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10 Things to Make Your Holiday Shopping + Cooking Stress-Free

The holidays are here. Christmas is just 24 days away. I already know that means you are planning, strategizing and trying to figure out how in the world you’re going to manage all you have to do without going crazy and maybe even calling it quits. I know, friends. Shoot, I’m single with no kids and sometimes feel like it’s just too much.

So if you’re bound to a family and are hosting any kind of dinner soirée during the holidays, here are some tip and hacks I want you to try. I abide them every year and they make me smile as I navigate all there is to do! I promise these 10 tips will save you time, open up counter space, keep you from having a melt down and ultimately set you  up to present yourself as the most gracious host(ess). We want our guests to leave our homes with a warm, and fuzzy hearted feeling. Cuz you know, we’re repping Jesus and His spirit!

Design a menu and stick to it. This approach will help you stay focused and eliminate our natural inclination to add more dishes to the menu or do last minute switcharoos which ultimately cost more time and money.

 Make a large batch of simple syrup. That way, you don’t have to wait for it to chill in the moment. Make up to a gallon worth a week before and chill it until you need it. Will come in handy when shaking up cocktails, or a baking up desserts that require liquid sugar. Another thing I like to do is flavor the syrup with seasonal herbs like rosemary, lavender, sage, etc. A flavored syrup will automatically level up anything you make.


Apple Spiced Thanksgiving Drink

Cut your vegetables in advance. Separate them into their own containers so that when you’re ready to cook, you’re not fretting over all that cutting, slicing, dicing, etc. You’ll also have open cooking space since you won’t be coming out with a whole bunch of cutting boards.

Use the mess out your cookie sheets. I love this tip. If you have several of these tucked in your oven, pull them out and use them as hold-alls for a variety of tasks: mise en place, roasted vegetable vessel and platter (you can serve it just like that, too!), serving small items like espresso demitasse, small desserts, etc.

Batch-make your dressings. This is so helpful and will also keep prep space open. Plus and more importantly, your dressings will be much intense in flavor if you make them 2-3 days in advance. Try this lavender + fig vinaigrette I love using on salads and even for dipping bread and the like. Or, this Walnut-Pomegrante dressing that’s rich and super nutty.

Walnut Pomegranate Dressing Text


Label all your pots, pans, and serving dishes the day before. I learned this amazing trick while appearing on the Today Show. This simple task will help keep you super organized in the kitchen. Label all pots and pans with sticky notes with the names of the dishes that will go in each pan; that way you won’t go crazy trying to assign dishes to dishes.

Keep a citrus bowl ready. Add your fruits like apples to bowls of water and citrus to keep from browning. This works for bananas, too, if you plan on using them in frozen drinks, etc, as they’ll be somewhat mushy from the water they absorbed.

Grate Butter. Need room temperature butter, stat? No problem. Use your cheese grater for instantly tempered butter. No sweat.


 Tape printed recipes on your cupboards. I shared this tip last year but I swear by it. It makes following a recipe so.much.easier. No flipping pages in magazines or books.  You don’t even have to touch it… eye level, baby.

 Buy a pressure cooker. You know I will forever lobby for this. Using a pressure cooker can save up to 70% cooking time. I’ve written a book on pressure cooking so I’m pretty confident you can get your life back by using one! Pick up the book and instantly you’ll have over 100 recipes ideas!


Christmas and all the holidays ferver is not the time to be so generous or liberal with your time. People get hangry and there is massive amounts of food to be cooked. Let the pressure cooker alleviate that burden of lack of time. I promise you’ll thank me later. Try my collards recipe, done in just 25 minutes.  Make another batch and you’ve fed 15 people. My black beans recipe is golden, too!

My cookbook, Modern Pressure Cooking has over 100 recipes for both stovetop and electric pressure cookers and is on sale at Amazon and other retailers where books are sold. Order it today and have it in time to make your grocery list for all that delicious cooking next week.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, good people. Remember to be of service to others, especially those less fortunate.


Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

Follow the sexy & delicious fun on


follow Bren Herrera on Pinterest

Don't forget to check out my debut cookbook!

64 thoughts on “10 Things to Make Your Holiday Shopping + Cooking Stress-Free

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