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Easy Entertaining

Holiday entertaining can be stress-filled or fun-filled depending on the approach you take to decorating and menu planning. You want to be able to select a menu that will entice and please your guests but you also want to be sure that it doesn't keep you tied up in the kitchen. If you build menus around dishes that you already know how to make you can touch them up by adding one or two new recipes. London Public Library has a great selection of cook books such as Diane Phillips Perfect party food : all the recipes and tips you'll ever need for stress-free entertaining from the diva of do-ahead and another great recipe book Donatella Arpaia's Donatella cooks : simple food made glamourous.  For guests with restricted diets be sure to include some foods they can enjoy by selecting some choices from books like Didi Emmons Entertaining for a veggie planet : 250 down-to-earth recipes and NomiShannon and Sheryl Duruz's Raw food celebrations " party menus for every occasion!  An elegant dessert from The perfect finish : special desserts for every occasion will wow and amaze your guests. Be sure to offer something like a fat-free angel cake with a fruit topping for guests who can't eat fats or sugars - or those who can't eat any more calorie rich foods.  The whole fare will be a great success by keeping in mind a few culinary secrets.  Offer a combination of colour in your food choices, mix textures and provide a mix of hot and cold foods. Simmer a few cloves and cinnamon sticks on the back burner and the house will say welcome as soon as your guests open the door.