With Thanksgiving just days away, and Christmas right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start thinking about holiday decor and planning a great festive party your guests will love! Cooking expert and renowned Food Network host Sandra Lee joined me recently to talk about her new line at Sears and Kmart, how to decorate on a budget, share a few of her favorite recipes which are sure to wow your guests at your next celebration, her new television shows this season, and much more!
Candace Rose: What’s the secret to throwing a great holiday party?
Sandra Lee: “Well, having a great holiday party is not just the food and the ideas, but it’s also your frame of mind when your guests arrive. And it’s your guests coming and being gracious guests. So you’re in charge of making everybody happy, but once they get there you need to make yourself happy because that’s going to make everybody else happy. Relax, don’t be stressed out.
If you’re a guest, don’t come empty-handed. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on a gift either for your hostess. Think about things like ornaments. This year is the year of the ornament, and there are great ornaments out there that are not only beautiful and can be personal, but also smart. In fact there are ornaments that part of the proceeds go to great causes like the St. Jude collectible bear ornament. It’s available at Kmart for five dollars and a dollar of that of that five goes to St. Jude, so you’re helping kids with cancer for the holiday season and throughout the year. That’s a great gift.
I have a whole collection at Sears and Kmart. This is my Woodland collection (please see video above or image below). If you want to do a pretty little robin or a bird or an owl or a moose- you can put that around the neck of a bottle of white chocolate liqueur. That would be a beautiful gift on a gift. And it’s a little bit different than bringing a bottle of wine.
But all of these ideas are available in my new magazine- the Sandra Lee Christmas magazine. And one of the great things that’s also in the magazine is not just how to decorate beautifully and get great recipes, but there’s also on ShopYourWay.com which is a social media shopping site- check it out. You’ll find all sorts of great ideas, recipes and entertaining tips. But there’s also a shopping spree you can sign up for. You can come to the City and go Christmas shopping with me, we’ll have a great time.
Let’s go over four recipes (out of 40 or 60) in the magazine. This year I’m not making the big turkey, and I’m not making those fabulous lamb chops or that decadent beautiful ham- I’m making the Cornish game hens. I’m going to stuff these with cornbread stuffing. I make them with roast garlic and with lemon, also some herbs in here. But alongside that, and with also my cornbread stuffing, I’m also going to make a sweet potato. These are made with maple syrup and pecans- that recipe is in the magazine.
There’s an incredible Baileys coconut cake. Now this is Baileys sour cream, cream of coconut- this is the most decadent, delicious cake in the world. This frosting is white frosting from the container, but it’s embellished with cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla…it is unbelievable.
And finally (you know me) we’re going to have a cocktail when your guests arrive because God bless, you need to have a good time. And you need to relax and have some festive cheer. So a glass of the eggnog to start off the evening. It’s two cups of eggnog or two parts to one part Captain Morgan Spiced Rum- that’s just going to give it a little bit of spice and flavor and fullness, and then I’m going to have you put in one part white chocolate liqueur by Godiva. This just kind of rounds it out and makes it smooth and rich and decadent. And that is the most amazing recipe- three ingredients and your guests are going to think you’re incredible.”
Candace Rose: Is it possible to throw a great party while sticking to a budget?
Sandra Lee: “Yeah, it’s really easy. You just have to plan your budget out and what you want to spend, how many guests you have. You could do a buffet so that you don’t have a whole sit-down and people can serve themselves and still do a place card setting for who sits next to whom.
If you’re thinking of little favors- very inexpensive, again it’s the year of the ornament, so maybe the place card and the favor are one, and they’re these little pots of herbs. They go right inside a stocking, and the stocking’s hanging on the tree. And you can even put the person’s name on this- that would be incredible.
Candles- just votive candles wrapped up for Thanksgiving or for Christmas (same idea). I’m decorating one way for both holidays. In fact this is going in my home tomorrow. So I’m starting Christmas early this year. Everybody needs it, and it’s going to be fun.”
Candace Rose: Where can we find all this great merchandise?
Sandra Lee: “Well, you can go to ShopYourWay.com and join. It’s free and it’s a membership. You shop, you earn points and for all your points you can redeem them for great product. You get all sorts of coupons and savings and sweepstakes (that is Sears and Kmart). You can check out my magazine at Sandra Lee Christmas. And again, remember the ornaments. Those St. Jude ornaments are awesome. Everybody loves them, and they make a difference for St. Jude and all those kids who are going to have cancer this Christmas and who need our support and our love and our donation. So it’s an easy and inexpensive way to do a lot of good.”
Candace Rose: That’s fantastic.
Candace Rose: You have two new shows this season; can you tell us a little bit about them?
Sandra Lee: “Sundays at 10 AM EST. is my Restaurant Remake show. It’s where I go to the fancy restaurant, the chef shares with me his recipe, and he knows and gives me ideas of how to remake it at home with normal stuff from the grocery store, so that’s a great show. There’s also Taverns, Lounges and Clubs that is on during the weekend on Cooking Channel at different times, but also Wednesday night at 10:30 is the launch. Taverns, Lounges and Clubs is all about cocktails and appetizers- that is great if you’re entertaining. That’s a terrific show, plus you’ll have a lot of fun, it’s good TV.