Friday, November 21, 2014

Tips for a Pet-Friendly Holiday

‘Tis the season for holiday parties, and many pet lovers jump at the opportunity to include their four-legged friends in the festivities. Pet holiday parties may range from the simply elegant to the simply silly, but they all have one thing in common – a doggone good time.  I celebrated our love of pets in my book, DogParties: Entertaining Your Party Animals (Gibbs-Smith, $19.95) but to help you get started in your holiday pet party planning, I teamed up with PetSmart to bring you these tips:

One of the best ways to set the stage for a party is to ask guests to sport a festive look, and pets are no exception. For a classy party, use your invitation to ask your guests to dress up and remind them to bring their furry friends on their favorite fancy leash. You can find an array of dressy options at PetSmart, including bowties, sparkle dresses and the Santa Cat Cape, all will surely dress up the occasion.

Or go the other direction with a fun ugly sweater party. Invite your friends to dress the part and bring their pets in their silliest attire. The Bret Michaels PetsRock line of ugly sweaters – some even light up – are the perfect complement to your own gaudy attire.

Consider setting up a treat buffet for your four-legged friends. Fill large clear glass containers with different varieties of colorful treats.

Don’t expect your four-legged friends to share. Purchase a festive dog bowl for each guest, such as the Martha Stewart Pets Santa ceramic bowl from PetSmart, and fill each with water. Then keep them for next year’s holiday party, or give them away as party favors at the end of the event.

Set the tone with holiday tunes, or go one step further with a little bit of research into the names and breeds of the pets loved by the composers or singers. Make a playlist of your favorites and type it up for your guests. 

Snap a Polaroid photo of each of your guests in their festive attire as they arrive. Hang a clothesline made of ribbons near the entrance and clip the photos up with clothespins as they print for instant personalized decor that your guests will love.

Don’t forget the party favors. Consider a small gift for each family to take home with a bone-shaped card attached that reads “Happy Howlidays!” Another option is a small faux tree decorated with bright dog toys and bones. (Be sure to use a faux tree; four-legged guests may be tempted to leave their mark on the real thing.) At the end of the event, you can ask your guests to choose a treat as their take-home favor.

For more holiday ideas and tips, visit your local PetSmart or

Photography by Stephen Karlisch

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Guest Recipe Post: Model Behaviors Loaf Juice and Gluten-Free Turkey Loaf

Have you stumbled on the Model Behaviors site yet?  You will love the uplifting, healthy and empowering posts that my friend Toni Munoz Hunt is working on for you.  I asked her to share one of favorite recipes here and hope you will mosey on over to her site to check out some of her other recipes!

Loaf Juice and Gluten-Free Turkey Loaf

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to share this recipe.  Growing up, nothing ever went to waste, and as you can imagine, wasting good juice-pulp can be torturous on me today.  Yes, pulp makes great compost and chicken feed, but there aren’t tons of options out there for this organic goodness.  I mean…pulp is basically the same concept as produce ground up by a food processor.  Then it hit me—Turkey Loaf. What a great way to get two meals out of one.  Go ahead and make this nutritious and delicious juice, and then turn around and use the leftover pulp to make your Gluten-Free Turkey Loaf.

PART I:  Loaf Juice

Ingredients (makes 8 servings):
·      1 bunch of carrots—excellent source of vitamin A
·      1 bunch of celery—rich in magnesium for structural development of bones and regulating blood pressure
·      1 celery root—anti-inflammatory good for the digestive track
·      6 green apples—great tasting antioxidant, also rich in vitamin C
·      8 yellow bell peppers—wonderful source of carotenoids

·      Wash carrots, celery, green apples, and bell peppers
·      Peel carrots and celery root
·      Core apples and bell peppers
·      Toss ingredients separately into juicer, and activate
·      *Save pulp from carrots, celery, apples, and bell peppers in separate containers to make Turkey Loaf
·      Pour juice into pitcher
·      Stir, and serve


PART II:  Gluten-Free Turkey Loaf

Ingredients for loaf mixture (serves 6-8):
·      2 1/2 pounds ground turkey (breast and thigh meat)
·      1 tbsp of cayenne pepper
·      1 tbsp of Ancho chili powder
·      1 tbsp of dried thyme
·      1 small yellow onion
·      6 cloves of garlic
·      2 eggs
·      2 cups of carrot pulp (from the juice receptacle)
·      1 cup of yellow bell pepper pulp (from the juice receptacle)
·      1 cup of green apple pulp (from the juice receptacle)
·      1 cup of celery pulp (from the juice receptacle)
·      12 ounces of gluten-free croutons (
·      salt and pepper

Ingredients for loaf sauce:
·      2 cups of catsup or ketchup (make sure gluten hasn’t been used as a thickener)
·      4 tbsp. of Sriracha sauce (same rule applies here)
·      2 tbsp. of cumin
·      2 tbsp. of pepper
·      2 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce
·      1 tbsp. of Agave nectar

·      Peel, rinse, and dice yellow onion
·      Peel, rinse, and mince cloves of garlic
·      Take gluten-free croutons and seal them in a Ziploc bag.  Make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing bag.
·      Take a rolling pin and generously crush together croutons (leave some chunky pieces: it doesn’t have to be completely pulverized).
·      Now, take out a baking sheet and cut a piece of parchment paper the size of the sheet.
·      In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients, and put aside

·      Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
·      In a large bowl combine ground turkey, cayenne pepper, Ancho chili powder, thyme, and salt and pepper (use as desired).
·      Once seasoning is worked through, add crushed croutons.
·      Now work in onion and garlic.
·      Make sure the ingredients are completely kneaded together.
·      Add in carrot, bell pepper, apple, and celery pulp.
·      Crack two eggs in the mixture and work together one last time.
·      Now, take the mixture and pack into a loaf pan(s) (I like Pyrex because it slides out easily).
·      Take the baking sheet with the parchment paper, and flip the loaf pan upside down on top of it.
·      Bake loaf for 15 minutes, and take out.
·      Generously lather the loaf with whisked sauce.
·      Allow loaf to bake for another 45 minutes, or when ready.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Thanksgiving Harvest Celebration

Are you thinking about your Tablescape for Thanksgiving yet?  I'm sure you are being bombarded by plans for the menu but don't leave the table to the last minute!  A little bit of planning ahead can make a big difference.  I was thrilled to be asked to contribute a Thanksgiving Table Idea to Box 9 Magazine.  Here are some of the photos and you can go the article to read more of my tips and the story about the napkins on the tray!

My fellow Southern Living Editor-at-Large, James Farmer always recommends Fruit, Foliage and Flowers on a Fall table so I took a cue from him added these Pomegranates.  I cut one of them open to reveal the gorgeous texture of the seeds inside.

Photography by John Cain Sargent

Monday, November 17, 2014

Time to start your Christmas Shopping: Moda Operandi's Home for the Holidays

I had such a great time "shopping" Moda Operandi's Home Collection for my gift suggestions.  Big thanks to the LSD for asking me to create a gift guide for them! I hope you like my suggestions.  They have TONS of wonderful gift ideas and I know that you, like me, will not be able to leave the site with out adding something to your own letter to Santa.

For the Hostess:  L'Objet Malachite Candle

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