Food for Friday

Is it just me, or does 2009 seem to be flying by?  April-almost-May already!  I’m thinking about the opportunities I’ll have to spend time with family over the summer and start gathering ideas for Christmas presents.  From there, it’s just a short trip in my mind to thoughts of Christmas dinner – mincemeat pie is my personal requirement for a holiday to be considered complete.

I found a lovely new book in the Gift Gallery titled “Homemade Christmas.”  It includes sections on holiday decorating, gift ideas, menus and entertaining, and recipes for everything from appetizers to dessert, “And Chocolate Delight.”  That could be my favorite subheading in the book.

Here’s an easy recipe that you’ll use year round.721002-homemade-christmas-cookbook

Winter Warming Stew

10-1/2 oz can chicken broth
2 C frozen sliced carrots
2 C frozen green beans
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 t thyme
1 t pepper
1 bay leaf
16 oz shell pasta, cooked and drained

Combine all ingredients except pasta in large pot over medium heat, and cook until vegetables are tender.  Reduce heat, add pasta, and continue cooking until thoroughly heated.  Make 8 servings.

Add a loaf of crusty bread and serve in a soup mug – easy to prepare, and so relaxing after a long day of shopping.  Enjoy!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

Calling all Peanuts fans!  Here’s a cute cute cute figurine that includes Linus and the faithful Snoopy, raiding Santa’s chocolate chip cookies under the tree – are you sure you want to be on the naughty list, Linus??

Share Christmas Joy

Share Christmas Joy

I guess I’m on a cute theme today………

Snowbaby is decorating his favorite moose for Christmas in this chilly scene – glad everyone is warmly bundled!

Festive Attire

Festive Attire

Not to mention that I just love those red sisal trees.  I will definitely have some of these among my decorations in December.  And check out the green tinsel trees, too – these are so fun!  Have I mentioned before my mad love for things on a small scale??

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Easter Bunny visits Christmas Place

Easter weekend, the Easter Bunny had a great time visiting with guests and staff here at the Christmas Place.  Here are a few pictures.


Your head is sure a lot bigger than Santa’s!



Just look at those dimples!



Take the picture and hand over the candy and no one gets hurt!


Daddy’s wearing that crazy hat with the two points again!


We promise we won’t eat it all in the car before dinner!


I love’s me my pink!


 Don’t tell Santa, but I always liked you better!


Wait, what, are there THREE bunnies???


Pleased to meet you, hope you know my name.












Sorry – how could I leave any of these precious faces out of the post??

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

I am a huge fan of  The Splendid Table, talk radio about cooking and food on National Public Radio.  Weekly, Jane & Michael Stern, “America’s foremost experts on regional food,” have a spot on the show, with mouth-watering reviews from a fabulous eatery somewhere in America.  I was delighted to see that we carry one of their cookbooks, Southern Country Cooking from The Loveless Cafe, recipes from a Nashville cafe.  (Call and ask for item 285008.)  The book is filled not only with wonderful recipes, but also tantalizing food photos and interesting bios and stories of the people involved in the success of the Loveless Cafe.

How to pick a recipe to share, though!  I first opened the book to Grilled Doves and Wild Duck, but I’m not sure how many of you have ready access to these ingredients.  Maybe something a little simpler.  Here’s a sweet potato casserole to practice and perfect now, before Thanksgiving and Christmas come around again.  Who says you can only prepare a turkey dinner in November or December??

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 C peeled and quartered sweet potatoes (about 4 large)
1/2 C sugar285008-loveless-cafe-cookbook
1/2 C butter (1 stick)
2 eggs, beaten
1 t vanilla extract
1/3 C milk

1/3 C butter, melted
1 C light brown sugar
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 C chopped pecans
Mini marshmallows

Boil and mash the potatoes.  Mix in the sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and milk.  Pour into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the melted butter with the brown sugar, flour, and pecans.  Sprinkle the mix on top of the potatoes.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Top generously with mini marshmallows and return to the oven til lightly browned – watch closely.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Just for fun, I want to share one more recipe from the collection.

Fried Green Tomato BLT

1 to 4 green tomatoes, sliced
Salt & black pepper
1 C yellow cornmeal
1 C canola oil
3 T mayonnaise
2 slices toasted wheat-berry bread
2 to 3 lettuce leaves
3 to 4 cooked bacon strips

Season the sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste and dredge them through the cornmeal.  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Fry the tomatoes until golden brown on both sides.  Spread the mayonnaise on the bread.  Add the lettuce on both sides.  Add the fried green tomatoes and bacon.  Build a sandwich and cut in half – preferably on the diagonal!

(Insert appropriate food-enjoying sounds here, such as lip-smacking and “yu-u-u-u-mmy”.)

C = Cup; t = teaspoon

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

It is spring break time in East Tennessee, so I thought I’d go in search of beach inspiration, since it’s off to Myrtle or Hilton Head or Daytona or Fort Walton for most of the locals at this time of year.  Found a couple of cute things…and do you know, Santa is there, too!

Possible Dreams offers a funny figurine, if you don’t mind Santa’s knobbly knees – not unlike those of his pink companion…  This Santa dances the hula, courtesy of a set of hidden springs at his waist line.

Birds of a Feather Tropical Santa

Birds of a Feather Tropical Santa

For a year-round party scene, hang a few strands of these fun lights around the porch or patio.
Palm Tree Lights

Palm Tree Lights

Make time for a little fun in the sun!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Usually I pick out a random cookbook based on the appeal the cover has to me and the time of day I am making my selection – the closer to lunchtime, the more likelihood there is a picture of a plate of actual food on the cover.

This week, I started flipping through a couple of books for an interesting recipe.  I think I found one.  From the Gooseberry Patch collection, Super-Fast Slow Cooking.  Hey, I don’t write the titles!  Did you know that there are crock pot recipes for sandwiches, breakfasts, and desserts??  I had no idea.

Pine Cones in Tomato Sauce132061_l-pine-cone

2 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 C water
1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
1/2 C long-cooking rice
2 T onion, chopped
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

In a slow cooker, mix together tomato sauce, garlic powder, and water.  Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl; mix well.  Shape into 24 pine cone-shaped balls; arrange in slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low setting for 7 to 8 hours.  Makes 4 servings.

See, you were thinking you’d have to start in the woods, searching out a pine tree, just like I did.  Sounds delicious, though, doesn’t it.


Call us and ask for item 722022 (they promise me it will be on line soon).

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

I found this cute Easter pair in our Charming Tails collection – a bright and colorful figurine to set the mood for your Easter egg hunt.

Your Everything

Your Everything

If you’ve got a real cowboy Santa at home, wouldn’t he love finding his stocking hanging from this holder on the mantle on Christmas morning.


The stocking hangs across the boot at the bottom – so clever!  Item 442218, $16.99.

Here is a bonus – I have mad love for the dancing penguins – and the purse is on sale – but I didn’t find it on line, you’ll have to call and ask for it.  I’ve  checked it out – it is completely lined in the red-and-white polka dot fabric and has a zippered pocket inside – for once, my lipstick won’t be rolling out onto the floor of the car.  Item 127178.  Originally $24.95, now only $16.97.


We did get a little snow today – and enough in the mountains to give the kids a day out of school!  Cold, with sunshine and flurries.  Spring, feel free to return tomorrow.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Early Dogwood Blooms

Early Dogwood Blooms

Christmas Place Ornament Sale!

Christmas Place is in the midst of a great sale – buy 3 ornaments, get the fourth free (equal or lesser value, some restrictions apply, etc.)!  You can mix and match between ornaments, and personalized ornaments are 436410_l-etched-snowflake-ornamentincluded.

Hop on over to the store site and take a look at all the ornaments that are included.  (well, it’s that close to Easter, isn’t it??)

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

Registration is going on now through April 13th for the 59th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.   Taking place April 22nd through the 26th, the annual five-day event includes walks, motorcades, lectures, and classes both in the park and at several venues around Gatlinburg.

Be sure to check it out, if you enjoy life in the Smokies!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

You’re reading it for the first time here.

LA’s Soon To Be Famous Original Pizza281463_l-d56-polar-pizza-never-cold

Naan bread (plain, garlic, or whole wheat)
Bertolli’s Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo sauce
Diced ham
Pineapple wedges
Sliced hearts of palm
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Reduced-fat shredded mozzarella
Slivered almonds

Layer the ingredients onto the naan crust in the order listed.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes.

By all accounts, it is to die for!  This particular Bertolli sauce has half the fat content of their regular Alfredo sauce.  I have the sauce, I’m just looking for the naan ~ I wonder if they carry it at Kroger’s?

~Janet @ The Christmas Place