup of coffee you can make at 50 cents a cup, so it’s inexpensive. It’s so much cheaper than the coffee shop coffees and it’s changed my life, this machine.”


Juna Ena 9 Coffee MachineThe Juna Ena 9 Coffee Machine


Candace Rose: I need one! You got me hooked on the pita chips, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to get one now! 

Ceci Carmichael: “Oh, the pita chips. Forget it, I love those things!”


Candace Rose: How can hosts and hostesses make throwing a party easier on themselves so they actually get to enjoy it?

Ceci Carmichael: “Well, a bunch of different things; you know having things that sort of help you organize. I think a big thing that causes a lot of frustration and stress is afterwards you’ve got so much food and you’re like left over. You’re like what do I do and start stuffing them in your refrigerator; things get lost in the back- three weeks later you’re looking at them and you’re like ‘I don’t recognize that’ but the Amana Top-Freezer refrigerator really simplifies your life, especially around the holidays. I love this thing, it comes in 19 and 21 cubic feet but it’s absolutely just gigantic on the inside. It has reversible doors so you can customize it. It opens to the left or to the right- so for your kitchen layouts. Peoples layouts are different and it’s got these adjustable shelves. You can make out all this food I have- this is like a 15 pound turkey, a pie and I still have a ton of room. And you can sort of raise shelves/lower them depending on what you need. And on this side here they have the quintessential door bins, they’re popped out a little bit so that they actually make it easier to grab things. You’re not kind of working things trying to get them out from underneath. They’re really easy and accessible for your friends and family. They have a facebook page, check them out if you want more information on this great refrigerator.”


Ceci Amana RefrigeratorCeci showcasing the Amana Top-Freezer refrigerator

Amana Top-Freezer Refrigerator Turkey Pie ContentsThe gigantic Amana Top-Freezer refrigerator


Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share? 

Ceci Carmichael: “I think you know- stay organized and be brave this year. Go ahead and do it, have a party, don’t be intimidated that it’s going to be too much work, it doesn’t have to be. It’s only as much as you want it to be, so try to enjoy your own party. How’s that one for a tip?”

Candace Rose: (laughing) Yeah, okay!

Ceci Carmichael: “(laughing) Yeah, right, okay!”


Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?

Ceci Carmichael: “If you go to you can get more information on everything you see here today.”


Candace Rose: And as for you, Ceci, where can viewers go to see you next?

Ceci Carmichael: “I’m on ‘Home Made Simple‘ on the OWN network on Sunday mornings. I’m one of the food experts (not on all the shows) but that’s what I’m doing right now. 

Candace Rose: And they can also find you on twitter!

Ceci Carmichael: “Swellfood; they can also follow me on twitter if they want.”


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