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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019


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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

KEEP SAFETY IN MIND WHEN DECORATING FOR THE HOLIDAYS Decorations help make the holiday season a magical time of year. Stores are awash in color and twinkling lights, and similar imagery is on display in private homes. Designing holiday displays can be a great way for families to spend time together and kick off the celebration. In fact, according to Electrical Safety Foundation International, around 90 percent of Americans decorate their homes for the holidays. When trimming the tree and decorating this holiday season, families must keep safety in mind. A little planning and some precautionary measures can ensure displays are enjoyed all season long. Travelers Insurance offers the following holiday decorating safety tips.  Do not overload outlets. Plan displays according to the number and location of available outlets.  Never exceed the maximum number of light strands that can be attached together.  Use lights and products that

have been tested for safety. Certification marks like UL, ETL and CSA are from nationally recognized laboratories.

they can be used in homes with young children. Some items, however common, are choking or strangulation hazards.

 LED lights should be used whenever possible. Such lights consume less energy and run cooler than other bulbs.

 Avoid putting small, “mouthsized” decorations near the ground or on lower limbs of trees, where young children can easily reach them.

 The ESFI says candles start almost 50 percent of all decoration fires. Minimize the risk by using candles only when they can be monitored. Artificial candles can be used in place of real candles.

 Exercise caution when hanging decorations at high heights. Make sure the ladder is secured and have a spotter who can hold the ladder and pass items up safely.

 Check for freshness in live trees. A fresh tree will last longer and is less of a fire hazard than an old tree.

 Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters, or GFCIs.

 Place Christmas trees at least three feet away from all heat sources, including fireplaces and heaters.

 Exercise caution when decorating near power lines that extend to the house.

 Use decorations that are noncombustible or made from flameresistant materials.  Pay attention to the age recommendations of decorations to see if

 Keep hung stockings far away from open flames so they do not catch any errant embers. These are just a few suggestions for decorating a safely for the holiday season.

SAVE TIME WHILE HOLIDAY SHOPPING The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are exciting, joyous and memorable. With so much to do during that period, holiday shoppers may feel pressed for time. However, savvy celebrants know there’s plenty of time to spread holiday cheer and still find the perfect gift.

SHOP LOCAL

One way to save time during the holiday season is to decide in advance where to shop for holiday gifts. Some people are firm believers in shopping a few select stores, while others hop between retailers to find the best deals. Shopping local supports your community and saves you time and money.

CREATE A WISH LIST

Even if you do not plan to shop online, use popular online retail sites like Amazon to browse for popular items and save them to a wish list. Then, with list in hand (either digitally or on paper), purchase items at local brick-andmortar stores.

COMPARE PRICES AND GET ALERTS

With sites like PriceGrabber, Google Shopping, Shopzilla, and PricePinx, it’s easier than ever to compare prices at various retailers without having to make the trek to each and every one. Price alerts can let you know when an item goes on sale so you can grab it quickly.

SET UP LOYALTY ACCOUNTS

Create a separate email account strictly for store promotions and loyalty clubs. This way all sale information and coupon codes are sent to a single email address.

SHIP DIRECTLY

Instead of having items shipped to your home and then repackaging them for out-of-town relatives and friends, have them shipped directly to their final destination. Weigh the costs of having the merchant wrap the presents if you feel it’s necessary.

THINK ABOUT BULK GIFTS

Figure out one or two gifts that would be fitting for many people on your list and then buy them in bulk. Assembling gift baskets of bulk items can save time, as put-

ting the baskets together will become second nature after one or two baskets.

Save time and money with some smart holiday shopping strategies.


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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

THANKSGIVING CENTERPIECES WAYS TO MAKE YOUR TABLESCAPE POP

The holiday season is a time of giving. The generosity on display during the holiday season may not have an official start date, but the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving Day may be the unofficial beginning of the giving season.

Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year and looking for unique ways to dress up your table? If so, here are some centerpiece ideas that are sure to wow your guests. Stalks of wheat A Thanksgiving centerpiece made of wispy stalks of wheat can be both charmingly rustic and easy to assemble. Available in bunches from your local craft store, wrap the whole bundle of wheat you have in ribbon and place it in a vase of your choice. Or, forgo the ribbon and instead wrap small clusters of the stalks with brightly colored yarn or embroidery thread. Modern cornucopia Pile a variety of fruits, berries and nuts on a large platter for a play on the traditional Thanksgiving horn of plenty. Add autumnal touches by including a few small gourds and colorful leaves in the arrangement. If you prefer, you can arrange your centerpiece in several smaller bowls along the length of the table. Place them on a table runner for added impact.

Giving a Little More this Holiday Season

Leaf wrapped votives If you love the ambience of candlelight, this is the option for you. Gather some leaves from outside and adhere them to glass candle holders or vases using double sided tape. Make as many or as few as you want and arrange them in the middle of your table. To enhance visual interest, use candle holders of different heights and sizes. These centerpieces are easy to assemble and make use of materials that you likely already have at home. Alternatively, your local florist will be happy to put together a festive fall arrangement for your table.

The first Tuesday following American Thanksgiving has been referred to as “Giving Tuesday” since 2012. The event was started by the 92nd Street Y in New York City, the United Nations Foundation and the technology website Mashable as a response to the commercialization of the holiday season and the rampant consumerism that seems to start as soon as the last bite of turkey is digested. Today, Giving Tuesday harnesses the generosity of millions of people around the world and helps millions of dollars to find its way into the coffers of organizations that need it most. Giving Tuesday inspires people to volunteer or give back to causes that are near and dear to their hearts. Thanks to technology, giving has the capacity to go viral and

inspire others to engage in their own charitable efforts. Since its inception, Giving Tuesday has evolved. The event now underscores how communities can harness the power of people working together to elicit great change. Even though Giving Tuesday may be the catalyst for charitable efforts, it doesn’t need to end there. People are urged to be generous all year long, including throughout the holiday season. Here are some seasonally specific ways to give back a little more.

 Pay it forward by treating someone behind you in the checkout line to coffee, fast food, a candy bar, or whatever else suits you at the time. Perhaps he or she will do the same and keep the generosity going.  Keep extra dollars in your pocket and be generous to charities seeking donations outside of stores. A cup of coffee or hot chocolate goes a long way toward warming up the people manning the collection pots as well.

 Adopt a family who is less fortunate and purchase some gifts on their wish list. Many community centers and churches have contacts for needy families who could use some support this season. Giving can be the focus of the holiday season, and in ways that are meaningful to the people on the receiving end of the generosity.


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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Did You Know? The holiday season is rife with tradition. Some holiday traditions, such as holiday lighting displays, are impossible to miss, while others are more subtle and possibly even unknown to many celebrants. One tradition that falls into the latter category involves the placing of oranges into Christmas stockings.

Decorate With a Nose Toward

Inviting Holiday Aromas Holiday decor is as much about the sights and sounds as it is about the scents of the season. Few things evoke the holiday spirit as much as the aroma of fresh evergreen or spicy cinnamon and cloves. Incorporating inviting aromas into holiday decor can make homes feel even more special. Filling a home with fragrant decor takes a little ingenuity and planning. Here are some ideas to incorporate the scents of the holiday season into your decor.  Use a real Christmas tree. An easy way to create a pine-like scent indoors is to select a real Christmas tree. Ask the tree farm which varieties are the most fragrant. If a fresh tree is not possible, fill a decorative basket with pine cones and evergreen boughs for that woodsy appeal.  Create a seasonal scented simmer. Take to the stove to make a homemade air infusion from ingredients in and around the house. Simmer pine branches, citrus peels, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and whatever else can be placed in a pot or slow cooker with water. The scents will permeate the house for hours if enough water is added to the mixture.  Make holiday sachets. Some of the same ingredients for the holiday simmer can be dried and

sewn into sachets. Add ribbon and hang on real or artificial trees. Or tuck the pouches into various areas around the house.  Experiment with scented candles. Scented candles can be found at various stores during the holiday season. Select among popular holiday aromas like pine, cinnamon, apples, and Christmas cookie varieties.  Utilize essential oils. Natural food stores and other retailers may sell essential oils, which can be diluted and sprayed on surfaces or into the air. Exercise caution around upholstery, or test for staining before use.  Spend more time in the kitchen. Add delicious scents to the home by way of freshly baked goods or holiday meals. Nothing beats the smell of cookies right out of the oven, and the scents can

linger for hours.  Make beeswax ornaments. Add scented oils to melted beeswax and pour into molds. Hang these creations as ornaments on trees or in other areas of the home.  Craft some “gingerbread” ornaments. A mixture of cinnamon, applesauce and glue can be used to make ornaments or gift tags that resemble gingerbread cookies, and these ornaments have more staying power than actual cookies.  Design a pretty pomander. Stud an orange with cloves. Cut off the top of the orange and hollow out a place for a small tea light. The warmth of the flame will produce more scent. Rich and inviting aromas can fill a home with the holiday spirit.

The origins of Christmas stockings are rooted in legend, and one of the more popular tales involves a widowed father of three beautiful girls. According to Smithsonian.com, this father was struggling to make ends meet and was concerned that his financial struggles would affect his daughters’ ability to find a spouse. As the legend goes, St. Nicholas was wandering through the man’s town and heard of his concerns. Recognizing that the man was unlikely to accept charity, St. Nicholas slid down the chimney of his house and placed three gold balls in the girls’ recently laundered stockings, which were hanging by the fire to dry. The value of the gold balls, which were discovered the following morning, was enough to ensure the girls could eventually wed. So what does that have to do with oranges? Those who wanted to replicate the tale could not so easily come upon gold balls to place in stockings, so they chose something similar in appearance: oranges.

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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

CRANBERRY-INFUSED COCKTAIL FOR AUTUMN ENTERTAINING

CRANBERRY MARGARITA Serves 1

•1 1/2 shots of tequila 1 shot of cranberry juice cocktail •1/4 cup of whole berry cranberry sauce • 1/2 shot of triple sec 10 ice cubes • Sweetened dried cranberries, for garnish • Lime, for garnish

Besides the ubiquitous “pumpkin spice,” nothing says “autumn” more than tart cranberries. Cranberries are a major component of Thanksgiving feasts, turning up alongside and atop turkey as well as in quick breads and desserts.

Cranberries are loaded with health benefits, which include reducing the risk for ulcers and preventing gum disease. Also, just eight ounces of cranberry juice cocktail contains 137 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C.

Cranberries can even be used to craft great cocktails. Move over mulled ciders, this crisp “Cranberry Margarita” from The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association makes a great autumn-inspired beverage.


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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Prepare a Delicious Turkey for your Thanksgiving Dinner Table scraping up any browned bits. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until it’s reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Pour the sauce into a

While there are no laws governing which dishes must appear on Thanksgiving dinner tables, for many the fourth Thursday of November simply would not be complete without turkey. Turkey can be cooked in various ways, but roasting might be the most popular method used by Thanksgiving celebrants. This recipe for “Herb-Roasted Turkey” from Yolanda Banks’ “Cooking for Your Man” (Broadway Books) produces a mouth-watering bird that’s sure to make a lasting impression this Thanksgiving. 1. In a small bowl, the butter, chopped chopped rosemary, thyme, chopped sage, pepper, and mix well.

combine parsley, chopped salt, and

2. Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 F. Sprinkle the main cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper. Place the whole sprigs of parsley, rosemary and thyme and the sage leaves into the cavity. Add the lemon, 4 shallot halves and half of the garlic cloves. 3. Starting at the neck end, carefully slide a hand between the skin and the breast meat to loosen the skin. Spread 3 tablespoons of the herb butter over the breast meat under the skin. Tuck the wing tips under the skin, and tie the legs together to hold the shape. Season the turkey generously all over with salt and pepper. 4. Place the turkey on a wire rack set in a large roasting pan. Rub 4 tablespoons of the herb butter over the turkey. Roast about 30 minutes, until golden brown, and reduce the heat to 350º F. Baste the turkey with 1⁄2 cup of the broth. Cover only the breast area with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Scatter the remaining shallots and garlic cloves in the pan around the turkey. 5. Continue to roast the turkey for about 1 1/2 hours, basting with 1/2 cup of broth every 30 minutes. Remove the foil from the turkey breast. Continue to roast the turkey, basting with pan juices every 20 minutes, about 1 hour longer, until it’s golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165º F. Transfer

the turkey to a platter and brush with 1 tablespoon of the herb butter. Tent it loosely with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving. 6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots and garlic from the roasting pan to a plate. Transfer the pan juices to a medium bowl, then skim off and discard the fat. Set the pan over two burners on medium-high heat. Deglaze the pan with the wine and 1 cup of chicken broth,

Year, which is possible with the right care. The following are some tips, courtesy of Mother Nature’s Network, Habersham Gardens, Oregon Live, and Phoenix Flower Shops, to keep poinsettias thriving past the holiday season.

While they’re most visible during the often chilly holiday season, poinsettias prefer warm weather. Poinsettias are native to Central America and originally flourished in an area of southern Mexico. The Aztecs used the plant for decorative and medicinal purposes. The poinsettia may have remained a regional plant if not for the efforts of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who was the first United States Ambassador to Mexico under President James Madison. Poinsett, who would later found the Smithsonian Institution, had a love of botany and became enamored with the brilliant red plants he saw in Mexico. Eventually, Poinsett began growing the plants at home in South Carolina, and friends and others soon coveted them. Poinsettias are beautiful and the bracts (modified leaves) can be vibrantly colored. That signature vibrancy is why many people would like to preserve their poinsettias to last beyond the New

least six hours per day. If direct sunlight can’t be avoided, diffuse the light with a sheer curtain.  Poinsettias need well-drained soil. Overwatering or allowing roots to sit in wet soil can cause the leaves to fall off prematurely. Water thoroughly only when the pot looks dry. In households with temperatures around 70º F, the plant should be watered about once a week.  Fertilize the plant after the blooming season with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.  Try placing poinsettias in or near a bathroom, as they prefer high humidity.

 Start with healthy plants that have full leaves, bracts and deep colors.  Poinsettias do best when the temperature is between 65 and 75º F. Temperatures below that or drafts from cold windows can cause leaves to drop.  Position the plant in a room that gets indirect sunlight for at

It may be possible to get poinsettias to rebloom next season. Allow the poinsettias to dry out a little more in the spring. In May, cut about four inches from each stem to produce a lush, full plant during the winter. The plants can be moved outside in June and during the summer, but keep them away from direct sunlight. Return the poinsettias indoors beginning around October. Make sure the plants get at least 12 hours of darkness per day for around eight weeks in October and November. This will help them develop a deep hue and bloom on time for Christmas.

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Serves 10 • 1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, plus 4 whole sprigs • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, leaves chopped, plus 2 whole sprigs • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 4 whole sprigs • 15 leaves fresh sage, chopped, plus 3 whole leaves • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the turkey • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for the turkey • 1 15-pound turkey • 1 lemon, quartered • 8 shallots, peeled and halved • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock • 2/3 cup dry white wine • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

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• 12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

HELP MAKE YOUR POINSETTIAS LAST LONGER Poinsettias are synonymous with the holiday season. These colorful plants brighten up homes with their vibrant hues in variations of red, white and pink, making them a holiday decoration many people cannot live without.

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large measuring glass. Add the degreased pan juices, and broth, if necessary, to equal 3 cups of

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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

CHRISTMAS TREE TIPS & TRICKS longer, boil a gallon of water and then dissolve one cup of sugar in the water. Allow to cool. After freshly cutting the trunk, pour in the warm sugar water. Continue to add fresh, cool, plain water to the tree stand afterward.

Christmas trees are an iconic symbol of the holiday season. Whether they are personal trees nestled in the corner of a living room for families to enjoy or towering evergreens serving as the focal point of a town square, Christmas trees are a wonder to behold.

Once needles begin to fall off with frequency, the tree is reaching its prime. Remove it so it does not become a fire hazard.

Many people have fond memories of time spent around the Christmas tree sharing gifts and family traditions. Live trees and their pinelike aroma can be especially nostalgic trees to include in holiday plans. The National Christmas Tree Association says that approximately 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States every year. North American trees hail from all 50 states and areas of Canada. While freshly cut trees can be particularly beautiful and aromatic additions to the season, they require a bit more work than artificial trees in order to remain beautiful and thrive throughout the holiday season. Maintenance can help keep Christmas trees as perfect as possible.  Even though it is tempting to buy a real tree as early as possible, their shelf life is limited even with the best care. Dural Christmas Tree Farm advises that, under the best conditions, a real tree should last up to four weeks before drying out.  Consider the needles when looking for a

Turkey Continued from page 8

liquid. real tree. Pull your hand toward your body along the branches. If many needles fall off, the tree is past its peak.

 Think about the room in which the tree will be located. Leave at least 6 inches between the tip of the tree and the ceiling, accounting for the height of the tree stand as well.  If needle retention is a goal, the Scotch pine variety has the best needle retention and a high survival rate, lending to its popularity, offers Precision Tree and Landscape. Douglas fir and balsam fir are other durable trees.

reputable nursery or tree farm, advises The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Many pre-cut trees sold elsewhere were likely cut weeks before and may not be fresh.

 Cut the bottom of the tree trunk before bringing it home to facilitate the uptake of fresh water daily. Trees can absorb as much as a gallon of water in a day, so make sure the tree gets fresh water every day.  Keep trees away from as many heat sources as possible and away from direct sunlight to prolong longevity.

 According to Karabin Farms in  If possible, buy a freshly cut tree from a Connecticut, to make a Christmas tree last

7. Blend the flour into the remaining herb butter until combined. Pour the broth mixture into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in the herbbutter mixture. Add any accumulated juices from the turkey platter and boil until the gravy thickens enough to coat a spoon, whisking occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add the remaining shallots and garlic to the gravy and simmer for 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Serve the turkey with the gravy.


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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019


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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

PREPARE THE FIREPLACE FOR HOLIDAY DECORATING A jolly holiday season can be made even more merry with a roaring fire. Homeowners often build holiday tableaus around the fireplace to serve as festive backdrops. The mantle and the fireplace itself also may be a prime spot to dedicate to decorating this time of year. Even though Christmas tree fires are rare, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, when they do occur they’re likely to be serious. That is why trees and other flammable decorations need to be kept clear of gas and wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. In addition, many other guidelines should be

heeded to ensure fireplaces and holiday decor safely coexist this season. Read labels on decorative items carefully before decorating. Be sure to only select items that are flameresistant or retardant. Cherished collectibles and other items should always be kept far away from open flames and heat. It pays to have a fireplace inspected and cleaned for use prior to operation. Rely on a trained chimney sweep, and have the fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned at least once per year.

Even though it may be picturesque, do not place wrapped packages or gift boxes near the fireplace, as they tend to be highly combustible. Keep presents and other flammable items at least three feet away from the fireplace. Do not be tempted to dispose of wrapping paper, boxes or even a Christmas tree in the fireplace. Wrapping paper contains additives that make it burn at high temperatures. A Christmas tree hasn’t been properly seasoned and could be a See FIREPLACE, page 14

The History of Black Friday Black Friday marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Come Black Friday, shoppers strive to get the lowest prices on gifts for their loved ones. Much of the focus of Black Friday is on finding the best deals, but it can be interesting to take a breath and learn how this phenomenon developed and how it has evolved over the years.

“Black Friday” The term “Black Friday” was originally associated with gold prices and manipulation on the part of speculators Jay Gould and James Fisk. This scandal occurred in September 1869. Commodity prices plummeted 50 percent as a result, and the term “Black Friday” was coined to refer to that drop. The phrase “Black Friday” also became famous for all the wrong reasons in 1966. Philadelphia police used it to refer to the Friday traffic jams and crowding in downtown stores from tourists and shoppers who flooded into the city in advance of the Army-Navy football game held the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year. Bigger crowds and rowdiness contributed to long hours and stressful shifts for local police.

Black Friday Reinvented The retail industry started using the term “Black Friday” in the late 1980s. Spin doctors turned previously negative connotations into positive ones by associating the phrase with stores turning a profit and moving accounting ledgers from “red to black” thanks to big year-end sales. Retailers and consumers rallied around low-cost “doorbusters” and other discounted prices. Interestingly enough, according to the National Retail Federation, Black Friday really hasn’t been the most lucrative day for retailers over the years. In fact, greater profits and larger crowds are often seen on the last Saturday preceeding Christmas.

Shopping Weekend Evolves While Black Friday may have been the catalyst, in recent years shoppers have made the entire weekend of Black Friday a lucrative one for retailers. Many stores now open on Thanksgiving and extend sales through the entire weekend. Small Business Saturday and Sunday promote patronizing momand-pop stores. Cyber Monday emerged when online shopping became a popular way to grab deals, and it marks the close of the opening weekend of the holiday shopping season. In 2017, Black Friday weekend attracted 174 million shoppers who spent an average of $335.47, according to the NRF.


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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

TIPS FOR SAFE HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING IN PET-FRIENDLY HOUSEHOLDS

The holiday season brings added dangers for pets. The American Veterinary Association notes that, by keeping hazards in mind, pet owners can ensure their four-legged friends enjoy the season as much as everyone else.

 Be picky about plants. Mistletoe, holly and poinsettias can be dangerous in petfriendly households. These plants can cause gastrointestinal upset and may lead to other problems if ingested. Opt for artificial replicas instead. If guests bring flowers, confirm they are nontoxic to pets before putting them on display.  Watch the door. Guests going in and out may inadvertently leave doors open. In such instances, pets who get scared or are door dashers may be able to escape the house. Put a note by the door to watch for escaping pets.

 Avoid artificial sweeteners. Exercise caution when baking sugarfree desserts. The artificial sweetener xylitol can cause dogs’ blood pressure to drop to dangerously low levels. Xylitol is found in some toothpastes and gum, so tell overnight guests to keep their toiletries secure to avoid accidental exposure.

 Secure the tree. Securely anchor the Christmas tree so that it won’t tip over on anyone, including rambunctious pets. Also, stagnant tree stand water can grow bacteria. If a pet should drink the water, it may end up with nausea or diarrhea. Replenish the tree basin with fresh water daily.  Skip the candles. When creating mood lighting, opt for electronic or battery-powered lights instead of open flames. Pets may knock over candles, and that can be an instant fire

ages where pets cannot reach them. Ingested alcohol can make pets ill, weak and even induce comas.

animals. Warn guests to promptly throw out their leftovers so that dogs and cats do not sneak away with scraps that may cause stomach upset or worse. Real Simple magazine warns that fatty foods can promote pancreatitis — a potentially dangerous inflammation of the pancreas that produces toxic enzymes and causes illness and dehydration. Small bones can get lodged in a pet’s throat or intestines as well.

The holidays are a time to spend with friends and family. Celebrating and entertaining are large components of what makes Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, and New Years festivities so enjoyable. Holiday hosts with pets must consider companion animals when planning the festivities.

hazard.  Keep food out of reach. Situate food buffets beyond the reach of hungry and curious

 Designate a safe space for pets. If the holiday hustle proves too much for cats, dogs, birds, and more, give the pet a safe, quiet spot away from the crowds.

 Be cautious with cocktails. If the celebration will include alcoholic beverages, the ASPCA says to place unattended adult bever-

Holiday hosts should factor in pet safety when they open their homes to guests.

Five Creative Ways to Use your Thanksgiving Leftovers Planning a lavish feast with all the trimmings for your annual Thanksgiving dinner? Wondering what to do with the inevitable leftovers of shredded turkey, cranberry sauce, roasted potatoes and stuffing? Here are five creative ways to repurpose leftovers for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert!

1. Stuffing muffins. Great for breakfast on the go, these savoury muffins are a simple and scrumptious way to eat stuffing days after the big feast. Pack a tray of muffin tins with the leftover stuffing (make sure it’s still nice and moist), bake and enjoy!

2. Pumpkin French toast. Thanksgiving is synonymous with pumpkin pie! Still have some pumpkin purée left over? Take your postThanksgiving breakfast to a whole new level! Dunk thick slices of bread in a pumpkin-spiced egg mixture and heat on the griddle until golden brown.

slices of turkey.

Thanksgiving is a celebration of nature’s bounty, so it’s important that nothing goes to waste. Leftovers can stay fresh in the fridge for up to four days; otherwise, pack whatever’s left into freezer bags or airtight containers and store them in the freezer to preserve your food’s succulent flavors for weeks.

5. Sweet potato scones. Why not turn your leftover spuds into dessert? Take your favourite scones recipe and whisk some puréed sweet potatoes into the batter. Garnish with crushed pecans for a tasty autumn treat.

3. Cranberry mayonnaise. Your kids will love this mouth-watering twist on their usual turkey sandwiches. Whisk a little bit of cranberry sauce with some mayo and add salt and pepper to taste, then slather the creamy goodness on rye or sourdough bread. 4. Turkey bolognese. A Thanksgiving spin on a classic Italian favourite, turkey bolognese is a perfect weeknight dish. Instead of adding ground beef to the sauce, opt for thinly shredded

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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Tips for Baking Better Christmas Cookies Cookies and other baked treats are everywhere come the holiday season. It’s not uncommon to give cookies as gifts or arrive at holiday gatherings with cakes and other decadent desserts. Cookies are a classic holiday treat, and some families even build entire traditions around baking Christmas cookies. Novice bakers making cookies for the first time may be a little overwhelmed when perusing recipes. Baking is a sci-

ence, and sometimes it takes practice to get the results just right. However, there are some tips that can help yield better, buttery bounties.

measuring cup into the flour or tap the knife against the cup. This will pack too much flour into the measuring cup and result in dry, tough cookies.

Handle butter with care Butter can make or break a cookie recipe, as butter is often the glue that holds the cookie together. Therefore, it is key to follow the directions carefully regarding how to handle butter. Smithsonian.com says to leave butter at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes to properly soften it. This takes patience, but fiddling with butter too much can damage its delectable integrity. While purists may say butter is best, margarine may be acceptable if it has a high fat content; otherwise, cookies may spread out and flatten.

Slow down the eggs Add eggs one at a time to make sure each will emulsify properly with the fat in the butter. Adding eggs en masse may cause the emulsification to fail.

When it comes time to cream the butter with sugar, be sure to do so thoroughly to incorporate air into the butter and remove the grainy texture of the sugar. Measure flour properly Measuring flour the right way can ensure cookies come out right. The Cooking Channel says to spoon the flour lightly into a dry measuring cup, then level it off with a knife. Do not dip the

FIREPLACE Continued from page 11

fire hazard and potentially contribute to excessive smoke and creosote. Keep decorations that kids will be tempted to touch away from the fireplace so kids do not hang out near the heat and open

flames. Fireplaces are often a focal point of holiday decorating and entertaining. Homeowners who want to incorporate their fireplaces into their holiday decor must emphasize safety when doing so.

Chill out Follow recipes that call for chilling cookie dough carefully. This process is important for making sliced and shaped cookies. By chilling, the dough becomes more malleable for rolling and even slicing. Use a bottom rack Too much heat may compromise cookie integrity. The food experts at Delish say to try moving cookies onto a lower rack in the oven if they aren’t retaining their shape when baked. Put an empty cookie sheet on the top rack. That will block the cookies from the most intense heat that rises to the top of the oven. Mastering cookies takes a little patience and some trial and error. Once bakers get their feet wet, Christmas-cookie-baking becomes even more special.


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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

HOW TO MAKE HOLIDAY WREATHS THE EASY WAY There are many different ways to decorate homes and businesses for the holidays. Tall evergreen trees are among the most visible symbols of the holiday season. However, wreaths hung on doors, windows or fences also are ubiquitous this time of year. Wreaths adorn homes primarily during the holidays of Easter and Christmas. Wreaths have also been worn around the head or neck in ceremonial events around the globe for centuries. It is believed the first wreaths date back to ancient Greece and Rome. Members of the Greco-Roman society were known to hand-make ringshaped items using fresh tree leaves, small fruits, flowers, and twigs. Oftentimes these headdresses symbolized a person’s social status. Others suggest wreaths evolved to become a Christian symbol of immortality. Regardless of how wreaths are viewed, many people like to display wreaths for the holidays. Wreaths can be purchased premade, but making a wreath on your own can make the holidays even more fun. One of the easiest ways to make a wreath is to design it around a circular floral foam form. Gather supplies to make the wreath. For traditional wreaths, supplies will include sprigs of evergreen (real or artificial), ribbon, floral wire, bows, and artificial berries. Working around

the foam form, arrange the boughs of evergreen, using the floral wire to wrap or pin into the foam itself. Keep the layers coming until you get the desired coverage. Embellish with a ribbon or place a bow. Creating a wreath jig is an easy way to make a wreath. Cut a dollar-store laundry basket bottom from the top ring to make a template, on which you can place wreath-making materials so they keep their circular form. Use floral wire or natural jute string to tie the materials together. Experiment with fresh evergreen, twigs, holly branches, or whatever materials you choose. Thick card stock also can serve as the wreath template. Attach artificial flowers or leaves, spray snow, ornaments, or other items to the card stock ring with a firm adhesive. Many craft stores sell wreath forms made of natural vines that have been strung in a ring. These can be decorated in their entirety or left a little sparse to let the natural twine show through. Wreaths may seem like complicated creations. But a little imagination and the right materials is all it takes to create a homemade wreath.

COCONUT-CRANBERRY BLONDIES Looking for an alternative to brownies? These festive blondies are the perfect substitute. Start to finish: 3 hours (25 minutes active) Servings: 12

• • • • • • • •

3/4 cup dried cranberries 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup white chocolate chips 1/3 cup butter 1 egg 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients: Blondie • 1 cup all-purpose flour • 3/4 cup sweetened, shredded coconut

DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. 2. Cover the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, letting the edges hang over the side. 3. In a bowl, combine the flour, coconut, cranberries, baking powder and salt. 4. In another bowl (this one should be microwave safe) place the white chocolate chips and butter and melt them in the microwave for about 30 seconds. 5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg, brown sugar and vanilla on medium speed until the mixture has doubled in volume (about 3 minutes).

Sauce • 1 cup white chocolate chips • 1 or 2 tablespoons milk

6. Add the white chocolate and butter mixture to the egg mixture and mix on slow speed. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients until just combined. 7. Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry. 8. Let cool for about two hours. 9. To make the sauce, melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave (about 30 seconds) with 1 tablespoon of milk. If it’s too thick, add another tablespoon of milk once the chocolate is melted. 10. Cut the blondies into squares or rectangles and serve with the sauce.


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Mainline Newspapers - Wednesday, November 27, 2019

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