• Tandose Sambo

Effortless Living: Cracker Canapes

Welcome back to the blog,

This week was a week of new beginnings for me. Every year...I take the time to plan for the next year, and just allow myself to have something to grow towards. Goals are for the bold, as they allow you to stay disciplined and motivated towards a target. With will feel more in control of your own life. Taking a little time off at the Jamaica Pegasus, I took the time to actually segment my life into quadrants, and identify what progress I want to make with those parameters for my life. This is applicable to all ages. We never stop learning and growing. There is so much that we can do with our lives, if we take the time to actually explore our talents and creativity.

As my stress free Christmas prep continues, I took the time to start thinking about some decorative touches to the household. If you're a lover of coffee, you'll definitely like the following DIY.


For those who like to brew their own coffee, you'll often find that the coffee will often be packaged inside a burlap bag. This year, I was compelled to keep two coffee bags that the coffee we were consuming came in. Inspired by those mini Christmas trees that you can often get in department stores, I decided to make my own mini Christmas trees. For this DIY you will need:

1) Two sachets ( I used recycled coffee sachets). You can also get small bags like this at craft shops or places like the Dollar Tree and Woolworth's.

2) Decorative Paper. This year I managed to find some wrapping paper that was slightly rustic in nature. The paper blends really well with my sachets

3) Some glue

4) Pine Sprigs ( The sprigs above are from my garden, however you can always find pine sprigs in the mountains, local parks, or even find the faux plants in craft shops)

For this look, I took the time to place the pine sprigs in the bag, and create a look somewhat like a mini Christmas tree. With the glue and paper, I took the time to attach the paper to the sachet, and just add a decorative element to the sachets. The pine is fragrant, and in time will diffuse into the atmosphere and create a nice fresh scent.

My finished results are as follows:

You can place these mini Christmas trees in places like your powder room, to add a nice rustic decorative element of Christmas. Additionally if you have a space like a dressing table, and don't want to overwhelm the space with Christmas, yet still represent the season, these are the perfect additions to the space. Sometimes...all you need is just a hint of Christmas.

Since we are all seemingly busy, this activity took a cool: 15 minutes. If I can do can you!


One of the things that makes the Christmas season so festive, is the gathering of family and friends.

With the current COVID pandemic, what I've found works best is to have mini gatherings of approximately 8-12 people. You can gather...without feeling like you're violating the health code.

Additionally, such a gathering size will not overwhelm you as you prepare for your guests, and you'll still have the opportunity to have your Christmas festivities...and not feel deprived of celebrations.

When it comes to the process of creating your dinners, there are various aspects of your course that you have to consider. These include your appetizers, the main course and your desserts. At Christmas time, the budget for your Christmas dinners can vary, and its always a good idea to be able to have all your bases covered. Focus your energy on the main course...and create simple touches for your appetizers.

One chic yet simple appetizer that you can include on your Christmas table, is the cracker canape. This is an appetizer that you can design to suit your budget. You can scale up or scale down as you desire...and still have the sentiment of an appetizer. At the higher end, you can utilize crackers like Ritz crackers, while at the economical end you can utilize affordable cream crackers. The essence is actually what counts! The toppings and the garnish can quickly be put together once your guests arrive. For this iteration I used:

1) Tuna. This is one of the best economical meat base. Alternatives include: smoked sausage, ham and salmon. The advantage of tuna is that it's already prepared, and you won't have to do much to it to have it ready for your platter. In some instances, you can actually purchase the pre-flavored tuna that comes in flavors such as tomato and smoked, so that you won't have to prepare it. You can just serve it on your platters, directly onto your crackers. For the higher end option, purchase salmon and have it ground in a food processor with seasonings to make a paste, prior to serving. Slice your sausages and ham into thin slices that will fit onto your cracker.

2) Crackers: For this demonstration I purchased Cream Crackers. These are quite affordable. If you want to jazz it up some more...utilize Ritz crackers or a higher end peppered cracker. If you want to spend more of your dinner budget on things like turkey, the cream crackers will work quite fine. The canapes are a starter, and won't be filling up your guests.

3) A vegetable garnish. Utilize what you have in your garden. The French Thyme is a vegetable that I have come to love. I took two stalks from my garden, and removed the leaves. On a rectangular platter, I took the time to garnish the platter with the leaves and form an elegant frame. The crackers were then lined in the center of the platter. Great alternatives to French Thyme include lettuce and Rosemary. These will add dimension to your presentation.

4) Toppings: Pepper Jelly and French Thyme. Feel free to add cheese as a topping, but I wanted to make this a dairy free option.

Start the process by preparing your presentation platter. Image is actually everything when it comes to food. With the French Thyme leaves washed and dried, take the time to arrange them on your tray. The crackers will be placed on top of the leaves, so leave some space in the centre of the display for the crackers to lay.

Prepare your crackers on a separate plate, layering your seasoned tuna, your vegetable garnish and your pepper jelly on the top of the crackers. See the visual for further guidance. Some persons may not want the vegetable garnish on the cracker so leave every other cracker without it. These would be the crackers that you would add your cheese to, if people will prefer.

The canapes are actually quite simple, yet a delicious start to your menu. You won't need more than 16 of these for an 8 person dinner. Just ration two per person and scale accordingly. You may have other entrees such as kebabs, so people will build their plates as the dinner progresses.

The preparation time for these beauties...a stress -free...20 minutes.

Ah yes...stress free Christmas indeed!! For your Christmas can take the time to start preparing things from the night before...and on the day, you can simply just warm what you need...assemble what needs to be assembled, and have the major things like your ham be in the oven baking on the day of. The key to being a great host/hostess is to spend time with your guests once they arrive. The less work you have to do...or the more preparation you do in advance, is the more you'll enjoy your event when it actually arrives.

I love you for reading!!


**Dr T**

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