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OUR FAVORITE

CHRISTMAS COOKIES!

TIS THE SEASON FOR SOMETHING SWEET!…

Plus… Italian Christmas Dinner Ideas…

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Clint Black’s Christmas Cookie!

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OUR TOP 10 CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES!

 

1.  SUGAR COOKIES EVERY-WHICH-WAY

2. NEIMAN MARCUS CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

 

3.  GINGER BREAD COOKIES

4. BAR COOKIES…

 

5.  SHORTBREAD COOKIES

6.  LEMON BARS

 7.  BISCOTTI

 

8.  TURTLE GRAHAM COOKIES

 

9.  TRUFFLES

 10.  CLASSIC OATMEAL COOKIES…

Santa’s Favorite!

 

DON’T FORGET TO SEND US YOUR

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPE…

AN ITALIAN CHRISTMAS…

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Citrus-Marinated Pork Rib Roast

CONTRIBUTED BY FABIO TRABOCCHI
  • ACTIVE: 45 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 30 MIN PLUS OVERNIGHT MARINATING
  • SERVINGS: 10

When making this dish in Marche, Italy, Fabio Trabocchi‘s father used porkfrom neighboring farmers, which he marinated using oranges from Sicily, wild fennel from the surrounding fields and herbs from a container garden on the family’s back porch.

  1. Two 5-bone pork rib roasts, about 4 pounds each
  2. 6 garlic cloves
  3. 6 whole cloves
  4. 3 lemons, zest removed in strips with a vegetable peeler and lemons juiced
  5. 3 oranges, zest removed in strips with a vegetable peeler and oranges juiced
  6. 20 fresh bay leaves
  7. 8 rosemary sprigs
  8. 2 tablespoons fennel seeds, coarsely chopped
  9. 1 tablespoon juniper berries, coarsely chopped
  10. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  11. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  12. Roasted small apples and pears (see Note), for garnish
  1. Using a paring knife, make three 1-inch-deep slits on the fatty side of each pork rib roast closest to the bones. Stud the garlic cloves with the whole cloves and stuff them into the slits.
  2. In a baking dish, combine the lemon and orange zests and juices with the bay leaves, rosemary sprigs, fennel seeds, juniper berries and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the pork and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally. Bring the pork rib roasts to room temperature before roasting.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Scrape off the marinade and generously season the pork with salt and pepper. In a very large skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the pork and brown over moderate heat, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer the pork rib roasts to a large roasting pan. Roast for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, rotating the pan once or twice, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 140°. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes. Cut the pork between the rib bones into 10 chops. Transfer to plates, garnish with the roasted apples and pears and serve.
NOTES Score the apples to prevent the skin from splitting. Roast the fruit at 350° for about 1 hour, until tender.

SUGGESTED PAIRING

Brunello di Montalcino, one of Italy’s premier wine regions, produces aromatic, elegant reds that age effortlessly for years. These wines are ideal partners for this impressive pork rib roast (and for almost any extravagant roast).

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Caramelized Brussels

Sprouts with Pancetta

CONTRIBUTED BY SCOTT CONANT
  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR
  • SERVINGS: 10
  • •HEALTHY
  1. 3 pounds brussels sprouts
  2. 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 6 shallots, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
  4. 2 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  5. Kosher salt
  6. 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the brussels sprouts until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 10 minutes; scrape into a bowl.
  3. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil to the skillet. Add the brussels sprouts, cut side down, and the pancetta. Season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are browned and tender, 10 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and shallots and cook, stirring, until warm, 5 minutes. Season with salt, transfer to a bowl and serve.

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Pan-Roasted Fingerling

Potatoes with Pancetta

CONTRIBUTED BY FABIO TRABOCCHI
  • ACTIVE:
  • TOTAL TIME: 50 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 10
  • •HEALTHY
  • •MAKE-AHEAD

Fabio Trabocchi sears golden, buttery fingerling potatoes and tosses them with fresh dill; if you can’t find fingerlings, try baby Yukon Gold potatoes. For a lighter version, leave out the pancetta.

  1. 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  2. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1/2 pound thickly sliced pancetta, cut into 1/3-inch dice
  4. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  5. 1 onion, thinly sliced
  6. 1/4 cup finely chopped dill
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
  2. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a bowl.
  3. Add the potatoes to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook until softened and the potatoes are golden brown, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in the pancetta and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl. Toss with the dill right before serving.
MAKE AHEAD The potatoes can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours. Reheat in a 325° oven before serving.

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© Quentin Bacon

Pecan-Praline Cheesecake

with Caramel Sauce

CONTRIBUTED BY LISA RITTER
  • ACTIVE: 45 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 45 MIN PLUS OVERNIGHT CHILLING
  • SERVINGS: 16
  • •MAKE-AHEAD
  • •STAFF-FAVORITE

You can use store-bought pralines to make the crust for this fluffy cheesecake, but Big Sugar’s quick praline recipe is worth the extra effort, as is the buttery caramel sauce that gets pooled on top.

CRUST

  1. 1/2 cup pecan halves
  2. 1 stick plus 1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
  3. 1/3 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  4. 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  5. 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. 2 packets graham crackers (about 10 ounces), crushed

FILLING

  1. 1 pound full-fat cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 3 large eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  5. 24 ounces full-fat sour cream
  6. Caramel Sauce, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wrap the outside of a 10-inch round springform pan with foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the pecans with 1/2 teaspoon of the butter, 1/2 tablespoon of the granulated sugar, the brown sugar, the cream and salt. Spread the nuts on the prepared baking sheet and arrange them, right side up in a single layer. Bake for about 18 minutes, until the sugar is caramelized and the pecans are toasted. Let cool.
  3. Transfer all but 12 of the pecans to a food processor. Add the graham crackers and pulse until finely ground. Add the remaining stick of melted butter and 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs over the bottom of the pan and two-thirds of the way up the side of the prepared springform pan.
  4. In a clean food processor, pulse the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and pulse until incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Pulse in the vanilla and sour cream. Scrape the batter into the pan and bake in the center of the oven for about 1 hour, until the top of the cheesecake is lightly golden in spots and the center is slightly jiggly. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool completely. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Unwrap the cheesecake and discard the foil. Remove the ring and transfer the cake to a plate. Arrange the 12 reserved pecans on top. Using a warm, slightly moistened knife, cut the cake into wedges, wiping and rewetting the blade between slices. Transfer the slices to plates and pour some of theCaramel Sauce on top. Serve with the remaining Caramel Sauce.
MAKE AHEAD The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

IT’S CHRISTMAS…

A TIME FOR SHARING!

MERRY CHRISTMAS…

ENJOY! 

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DECEMBER IS…

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Christmas is both a sacred religious holiday

and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon.

For two millennia, people around the world have been

observing it with traditions and practices

that are both religious and secular in nature.

 Christians celebrate Christmas Day

as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth,

a spiritual leader whose teachings

form the basis of their religion.

Popular customs include exchanging gifts,

decorating Christmas trees, attending church,

sharing meals with family and friends and,

of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.

December 25–Christmas Day–

has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870.  

As we go about our busy days leading up to Christmas…

we must all try to remember that

JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!…

Share the Peace of Jesus as you go about your day…

As the Peace begins with you…from  a simple smile to an act of kindness…

the TRUE MEANING of CHRISTMAS

will be shared and hopefully

passed along as a

TRUE CHRISTMAS GIFT!

GOD BLESS!…

and have a

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

 

 THE HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS

 

 

Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25?
Selected Scriptures QA68

December 25 is the traditional anniversary of the birth of Christ,

but most scholars are unsure about the true date for Christ’s birth.

The decision to celebrate Christmas on December 25

was made sometime during the fourth century by church bishops in Rome.

They had a specific reason for doing so.

Having turned long ago from worshiping the one true God

and creator of all things, many early cultures in the Roman empire

had fallen into sun worship.

Recognizing their dependence on the sun’s yearly course in the heavens,

they held feasts around the winter solstice in December when the days are shortest.

As part of their festivals, they built bonfires to give the sun god strength

and bring him back to life again.

When it became apparent that the days were growing longer,

there would be great rejoicing.

The church leaders in Rome decided to celebrate Christ’s birth

during the winter solstice in an attempt to Christianize

these popular pagan celebrations.

For the most part their efforts failed to make the people conform,

and the heathen festivities continued.

Today we find ourselves left with a bizarre marriage of pagan and Christian

elements that characterizes our modern celebration of Christmas.

Regardless of the pagan background of so many December traditions,

and whether or not Jesus was born on December 25th,

our goal is still to turn the eyes of all men upon the true Creator

and Christ of Christmas.

The light of the world has come.

And the Christmas season and celebration presents

the church with a wonderful opportunity to preach the good news–

that men can be made righteous and have peace with God

through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

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The Truth of the Nativity

John MacArthur

The Truth of the NativityThe story of the first Christmas

is so beloved that singers and storytellers across the centuries

have embellished and elaborated and mythologized the story in celebration.

However, most people now don’t know which details are biblical and which are fabricated.

People usually imagine the manger scene with snow, singing angels, many worshipers,

and a little drummer boy. None of that is found in the biblical account.

Christmas has become the product of an odd mixture of pagan ideas, superstition,

fanciful legends, and plain ignorance.

Add to that the commercialization of Christmas by marketers

and the politicization of Christmas in the culture wars,

and you’re left with one big mess.

Let’s try to sort it out. The place to begin is in God’s Word,

the Bible. Here we find not only the source of

the original account of Christmas, but also God’s commentary on it.

READ MORE>>

   

 

        Why December 25th (2 min) TV-PG
                   Find out why Christmas is celebrated on December 25.

 

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     BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW…

MORE ON THE HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS…

      

 

        THE EVOLUTION OF SANTA CLAUS   

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DECEMBER IS…

NATIONAL DRUNK

AND DRUGGED DRIVING

PREVENTION MONTH!


 

December has been designated National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Click here to read the proclamation from President Barack Obama.

MADD has these tips to help ensure everyone’s safety this holiday season:

  • Designate a sober driver before celebrations begin.
  • Never serve those under the age of 21 alcohol.
  • Plan safe parties, including providing non-alcoholic drink options to guests and not serving alcohol the last hour of the gathering.
  • Be prepared to get everyone home safe in case your plans or individual circumstances change.

Tie One On for Safety

Show your support for law enforcement and for MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. Tie a red ribbon on your antenna or affix your window decal as a pledge to drive safe, sober and buckled up during the holidays and throughout the year.

Red ribbons and red ribbon window decals are available by contacting your local MADD affiliate.

Give the Gift of a Designated Driver

During this time of year when drunk driving crashes are most prevalent, MADD aims to deter individuals from driving drunk and encourage them to plan ahead and designate a sober driver, or arrange another safe ride home, before embarking on their holiday festivities. MADD’s Give the Gift of a Designated Driver campaign is designed to encourage people to volunteer to be a designated sober driver for their friends and family during the holiday season.

Click here to download a coupon that says “Tonight, I’ll be DD.”

Education promotes prevention. Take a stand against impaired driving…

According to USA Today, more than 1.5 million people were arrested in the United States last year for driving drunk and at least that many are estimated to have driven under the influence of drugs.

Drunk and drugged drivers continue to haunt our roads and highways causing more than 17,000 Americans to die each year; in 2003, 17,013 people died in an alcohol-related traffic crash. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, impaired driving will affect one in three Americans during their lifetimes.

In an effort to increase community awareness, December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month. First started in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan, this national holiday has experienced increased community support and continues to promote safer streets on a daily basis.

National Commission Against Drunk Driving Statistics

  • 41 percent of all traffic crashes are alcohol-related.
  • Nearly 600,000 Americans are injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes each year.
  • Someone dies in an alcohol-related traffic crash every 30 minutes. Every two minutes someone is hurt (nonfatally injured) in an alcohol-related accident.
  • Three out of every 10 Americans face the possibility of being directly involved in an alcohol-related traffic crash during their lifetime.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Impaired Driving Facts

  • Each year, alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost about $51 billion (Blincoe et al. 2002).
  • Most drinking and driving episodes go undetected. In 2001, more than 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics (FBI 2001). That’s slightly more than 1 percent of the 120 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year (Dellinger et al.1999).
  • To further decrease alcohol-related fatal crashes, communities need to implement and enforce strategies that are known to be effective, such as sobriety checkpoints, 0.08% BAC laws, minimum legal drinking age laws, and “zero tolerance” laws for young drivers (Shults et al. 2001, Shults et al. 2002).
  • Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) have been identified as factors in 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. Other drugs are generally used in combination with alcohol (NHTSA 1993).
  • Male drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes are almost twice as likely as female drivers to be intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10% or greater (NHTSA 2003a). A BAC of 0.08% is equal to or greater than the legal limit in most states.
  • At all levels of blood alcohol concentration, the risk of being involved in a crash is greater for young people than it is for older people (Mayhew 1986). In 2002, 24% of drivers ages 15 to 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking alcohol (NHTSA 2003b ).
  • Young men ages 18 to 20 (too young to buy alcohol legally) report driving while impaired almost as frequently as men ages 21 to 34 (Liu 1997).
  • In 2002, 22% of the 2,197 traffic fatalities among children ages 0 to 14 years involved alcohol (NHTSA 2003c).
  • Adult drivers ages 35 and older who have been arrested for impaired driving are 11 to 12 times more likely than those who have never been arrested to die eventually in crashes involving alcohol (Brewer 1994).
  • Nearly three quarters of drivers convicted of driving while impaired are either frequent heavy drinkers (alcohol abusers) or alcoholics (people who are alcohol dependent) (Miller 1986).

The statistics, though horrifying, help us to realize how imperative educating our community is. It could help save a life…

By: Mary Whitmore

 

Smoking Marijuana Doubles Risk of Fatal Accidents

Larger Doses Can Triple the Risk, Study Finds

By , About.com Guide

Updated June 18, 2011

About.com Health’s Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board

Jun 18 2011

Driving after smoking even a small amount of marijuana almost doubles the risk of a fatal highway accident, according to an extensive study of 10,748 drivers involved in fatal crashes between 2001 and 2003.A study by the French National Institute for Transport and Safety Research published in theBritish Medical Journal found that seven percent of drivers involved in a fatal highway crash used marijuana. READ MORE>>

Related Information

Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
Alcohol and Drug Problems
Teen Alcohol and Drug Abuse
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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