Every summer, I anticipate getting a package in my mailbox. The package that contains the new Christmas with Southern Living book. When it comes, I carve out time that I can sit and go through it, page by page, enjoying the photographs of food and Christmas decorations, the recipes, and the ideas. And I'll be honest, some issues are better than others. There was one a few years ago where they decorated a mantel with what looked like chicken wire. I just can't love that. But I gotta tell you, this year's issue? Seriously, one of my favorite issues in recent years.
The book begins with menus for different kinds of holiday gatherings-- a breakfast, a luncheon, Thanksgiving dinner, a Christmas tea, and Lowcountry Gullah feast. The pictures are beautiful and the recipes all look very good. One of the things I like about these menus is that they can also serve as a springboard for you to plan your own gathering-- their ideas are very customizable.
Next comes the decorating section, which is chock full of ideas for both inside and outside your home. There are trees, wreaths, stairways, mantels, and table settings. Some are easy to duplicate, others not as easy-- but they are all sure to inspire you in your own decorating.
One of my favorite sections in any Christmas with Southern Living annual is the recipe section. I have gotten some great recipes out of these over the years, and I go back to them over and over again whenever I need new recipe ideas. This year's issue starts out with a section on breakfast casseroles, which are one of my favorite things in the whole world. One of the recipes is a Ham and Cheese Croissant Strata, which is going to be dinner at my house some day soon. (Breakfast casseroles are good all day long, you know!) There's also a Bacon and Cheddar Frittata that you cook in a cast iron skillet that looks so easy and delicious. And if you're looking for ways to use up leftover turkey, there's a Turkey Club Breakfast Casserole that looks divine.
There's also a section on pies and tarts, pizzas, and appetizers. The Barbequed Pork Tartlets with Slaw look especially good to me, probably because I always crave barbeque in the Fall. After the appetizer section comes Main Dishes and Sides. The Main Dishes are a little on the fancy side, which you would expect for a holiday. The Sides range from simple and comforting, like Sour Cream and Chive Potato Bake, to more exotic, such as Fruited Basmati Rice Pilaf. Then come the desserts! Make room for Baklava Cheesecake and Turtle Brownie Torte (featured on the cover).
Finally, the book ends with lots of great ideas for homemade decorations and gifts. There are recipes for salt dough and spicy scented dough that you can use to create your own ornaments. There are also recipes for preserves, which are a lovely thing to make and give as gifts.
Overall, I think this issue delivered exactly what I love best about Christmas with Southern Living: a twist on the traditional, brimming with ideas that I can really use for my own home. Well done, Southern Living!
I am so excited to be able to give away a copy of this book to one of you! To enter, please leave a comment below and tell me about what you are most looking forward to this Holiday season! Enter from now until next Monday, October 29th. One entry per person, please. I will announce the winner on Tuesday the 30th.