I’ve been side-tracked more ways than I care to think about. The tree has taken a year and a day to buy, ‘install’, decorate, and get in its final place. Oh, and I use decorate sparingly; once the tree was installed, I started hanging lights, as you’re supposed to, only to discover I didn’t have enough. Deep Sigh…
I’ve purchased the remaining lights, finished the decorations as best I could and have since continued on with my life. So, things are good. But there’s still so much to do; another deep sigh. I’m making Peter for Christmas…err, I’m making rabbit (a post will definitely follow as this is not my forte and I feel that everybody, and their brother, should learn from my experiences). And, I really would like to find the recipe I used the first time I threw Peter over the fire as it was good.
While that may not happen, I will find a recipe (and order the bunny himself) and get all subsequent ‘doings’ in order.
I’m signing off for the evening as they advise that one shouldn’t blog while drinking and I’m beginning to believe them. That said, reports and postings will be more frequent, and interesting, as we move forward.
As always, I wish you and your family, a merry Christmas and the most wonderful of holidays, smooth sailings, and the happiest of new years.
With the days winding down, I am hoping that you’re able to take some time to enjoy the season. And, if that happens to be in the evening consider taking a road trip to your local “light shows.” The roster of displays I’m most familiar with is limited, so I did some legwork and gathered some favorite picks up and down the east coast as culled by people more intimately knowledgeable on the subject than myself:
Eastern PA – The folks over at The Patch identify their Top 5 light displays in the easterly part of the state. While Mommy Poppins (I love Mommy Poppins; even if you don’t have kids, she does a fabulous job curating what’s going on — for young and old alike — in the NJ area and often includes neighboring states!) details out more than 15 shows in the greater Philly area, including the burbs
Maryland – Chesapeake Family lists out tree lighting ceremonies and on-going displays throughout the month. Most of the ceremonies have taken place, but the static displays are still going on.
New England – Yankee Magazine details out some of the best light shows in New England. For state-specific shows, visit: Kicks 1055 for CT (good ol’ Mommy Poppins also has a list); our friends at Visit Maine present 20 sites throughout the state; in NH, the writers at NH Magazine give their selections for the best; the folks at The Globe have chosen 10 displays from MA, including Bright Nights; and WPRI Channel 12 in RI serves up their choices for the best shows in the state. I’ve left Vermont off as that turned into an expedition of hunting and pecking and, like the writers at Yankee Magazine, I’m left scratching my head.
New York – Of course the City is all all aglow this time of year (more so than usual) and has some fantastic displays as described in Time Out NY (again, Ms. Poppins also has a listing for NYC). For those North of the city, New York Upstate details list out some offerings.
This list is by no means exhaustive, just some thought starters for those of you looking to fill time between now and the new year. If you can’t find what you’re looking for or are traveling outside the Northeast, Travel + Leisure has a list of Christmas light shows in every state.
It’s time for to start thinking about turning out the lights here at Casa Rivera; and, with that, I’m wishing you all safe travels, smooth sailings and, of course, bon appetite.
It’s Saturday morning and I’m having a difficult time getting motivated. Probably because I was up until 3 am last evening, putting together cookie boxes for my husband, cleaning the kitchen and watching the Titanic, a horrific disaster that rivets me.
I need to finish decorating — we’re finally getting our tree this weekend. However, prior to tackling that desperately needed task — it’s not quite yet looking a lot like Christmas in the Rivera household — I’ll share some thoughts:
Nailed It: One of the reasons I started this blog was to learn to become a better cook (if you saw how long it takes me to cut an onion, you’d understand my plight). While the blog has seen it’s fair share of starts and stops, over the years my cooking has improved and last evening, I Nailed Dinner! It wasn’t fancy — short ribs, pasta with broccoli and olives (Gluten free for those worried about Tony and his Paleo diet), and a nice salad. A simple, yet oh-so-delicious meal which took 20 minutes to make. No fuss, no muss and, yes my arm is hurting from patting myself on the back (I’m surprised I can type today).
Sifting: Don’t neglect the sifting of ingredients when baking. I say this chuckling, because it’s a step I will put aside on occasion — when time is tight, I’m not trying to impress anyone, or I’m just not into whatever I’m making or, more precisely, whomever I’m baking for. But sifting plays an important part of one’s baking endeavors — it creates a clean, smooth consistency of whatever it is that is being sifted and eliminates the ‘ick, I just bit into a ball of flour,’ embarrassments. I first noticed the importance with powdered sugar. When skipping the sifting step, inevitably, my icing looks awful, like there’s a bunch of tiny, tiny pebbles in it.
The Grommet: Not sure how new this site is, but they’ve been advertising on TV lately (I always chuckle when an online merchant turns to traditional advertising to reach the masses) and I decided to check them out for some ‘hmm what do I get her’ gifts. They have a fantastic and quasi-unique selection of goods eliminating the ‘here’s 28,654 crafting options’ you sometimes have to wade through with Amazon. The one downside, it appears that they work with multiple vendors and sometimes your items aren’t shipped together. So my colleague’s box of cool crafting items may arrive at her doorstep piecemeal. A con or a positive in disguise? I’m not sure. It could be kind of fun/funny to receive a mini, electric screwdriver one day, the replacement paint holder things the next, and a few days later the paint holder doohickey a few days later. Even funnier if they don’t put in the ‘Thanks for all the support this year’ gift card request I made.
I could continue with my musings and I’m confident y’all would read, attentively, clinging to every last word. But I must sign off so that I can attack the decorating.
As always, I wish each of you safe travels, smooth sailings, and, of course, bon appetite.
Oh, I love bread…especially fresh baked bread. I’m fortunate to live in an area with at least 5 bakeries within a two square mile radius — and they’re all good in their own right. One is open 24/7/365. If it appears ‘closed’ there’s a side door you can go in where you’ll find yourself in a flour-gritty building that resembles a garage where bread, pretty much right out of the oven, is for sale. I’ve learned the hard way, when stopping by outside of normal hours or on an actual holiday — like Easter — is that you need to go in with close to exact change as the workers tend not to have a boat load of money on them to make change of a $10 or $20. To be fair, it wasn’t that hard, the guy just gave me the bread.
As I’ve mentioned, my husband’s adopted a Paleo lifestyle. He’s quick to correct me, “it’s a modified Paleo diet.” He’s been working with a nutritionist for more than a year now and has lost immense amounts of weight. He plateaued for about 6 months and Mary Van Something Dutch, the nutritionist, put him on a Paleo diet.
I haven’t figured out the Paleo rules (all these diets are kind of the same with a few tweaks here and there), but believe that bread is prohibited. One day, Tony was Kvetching to Something Dutch about his periodic bread cravings; two days later a cookbook arrived in the mail, ‘Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.’
The book sat for more than a few days while Tony feverishly did his research, checking out every website offering ‘Gluten Free Bread that Doesn’t Suck.’ The one consistent he found, was indeed this book. It’s a bit pricey to get all the ingredients, however when you break down the cost per loaf it’s no more than what one would spend at Whole Pay…err Foods. More importantly, after following their ‘master recipe’ and making a few batches of dough, it really isn’t that complicated. And the bread is good; really good.
So tonight we made Bread, and enjoyed it; so much.
For the foodies out there looking for some chili ideas, my good friend Donna Chang (it’s a spoof) has started a Vlog series on IGTV (that’s Instagram TV). The Vlog can be found at @Stellar_rad and one of her first episodes is about Chili. Her heritage is South American (albeit, she’s now a citizen, #Welcome, and may be more American than myself), so you know her recipe is al cante!
That’s it for now, I did half my decorating this evening, will finish this weekend, and am loosing steam. Some may feel it too late to be decorating, but we celebrate Little Christmas and, inevitably, keep our tree up through the end of January (if not later).
With that, I bid you safe travels, smooth sailings and, of course, bon appetite.
Nothing says Christmas like caroling; and few things are more inspiring than caroling at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in beautiful downtown Newark, NJ. “Newark,” you say. Yes, Newark.
This is the second year I’ve been to the Candlelight Carol Sing at the Basilica and it was as magical this go around as the first time. The conductor, John J. Miller, judiciously picked 20 carols for the evening, half of which were song by the choir, the other half with audience participants joining in. It’s a fantastic program with traditional and religious carols and the manner in which Mr. Miller has the choir and audience playing off one another is delightful.
The evening began with the choir strategically placed throughout the Cathedral singing “E’en so Lord Jesus, Quickly Come” and ended with a tribute to the 200th Anniversary of “Silent Night” and, of course, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” In honor of Silent Night’s anniversary, the first two verses were sung in traditional German, accompanied by the harp, and the remaining verses were sung by an audience draped in candlelight.
The Basilica’s Carol Sing started 48 years ago. Then director of music, John Rose, had a concert planned for mid-December. As fortune would have it, the area was assaulted with a storm and the organist was unable to traverse to Newark. Not wanting to disappoint the 50 or so concert goers in attendance, Mr. Rose treated the audience to a preview of the Cathedral’s Christmas mass music and lead a round of carols creating, unbeknownst to him at the time, a long-standing and much loved holiday tradition. This year, there had to be close to 500 people in attendance, if not more.
On that musical note, I’m signing off with the sweat melody of “Carol of the Bells” in my head. And, to you, I wish safe travels, smooth sailings and bon appetite.