Christmas is next week and there’s a good chance that in many homes the halls are still being decked, the gift list is still being filled and holiday foods have yet to be made. For some great ideas to help get the chaos under control, let a trusted, familiar name lend a hand.

Christmas is next week and there’s a good chance that in many homes the halls are still being decked, the gift list is still being filled and holiday foods have yet to be made. For some great ideas to help get the chaos under control, let a trusted, familiar name lend a hand.


Good Housekeeping has a long history of providing top-notch information for the home and its newest publication — The Good Housekeeping Christmas Cookbook — continues that tradition. Whether it’s recipes or craft ideas, gift-giving, decorations or entertaining, it has been covered in this large, all-inclusive book. Plenty of photos and illustrations accompany the many projects and recipes provided in the handy book. Recipes from appetizers and drinks to main courses, desserts and snacks abound, along with tips on "setting the scene," tablescapes, decorations, Christmas trees, homemade gift wrap and gourmet gifts from the kitchen. The ideas and recipes range from simple to sublime and there’s something for virtually every style of Christmas celebration. There are also Christmas tips from such well-known celebrities as Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Kelly Ripa, Paula Deen, Mariah Carey and others.


Colorful, well-written and interesting, the book not only provides ways to make the holidays memorable, but would also be an ideal gift for the Christmas lover on your gift list. For more information, go to www.sterlingpublishing.com.


Below are a few of the recipes found in the book.


Spiced Pumpkin Soup


Active time: 25 minutes


Total time: 50 minutes


Makes 6 appetizer servings


2 tablespoons olive oil


1 large onion (8 to 10 ounces), chopped


1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped


1 carrot, chopped


5/8 teaspoon salt


1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


1/4 teaspoon ground coriander


1 quart chicken broth


3/4 cup light coconut milk


1 can (15 ounces) pureed pumpkin


3 thick slices white bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3 cups)


3 tablespoons butter (no substitutions), cut up


Pinch cayenne (ground red) pepper


2 tablespoons sour cream


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


2. In 5-quart saucepan, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion, apple, carrot and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are just tender, stirring frequently. Stir in ginger, cumin and coriander. Cook 1 minute.


3. Whisk broth, coconut milk and pumpkin into pot. Heat to simmering on high. Reduce heat. Simmer soup 20 minutes or until slightly reduced, stirring often.


4. Meanwhile, arrange bread cubes on 18" by 12" jelly-roll pan. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until crisp and golden, stirring once. Cool. Transfer to mredium bowl.


5. In a 10-inch skillet, heat butter on medium 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant, swirling pan. Drizzle butter over bread in bowl. Toss to coat. (Cooled croutons can be stored in resealable bag up to 4 days at room temperature.)


5. To pot with soup, add cayenne and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Working in batches, blend soup until smooth, Return to pot. Heat on medium-low until hot. Serve with croutons and small dollop of sour cream.


Savory Bacon and Green Onion Scones


Active time: 10 minutes


Total time: 25 minutes


Makes 20 scones


6 slices bacon (6 ounces)


2 cups all-purpose flour


1 tablespoon baking powder


1/4 cup finely chopped green onions


1/4 teaspoon salt


1/4 teaspoon black pepper


3/4 cup milk


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In 12-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until browned. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking fat. Drain bacon on paper towels. Crumble.


2. Transfer bacon and fat to a large bowl. Add flour, baking powder, green onions, salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Stir in milk.


3. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot or rewarm in a 325 degree oven 6 to 8 minutes before serving.


Indian Pudding


1 quart milk


1/4 cup cornmeal


1/2 cup molasses


1/4 cup sugar


1 tablespoon butter or margarine


1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup chopped dates, nuts or seedless raisins (optional)


Coffee ice cream, Hard Sauce or heavy cream for serving


1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.


2. Scald milk in double boiler. Stir in cornmeal slowly and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in molasses, sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and dates, nuts or raisins, if using, until well combined.


3. Bake in greased 1-1/2 quart casserole, uncovered, 3 hours, stirring once after 1 hour and 30 minutes.


4. Serve warm or cold with ice cream, Hard Sauce, or heavy cream.


Makes 8 to 10 servings.


Variation: Gingery Indian Pudding - Use 6 tablespoons molasses instead of the larger amount, add two additional tablespoons sugar. Substitute 1 teaspoon ground ginger for cinnmon and nutmeg.


Hard Sauce


With spoon or electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine with 1 cup confectioners’ sugar until fluffy. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and refrigerate until serving time.


Cranberry Trifle


Active time: 30 minutes


Total time: 50 minutes plus chilling


Makes 12 servings


2 navel oranges


1 bag (12 ounce) cranberries (3 cups)


1-1/4 cups water


1 cup sugar


2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger


1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1/8 teaspoon ground allspice


1 cup heavy cream


1 package (3 to 4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding and pie filling


2 cups milk


1 frozen pound cake (16 ounces), cut into 3/4-inch cubes


1. From oranges, grate 1 teaspoon peel and place in 4-quart saucepan. With knife, remove all remaining peel and white pith from oranges. Holding each orange over same saucepan to catch juice, cut sections from between membranes and drop into pan. Squeeze juice from membranes into pan and discard membranes.


2. Set aside several cranberries for garnish. In same saucepan, stir remaining cranberries with water, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and allspice. Heat to boiling over high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium and cook 15 to 17 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop and sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature.


3. Meanwhile, in bow, with mixer on medium speed, beat cream until soft peaks form. In large bowl, with whisk, whisk pudding mix and milk until completely combined. Immediately fold whipped cream into pudding until blended.


4. In 3-quart glass trifle bowl or other serving bowl, place one-third of the cake. Spoon one-third cranberry mixture (about 1 cup) over cake, spreading evenly to side of bowl. Top with one-third of pudding (about 1-1/4 cups). Repeaet layering twice more. Garnish with reserved cranberries.


5. Cover trifle with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.


Variations:


• Use plain or chocolate sponge cake or a fruit-flavored pound cake instead of plain pound cake.


• Drizzle the cake with a little brandy or orange-flavored liqueur and/or brush it with orange, apricot or strawberry jam.


• Substitute 3 cups of whole, sliced or diced fresh fruit — strawberries, pears, peaches or bananas — for the cranberries.


• Prepare a homemade custard instead of instant pudding mix. In 4-quart saucepan, heat 2-1/2 cups milk and 3/4 cup sugar on medium just to boiling. Remove saucepan from heat. In medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 cup cornstarch and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Beat in two large egg yolks. Stir small amount of hot milk mixture into egg yolk mixture. Gradually stir yolk mixture back into milk mixture in pan. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Pour into clean bowl and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours.


Five-Minute Fudge


1-2/3 cups sugar


2 tablespoons butter or margarine


1/2 teaspoon salt


2/3 cup evaporated milk


1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


4 ounces marshmallows, diced


1/2 cup chopped walnuts plud additional for sprinkling


1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Grease 8-inch square baking pan.


2. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine sugar, butter, salt and evaporated milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.


3. Remove saucepan from heat and add chocolate, marshmallows, chopped walnuts and vanilla extract. Beat vigorously until marshmallows melt.


4. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with additional walnuts. Cool completely. Cut into small squares to serve. Makes 60 candies.