AWESOME HOLIDAY HACKS WITH LAUREN MAKK

lauren

FABLife CO-HOST AND LIFESTYLE EXPERT SHARES NEW HOLIDAY TRENDS

One of the Nation’s Top Designers Shares Tips and Tricks for Creating Simply ‘Affordable Luxury’

Lauren Makk has spent a lifetime perfecting her “Affordable Luxury” signature approach to design. That’s why the popular television host, interior design professional, home and Lifestylist, has been featured on numerous television series, including TLC’s “Trading Spaces” and “Drill Team” for A&E, and as a regular host on the nationally syndicated show, FABLife.    

Just in time for the holidays, Makk will share some timely holiday hacks to help you survive and enjoy the holiday!  Of course, a Life Hack is one of those chic new millennial sayings that have become ingrained in our language. It means “a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one's time and daily activities in a more efficient way,” which makes perfect sense during the holiday season when we’re all trying to fit more in our busy lives. With that in mind, the holiday party season is here. Lauren will share some unique and interesting trips and tricks to help you avoid letting holiday entertaining stress you out!   

EASY WAY TO IMPRESS YOUR GUESTS AT YOUR HOLIDAY PARTY

cm_logoIt all starts with the food and you have to start with a great hors d'oeuvre. My secret is easy entertaining with Crunchmaster — full-flavored crackers made with whole grain and wholesome ingredients that are oven-baked to deliver seriously crunchy satisfaction. I make my warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip recipe that people rave about and I serve it with Crunchmaster crackers. They are gluten free, kosher, and there are no artificial colors or flavors. Many are also non-GMO, 100% whole grain, low in sugar and free of Saturated and Trans fats. I actually got this recipe and some great ideas at Crunchmaster.com

Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip

warm-spinach-and-artichoke-dip-jpgThis light take on a classic dip is lower in fat, but not in flavor!    

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pkg (5 oz) spinach
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 8 oz reduced-fat plain brick-style cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 jars (6 oz) artichoke hearts, well drained and finely chopped
  • 1 pkg (4.5 oz) Crunchmaster® Multi-Seed Crackers

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Heat oil in large skillet set over medium heat; cook spinach for about 3 minutes or until wilted. Let cool completely. Squeeze out excess moisture and chop finely.
  2. Combine mozzarella, Parmesan and Asiago cheese; reserve 1/4 cup and set aside. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne (if desired), and remaining cheese mixture; beat until blended. Stir in spinach and artichokes.
  3. Scrape into greased 4-cup baking dish. Sprinkle with reserved cheese mixture. Place on baking sheet; bake for about 15 minutes or until heated through and top is golden brown and melted. Serve warm with crackers.

Tip:  For make-ahead, assemble dip, then cover and refrigerate. Bake just before serving and serve warm.

A SIMPLE HACK TO HELP WITH HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING

bjI am always looking for simple hacks to make my parties easier on me as a hostess. So this is my secret simple hack to keep the stress down when entertaining… use cookware that’s stove to table ready. Right now BJ’s Wholesale Club has the Crock-Pot Swing and Serve Slow Cooker on sale for only $79.99 – it makes holiday entertaining a breeze! You get three slow cookers in one so you can cook and serve all your party foods, appetizers and dips from one appliance. Then, use the Slow Cooker as the serving bowl and avoid counter-top clutter.  BJ’s Wholesale Club takes the stress out of entertaining by offering savings on everything from the perfect cookware to easy-to-make dishes, and even your décor needs for the perfect holiday gathering. As an added bonus, they're offering a free 90-day trial membership for the holiday! Go in-store or shop online at Bjs.com.

SOMETHING YOU CAN SERVE TO IMPRESS YOUR GUESTS THAT IS SIMPLE AND EASY

I love LaCroix sparkling water and I drink it on the daily because it’s the perfect alternative to sugary beverages being that it’s 100% natural with no added sodium, caffeine, calories or sweeteners. But, when it comes to holiday entertaining – I like to create festive mocktails with it, mostly because any thoughtful host or hostess should always provide a non-alcoholic option for their guests.

Because LaCroix comes in 20 different flavors, it can be hard to pick just one, so in addition to serving single cans at my parties, I personally love the Mure  Pepino  Lemon Fizz 'pick-me-up' they feature on their site. Simply muddle blackberries, lemon juice and a little bit of honey in the bottom of a glass, pour in a can of LaCroix Curate  Mure Pepino, add ice, and voila! You can’t go wrong serving your friends and family a beverage that’s 100% innocent! For more information, visit LaCroixWater.com

lac-1200x1200-bblfLaCroix Cúrate Blackberry Lemon Fizz

Ingredients

  •     1 can LaCroix Cúrate Muré Pepino
  •     1/2 cup blackberries
  •     1 tbsp lemon juice
  •     1 tbsp honey
  •     cucumber for garnish

Instructions: Muddle the blackberries, lemon juice and honey in the bottom of a glass. Add ice and top with LaCroix Cúrate Muré Pepino. Garnish with blackberries and cucumber.

A HOLIDAY HACK TO SIMPLIFY THE CLEAN UP PROCESS  

bissellEveryone wants a fast and easy clean up. There is a new item on the market that will combine washing and vacuuming into one step. It’s called the Bissell CrossWave. It’s a multi-surface cleaning system, so it works on rugs and hardwoods. The two-tank system keeps the cleaning solution and dirty water separate so it can scrub and pick up dry debris at the same time. This is a huge time saver. It works better than a mop and takes less time. For more information, visit BissellCrossWave.com