Merry Christmas!

We had the joy of waking up to what I will call an incoming white Christmas this year – snow began falling at about 9:00 a.m. on Saturday and continued through the weekend – some of our associates report up to 15″ at their homes this Monday morning!  Here are a couple of pictures from our courtyard and looking across the parkway to the hotel.  We haven’t enjoyed this much snow in quite a while, and we’re all kids again today here at Christmas Place!

Hurray for the glimpses of blue sky!

Nothing is prettier than snow on evergreens!

One frosty slide ride today!

Did you get enough of “A Christmas Story”, wrapping & bows, leftovers, and smiles and hugs and laughter this Christmas??  Tell us about it! 

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

As soon as I figure out how to squeeze a couple of extra hours out of each day, I’m going to be cooking up a snow storm for Christmas!  I really am!  I haven’t even had time to make my favorite peanut butter-marshmallow-almond bark treats this year .. now that’s too busy for me.

I think an excellent gift request to send to Santa this year is a wish for ANY of the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks – or even one of each.  I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy every volume they print, from the delicious recipes and serving suggestions of the recipes’ authors, to the quick and easy tips on each page for holiday decorating and entertaining.

At only $16.95, Christmas with Family & Friends would make an excellent hostess gift for the holidays.  This volume begins with a collection of brief essays & stories from contributors sharing their own Christmas memories – a special treat!  Then all the food categories are covered, from Breakfast & Brunch with Friends to soups, casseroles, and, of course, Festive Family Desserts.

As I flipped through the pages, I was caught by this recipe title:  “Fancy Pants Chicken.”  For sure!  Don’t we always have chicken in the fridge or freezer?  What a fast and fun dish to put together for any holiday or every day gathering.

Fancy Pants Chicken

12 chicken breast tenders
2 T olive oil
1/3 C teriyaki marinade sauce
1/2 C ranch salad dressing
6 to 8 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
1 C shredded Colby Jack Cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, lightly brown chicken in oil.  Remove chicken and place in a lightly greased 11″ x 7″ baking pan.  Brush both sides of chicken generously with teriyaki sauce.  Top with salad dressing, crumbled bacon and cheese.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees until chicken juices run clear, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Serves 6.

I’m very intrigued by how the flavors of the sweet teriyaki and the creamy ranch dressing mix together.  It sounds like something you can make in a snap – the contributor recommends serving the chicken over an almond rice pilaf.

C = Cup; T = Tablespoon

Here’s another hostess gift idea – seasonal salt & pepper shakers!  We have some really cute styles in the store and on-line this year.  Check out this classic Santa set.

Hope your Christmas shopping and celebrating plans are going well!  We’ve had snow, and the kids have missed several school days already, so we’re thinking the holidays are working out pretty well so far this year.

Have a Merry – and tasty – Christmas!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  My sister taught me that you can put frozen chicken tenders  straight into a toaster oven and bake them up in about 20 minutes – a good draining, a good saucing, and a good vegetable side and dinner’s on the table.  Easy really works for me!

Gingerbread Time!

Do you any of you make .. and then eat .. gingerbread houses at Christmas time?  I’ve always wondered, because I didn’t grow up in a gingerbread house family, and no one has ever offered me a piece of their gingerbread house at a party.  It seems like a tradition that needs to be passed down through the generations.

Patty, our team lead at Mrs. Claus’ Candy Kitchen, began working in food services at the age of 13 thanks to her father, a master baker.  She has been making and showing gingerbread houses competitively since she was sixteen.  She earned a degree in culinary arts at McComb Community College in Michigan, and has continued a life of learning as she follows her passion for food.  Her career has led her into many areas of food preparation, but baking & candy making are her true loves!  In 2008, Patty won Chef’s Choice Honorable Mention in the National Gingerbread Contest, the last year she entered.

This year, she entered a gingerbread lighthouse in the Gatlinburg Festival of Trees competition, and earned second place in the amateur division.  She won First Place in the People’s Choice category for her fantastic lighthouse creation!

We’ve been happy to have Patty cooking for us since 2000, and she is our head candy maker – she loves coming up with new fudge flavors and candies for us to enjoy!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Christmas Place on HGTV

This year, Christmas Place has provided some of the decorations for HGTV’s annual Celebrity Holiday Homes special, and we can’t wait to see how it turned out!  The 2010 special is scheduled to premier this Saturday, December 4th, at 8:00 p.m. (with repeated airings throughout the month).

If you like what you see in the special, and I’m assured that you will, you will find links to the products we sent on the HGTV website – they provide decorating details for each show.  Visit their site by clicking here.  I hear a bust of Santa we provided holds up very nicely next to an Emmy award on a fireplace mantle!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place