Archive for category Holiday Season

How Zumba and P!nk Changed My New Year’s Resolution

On the morning of January 1st, head throbbing and heart jittering with caffeine, I skulked into my first Zumba class of 2011. I felt like crap so why was I there?

My New Year’s resolution was to exercise more, eat healthier, eat less, blah, blah, blah. I wanted to kick it off with a workout to punish away the evils of December 31st and the 2 weeks that preceded it  (evils being too much cheese, chocolate and sparkling wine).

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Planning a New Year’s Eve Party? Here’s My Review of Fine Cooking’s Sweets and Sparklers Menu

Nothing is as fun as planning a party.

One October evening, my hubbie and I relaxed in the hot tub while indulging in conversation about what to serve at this year’s holiday party. Whether it was due to the bottle of wine we’d also indulged in or to having a darned busy autumn to deal with or to the fact that talk is cheaper than follow-through, I don’t know, but we dried off and promptly forgot all about the party.

It might have remained a mere chat in the tub if it hadn’t been for the copy of Fine Cooking Magazine that arrived in November. Tasha DeSerio‘s Sweets and Sparklers found us back in steamy water drooling, dreaming and discussing while drinking a bottle of bubbly suggested in the article.

DeSerio’s party plan is brilliant! It’s a feast of sweets with dollops of unexpected savoriness in every bite. These flavors ying and yang with clear simplicity as they play with the acidity and the fruitiness of the accompanying fizz.

And, it’s freakin’ fun.

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What curve ball will you catch (or drop!) at your holiday party?

As our holiday open-house approached, I worried about what could go wrong.

Disasters from events past haunted me. Some were simple like a goblet shattered on the deck or not having an empty vase for a hostess-gift-bouquet. Some were more awful: A neighbor over-imbibing and spilling shiraz on my professor or when I greeted a colleague at our meatatarian BBQ and remembered (too late!) that she’s vegan.

I never imagined that the evening’s curve ball would be a hit.

Shortly after the party began, I welcomed my knitting pals F&C. Silently, C passed me a paper bag with an attached piece of foolscap:

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What do Two Canadians and a Brit do on American Thanksgiving?

Walk of course. And walk and walk and walk and then pray that they don’t have to eat Big Macs when they finally stop and then wish that they could please please please have a Big Mac. Just one. Please? I don’t know what the other Canadians and Brits in Florida were doing but that’s exactly what my husband, my son and I did for our very first American Thanksgiving last year. Here’s what happened:

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Thanksgiving Stories

We moved from Canada to Florida nearly two years ago. Last year around this time I wrote the piece found below. The phrase “It IS Thanksgiving Here” is in response to an episode of the podcast Cast On. Cast On is meant to be listened to while knitting (or crocheting or spinning). But this particular episode, called ‘Thanksgiving Special: A Snow Day,’ is not related to the fiber arts. It is instead about a particular day in the life of the show’s host, Brenda Dayne. She’s an American woman living in Wales who has not celebrated Thanksgiving in years. The reason is, as she says, “It’s not Thanksgiving here and Thanksgiving is not something that can be faked.” With nobody else celebrating, it doesn’t really feel like a holiday, until one day when it suddenly does. It’s a lovely broadcast. I think of it often.

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Baby it’s Warm Outside: Roast Pork and Canadian-Floridian Braised Cabbage

While my friends and family back in Canada look out the window at that storm, I’m sitting in balmy warmth remembering childhood holidays filled with waves upon a tropical shore. The white blanketed images that I’ve seen posted on Facebook (it’s up to your knees out there!) make me want to cook something warm and comforting while listening to the fireplace roar. But in this Central Florida November heat, do I really want to be near a fire, or even worse, slaving away in a hot kitchen? The answer is no.

This roast pork recipe is exactly what I’ll need for a comfy but simple Sunday dinner this weekend. It’s hearty but is brightened by the oranges from my backyard tree, now heavy with fruit. The ingredients are prepped and then cooked in one roasting pan in the oven, thus reducing the amount of time I’ll have to spend in a hot kitchen.

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