Food for Friday

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Forgotten Recipes Cookbook

I found this really fun cookbook down in The Gallery titled “Forgotten Recipes” by Jaine Rodack ~ it features recipes, stories, and household hints from kitchens of long ago ~ from the end of the 19th into the 20th centuries.  Here’s a recipe for a cookie I could not have dreamed up!

1948 Popcorn Cookies

2 egg whites
2/3 C sugar
4 t margarine or butter, melted
1-1/2 C minced popcorn
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla extract
1 small package blanched almonds, toasted

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add sugar, beating constantly until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.  Combine margarine and popped corn; fold in beaten egg whites.  Add salt and vanilla.  Drop batter by teaspoonfuls on to a well-greased cookie sheet.  Decorate with nuts.  Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes.

I’m so curious to know the taste and texture of these cookies!  I’ll bet you could drizzle chocolate sauce ribbons across the top for a kick.  Wouldn’t people be surprised to receive a bag of these as a Christmas gift – I don’t think they’d be able to guess this recipe.

If you decide to bake these, you must let me know how they turn out!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

How much garland do I need?

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Flocked Garland with Lights

I’ve always wondered if you measure for Christmas garland like you do for curtains, two-and-a-half times the width to be covered.  Well, it’s a little different, but still quite easy.

First, straight horizontal planes – a porch railing, mantle, or bookcase:

~If the area is 20 feet long or longer, you should attach your garland at intervals of five feet (5 feet = 1 span).

  • Add an additional 2 feet of garland for each span along your length, for swagging or draping.
  • Example:  20-foot railing = 4 spans, so 20 feet of garland plus an additional 8 feet, two feet for each span = a total of 28 feet of Christmas garland ~ your porch will look spectacular.
  • You can adjust these measurements depending on the amount of swag you want to see on your railing and the weight or thickness of your garland.  Thicker garland will require a different length to achieve the look you want.
  • It’s very easy to hang your garland evenly if you first attach it at each end, and then swag it at pre-determined intervals.
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Pine garland with lights swagging a simple stair rail.

~If the area is less than 20 feet long, you’ll need to determine the length of each span, usually between 3 and 4 feet.  There may be porch posts or natural points along the area that would be complimented by a swag attachment.

  • Add 1 foot of additional garland for each span along your length.
  • Example:  12-foot railing to be swagged at 3 foot intervals = 4 spans, so 12 feet of garland plus an additional 4 feet, 1 foot per span = a total of 16 feet of garland.

Second, an angled plane like a stair railing:

  • Each stair case is unique, so you’ll have to first determine the length of your span and then the depth of the swag you’d like to achieve.
  • Allow at least 3 feet of garland per span, and adjust as needed for the weight and thickness of your garland.
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Pine garland intertwined with ribbon, beads, and decorations.

For a more sophisticated, upscale look, intertwine a green needle or leaf garland with a colorful, contrasting garland or two ~ bead rope, ribbon, or novelty shapes like candy canes or painted stars.  Add a final touch at each swag point by attaching a coordinating ribbon bow, highlighted with a few silk flowers and a themed ornament.

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Pine garland with grape and berry clusters, flowers, ornaments, and a silk butterfly.

Of course, we don’t do anything in a small way around here!  Yes, if you look closely, you’ll see that there is, in fact, a pine garland underneath all the glorious color of flowers, grapes, sprays, and glass balls.

Now you’re ready to hang garland like the pros.  Have fun with your decorations, spruce up your garland, and spread your Christmas style throughout the house!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

Who could fear this cute little fellow??  Surely he would not send you leaping for a table – he’s just hanging around to keep you company!  He’s about 4 inches tall.

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On the Candy Cane

Are you a fan of the ocean, the beach, or lighthouses on the shore?  You will enjoy this glass globe lamp from the Thomas Kinkade collection.   Titled “The Light of Peace,” a delicately-painted shoreline view circles the musical base, with a 3D representation of the same scene filling the glass globe above.  The globe is illuminated by a soft, glowing light.  Call and ask for item 537039.

The Light of Peace

The Light of Peace

Hope you’re keeping warm.  Life is good!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Here’s a recipe from a book that we carry here in the store titled Homemade Christmas.  This book is filled with not only recipes but also gift and decorating tips to help you make the most of the holidays.  Browsing through the recipe section I came across one that I’ve always wanted to try.

Doesn’t everyone at a party pounce on those co0kies that have the Hershey’s Kisses in the middle?  Try your hand at making a batch!img_5160-copy

Peanut Kisses

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C peanut butter
1 egg
2 T milk
1 t vanilla
1-3/4 C flour
1 t soda
1/2 t salt
Sugar for dusting
36 chocolate kisses

Cream butter, sugars, and peanut butter together.  Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well.  Sift flour, soda, and salt together; combine with peanut butter mixture, and shape into 36 balls using about 1 teaspoonful.  Roll in sugar and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 8 minutes.  Remove and quickly press a chocolate kiss on each ball until the ball is flattened.  Bake 3 to 4 minutes longer.

See, I would have thought you flattened the cookies before baking, but now I get how these work!  Yum!

C = Cup; T = Tablespoon; t = teaspoon.

Have a tasty weekend!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

I’m just moving a little slow in the cold we’ve had to start the week…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it…that, and I was distracted by this other big thing that happened yesterday…

Our Custom Floral Department is certainly thinking spring already!  Check out the magnificent spring tree they have created.  It features a giant grapevine wreath at the top, illuminated by a strand of flower lights that cascade to the base of the evergreen Christmas tree.  The rest of the tree is accented with brilliant green, pink, and purple ribbons, flowers, birds, and leaf sprays.  Be sure you catch that little white rabbit hiding behind a flower cluster about two feet from the base of the tree.  Anticipation!

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Continuing on the theme of spring, here’s a colorful tabletop decoration featuring a fuchsia bird!  These were very popular for Christmas tree decorating this year, but you can extend the life of such ornaments with a little creativity and a handful of spring greenery.  I’m including a close up of the feathered fellow – he’s just a little sparkly, too.

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“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.

Life is good!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

The water company will do this for free.

Come out to your house at nine o’clock on a Saturday night and turn off your water main.  This is good to know when water starts pouring from under the laundry room door and you find it shooting out of the wall by the cold water spigot for the washing machine.

It’s also good to know this because it’s a lot easier than kneeling on the lawn in a downfall of sleet, flashlight dangling from a cord clenched in your teeth, trying to turn off the neighbor’s water main (by mistake) using only a pair of pliers.  The water company has a fancy metal rod gadget and knows which line to turn off.

Helpful Hints:  Fill a few buckets with water before the water company gets there so you can maintain flushing privileges until the plumber arrives.  Reserve some potable water for tooth brushing and hot tea in the morning.  (These are hints I did not have to learn the hard way – I actually thought of them ahead of time!)

So, how was your weekend?

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food For Friday

Football Christmas Tree Lights

Football Christmas Tree Lights

Are you, like me, already anticipating Super Bowl 43 Sunday?  I have a friend in Indianapolis who hosts a Souper Bowl Cook-off on that day as a preview to the big game, with contest awards and everything!

If you’re hosting a game party, how about an easy, buffet-style entree that guests can prepare for themselves?  Stick with me here, because this is really delicious!

Hey, I just realized – I don’t have a name for this – just the list of ingredients.  Want to help me name it?  Leave a comment with your suggestion, and I’ll pick my favorite and send you a prize!

So, ingredients:

  • Cooked rice
  • Ground beef, cooked and flavored with taco seasoning
  • Grated cheese of choice (Colby-Jack is good)
  • Green olives, sliced thinly
  • Chopped pecans

This is also the order in which you set out the ingredients, and then layer them on your plate, crackers on the bottom, pecans on the top.  If you like, add a splash of Tabasco sauce and a dollop of sour cream to finish it off ~ I just added those because I think they’d be good. 

Did I say easy to prepare and serve?  You hardly have to think about this one.

It might sound a little odd to have the green olives & chopped pecans on top, but the flavors are dynamite together ~ and you can go low- or no-fat with the ingredients.  I hope you’ll give it a try!

Life is good!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

It’s a good time to visit the store!

Well, for starters, we have heating ~ come on in and warm your hands and ears!

But my real train of thought is – you can actually walk around without bumping into two hundred forty-eight other people walking around!  You can see things hanging on Christmas trees and sitting on shelves.  You can spend time looking at everything in a cabinet without feeling that pressure to move along, “and we’re walking, we’re walking!”  Too, there aren’t so many baskets taking up floor space.

DISCLAIMER:  I did take this picture early in the morning before the store opened for the day, but just look at all that lovely walking-around space! 

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And everything is as beautiful as ever.

Of course, I can’t wait to see the new stuff start rolling in in a few months, but for now, this is your chance to take a leisurely stroll through the store and really enjoy a few moments of Christmas spirit, away from the madness of the real world.

May your furnace or heat pump or fireplace be working well tonight, wherever you are!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Part Two for Tuesday

Have you heard about Jacqueline Kent dolls?  Jacqueline was in our store this fall, and she is delightful.  She creates dolls that are caricatures of senior adults, all very lively characters, as you can see here in Mrs. Claus.  She is ensconced in a plush velvet wingback chair ~ most of Jacqueline’s creations come with detailed accessories like this.  She also makes Santas, elves, and her very popular Fairy Godmothers.

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Just look at this precious face! 

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~Janet @ The Christmas Place