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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Whisk Broom

Today in the Ozarks the skies are dark, pouring an icy rain that makes me wish we had a fireplace.  If I had a fireplace, I’d have an even harder time carrying through with my holiday giveaway.  Earlier this fall, I wrote about my summer visit to the Ozark Folk Center, near my home in Arkansas.  I purchased two beautiful handmade brooms.  One is a standing broom for my own home.  The broom works so well and glides so easily that I genuinely do more of my share of sweeping than I did before I got this household treasure.  I also bought a gift for one of you, my dear readers, a whisk broom made in the same historic style as my standing broom.

As with the standing broom, every detail on this whisk or hearth broom is natural.  The broom measures a foot long and 8 inches wide at the base.  It retails for $25.  This broom also works as well as the standing broom, whether you decide to use it to sweep your hearth or whether it becomes your whisk broom to tidy up the end of a sweeping session.  Of course, it can also just be a decorative feature that might fit your country holiday or year-round decor, hanging next to your fireplace or in your kitchen.

If you are interested in winning this hearth broom, please post here with a special holiday memory or tradition, even if it’s just a sentence. It doesn’t have to be long or eloquent; just share a little.  If you’d like two entries, please post about this giveaway on your own blog or tweet it, and then indicate here in a separate comment that you’ve shared it.  Entries close Sunday, December 5, at noon Central Standard Time.  I’ll announce the winner, selected randomly, by Dec. 6 at noon, so that I can get your address and get your gift in the mail to you in time for holiday decorating.  Regardless of which winter holidays you celebrate, I wish you a happy, healthy season!

Legal stuff:  I am not a spammer and will keep your information private.  Readers from outside the US are welcome to post and enter, but you are responsible for any customs charges.

Entries are officially closed.  I’ll post the winner by noon on Monday.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.

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Okay, so I had two servings of turkey breast left, some Southern cornbread dressing, and some other odds and ends I didn’t mind parting with for this meal.  After thinking about eating plain turkey again, I decided that turkey croquettes were the best solution.  Croquettes combine cooked flesh (turkey, chicken, salmon, tuna) with bread of some kind plus vegetables plus seasoning.  My challenge was to integrate two major leftovers–turkey and dressing–without my picky (leftover hostile) husband’s sensing that he was getting leftovers.  Here’s the recipe for 4 good-sized croquettes (patties):

  • 1/3-1/2 pound roasted turkey, off the bone and diced
  • 1/2-1 cup cornbread dressing (stuffing for you yankees!)
  • 1 stalk fresh celery, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup homemade ranch dressing (or store bought if you don’t have homemade on hand)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • fine bread crumbs (about 1/3 cup)

Combine together everything except the bread crumbs, starting with less ranch and adding it as you need for binder.  You want a texture that will easily hold together but that also is not too dense.  Form patties using a 1/3 cup measure.  Turn each patty into your hand and press it together into a slightly thinner patty.  Roll each patty in the bread crumbs.

You now have two choices on how to continue.  The healthier option is to put the croquettes on a well-greased pan (I used cast iron), spray the tops with oil, and then bake at 375 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes, rotating and flipping to make sure that they cook evenly until they are nicely browned top and bottom.  You can also pan fry the croquettes, flipping half way through frying.  Frankly, baking works just fine for this recipe, so I took the healthier option of baking.

I served the turkey croquettes with a fresh salad of mesclun (baby greens) and a slightly sweet vinaigrette.  You may want it with buttered noodles, on a bun, or any number of other ways.  Enjoy!

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We are visiting family outside the Ozarks tonight, but we are getting snow here and expect to find snow at home too.  A white Christmas is always a beautiful gift!  I want to wish all of my readers a merry Christmas. Thank you for visiting the blog!  If you, like so many Americans, are suffering from financial losses, may you remember that this holiday is about love, not stuff you buy from stores or trinkets you hang on your tree. I hope you’ll enjoy holiday-friendly ideas and recipes like Christmas lettuce, breakfast casserole, grits casserolechocolate-chip gingerbread, turkey gravy, turkey brine, and turkey hash.

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Copyright Ozarkhomesteader 2009.  All rights reserved.  See other posts on fair use.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from walking kids (and adults!) through my garden, it’s that a cute name or a vibrant color goes a long way toward getting kids (and adults!) to try something new.  A few years ago some friends’ kids, then aged about 5 and 9, were walking through the garden to see what was new.  When I showed the older son the banana peppers, he told his younger sister, “Hey, these are bananas!”  She expressed disbelief, and I told her that they were sweet peppers that just looked like bananas.  “Can I have one?” she asked.  “Of course,” I told her, cutting off one for her and her brother.  They both wiped them off on their shirts and then chomped into them.  As they made their way back to their car to go home, they asked their parents if it was okay for them to take the peppers in the car.  They snacked on them all the way home.  Now these kids are pretty adventurous eaters, but I’ve seen similar things with other kids who were less adventurous.  If it looks pretty or sounds fun, kids will try it!

Today I picked some chard with beautiful deep green leaves and bright red stems.  I always think ruby chard is pretty, but this time of year, it makes me think of Christmas.  Christmas Salad Try this one on your kids:  use small ruby chard leaves in a salad with other rosy vegetables and maybe some white cheese or creamy dressing to make a  Christmas salad.  You could even call it a reindeer salad.  Just don’t call it chard, which is definitely not an appealing name.  If you can’t find baby ruby chard in your CSA basket, farmer’s market, or grocery store, you still have time to grow it before the holidays.  Begin by soaking the seed to give them a head start.  If you have a cold frame, you can grow them in there.  If you don’t have a cold frame, don’t despair.  Just use heavy clear plastic–like that old shower curtain liner you need to replace–to heat up the ground and protect the seeds and seedlings as they grow.  Keep the ground under the plastic watered well, and keep the plastic a few inches off any seedlings and growing greens.  If you plant this week, by Christmas you’ll have beautiful baby greens!  And Swiss chard of every color packs a wallop of nutrients, including more than 700% of your recommended daily value of Vitamin K, which will help you keep strong bones.  For more on chard’s amazing nutrient value, see here.

Real lettuce varieties you may want to try for holiday spirit include deer tongue (a deep red leaf type lettuce) and Marvel of Four Seasons (a red and green crinkly lettuce), both from John Scheeper’s Kitchen Garden Seed, and Botanical Interests’s Valentine Mix.  You can start all of these and get some baby lettuce by Christmas too!

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