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Making Spirits Bright With Food And Drink This Season

The holidays are a time to get together with the people you love. And good food and drink is always a part of that.

WUSF's Florida Matters considers "food as muse" this week. And we invited lifestyle blogger Krayl Funch of An Appealing Plan to share some ideas for the season.

Krayl recalls her first food specialty was chicken fingers, which she still loves today. And she draws inspiration from the women in her life who cooked, especially her mom.

Her mother incorporated flavors from cultures her family encountered as they traveled. And among the traditions that became part of Krayl's family holidays is the mulled spice pear.

"They are beautiful, you skin the pear and then you soak it in either a port wine or something to give it a bit of that red hue and then some star anise and whatever your favorite spices are. And then you poach it to soften it up, and it looks so beautiful on the plate."

She recommends having extra champagne on hand for guests who might pop over during the holidays. Or to take as a hostess gift. "And you can use cider or sparkling water with a touch of juice, if you don't drink," she says.

One of Krayl's favorite new twists on champagne is to add a drop of sugar and bitters in. "It takes a regular champagne cocktail and brings it a little bit more into the season, you can use regular bitters or an orange bitters," she says.

And from her blog, An Appealing Plan, she shared this Holiday Wassail Punch Recipe.

Krayl Funch left us with this word of advice: "Don't put too much pressure on yourself during the holidays. We live in a Pinterest and social media world where everything is perfect and people usually celebrate their great wins and their beautiful tables. And as much as I love a beautiful table, the holidays can be just about you and your husband and you and your friends, it doesn't have to be super elaborate... just really appreciate the small things and don't get too wrapped up in the perfection."

I love telling stories about my home state. And I hope they will help you in some way and maybe even lift your spirits.
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