A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

How not to ruin Christmas Dinner and Food Processor Giveaway

Preparing for Christmas - Christmas Day Hacks

Why is it I can make the best Sunday Roast with a quick last minute trip to the local shops, and no real planning, but Christmas Dinner always seems to throw even the most accomplished chefs into a frenzy. Never fear, I have food processor to giveaway today, with my top prepping tips for Christmas Dinner on the side.

It’s all about building in ‘chef’s rewards’, planning is boring, so you need to reward yourself for doing it all, or better still delegate it to someone else. Like my friend’s mother in law, who drank so much Buck’s Fizz that everyone had to step in and cook the meal – now that is one way to delegate, but probably not going to make you popular.

Check all your equipment too, one year I pulled my trusty food processor out on Christmas Eve to find it wasn’t working.

Just before our Faux Ho Ho last week – an early Christmas celebration with Nottingham bloggers, in aid of Action Aid and Blog It Forward – Becky called me to say she was bringing crackers, I wondered why we she didn’t mention bringing cheese to go with them and put the phone down puzzled. When she turned up with Christmas crackers it dawned on me that a Christmas dress rehearsal or a bit of planning is no bad thing. Which also reminds me, blogger friends reading this – remember to Blog It Forward!


Planning the feast

Make a meal plan, then a shopping list, ideally while drinking mulled wine and listening to Christmas tunes. Think about kitchen equipment too, do you need new baking trays more roasting pans, have you got enough saucepans, cutlery, chairs for everyone and serving dishes?

Make a copy of this list and keep it in a safe place for next year. Even better, do it on the computer, save, print and email it to yourself, (ideally using one of the email scheduling apps, so you it pings up in our inbox this time next year) and you have it for years and years to come. I know, that last bit takes hacking a bit far doesn’t it, but you get my point, keep the list!

Eat a mince pie and celebrate your organisation skills.

Food Shopping

Reserve a food delivery if you need one and haven’t already, I just booked mine today, for Wednesday 23rd, so it is a myth they will all be gone already. So far I have a bottle of Prosecco checked out, my reward for going back and filling the basket later.

If you prefer to brave the shops yourself, go as late as possible at night or very early in the morning, it is still possible to have the place to yourself.

Food waste is terrible and bargains are great, so try to find out when the discounted food starts in the shops you use. Becky has great tips on how to save on your Christmas dinner…accept dinner at someone else’s is a great one! And Emma’s Savvy Savings is the queen of knocking money off your food shop.

Shopper’s treat – sneak something just for you in the basket a new CD, a Christmas jumper, a box of chocs.

Ahead of the Big Day
I like to set aside some time to really enjoy preparing the feast. Christmas music, family in the kitchen, or out if they don’t want to help and I fancy some peace.

I find cooking is a real joy and not a chore when you plan time for it. Gemma was saying in her blog post that baking is a wonderful distraction from the stress of Christmas.

Helen over at the Crazy Kitchen has some great tips for sides you can make and freeze ahead of the big day, if you want or need to get really ahead with food prep and enjoy more time on the day.

I love Delia’s roast veggies, they can be chopped, marinated in oil and herbs and left in a bag in the fridge for 2 days beforehand.

Being veggie makes life easy, my favourite nut roast and vegetarian gravy can be made in advance too, I can make it and either refrigerate or freeze it, ready to warm up on the big day. But if you are hosting vegetarians, or want to use it as an extra dish or stuffing, this is the nut roast to end all nut roasts.

Chef’s treat – A sneaky glass of red wine or a very large pot of tea maybe?


I had to include Liz’s cheat’s Christmas puddings, so easy and so sweet, over on Me and My Shadow.


The Big Day

It’s all about the big plan. Make a time plan and stick it somewhere prominent. Save a copy or take a photo of it so you have it next year (share it on Instagram or Twitter and tag me too @pennyalexander_) Work out how long everything needs in the oven and then work back from the time you want to eat, slotting things in as they need to start cooking.

Always build in time to enjoy the day itself too, breaks to open presents, catch up with family and escape the kitchen.

Drink some fizz, cook’s prerogative! 



Win this Tower 3.5L-Food-Processor

Take the hassle out of preparing meals with this food processor—great for slicing, kneading, blending, grinding, grating, smoothies,  and so much more.


  • Watt: 1000
  • Variable speed central control knob
  • Pulse, ICE and smoothie functions
  • Stainless steel discs, housing and filters
  • Commercial micromesh filter
  • Fliter increases juice extraction and speed
  • Includes thick slicing blade and thin slicing blade
  • 10 Accessories to perform more than 30 functions
  • Capacity chopping bowl: 2L
  • Auto shut off
  • Dishwasher proof
  • Capacity blender jug: 1.5L

Just comment below by sharing your favourite Christmas hacks or tips. What makes things easier in your house? Then fill in the rafflecopter to register your entry and unlock extra entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

There is one prize of a Tower 3.5l Food Processor as outlined in the blog post. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of Wayfair and A Residence.
Closing date for entries is 14/12/2015 12 am
One entry per person
Entrants must log into rafflecopter and comment on the blog.
Optional entry methods are to follow on Twitter, Facebook and tweet on Twitter.
The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries
The winner will be informed within one week of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 14 days or a new winner will be chosen
The winner’s name will be available on request
This is a joint promotion between Wayfair and A Residence.
Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

Image Credit: Shutterstock – old children’s toys of the kitchen

More competitions at <a href=”http://www.theprizefinder.com” target=”_blank”>www.theprizefinder.com</a> – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/food-processor-rrp-%C2%A319999#sthash.C0JxosUe.dpuf

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