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Holiday Edition 2021

Christmas home tours benefit Kelly B. Todd Muskogee residents open homes to celebrate season

Candlelight tour an annual event that shines Enjoy a recipe or two shared at ‘Friendsgiving’

Friends and neighbors smile for the camera in Scene & Be Seen

MUSKOGEE muskogeephoenix.com Green Country Living

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Holiday Edition 2021


Welcome to As we come to the close of another year, let us take a moment to pause and be thankful for all the many blessings. Many of us have experienced some tough times in the past couple of years and have a lot to be grateful for. As we embark on this holiday season in the coming weeks, let us not forget the things that are most important, friends, family and our loved ones. Celebrate wisely. Arvind & Family

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Holiday Edition 2021 Issue 64

facebook.com/greencountryliving

Publisher Ed Choate

Editor Elizabeth Ridenour

Contributing editor Angela Jackson

Layout & Design Joshua Cagle

WRITERS Cathy Spaulding, Melony Carey, Heather Ezell

PHOTOGRAPHERS Tony Corbell, Cathy Spaulding,

John Hasler

ADVERTISING Director Brenda Adams

ADVERTISING SALES Krysta Aich, Kris Hight, Angela

Jackson, Therese Lewis

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Green Country Living is published by the Muskogee Phoenix. Contents of the magazine are by the Muskogee Phoenix. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior consent of the Muskogee Phoenix. Green Country Living, P.O. Box 1968, Muskogee OK 74402. email eridenour@muskogeephoenix.com - Editorial: (918) 684-2929 Advertising and distribution: (918) 684-2804

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On the Cover

Holiday Edition 2021

Features

Inside

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Candlelight Tour Homes light up during evening portion of the home tours.

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Daytime Tour Residents open home in support of good cause.

58 Kelly B. Todd Center relies on donations to give free aid to children.

Fostering Hope Group helps foster children by easing their transition.

Christmas home tours benefit Kelly B. Todd

76 Friendsgiving

Muskogee residents open homes to celebrate season

Candlelight tour an annual event that shines

Friends join together with family for Thanksgiving.

Enjoy a recipe or two shared at ‘Friendsgiving’

83 Scene & Be Seen Chat, hang out, relax and smile because you’re on camera.

Friends and neighbors smile for the camera in Scene & Be Seen

Photo by Tony Corbell

MUSKOGEE muskogeephoenix.com Green Country Living

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Holiday Edition 2021

Camille and Russell Sain, along with their dog, find a comfortable home for the holidays in their Founders Place residence.

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Green Country Living

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Have a

merry, cozy Christmas

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Holiday Edition 2021


Residents open homes for a good cause

M

uskogee residents have hauled out the holly and garlanded their homes for this year’s Christmas Homes Tours. Proceeds from the tours benefit the Kelly B. Todd Cerebral Palsy and Neuro-Muscular Center. The Christmas by Candlelight Tour will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 3. Tickets are $35 online. After touring the homes, guests are invited to Muskogee Golf Club at 8:30 p.m. for a Christmas tree auction, desserts, cocktails and entertainment. Evening sites are: • Christy Hall, 3201 Cromwell

St. • Marcia Owen, 305 Honor Heights Drive. • Muskogee Country Club, 2400 N. Country Club Road. The Day Tour will be 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 4. Tickets are $10 and are available at any of the homes or online. Homes are: • Camille and Russell Sain, 1417 Emporia St. • Walker Lawley, 805 Cherry Place. • Haleigh Carrier, 3810 Club View Drive. Online tickets for the tours are available at https://kbtoddcpcenter.tofinoauctions.com/ cht2021

Green Country Living

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Hall House

Owen House

Golf Club

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Holiday Edition 2021


F e a t u r e d

Candlelight Homes Green Country Living

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Pink decorations bring out the mid-century modern vibe in Christy Hall’s living room.

Featured

Hall Home 10

Holiday Edition 2021


Pink sets theme for holiday decorating Holidays come in silver, gold and pastel pink at Christy Hall’s home. “What I really call it is pink champagne,” said Hall, vice president at Texoma Contracting. “I went to my first Christmas Home Tour in 2019, and I just went with some girlfriends and we just had the best time,” she said, adding that a home tour coordinator, John Engelbrecht, is a neighbor.

“I had just expressed wanting to make sure I got tickets, and he was like, ‘I’d been meaning to talk to you.’” Hall said. “I just kind of did my own thing.” Her own thing included clearing her bookshelves of her preferred colors of blue and gold and putting up the pink champagne. A pink pickup toting an evergreen came from T.J. Maxx.

By Cathy Spaulding Photos by Tony Corbell

Nutcrackers stand guard by shelf-top trees in the home of Christy Hall.

Green Country Living

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Fe at u r e d Hom e H a l l

ABOVE: A gnome replaces an elf on this Christmassy shelf. LEFT: A sparkly tree in a dining room corner glistens with new color. BOTTOM: A Nativity scene spread across a living room credenza, testifying to the Reason for the Season.

Lighter pink stockings, which she got from the At Home store, hang on the mantle, which is festooned with shiny pink ribbon and silver swirly Christmas trees. “It’s called the Romance Collection,” she said about the stockings. A pink feathered tree from Hobby Lobby sits on a small coffee table. “My plan is to kind of add a little bit to that,” she said. “Have a little snow scene, maybe some snowmen playing in the snow. But that’s actually for December.” Pink bunting with gold poinsettias line the tops of her kitchen cabinets.

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Holiday Edition 2021

“My niece gave me that, so I just kind of took it and ran with it,” Hall said. “I had a friend who was really good at that kind of thing. I kind of tried it and I wasn’t so good.” A Christmas tree shines pink in Hall’s master bedroom. She even managed to find pink holiday wrapping paper. “I actually had that wrapping paper. This is the third year we’ve used that wrapping paper,” she said. The pink tree skirt came from the Home Store. Hall said she already had a lot of the gold and white decor, but much of the pink is new. A tree in the dining room corner is special, she said. “Before you turn the lights on, it looks very silver,” she said.


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Fe at u r e d Hom e H a l l

ABOVE: A tree shines pink in Christy Hall’s master bedroom. LEFT: A pink-garlanded tree stands tall over a pink fur tree skirt in the living room. BELOW: A Christmas tree puffing out like a skirt adds whimsy to a child’s room.

“Then, when I turn it on, I just think it’s the most beautiful color.” The tree shimmers in gold and white, as the lights reflect in the ornaments. Hall tucks Christmas comfort all over the house. A cozy throw peeks out of a basket in the entry. Hall said she got it at the Napping Cat booth at Broadway Market. Pillows in a granddaughter’s bedroom came from several places, including Amazon online shopping and Hobby Lobby, Hall said. “That’s kind of my spiritual gift, hospitality, so coziness is a big thing for me,” she said. Hall said she typically hosts holiday gatherings. The family comes over, obviously the little one, she opens her 14

Holiday Edition 2021

things first. We usually have a big meal and sit around and visit. Football is usually involved. Holiday fare varies. “Sometimes we do traditional, and sometimes we do an ethnic meal. Sometimes we may do Italian, sometimes we may do Mexican,” she said. “There’s not a lot of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so why do a repeat of Thanksgiving?” Hall’s Christmas decor complements her rustic contemporary gray and white furniture. She kept the modern fireplace screen with its mod motif of rectangles and half circles. That came from West Elm, as did much of the furniture. “That’s definitely my vibe,” she said. “It was one of those things, ‘I have to have it!”


White shelves and gray brick around the fireplace provide the right background for Hall’s Christmas decorations.

The gray brick wall and hearth accents the mantle and builtin bookcases. She said she painted through the house and remodeled parts of it. A Nativity scene from Costco stretches across one credenza. Hall has several figures of Mary, Jesus and Joseph throughout the house, including the kitchen. Christmas centers on the birth of Jesus, Hall said. “We always do a ‘happy birthday Jesus cake,” she said. “And then, just time with family and friends. I love both of those groups of people dearly. So for me, it is taking time out of our chaotic lives and spending time together, and knowing that you do have a Christmas.”

Favorite Christmas memories growing up included getting new pajamas on Christmas Eve. “That’s what we always opened,” she said. “Then Santa Claus always came Christmas morning. Probably the one thing I can remember that I got that I loved was a doll they don’t make anymore called, Dancerina. Of course, it’s pink.” “My mom was a single mom, and she would always work several jobs to make sure we had a Christmas,” Hall said. Hall has lived in her home on Cromwell Street for two years. “I love this neighborhood,” she said. “I knew more neighbors in this neighborhood in two years than I have in my old neighborhood in 15 years. It is that kind of neighborhood. It is a gem.”

Green Country Living

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Marcia Owen brings a lifetime of love to the home her father, Frederick Zaroor, designed and built in 1952.

Featured

Owen Home 16

Holiday Edition 2021


Family traditions take center stage Visitors can enjoy two Muskogee traditions when they visit Marcia Owen’s contemporary house on Honor Heights Drive during the Home Tour. “I’m glad we’re having the tour here, because I want people to go see

the lights,” Owen said, referring to the popular Garden of Lights at Honor Heights Park. “Honor Heights gets me in the spirit of Christmas with all the lights,” she said. “All the people in Honor Heights put their stuff up.”

By Cathy Spaulding Photos by Tony Corbell

Fitz and Floyd glass pieces, such as this corner Santa and reindeer can be found throughout the Owen home, especially during Christmas.

Green Country Living

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F e a t u r e d Home O W E N

A Nativity scene featuring Willow Tree figurines takes up a special place underneath Native art.

She said Muskogee Parks and Recreation closes park access each November. “And it’s closed until they get all the lights on, and it’s open Thanksgiving night,” she said. Garden of Lights can create bumper-to-bumper traffic leading to the park. However, Owen said people should have no problems getting to her house, which is at the corner of Honor Heights Drive and Denison Street. “You can come up the next street and come up the back way and miss a lot of the traffic,” she said, referring to North 43rd Street. “They’re coming up here at 6:30 p.m.; it’s going to be

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Holiday Edition 2021

early enough. If they want to see this first, and then go up there. Or they might want to see the lights first and see the house.” Owen said supporting Kelly B. Todd Cerebral Palsy and Neuro-Muscular Center is a very worthy cause. Owen’s home itself is worthy of viewing. The contemporary house was designed and built in 1952 by her father, architect Frederick Zaroor. Owen said she moved into the house when she was 5. The front yard features a spreading tree, which Owen would love to see decked in Christmas lights. “Mother says they were called a sun tree, my sister swears it’s a cedar of Lebanon, but it’s just like a Christmas tree out


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Fe at u r e d Hom e OW EN

ABOVE: All sorts of Santa and reindeer figurines can be found throughout the house during the home tour.

RIGHT: Even a blue Christmas can be a merry one, as shown by these bunny and Santa figurines.

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Holiday Edition 2021


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there,” she said, recalling that she was 8 when her mother planted it. “It was a foot tall from Greenleaf Nursery.” She said she’s been told there are only three trees like it in Muskogee. Owen said she’s not a wholehouse decorator for the holidays. “I’m not into the family thing where you have to do every room,” she said. “It’s cool, but I think you can overdo it.” Instead, people can see pops of Christmas in a few rooms. A Nativity tableau featuring Willow Tree figures lines a console in the den. “A lot of them don’t have faces,” Owen said. “See how they don’t have eyes or anything? They’re very contemporary.” She said Economy Drug sells Willow Tree. She recalled buying a Willow Tree terra cotta angel at an estate sale. Owen takes particular pride in the collection of Fitz and Floyd Christmas figurines in different parts of the house. “Some friends of mine, a lady who died that was a good friend of my friend that I play bridge with, sold these to her. I bought them from her,” Owen said “My family always collected Fitz and Floyd. They’re big figurine people.” Four of the larger figurines depict variations of Santa Claus. The largest stands on a front

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F e a t u r e d Home O W E N

room table, clad in a flowing coat and carrying a gift. A Santa in blue and white rides a horse on the entry area table, next to a Fitz and Floyd rabbit in a similar suit. The third Santa, joined by a Fitz and Floyd reindeer stands on a corner table in the dining room. The fourth, carrying a basket of toys and evergreens on his back, is the dining room table centerpiece. The table China features plates and saucers with intricate floral patterns. Owen said the set belonged to her mother.

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Holiday Edition 2021

“And it’s some kind of Ming pattern,” Owen said. “It’s called Bombay China.” Owen recalled the Christmases she spent in the house. “My mother always had a special tree. Every year, she special ordered a flocked tree. And she’d decorate it,” Owen said. “We followed the old tradition of getting up in the middle of the night and us going in and all the toys being there.” She recalled the presents she and her four sisters used to get. “One year we’d get baby dolls, the next year we’d get


A Fitz and Floyd Santa carries a bag full of toys and trees across the dining room table while rabbits hop underfoot.

something else,” she said. Holiday meals also were big in the home. “My mother used to be heavy into all the turkey and the dressing and the cranberry and that other stuff,” Owen said. “I’ve only done that a few of times here. We do a lot of beef tenderloin and a lot of lasagna. My sister loves lasagna.” Traditional holiday fare tended to be too much work, she said. “We stood on our feet with our mom and she dirtied every

pan in the kitchen,” she said. “We felt like we were overworking ourselves.” Owen lived in Dallas for a few years, before returning to the home where she grew up. “Sad but true, I gave away all my Christmas stuff when I left Dallas, so the first three years, I didn’t decorate,” she said. “Honor Heights put me in the Christmas spirit again. People would come up the hill and it was exciting.”

Green Country Living

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Cap off the Christmas by Candlelight tour with cocktails, desserts, entertainment and a Christmas Tree auction at Muskogee Golf Club.

Featured

Golf Club 24

Holiday Edition 2021


Muskogee Golf Club takes part in Christmas Home Tour Muskogee Golf Club seeks to be the grand finale of this year’s evening home tour. “We go all out for Christmas,” said Martha Dixon, the club’s event coordinator and food and beverage manager. “When they go and view the houses, they come here,” she said. “We’ll have hors d’oeuvres, we have several people who have donated cookies for the event,” Dixon said. “We’ll have Christmas drinks,

mimosas for them to be able to enjoy themselves.” She said there will be a variety of appetizers and desserts. Many will be brought by members of the Kelly B. Todd Foundation Board. “I won’t know until they get there what they have planned, but the club is providing some items as well,” she said. “We’re allowing other people to participate.” Even the back patio will be decked out, Dixon said.

By Cathy Spaulding Photos by Cliff Moore

People can warm up their insides while sitting outside at the Muskogee Golf Club’s hot cocoa bar.

Green Country Living

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Home Tour Muskogee Golf Club

ABOVE: Trees glisten from the table tops during Muskogee Golf Club’s Christmas by Candlelight event. BELOW: Add a little bit of crunch to your cocoa.

The Elf on the Shelf probably won’t want to move from the hot cocoa bar goodies.

“We’ll have a hot cocoa bar out here,” she said. “That’s great for the Christmas season. We’ll have pillows and throws to make it cozy and comfortable for our members and guests. The hot cocoa bar will be where they can make their own.” A gas-powered fire pit will add even more warmth. “It’s very cozy for the members,” Dixon said. Dixon said the Golf Club is pleased to be part of the tour, which supports the Kelly B. Todd Cerebral Palsy and NeuroMuscular Center.

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Holiday Edition 2021

Anything we can do to help a nonprofit organization in the Muskogee community, we’re willing to help,” Dixon said. “Muskogee Golf Club has really stepped up to help with the nonprofits, so anything we can do to add to that community effort, we’re willing to do.” The night is part of a dizzying December at the club. “Just to promote the holiday season, we have a lot of events scheduled,” Dixon said. Businesses book events and Christmas parties on all


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Home Tour Muskogee Golf Club

Cozy up by an outdoor fire at on the Muskogee Golf Club’s back patio. Throws and blankets can help keep folks warm.

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Holiday Edition 2021


Find some warmth at Muskogee Golf Club’s stone fireplace.

December weekends. “We have bands on the weekends, we have Singo, we have trivia games,” she said. “Singo is kind of like ‘Name that Tune.’ We have all kinds of events.” Many club events are open to the public, she said. “When I have a band, I open it up to the public,” Dixon said. “It’s very busy here at Muskogee Golf Club.” That doesn’t even include all the activity outside. “They’ll golf year-round if the weather permits,” Dixon said. “Unless it’s covered in snow or ice, those guys are out there golfing.” Dixon said the club usually starts Christmas decorating “as close to Thanksgiving as we can.” “We try to honor the Thanksgiving season,” she said. “But as soon as that Thursday is over, we start decorating.” The club is not open Thanksgiving or Christmas so its employees can enjoy the holidays, Dixon said. “But we have a wonderful New Year’s Eve planned,” she said.

Green Country Living

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Daytime F e a t u r e d

Homes

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Holiday Edition 2021


Lawley House

Carrier House

Sain House

Green Country Living

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The Walker Lawley home offers a warm, cozy welcome to Christmas Homes Tour visitors.

Featured

Lawley Home 32

Holiday Edition 2021


Lawley adds decorations throughout holidays Prepare to be greeted by glowing blow molds, all sorts of Santas and an army of Nutcrackers when you visit Walker Lawley’s house. Nearly every table, every corner, every cabinet, even a couple of electrical sockets have some sort of holiday decoration. “Lots to look at, huh,” Lawley said. He has lots to put up. Lawley said he begins decorating for Christmas right after the Halloween decor comes down. “I just add stuff through all the Christmas season,” he said, adding that he spends a couple of hours a day over two weeks decorating.

By Cathy Spaulding Photos by Tony Corbell ABOVE: Christmas cheer overflows from a corner table and even from Santa’s boots.

RIGHT: Decorations and candles beckon the Elf on the Shelf to a coffee table perch.

Green Country Living

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Home Tour L awle y

ABOVE: A festooned moose head watches over a Nutcracker army and elegant stockings in the Lawley living room. BELOW: White hand towels and a tiny tree add festive elegance to a bathroom.

“I add a touch here and there until Christmas,” Lawley said. He comes up with new themes each year. This Christmas, expect lots of black and white. Black and white checkered ribbons festoon Christmas trees in the living room and a bedroom. The checked pattern also pops up on kitchen canisters, teapots, plates, tissue boxes and other ornaments. An elf sits, not on a shelf, but on a checked

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Holiday Edition 2021

Reindeer share space with trees on a living room shelf.

perch on a living room table. Lawley went to Lola’s Living to make small wooden black and white Christmas trees with checks, as well as houndstooth and striped variations. He also made a Santa sign at Lola’s Living. A moose head, hand-painted in black and white checks, hangs over the faux fireplace. A black and white checked ornament hangs from an antler. Lawley said he ordered the


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Home T o u r L a wle y

A tall tree festooned in black and white adds to a bedroom’s rustic theme.

moose head through the online store Graindin Road and bought the ornament from a wholesaler. Ornaments on the living room Christmas tree come from all over — from local boutiques such as Hattie’s House and antique shops to the New York/online decorator showcase Mackenzie-Childs. Some follow the black and white theme, while others are more traditional red and green. Look close to find a few with leopard print. This year’s tree is topped by

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Holiday Edition 2021

green and red bows and a wooden nutcracker. As in past years, several dozen nutcrackers of all sizes stand on the fireplace mantle. Lawley said he has about 25 or 30, mostly from Hobby Lobby or TJ Maxx. The mantle also features plush black stockings, lettered in gold cursive, hang from a lit garland. Lawley said he buys many decorations and ornaments from area craft fairs, including Tulsa’s Affair of the Heart. He said


Glorious black and white shows up in checks, houndstooth, curtains, even cows in the kitchen.

he likes to make monthly trips to flea markets. His tastes range from crafty decorations he makes at Lola’s Living or Creative Soul to pricey table-top pieces from Nieman Marcus. A chair pillow says “Who needs Santa when you have Nieman Marcus.” However, he admits a particular fondness for vintage decorations, such as delicate hand-blown, frosted Shiny-Brites. “There’s just more character to it,” he said.

Lawley said he also has 15 or 20 lit blow mold decorations he puts inside and outside. The blow molds include snowmen, the Holy Family and a few Santas. One small blow mold Santa stands on a table. A snowman shines from the stainless steel refrigerator-freezer. Wreaths hang from red ribbons on kitchen cabinets. Lawley also has Christmas-themed dish towels. One bedroom features a skinny tree, aglow in blue, gold

Green Country Living

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Home T o u r L a wle y

Traditional and trendy ornaments adorn the living room tree.

A kitchen hutch overflows with holiday merriment.

Gold, blue and white adorn a bedroom tree.

and white. The bed has a “Merry Christmas” pillow. In a bathroom, white hand towels with holiday greetings complement the white wainscoting. A flocked table-top tree is by the sink. He said he probably got a bathroom Snowman nightlight from Bath and Body Works. He said many of his candles come from there. Outside, expect to see garlands, wreaths and lights on windows, blow molds in the lawn and garden, plus large ornaments on the entry stoop. Lawley said he loves decorating for Christmas every year, and traces that love to his mother. “I’ve loved Christmas ever since I was little,” he said. “It’s a happy time of year, all the lights.” Fond memories include “time spent with family, cooking, all the candy and dessert.” He now enjoys hosting celebrations and preparing such treats as peppermint bark, candy and fudge. A favorite part of Christmas involves buying gifts and being around family. “I probably go to about four or five Christmases in two days,” he said. A blow mold snowman finds a safe perch above the microwave.

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Holiday Edition 2021


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Stockings and nutcrackers await Santa’s first official visit to the home of Haleigh, Alan and Lane Carrier.

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Carriers share first Christmas in new home Haleigh and Alan Carrier expect their first Christmas in their new house to be special. Their first “real” one, actually. “On Christmas Eve, we were moving boxes in,” Haleigh Carrier said, recalling the hectic Christmas of 2020. “That’s when our closing ended and that’s when they got done with the remodeling.” Until that night, the Carriers

and their son, Lane, lived temporarily with Haleigh’s mother, she said. Alan Carrier recalled, “We put our son to sleep at her mom’s house, then we came over here and worked, and then we went back over there, and then woke up for Christmas. Then we had Christmas. Then we came here worked later that night.”

By Cathy Spaulding Photos by Tony Corbell

Holly, garland, candles, trees and reindeer are all laid out for holiday diners at the Carrier home.

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Fe at u r e d Hom e Ca rrier

ABOVE: A corner hutch brims with holiday cheer.

TOP RIGHT: A breakfast area has the charms of a country christmas.

RIGHT: Comfortable Christmas pillows are spread across the living room couch.

Haleigh said that, even with the busy-ness and the ice and the snow, she wanted some kind of festivity in the new house. “Christmas Eve night, I didn’t care if tomorrow was Christmas, I got that tree out and we plugged it up and we had Christmas lights in here,” she said. “It was bare, but I had to have a tree.” This year’s Christmas already looks far different at the Carrier home. Haleigh said she noticed it while she was decorating early for this year’s Christmas Homes tour.

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“My little 2-year-old woke up this morning and said, wow. He loved to turn on the lights on the tree. He’s excited this year,” Haleigh said a couple of weeks ago. “He saw something magical. He started singing ‘Jingle Bells.’ It makes more sense to him.” The Carriers are welcoming the holidays in tones of red, silver, black and white. Many Christmas decorations blend in with their furniture. For example, the black and white checked ribbon around the


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F e a t u r e d Home C a r r i e r

Nutcrackers of all sizes make camp on a breakfast room buffet.

living room Christmas tree is simply a smaller pattern than the one on the dining room chairs. Haleigh said she found the ribbon at Walls Bargain Center. The chairs came through the Wayfair online site. The pattern also shows up in other parts of the house, including a runner on a kitchen buffet, on dinette placemats, throw pillows in the living room, even other Christmas decorations. Nutcrackers stand guard throughout the house. A troop of varying sizes stand on the kitchen buffet. Small ones hang on living room and dinette trees. A gold and silver pair are in a bathroom. A chef nutcracker and barbecuer nutcracker are in

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the kitchen. “My mom kind of started with her nutcracker theme, and I fell in love with them, too,” Haleigh said. “I try to grow my collection every year.” She said she got her nutcrackers from “here and there.” The Carriers have both new and old decorations. New decorations came from Walls, TJ Maxx, Hobby Lobby, she said. “I had a lot of stuff to get me started,” she said. “I’ve always done the red and the silver, but I just kind of added them this year. Deep red stockings, which might have come from Hobby


LEFT: A nutcracker rumpa-pum-pums by a spice rack.

BOTTOM LEFT: A nutcracker nestles between trees and a tiny truck.

BELOW: A nutcracker chef looks ready to slice a holiday meat.

Lobby, hang from the white mantle. She said stockings are her favorite decoration. “I just love the personalization of all the tiny little gifts that you stuff them with,” she said. “I like to put little nicknacks in there.” Haleigh said her grandmother gave her the Christmas pillows, which have pictures of ornaments, snowflakes and trees. Sango dinnerware, patterned with holly around the edges, also came from a grandmother. “I called her and told her I was going to be on this tour and she said, ‘you know, I wanted to pass these on to one of the

grandkids,’ so she’s gifted them to me now, after this year,” Haleigh said. Carrier said she loves decorating all throughout her threebedroom, two-bathroom house. “That’s probably why I was asked,” to be on the home tour, she said. “People know I love to do this.” Haleigh and Alan Carrier have been married six years. She teaches at Muskogee Early Childhood Center; he works for the VA and owns a lawn and landscape business. They were attracted to the Country Club area house because of its quiet area and proximity to Muskogee Golf Club.

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F e a t u r e d Home C a r r i e r

Holly-patterned Sango dinnerware from a grandmother graces the dining room table.

A photo of Lane as a newborn hangs by the living room Christmas tree.

“It’s kind of secluded back here,” Alan Carrier said. They bought a new bedroom set from Mathis Brothers, but already had furniture from Bob Loftis, Haleigh said. Haleigh said all her Christmases have been great. “I just love Christmas time, just the happiness,” she said. “My mom, my sister and my granny, we go Black Friday shopping every year. Every Thanksgiving night, after we eat, we head to Tulsa and we shop all night and all the next day. We love to shop for Christmas.” Alan Carrier said his favorite Christmas memories revolve

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Christmas trees stand tall beside a dining room hutch.

Each recliner has its own holiday pillow.

around family, as well. “Everybody getting together, having a good time,” she said. “Normally, that’s when all the family comes together is big holidays.” Haleigh said they go as far away as Owasso, “but most of them are here in town.” “We have a blended family, so we have lots of Christmases,” she said. “We have a stepdad, so we have all his side of the family. We had both of my grandparents. We do seven or eight different homes between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.”


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Camille and Russell Sain, along with their dog, find a comfortable home for the holidays in their Founders Place residence.

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Sain Home 52

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Sains plan big, family Christmas Most of the Christmas decorations at Camille and Russell Sain’s house have special meaning. “Either someone gave it to us or they reminded me of something that meant something,” Camille said. Cherished sterling silver snowflake and cross ornaments glistening from a tabletop brass tree is one example. Camille said a friend had one from Ross Simons Jewelry in Atlanta. “I just loved his,” she recalled. “He said ‘if you go to Ross Simons and get me the tree, I’ll start you a collection of the silver ornaments.’ Every year he would send me an ornament for the silver tree.” Camille said she had to make her friend stop sending the ornaments when she ran out of space on the tree. Other favorites are found throughout the house. A lighted carousel turns atop a buffet. Camille recalled getting it from her husband. “I’m a fool for carousels,” she said. “When I found that at Costco 20-25 years ago, it was very expensive, and I was like ‘I don’t need it.’ And he went back and got it.”

ABOVE: Mantle lamps, candles, and twinkly tree lights set a living room corner aglow.

BELOW: Christopher Radko pieces and a carousel add festivity to a the dining room.

By Cathy Spaulding Photos by Tony Corbell

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F e a t u r e d Home S AI N

ABOVE: Crown moulding, pocket doors and wood shelves bring old fashioned elegance to the living room.

LEFT: Each dining room place setting features Colonial Scroll Fondeville China from England.

She also admits to being “nutcracker crazy.” Her collection includes nutcracker candle holders she recalls finding at Lowry’s Outlet Store in Tahlequah. Christopher Radko pieces, including a box shaped like a stack of presents and a Limoges-type nutcracker, add color to her holiday spaces. “These were filled with candy, but I loved the containers so much,” she said, adding that she got many of the Radko pieces from after-Christmas clearance sales at Dillard’s. Delicately detailed Fitz and Floyd pieces, also found at clearance sales, include several reindeer on dining room side

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tables. “Every one of these things, I still have the original box,” Camille said. “The Styrofoam, they go right back into the original box. That’s the safest way to keep them.” A circle of antlers holding votive candles surrounds one deer. Camille said she found it at a Tulsa antique shop. The Sains don’t need Christmassy-looking China to bring holiday cheer to their dining room table. Each place setting features Colonial Scroll Fondeville China. The plates and saucers are bordered in red with silver patterns. Russell’s stepmother got it at an estate sale, Camille said.


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F e a t u r e d Home S AI N LEFT: An antler candelabra surrounds a Fitz and Floyd reindeer. BELOW: Sterling silver ornaments hanging from a stand came from a dear friend.

“Me and his stepmother have nearly identical taste when it comes to interior design,” Camille said. The Sains also like having some fun with their Christmas decorations. A blow mold Santa hangs over the kitchen sink. A Christmas village will be spread across the kitchen island counter during the Christmas Homes tour. On Christmas day, that counter will be covered with food. “Every surface in this kitchen,” Camille said. “We usually average between 20 and 24 people.” She said it’s usually family. “Every once in a while, there’s a orphan friend, or someone who doesn’t have family in town,” she said. Our girls live in

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town.” “Everybody in our family cooks: Russ and I cook, both our girls cook, his mom’s a great cook. Sometimes they’d come over and we’ll cook things together. This kitchen’s great because of the way it’s laid out.” Christmas at the Sain home is a “big, family thing,” she said. “We have hosted the major holidays for a long time, 37 years,” Camille said. That posed a challenge for the family when they moved to the Muskogee area from Atlanta. “Not long after we moved here, Russ’s dad passed away, and his stepmom moved up here. We were the only family


A tapestry hangs over a holiday collection of nutcrackers and other holiday ornaments in the living room.

she had,” Camille said. “Then my sister came and we found a place for her.” She said Russell’s mother and stepfather recently moved to the area, and his aunt and uncle plan to move up from Texas. “That seriously cuts down on the need for people to come up here for the holidays,” Camille said. The Sains decorate extensively for Christmas. Outside “gets all the outside lights and wreaths,” Camille said. “The porch railing is all done in garland.” The historic homes in the Founders Place neighborhood blaze with lights, she said, adding that the neighborhood recently began awarding the best decorated houses.

She wants to show the area off during the Kelly B. Todd Christmas Homes Tour. “We want everyone to see how lovely these houses are,” Camille said. “We love this neighborhood, the houses here are great.” Kelly B. Todd Cerebral Palsy and Neuro-Muscular Center is a worthy cause. “It is unbelievably amazing that we have a center of that caliber in a town this size,” she said. “In Houston, Atlanta or Dallas, you would expect to see a place like Kelly B. Todd. But for a town of 35,000 people to have a world class treatment center for these children is amazing.”

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F e at u r e K e l ly B. To d d

Alyssa Ward, 10, does strengthening exercises with her therapist at Kelly B. Todd Cerebral Palsy and Neuro-Muscular Center.

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Family

connections Center helps children reach goals free of charge to parents

T

en-year-old Alyssa Ward makes giant strides down the halls of Kelly B. Todd Cerebral Palsy and Neuro-Muscular Center. Her physical therapist, Candace Taylor, joins her along the way. Heather Ward said she has seen Alyssa and two

other children make giant strides at the center. “I see a very big difference,” Ward said. “With Alyssa, she’d probably already be in a wheelchair if it weren’t for Kelly B. Todd.” Twins Alyssa and Liliana, both 10, have a genetic disease known as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Ward said.

By Cathy Spaulding Photos by Tony Corbell

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F e at u r e K e l ly B. To d d

LEFT: Therapists have ample room and equipment to work with their young clients at the center.

BELOW: Kelly B. Todd Cerebral Palsy and Neuro-Muscular Center has all sorts of equipment to assist with physical and occupational therapy.

“It can dislocate all their joints,” Ward said. “Bones can be broken easier than others. They have hyper-mobility.” Ward said her 15-year-old daughter Taylor is autistic and has Oppositional Defiance disorder. “And she has a disorder which causes her not to understand the difference between fiction and reality,” she said. Ward got in touch with Kelly B. Todd Center after it was highly recommended by a physical therapist. Alyssa has been going off and on since age 5. Taylor has been going for three years, and Liliana has been going two months. “They’re part of our family at this point,” Ward said about the therapists. “The way they interact with our children is amazing, absolutely amazing.” Center Executive Director Sharon Riggs said she sees the family connection. “We’re a family-oriented health organization,” Riggs said. “We bring the families in and get to know them and interact with the parents.” Part of that parent interaction involves training parents to work with their children at home, she said.

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Therapists work closely with their clients to help them develop self-confidence along with motor skills and critical thinking skills.

“As we know, the more services you do at home, the faster you progress,” she said. “We can’t help but get involved with the family.” The center is part of many families. Riggs said Kelly B. Todd usually sees 200 children a year. “Some are here for a short period of time to correct something, whether it’s speech or walking on toes or an injury, to cerebral palsy or Down syndrome. They’re here for much longer,” she said. Kelly B. Todd offers its services at no cost to families.

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Riggs said the Christmas Home tours help the center raise much-needed funds. “Since we don’t charge families for their services, we have to fill that deficit, which is over $200,000 a year,” she said. Ward said she has seen her daughters “do things they probably wouldn’t be able to do without them.” Therapists helped Alyssa overcome depression and lack of confidence, as well as improve her mobility, she said. “She’s got more of a thrive instead of a depression — ‘I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna beat this.’ It’s


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F e at u r e K e l ly B. To d d

ABOVE: Therapeutic equipment, such as balls, walkers and wheels come in a variety of sizes to suit the young clients’ needs.

RIGHT: Physical Therapy bolsters hang on a wall, ready to be used for all types of uses, including balance.

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Kelly B. Todd Cerebral Palsy and Neuro-Muscular Center has a climbing wall to help clients be strong and flexible.

Physical Therapists such as Candace Taylor, left, are like family to clients like Alyssa Ward.

really kind of amazing,” she said, adding that the therapist lets Alyssa know “she can do anything.” Ward said she has seen a big change in Taylor over the past two years, as well. “Taylor has calmed down in such a dramatic way since we have started,” Ward said. “She threw fits several times a day, not being able to understand when we would tell her something. Everything was ‘no, I don’t want to, I can’t.’ With Kelly B. Todd, they were able to talk to her and help her understand that there are differences in what she’s doing, there are other ways to handle problems things.’” Taylor loves Caitlin Pottorf, her occupational therapist, Ward said. “Even on Taylor’s worst days, Caitlin is able to say ‘let’s redirect,’” Ward said. “She is able to listen to Caitlin. She is on a level of understanding she never would have had if it weren’t for Caitlin.” Ward said therapists work oneon-one with her daughters. “I love the fact that they’re so personal with them,” she said. “My children aren’t a number, they’re a name, they’re a person.”

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On The Menu

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Guide To Area Restaurants


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On The Menu

Guide To Area Restaurants


Food & Drink Cook’s Pantry

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Fostering Hope helps foster children’s transition

Group at Fostering Hope enjoys ham sliders.

W

hen (CASA). They learned that Annie foster children in MuskCzaogee County are removed ruk from their homes with few walks into a room, it lights or no belongings. up with hope. The As a former public same can be said of school teacher, Czathe group of teen advi- The Cook’s Pantry ruk knew the hardsory board members ships children can Melony Carey she has assembled at face but was shocked her nonprofit, Fostering Hope, an at the abrupt transition foster chilorganization whose mission is to dren endure when taken out of offer support to children and foster their homes. parents working with the DHS foster She decided to do something care system. more than just volunteer and Czaruk and co-founder Kristi took the idea to her parents, WarHoos dove into the idea after a ren and Chrissie Wagner, who suitcase drive was held for Court believed in the project’s vision Appointed Special Advocates from the beginning.

Photos by Tony Corbell

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Food & Drink Cook’s Pantry

Hot chocolate bars are easy to assemble and fun for the younger crowd.

Muskogee pediatrician Dr. Tracy Hoos and his wife Kristi joined in as well, and soon friendships developed with Infant Crisis Service in Oklahoma City, Muskogee County Department of Human Services, Kids’ Space, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Youth Volunteer Corps, churches, civic groups, and schools within the local area. The City of Muskogee Foundation also endorsed the program, mentoring, supporting, and encouraging the budding organization along the way. Today, Fostering Hope is expanding its services, which started with the simple goal of supplying backpacks full of the supplies foster children would need. Ages range from infant to teen, so the facility has to carry everything from diapers and formula to pajamas, underwear, and school clothes. Czaruk attributes the success of day-to-day operations to what she calls the Fostering Hope village. “They really are the backbone of what we do here,” she said. “Jeanie Courtney, Laci Strickland, Michelle Carter, and numerous friends here in

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Gingerbread homes are a fun pastime to celebrate the holidays with children.

You can help WHAT: Gingerbread Land, benefiting Fostering Hope. WHEN: 3-5 p.m. Dec. 4. WHERE: 810 Ranch & Cattle Co. ADMISSION: Nonrefundable Tickets: $50 for 2 (1 adult and 1 child); Other options available. INFORMATION: https://www.fosteringhopemuskogee.org/gingerbread-land


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Food & Drink Cook’s Pantry

The Fostering Hope Teen Advisory Board learns about stewardship, leadership, and service while volunteering at Fostering Hope events.

Muskogee and throughout the state are key.” A new addition to the Fostering Hope campus is state-of-theart Fostering Hope House, which opened in 2020 and offers intake bathing facilities, excellent age-based play centers, and a peaceful place for children to await placement with their foster family. “We also have a new Birthday Party Program that assures every child’s special day is celebrated with cake and gifts,” said Czaruk. All of this requires funding, and Czaruk, the team, and board members explore a variety of opportunities to ensure foster children have everything they need to make the unsettling transition to foster care easier. One successful event is Gingerbread Land held in December. The teen advisory board helps with the event. “My desire is for our teens to have hands-on experience in service, education, leadership, and social interaction, but also enjoy good food and fun, too,” Czaruk said.

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We caught up with the group at Fostering Hope House during a training for Gingerbread Land. Everyone did indeed have food and fun. Here are a few of the recipes they enjoyed.

Frozen Hot Chocolate

3 1/2 Cups Ice 2 Cups Milk 4 Packets Hot Cocoa Mix 2 TBSP Chocolate Syrup 2 tsp Vanilla Extract Whipped Cream Additional Chocolate Syrup for Topping (optional)

First place the glass cups you’ll be using for your frozen hot chocolate in the freezer to chill. Next, place ice, milk, hot cocoa mix, vanilla and chocolate syrup in a blender. Blend well until the ice is completely crushed and everything


Mango chutney dip is an easy and elegant holiday appetizer for young and old alike.

ABOVE: Frozen hot chocolate is a delightful alternative to traditional hot chocolate. Shown here on one of the Fostering Hope House play centers.

BELOW: Group at Fostering Hope assembles decorations.

is mixed together. Take your cups out of the freezer and pour the frozen hot chocolate mix into each cup. Top with whipped cream and chocolate syrup. Serve immediately.

Melted Snowman Bark

White Melting Chocolate Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Wilton Candy Eyes Orange Jimmies (I got mixed rainbow jimmies and just picked them out) Red Hot Candy Pretzel Sticks Silicone baking mat or wax paper

Melt candy discs either in microwave or over a double boiler. Spread chocolate on a cookie sheet covered in either a silicone baking mat or wax paper.

Press the snowman candy onto the melted chocolate immediately and before it begins to set. Let set on counter or place in the refrigerator for a few minutes to speed it up.

Holiday Ham Sliders

2 pkg. Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls 1 pkg. deli sandwich ham 12 slice Swiss cheese 1/2 cup butter, softened, but NOT melted 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 1/2 tsp. brown or Dijon mustard 1 tsp. onion powder

Slice top from rolls and place bottoms in baking pan. Layer ham and cheese on rolls. Replace tops. In a small bowl combine softened butter, poppy seeds, mustard, Worcestershire, and onion powder and mix well. Spread over the top of the rolls

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Food & Drink Cook’s Pantry

For any holiday party these ham sliders are delicious and easy to make.

evenly. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until cheese melts. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes. Serve warm or cold. A layer of cranberry sauce can also be added as a sandwich spread. Delicious!

Chutney Dip

8 oz. cream cheese 1/2 cup Major Grey Chutney 1/2 cup toasted almonds Dash of amaretto or almond extract Red and green apples, sliced

Mix all ingredients, except apples, until blended, and place in serving bowl. Place on platter and surround with apple slices. Can add in a dab of curry powder and a dash of dry mustard to the dip, if desired.

The Best Cookie Cutter Sugar Cookies

1 cup real butter at room temperature 1 cup sugar 1 large or extra-large egg 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract

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3 cups flour, lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon table salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy — about 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add in egg and extract and mix to incorporate. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Tip: It’s important to correctly measure your flour or you will end up with a dry, crumbly dough. Don’t use your measuring cup to scoop up the flour. Use a regular sized spoon and spoon the flour into the cup and then level it off with a knife. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined. Your dough will first look crumbly, but keep mixing with a stand mixer and it will quickly turn into a soft cohesive dough. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 350° F, then roll out and cut shapes. Bake for 8-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your cookies. A standing mixer is best for this recipe. Decorate with icing and sprinkles of your choice.


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Food & Drink

Friends join together to feast

'F

riendsgiving' is a tradition steeped in camaraderie with a healthy dose of family to balance it out. Hosts and homeowners Matt and Heather Hiller of Muskogee are supremely welcoming upon entering their recently remodeled household. Their chic but comfortable abode is ideal for occasions such as this. The Hillers are enthusiastic to show off their renovation and eager to entertain "We are glad to gather once again," Heather said. "Actually, I'd like to edit that: We are grateful to safely gather together once

again." Like many functions, the annual get-together of these longtime friends has been delayed for the past two years. Since this group is now fully vaccinated, they were ready to reassemble and reconnect in person. It was clear to the casual observer that even though having been apart, their connections were still strong. Putting together this fantastic feast was not the work of just one but a collaboration of all. From the appetizers to the dessert course, the food for the Hiller Friendsgiving was a combination of traditional and modern fare.

By Heather Ezell Photos by Tony Corbell

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Greeting you at the front door, along with the gracious couple, was a table of drinks topped with a Champagne fountain, truly an elegant touch. A lovely display of appetizers was available for predinner noshing, and the attendees raved over it. One appetizer, the citrus smoked salmon, is a dish that Heather and her dad, Roger Hilfiger, have made together for the last seven years. Heather brines the fish for a day or two, then her father smokes it to perfection. Another addition that has ties to both family and friends was the cajun deviled eggs. Brother Ben and sister-in-law Amber, both in attendance at the dinner, lived in New Orleans while in law school there. "When we used to visit them in NOLA, I developed a taste for Crystal sauce, which is found everywhere down there," Heather said. "Now it's my secret ingredient to many recipes, including the cajun deviled eggs." The cranberry salsa is a specialty of another brother, James, who lives in Stillwater, made especially for her. When asked about the Caesar salad, she responded, "It's just a Caesar with candied walnuts and dried cranberries to dress it up for the season." But upon further discussion it seems that it is much more special than "just a Caesar salad." The dressing is made from scratch in the classic manner with garlic, anchovies and olive oil. The croutons take it to the next level as they are homemade. The trick she says "is to toss them with lots of crushed garlic, butter and olive oil and slow roast for about an hour at 200 degrees Farenheit." The olive oil she uses is sourced fresh which her mother brings home from Italy, the olives having been hanging on the trees just a few weeks prior before being pressed, the oil expressed, then bottled.

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The first two courses were beautifully presented and delicious, but the following two were equally so. The smoked turkey came from Runt's BBQ in Muskogee and was so succulent but there was a minor glitch...it didn't have giblets in which to make gravy. Where some might have been deterred, Heather made the sensible decision to do what needed to be done, she called her Mom for help. Sally Hilfiger showed up, and with help from guest Aaron Trahan, of Oklahoma City, whipped up a delectable gravy. It was simmered with a bit of smoked turkey leg and a variety of vegetables for a couple of hours. What might have been disastrous (gravy is a must, right?!?) turned into a highlight of the main meal. Most of the dishes were time-honored, but the dressing was a bit less conventional made with sausage, apple and mushrooms which added an earthy, fall flair. Sarah Abel, of Muskogee, furnished both the creamy mashed potatoes and the green bean casserole, both fan favorites. Like many accomplished cooks, Heather uses recipes only as a guide. "I use what I have on hand," Heather said. "I really don't have a dish that turns out the same way twice." After dinner, a poll was taken to see what the standout course was; unanimously it was the sweet potato casserole made by none other than the lady of the house. The dessert table was covered with customary offerings. Sarah Anderson, of Oklahoma City, (known in the group as "City Sarah") contributed the pumpkin pie. James Hilfiger not only made the cranberry salsa but dropped off his sister's favorite (and always requested) lemon bars. His daughter (Heather's niece), Evangeline and her friend Lilly, made the pecan pie as well as the apple pie with caramel drizzle. The connection between these companions began several years ago when Ben Hilfiger worked with Phi Nguyen, also present, and


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UPSCALE RESALE MUSKOGEE 950 N. York, Muskogee 405-334-7503 / 539-228-0396

Where you can look like a million bucks for just pennies! Specializing in men, women and children’s top end / brand name clothing and accessories, home decor and collectibles Green Country Living

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Food & Drink "City Sarah" in Oklahoma City. Upon returning home to their roots in Muskogee, the Hilfigers (Ben and Amber) along with the Hillers have kept in touch with their pals. "The group has grown as have the friendships." It is clearly evident that strong connections with family and friends is a priority for the Hillers. Integrated into their home are pieces produced locally, made by artists and artisans who also happen to be friends. When they remodeled, they needed something built-in to showcase cherished china, collections and glassware so they commissioned resident cabinet maker Zach Harper. His custom made work blends seamlessly into their home and highlights their treasures. Heather was especially proud of her latest acquisition, a stunning work of art by Ann Davis, formerly of Muskogee. "As soon as I saw it posted in her gallery, I called Ann and told her I MUST have it," Heather said. Displayed right next to the dining room table, is a brilliant depiction of Frida Kahlo. "I love everything about Frida Kahlo and what she represents." This multi-course meal was prepared with great care and attention. The bonds between these bosom buddies was unmistakable reminding this observer that "We all get by with a little help from our friends."

Brine for Smoked Salmon This recipe makes enough to brine two large salmon fillets. Ingredients 1-3 cups water 1 cup kosher salt 1 cup white sugar 1 cup brown sugar Lemon pepper to taste 1 (3 ounce) package dry crab and shrimp seasoning mix Freshly ground black pepper to taste 4 cloves garlic, crushed or to taste 1 dash hot pepper sauce (Optional) 4 lemons, sliced and crushed 2 oranges, sliced and crushed 1 lime, sliced and crushed 1 large yellow onion, sliced Directions Step 1

Pour the water into a large bowl or small bucket. If you must use a pot, use one that does not contain aluminum. Stir in the kosher salt, white sugar, brown sugar, lemon pepper, parsley and seasoning mix. Add the garlic, hot pepper sauce, lemons, oranges, lime and onion.

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Step 2

Soak your salmon in this brine in the refrigerator for 12 to 36 hours. Smoke using your desired method.

Cranberry-Avocado Salsa

Ingredients 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 2 tablespoons honey 1 minced jalapeno 1/4 cup red onion, chopped 2 ripe avocados, cut into 1/4-inch pieces 3/4 cup halved cranberries 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped Coarse salt and ground pepper Pita crisps or tortilla chips Step 1

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 minced jalapeno (seeds removed for less heat, if desired), and 1/4 cup chopped red onion. Step 2

Add 2 ripe avocados, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, 3/4 cup halved cranberries, drained well on paper towels, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper; toss gently to combine. Serve with Pita Crisps or tortilla chips, as desired. — From marthastewart.com

Sausage, Apple and Mushroom Dressing Ingredients 32 oz. white button or cremini mushrooms 4 tbsp. canola oil 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 4 c. cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes 4 c. french bread, cut into 1-inch cubes 4 c. artisan/crusty bread, cut into 1-inch cubes 1/2 lb. Italian sausage 2 c. diced onion 5 whole granny smith apples, large dice 5 tbsp. brown sugar 1 c. white wine 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 32 oz. low sodium chicken broth 1 tsp. ground thyme 1/2 tsp. turmeric (more to taste) 2 tsp. rosemary, leaves minced 1/2 tsp. (additional) kosher salt black pepper, to taste Fresh parsley, minced Directions

Allow diced bread to sit out on cookie sheets for several hours or overnight, until dried out. Preheat oven to 500º. Wipe mushrooms thoroughly with paper

towels. Toss in a bowl with canola oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mushrooms will be very coated, but that's good! Divide mushrooms between two sheet pans and roast in the upper half of the oven for at least 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through roasting. Remove from oven when mushrooms are deep brown. Set aside. In a large skillet, crumble and brown sausage over medium high heat. Remove sausage from skillet and set aside. Without cleaning the skillet, add in diced onions and brown for five minutes. Increase heat to high and add diced apples, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Decrease heat to medium and pour in wine (be careful if you're using an open flame). Stir and cook to reduce liquid by half, about two to three minutes. Pour apple/onion mixture into a bowl and set aside. Return skillet to medium heat (again, without washing) and add thyme, turmeric, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Heat for a few minutes, then set aside. Add bread to a large bowl, then add browned sausage, mushrooms, and apple/ onion mixture (and juice that might have accumulated.) Next, add broth mixture gradually as you toss the ingredients, being prepared not to use all of the liquid according to your taste. Check seasonings at the end and add in minced parsley. Pour into a large baking dish and bake at 375º for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. — Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Caesar Salad

Ingredients FOR SALAD DRESSING: 2 cloves Fresh Garlic (peeled) 4 whole Anchovy Fillets 2 tbsp. (up To 3 Tablespoons) Dijon Mustard 1 tbsp. Balsamic (or Red Wine) Vinegar 1/2 whole Lemon, Juiced 1/2 c. Olive Oil 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce 1 dash Salt Generous Black Pepper, to taste 1/4 c. Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese FOR CROUTONS: 1/2 loaf Crusty French Bread 1/4 c. Olive Oil 2 cloves Fresh Garlic (peeled) Salt To Taste For Salad: Dry Hearts Of Romaine Lettuce


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Food & Drink

Fresh Parmesan Cheese Candied Walnuts Dried Cranberries Directions Dressing:

Place anchovies into a blender or food processor. Throw in garlic, Dijon Mustard, Worcestershire and vinegar. Next, add lemon juice. Give it a good mix. Pulse the processor or blend on low speed for several seconds. Scrape the sides. With the food processor or blender on, dizzle olive oil into the mixture in a small stream. Scrape the sides, and mix it again to thoroughly combine. Add salt, black pepper and Parmesan cheese. Pulse the whole thing together and mix until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate the dressing for a few hours before using it on the salad. Croutons:

Slice the bread into thick slices and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Throw them onto a baking sheet. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan or skillet over low heat. Peel and crush — but don’t chop — 2 cloves of garlic and add them to the oil. Use a spoon to move the garlic around in the pan. After about 3 to 5 minutes, turn off

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the heat and remove the garlic from the pan. Slowly drizzle the olive oil over the bread cubes. Mix together with your hands, then sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake at 200º for one hour, shaking the pan occasionally. One hour after baking, crank up the heat to 400º. Bake them on high heat for just a few minutes. Salad:

Wash and dry hearts of Romaine lettuce, cut the lettuce with a knife. Use a vegetable peeler and shave off large, thin slices of Parmesan. Drizzle about half of the dressing over the top of the lettuce. Throw in a handful of the Parmesan shavings. Give it a good initial toss, just so you can evaluate how much more dressing you need. Add more dressing and Parmesan to taste. Add cooled croutons, dried cranberries and candied walnuts. Toss gently. — Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Lemon Bars

Ingredients For the crust: 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 cups flour 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling: 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature 3 cups granulated sugar 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons) 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 cup flour Confectioners' sugar, for dusting Directions

Preheat the oven to 350º. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt, and with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on. For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar. — Courtesy of Ina Garten


Scene & Be Seen

Name That Tune Rotary Club event raises money for local projects and community needs. Photos by John Hasler

918.348.9250

Voted Best Realtor 2021! 83

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Scene & Be Seen

Boo-Nanza Downtown event sponsored by Neighbors Building Neighborhoods. Photos by Cathy Spaulding

Holiday’s at holly’s hanger BOUTIQUE

Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas! Voted Best Real Estate Company • 3 Years in a Row!

Great selection of Fall & Winter Merchandise just in time for the Holidays. INSIDE HATTIE’S HOUSE, 200 S. MAIN ST., MUSKOGEE, OK

918.686.3454

facebook.com/hollyshanger @hollyshanger hollyshanger@yahoo.com

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HERE TO SERVE YOU

CLINKENBEARD GROUP

918-682-5200


Walk in Her Shoes Women in Safe Home present annual event to bring awareness of of domestic violence. Photos by Cathy Spaulding

Valerie Moore Cell: 918-869-9099 | Office: 918-683-1710 valerie@eramuskogee.com eramuskogee.com

1133 N. Main, Muskogee

Fro h m yooume toour rs

Green Country Living

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Scene & Be Seen

Veterans Day Area veterans celebrated at downtown Veterans Day event. Photos by Cathy Spaulding

904 W Okmulgee St. Muskogee, OK 74401 918.910.7991 • hoospediatrics.com

WE ARE OPEN! W

‘Tis the Season to Celebrate

our Friends and Neighbors like You! We’re especially grateful for your support through the challenges and setbacks of this past year. We wish you a season of cheer, and health and happiness throughout the new year! 86

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EXPRESS L I O 721 South York • 918-687-7061


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