Get Ahead: 10 Holiday Hostess Secrets

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Get Ahead: 10 Holiday Hostess Secrets
Photo by Gus Philippas

Between hosting relatives and shopping for presents, we’re heading into one of the busiest times of the year. If you’re already worried about finding the time to put festive food on the table, stop stressing and start planning ahead. eHow Food has a list of freezer-friendly cookies and DIY decorations.

Prep Your Pie Crust
Gus Philippas

Prep Your Pie Crust

No, we’re not talking about that tinfoil-wrapped graham cracker crust on aisle nine. We’re talking about the three ingredients that pastry chef Heather Bertinetti uses to make a homemade crust that you already have in your refrigerator. Just stick it in the freezer until you’re ready to make the perfect pie.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Watch How to Make a Pie Crust from Scratch in HD

Freeze Sugar Cookie Dough
Gus Philippas

Freeze Sugar Cookie Dough

It if were up to us, we would always have a batch of sugar cookie dough stored away in our freezer, because these treats are always in season. Before the holiday madness descends, make and freeze the dough as you have time. Then, as your event draws nearer, baking the cookies and making the icing is a quick and easy as getting the kids prepped and ready in their decorating aprons.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Watch Quick and Easy Sugar Cookies in HD

Make Shortbread Ahead of Time
Gus Philippas

Make Shortbread Ahead of Time

Another great dough that you can make ahead of time, this is excellent to have on hand because you will always be less than 10 minutes away from having rich and delicious shortbread. Whether the occasion calls for something to dip in your coffee or you’ve been summoned to an impromptu cookie exchange, you can’t go wrong with Heather’s buttery shortbread.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Watch Rich, Buttery Shortbread Cookies in HD

Freeze Gingerbread Cookie Dough
Gus Philippas

Freeze Gingerbread Cookie Dough

Restless little ones with overactive hands will absolutely love your spur-of-the-moment Gingerbread House Contest. That’s right – with Heather’s help, you can pre-plan for those snow days by making and freezing this versatile holiday dough ahead of time.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Watch Gingerbread Cookies in HD

Keep a Stock of Chocolate-Covered Pretzels
Gus Philippas/Demand Media

Keep a Stock of Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

Curb your sugar crash before it starts by making these chocolate pretzels to always have on hand. With just enough salt, sugar and carbs, these are the perfect pick me up when you’re trying to shop ‘till you drop or tide your guests over until the main dish.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Watch Sweet and Salty Chocolate-Covered Pretzels in HD

Make a Batch of Roasted Almonds
Photo by Gus Philippas

Make a Batch of Roasted Almonds

Speaking of afternoon pick-me-ups or aperitif accompaniments, toasted almonds are an excellent addition to any shopping bag, coffee table or Christmas stocking.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Watch Spicy Toasted Almonds in HD

Stock Your Home Bar
eHow

Stock Your Home Bar

The first line of defense against an infusion of guests is a well-stocked home bar. Before hosting your holiday party, review Joe Campanele’s tips so everyone from liquor drinkers to wine lovers can have an evening of smooth sipping.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Watch Stocking Your Home Bar in HD

Wrap Up Wine Bottles
Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Wrap Up Wine Bottles

We’ve all been halfway out of the house before realizing that we can’t arrive to the holiday party empty handed. Save your own future self by pre-wrapping your favorite wine Evette Rios-style, so that you will be ready at any moment to hurry to your holiday party with your hosting gift.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Watch Wrapping Wine as a Gift in HD

Deck the Halls With Oranges
Gus Philippas

Deck the Halls With Oranges

After you’ve busted all the dust bunnies -- but before you find yourself swept up in the holiday hoopla – slice, bake and decorate with dried oranges. These little citrus circles are beautiful last minute additions to centerpieces or place settings, and are excellent to have on hand when you need to add some spontaneous fall flavor.

  • in association with Rachael Ray

Watch Easy Idea: Dried Oranges for Decorating in HD

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