mm12192016

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cheeseballs

Image: RachelRayshow.com

 

The most wonderful time of the year (cheese ball season) is upon us.  Instead of the usual shopping balls, try these quick minis from Khalil Hymore, a food GENIUS!

Cut a 10 oz. log of goat cheese into tablespoon-size chunks, roll those into balls, and coat them with one of these mixes.

Pretzel Herb: Combine 1 ½ cups crushed pretzels and 1 tsp crushed thyme.

Everything Bagel: Combine ¼ cup each toasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic flakes, and fresh chopped chives and 1 tsp flaky sea salt.

Spicy Cheese: Combine 1 ½ cups crushed Cheez-Its and ½ tsp cayenne pepper.

Let me know how you like these. If you have any recommendations for another mixture, please let me know. I’d love to try it!

 

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lick

Knockknockstuff.com

 

It’s impossible to have a bad day when a dog is around, right? Exhibit A: Photographer Ty Foster’s joyful book Lick Puppies, which features 80 pictures of adorable pups wagging their tongues.  Writes Foster, “With this book, you are basically holding pure happiness in the palms of your hands.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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peppermintbowl

Image: marthamoments.blogspot.com

 

I L.O.V.E. this D.I.Y. candy bowl from the book Candy Aisle Crafts by Jodi Levine. Aren’t these bowls such sweet little things to put your holiday candy or chocolates in?

TO MAKE:  Heat oven to 275 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment and coat with vegetable oil. Place 1 candy on the sheet; bake for 2 to 2 ½ minutes, until it looks shiny and softened.  Remove from the oven and place 6 candies around it (touching the center one); return to the oven for 4 to 5 minutes.  Remove again and place 11 more candies around the circle; bake for another 11 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool for 1 minute.  Oil the outside of a 6-inch bowl, invert it, then lay the group of candies over the outside of the bowl, parchment facing out.  Use an oven mitt to mold the candy to the bowl.  Let cool, remove the parchment, and lift the candy of the bowl.

Aren’t they ADORBZ?!?!?!

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stressquote

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splitpeasoup

 

Cookinglightmagazine.com

 

Hearty, warming split pea soup is my favorite soup in the winter. My take on this cold-weather classic couldn’t be easier-just set it and forget it. My mother always told me that potatoes contribute starchiness and silky thickness to split pea soup, while the sweet carrots and salty ham (optional) balance out the peas’ light, earthy flavor.  Leftovers fare well in the freezer, so say hello to your new favorite make-ahead soup.  Garnish with parsley and additional pepper, if desired.

 

Ingredients:

1 pound dried green split peas, rinsed and drained

1 ½ cups cubed peeled Yukon gold potatoes

5 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped peeled carrot

1 large bay leaf

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

2 pounds smoked ham hocks (optional)

6 cups water

½ cup light sour cream

 

  1. Layer peas and next 9 ingredients (through ham) in order listed in a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Gently pour 6 cups water over top. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
  2. Remove ham hocks from slow cooker. Remove meat from bones, and cut into bite-sized pieces; discard skin and bones.  Discard bay leaf.
  3. Coarsely mash soup to desired consistency, adding additional hot water to thin, if desired. Stir in chopped ham.  Divide soup evenly among 8 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.

 

Recipe adapted from Deb Wise

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Santa Claus

 

santaclaus

Image: Theadvocates.org

We know him as a chubby guy from the North Pole. But the real Saint Nick was a slim Mediterranean. YUP! I have been so curious about how Santa evolved and found the most interesting information on him through my research. I wanted to share it with you during this holiday season. I learned a lot, and hope you do about Saint Nicholas. A big thanks to Jamiyla Chisholm for the condensed version. No Ho, Ho, Ho’s here.

4th CENTURY

Saint Nicholas of Myra (in modern-day Turkey) is a bishop hailed for his generosity. He’s famous for having thrown a bag of gold through a window as dowries for three poor sisters. The day of his death, December 6, is still celebrated as Saint Nicholas Day in Armenia, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and other countries.

17th to 18th CENTURIES

In the New World, the children of the English colonists encounter other immigrants and learn the Dutch tradition of setting out wooden shoes in which Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) leaves presents.  They also hear of Christkindl, the female German gift-bearing angel, who brings gifts.  The English youth mispronounce these names as “Santa Claus” and “Kris Kringle,” respectively.

19th CENTURY

The Santa narrative fills out (as does his belly):  He commands a flying sleigh (Washington Irvings’s Knickerbocker’s History of New York), slides down chimneys (Clement Clarke Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas”), and monitors kids from the North Pole (Thomas Nast’s Harper’s Weekly cartoons).  Newfound glee for jolly Saint nick leads to the first department-store Santa taking post at a shop in Philadelphia.

1912

The US Postal Service provides an address for all those Christmas wish lists: “Santa Claus, North Pole, Alaska.”

1931

Coca-Cola solidifies Father Christmas’s iconic look, decking him out in its corporate colors-red and white-plus a big belt for an ad campaign.

1958

The North American Aerospace Defense Command sets ups a “Santa cam” to track the jolly one’s Christmas Eve ride.  Today there’s an app and a site (noradsanta.org)

1994

The first Santacon, an overly festive bar crawl, takes place in San Francisco. Over the next two decades, more than 300 cities, from Atlanta to Zurich, host countless rowdy revelers getting their drink on while getting their Santa suit on.

 
2016

Kids keep believing. In New York City alone, the number of letters to Santa that arrive at the post office annually is about half a million. If you want to preserve that innocence, be ready to change the channel when commercials come on with Santa Claus on every channel.

 

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mm12052016

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Hot Toddy

hottoddy

Image: Wideopencountry.com

I’ve never had a Hot Toddy, have you? Since the holidays are approaching, I thought it would be fun to try. The one question I have is, if a cocktail has tea in it, is it healthy? I’m just going to say yes. I think an Apple Brandy Hot Toddy is the perfect thing to warm me up AND chill me out.

To Make:

In a measuring cup, steep 1 chai or cinnamon-apple tea bag in ¾ cup boiling water.  Meanwhile, add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. honey, and 3 Tbsp. apple brandy (like Applejack) to a mug and stir.  When the tea is brewed, remove and discard the tea bag, pour the tea into the mug, and garnish with lemon and a cinnamon stick.

Ahhhh, now I have to go relax somewhere to drink my “tea.”

May your days be boozy and bright!

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mm112816

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