Food for Friday

Here in the South, we are creeping ever so slowly towards spring…one step forward, two steps back ~ it was about 65 degrees yesterday with a bit of sun, and we’re expecting snow again by Saturday night.  In any event, all around me I hear people talking about exercising for spring.  Are they really doing it?  How would I know?  I’m not there!  But I do want to do my part in getting fit for spring break ~here’s a lively and delicious spring salad that will perk up the taste buds and not lead to more hours on the treadmill.

Vim & Vit Saladchicken-salad-chicken

1 small crisp lettuce, torn (Boston Bib is great)
8 oz young spinach leaves
2 carrots, coarsely grated
4 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c blanched almonds or unsalted cashews, halved
2 T sunflower seeds
2 T sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 apple or pear, thinly sliced

Toss together.

Dressing:
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T cider vinegar
2 t honey
Juice of one small orange

Mix in a container with a tight lid and shake well.  Pour over salad; add salt & pepper to taste; chill slightly and serve.  Makes four servings.

What a refreshing, flavorful salad ~ I would serve this with a curried chicken salad, mini toast slices, and mango tea.  Now all I need is a sunny porch, a bunch of daffodils, and some good friends with which to share the moment.

It’s almost Monday!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

C = Cup
T = Tablespoon
t = Teaspoon

The Wisdom of Dove chocolates

I guess I’m a nerd.  I seem to be the only person I know who reads the messages on Dove® chocolates.  You really should take a look  next time you are “indulging yourself in an unforgettable Dove® chocolate experience” ~ they are little nuggets of encouragement and positivity.

Here are some messages I received from the few chocolates that, tragically, did not fit into the bottle of goodies I recently mailed to the favorite niece.  Did you know that the post office will mail a plastic water bottle filled with chocolates or just about anything non-hazardous, as long as they can stick a stamp on it?  But I digress…back to the wisdom of Dove®.

Believe the best in yourself.

Kick a bad habit today.

Think of someone who makes you smile.

Life is all about making memories.

Make someone feel good.

In chaos there lies opportunity.

Learn to say hello in another language.

Find little ways to make everyday a holiday.

See, aren’t those worth reading?    A chocolate that is uplifting both to the palate and the mind…more reasons to love the Dove®.

If I’ve inspired you to run out and buy a bag of chocolates, it is only right that I also suggest the dish in which to place them~

star-plates1

Star Plate Set

We use these dishes in our rooms at The Inn at Christmas Place, to hold bath soaps and wash clothes, but I’m picturing them piled high with caramel Dove squares.

Am I not brave, to have spent an hour this morning writing about chocolates and I don’t even have any to sample here at my desk!  Thank goodness it’s time for lunch now.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

I tend to stay out of the Christopher Radko ornament room here at the store – I’m easily distracted by shiny things, and can get lost in there admiring the many styles of Christmas ornaments he has created!  Well, I managed to walk around the whole room today (Mark Roberts fairies are in there, too, along with some wonderful sequined velvet Christmas purses…). These two cute-cute-cute little ornaments were flashing at me under the spotlights – a very fanciful stocking filled with goodies, and a tiny little harlequin Santa wearing green sequined gloves ~ who could resist?

stocking

harlequin-santa

Have you thought about displaying a collection of unique ornaments in a glass jar like this?  I’ve done this with plain round balls in a tall candle holder, but didn’t think about showing off anything as spectacular as these Radko Christmas ornaments ~ don’t they look fantastic?

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Hey, there are only about 304 days to Christmas as I write this – life is good!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Final Week of On-Line Sale

Alright, we’re down to it, the last week of our 20% off sale in the on-line store.  Time to take a last, long look at all the things on your wish list, and see what fits into the budget.  Don’t be kicking yourself on Monday for failing to take advantage of these savings!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

What was the name of the restaurant chain that served those drop biscuits that were ever so slightly sweet- and corn-tasting?  I can’t remember the name, but I may have come across their recipe!  Browsing through the Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, I found this one ~ really easy to prepare, and, if they are the biscuits I remember, they are really tasty.
291000_l-tennessee-hometown-cookbook-copy

Tennessee Hometown Cookbook

Sweet Creamed Corn Spoonbread

2 C self-rising flour
1 can cream-style corn
1 T sugar or brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 C milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees; lightly grease a cookie sheet.  Mix flour, corn, and sugar together.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs, then add milk.  Mix well;  add to corn mixture.  Stir just until moistened.  Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheet; bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

I think this would be a good one to practice with a child that’s learning to bake, it’s so easy.

I’m now going to share a friend’s recipe for a topping that might be good with these.  It will sound a little strange, but I have had this topping myself and it is ~ strangely delicious!

Jezebel Topping

15 oz apple jelly
15 oz apricot preserves
1 oz can dry mustard
1 jar horse radish, anything but the creamy style – look in the refrigerator section at the market
1 t coarse ground pepper

Mix well.  Spread on something edible.

It’s got that whole sweet-salty thing going on, and I have mad love for that sort of taste.

As I look through the Tennessee Hometown Cookbook, I am impressed with how easy and tasty all the recipes seem to be.  There might be several ingredients, but the instructions are usually no more than 5 or 6 lines long.  Also, the editors have included recipes and photographs from every corner of the state, Memphis to Chattanooga and all points inbetween. 

C = Cup
T = Tablespoon
t = teaspoon

The 9th Annual Saddle Up! Celebration and the 4th Annual Western Jamboree: Cowboys & Indians are happening this weekend here in Pigeon Forge ~ I’ll bet a cowboy has cooked biscuits very similar to these on the trail at one time or another.

Enjoy your weekend! 

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Singing Santa

Have I ever told you about our Singing Santa?  I know I have mentioned him before, but I don’t think I’ve even shared a photograph! 

Singing Santa is a Grammy-award-winning artist who sings and plays guitar, and has performed with several national country and gospel groups and in theatres.  He has been entertaining kids and adults both at the store and at The Inn for the past eleven years.  Santa has recorded several CDs of Christmas, sacred, and patriotic music.  From Memorial Day through Christmas, he entertains store patrons with concerts five days a week, and greets and performs for Inn guests as well.  He is appearing every weekend at the hotel now – there has been no long winter’s nap for our Santa! 

A generation of children is growing up with our Singing Santa as their go-to guy for Christmas.  Santa enjoys hearing children’s wishes here at the store, and posing for photographs with children, adults, families, family pets – you name it, he’s happy to be in the picture!  His beard is real, as is his round little belly.

On Tuesday, we filmed a concert at the Inn, and we’ll soon be sharing the footage with our readers.  Here’s a still image from the show.

santa-concert-021709

Singing Santa in concert at The Inn at Christmas Place

We invited our Christmas Place employees to bring their children to this special concert, and I think the parents shot as much footage as I did.  To protect the innocent parents, we will not be identifying the children in any scenes…  They always have a great time with Santa, and enjoy helping him sing Jingle Bells.  One little girl stood right beside Santa with her hand lightly resting on his knee for the rest of the show that night.  Santa is assisted by his elf, Buttons.

Santa monkeys around!

Santa monkey-s around!

NO, this is not one of the kids from the concert!

Be watching for the video – I don’t think you can hear my vocal accompaniment on the tape – I really hope not!

If you haven’t yet met Singing Santa, we hope you’ll come by the store later this year and take in a concert and have your picture made with him.  He has a beautiful voice, and a winning way with children and adults ~ he is a living embodiment of the spirit of Christmas.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

S’mores!  Do you love ‘em?  We have a great collection of S’mores ornaments ~ this little guy wears a cap that reads Y My RV, and you can see his RV there on the right.  What a cutie-pie!

rv-smores1

Love RV S'mores Ornament

The decorators have set up a beautiful new western pine tree to display our Egyptian Museum Glass ornaments, and they really shine among these branches.

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Here is one of the golden glass ornaments they offer.  Notice that the cut glass channels are accented with gold leaf.

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Now, you might be thinking, “How bold, to juxtapose a whimsical S’mores ornament and an elegant cut glass ornament in the same post.”  That’s just the way we roll here at the store!  We are all about speaking to the variety of styles and tastes that make this world a beautiful, colorful place.  We offer an unique experience to every customer that comes in the door.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Last Two Weeks for 20% Off!

Just want to remind everyone that there are only two weeks remaining in our on-line sale ~ 20% off almost everything!

Plenty of people have been shopping early and getting some great deals on Christmas ornaments, trees, and all kinds of decorations.  My guess is that they are buying things now to pack up along with last year’s things, instead of having to find a place to store new stuff and remember where it is next December.  That’s what I’ve been doing, anyway.  That is, assuming I do get around to putting my stuff away.  Some of the bits and bobs that I’ve picked up this year I want to keep out year round!

Also, for our Department 56 collectors, we have just introduced free shipping on all orders over $100!  That’s a wonderful savings, especially if you’re buying a house or two and the accompanying accessories.  The 2009 new releases are up on our site for pre-ordering (the inventory doesn’t come in until late spring or early summer).

This is your chance to enjoy saving money on next Christmas!

Life is good – it’s a gorgeous, sunny day, a tad chilly, but something to celebrate nonetheless!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

I’ve really been debating with myself about today’s recipe.  I came across several good ones that friends have shared with me over the years, and they are all quick and so fun ~ but I’ve finally decided to start here.

Chocolate Eclair Cake, by Barbara Phillips

3 C milk
2 small packages of instant vanilla pudding (French Vanilla is best)
8 oz Cool Whip topping
graham crackers (it takes a little less than one box)
1 can chocolate icing

Mix together milk and pudding; add Cool Whip.  In a 9 x 13 inch pan, layer the bottom with graham crackers, then pour 1/2 of the pudding mix on top.  Add another layer of graham crackers.   Top with the remaining pudding mix.  Add a final layer of graham crackers.  Ice with chocolate icing – a few second of warming in a microwave makes the icing easier to spread.  Refrigerate over night ~ it’s best when the crackers have had a chance to absorb some liquid.

too-good-to-resist-copy1

Too Good to Resist! Department 56 2009 Collection

Looking back over my most recent posts, it’s clear I may have a future as a dessert chef!  Next week, I promise to share a healthy salad recipe.  I’ve been seeing all the exercise ads on t.v. already…

~Janet @ The Christmas Place