It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. If you’re traveling this holiday season or don’t have the time to prepare a large feast for your family this Turkey Day, you’re in luck! Lifestyle expert, Ceci Carmichael was kind enough to join me this morning to dish on the perfect holiday meal with all the fixings for your entire family for only $110, a quick and easy elegant dessert recipe, fabulous signature ‘Mad Men’ inspired cocktails and much more.
Candace Rose: What do you do when you don’t have time to cook for the holidays?
Ceci Carmichael: “I am traveling this year and I don’t have a lot of time. I’m working straight up to the holidays, I’m jumping in the car and I’m heading to my mom’s house. She’s got a teeny kitchen, I thought about it this year I just said I’m going to give myself permission to not do it this year. I have to say I’m very thankful that Boston Market exists. They’re open on Thanksgiving Day. They’re basically my resident holiday experts, and if I’m not going to cook they’re probably the only people that I trust to cook. This complete heat and serve holiday meal is just gorgeous costs under $110. I don’t think I could do it from scratch for that price, so we’ve got the turkey, pie, spinach dip, mashed potatoes, rolls – I can keep going and going. They have everything that you would want for your holiday. It serves 12 people. I don’t know how they do it and they great part is you don’t have to clean up.
Also, if you’re headed to someones house because they are open on Thanksgiving, you can stop in. Don’t come empty handed. Pick up some dip, pick up some side dish, pick up a pie. Make it look however you want to make it look. If you’re making the turkey and you run out of energy and you want to buy all the sides, it’s okay. They actually did a survey, where they said people have no guilt whatsoever in buying preprepared foods, putting it in a beautiful serving platter and calling it their own. Basically if you won’t tell, I won’t tell. If you got to BostonMarket.com you can find out where the locations are. Some people don’t have them in their town, but they might be in the direction of where they’re going and you can get a store locator, you can also get holiday hacks.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other quick and easy ways to whip up an appetizer?
Ceci Carmichael: “Appetizers are great while you’re running out to Boston Market. My go-to always in my freezer is Athens Mini Fillo Shells. I don’t know if you’ve used these, I think they’re fantastic. They’re baked, they have no cholesterol, no saturated fats, so they’re a healthier option as well. All you have to do is thaw them – millions of possibilities whether it’s an appetizer or dessert. I brought a couple here. This is as simple as thawing them. I actually like to heat them up, which you can also do and put a little of your favorite crab salad or ham salad. You can make it, you can buy it. Put a little herbs on top. I love that their bite size. People just scarf these up, they’re just gone in seconds, but they only take seconds to make so you can refill them pretty quickly. “*Be sure to head over to the Athens website for the great Caramel Macchiato dessert recipe that Ceci mentioned. It only calls for four ingredients (chocolate, cream cheese, macchiato creamer, and fillo shells).”
Candace Rose: Do you have any advice when it comes to wine or cocktail pairings for a holiday party?
Ceci Carmichael: “I think having variety is really important. I always try to have one thing that is kind of my signature cocktail and this year I’m loving Prosecco. I’m not crazy about champagne, so I’ve moved to Prosecco, put a little pomegranate juice in it and pomegranate seeds and maybe a little twist of lemon. It looks refreshing, it looks beautiful on your holiday table. Also, my family has gotten really big into what I call the ‘Mad Men’ cocktails as sort of a vintage throwback like Manhattans and Old Fashioned and Gimlets, so having a bar with that kind of variety on it and let them make drinks. My brother last year brought a muddler. A muddler to me is such a throwback, it’s so old school. He made an Old Fashioned that was fantastic! Have a little whimsy, have a little fun with it and it can be whatever you want it to be.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you so much, Ceci. Where can we go for more information?
Ceci Carmichael: “Go to VideoPump.tv. You can get all the links to everything that we talked about today to get recipes and holiday hacks.”