• A potato peeler plus a bar of chocolate makes for a very fancy garnish for cake tops or even for hot drinks.
• Holidays got you stressed? Take a breathing break. Deep belly breaths, sometimes called “focus breaths,” can lower blood pressure, calm stress-induced heart rate and induce a relaxation response. Simply sit or lie down somewhere safe and close your eyes. Breathe in deeply, and let your belly rise with the inhalation. Breathe out slowly and evenly.
• “If a gingerbread house is just too complicated for the kiddos, try this: They can make a holiday forest of trees! Give the kids several ice-cream cones to frost and set them upside down on a tray. Decorate with small candies, etc. You can chip out a ‘door’ and make one of them an elf house if you feel like it.” — W.L. in North Carolina
• Candy canes can be pulverized in a food processor to dust cookies and cakes. Add a bit of confectioner’s sugar to stretch it if needed.
• “Our family of carol singers is happy when they return home from a singing sleigh ride: We serve everyone a big mug of hot chocolate. Our secret for keeping it hot for a crowd? We use our slow cooker and ladle it straight out of the pot!” — R.E. in Minnesota
• Potatoes can be boiled whole, then plunged into icy water briefly when cooked. The skins should slip right off. No need to spend all that time peeling potatoes!
(c) 2019 King Features Syndicate, Inc.