Sunday, December 18, 2011

SIX MORE DAYS, rush, rush, its almost done, yes??....

Thanks Maria from Italy for your lovely
comment, how are you doing on your Christmas
preparations?? its an honor to have friends from all over the world read my blog.

Now to the real thing, the last week, check the 
list, I'm a list person, I love to make a list about everything, and then the reward to actually do it, and
check it off.  Right?  I admit I don't always do everything on my list, but I try.

For some of us it works.


1. Shopping   (everywhere is crowded)  ho ho ho
2. Cards  (better mail by Monday, or "late")
3. Tree still have time  (Santa is coming on the 25th.)
4. Mantle  ( done??)  yes
5. wreaths (done??) yes
5.our favorite friends ( the mailman, the teachers,
   the snow removal guy, the paper boy or girl? (not yet)
   the Sunday School Teacher, the Pastor, for some people "the cleaning lady", the beauty shop girls,
the nails girl, the dog groomer, and on and on.
I had to add to my list a bunch of last minute people
that I didn't expect to give a present. Well, it really
threw me, lucky me, that I make things, so I went to my stash and grabbed my coasters, mini chalkboards,mini wreaths, my cute clothespins, I'm telling you there is very little left in this house. The last minute gifts were a hit, I even wrapped them and tied them with twine, and put a cute antique music accordion ornament on each one.

Wow, what a job.  Did you have "last minute unexpected little gifts?????  Let me know how you solve the problem????   I like handmade things, made in the USA, sorry, I'm picky, plus I want to help our economy by trying to buy USA Made. Some things, you cannot buy USA made but we can all try hard.  After all I'm an Etsian, and I promote
handmade and recycle as much as possible.

The Menus:  Yum Yum  by Nigella Lawson, a great chef from the Food Network.  Enjoy~~~~

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Ginger glazed ham yum yum,


  • 10 lb (5 kg) fully (or partially) cooked bone-in smoked ham
  • whole cloves, if desired
  • 1 cup (250 mL) brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) orange juice
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) honey
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) grated orange zest

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).
  2. If the ham has thick skin, slice off the top layer, leaving about 1/4-inch (.5 cm) of fat on the meat. Place, fat-side-up on a rack in a roasting pan. With a sharp knife, score the fat in a criss-cross pattern and poke a whole clove into each square, if desired. Pour water into the roasting pan to 1/4-inch (.5 cm) deep. (The water should not touch the ham -- if the rack is too low, just add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.) Place in the oven and roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes per pound or approximately 3-1/2 hours.
  3. While the ham is roasting, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, orange juice, honey, mustard and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. About 45 minutes before the ham is finished roasting, brush with some of the glaze. Continue to baste with the glaze every 10 minutes until the ham is done. (A meat thermometer should read 135 degrees F or 57 degrees C when poked into the thickest part of the ham.) Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Servings: Makes about 10 servings.

                                                      A great menu:  Honey and Orange glazed ham.
'Sticky Gingerbread'
Sticky Gingerbread Makes 20 squares
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
3/4 cup molasses
2/3 cup packed soft dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 2 teaspoons warm water
1 cup whole milk2 eggs, beaten to mix
2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a roasting pan or ovenproof dish (approx. 12 x 8 x 2-inches) with aluminum foil or parchment paper (if using foil, grease it too).
In a saucepan, melt the butter over a lowish heat along with the sugar, syrup, molasses, fresh and ground gingers, cinnamon and cloves.
Take off the heat, and add the milk, eggs and dissolved baking soda in its water.
Measure the flour into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed. It will be a very liquid batter, so don't worry. This is part of what makes it sticky later.
Pour it into the prepared pan and bake for 45-60 minutes until risen and firm on top. Try not to overcook, as it is nicer a little stickier, and anyway will carry on cooking as it cools.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the gingerbread cool in the pan before cutting into 20 squares, or however you wish to slice it.
Make ahead tip:
Make the gingerbread up to 2 weeks ahead, wrap loosely in parchment paper and store in an airtight container. Cut into squares as required.
Freeze ahead tip:
Make the gingerbread, wrap in parchment paper and a layer of aluminum foil then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 3-4 hours and cut into squares.
Recipes reprinted from the book Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson. Copyright 2011 by Nigella 

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Nigella's Christmas Express: Let the Domestic Goddess show you how to make deliciously different food

Last updated at 00:08 23 December 2007

Nigella Lawson has all the recipes for a perfect party
There is something about Christmas that seems to instil a piercing fear and quite unparallelled tremor of expectation in people.
We seem to feel that for this crucial period we must suddenly become great hosts and untiring chefs, ready with a cocktail and a full table at all hours, at half an hour's notice.
I want you to feel better about the big parties and the little dinners that you suddenly find yourself giving without having quite intended to issue the invitation.
The main trick, if trick it be, is to remember that abundance is the key. And the mood of welcoming plenty can be bought with relatively little effort.
My mantra has always been "a lot of a little rather than a little of a lot." In other words, choose what you want and make a lot of that, rather than feeling that you must provide a huge array.
This time of year, anyway, invites excess, so don't worry about over-doing anything, and just go for it. The only thing that ruins a party is anxiety.
But I'm not going to be so irritating as to tell you not to worry; I'm giving you the recipes that will mean you don't have to.


Rouge Limonade
Rouge Limonade
I certainly don't think you need to offer a choice of drinks at a party, except that you must provide for both those who do and do not take alcohol, but it's good to have a few seasonal cocktails in mind.
The Snowball has fallen out of favour, I know, but it's a pity: it could hardly be more seasonal and tastes like grown-up ice cream soda, plus is very much easier to make than eggnog.
Christmas In A Glass is just what it says: the smell of the gingerbread syrup as the Prosecco's fizz spritzes it through the air is almost paradoxically festive.
I use the French syrup (Monin's Pain d'epices) that bartenders have decorating their shelves, and now there's a coffee shop at pretty well every corner, it's easy to buy the gingerbread syrup they use at this time of the year to douse their lattes.
As for the Pomegranate Bellini, this is just Prosecco (or other dry fizzy white wine of your choice) with pomegranate in place of peach puree.
If you can't find the pomegranate puree then substitute the 100 per cent pomegranate juice you can find a little more easily: it's thinner and less intense, so maybe add a dash of grenadine for a boost.
Do not decorate with pomegranate seeds (choking hazard) but consider adorning the serving trays or bar area with pomegranate halves. Finally, the Rouge Limonade (red lemonade), a drink that is considered not quite comme il faut in Paris, but much loved in the countryside.
It is really just a spritzer made with red wine, and with lemonade in place of soda.
Obviously, don't use a really good red wine - and this is why Rouge Limonade can be a major help at a party. You don't want to serve the sort of wine that could double as paint-stripper, but something pretty rough can have its edges knocked off with a generous top-up of lemonade.
It's not chic, but it's thirst-quenching - and brightly, seasonally, hued.
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Mouthwatering canapes: Maple pepper pecans, party popcorn, sticky Christmas sausages and martini olives


A party has to have bits to pick at, and what could be better than these? I got the idea of Martini Olives from Dinner For Eight, a lovely book by Denise Landis, a colleague of mine at the New York Times.
These aren't just great to have at a party, they're mighty fine to stash in jars and give as presents, too.
4 x 240g jars of pimento-stuffed green olives
60ml gin (or vodka if you prefer)
1 x 15ml tablespoon vermouth
1 teaspoon chilli oil
1. Open the jars and drain the olives, putting them into a bowl with the gin, vermouth and chilli oil, and give them a stir.
2.Leave to steep for half-an-hour or so while you get ready for your party. (You can put left-over steeped olives back in one of the jars, seal the lid and keep for a couple of days, or longer - though it's doubtful that eventuality will arise).
Makes 550g olives
I cannot allow myself to have even one of these as I'm setting them out, because I know there will be none left for the party.
They're best eaten still a little warm (take care not to serve them too hot or everyone will have a burnt mouth), but are very good cold and, as with the olives, make a nice present, bunged into a jar and tied with a ribbon.
I like the after-hit of fire you get from the cayenne pepper, but if you want these to have a little more universal appeal, substitute mild paprika.
50g butter
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
125ml maple syrup
350g pecan halves
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1. Melt the butter with the syrup, salt and cayenne pepper in a pan over a gentle heat and add the pecan halves and stir to mix, leaving them on the heat for 2-3 minutes.
2. Spread the pecans on a Bake-O-Glide sheet or piece of foil to cool.
3. Arrange the sticky pecans in bowls.
Makes 350g.
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The perfect napkin
How to fold the perfect napkin
Enlarge the image
This is a very speedy, almost comically so, party-eat that is also, obligingly, rather thrifty to make. It's really quite zingy and packed with flavour, and might alarm a passing child expecting more regular sugary fare.
But I find that it's hugely popular, which is why I make a big batch.
2 x 15ml tablespoons wok oil
200g (un-popped) popcorn maize
50gm butter
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground paprika
4 teaspoons table salt
4 teaspoons caster sugar
1. Pour the wok oil into the biggest pan you have with a lid and place over high heat, add the popcorn and quickly put the lid on.
2. Let the popcorn pop, shaking the pan every now and then to keep the kernels moving.
You will hear it but don't be tempted to look, unless you want to get shot at, and once it has stopped popping - a couple of minutes or so - take the pan off the heat.
3. Melt the butter with the spices, salt and sugar in another pan, then pour it over the popcorn and put everything into a large paper carrier bag.
4. Shake, shake and shake the bag again to mix the popcorn and get it thoroughly coated in the spicy butter.
5. Arrange in several party bowls.
Makes 3 litres.
Nigella Lawson
Peachy keen: Christmas isn't Christmas for Nigella without spiced peaches to go with her roast ham
If you want to have something hot to pass around on a tray, then cocktail sausages are what you're after. There's nothing fiddly to make, nothing to go right or wrong, and everyone loves them.
These are not just any cocktail sausages: the sesame oil, honey and soy give them a sweet-savoury stickiness that is pretty well impossible to resist.
1kg (75) cocktail sausages
2 x 15ml tablespoons sesame oil
125ml/150g honey
2 x 15ml tablespoons soy sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.
2. Separate the sausages, if they are linked, and arrange in a large, shallow-sided roasting tin.
3. Whisk together the oil, honey and soy sauce and pour over the sausages, then use your hands - or a couple of spatulas - to move everything about in the pan so that all the sausages are slicked.
4. Roast for 25-30 minutes; give them a shuffle about halfway through cooking if you happen to be near the oven.
Makes 75
These are messy to eat and are probably best as part of a table, rather than as a tray-bound snack. But I wouldn't count these out as finger food, so long as you dole out enough paper napkins.
However, since the sausages (see previous recipe) may make babywipes a consideration anyway, I wouldn't worry unduly.
80ml garlic oil
2 x 15ml tablespoons lime juice
Good grinding pepper
3 x 15ml tablespoons chopped parsley
3 x 250g blocks halloumi cheese, drained
1. Combine the oil, lime juice, pepper and parsley in a large, shallow dish.
2. Slice the drained halloumi into 5mm-wide pieces, and then cut each slice in half again. Don't worry if bits splinter.
3. Heat a heavy-based frying pan and dry fry the slices of cheese, in batches, until golden on both sides - this should take only a minute or so in a hot pan.
4. Put the fried halloumi into the shallow dish containing the other ingredients as you go, and then turn the halloumi about to coat each piece before turning into a serving dish.
Serves 10-12 as part of supper, more as a canape.




Ice cubes
3 parts chilled lemonade
1 part Advocaat
Squeeze of lime juice to taste
1. Fill a high-ball glass with ice
2. Add the Advocaat and then top up with lemonade
3. Spritz in lime juice to taste (1 x 70cl bottle of Advocaat should provide 14 Snowballs)


4 parts chilled Prosecco, or other fizzy dry white wine
1 part gingerbread-flavoured syrup
1. Pour the Prosecco into wine glasses
2. Top with the scented syrup (1 bottle of Prosecco should give 5 glasses)


1 part chilled pomegranate puree or concentrated juice
3-4 parts chilled Prosecco, or other fizzy dry white wine
1. Pour pomegranate puree into a glass
2. Top with the Prosecco (1 x 75cl bottle of Prosecco should yield about 6 Bellinis)

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Ho Ho HO to you all friends,


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