Thursday, December 15, 2011

'Tis the Ninth Night Before Christmas and All Through The House...

Really, can it be only nine days before Christmas?  It seems I have been preparing for it since Halloween and I still have things to do. 

My first priority to to reconnect with friends/family.  The spirit of the season to me is to let the people that have touched your life, know you care.  I so value all the people I send cards to, I greet at work and I am able to call on the phone. They are my lifeline.

****I interrupt this message to let you know something....  I do get comments on this blog from time-to-time.  I have the ability to publish them or not, depending on content.  I WILL NOT publish any comments that advertise products that I haven't personally tried. No will I publish any comments that link you to another website.  I don't trust websites that I don't know and again, haven't experienced.

Sorry for the interruption in thought, but I have been getting a lot of requests to push products.

Now, back to today...

Like her or hate her, Martha Stewart is queen.  Yup, by and large, she knows what she is talking about.  And if she doesn't, she has a staff of thousands that will find the answer.  Here are some of Martha's hot tips.

Sear your beef before you roast it.  That goes for tenderloin to pot roast. Why? It's prettier and adds flavor (in the gourmet world this is called Maillard Reaction).  To do this the right way,  pat the meat dry with paper towels to avoid some spattering. Season with salt only, other spices can be added later as most can burn and give your meat an off-flavor.
-Get the pan hot.
-Add oil
-Sear (or brown) on all sides.
Put the cut of beef into your pan to roast/braise and put it in the oven.

Back in the early 1970's for bridal and baby showers we made butter mints.  They were so tasty and cute.  You could add flavor, color and cut to fun little shapes. Here is a recipe for them today.

3 oz. cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
Food coloring
3/4 cup dusting sugar

Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add flavor, then add food color one drop at a time to desired color. Dust parchment paper with powdered sugar, then roll out to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with mini-cutters.
**To update this old favorite, put some non-pariels in a bowl, then pat your cut outs down to make a delicious and pretty bottom to your mint.

On another Christmas note, I know we are all hit up by people asking us for donations of money or goods for everyone this time of year.  I have to say, I'd like to give to them all. I have a few local favorites though.
-I can't pass up a "red bucket" without tossing something in.
-The local food pantry gets some help from me.
-Senior centers can always use something.  Adopt a senior.
-Locally, we have a bike giveaway.  This is not just a handout, but each child has to prove they attend school regularly, are getting C's or above, and help at the Boys/Girls Club.  If they meet the criteria, they get a free bike and helmet.
-This tugged my heartstrings. The Angel Tree project is really hurting for toys and goods this year.  Note to self, go out and help some "angels" today.

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