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The Christmas Bug

December 12, 2011

It’s December 8th – 8 days into the most joyous month of the year! Have you been bitten by the Christmas bug yet?

You know what I mean – have you began the baking, decorating and humming along with all of those Christmas classics? If not, boys and girls, it is time.

Today, I’m going to give you a few baking, decorating and entertaining tips to get you well on your way. All the while, I’ll be using fresh Florida products! You can find all of these things in your own backyard, grocery store, or farmer’s market. Remember to support Florida agriculture during this holiday season. 

Eat, drink and be merry

Florida Crab Cakes with Avocado Butter

Crab, avocado and butter – how can you go wrong with this combination? These crab cakes would be the perfect appetizers at your holiday gathering. Just form into small patties and serve on small, appetizer plates. These could even be prepared as bite-size hors d’oeuvre for a larger crowd. Be sure to use Fresh from Florida Gulf Crab and Florida-grown avocados.  

Florida Citrus Meringue Pie

Photo of Florida Citrus Meringue Pie by Taste of Home

Honey Brined Smoked Turkey

Now we’re moving into the main course. So we’ve all had honey baked ham and smoked turkey – but what about honey smoked turkey? Now there’s a combination to wow your guests. Use Florida honey to ensure perfection for this delectable dish. This bird takes about four and a half hours to prepare so plan accordingly.

Florida Citrus Meringue Pie

My favorite – dessert. At your holiday festivities, surprise your guests with this perfect balance of sweetness and tart! This pie includes Florida oranges and lemons to create a delectable treat which screams, “Fresh from Florida!” But, you may want to add 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar to the meringue to ensure that it doesn’t come out flat.

Tinsel & such

Here are a few simple ideas to try when decorating your home for the holidays! Use natural items from outside your home, like leaves, moss and pinecones, to give your home a Christmassy feel. See how!

Photo by: Ralph Anderson

Citrus Ornaments

Check out this spin on traditional holiday ornaments. If you grew up on or near a citrus grove, or are simply a citrus lover, this is a must-try. All that’s needed is a few oranges, a little glitter, and some fishing line, to create a warm glow on your Christmas tree. Fresh Florida citrus can also a beautiful component of holiday centerpieces.

Magnolia Wreath

Have a magnolia in your backyard? Scoop up some leaves and use them to create a beautiful wreath which will make your home inviting during this holiday season. This DIY craft is incredibly easy and affordable! You only need three things: florist foam wreath, magnolia leaves, and a red bow or ribbon.

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree    

Fire – What better way to warm up your holiday gathering than with a fire. Whether inside or out, a fire will add a bit of warmth and coziness to your home. Be sure to only burn local firewood. Moving firewood across national, state and even county borders can result in the spread of invasive pests and diseases. When buying firewood, make sure you receive pieces that are dry and have either little bark or bark that is loose (a sign that the wood is very dry). Not only will this reduce the threat of spreading diseases, your fire will be easier to start. For more information about firewood regulations, visit our website.

Fabric-covered pinecone ornament

Ornament Exchange – Rather than a gift exchange, why not have an ornament exchange? This would be a more economically feasible option and would be a perfect opportunity to utilize fresh Florida products. Here are a couple of cute ideas with pinecones that you can gather in your backyard:

–          Fabric fashioned

–          Simply snowy

So go ahead and let that Christmas bug nibble at ya! It’s that time of year! I sure hope these tips help you dive headfirst into your holiday festivities. And if you are traveling to someone else’s home, remember to not pack a pest. Transferring agricultural items, such as plant material, across state and national borders, can spread invasive pests and diseases as well.

 Merry Christmas!

 

 

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