DI Garden Club program offers ideas for stress-free holiday season
It’s time to start decking the halls... holiday season is officially here! Decorating and entertaining during the busiest time of the year can be stressful. With that in mind, the Daniel Island Garden Club invited island resident Kim Kolts to share her simple steps to make the season as hassle-free as possible.
At the Nov. 14 gathering, Kolts shared her advice for creating a harmonious holiday. Kolts’ passion for kitchen creativity and entertaining began as a young child in Seattle.
“At 8 years old I attended a cooking demonstration by a gas company home economist and from that point on decided that is what I wanted to do.”
She turned her passion into a career, developing healthy recipes and teaching cooking classes for various corporations across the country, including Williams Sonoma.
At the meeting, Kolts shared her favorite recipe for a “make-ahead” party appetizer that’s sure to impress. Her pesto sun-dried tomato cheese torte is quick and easy, and leaves ample time to create a custom hostess gift.
No one wants to show up empty handed to parties, so Kolts shared several ideas to create the perfect gift that will get you invited back. If your host likes cooking, Kolts recommends wrapping up a fancy spatula with a bag of flour. For the cocktail enthusiast, try a basket filled with all the makings for a Moscow mule or a mouthwatering mojito. And don’t forget the furry friends! Kolts shared her recipe for homemade dog biscuits, sure to make the pooch at any party happy.
Kolts also gave suggestions to take the pressure off holiday decorating. When it comes to getting the most out of the season, Kolts recommends keeping it simple!
“Don’t try to cram too much into your schedule, so the things you are doing are a pleasure not a chore - which creates more stress!”
Decorating doesn’t have to be difficult or demanding, especially if you start with things you own, like live plants.
“Use transitional items you already have around the house,” suggested Kolts.
Daniel Island Garden Club member Cheri Herzog liked the idea of mixing real with artificial.
“I like having live plants around, so I already have the basics. I’d add lights for Christmas or mini pumpkins for Thanksgiving.”
“I’ve never used fairy lights in arrangements before,” added Daniel Island Garden Club member Tina Brollier, who does a lot of her own floral arrangements, but gained a new tip from Kolts for the holidays. “I’d definitely use that idea.”
Daniel Island Garden Club President Janice Armandi promised more seasonal fun at the next club meeting on Dec. 12. Attendees who bring containers and a little greenery will be creating amazing holiday centerpieces, while enjoying holiday treats. Jo Rogers attended last year and was pleasantly surprised with her results.
“I think most of us shocked ourselves with our creations!” she said.
The Daniel Island Garden Club meets the second Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. at Providence Baptist Church, 294 Seven Farms Dr. on Daniel Island.
RECIPES FOR HOLIDAY FUN
Daniel Island Garden Club guest speaker Kim Kolts shared an assortment of holiday entertaining and gift ideas at the group’s Nov. 14 gathering, including the two recipes below. The first, for a Pesto sun-dried tomato cheese torte, is Kolts’ favorite “make-ahead” party appetizer. And don’t forget pets when checking off your gift list this year! Kolts offered a fun recipe below that’s sure to please your furry friends.
Pesto sun-dried tomato cheese torte
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tsp chopped fresh oregano
2 8oz cream cheese pkgs, softened
8 oz goat cheese
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
Place garlic and oregano in food processor and pulse to mince. Add cream cheese, goat cheese, and pepper. Process until well combined. Spread 1/3 of cheese mixture in the bottom of a mold or bowl that has been lined with plastic wrap. Top with pesto. Spread 1/3 cheese mixture over pesto. Sprinkle with sun-dried tomatoes; top with remaining 1/3 cheese mixture. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight. Serve with crackers or baguette slices.
Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treats
2 cups oatmeal
1 ripe banana
1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (no artificial sweeteners)
Preheat oven to 275 F. Place oats in food processor and grind to a powder. Remove 1/2 cup powder and set aside. Add banana and peanut butter and pulse to blend well. Dough should hold together but not be sticky. If sticky add a little more of the reserved oat powder. Dust rolling mat with some of the reserved powder and roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 30-40 minutes (will depend on the thickness) until fairly firm. Cool completely on a rack and store in airtight container for up to 1 week or may be frozen.