Food for Friday

Social media collide (or is it collude?) to bring you today’s recipe for weekend feasting.  From friends on Facebook, an easy-peasy chicken dish that will feed a crowd with almost no fuss and bother – or cleanup – required.  (What’s a peasy? anyone?  anyone?)

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can chicken gravy
1 package frozen mixed vegetables
canned chicken, leftover chicken, any sort of cooked chicken you have in the fridge
Canned or frozen biscuits or prepared pastry sheets, unbaked

Mix everything (except the biscuits or pastry) together (you don’t have to thaw the vegetables ahead of time) and pour into a 9×13-inch baking pan.  Top with biscuits or pastry and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

My friends promise this is absolutely delicious!

It’s almost Monday!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Santa’s Got New Digs!

Check it out, here’s a tiny sample of Singing Santa on his new stage!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abyLK-zsY6c]

Notice the new overalls, too – summer time, and Santa’s taking it easy.

The new stage was designed to make it easier for kids and adults to get a better view of Santa.  Beautifully crafted and elaborately decorated, you’ll really be able to enjoy his concerts in this new space.  He’s back in the store Thursday through Monday for the rest of the year.  Come on over!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

It may now officially be flip-flop weather, but it’s always a good time to think stockings – well, Christmas stockings, at least!

Don’t the four-on-the-floor members of the household deserve to receive treats from Santa?  We’ve just received these cute felt stockings for your furry family members.

Good Kitty!

Good Kitty!

Good Dog!

Good Dog!

Wizard of Oz fans will go crazy for this stocking – ruby slippers and all!

Ruby Slippers Stocking

Ruby Slippers Stocking

It’s a good idea to keep an eye out all year round for small items that make easy Christmas stocking stuffers, so you’re not rushing around on December 20th (or 24th) trying to come up with enough things to fill them up.  Just be sure to make a note of where you hide your stash…!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Memorial Day Tribute

In case you missed NPR’s Morning Edition last Friday, they broadcast a marvelous Storycorp interview that you’ll want to hear.

Memorial Day Miracle at “The Wall”

Take a couple of minutes to listen in and be reminded of the sacrifices being made for our freedom ~ and so that others may one day have the opportunity to enjoy the kind of life we often take for granted here.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Letter to Santa

We regularly accept and encourage letters to Santa, of course.  To make it even easier, we have forms here at the store for kids to complete.  From time to time, we’d like to share some of these letters with you.

This week, we received an interesting inquiry:

Letter to Santa

Letter to Santa

“What is the biggest cookie you’ve ever eaten?”  Isn’t that a great question!

Are you working on your letter to Santa yet?

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

We’re coming up on a holiday weekend – can you believe it’s Memorial Day already?  There will be many remembrances of the heroes who have died while in service to our country, and our thoughts are with their surviving family members as well. 

Traditionally, of course, there are picnics and parades and concerts and fireworks.  From the cook book 101 Homestyle Favorites, here is an easy salad to include in your cooler this year – a great accompaniment for something grilled – and it will feed a crowd.

Greek Pasta Salad

Salad
8-oz pkg elbow macaroni, cooked
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
15 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 C yellow or red pepper, sliced
1/2 C green onions, chopped
3/4 C sliced black olives, drained
1 C crumbled feta cheese (I didn’t know feta came any way other than crumbled)722027 Cookbook
Optional:  3/4 C pepperoni, diced

Dressing
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C red wine vinegar
1-1/2 t garlic powder
1-1/2 t dried basil
1-1/2 t dried oregano
3/4 t ground pepper
3/4 t sugar

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat evenly.  Cover and chill 2 hours or overnight.  Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Give us a call at 800-445-3396 to order a copy of 101 Homestyle Favorites for yourself – item 722027, $14.95.

Christmas Place wishes you a sunny and memorable holiday weekend (unless you’re hoping for rain – we won’t deny that ambition to our drought-stricken neighbors)!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

It’s a beautiful day here in the foothills of the Smokies – a cool and sunny spring day.  I hope you’ve had a wonderful day in your part of the world.

Today, I’m showing you a couple of very clever new displays that are coming to the store.  Do you, like me, enjoy watching 24 hours of “A Christmas Story” each December?  (well, maybe more like 4 or 5 hours of…) Department 56 has a collection of houses and accessories recreating the scenes and characters of that iconic film, and we’ve created our own display in the store – including the famous and fragile (we all know it’s pronounced fra-gee-lay) Major Award!

Major Award

New for 2009, D56 has added The Fire House, The Bumpus House, and Pulaski’s Candy Store.  One of my favorite pieces is included in this scene, Pink Nightmare, poor Ralphie in the pink bunny suit!

Singing Santa’s new performance stage is really looking great!  A local artist and former Christmas Place employee, Andrea, has been adding elves and decorations all over the walls around the stage area.  I want you to be among the first to have a glimpse of the new area, which should be open by this weekend, if all goes well.

Singing Santa Performance Stage at Christmas Place

Singing Santa Performance Stage at Christmas Place

It’s going to be a truly grand space in which Santa will perform and greet visitors.  I don’t think you’ll find any stray paint cans around when Santa is in residence!

Only 220 days til Christmas – it’s really time to start organizing your gift lists for December…I’m just saying…oh, and thinking about replacing your old Christmas tree and adding some energy efficient LED lights this year.  They have a new style that is flat on the top of the bulb, no more sharp pointy bits to avoid!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

 

Food for Friday

Cookies!  We’ve all been baking cookies (and other assorted goodies) for our bake sale tomorrow.  We’ll be selling homemade creations to the Smoky Mountain Chevy Classics crowd, raising more funds for our Relay for Life team – we’re so close to $10K, we know we’re gonna make it!

722023 Christmas CookiesPerfect cookbook for today ~ Christmas Cookies, from Gooseberry Patch.  Along with a delicious selection of cookie treats, there are chapters on packaging, cookie mixes in a jar, and cookie swap ideas.  Sprinkled throughout the pages of the book are gift tag templates to copied, colored, and tied to your packages. 

Chapters include Frost-Kissed Cut-Outs, Razzle-Dazzle Drop Cookies, A Blizzard of Bar Cookies, and Candy Cane Lane.

From the Snow Kidding chapter, look what I found!  From Sally Derkenne, Des Moines, IA:

Carmelitas

18 oz. tube refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
6 oz pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
32 vanilla caramels, unwrapped
1/4 C half-and-half

Slice cookie dough into 1/4″ thick slices; place slices in the bottom of an ungreased 9″x13″ baking pan.  Pat to make an even crust; bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Let cool slightly; sprinkle with chocolate chips and set aside.  Melt caramels and half-and-half together in a double boiler over hot water.  Spread caramel mixture on top of chocolate chips.  Refrigerate for one to two hours; cut into squares.  Makes 3 dozen.

Now, in the book, it says the pan should be 9″x9″.  I can’t figure any way to 150340 Cookie Monster Nutcrackerget 36 reasonable portions out of a pan that small – that’s a brownie pan, right?  I’m saying they meant to say 9″x13″.  Are you with me?

These sound just delicious!  Packaging suggestion is to include a bag of coffee beans and a pretty mug – I’m imagining the heavenly scent as I’m typing.

Hope you have a tasty weekend, and find an outdoor festival to enjoy.  Of course, we’re seeing nickel-sized raindrops right now, but I can tell they are going to blow through quickly.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Our courtyard on May 13, 2009

You really need to see what you might be missing at Christmas Place today!  The groundskeepers have done a spectacular job in our courtyard, and I thought you would enjoy a peek.

Courtyard 2

Mrs. Claus' Candy Kitchen

Mrs. Claus' Candy Kitchen

The Boutique & our family photo-op station

The Boutique & our family photo-op station

Courtyard 5
Courtyard roses 1

Variagated roses

Intense Pink Rose

Lavendar Rose

It is truly a beautiful day in our neighborhood!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

 

Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass Festival 2009

The Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass Festival is taking place this weekend, May 15th & 16th, in downtown Sevierville, Tennessee ~ just north of Christmas Place.

This family-oriented event is part of Smoky Mountain Springfest, and celebrates spring in the Smokies, bluegrass music, and championship barbeque – the cookoff is officially recognized by the state of Tennessee ~ who knew states officiated at barbeque championship cookoffs??  Best of all, the festival is free to all comers!

Jeff Foxworthy's Redneck Grill Cook Book

Jeff Foxworthy's Redneck Grill Cook Book

This year, they’re starting the week with a brand new barbeque boot camp, with instructions from world-champion bbq’ers on topics including spices, rubs, & sauces; advanced BBQ smoking;  and pastries & desserts.  Southern Living BBQ on Tour Cooking Demo is a new attraction this year as well.  Something makes me think you won’t be tasting any recipes from this cookbook….

I found a list of planned exhibitors, and it looks like everything will be represented, from wood carving and sculpture to fine arts, fabric and leather crafting, sweets treats, pet clothes and accessories, jewelry, and face painting and activities for kids ~ and lots more.

Don’t forget the bluegrass entertainment ~ again, free for all who come.  The annual Mountain Soul Vocal Competition, in which all contestants must sing a Dolly Parton song, will take place on Saturday, with the finalists and winners performing on the main stage.  There will be other groups performing all weekend as well.

The festival takes place Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ~ there will be so much going on, you’d better put on your most comfortable shoes – and plenty of sunscreen!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. As long as you’re in the area, why not spend 10 minutes and take a quick drive down to the store to check out all the changes under way here!