Food for Friday

All my favorite worlds are converging today!  Chef Aaron has shared another recipe, and it’s for a dessert, and it’s a chocolate dessert, and a chocolate dessert that includes white chocolate, and a chocolate and white chocolate dessert with bread pudding.  And heavy whipping cream.

Are you ready?

White & Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce

Sauce

2 C heavy whipping cream
6 T Irish cream liqueur
1/4 C sugar150453 Irish Snowman Ornament
1/2 t quality vanilla extract
2 t corn starch
2 t cold water

Bring the cream, liqueur, sugar, and vanilla to a boil in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium-high heat (stirring frequently).  Blend the cornstarch and water, and whisk into the cream mixture.  Return to boiling until the mixture thickens; cool and cover.  You can make the sauce a couple of days in advance.

Bread Pudding                                                    You’ll be smiling, too!

12 ozs (about 14 C) French or Italian bread cut into cubes
6 ozs chopped bittersweet chocolate
6 ozs chopped white chocolate
5 large eggs
1/2 C plus 4 T sugar
2 t quality vanilla extract
2 C heavy whipping cream
1/2 C milk

To blend, toss both chocolates with bread cubes and set aside.  Use an electric mixer to beat the eggs, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the vanilla until blended.  Gradually beat in 1-1/2 cups of the cream and all the milk.  Add this mixture to the bread, stir, and let stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13x9x2 glass baking dish with non-stick spray; transfer the bread mixture to the dish and spread it evenly.  Drizzle with the remaining cream and sugar.  Bake for about 1 hour, or until the custard is set in the middle.  Cool slightly, and top with the Irish cream sauce before digging your spoon straight into the pan serving.  Makes about 8 servings.  (Yeah, right.  You’d share this with seven other people, wouldn’t you?  I think not.)

C = Cup; T = Tablespoon; t = teaspoon

002260 Santas White Christmas coffeeAdd a pot of our famous Santa’s White Christmas coffee blend, and it’s the perfect dessert for Christmas eve – guaranteed to bring on a long winter’s nap!

Now, I can’t promise that the recipes Chef Aaron is allowing me to post are going to be on the menu at the restaurant, but I’m willing to start a campaign to make sure this one is included.  Who’s with me?!

It’s almost Monday!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. I am working on pictures of the new Cardinal Tree – stay tuned next week – it is breathtaking!

Two for Tuesday

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I said one of my Twos was sold out before I could get a picture?   Well, they’re back in stock!

Mistletoe Kissing Krystal

Mistletoe Kissing Krystal

The clear, acrylic crystal is about six inches tall and an 1-1/4 inches thick.  The glittering greenery on top makes the overall size about nine inches tall, and they are heavy – don’t hang this on the tree – it should hang in a doorway, under an opening of some kind, or on its own stand.  The crystals come in other shapes, too; I happen to prefer this classic teardrop shape.  The only thing confusing me is the red berries – must be a new form of mistletoe??  Anyway, the leaves are right, and the overall effect is just lovely.  You can see why we sold them all in about 10 days!

Here’s another shiny thing that’s catching my eye – these striking tea light candle holders.  They are finished in antique mercury glass style;  suspended inside the four-inch-tall globe is a holder for a tea light.  The surface gilding has many little void areas through which your candle will cast a flickering light ~ these would look grand placed in front of a mirror to magnify that holiday glow.

Glass Tea Light Candle Holders

Wishing you sparkling Christmas dreams tonight!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

New Lemax Display

In the world of collectible houses and villages, it is hard to find a display artist as skilled at setting up a realistic village scene as our own Kristy E.  From the floral accents surrounding the stage, to house and accessory selection and placement, to even creating the Styrofoam landscape and adding just the right amount of snow, she is really the best!  Here are a collection of pictures from her latest creation, the new Lemax village display.  I also give credit to our very talented in-house artist, A.J., for painting the amazing backgrounds for her displays.

Here we go ~ as always, there is so much detail it is difficult to take it all in.  Please let us know if you have questions about any items you see, and be sure to check out the full Lemax collection in our on-line store.

2009 Lemax Village Display

2009 Lemax Village Display

Lemax 2

Lemax 3

Lemax 4

Lemax 5

Lemax 6

Lemax 7

Setting up a village this extensive takes plenty of time and not a little skill.   We hope to inspire you to have some fun with your own collection – add a variety of trees, people and cars, a few lights, and don’t forget the snow.  Don’t be intimidated, you’ll be surprised at how quickly a festive display comes together with the right elements.  If you also want to paint your backdrop (i.e. the living room wall!), we say GO FOR IT!

Time to start dreaming of a white Christmas!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

 

 

Food for Friday

Bob

He was my last blueberry of the season.  I named him Bob.  I baked him into a cobbler.  If you have any fruits ready to be transformed into a delicious dessert, here’s an easy recipe shared by a friend this summer.

Mrs. Treece’s Cobbler

1 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C milk
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 T butter
about 2 C, or as much as you like, of the  fruit of your choice, cleaned/ chopped/prepared for baking, and warmed

Melt butter in the bottom of a 9×12 inch Pyrex baking dish.  Mix all other ingredients and add them to the baking dish, incorporating with the butter.  Top with warm fruit, and bake in a 325 degree oven until the batter is golden brown – it rises to the top as it bakes, covering the fruit or berries.

I made a batch of my favorite British treat, Bird’s Custard, and enjoyed it very much over a heated slice of the blueberry cobbler.  Cobblers are so easy and tasty and fresh for summer eating.

Our temperatures are going to be above 90 all weekend – maybe I need a recipe for fresh blueberry ice cream, too!  Any suggestions?

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

C = Cup; t = teaspoon; T = Tablespoon

American Ingenuity

Look what pulled up to our curb this morning!  Can I call it “American” ingenuity when they used a German Volkswagen Beetle?  Whatever, it fascinated staff and guests – I didn’t get to see the driver, but I’m thinking he must have some pretty long legs, at least.

Bugcycle

Bugcycle 2

All the windows were removed – the red antenna is sticking up through the rear window area.  It looks like the original bench seat is still in the back.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Restaurant Renovation

We are under way!  The outsides are coming down in preparation for the build-out of the property, and I finagled my way behind the impenetrable wall of orange plastic and even into the interior space  for a few “before” pictures.  I thought it might be fun for you to catch a few steps in the process as we create a new and beautiful Christmas Place restaurant across the parking lot from the store.

Exterior 1

Exteriour 2

In the picture above, you see a bit of the roof line of the existing store just there on the right side, so you can get an idea about the location of the restaurant on our property.  Parking spaces between the two buildings.

Interior 1

Interior 2

I really think that when you see cinder block, it counts as stripping to the bare walls!

Interior 3

The letters for the sign board out front looked so decorative on this gingham table top, I couldn’t resist.

Streetlights down

I wonder if they plan to reuse these streetlights?  A fresh coat of black paint would spiff them right up.

Stay tuned for developments.  We can’t wait to have you over for dinner!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Two for Tuesday

I’m excited to show you a new line of beautiful Santa figurines we’ve just put on display.  The series comes from Karen Didion Originals and The Crakewood Collection.  Karen Didion is a registered nurse, living with her family in Missouri, and started crafting Santa figures as a creative hobby.  They were so in demand at local shows and holiday times that she began to produce them commercially about 10 years ago.

Each figurine and its accessories are finely crafted, with thoughtful details highlighting every piece.  They stand about 18 inches tall, and are quite sturdily constructed.  Rich faux fur, brocade, satin, velour, and corduroy are finished with sparkling buttons and bullion trims.  The accessories are carefully painted and detailed as well.  One thing that particularly stands out to me are Santa’s eyes.  They are painted with such detail and depth that they seem to be genuinely smiling at you.

Santa with Rocking Horse

Santa with Rocking Horse

Teddy Bear Santa

Teddy Bear Santa

Okay, be sure you noticed that this Santa is wearing his teddy bear slippers!

Toymaker Santa

Toymaker Santa

Just look at the cute train woven into his sweater vest – and the teddy bear soldier marionette really moves on his strings.

Vintner Santa

Vintner Santa

He’s offering gifts for the more sophisticated Christmas guest.

Santa in Sleigh

Santa in Sleigh

Santa with List of Good Girls & Boys

Santa with List of Good Girls & Boys

Musical Santa

Musical Santa

This one is my personal favorite – I love his waistcoat, and the tassels on his gorgeous overcoat.

These are heirloom-quality figurines you’ll want to cherish and enjoy each Christmas, and hand down to future generations.  We are in the process of adding them to our on-line store, just search for Karen Didion.

I have to let you know that if you were holding out for the fantastic six-foot woodland Santa in the fur coat that used to stand just inside the front door, you missed him!  He’s taking off with one of our very excited guests today.  It’s go big or go home around here this afternoon.

Merry Christmas!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Think Cool Thoughts

It’s the first week of August, and we’re hitting temperatures in the 90s for the first time since June.  Sounds to me like the right time to come inside where the air is cool and images of winter (snow, frost, ice, all forms of solid H2O) surround you.  If you’re too far to come to the store today, spend a few cooling moments in three Mark Roberts’ winter fairy-lands.

Jack Frost Fairy

Jack Frost Fairy Collection

Froster Elf

Froster Elf

Winter Wonderland Fairy

Winter Wonderland Fairy

Are you feeling the chill now?  Time for a snow cone!  Mark is visiting Christmas Place for the second time, on Saturday, November 7th.  We can’t wait to welcome him back to the store – maybe he’ll stay at The Inn with us, too.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place