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The holidays are fast approaching. Chances are, along with thegift buying, festivities planning and card writing, you’re alsolooking for new ways to make the holidays special.

Betty Crocker’s creative culinary minds conducted an exclusivesurvey on Facebook, revealing the “Betty 10 Red Hot Holiday Trends,” thisseason’s top 10 holiday food trends. Using these trends asinspiration they developed a cache of fun new ways to cooksome extra joy into your festivities.

1. Bright Colors, Playful Food: Food Is Fun Again. Food is morefun than ever. Foodie bloggers and boutique bakeries are usingbright pops of color, putting cake on a stick and introducing allsorts of creative new takes on traditional baked goods.

2. Street Eats and Tweets: Meals Go Mobile. Street food is allthe rage, exploding from the coasts to the heartland and even on toreality TV this year. Food truck fans use Twitter to make sure theycan find these restaurants-on-wheels and get their hands on thecutting-edge flavors they create.

3. Man Up, Eat Up: Beer. Bacon. Good. The manly man is back in abig way and along with the mostly tongue-in-cheek renaissance ofmacho comes the rise of Dude Food. With craft brewing at anall-time high and the popularity of bacon seemingly never ending,men (and women) are using these favorite foods in new and excitingways.

4. Spot at the Table: Pets Are Part of the Family. Pets are morethan cuddly companions; they’re truly part of the family. As aspecial treat, many “pet parents” have started making homemadegoodies for their furry family members.

5. Gifts to DIY for: Wrap Up Some Creativity. Do it yourself isthe way to go this year to stretch the holiday budget. Makinghomemade gifts is a creative way to add a pinch of personalitywhile also saving on holiday presents.

6. Food for a Cause: Feed The Soul. The holidays are a season ofcharity. Bake sales have resurfaced as a way to raise money for avariety of causes during the holidays.

7. Kids in the Kitchen: Connect While You Cook. From reality TVto gourmet cooking classes it seems like everyone wants to getcreative in the kitchen, including the kids.

8. Alternative Diets Go Mainstream: Hold the Gluten. Embrace theVegan. The number of people eating gluten free and vegan has risensteadily in the last few years. It’s everywhere from bakeries tocelebrity weddings.

9. Retro Rewind: Get Back to Great. Everything old is new againwith ’60s style invading entertainment and fashion this year.

10. Mixology Mashup: Cookies Meet Cocktails. Classic cocktailshave never gone out of style. But now, bartenders are creating newcocktails inspired by fresh flavors and even foods themselves, likeChristmas cookies.

Trends can be fun, but without strategies to bring them to life,they can be a challenge, too. Not to worry! The Betty 10 comes with16 recipes as well as idea-inspiring videos on the Betty Crockerwebsite.

See how easy it can be to get playful with your food. For recipeideas and videos for the Bright Colors, Playful Food, Kids in theKitchen and Man Up, Eat Up themes, visit redhot.bettycrocker.com/videos.Recipes included are: Cupcake Poppers, Reindeer Feed andMancakes.

Find more of the holiday’s hottest trends and recipes atbettycrocker.com/redhot or visit Betty Crocker’s Facebook page andclick Red Hot. Give your holiday a kick-start with theserecipes:

Kids in the Kitchen: Reindeer Feed

Prep time: 10 minutes

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

6 cups Rice Chex or Chocolate Chex cereal

1 bag (12 ounces) white vanilla baking chips (2 cups)

1/3 cup coarsely crushed peppermint candy canes (14 miniature,unwrapped)

Directions:

1. Line cookie sheet with foil or waxed paper. Place cereal inlarge bowl.

2. In small microwavable bowl, microwave white vanilla bakingchips uncovered on high about 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring every30 seconds, until chips can be stirred smooth. Stir in half thecrushed peppermint candy.

3. Pour over cereal mixture; toss to evenly coat. Spread mixturein single layer on cookie sheet. Immediately sprinkle withremaining candy. Let stand until set, about 20 minutes. Gentlybreak up coated cereal. Store in airtight container.

Makes 20 servings (1/2 cup each)

Gift to DIY: Salted Chocolate Almond Fudge

Prep time: 15 minutes

Start to finish: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 can (6 ounces) coarsely chopped smoked almonds

1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

1 cup chopped dried cherries

1/2 teaspoon Fleur de Sel sea salt, if desired

Directions:

1. Line cookie sheet with foil. Line 8-inch square pan withfoil.

2. In 8-inch nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-highheat. Stir in brown sugar, and cook until bubbly. Cook 1 minutelonger, stirring occasionally. Add almonds; stir to coat. Spreadalmonds on cookie sheet. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Breakinto small pieces.

3. In large microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips andsweetened condensed milk uncovered on High 1 minute; stir.Microwave 1 minute longer. Add almonds and dried cherries; stiruntil blended.

4. Spread evenly in 8-inch square pan. Sprinkle with salt.Refrigerate about 2 hours until firm. Cut into 6 rows-by-6 rows.Store covered at room temperature.