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Celebrate!

Add a dash of sparkle to your holidays.

MESSENGER POST MEDIA

December 2015

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Life of the

PARTY
How to capture GREAT

HOLIDAY photos

By Melissa Erickson | More Content Now

apturing the moment with photos can be tricky at a holiday


party. Whether youre using a camera or your phone to take
pictures, a few tips from the experts can help you take better
snaps.

Look for the light


The biggest challenge for most amateur photographers is lighting, said
professional Watertown, Massachusetts, photographer Leo Gozbekian.
They try to shoot indoors without a flash and the results are that the
photos are out of focus, dark, grainy, grey and flat, Gozbekian said.
Unless youre going for an arty, silhouette shot, use a flash no matter
what, said Gene Hwang, co-founder of San Franciscos Orange
Photography. A typical SLR (single-lens reflex camera) will expose for
other lights in the room like a Christmas tree in the background, leaving
the subject in the dark. The flash will fill in shadows.
Pro tip: If there is holiday lighting in the room, try turning off the flash
on purpose and letting that light illuminate people to create really cool
silhouettes, Hwang said.
If youre shooting with your phone, step in and physically get close
rather than zooming in, Hwang said. Another option is to ask others to
shine their phones flashlight at the subject to add light, he said.

Be creative
Nothing is more boring than a lineup of guests looking straight at

the camera. People think it will look good if a photo is symmetrically


balanced but its not as interesting, Hwang said. Create angles, mix it
up. If you have a group of people, have one sitting, another leaning on a
chair, someone behind, someone kneeling in front, Hwang said.
After you take the official shot, do something spur of the moment. Say,
Do something fun now. Then take another photo quickly. Dont give
them time to think about it, just shoot. It will be a more effective, fun
shot, said Gozbekian.

Get candid
To be a great photographer, you have to anticipate whats going to
happen before it happens and plan for it, Hwang said. If you shoot
from farther away, youll get wider, context shots that show whats
happening, Hwang said. You dont always have to show people up
close.
You can see much more from 15 feet away. For example, if you see a
couple getting cozy, snap away as they go in for a kiss, or if youre by the
front door get a shot of a man helping his date take her coat off. Take a
bunch of candids before going in for a close-up.

Getting close
Portrait shots showing off the pretty people are what many photographers
go for, so after youve taken some farther-away photos get close to your
subject.
Work fast. Say, Look at me, and take the photo, Gozbekian said. The
encounter should last not more than 10 or 15 seconds, he said. If you
think youre close enough, you can probably get closer.
A lot of people like full-body shots, especially if people are dressed up,
but try shooting from the waist up, especially if youre taking a group
shot, Hwang said. A full body shot with a big group will leave their faces
miniscule in the photo, Hwang said.

Go for a different angle


Look for interesting composition, Hwang said. Light, shadows, shapes,
outlines. Shoot through a doorway or window to frame a photo. You will
have the portrait shots. Go for something interesting.

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Unique and nutty twists on traditional holiday recipes


With the holidays upon us, its time to enjoy
some of the seasons tastiest foods. Chef Alex
Guarnaschelli, an Iron Chef and expert on Food
Network, says that nuts are one of the most
versatile ingredients to use when reinventing
dishes.

Make nuts part of any season by toasting


them in a little warm olive oil over medium heat.
When toasted and coated in the oil, stir in any
fresh herb and allow the herbs to gently crisp up
and meld with the nuts. Serve as is with a pinch
of salt.

Cranberry sauce with a tiny grate of orange


zest and a handful of toasted almonds stirred in
at the last minute puts a simple but tasty twist
on a staple holiday side dish.

Wow guests by trying this tasty sweet potato


recipe from Chef Guarnaschelli. Sweet potatoes
are at their best when combined with something
sweet. This recipe blends flavors reminiscent of
a cinnamon-infused pecan coffee cake topping
and pairs them with sweet potatoes for a change
from the more traditional marshmallow topped
casserole.

Want rich, thick gravy with no lumps? Thicken


gravy with ground nuts instead of flour. Simply
separate a little of the gravy in a bowl and blend
with ground walnuts until smooth. Then whisk
back into the pot.
Spruce up holiday side dishes by stirring in
some toasted pecans or almonds. Top gratins
with a thin layer or stir a handful into sauteed
or braised vegetables. Nuts bring out the earthy
flavors of vegetables, adding richness without
making dishes too heavy.
Stir together melted semi-sweet chocolate
and a handful of chopped pecans or walnuts.
Add a pinch of cinnamon and roll into bite-size
candies. Its an easy way to have something
different than a pie or cookies for the holidays.
Plus its gluten free.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Pecans

4 large sweet potatoes, about 3 pounds


1/2 C. melted unsalted butter, divided
1 t. orange zest, packed
3/4 t. salt, divided
3/4 C. Pecan Halves, coarsely chopped
1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. dark brown sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375 F. Pierce sweet potatoes


with a fork. Microwave on high for 15 minutes
or until completely cooked through. Let rest 5
minutes or until cool enough to handle.
Topping: Meanwhile, combine the pecans,
flour, sugars, cinnamon and 1/4 t. salt. Stir to
blend. Mix in 1/4 cup butter, topping should
form sandy clumps. Refrigerate.
Split the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop
out some of the flesh inside. Arrange the sweet
potato halves on a baking sheet. In a medium
bowl, combine the sweet potato flesh with the
remaining 1/4 cup butter, orange zest and 1/2 t.
salt. Spoon filling back into each potato half and
top with the topping on a baking tray. Place the
tray in the center of the oven and bake until the
topping browns, 15-20 minutes. Serves 8. [BPT]

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the toast

SALUTE!
TIPS ON GIVING A

Heartfelt toast
By Melissa Erickson | More Content Now

f youve welcomed people into your home to celebrate the


season, its the perfect opportunity to raise your glass and tell
them how you feel with a toast.

Just like the menu and the guest list, the best toasts are planned in
advance, said Rita Barber, past director of Toastmasters of the San
Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay areas.
A toast can be a challenge when its not well-rehearsed. For a good
toast you need to think about the message, she said.
In the past, toasting used to be much more common and was
considered a proper part of the meal, said Daniel Post Senning,
co-host of the Awesome Etiquette Podcast. High society toasts even
received newspaper coverage in the late 1800s.
The tradition of toasting dates back millennia, when host and guests
drank from a communal jug.

In the Middle
Ages, the host
would drink first.
It was done
so that a guest
knew his host
wasnt going
to poison him.
Daniel Post Senning,
etiquette expert

While formal toasts in the past


were ruled by strict protocol,
today anyone can offer a toast,
Post Senning said.
One rule to follow is that
everyone should have a glass
full of something. The kids should
have juice or water, Barber said.
Its appropriate to toast with
something non-alcoholic, Post
Senning said.
To get a groups attention, hold
your glass high and make eye
contact with others at the table.
Do not tap your glass with your
cutlery.
Once you have the floor, keep it
brief, no more than two minutes,
and speak from the heart, the
experts agreed.

Think about who will be at the table and what they mean to you. Also
think about who you dont want to exclude, said Barber, who shared
a family toast in which sons, but not a daughter and daughter-in-law
were mentioned. I didnt notice, but my sister-in-law felt excluded.
A little planning and all that could have been avoided, Barber said.
Dont use the toast to draw attention to yourself and your

accomplishments or feel the need to make it a discourse on everything thats


happened in the last year, said Post Senning, who would like to see toasting
become more prevalent.
Its great for less formal occasions like a holiday lunch with friends. Its a way
to acknowledge and honor someone and show respect and gratitude. Its is
not just for weddings or major accomplishments, he said.
If youre asked to toast spur-of-the-moment, give yourself a moment to think
of something to say and speak from your heart.
The truth resonates, Barber said.
If you draw a blank, let the people know you forgot what you were going to
say. Normally, it will draw people in and bring you back to where you want to
be, Barber said. If you dont share something, its a missed opportunity.

Simple toasts
May we have peace in our minds and love in our hearts.
May the best of our past be the worst of our future.
While we live, lets live.
May friends respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you,
and heaven accept you.
May our house always be too small to hold all of our friends.
To you!
All the best.

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HOSTESS GIFTS: try these great ideas!


Lets face it, whoever hosts a holiday dinner has a lot of work to do, no matter how big of a party it is.
Whether youre attending in person or celebrating in spirit with friends and family who are far away, show your thanks
by sending a hostess gift. Here are ideas guaranteed to make a world-class impression by going beyond just a bottle of wine.

Made in the USA


Things made in the USA embrace the idea of home is where the
heart is, while providing quality goods that last the test of time.
Visit one of many boutiques that feature local artisans, or when
shopping online, look for the location where the item was created.
For example, Red Envelopes wood cutting boards are an ideal gift
for any chef.
Red Envelope Artisan Plank Serving Board
The key to hosting the perfect party is as simple as setting out a greatlooking serving tray. Compliment the chef providing an easy and
fun way to serve meals. Made of durable natural maple wood with a
protective teak oil finish. Each item is unique. A perfect compliment
to their favorite eats. Choose monogram or message. Made in the US.
$49.99 at www.personalcreations.com.

Antique or out-ofprint recipe books

Gift baskets of goodies


When you just cant decide, a gift basket packed with goodies provides
a bounty of flavor any host will appreciate. Make your own by adding
a variety of fresh fruit, beautiful gourds and delicious fresh baked
cookies to a beautiful basket. Add a handwritten thank you card for
the perfect finishing touch. If you arent creative or are running out of
time, explore Cherry Moon Farms.

Food is the focus during


the holidays, so any
cooking-themed gift is sure
to be loved. This year, scour
vintage and secondhand
stores for old recipe books
with beautiful illustrations.
Its a unique way to thank
the cook, and you can feel
confident it will be used
over and over again. Plus,
you know no other guest
will bring the same item!
The Best Recipe:
Soups & Stews
From the editors of
Cooks Illustrated
Magazine
This cookbook presents
well over 200 exhaustively
tested recipes, including
favorites such as chili con
carne, Irish Stew, corn
chowder and lobster bisque
plus side dishes like mashed
potatoes and rustic bread.
Also kitchen equipment
tests and blind food tastings
that share the undisputed
best ways to make
Americas favorite soups
and stews. Sure to become
an indispensable kitchen
companion! Used from

$4.13 to new $25.40


at abebooks.com.

Cherry Moon Farms Farmers Market Finds Gift Basket


Inspired by farmers markets, this assortment is hand-selected beginning
with the best varietal fruits available (chosen the day they pack your gift).
Spicy-sweet Bosc pears, crisp Braeburn apples and Stonewall Kitchens
blueberry jam and more fresh finds are included. For a perfect pairing try
some dry-sweet Romanello cheese with sea-salt and olive oil flatbread.
www.cherrymoonfarms.com.

DIY herbs and spices


Get small metal tins from your local craft store and make your own herb
blends to give to the special host. Stock up on bulk spices and have fun
blending new seasonings that will keep meals flavorful all winter long.
Great options for a poultry spice include thyme and tarragon. Sage,
thyme and fennel seed are great for pork. Label the tins with stickers or
tie tags on with twine for a chic, rustic presentation thats easy to bring
to a party or ship out to friends and family.

Personalized kitchen must-haves


The kitchen is the heart of the home and its also the heart of holiday
entertaining. Give the hosts something to enhance their kitchen
collection and add personalization to make it really unique.
A Personal Creations Exclusive!
Glazed Stoneware Mixing Bowls
Vibrant colors and simple lines make these nested bowls perfect for dinner
parties and everyday use. This are the most versatile bowls dishwasher,
microwave, oven and freezer safe. The large bowl is artfully sandblasted
with your message. $49.95 at www.personalcreations.com

celebrate! add a dash of sparkle to your holidays december 2015 page 7

Sweet tooth delights


No matter how much you eat, theres always room for dessert. This
year, complement the pie with some new sweet treats. Make them
yourself or simply order tasty indulgences from Sharis Berries, like
these fancy Cherries and Christmas Cake Truffles. Special treats
whether homemade or ordered will make your host smile.
Sharis Berries Cherries and Christmas Cake Truffles

Gourmet goodies
Unique gourmet treats are sure
to impress even the most refined
palate. There are many tantalizing
temptations that will appeal to
anyone with a sweet tooth. Gourmet
popcorn and fruit baskets make
great gifts for food lovers too, and
combining a few special treats in a
gift basket is a fun way to present
their favorites.
Popcorn Charlies
Gourmet Popcorn
An incredibly good popcorn by the bag
or in tins, gift baskets, thank you gifts
and more shop local in Pittsford!
Sweet, savory and specialty flavors.
Orders can be placed online by visiting
www.popcorncharlies.com.

A happy ending to any Christmas feast, this gift pairs a duo of holiday
treats, sure to become a cherished tradition. Each truffle hides a secret
seasonal message, telling family and friends just how much they mean
to you. $49.98 at www.berries.com

Glass sets for beer aficionados


Its official the craft beer movement is here to stay. There are more
breweries in the U.S. than ever before, and beer connoisseurs are even
picky about the mug they drink it in. Enthusiasts know that one of the best
ways to enhance your drink is to use the correct glass. Beer lovers may
enjoy a multiple glass beer tasting set. Be sure it includes a hand mug for
light ales, footed glasses for wheat beers and pale lagers and English pub
glasses for dark English ales.
The Portland 22 oz. Beer Glass is well proportioned for a wide variety of
beer. The shape and design is balanced to capture the best characteristics
of beer. With the booming trend in Belgian ales, the Bruges Beer Glass is
a traditional tulip glass and is at the height of beer-drinking fashion. The
Spiegelau Stout Glass is the ultimate beer glass for enjoying perfectly
crafted stouts. Months of design and tasting workshops went into its elegantly
shaped form, deemed the best for accentuating the roasted malt, rich coffee
and chocolate notes and foamy head that define this dark brew. Priced from
$4.95-$10.95 each at crateandbarrel.com.

AREA HOLIDAY EVENTS


Celebrate the season!
at Lollypop Farm with festive
Holiday Pet Portraits

Portrait Sittings: December 5, 6 & 12


10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Memorialize the holidays with a festive portrait of pets and family with Santa!
For just $30, Lollypop Farm provides you with two 4x6 digital prints
of one or more portraits and a CD of your photos. Enjoy holiday activities,
shopping, gift wrapping, a bake sale and more! Reserve your session.
99 Victor Road, Fairport, (585) 223-1330 x139, www.lollypop.org/petphotos

Village of Pittsford

CANDLELIGHT NIGHT
Tuesday, December 1 5-9 pm

An annual holiday celebration sponsored by the Pittsford


Chamber of Commerce featuring live music, carolers,
horse-drawn wagon rides, visits with Santa and the
lighting of village Christmas trees. Many merchants
offer holiday treats and special sale items as well.

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AREA HOLIDAY EVENTS


HISTORIC DOWNTOWN CANANDAIGUAS

HOLIDAY EVENTS

Girls Night Out will be Saturday, December 10 from 4-8 pm. Enjoy
specials, appetizers, drinks and SHOP till you Drop!
Holiday Artist Showcase, Saturday, December 12. Galleries and
specialty shops will feature local artists and products. Enjoy local
artist demonstrations, showings and signings, one-of-a- kind gifts and
strolling musicians.
Guys Night Out will be Saturday December 17 from 4-8 pm. Its o.k.
guys, its not too late to start your shopping! Enjoy drinks, snacks and
FREE gift wrapping while you have fun picking out that perfect gift
with personalized customer service!

A NIGHT IN
BETHLEHEM:

Sonnenberg
Christmas Gala Ball

A dramatized live nativity

Dance the evening away in the festively decorated


Victorian mansion. Enjoy hors doeuvres, desserts and
a cash wine bar. Black tie or better attire. Ladies bring
a warm wrap. Perfect backdrop for holiday pictures
bring your camera! Pre-paid reservations requested.
Limited reservations. Proceeds to benefit Sonnenberg
Gardens and Mansion. $55/admission; $45/member. 151
Charlotte Street, Canandaigua, (585) 394-4922, www.
sonnenberg.org.

An outdoor walk through five


dramatized scenes of the very
first Christmas. Runs continuously
December 4, from 6-8:30 pm. Warm
up inside as you enjoy crafts, games
and refreshments. For all ages. Free.
1188 Jackson Road in Webster. For
more information, please check out our
website at www.crossroads-communitychurch.org or call 872-2660.

Sunday, December 6, 4:30-9:00 pm

Live from Hochstein: A Cup of Good Cheer, with Madrigalia Wednesday, December 9 12:10 to 12:50 pm
WXXI and Hochstein School of Music and Dance present the Madrigalia, a Rochester based chamber ensemble, with sacred and holiday favorites
in their inimitable style. Guest Conductor, Cary Ratcliff. Tune in to Classical 91.5 and streaming online at wxxi.org.
Broadcast live and free to the public from Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N. Plymouth Avenue, Rochester. For more information visit www.wxxi.org/hochstein.

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