Christmas is a joyous time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
We gather our family and friends together and share food, music, gifts, and traditions as a way to bond together and preserve our memories for generations to come.
Sadly, there are people who are alone on Christmas for whatever reason. Let us remember them and reach out a hand of friendship to lift them up and share with them the blessings we receive.
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Merry Christmas – May you feel the Christmas spirit throughout the year!Mail this post
Latest Additions to Christmas Way
1 (6 oz.) Ready-Crust graham cracker pie crust
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle® brand sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1/3 cup lemon juice from concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling, chilled or any other fruit in season
With mixer, beat cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in Eagle® Brand‚ until smooth.
Stir in lemon juice, and vanilla.
Pour into crust.
Chill at least 3 hours.
After chilled, top with pie filling. Refrigerate leftovers.
Tasty Tip: Add whipped cream or other garnish as desired.Mail this post
A Month of Cookies
One basic cookies dough makes the building blocks for 30 different kinds of cookies — just in time for the holidays. Grab the kids and get rolling.
by Sandy Gluck
Basic Cookie Dough
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.
2. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Tear off 2 sheets of waxed paper, each about 12-inches. Spoon half the dough lengthwise down the center of each sheet of paper forming a strip about 8 inches long. With your hands, roll each strip into a log about 2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Wrap the logs up in the paper.
3. Freeze several hours until firm or freeze up to 3 months
4. To bake: preheat oven to 400. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap frozen dough and with a sharp knife, slice 1/4-inch thick. Bake until golden around the edges, rotating baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back. With a wide, thin metal spatula, remove from baking sheets to wire rack to cool completely.
1. Ginger Cookies: Add 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard powder to flour mixture. Beat 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger in to mixture when adding egg.
2. Peanut Cookies: Grind enough peanuts to make 1/3 cup finely ground. Reduce flour to 1 1/3 cups and stir ground peanuts into remaining flour mixture. Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped peanuts when adding egg.
3. Espresso-Almond Cookies: Add 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder to flour mixture. Reduce sugar to 2/3 cup and add 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar. Add 1/8 teaspoon almond extract when adding vanilla. Fold in 1/3 cup sliced almonds after adding flour.
4. Molasses Cookies: Increase flour to 1 3/4 cups, swap in 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar for 1/4 cup granulated, and add 3 tablespoons molasses when beating butter and sugar.
5. Citrus Cookies: Beat 2 tablespoons grated lemon, lime or a combo into mixture when adding egg.
6. Malted Milk Cookies: Add 2 tablespoons malted milk powder to flour mixture. Add 1/4 cup crushed malted milk balls when adding egg.
7. Cornmeal-Currant Cookies: Replace 1/3 cup of flour with 1/3 cup finely ground cornmeal. Stir 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest and 1/3 cup currants into mixture after adding flour.
8. Red-Hot Cookies: Finely crush 1/3 cup of red-hot candies and fold in when adding flour mixture.
9. Spice Cookies: Add 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon allspice to flour mixture.
10. Peanut Butter Chips: Reduce butter to 6 tablespoons. Add 2 tablespoons peanut butter. Fold in 3 tablespoons peanut butter chips when adding flour mixture.
11. Brown Butter: Melt butter over low heat until lightly browned and fragrant (do this in a pan that isn’t dark so you can see the change in color). Chill butter until firm then proceed with recipe as directed.
12. Toasted Coconut: Toast 1 cup of angel-flake coconut (the sweetened kind you get in the supermarket in bags) until golden brown. Grind a little more than half to get 1/3 cup ground and replace 1/3 cup of the flour with the ground coconut. Fold the remaining coconut in when adding the egg.
13. Chocolate-Chile Cookies: Remove 3 tablespoons of flour and replace with 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Add 3/4 teaspoon ancho or chipotle chile powder, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to flour mixture.
14. Granola Cookies: Coarsely shop 1/2 cup of your favorite granola and stir in when adding flour mixture.
15. Orange-Cranberry: Fold 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest and 1/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries into dough after adding flour mixture.
16. Black Forest: Beat 2 ounces of melted and cooled semisweet chocolate into dough after adding egg. Fold in ¼ cup finely chopped dried cherries after adding flour mixture.
17. White and Dark Chocolate: Remove 3 tablespoons of flour and replace with 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Reduce granulated sugar to 3/4 cup and add 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar. Fold in 1/3 cup chopped white chocolate after adding flour.
18. Double Chocolate: Remove 3 tablespoons of flour and replace with 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Fold in 1/3-cup mini chocolate chips after folding in flour.
19. Rocky Road: Beat 1/3-cup marshmallow fluff when beating butter and sugar. Increase vanilla to 1 teaspoon. Fold in 3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans after folding in flour.
20. Carrot Cookies: Beat 1/2 cup of finely grated carrot into the mixture when adding egg. Swap in 1/3 cup maple sugar for 1/3 cup of regular sugar.
21. Pine Nut Cookies: Fold 1/4 cup of pine nuts into dough after adding flour mixture. Add 1/8 teaspoon almond extract along with vanilla.
22. Crispy Rice Cookies: Stir 2/3 cup of crisp puffed rice cereal into mixture when beating in flour mixture.
23. Sesame Cookies: Beat 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil and 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds into mixture when adding egg.
24. Apricot-Anise Cookies: Fold in 1 1/2 teaspoons anise seed and 1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots after adding flour.
25. Cashew Cookies: Reduce butter to 6 tablespoons and add 2 tablespoons cashew butter. Add 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg to flour mixture. Fold in 1/3 cup finely chopped salted cashews after adding flour.
26. Sunflower Seed Cookies: Reduce butter to 6 tablespoons and add 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter. Fold 2 tablespoons toasted hulled sunflower seeds and 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest to mixture after adding flour mixture.
27. Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Cookies: Replace 2/3 cup of flour with 2/3-cup whole-wheat pastry flour. Add 1-teaspoon ground cinnamon to flour mixture. Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar to sugar and butter mixture.
28. Toasted Oatmeal Cookies: Toast 1 1/2 cups rolled or quick cooking oats until fragrant and golden brown. Grind 1 cup of the oats and once ground measure and substitute for an equal amount of flour. Reduce sugar to 3/4 cup and add 1/4 cup light brown sugar. Fold remaining 1/2 cup oats into dough after adding flour.
29. Butterscotch Cookies: Reduce sugar to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar. Fold in 1/2 cup butterscotch morsels after adding flour.
30. Tropical Cookies: Fold 1/3 cup finely chopped dried pineapple, 1/4 cup finely chopped dried banana chips, and 2 teaspoons grated lime zest after adding flour.
Sandy Gluck hosts Martha Stewart Radio’s Everyday Food weekdays at 11 a.m. EST on on Sirius XM.Mail this post
You won’t want to miss getting your hands on the Apple MacBook Laptop as soon as possible. Barely under two inches and just under five pounds, this laptop’s slim build is one that will fit into your lifestyle as well as your book bag.
But just because it’s smaller doesn’t mean it can’t handle the bumps in life. It’s built to last even the rigors of high school or college and is a perfect match for any student. No more interrupted life.
With precision accuracy, this laptop comes with a long lasting battery that’s built in. Now, you won’t have to worry any more about having to give your laptop a quick charge before you head out the door. You’ll get a nine to four workday out of this gadget – that’s seven hours worth of usage before a recharge is even necessary.
Plus, the Apple MacBook Laptop has an easy to see screen that’s a comfortable thirteen inches, sharp color, sharp detail for your surfing pleasure. No more squinting at screens so small you practically need a magnifying glass to find them.
You get the technology you want when you get an Apple. This product is already stacked for you with a unique operating system known as the Snow Leopard – along with a host of popular applications. You get more for your money when you pick up this delicious deal.
The processor lets you zip right through your Internet jobs with a speed that’s truly amazing. When it comes to hard drives, some laptops fail to deliver the service behind the hype.
But with the super-sized 250 GB, you get the powerful hard drive that can handle what you need to store. Not sure how much space that is? Think of it this way – some home computers only have 160 GB of hard drive so you can see the laptop here is a good choice to get and not just for Christmas either.
The Apple delivers extras. For relaxing or business, this laptop also comes with a camera made right into it so that you can talk via video. Ordinary laptops don’t have that added feature.
And ordinary laptops will cramp your style. With some laptops, you get small keyboards that almost stack your fingers on top of one another but with this one, you get ample keyboard room.
Did you know that the Apple MacBook Laptop is very Earth friendly? It saves power even when you’re typing on the keyboard and the battery outlasts typical laptop batteries. Don’t expect your Apple battery to wear out. But in the event it ever does, you don’t have to throw it away. Apple will take the old battery. Now that’s a laptop with savings all the way around!Mail this post
Christmas is the season of the gimmes. Gimme toys, gimme electronic gadgets, gimme gift certificates. That’s not the real meaning of Christmas. It’s not about the parties or the sharing of tasty meals, either. All the holiday gift giving, all the parties, all of the shiny decorations can take over the meaning of Christmas and it can get swallowed up. Christmas books can help remind you of what it’s really all about.
The simple Christmas gatherings of yesteryear have turned into one stress after another until you can feel like you’re stuck in a maze. With the hustle and bustle of everything going on, getting off track and lost in the maze of focusing on material stuff happens.
But it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can get back on track and have the true meaning of Christmas foremost in your holiday celebrations. You can pick out Christmas books that you can read together as a family that will show the true meaning of the holiday.
These books come in different formats and aren’t difficult to get a hold of. If you have little ones at home and you want them to understand that Christmas is not about the material possessions, start a practice of sharing Christmas related stories after dinner every night or as a bedtime story. You can get under the blankets together and teach them holiday priorities that will last a lifetime. Start with
You can easily purchase these books from most retail stores or online stores that carry Christmas products. There are even some books that will share the meaning of Christmas in a way that make it come alive for your family by allowing the acting out of parts of the story.
Some books will offer you the opportunity to personal the stories by putting your child’s name in the book. Children remember the stories because of hearing their name used. And what child doesn’t laugh out loud and beg for more when his or her parents read a story about The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
What are the best books to buy that can teach the meaning of the holiday? The books that teach about giving and being thankful for even the small things in life like The Christmas Shoes.
Find books that teach about the origin of Christmas and the peaceful day that it started out as. Look for books that teach that Christmas is about being grateful for family, that it’s about not focusing on ourselves but on being there for others.
Seek to purchase books that will teach about how Christmas is shared the world over. Children are natural born learners and they soak in what they’re taught but when we get to busy during Christmas with the getting and the glittery decorating, they can learn the wrong lessons. So take the time out to share with them Christmas books that will show them the real meaning of this holiday.Mail this post
When it comes to books, gift ideas can be sparing unless you know the exact author that your recipient prefers. But there’s another way to determine which books would make the best gifts for your closest friends and family members.
Strike up a conversation with them. Listen to their opinions. Are they very political? Then they may like a book by a political author, such as Glen Beck or Sarah Palin for Republicans or Obama for Democrats.
Someone who’s into horror or mystery might appreciate Stephen King’s new Under the Dome book – his latest release. Find out if they like his work before splurging on it, and if they do, but have already read it, then consider another similar author like Dean Koontz.
Is the person into self help autobiographies? Andre Agassi’s new book Open shares his true tale of drug addiction and failed marriages and shows how he came back from the brink of despair to start a new and better life for himself.
The special person in your life might appreciate a collectible coffee table book. You can find some great coffee table books on Norman Rockwell, Cartier, home decorating, rock bands, and more.
Another savvy books gift idea is to give someone a Kindle or Sony eReader. These are actually wireless reading devices that let your recipient download a full book in under 60 seconds – and hold a whole library of choices on their e-reader at any time.
You can pair this with a gift certificate they can use on Amazon or at the Sony eReader store to purchase titles they prefer. You can pre-load it if you know what they want, and even subscribe to magazines and newspapers for them!
And don’t forget this books gift concept, either: get your gift recipient an audiobook! Not every book is in hardback or paperback format. For people who travel a lot, an audiobook is a perfect gift selection.
Current bestsellers in audiobooks are Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue, the Complete Audio Bible, Bill O’Reilly’s A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity memoir, and Glen Beck’s Arguing With Idiots.
When buying books, gift ideas are in endless supply. You simply have to be aware of the preferences of your gift recipient and then meet their needs. Or, give them a gift certificate to a bookstore (online or local) and let them browse the latest choices themselves!Mail this post
People who conduct business on the road can’t be hampered down with a full-size laptop. In this day and age, laptops have become clunky and passé, and mini-notebooks are the ideal computers for travelers who demand usability and a neater, more compact profile.
The ASUS Eee PC 1005HA-PU1X-BK 10.1-inch mini-notebook is just such a mini-notebook, offering everything you need to get your work done, find and file the information you need, and even grab a little entertainment.
One of the most valuable qualities of this great ASUS mini-notebook is the fact that you can go almost 11 hours without stopping on one battery charge that comes with its Super Hybrid Engine. This notebook can go unplugged all day long and into the evening. If you’re on the road or in the air, this is a lifesaver!
While looks aren’t everything, you’ll appreciate the inspired design of this awesome and compact computer. Its iridescent contour is reminiscent of a seashell, making a beautiful work tool.
The ASUS Netbook’s 92 percent scaled keyboard is ergonomically designed and easy to use. It doesn’t make you feel constricted, and the handy touchpad only adds to the overall ease of operation.
The display is a sizable 10.1-inch display that uses LED, offering crisp clarity, and the 170 GB worth of hybrid storage (160 GB hard drive and 10 GB Eee online) is enough for the storage, access and sharing of tons of information. And weighing in at a just 2.8 pounds, it’s a breeze to carry.
Do you need a notebook that can connect to the Internet quickly and easily? The ASUS Eee PC 1005HA-PU1X-BK Black Netbook supports connectivity with an on-board wi-fi 802 wireless network card.
The digital array microphone and 1.3 megapixel webcam give you a means of clear visual and audio communication. And because it operates on Microsoft’s Windows XP, you can be sure of operating system stability and performance.
This is truly an excellent mini-notebook on the cutting edge – perfect for yourself or as the best gift you can give your favorite globetrotter for Christmas. If you’re not a globetrotter, this is still a great answer to having to lug a clumsy laptop around. Mini-notebooks, or netbooks, as this one is called, are the right tools for those who need to be able to work at a moments notice, or in odd places like airports and coffee shops.
Businesspeople, grad students, college students, technicians who are on the road, teachers and others will find the ASUS Eee PC 1005HA-PU1X-BK 10.1-inch Netbook to be an invaluable tool for word processing, gathering information on the Internet, and for keeping important lines of communication open and flowing. We’ve graduated from desktop PCs to laptops. The next logical step is to move on to a netbook that is comprehensively useful, compact and attractive to boot.Mail this post
There are two ways you can get an online gift card for someone on your Christmas list this holiday season. The first way involves spending money to get free money – and the second involves paying directly for the gift card itself.
Many banks these days offer special debit cards where you gain points every time to use the card. Those points can be exchanged for online gift cards to various shopping outlets, including major retail centers like Target or Best Buy.
Many sites have offers you can fill out where, in exchange for your time completing a survey and handing over your contact details, you’re given an online gift card to use at a store of your choosing.
But most people rely on the traditional route to secure an online gift card for someone on their shopping list. They find a store the person would be interested in shopping at, and they purchase a gift card in a specific increment.
Now usually, these gift cards were purchased in person. But more shoppers are just grabbing an online gift card instead. This makes it very convenient for both the shopper and the gift recipient because no one has to get out in holiday traffic and face the crowds to get or use the gift.
Online gift cards are perfect for friends and family living in remote areas, too. With an online gift card, they can log onto the Internet and access their favorite store, which may not be anywhere near their home, and purchase whatever suits them.
With many online gift cards that you buy, there are restrictions that the card can only be used online. So if you buy one, but you know the recipient may want to go to a local retailer and shop, make sure they understand that this is for online purchases only.
If the online gift card has an expiration date, point this out to the recipient. Many people safely tuck them away until they want or need to spend them, only to be sorely disappointed that time has run out unexpectedly.
Online gift cards are perfect presents – not only for convenience – but because the recipient who gets it on Christmas can get a lot more product for their money with after-Christmas sales that now reach into cyberspace, and not just local retail stores.
Purchase an online gift card with confidence. You’ll know the person getting it will appreciate it and get exactly what they want this year. If you don’t want to go with a specific store, then consider one of the debit-like credit card gift cards, like a Visa or American Express gift card.Mail this post
Guys often have a hard time buying Christmas gifts for a woman in their lives. Whether it’s the wife, girlfriend – or even a family member, thinking up women gift ideas is a hard task for most men.
You can do a little investigative research to discover what the perfect Christmas gift would be for her. And you don’t have to ask outright, just be a sleuth! Start listening to what she says she’s doing for enjoyment.
Did she mention how her feet are killer her or do you see her analyzing her chipped fingernails on a regular basis? A nice pedi-mani combination would make any woman appreciative. If you have the funds, splurge for the deluxe spa version.
If it’s your wife, take a look on her bookshelves one day. Is there a certain author she’s fond of? If so, look online and see if there’s a new book out by that person. You can also find recommendations that say, “if you like (author’s name), then you might also like this…”
Is she always in a baking mood? You don’t have to worry about offending a woman by giving her a kitchen utensil if it’s something she’ll really love. For instance, is she using a handheld mixer?
If so, you can replace it with a standing mixer so that she is able to multitask as she works her way around the kitchen. A slow cooker is also a welcomed kitchen gift idea because it means less work is involved for making dinner.
Consider some technical gifts this year, too. A GPS system for her car, a Blu Ray disc player, or a new HDTV might be something she’d never splurge on for herself. If she’s a book addict like we mentioned earlier, then you might consider giving her instant access to a whole library of titles on a new Amazon Kindle or Sony eReader.
Here are more women gift ideas:
• Fitness GPS wristwatch if she likes to exercise outdoors
• Fragrance gift set that includes her favorite scent
• MP3 player with a gift card to iTunes
• Digital camera
• Microfiber bathrobe
There’s no end to the women gift ideas you can conjure up if you just keep your eyes open and see what she likes and what she might need. And if worst comes to worst, you can always give her an online gift certificate and let her do the gift choosing herself!Mail this post
You may have already discovered that the price of the Nintendo Wii Console has been lowered – and just in time for the holidays, too! This system is one of the most amazing concepts in gaming technology that’s ever been invented. Who would have thought many years ago when Super Nintendo was all the rage that some day we’d all be able to play interactive video games?
Who likes the Wii? The audience for the Wii is broader than the audience in past video games. It used to be that video games were targeted toward kids or young adults. Occasionally, some older people would play, but the pull simply wasn’t there. When the Wii was developed, everyone in a variety of demographics paid attention and wanted one.
Why are they so popular? There are so many factors that go into building the popularity of the Nintendo Will Console. First, because you get a ton of value for one low price. You get technology that’s pretty advanced in that it’s made for everyone of any age to enjoy.
Even people with health problems who can’t exercise at a gym can play a game like bowling on the Wii and get exercise. What Wii did was to create a system where an entire family could join in.
Remember those older games? If someone accidentally jerked the cord during play, the game would reset? Unlike games of old where everyone sat around with controllers attached to the set, the Wii uses wireless technology. The flash memory on the Wii is pretty big with a total of 512 MB. And if you own the outdated GameCube discs, you can still use those if you get the Wii.
The Wii remote works based on the use of accelerometers and is far superior than anything you can buy. You can play the sports games that come along with the purchase of the Wii with ease by using the remote and you actually get a physical workout.
If you think the Wii is just for games, you’re mistaken. You can get channels with the Wii. For example, if anyone in the family is an avid photographer, you’ll be able to pull up your digital photos right on the TV screen.
All you need is the memory card and the Wii. One of the most popular channels is the Internet channel with the Wii. Once you get the browser, you can maneuver the Internet by using the Wii. In this day of social media messaging, you can even use the Wii to zip a message to others.
With the games, the ability to use them for exercise or fun, the many channels, the Nintendo Wii Console offers every member of the family a way to engage in fun activities.Mail this post
There’s always some sort of situation where you need last minute gift ideas and you don’t know where to turn. You might be buying a last-minute gift for your mother-in-law, a spouse, or even a child. Some people rush to work on the last day of the office gathering, suddenly remembering that they had secret Santa duties, and they need a last-minute gift for that.
Don’t panic if you haven’t yet bought a gift for that special someone. There are all sorts of last-minute gift ideas for Christmas 2009. The Internet can be your best friend when it comes to finding solutions for Christmas gifts. You can find something suitable for everyone. For instance, a gift certificate to a major store will always be a hit. Plus, it’s suitable for both genders and all ages.
You can buy online gift cards to places like eBay, Amazon.com, Target, Best Buy, and more. Most people who are in a panic for a last-minute Christmas gift usually stop by a 24-hour drugstore, such as Walgreens or CVS pharmacy. All that you’re going to find here are cheap substitutes for a special gift that you could have purchased online instead.
When you buy an online gift certificate, the company will usually give you the option of having an announcement emailed directly to the recipient. Or, print out the purchase details, stick it in an envelope, and give that as a Christmas gift.
No one needs to know that the gift that you purchased was a last-minute one. If you don’t have access to the Internet at the exact time that you need the gift, you can always stop by your local grocery store and find gift cards there. It’s best if you can tailor your gift card to the person’s interests.
For example, for the do it yourself man, you might pick up a $50 gift card to Home Depot or Lowe’s. Another great option, for a sports fan, might be to get a gift card to the MLB shop online, where they can purchase their choice of fan gear.
Teenagers will love a gift card to Best Buy. Here, they can buy video games, consoles, cell phones and accessories, movies, and many more technical gadgets of their choosing. This type of gift card is great for grownups too.
Another perfect type of gift car is a Visa or American Express gift card. When you buy this type of gift certificate, it works just like a debit card – and your recipient can use it anywhere that Visa or American Express is accepted.
Another great last minute gift idea is cold, hard cash. While it sounds impersonal, kids and teenagers will LOVE it. They prefer to get money over having an uninformed grown-up buy them a gift they won’t like. And you can pick up a simple cash gift greeting card to stick it in.Mail this post