Bridal/Traditions Wellness Moms Careers Home & Garden
Celebrating the Wonderful Women of Wisconsin December 2016
Holiday Gift Guide Jamberry
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Magazine Staff Editor/Owner/Publisher:
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© 2016 Queen of the Castle Magazine. Queen of the Castle Magazine is published by It’s Your Journey, LLC. The writing, artwork, and photography in Queen of the Castle Magazine remain the work product of the respective authors, artists, and photographers creating the same. It’s Your Journey, LLC and Queen of the Castle Magazine are not liable for use of any copyrighted work provided by its writers or advertisers. Opinions expressed in Queen of the Castle Magazine are the opinions of the writers, artists, photographers, or advertisers themselves, not the opinions of its editors nor staff.
We are proud to print on partially recycled paper. Please pass this issue around to help reuse and when you are ﬁnished paging through it, please recycle it as well! Thank you for doing your part to help us be environmentally friendly! December 2016
Ba k i n g a w a r m s o u l I s s u e
18 30 38 46 54
06 Measuring the moments 13 Holiday happiness
Health & Wellness
Fitness & fashion Sifting through the holidays
Moms 30 36
Kids in motion Creative kiddos
Careers 38 43
Genuine spills on health & mindfullness Surrounding the table
B ridal/Traditions 46 50 52
Holiday happiness Quick holiday center pieces Holiday Tree Decorations
Home & Garden 54 58 61 63
Baking for loving souls A savory sense OfďŹ ce recipes Top holiday travels
Hell o, beautiful souls! December is here with all the festivities it brings our way. What a fabulous time of year to enjoy the merriment of spending time with family and friends. When I think of December the following words come to mind: joyful, giving, cheer, and peace. The month of December can go by quickly between all the gatherings from ofﬁce parties to friends and family celebrations. If you truly are able to live in the moment, you can absorb all the joy and cheer around you. When that feeling of joyfulness ﬁlls us we know our souls are at peace. I know it can be a hectic time of year, so remember a deep breath in and out of the cool air is such a cleansing act to reduce stress. As that cool air hits your face, look around at all the beautiful hustle and bustle of the season. It won’t last for long, enjoy every moment of it.
Kathleen Walton Owner/Publisher
This is such a fantastic time to give to those who need a little extra help. Over the years, as a family, we have put together a care package of gift cards for another family that may need some assistance. We give it anonymously as we are not looking for credit. It makes our hearts feel fortunate to be able to share and make another families Christmas joyful. Give when you can, even if it is a helping hand, because you never know how much that means to someone. Our December issue of Queen of the Castle Magazine is “Baking a warm soul”. As you all know I am a strong believer of doing everything you can to have peace in your soul. So sit back with a cup of your favorite warm beverage, on one of our cool December days, and take in all the uplifting articles and tips throughout this issue. Have a fantastic month with all your family and friends, you beautiful souls.
Hugs, Kathleen Each month we have a themed issue, but we also have reoccurring sections that cover all aspects of a woman’s life- they are color coded! (see the key)
Take a tour of the
Tell us your story: Know a Wisconsin woman who is doing great things for her community? Do you have a story of triumph after trial, love after loss or just overall great tips or advice you’d like to share with our 60,000 readers? Share it with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abby Marie Photography
By: Jenn Chapman
he start of deer hunting season is marked on calendars all across the state of Wisconsin. For seven women who were raised in the town of Eleva, it’s on theirs as well. But you won’t find them out in the woods stalking their game, they’re in the kitchen creating and recreating their masterpieces. The self-proclaimed Cookie Queens take opening weekend just as seriously as their husbands. They’re just armed a little differently, with spatulas, whisks, baby fryers, and whole lot of butter, flour, and sugar. This year, the Cookie Queens are celebrating their 20th year of exchanging recipes, baked goods, laughter, and each other’s company. The ladies say the group was founded thanks to Cindy (Anderson) Nymo and Roxie (Semingson) Berg’s interest in their Norwegian heritage. It then became a bit of family affair when they added two sets of sisters to the group; Teresa (Sather) Sisco and Justine (Sather) Vernon, and fraternal twins Kathy (Wichmann) Tollefson and Karen Wichmann. The final member, Anne (Gehring) Kunes is more German than Norwegian, but she’s Kathy and Karen’s cousin, so she got the OK to join in on the fun. “Although Cindy and I may have been the ones to insist on the
Norwegian baking, Kathy has always been the organizer. I can hardly wait each year to gather together. Lots of baking, good food, laughs, and sometimes even tears. I am thankful for all six of the gals, and they are a blessing to me,” says Roxie Berg. “It’s a special weekend for us. Kathy has been my best friend since third grade and is really the chief organizer of it all. We all have a great time together- baking, sharing our life stories and of course loads of laughter,” says Justine Vernon. The Cookie Queens ages range from 63 to 69 years old; Anne the wisest, Teresa the youngest. “I was invited into this group as the “little sister” which is always fun but of course now we are all way beyond that. We’ve learned over the years to enjoy our friendship first and baking second. One of my favorite parts of the cookie group is time with my sister. The whole group hears us laughing in bed all night,” says Teresa Sisco. Only one is still located in Eleva, the others are spread out across the state in Chetek, Madison, Cornell, Eau Claire, and Hudson. Yet, no matter the distance, when it’s the weekend before Thanksgiving they all come together. Some things have changed since they first began the tradition but some aspects will always remain the same.
The Treats “We’re not making as much as we’ve gotten older. Our health and wellness is even more of a focus for all of us. Metabolisms slow down, so we are much more selective about the things we make and take home. We really just focus on what’s traditional for Christmas,” says Karen. For this bunch that means the Scandinavian Christmas staples: rosettes and sandbakkels. Rosettes are a thin, deep-fried, cookie-type pastry that are made in elaborate irons, one at a time. The sandbakkels have their own special baking tins that have been passed down from their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. Similar to cast iron cooking, these tins call for minimal washing. This precious inheritance is simply brushed gently before the next use so that they stay seasoned. “Everyone tweaks sandbakkels. Those are a very tricky thing to make and can vary. Sandbakkels can have a hint of almond, vanilla, or cardamom, just to name a few. And really that hint
choice can hint at your heritage,” Karen shares. Everything is home made, with a lot of love and attention going into each and every recipe. The Cookie Queens have easily turned out more than 20,000 goodies over their weekends together, but now they’ve cut back. There is no fretting if one recipe doesn’t turn out, it’s a community amongst themselves and they divvy up the goods. In their earlier years, the ladies got to work right on Friday evening upon arrival to their host location. Now that evening is mostly reserved for picture sharing and updating each other on new babies, weddings, and family stories. Between the seven women there are 17 children and 26 grandchildren. There is always plenty to catch up on. Saturday is spent baking, perfecting recipes, and trading goodies before heading out for a night on the town or simply staying in together for the evening. They wrap it all up on Sunday morning finishing with a brunch.
“The Cookie Queens”
Photographer: Abby Marie Photography
Venue: The Oxbow Hotel Eau Claire, Wis.
About the shoot: This was the ﬁrst shoot that I have ever been force-fed cookies... and I hope not the last because they were AMAZING. I had such a memorable time with this group of women, and they even put up with my “Santa” laugh! We all walked away with sore faces from smiling, laughing, and chatting.
About the Photographer
and think about what is it that YOU If you are an outgoing, love-towant to have seen. Every client is laugh type of person I would LOVE diﬀerent so I tailor every photoshoot to work with you! I also greatly experience towards your likes and enjoy traveling so please don’t dislikes.... just kidding, we want only let that hold you back from conHey there! I am Abby and am an happy things, dislikes can be left at tacting AMP for your future photo on-location photographer based in the door. sessions! Menomonie, Wisconsin. I moved here four years ago from Minnesota (don’t You can check out Abby’s work worry, I was raised a Packer fan) and When I am not smearing makeup on via... the back of my camera I am a lover have since then focused on ﬂourishing of all things comfy, scary, and cafmy business to provide families, high www.abbymariephotography.com school seniors, and couples with fun feinated. My favorite past times are blasting stickers all over my planner email@example.com and full of color images. (that I forget to use), eating (because My spunky and humorous personality You can also ﬁnd AM is sure to get you and your loved ones come on, that is one of the greatest Productions on Facebook! joys in life), and getting cuddles laughing and having a great time.... 715-308-0662 with some really lame jokes included from my four year old (who has free of charge. the attitude of a teenager). My favorite part of what I do is providing photos for clients that truly capture the moment so that they can relive them time and time again. I step into your shoes (not literally speaking)
“PAY THE TEMP” JOINER’S FEE
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Su e's H
By: Lara Bockenstedt
ue’s Deluxe Bake Shop carries an assortment of classic holiday treats. What’s special about the shop isn’t necessarily the fact that most everything is made from scratch or that it’s an important part of the holidays for community members, it’s how they celebrate tradition. For owner, Sue Ranney, her work preparing goods has been synonymous with holiday time, and she can’t imagine a life without it. Ranney has only experienced two holiday seasons were she wasn’t working tirelessly in the bakery. This characteristic has carried over from her childhood, through the raising of her own children, and still continues as she works in one of the few traditional Swedish bakeries in the Eau Claire area. Rosettes, Julekaga, gingerbread boys and pies are among the display of holiday goods. The bakery itself smells like warm bread, icing and holiday spices. Many of the items harken back to recipes grandmothers made during the holidays.
“Oh, you just make my Christmas” is a compliment Ranney said she’s gifted with frequently around holiday-time. Many families have included her treats as part of their family tradition.
She said there are some customers who come annually for the holidays to pick up the special Norwegian treats. One customer has his son ship one of Sue’s Deluxe Bake Shop’s julekaga’s out to Arizona. Ranney makes everything she possibly can from scratch. Over the years, a recipe or two has been altered because of supplier changes. But as best as she can, the recipes reflect what one would have seen in the bake shop fifty years ago. A few special tricks make the taste unique to this shop. Their rosettes are fried in lard, only six at a time, giving it “that wonderful flavor,” Ranney says. One customer arrives each holiday season and purchases 50 dozen batches of rosettes. Christmas cookies are made from butter, in several different varieties: fondant creams (a little cookie with red and green frosting in the middle), Swedish dreams, Mexican wedding cakes with powdered sugar and coconut macaroons, basic cut-outs and frosted cookies. The deluxe bake shop is the only bakery in town that provides Sandbakkels, a Scandinavian cookie tart. The Julekaga is made with cardamom, raisins and candied fruit. It’s topped with white icing. For many Norwegians, it’s a Christmas cake. Upon entering the bake shop, a bell tinkles welcoming customers through the red and green decorations. Ranney wants the customer to feel the holiday spirit just by walking through the door.
“I’ll decorate the bakery and then I get a little stocking and I stick some things in there to give people ideas,” Ranney said. “Those little gingerbread boys are great.” The bake shop has been recognized for excellence not just in the community but throughout the state of Wisconsin. It’s won Volume One’s Best Bakery award three years in a row and is listed as one of the top ten bakeries in Wisconsin by Travel. com. While the awards do justice for the delicious goods, meeting Ranney and talking about the history behind the recipes and holiday-time schedule, is a reminder of how much effort goes in to making a quality product. The deluxe bake shop has had quite a journey. Ranney’s father began working at Johnson’s Bakery in the 1940s. All are original recipes are from Johnson’s Bakery. The Johnson’s 1940s recipe book stays in the shop; a Norwegian book yellowed with age. “In fact nobody could hardly read that recipe book,” Ranney said. “I said well I got everything up in my head now.” Eventually Ranney’s father bought the bakery in the 1960s and renamed it Deluxe Bake Shop. “The bakery was kind of the center for the family,” she said, recalling the years of helping her parents out. They would begin
at 2 a.m. prepping and working alongside family and friends throughout the week. It wasn’t Ranney’s original intention to work in the bakery as a career. However, when she graduated from college, it was an available job. Several years later her parents made an offer to sell the bakery to her. When Sue re-opened the Bakery as “Sue’s Deluxe Bake Shop” on Birch Street, she kept the same traditions and recipes she knew all her life. It’s a bake shop celebrating baking practices from an older generation. Every once in a while, she says parents will ask to bring their kids to the back so they can see what a “real bakery looks like.” As little kids come in to buy a treat they press their noses against the glass of the front display case with such wonder in their eyes. The shop sells special treats during the holiday season, but throughout the year, one can find cinnamon bread, pastries and cookies. The team of women working in the back kitchen are constantly helping each other out. Dusted with flour, their hands and arms a bright white as they move around the bakery with a bustling sense of comfort. Her employees know how important each of their contributions is to the big picture. December 2016
Fitness & Fashion Written by Jenn Chapman
“What might work for me in a workout might not work for someone else. I try them out so I know what I’m talking about when I share a specific type of training or class,” she says. And really that is her welcoming approach to everything. She’s not selling you anything or trying to lead her followers to one workout or another, she simply is sharing her love for fitness as a way to help others find ways to hit their goals. The same goes for the outfits she sports. “I try to stay unbiased with all the different brands. I truly promote what I think is new and good and what works for me. Everyone has a different style.” Kim explains. Kim isn’t doing this alone. Her counterpart is equally as adorable. Bentley, her 8 year-old pup is a fixture in many of her photos, the perfect accessory.
TIME OUT! Working out can be cute? Stylish? Fun? One look at Kim Larsen and you would definitely think so. She’s the perfect combination of sporty spice and fashionista. If you’re used to just throwing on an old t-shirt for your workout, she’ll have you re-thinking your choices. The Eau Claire, Wisconsin resident covers four F’s on her online blog: Fitness, Fashion, Food, and Fun. The blog, that she openly admits came together by accident, aims to help motivate others to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. “I was posting random photos on Instagram; photos with my feet at a workout, photos with my dog and my feet, photos of the scenery from my workouts. At the same time I was constantly being asked ‘where did you buy this’? They were asking about my clothes so I started taking more photos of what I was wearing and started talking fitness fashion,” says Kim. She launched her blog in June of last year. Two weeks later she was a guest on WEAU13 in Eau Claire promoting fitness fashion. The segment was so popular she’s now a regular on WEAU’s morning show ‘Hello Wisconsin’ with her very own segment called Fitness Fashion Friday. “Although I have an extensive background and experience working out, I struggle like everyone else. I’m not naturally lean nor am I a natural athlete. I have times when I’m very fit and I have times when I waiver on my workouts and nutrition,” Kim shares, and it’s that openness and warmth that makes her blog all the more appealing. “I first started taking an interest in fitness over 30 years ago. I couldn’t run a block, but you have to start somewhere,” she says. “I started with a quarter of a mile run then would walk home. Later, I moved up to half a mile run and walk back home, and on up. It’s been a progress.” Her steady approach has led her to the finish line of multiple local 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons. Beyond running she has dabbled in it all. She’s gone through different training cycles from biking to bodybuilding to fitness cross over classes, to bootcamps, and yoga. She’s constantly learning and trying something different (in the future she wants to take on rowing). Her interest and knowledge in a wide variety of workouts allows for her blog to reach so many different types of athletes. Popular amongst her readers are her giveaways that promote local products, classes, and trainers. Readers receive Giveaway notifications given through her kimbentley newsletter and promoted on kimbentley Facebook. For a fitness location or trainer to be featured on the blog or giveaway, Kim first attends the classes and workouts.
“He’s used to getting his picture taken…but he’s a very lazy dog,” Kim says laughing, “He would rather be carried than walk. So not the fittest dog on the planet, but likes to be curious.” Next up for Kim, a YouTube Channel to share recipe ideas, she’s on the look out recipes that are not only easy but also healthy “I’m not a cook so this is coming from an angle of, if I can do it, you can too,” she says. Along the way Kim has learned it’s all about keeping a balance so exercise is valued but not addictive. “At five feet tall and into my fifth decade of life, I know I need to keep myself in check to stay on track. I have learned the importance of finding an exercise program that’s enjoyable with people that are supportive. I hope my blog will help readers find their fit lifestyle balancing fitness programs they enjoy, fashion that fits their style, food that ensures their health, and fun activities to bring joy to their lives.” Want to know more: Check out www.kimbentley.fitness online, kimbentley Facebook, and kimbentleyfit Instagram.
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Sifting through the holidays Written by: Christine Dodd
The holidays can be considered the happiest time of year. They are occasions filled with laughter, love, and a lavish assortment of the most delectable food that evoke comfort feelings. Yet they can also be the most challenging and terrifying times of the year for nutritionally conscious people or those trying to make a transition into a healthier lifestyle. Everywhere you look, there is another alluring snack calling your attention or another family member offering you that second serving of stuffing. You may have spent all year exercising hard and eating clean and now suddenly you’re put to the ultimate test of willpower. Have no fear. You are not alone in this struggle! Knowing your goals and having a solid support system is the best way to keep your nutrition on track through the holidays. Here are some suggestions on how to help you stay healthy and happy through the season. Tips for healthier holidays: -Mindful Eating: Always be aware of what you are eating. Sounds easy enough, right? Family gatherings are the easiest occasions to over-eat. Between the copious amounts of Grandma’s Graham Cracker rolls prior to dinner and the joyous chatter over dinner, we can consume too much. Be mindful of the food right in front of you. Mindless eating is the quickest way to gain those dreaded holiday pounds. Take the time to look down at your food. Savoring every bite with thorough chewing will make both your brain and body aware of when you are full and will also help with digestion. -Eat your veggies and meat first: Filling up on high nutrient-value foods is an easy way to fill up on the good stuff first, leaving less room for the less nutritious, less-filling, high-sodium carbs and desserts. Choose your food wisely and fill your plate with low-calorie lean proteins and veggies, while taking a smaller serving of the higher-calorie macaroni-salads, etc. -Size things down a bit: As beautiful as the holiday plates are, they are HUGE! You get this mammoth-sized platter to fill with food and goodies, and I, as well as many others, were raised to “clean our plates” and that is an incredibly hard habit to break. As strange as it may feel, bringing your own tableware may be a key to
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Kids By: Lori Heck
or playing video games may be the activity “Is winter over yet? My kids are going stir of choice and one that you are trying to place crazy from being stuck inside and I may just time limitations on. It is important that chillose my sanity from the bickering, nagging dren continue to get physical activity even if and fighting!” This is a statement I’ve ofstuck inside due to inclement weather. Before ten heard from several moms over the years during training sessions. If this sounds familiar I get into the activities, here are a few importand you are at wits end, I’m here to offer some ant and interesting facts to know about childhood obesity and the importance of physical assistance and, hopefully, some good exercise activity! activities for you and your children. During the winter months, kids may not be as quick to run outside to play, unless, of course, they love winter activities! Watching television and/ 30 queenofthecastlemagazine.com
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Group of CVTC students volunteering with meal prep
By: Jenn Chapman
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. At least that’s what the ever popular song claims. In reality for many it is the busiest time of year and that is certainly the case for volunteer service programs like The Community Table located in downtown Eau Claire. “There is so much work to be done. Numbers this year have increased with the warmer weather. Plus, we always expect an increase need around the holidays,” says Lynn Standorf, executive director of The Community Table.
“We don’t ask questions, we are just going to feed you,” Lynn says. “The people that started the agency wanted it to be on a no question asked basis. Anyone who walks through our doors will be treated with dignity and respect.” They can do this because the program is supported by individuals and groups in the community. “A majority of our funding comes through donations from our community. We do receive United Way funds and grants, but 80% of our budget is from community support,” Lynn adds.
There’s also an increase of people wanting to lend a helping hand around the holidays. The spirit of the season has many looking for ways to donate their time and resources. The Community Table receives an influx of donations, blankets, and warm weather gear during this time of year but they can always add more support.
The daily meal has seen a new type of crowd in recent months. A lot of young professionals trying to make ends meet, between student loan payments, car payments and end of the month bills, the millennials are finding themselves at The Community Table for a solid meal.
The Community Table has been around since 1993. Its sole purpose was to serve a hot, nutritious meal, 365 days a year on a no questions asked basis.
“We have people that come in that had to do service learning with us in college, so they know it’s a safe, welcoming environment. They find themselves in a tough position and they know they can come to us,” Lynn explains. December 2016
New Year's Eve Event Friday, December 30th 5:00PM - 9:00PM$5 per person (Cash Only) 2 & under FREE!
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M u h s g t i e G l S o e h O n T
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Center Peices Photo Inspiration from Pinterest
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By: Haley Wright 54 queenofthecastlemagazine.com
ith family around for the holidays and the New Year and New Years’ resolutions upon us, it is a good time to start thinking ahead about the future, and how to protect yourself and loved ones in the event of decline or demise. It is always a good idea to have a plan in place, including a Power of Attorney for Healthcare, a Durable Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Directive, and a will. If any of these items are out of date due to a divorce, death, or other circumstances they should be updated. Having a plan in place if something were to happen to you saves the guess work for loved ones as well as time and money in otherwise necessary court proceedings.
What is a Power of Attorney for Healthcare and a Durable Power of Attorney? A Power of Attorney (POA) for Health Care is “[a] document that gives a person known as an “agent” the right to make medical decisions on behalf of the creator, called the “principal.” The document by its terms is usually quite broad. The statutory form states “I instruct my health care provider to obtain the health care decision of my health care agent, if I need treatment, for all of my health care and treatment.” A power can be limited, but it usually isn’t. Otherwise it is almost impossible to anticipate the range of circumstances that may present (themselves) down the road,” says Attorney Greg Banchy of Banchy Law in Eau Claire.
A Durable Power of Attorney is similar to a Power of Attorney for Health Care, “giving an agent the right and authority to make financial decisions for the principal. The biggest different is that DPOAs do not include much by way of implied powers as is really the case for health care powers. The agent can only do what the document says they can do—expressly. This can be as narrow as one event on a single day (represent me at the closing of my house on January 2), or extremely broad, really allowing the agent to do almost anything the principal could do.” says Attorney Banchy. “A durable power of attorney can take effect in one of two ways. If you wish, it can take effect immediately. Your power of attorney may provide that it becomes effective at a later date or if you become incapacitated. A doctor, a judge, or some other person may be named to determine if you are incapacitated. The latter is called a “springing” power of attorney. A power of attorney ends at your death. Your agent retains no further authority to handle your finances. If you want your agent to settle your financial affairs after you die, you need to name that person as your personal representative in your will,” advises Attorney Nick Heike of Heike Law Office in Eau Claire and Mondovi.
Attorney Banchy says in addition to health care decisions, the POA for Health Care has the power to make decisions regarding longer-term care, including admission into a nursing home or Community Based Residential Facility. They also can make decisions on behalf of women who are pregnant (if relevant), and to make end of life type-decisions, such as to withhold or withdraw a feeding tube. He says there are statutory limitations on a POA for Health care regarding mental health treatment. December 2016 queenofthecastlemagazine.com 55
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By: Denise Bender
We spice it up a tad using special sauces and dips for the difdif ferent meats and veggies. For dessert, we switch to a chocolate fondue, dipping pineapple, strawberries, bananas and pound cake. Yummo!
When my husband and I were first married, my mom was the tradition maker. We always had turkey with all the fixins’ at Christmas and ham at Easter. This was comforting and predictable and when the boys were little, very reassuring. I knew there would be good food that they would actually eat.
It’s my turn now that my Dad has passed and my Mom no longer wants to cook all that food. As an only child, it falls to me to continue the same traditions. We used to have turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, two veggies, jello salad, cranberry sauce, crescent rolls, and a relish tray plus at least two pies for dessert! I keep it a lot simpler. The jello salad, relish tray, one of the veggies and one of the pies had to go. It’s much simpler to prepare and easier on the waistline.
y favorite part about cooking over the holidays is having my family around, laughing, and enjoying good food and drinks. My three boys are all grown adults now but not married, so we still get to enjoy their company at the holidays.
We also started another fun tradition with my folks and our family. On Christmas Eve we break out the fondue pots. We begin with a hot oil fondue with steak, chicken, shrimp, potatoes, cauliflower and mini hot dogs for the kids. And to this day, even though they are not really kids any more, they still like those hot dogs! Prep is easy and can be done a few days in advance as all we do is cut up the pieces! Fondue takes a while to eat and everyone cooks their own food.
I enjoy the competitive feeling of putting a meal together and getting it all on the table at about the same time. It’s kind of an adrenaline rush. Keeping it simple is my motto. I run 3 businesses and have a very abundant schedule so planning ahead helps me to keep my sanity.
Here are my tips for keeping it simple and stress free. ► Make your grocery shopping list ahead of time. ► Shop for your turkey at least 4-5 days ahead, storing in the refrigerator so it will thaw by the time you are ready to cook it. ► Shop for non-perishable items as far out as you can. Leave your perishable grocery shopping for a couple of days before the holiday just so you can avoid some of the crowds of last minute shoppers. If you shop early, your selection will be better. ► Make some items ahead of time. I have a delicious recipe for “make ahead potatoes”. If you’re adventurous, I also have a recipe for how you can make your turkey ahead of time. Dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. ► Remember if you stir it, it can count as homemade! Go easy on yourself. Give yourself permission to take short cuts. Use bottled specialty spices and sauces to season your turkey, dressing and all aspects of your meal. Gravy can come from a jar or packet, it’s less lumpy then! Dressing can come from a box or heck, check out the deli at the grocery store, they may have plenty of what you want. Just heat and serve! ► There’s a reason why green bean casserole is such a staple. Most everyone loves it, it’s easy to make and virtually pre-cooked. All you have to do is mix three ingredients together and throw it the oven. ► No one said you MUST have pumpkin pie! Bakeries were invented for people like me who don’t like to bake. You could buy a frozen pie or make a box cake. ► If you are cooking for a crowd, ask everyone to bring a part of the meal… they’re coming to your house, the least they can do is help! (Don’t forget to have them pitch in to clean up too!!) ► I also take notes and store them in a folder, or in my recipe box, of what I prepared for the holiday. This includes how much I used and how long it took. Then I don’t have to reinvent the menu or the timetable every year.
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes Recipe:
6 medium potatoes (about 2#) 4 oz sour cream 4 oz cream cheese cut up into squares 1 tbsp butter 1 tsp onion salt ¼ tsp pepper ½ to 1 tsp baking powder ¼ to ½ C milk or half & half
Peel & quarter potatoes. Cook until tender approximately 30 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Mash with potato masher or electric mixer on low speed. Add sour cream, cream cheese, butter, onion, salt & pepper. Gradually beat in enough milk to make smooth, while also adding baking powder (helps keep them fluffy). Pour into a greased (w/baking spray) 1-1/2 qt casserole. Cover with foil. Chill up to 24 hours. (If made further ahead, freeze.) If frozen, thaw overnight in fridge, heat in oven (1 hour) or greased crock pot (2-3 hours). Serves 5 to 6.
Make Ahead Turkey Recipe:
Bake your turkey according to package directions. After it’s cooked slice the turkey as you would to serve. Place all the sliced parts into a large oven cooking bag, pour pan drippings over sliced turkey. Seal the bag tightly and place in another container. You can refrigerate if less than 2 days prior to serving day or freeze. If frozen thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours prior to baking. Bake to warm, use drippings to make gravy, add more low sodium chicken broth, to gravy drippings if not enough.
Tradition, that’s what holidays are about and families love tradition. So enjoy, relax and have a glass of wine!
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Reader favorites from last month’s issue! All past issues are available online anytime at queenofthecastlemagazine.com
November issue Be aware, take care. A female veteran and role model to many, making her impact everyday.
(Above) Serving to save- learning what brings others to want to serve and protect. (Below) Safety in numbers; a great Q&A from Haley Wright.
P T A S
(Above) Tips to secure ﬁtness. (Below) Out of sight out of mind.
White Chocolate Peppermint O reo Bark Prep time: 15 mins Total time: 15 mins Author: Gayle Serves: 50 Ingredients: • 20 ounces white chocolate candiquick or white chocolate morsels • 16 Oreos, roughly chopped • 1/3 cup crushed peppermint candy canes Instructions: 1 Line a 13 x 9 baking tray with parchment paper, making sure that extra paper hangs over the sides for easy lifting once chocolate is hardened. Set aside. 2 Assemble Oreo cookies and crushed candy canes so that toppings are ready to use. 3 In a medium bowl, break 8 ounces of white chocolate into pieces and microwave until fully melted and smooth. Be sure to stop and stir every 30 seconds so that chocolate doesn’t burn. 4 Once chocolate in melted, spread onto prepared tray using a spatula or knife. White chocolate should cover entire pan in a thin layer. 5 Top white chocolate with crushed Oreo cookies. 6 Place pan in refrigerator for 10 minutes to harden. 7 As chocolate mixture is hardening, melt remaining 12 ounces of white chocolate in the microwave until smooth. 8 Remove pan from refrigerator and spread remaining white chocolate over the top in an even layer, coating the entire pan. 9 Sprinkle crushed candy canes over top of chocolate. 10 Place into the refrigerator for 15 minutes to harden completely. 11 Once ready, lift parchment paper by overhang and set on counter. Chocolate will lift right out of paper. 12 Break into pieces by hand or using a knife. 13 Bark will keep in an air tight container for up to one month if left on the counter, or will keep in the refrigerator for several months.
Funfetti Shortbread Bites Yield: About 335 bites Ingredients: • 1 cup (226g) salted butter, cold and diced into 1 Tbsp pieces* • 2/3 cup (142g) granulated sugar chocolate morsels • 1/2 tsp almond extract • 2 1/4 cups (318g) all-purpose flour • 2 1/2 Tbsp (30g) nonpareils sprinkles (any color), then about 1/2 Tbsp more for tops if desired • 2 1/4 cups (318g) all-purpose flour Directions: Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and line with 2 sheets of parchment paper (one horizontally and one vertically. I also like to butter between parchment sheets so they stick) leaving a 1-inch over hang on all sides, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until well combined. Mix in almond extract. With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour and mix until combined (it will take a while and will appear dry and sandy at first but it will start to come together). Mix and fold in sprinkles. Press dough into an even layer in prepared pan (I did it with my hands first then used the bottom of a flat measuring cup to help smooth it out). Chill dough in refrigerator 20 - 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees.
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Top 5 traveled US A cities during the holidays Ever wonder the top cities to travel to during the holidays? By: Denise Petricka
1 Maui, HI
2 orlando, FL
3 Las vegas, nv
New york city, ny
5 Honolulu, hi
Denise Petricka has been in the travel industry since 1990 and is currently the Vice President/Owner of Higgins Travel Leaders in western Wisconsin. For help planning a destination wedding or honeymoon, contact, email@example.com.
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