holiday decorating

Sep 26

Q&A with Suzanne: The Holiday Collection

By |Design Experts, Holiday, Holiday, Suzanne Kasler|7 Comments

Green living room decorated for Christmas

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Suzanne. This year, she’s wrapped the holidays in festive tartan plaid, sprinkled them with ice white glitter and topped it all with her magical style. We sat down with our favorite interior designer to talk about her new holiday collection, her inspirations and her go-to decorating tips and tricks for a beautiful Christmas.

Oct 5

How to Add the WOW Factor to your Holiday Meal

By |Fall, Holiday, How-to's and Tips, Tips & Ideas|1 Comment

A Beautiful Autumn Table: Party Favor

For a little party favor, make a mini bouquet for each guest. Try combining mini calla lilies, dahlias and drumstick flowers with some greenery from your yard. Simply gather the flowers in your hand and secure with a small hair band and snip the stems to the appropriate length. If you add a floral centerpiece to your table, be sure to repeat some of those same flower varieties from your mini bouquets, so that it all pulls together.



An Elegantly Casual Holiday Table: Personalized Place Settings

For a special touch, make a napkin ring from ribbon and create a place card with our Metal Tags. It looks especially pretty when you tuck in a sprig of berries and evergreen. Use this same trick of tying ribbon and greenery sprigs to the stems of your guests’ wine glasses. Using different colors of ribbon and different types of greenery on each stem is a great way for your guests to identify their glass.



An Unforgettable Formal Holiday Table: Place Card Holder

Sugared fruit gives the table a frosty winter effect. For a great place card holder, use a gorgeous pear. Spray gold foil metallic paint on the pear—you can find the paint at a crafts store. Write your guests’ names on card stock and cut the card into a leaf shape. A pearl corsage pin from the florist works beautifully for attaching the card to the pear. Finish off your masterpiece by adding a silver spray painted magnolia leaf, a piece of sugared rosemary and a sprig of winter berry. Now, you are ready to welcome your guests to a beautiful evening.



Oct 4

How to Create Chic Holiday Centerpieces

By |Entertaining, Fall, Holiday, How-to's and Tips, Tips & Ideas|1 Comment


Chic Centerpieces: Autumn

Create a simple, chic arrangement in no time. Choose three vessels with dramatic scale, like our Seagrass Hurricanes. For the center hurricane, make a bouquet using flowers that fit the color scheme of your table, such as mini calla lilies. Secure with florist’s tape, cover the tape with our Satin Ribbon and clip the stems so they sit neatly in the vase. For the other two hurricanes, float a few dahlia blooms and candles in water. How easy is that?



Chic Centerpieces: Casual Holiday

If you’re looking for a low centerpiece, our Marble Bowls make a gorgeous base. Start by filling it with ryegrass, which you can grow from seed or buy in flats from your grocery store or florist. Cut a square to fit down in the bowl with a serrated bread knife. Tuck red carnation blooms around the bowl to hide the soil. To finish it off, tuck in evergreen and Hypericum berries. It should last a week if you spritz with water. One of these arrangements works beautifully for a round table, or use three down a rectangular table—it’s stunning!



Chic Centerpieces: Formal Holiday

Create a beautiful, frosty winter look with a sugared fruit display. Our tiered Marble Cake Plates are perfect for showing off your edible arrangement. Start with clean, dry fruit in shades of red and green. Then, paint on orange liqueur with a new, clean brush. Sprinkle fine granulated sugar over half the fruit and let dry for 30 minutes. Turn the fruit over to complete the other side and touch up as needed. Dip rosemary in the orange liqueur and sprinkle with sugar. Once your sugared beauties are ready, arrange on the stand and tuck in the rosemary. Enjoy!



Nov 2

Holiday Recipes

By |How-to's and Tips, Recipes|3 Comments

Holiday RecipesWe asked some of our great cooks at Ballard, as well as some of our Facebook fans, for their favorite Holiday Recipes. Here are a few of our favorites.

More to come as the season progresses, so check back for even more delicious recipes!

Holiday Popovers
Steve, E-Commerce Marketing Manager

  • 1 lb pork breakfast sausage
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Grease a 1/2 inch miniature muffin cup pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat a large skillet with 1/4 cup water. Add sausage and fry over medium-high skillet until well browned and cooked through (about 8 – 10 minutes). Break up meat into pieces with a large fork or spatula while frying. Drain sausage on paper towels.

In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, pepper, and thyme. In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, buttermilk and melted butter. Make a well in a flour mixture. Add liquid ingredients and whisk slowly together until well combined. Batter may be slightly lumpy, which is ok. Fill muffin cups 1/4 full of batter. Place small piece of sausage on top of batter and fill to top with more batter. Bake until browned (about 20 minutes). Serve immediately. Makes 4 dozen popovers.

Variation: You could add ham chunks or ground turkey to these. I have never tried it with cheese, although I have been tempted to experiment with brown sugar crumbles, which would require cinnimon in the mix instead of thyme and ground pepper.

Holiday Cocktail
Karen, VP of Creative Services

  • 1 half gallon milk
  • 1 quart ice milk (melted)
  • 1 1/2 cups rum
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 2 Tbs. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar (dissolve in a little boiling water)
  • Nutmeg

To make stronger use 2 cups of rum and 3/4 cup brandy.

Holiday Bruschetta
Lori, Inventory Control Buyer

  • 6 to 8 oz. feta cheese (I prefer French Feta Cheese)
  • 4 Tbsp. Pesto (I make my own, recipe to follow – but store bought is fine)
  • 5 to 6 roma tomatoes diced
  • Crackers or thinly sliced French bread

Layer cheese, pesto and tomatoes in a baking dish. Broil 5 to 7 minutes or until hot.
Serve warm with crackers or bread.

Pesto Recipe

  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh basil leasves
  • 2 oz. Parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 oz. Pecorino cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place the pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper, basil and cheese in food processor. Pulse to chop basil. With the machine running, add the oil gradually and process until creamy and smooth.

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
Jennifer, Facebook Fan

  • Ramki
  • Whole water chestnuts
  • Bacon
  • Brown sugar

Wrap whole chestnuts in bacon and secure with a toothpick. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes until carmelized.

Cheese Bake
Chardon, Facebook Fan

  • 1 wedge of Brie Cheese
  • Bronco Billy’s Chipolte Cherry Sauce BBQ
  • Pecans

Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted then serve with crackers.

Baked Brie with Puff Pastry
Melanie, Facebook Fan

  • 1 wheel of brie (7 inches or so – even half a brie wheel will do)
  • 3/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/8 cup bacon, fried & chopped (about 3 pieces)
  • 1/8 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • Kitchen string

Set oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove the rind of the brie wheel, use a paring knife for ease. Roll out the puff pastry. It should be about 1/8 inch thick when rolled. Set your brie wheel in the center of pastry. Plop the apricot preserves on the brie, then the bacon on the preserves. Pull up corners of brie to create a “pouch” and tie a 10 inch or so piece of kitchen string around the neck of the pouch. Don’t pull too tightly as the string may cut through the pastry. Allow the dough to fall over the string, it will look loose and leafy. Set the pouch on cookie sheet. Brush the pastry with heavy cream. If you don’t have cream available, use an egg whipped with a tablespoon of water instead as your wash. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. The exterior should be golden brown and look puffed. If you are not baking immediately, refrigerate the brie pouch until ready. This dough should always be kept cool, as it will “puff” better. Let rest for about 8 minutes before serving.

Fresh Apple Cake
Dina, Facebook Fan

  • 3 cups chopped apples
  • 1 cup nuts
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs (or 3 small eggs)

Mix apples and nuts together and set aside. Mix oil and sugar together and set aside. Mix eggs and vanilla together, then add to oil/sugar mixture. Add apples and nuts. (Recipe does not call for raisins but I throw some in.)

Bake in greased/floured bundt pan at 350 for 55-60 minutes. Drizzle with glaze if desired.

Candy-Filled Cookies
Karen, Style Studio Fan

These cookies are one of my favorite cookies to make for Christmas. The original recipe called for Rolo’s as the inside filling. I’ve also tried mini peanut butter cups (my favorite candy). Feel free to try your favorite candy filling.

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 48 Rolo’s

Beat butter or margarine until creamy. Gradually add sugars, beat well. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Combine flour, baking soda and cocoa. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in 1/2 cup nuts (optional).

Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Combine remaining 1/2 cup nuts with the 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Divide the dough into 4 parts. Work with one part at a time leaving the rest in the fridge. Divide each part into 12 pieces. Quickly press each piece of dough around a Rolo. Roll into a ball. Dip one side into the nut and sugar mixture.

Place sugar side up 2 inches apart on parchment covered baking sheets. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool one minute. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.

Yields about 4 dozen cookies.

What’s In This?
Jane, Style Studio Content Manager

  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 cup chopped black olives
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon curry

Spoon mixture onto buttered (lightly broiled) English Muffin halves, place under broiler until they bubble and cheese has melted!

Posted 11/2/09