Food for Friday

Now that the chill of winter has set in, I want something hot and hearty for dinner – but I don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking when I get in at the end of the day.  Me?  I want to get under a warm blanket as soon as I can!  I found this fantastic Gooseberry Patch cookbook – One-Pot Meals.  What could be more simple?  “Flavor without the fuss …home-cooked dinners your family will love!”

http://www.christmasplace.com/shopping/ItemNumber/66071

The recipes cover most every cooking method you might use, including range-top, crockpot, microwave, and even campfire entrees, as well as cold salads and desserts.  As I set the book down and randomly flipped open the pages, what did I land on but a personal favorite of mine all year round – Potato-Corn Chowder!  The publishers allow me to share a recipe with you occasionally, so here it is:

Potato-Corn Chowder

Ingredients:

    • 2 – 10-3/4 oz cans potato soup
    • 2 – 14-3/4 oz cans cream-style corn
    • 8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled (substitute ready-cooked bacon if you’re short on prep time)
    • 1/2 to 1 C milk (for extra creamy soup or chowder, replace milk with evaporated milk)
    • salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste
    • Optional: 1 to 2 T bacon drippings
    • Garnish:  fresh parsley, chopped

Blend soup and corn in a slow cooker; add bacon along with bacon drippings if desired.  Add milk until soup is of desired consistency; add seasonings to taste.  Heat on low setting in your slow cooker for 8 to 10 hours.  Sprinkle individual servings with parsley.  Serves 6 to 8.

Imagine coming home in the evening to the scent of a steaming pot of this chowder!  Better hope you’re the first one in the kitchen!

My recipe short-hand:  C = cup; T = tablespoon

Hmmm….now what do they have in here that will work for a hungry crowd that’s coming over for some big event I’ve heard is happening this weekend?  You know, the one where everyone gathers around giant T.V. screens to watch a whole bunch of commercials, periodically interrupted by some bits of guys running about a field, chasing after an odd-shaped, punkin’-looking thing?

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Check out some of the other yummy cookbooks from Gooseberry Patch – they’re the best books you’ll find anywhere!

 

Two for Tuesday

As Valentine’s Day approaches, thoughts turn to romance, and to romantic spots on the planet.  Spots like Paris – I haven’t been since I was quite young, but I hear it’s aging well! I noticed this distressed-look fabric ribbon printed with iconic French images and text, and found a glittering Eiffel Tower with which to pair it.  I’m also intrigued by the chocolate brown spruce I used in this photo.  It’s such an unusual – but gorgeous – color choice for Christmas!  Pair it with a white tree and either pink or blue – yummy color palette for a tree. Eiffel Tower & Ribbon My second Tuesday find is – here I go with chocolate again – a rich, brown glittering poinsettia.  I just realized my theme – I must be anticipating Valentine chocolates coming my way!  This could be a problem on the calorie frontier .. maybe I’ll just stick to a little eye-candy instead.  (No fudge for me.  No truffles for me.  No M&Ms for me.  I can do it.  I can do it.) Brown poinsettia What’s on your schedule for romance this February – Paris or chocolate?  Or both?

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  For a truly romantic holiday, book a get-away for two at The Inn at Christmas Place – pick your package, with choices including a gift basket, arranged roses, and more.  Why not add some chocolate-dipped strawberries from Mrs. Claus’ Candy Kitchen, or a gourmet Valentines apple to share?  We have a lot of ways to help you celebrate!

Choc strawberries

Two for Tuesday!

On the day!

What we love today – lots of hammering and sawing and banging .. and the stairs have moved!

playhouselr

Can you believe it?  The elves are hoping they’ll leave us the little cubby underneath – just the right size for a few elf bunk-beds, don’t you think?

Love the beautiful and wild garland choices we have – some with lights, some with red berries and leaves, some with frost and snow.  What’s your favorite?

Garland

Santa may be way up north or down by the beach for a few months, but there’s still plenty to enjoy as you stroll through Christmas Place, Second Nature, and The Partridge & Pear Boutique.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Oops!  Did I forget to mention Mrs. Claus’ Candy Kitchen?  Now would be a great time to pre-order your fresh-dipped strawberries – Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it!

DSC_2476

Two for Tuesday (no, really! well, maybe…)

Okay, yes, I know it’s Friday!  Such a busy week with inventory counting of everything in our warehouses and on the sales floor and in my office, working on projects, and going to the elves’ Christmas party.  So I didn’t get my two pictures up on Tuesday.

As a reward for your patience in waiting for a post, I’m sharing “Five for Friday” — but I won’t give the post that title, because then you’ll probably want more.  Again.  Like, next week, and the week after that, and the week after that!  :o  So enjoy this one-week bonus, please.

Let’s start with plenty of glitter – a show-stopper IMHO, the glitter-scape of Santa, trees, and village outline is also lighted with twinkling LEDs that give the layers sparkling definition.  Battery operated, this can easily become a Christmas focal point anywhere you’re feeling bold enough to embrace your inner glitter-fan.

Glitter scape2

It’s the stars of Christmas, Santa and Frosty.  Love the vintage design style, and the over-the-top glittering snow coating this ornament and figurine.

Santa&Frosty

 Give me more!  Here’s a turn to glittering gold for the holidays, with these ivory-colored holly leaves edged and sprinkled in gold glitter with clusters of gold berries on the stem.

Gold-Cream maple leaf

Had enough?  Okay…how about some silly Christmas fun.  We agree ‘staches are in fashion these days – and even Santa has a good one.  Found this darling mug in the Christmas Gallery – there are a couple of other styles in the collection, but they’re not on line, in-store only, call 1-800-445-3396 to order.

Mustache mug

Have you added an ugly sweater to your Christmas tree yet?  Department 56 put together a great collection this year, including Grinch sweaters.  I’m partial to the Christmas tree with the lovely faux-fur cuffs – and I really don’t want to call it ugly, okay?  It’s cute!

Ugly sweaterslr

Just a few of the things I love this week.  I’ll be back on schedule next week.  If you see something on line and would like to see more pictures or see it “in use,” don’t be shy, just ask!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Deconstruction and reconstruction continue at the store – we elves can’t wait to see the final result!

remodeling

Food for Friday

Now that the rush is over, I’m discovering new publications that I missed in the store – including seven gorgeous cookbooks under the main title “The Gathering of Friends,” with volume subtitles including “A Year of Holidays at Home,” “Return to the Table,” “Celebrating With Simplicity,” and four others.  From the creators and publishers:

The Gathering of Friends cookbooks were created to introduce “food as a love language,” enhancing traditions, fortifying relationships and celebrating life!

Gathering of Friends book

Paraphrasing Brian Wansink, we eat first with our eyes – and these volumes demonstrate that presentation is just as important to the enjoyment of a meal as food preparation.  Chapters feature recipes illustrated with beautiful photographs of each dish, along with a bit of inspiration, serving and tablescape ideas, and decorating suggestions.  Also included is a complete shopping list for the chapter menu!  Though hard-backed, the pages are spiral bound, so the books will lay open in a stand or on a tabletop for easy viewing.

010715 Gathering Friends

Naturally, the one which first caught my eye, “A Year of Holidays at Home,” features a Christmas dinner table, though it includes menus and ideas for July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, a Winter Celebration, Valentine’s, and Easter!  Curated (my choice of words!) by Michelle Huxtable and Abby Jane Green, it’s “an inspiring collection of delicious recipes and memorable menus.”  There is a comprehensive index of all recipes, so you can easily pull together your own menu, too.

Here’s an easy little Christmas recipe that just might work for Valentine’s, too, especially in color.

Cranberry Coconut Squares

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 t coconut extract
  • 1-1/2 C sweetened flaked coconut, divided
  • 1-1/2 C white chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 C dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; prepare a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Beat eggs in a medium-sized bowl.  Fold in butter, sugar, flour, and coconut extract.  Gently stir with a fork until just combined.

Fold in 1/2 C sweetened flaked coconut and 1/2 C white chocolate chips.  Pour batter into the baking dish, and sprinkle with dried cranberries and remaining white chocolate chips and coconut.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Fully cool before cutting into squares.

Serve up these lovely, sweet, red-and-white squares on cut-paper doilies as a treat, any time of day!

(C = Cup, t = Teaspoon)

I’m making room on my shelf for a few of these delicious cookbooks!  What’s your favorite Christmas – or any holiday – recipe?  We’d love to expand our culinary horizons with a few of your suggestions.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  The volume pictured is available to buy; call the store at 1-800-445-3396 and ask Guest Services to arrange shipment of item 766005.  We have all seven volumes, numbered from 766000 to 766006!

Two for Tuesday (almost made it!)

Getting back into the swing of things, and sharing anything that particularly catches my eye! This week, two very different ornaments.

Adorable Hedgehog! I added a bunch of these to my décor for Christmas, and I’m loath to pack them away – there’s sooooo cute!  I think they’ll just be my winter décor buddies.

Hedgehog

Take a look at this unique, 2-D image ornament – I hope you’ll be able to see the effect on your screen – in your hand, you have the sensation of being able to walk into the snowy forest…well, if you can miniaturize yourself to about 2″ tall, of course.

3D-ornament

Is everything being packed up at your house, or are you keeping anything out year round just for the love and beauty of Christmas?

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. Our buyers are out this week finding lots of lovely new Christmas for 2015 – can’t wait to see what they find!  We’ll be closed on Tuesday, January 13th, to take inventory – busy elf day at the workshop, you could say.  Stay warm out there!