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Plan the perfect holiday with Global News Morning

Christmas decorations adorn a tree in Ottawa in a Dec.14, 2014 file photo. .
Christmas decorations adorn a tree in Ottawa in a Dec.14, 2014 file photo. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

With less than a week till Christmas, you might feel as if your to-do list is neverending.

With things like where to get your bird on a budget, the best accessories to use to cook a mouthwatering turkey, cocktail and mocktail recipes for all your guests, and cheese-filled recipes, Global News Morning has you covered.

READ MORE: Ritz-Carlton in Montreal serves up allergen-free breakfast with Santa

Twelve-days-of-Cheesemas 

Twelve food bloggers from Montreal and Toronto joined forces with Tre Stelle to create fun, easy holiday recipes that all revolve around cheese. Foodie Dustin Gilman joined Global’s Laura Casella to share some very cheesy dishes that you can make at home.

WATCH: 12 days of Cheesemas

12 Days of Cheesemas
12 Days of Cheesemas

The first dish he brought that you can recreate at home is a holiday bread with olives and sun-dried tomatoes, paired with a feta spread.

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Gilman brought in another easy dish you can recreate at home. Mascarpone with some honey and a little bit of cinnamon to “sweeten things up and make it a little festive,” he said.

“You can even throw in a couple of berries if you want. Jazz it up with cranberries, blackberries, pears and apples.”

For the 12 days of Cheesemas, Gilman created Blitzen’s Blintzes. There are three steps to the recipe.

READ MORE: Montreal vegan and vegetarian restaurants for the holidays

First, you make your crepe. “The key to the blintze is to only cook it on one side, you don’t flip it,” he said.

“If you flip it, it gets too crispy, and you can’t fold it.”

Second, make a cheese mixture of marscapone and ricotta, mixed with a little bit of lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and a little bit of sugar.

Then you add the apple mixture, with butter, apples, pears, walnuts and cinnamon.

Finally, when it’s time to plate the dish, add the cheese mixture just above the center of the blintze. Fold it over once, then fold the sides in and fold it over again.

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“It’s like making a burrito.”

Grab the apple mixture and spread it all over the blintze.

“The best thing for you to do is to make them a little bit in advance, not the night before because it will go soggy,” Gilman said.

Holiday flyer deals

To make the most out of your holiday meals without breaking the bank, Christine Beaudoin joined Global’s Kim Sullivan in her segment of On the Cheap.

To give more to the ones you love and ideally for less money, she selected five different Christmas classics and compared the prices at four different grocery stores, IGA, Metro, Maxi and Super C, to find you the best deals.

WATCH: Make the most out of your Christmas meals

Make the most out of your Christmas meals
Make the most out of your Christmas meals

If you don’t make your hors d’oeuvres at home, the best place to buy them frozen is IGA, where you get 50 per cent off when you buy a second package. Coming a close second is Super C with $3 off the second package.

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For the classic Christmas ham, the best deal is at Super C, for $1.99 a pound. For one dollar more, Metro has Christmas hams for $2.99 a pound.

But if you’re more of a turkey family, Maxi has the best deal for you at around $1.48, $1.49 a pound.

READ MORE: Montreal shoppers line up for Black Friday sales

Super C has five different varieties of log cakes for $11.99, compared to the usual $20. But, if ice cream log cakes appeal more to your taste, Maxi sells them for $6.98.

If you’re having a gingerbread house decorating party, Super C has you covered with kits at $10. Beaudoin mentioned that IGA is all sold out of houses but, they still have trains.

Her pro tip is to plan ahead and compare different stores online for the best deals this holiday season.

Roasting the perfect turkey

Survive the season’s most important meal with all the right tools. Karl Lohnes joined Global’s Laura Casella with great accessories to guarantee your dinner is a success.

First, you need a good roasting pan.

WATCH: Roasting the perfect turkey

Roasting the perfect turkey
Roasting the perfect turkey

Lohnes found the best. The demeyere roasting pan is around $500. It is bonded with silvinox so it won’t tarnish and fade, and which makes it easy to clean. The pan is industrial strength and has a lifting rack which will help when the turkey’s done.

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Lohnes brought in a special turkey timer from Kikkerland for $17.99. Its legs go up when the turkey is cooked.

When it’s time to lift the turkey out of the pan, Cusinart has turkey lifters, exclusive at Canadian Tire. They are soft grip, have non-slip handles, and are stainless steal.

READ MORE: Canada’s economy gets ‘Christmas present’ with 0.3% GDP growth in October

To serve the turkey, you need a turkey platter. Walmart sells a ceramic 20-inch holiday time turkey platter for $17.

“For a very little amount of money you can put some style on your table,” Lohnes said.

Here’s a blast from the past. Best Buy is selling a Cuisinart electric carving knife for $60.

“It’s great for carving turkey throughout the whole year,” he said. “You can use it for carving sandwiches, meatloaf, all sorts of stuff throughout the year.”

A great read for the turkey chef is the Perfect Turkey by Keith Sarasin. It has 240 pages and photos to get you inspired and teach you how to cook the perfect turkey. The book is sold at Indigo for $22.

“Don’t cook your cranberry, buy it,” Lohnes said. He brought in Wildly Delicious cranberry sauce from the Linen Chest for under $10.

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If you don’t have the time, or talent, to make your own turkey, Marche Artisans at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth is here to help. “They have side dishes. You can have takeout. They have great desserts to take as well,” he said.

“Really, the idea is, they’re your gourmet pantry for Montreal.”

Lohnes reminds you that even if you do order your turkey, you still need all the accessories to carve and serve in style.

READ MORE: Believe it or not, these artists have Christmas albums

Cocktails and mocktails

Make the most out of your holiday soirée without running around getting beverages for our guests. Blogger and YouTuber Manon Lapierre joined Global’s Laura Casella with great ideas for a DIY cocktail table.

The holidays are a time to finally relax and spend holiday time with friends and family. Take the stress of working the bar off your shoulders by making a DIY holiday cocktail or mocktail table.

WATCH: Holiday mocktail and cocktail inspirations

Holiday cocktail and mocktail inspirations
Holiday cocktail and mocktail inspirations

For those who want a stronger drink, put high-quality options on the table.

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“You don’t need to buy 20 of them but, have a few because you have mixers,” Lapierre said.

In terms of what to mix with the hard liquor, you can make fizzy water using a soda stream. “It’s easy. You can add fruit or whatever you want with it.”

Finding tonics used to be a hard task, but now Monsieur Cocktail makes it easy. You can find them at IGA, and you can even order them online to your front door.

READ MORE: Montreal family offers free meals to those in need

“High quality, good ingredients, they also taste good,” she said.

To top it off, have some fruits cut up to garnish your guests’ glasses.

Offer something delicious to the people who aren’t drinking, with fun mocktails. Lapierre prepared a recipe for mocktails but it also works for cocktails.

Recipe:

  • 1/2 ounce love tonic
  • 1 ounce grapefruit syrup
  • 2 ounces hibiscus kombucha
  • Mix and top with fizzy water or with bubbly on top
  • Garnish with mint

READ MORE: Fairview Pointe-Claire dumps Lakeshore General Hospital as gift wrapping beneficiary

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Lapierre recommended leaving recipe q-cards on the cocktail table. Your guests can follow along to make a tasty holiday drink themselves.

In the ice bucket, Lapierre learned a neat little trick for the holidays. On a recent trip to Squish, a local candy company, she learned you can freeze gummy bears and use them for ice in your cocktail.

Happy holidays from Global News Morning Montreal!