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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Helpful Holiday Hints

Helpful Holiday Hints

Preparing Dinner

  • When picking sweet potatoes, choose the dark-skinned ones. They are known to be sweeter and more moist than the lighter-skinned variety.
  • Instant mashed potatoes are a good thickener for stews and gravies.
  • To make your own breadcrumbs, bake pieces of bread (ends, leftovers, or scraps) in an oven at 250 degrees until light brown. Then grind the pieces in a food processor. Add flavoring if desired (oregano, parsley, garlic salt).
  • Don’t throw away leftover vegetables. They’re great on pizza, can be sautéed and put in an omelet and make wonderful additions to homemade soups and stews.
  • Have trouble finding the end on a roll of plastic wrap? Place the roll in the freezer for 30 minutes and it will unroll easily.

Decorating for Dinner?

  • When candles lose their new look and become dull, spray them with furniture polish and wipe well.
  • Metal cookie cutters do double-duty as unique napkin holders for special dinners. Spray paint them to match your decor.
  • When using candles on a dining room or kitchen table, make sure the candles are unscented. This way the scent won’t interfere with the food you’re serving.

Driving to Dinner?

  • A long car trip can strain family harmony. Stop every few hours for a rest break. A snack and some exercise in a public park is a good way to let off steam.
  • Have the kids come up with questions for family members you haven’t seen in awhile. Make a game out of it and name them reporters for the day. They pick the questions, interview the guests and then share the results after dinner.

Overnight Guests?

  • Next time you have guests spending the night, place a small basket near the bathroom sink, and fill it with small bottles of shampoo, mouthwash, lotion, a small tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush, a disposable razor, etc. If your guests forgot to pack any of these items, they will be grateful to have this special guest basket

Start A New Tradition

  • Make a thankful box. Decorate a shoebox or other small box and cut a slit in its top. Every night or once a week, have everyone in the family write something they are thankful for and then place it in the box. Set a date for the reading and sharing of them all, maybe near Thanksgiving.

For more great tips, check out our Best Baking Tips.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.