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December 21st, 2010

Home for the holidays

It’s that time of year again...already! 2010 just flew by. Seriously, way too fast. They (and by “they” I mean all those people who are my mom’s age and older) weren’t kidding when they said that as you get older the years just fly by. Yikes. Time to slow things down I say! Thank goodness for the holidays, because, if done right, you can actually find time to stop and relax. But you have to work at it (ironic?). This year’s theme is all about my home.

I have decided to make a top 10 list on how I plan to slow things down this holiday season so I can come back in 2011 reenergized instead of exhausted.

Here it goes:

10. Spend an entire day in pyjamas and kick-back with some books and magazines.

9. Spend a full day without cell phone and internet.

8. Get bundled up and try out my new snow shoes with my husband and my dog.

7. Do a movie marathon complete with pizza and popcorn!

6. Make some home cooked food for 2011 and stock up my freezer (I find cooking relaxing when I have the time).

5. Make some homemade gifts for my family and friends (I highly recommend this authentic Italian biscotti recipe I snagged from a friend of mine – it’s easier than you think!)

You can wrap them in cute cello bags with ribbon, or find neat decorative tins at home décor stores. Just be sure to sneak some for yourself).

Biscotti for the Holidays

• 6 eggs
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 2 tsp. vanilla
• 3 TBS. toasted almonds
• 3 TBS. hazelnuts
• 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. cornstarch
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Beat eggs with sugar. Add remaining ingredients.

Divide dough into two equal portions. Shape into two 1-inch think loaves (you’re going for a rectangle shape). Wet your hands a bit so you can easily shape and smooth out the surface of the loaves.
Place loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (NOT WAX PAPER!). Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut into even slices (across the width of the loaf). You’ll start to see the biscotti come to life now!
Place each slice face up on the baking sheet and broil each side for a few minutes. Keep a close eye on them. They burn fast!
Makes about 30 biscotti.
* For added flavor, add some lemon zest to the egg and sugar. And, you can drizzle them with melted chocolate once cooled.


4. Turning off my alarm clock and getting up only when my eyes open all by themselves, and not a minute sooner.


3. Watch holiday movies while sipping low-fat eggnog. This is an amazing recipe- it’s a bit labour intensive and only makes a couple glasses so share with your closest loved ones! This one’s from my favourite source for recipes:


Skinny Nog

• 3 cups non-fat milk
• 2 (1 by 2-inch) pieces orange zest
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• Serving suggestion: Ground cinnamon
• Special equipment: Milk frother or Immersion blender


In a non-stick saucepan combine 2 cups of the milk, the orange zest, and cinnamon. Heat over medium-high heat until just below a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside for 30 minutes to steep. Refrigerate the remaining cup of milk.


Reheat the milk mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar. Gradually pour half the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Pour the hot egg mixture back into the milk and cook the custard over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened, about 4 minutes. Don't let the custard boil. Strain custard into a bowl. Discard the cinnamon and orange zest. Add the vanilla to the custard and set aside to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold.

When ready to serve, foam the reserved cold milk with a milk frother or immersion blender, and fold into the custard. Serve eggnog in cups dusted with cinnamon.


2. De-clutter my home (my cupboards and closets) and donate everything I’m no longer using.

1. Taking the time to appreciate and be grateful for everyone and everything in my life in any way I can, even if that simply means sharing an extra-long cup of coffee with an old friend!


I wish everyone a safe, fun and restful holiday season. You deserve it!

1 comment
  • Posted by Rania on December 23rd, 2010, 09:40
    I'm definitely trying it!!
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Janette  Ewen

Janette Ewen has been one of Canada’s leading décor and lifestyle experts for more than a decade, passing on her passion for design and fashion to avid fans through magazines, newspapers and television.

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