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Tag Archive | "holidays"

Coping with cancer during the holidays


By Mary Anne Meyers

Much of our holiday cheer comes during celebrations with friends and family around the table. If a loved one or friend has been diagnosed with an illness such as cancer, however, that meal may pose problems because of treatment side effects. Registered dietician Sharlene Bidini says planning ahead of time can help. For example, she suggests that the host ask the guest in treatment about the best day for the celebration.
“Often, if they’re receiving chemotherapy, say on a Tuesday, they have a pattern of feeling bad Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. But maybe they might rebound and feel good on the weekend.” Bidini, who counsels cancer patients at the Oakwood Cancer Center, Dearborn, says it’s best to ask the person questions like this first, because many times only small adjustments need to be made so that everyone can enjoy the meal and a memorable holiday.
Some treatments cause a sore mouth or throat, so something cool and creamy can provide comfort, she says.“Instead of hot, crispy cherry pie right out of the oven, they might prefer pumpkin pie with whipped cream right out of the refrigerator.”
Some people might need something as simple as the croutons or tomatoes left out of their salad, or a side dish may have to be changed, Bidini says.
In general, the main dish is usually not a problem, she adds. “Whatever you choose—turkey, ham, chicken, fish—whatever your primary protein is, that’s excellent for healing.”
Bidini understands that a diagnosis of cancer can be stressful for a family, but she says by asking such questions and doing a little research, attention can return to what’s really important: “Creating memories, having fun holiday times together, not focusing in so much on how much they are eating or not eating, but just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.” For tips on coping with cancer during the holidays and holiday recipes go to www.cancer.org.

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A Holiday Table


Maple and Mustard Pork Crown Roast

FULL OF FLAVOR with Pure Maple Syrup

 

Family Features
Whether you invite a few friends for cocktails and snacks, or you’re hosting the whole crowd for a holiday meal, add warmth and richness to special dishes with pure maple syrup from Canada.
Maple syrup adds more than flavor and sweetness. All-natural pure maple syrup has been shown to be healthier for you than most other sweeteners.
The recipes here show how maple syrup highlights the sweet or savory flavors of holiday appetizers, a pork roast and dessert. And that lets you say Happy Holidays to your friends and family in a most delicious way.
When shopping at the grocery store, be sure to look for “100% pure maple syrup” on bottle labels.
For more holiday recipes, visit www.purecanadamaple.com or follow on Twitter @PureCanadaMaple.

Maple and Mustard Pork Crown Roast

Yield: 18 portions
1     10-pound pork crown roast
6     cloves garlic, cut in half lengthwise
1     cup pure maple syrup from Canada
1/2     cup red wine
1     medium onion, chopped
1/4     cup mixed fresh herbs (rosemary, parsley,
thyme), divided
1/2     cup Dijon mustard
1/2     cup plus 2 tablespoons softened butter, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
2/3     cup chicken stock
1/2     cup butter
Put roast in large roasting pan. With sharp knife, prick meat in 12 places; insert a garlic slice in each incision.
In bowl, mix maple syrup, wine, onion and 1 tablespoon herbs; pour over pork. Refrigerate 30 minutes, spooning marinade over pork every 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Pour marinade from pan into bowl; reserve.
Pat roast dry with paper towels. In small bowl, mix mustard, 2 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper. Spread entire roast with mixture; sprinkle with remaining herbs. Bake 60 to 75 minutes, or until 160°F internal temperature.
Remove roast from pan to serving platter; loosely cover with foil. Place pan on stove; add reserved marinade and chicken stock. Over medium-high heat, stir constantly until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 1/2 cup butter; pour sauce around the roast. If desired, garnish with fruit and herbs.

Maple and Portobello Strudel

Maple and Portobello Strudel

Yield: 8 portions
1/2     cup (1 stick) butter, divided
4     portobello mushrooms, chopped
1     medium onion, chopped
1     clove garlic, minced
1     medium apple, peeled, cored and grated
1     tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4     cup pure maple syrup from Canada
4     sheets phyllo dough
In skillet over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter; add mushrooms, onion, garlic, apple and thyme. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter. In bowl, stir butter and maple syrup.
On a work surface, spread out one sheet of phyllo; brush with butter-maple syrup mixture. Stack the next 3 sheets, brushing each layer with butter-maple syrup.
Spread mushroom filling along a short edge of phyllo, then roll up tightly. Brush with remaining butter-maple syrup; wrap well in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 week.
About an hour before serving, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil and place the frozen strudel on it; bake 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes; cut into 8 slices.

Maple and Dark Chocolate Cake

Maple and Dark Chocolate Cake

Yield: 8 portions
1 1/3     cups chocolate wafer crumbs
2/3     cup chopped walnuts
3    tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/4     cups heavy cream, divided
8     ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
2     tablespoons strong coffee
2     packets (1/4 ounce each) plain gelatin
1     cup pure maple syrup from Canada
1     cup milk
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In mixing bowl, stir together cookie crumbs, walnuts and butter until well blended. Firmly press onto the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan; bake 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, in small pan over low heat, heat 1 cup cream just until it steams. Remove from heat, add chocolate and coffee; whisk until smooth. Allow to cool 10 minutes; pour over the crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
In shallow bowl, add 1/2 cup cold water; evenly sprinkle gelatin over water and set aside to soften, about 1 minute.
In medium pan, over low heat, heat maple syrup, milk and 1 1/4 cups cream until steaming. Add softened gelatin; stir until dissolved. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour; pour over the firm chocolate layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
Run a knife along edge of cake; remove sides of pan and place cake on serving plate. If desired, decorate top with chocolate wafers and maple candy.

Spicy Maple Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans and Pistachios

Spicy Maple Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans and Pistachios

Yield: 2 cups
1/4     cup butter
1     teaspoon ground cinnamon
1     teaspoon ground nutmeg
1     pinch or more cayenne pepper
3     tablespoons pure maple syrup from Canada
2     cups unsalted mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios)
1     teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. In pan over medium heat, melt butter. Remove from heat; stir in spices and maple syrup. Add nuts and stir to coat well. Spread nuts on a cookie sheet and bake with oven door partially open, until golden, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt. Transfer nuts to a serving bowl; serve warm.

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Take the tour of lights


This photo was sent to us a couple of years ago by Tom Scott, of Tyrone Township. It shows a great display that year on 17 Mile, near Algoma.

This photo was sent to us a couple of years ago by Tom Scott, of Tyrone Township. It shows a great display that year on 17 Mile, near Algoma. Have you decorated the outside of your home for the holidays? Or, do know of a home that has a great display? The annual Post Tour of Lights map is in production, and we’d like to add your addresses to the list! Email us the information so that we can all have the joy of driving by and seeing the beautiful displays. Or, if you drive by someone’s home and would like to add them to our map, you can do that too! Email us at news@cedarspringspost.com, and put “Tour of Lights” in the subject line.

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Less is More this Christmas!


After laying down my last women’s magazine telling me how to be less stressed during the holidays, I’m even more confused and stressed then ever. On one page I’m told to take time for myself and indulge in a lovely spa bath. As I turn the page, I’m told to give all my friends and family homemade ornaments. Then there are articles telling me how not to gain weight at Christmas parties. Isn’t that like telling a three year old to not get dirty while making mud pies?
To top it all off (and the part I like the best) is after they tell us how to get rid of stress and not gain weight, they give us 10 pages of recipes for Christmas cookies made with real butter and cream that are decorated so elaborately in the pictures that it probably took a trained kitchen staff of 10 a week to make one cookie. Doesn’t anyone live in the real world any more? If you are like me and can’t stand that kind of stress, try some of these Christmas ideas from www.LivingOnADime.com to help you have a relaxed and Merry Christmas.
Don’t over-spend. It may be tempting to fixate yourself on the sparkling look in little Johnny’s eye when he sees that $300 play car under the tree. Advertising people are really good at feeding many parents’ fantasies of their children thinking that mom and dad are the peaches and cream for shelling out the cash and looking fondly back on the moment for the rest of their lives. In reality, most kids have lost all interest in that particular toy long before the credit cards are paid off. “When we were growing up, my mom pulled out all of the stops at Christmas to make it as wonderful for us as she possibly could. The funny thing is that now that we are grown, the things we remember the most fondly are Mom’s red jello salad (made with red hots yummy!) and sitting together and reading the Christmas story before opening our presents. I can’t remember what presents I received, but I always look back fondly on the Christmas story.
Do a few things well. Instead of trying to do everything and ending up depressed with how it all turns out, focus your energy on a couple of things that are the most important to you. You may be tempted to extravagantly decorate every room in your house, but if you don’t have the time or energy, focus on one room, like a living or family room. If your entire house is beautiful but you have to go see a therapist when it’s all over, the romantic mystique will be lost. Trust me, I know about this one from personal experience.
Limit activities. Think of the holiday season as triage for activities. Don’t commit to do too many things. One or two parties during the holiday season will make you get all tingly in that “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of way. One or two parties a week may send you over the edge, especially if you have kids. (Refer to my therapist comments above.) This also applies to all of those appealing looking activities around town like Victorian Christmas events, Christmas celebrations at the zoo or winter carnivals. One or two can be a lot of fun, but too many will ruin the fun.
Limit cookie baking. Don’t try to make 15 different kinds of cookies like Martha. She may look like she is super woman, but did you know she has a lot of people that help her? How much help do you get with your baking? I mean real help, not your five year old who makes everything twice as difficult for you. This is great for grandma, but you have to see your daughter every day and grandma can send her back when the house is sufficiently covered in flour. Again, pick your two or three top favorite cookies to bake and celebrate the fact that you had few enough priorities that you remembered to put the sugar in them.
Everything doesn’t have to be homemade. I know that we advocate making your own stuff, but Marie Callendar’s makes some great pies that you can pass off as homemade if you want to soothe your guilty Martha Stewart conscience. In 20 years, your kids will look fondly back on it as the best pie they ever had. But seriously, if you are making things homemade just to save money, remember that some things like candies and pies are often more expensive to make homemade, especially if you cut your finger while slicing the apples. Don’t ask me how I know, just trust me on this one.
These aren’t the only things you can do to reduce your stress, but if you stick to doing a few things well, you can truly relax and enjoy the season with your family. In the end, they would rather have fond memories of their time with you than memories of how strung out mom was after she burned the cookies.
Tawra Kellam is the publisher of the website www.LivingOnADime.com and the author of Dining On A Dime Cookbook.

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The Logistics of a Hassle-Free Holiday


tired shoppers

Photo courtesy of Getty images

Family Features

The holidays are supposed to be filled with love and good cheer, but the logistics of shopping for gifts, sending out cards, taking family trips and shipping packages can leave even the jolliest of people in a Scrooge-like mood.
Fortunately, there are some ways you can take the hassle out of the holidays and make them a little brighter for yourself and those around you.
key dates for shipping

Shop Smart

Avoid long lines, crowded parking lots and out-of-stock items with these helpful hints:
Get Ready — Before you head out to the mall, make a list of the gifts you want to buy and do some online price comparison. Use sites like BizRate, DealTime or Shopzilla, as well as check local ads to find the best price. You may want to call your local store to see if they have your item in stock, saving yourself a trip if they don’t have it.
Shop Early — Plan to shop early in the day, and early in the season. Morning crowds tend to be lighter and sales assistants tend to be more attentive first thing. And the earlier in the season you shop, the less you have to deal with long lines and frustrated shoppers. Plus, this year, while there are 29 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are only 20 shipping days.
Wrap It Up — Pay a little extra and let a charity group at the store wrap your gifts for you. This saves you time later and frees you up to get other things done — and you help a good cause.

shipping storeNo-Hassle Holiday Packing

Make sure your carefully chosen gifts get to their destinations intact with these helpful tips:
DO
—Check with experts before shipping fragile items (or items that might be considered hazardous or illegal to ship, such as perfume or cologne).
—Use materials the professionals use — foam packaging peanuts, bubble cushioning and packaging tape — to protect your gifts.
—Include a label on the inside of the package with both the destination and return addresses.
—Use a shipping option which provides a package-tracking number.
—Take batteries out of toys, electronics, etc., before shipping.
—Ship wrapped presents ahead to your destination, especially if traveling by air.
DON’T
—Wrap boxes in brown paper or tie with string.
—Use materials like newspaper or real popcorn to cushion items.
—Use old boxes or gift boxes for shipping items.
—Use duct tape, masking tape or cellophane tape to seal your boxes for shipping.

If you are not sure what size packaging to use, check with the experts. Copies Plus is a local UPS shipper in Cedar Springs, and owner Dan Spitzbergen has experience in shipping all kinds of goods. “We all like to send favorite foods and other goodies to our friends and family that live far away, and sometimes it takes odd size packaging,” noted Spitzbergen. “Don’t be afraid to come in and ask questions. We’ll work with you on what containers work best.”

luggageDon’t Lug Your Luggage

Navigating airport security, crowded terminals and long check-in lines can be stressful enough. Add luggage and gifts into the holiday travel mix and things can get really unpleasant. One solution travelers are turning to is shipping luggage to their destinations.
“Traveling without a suitcase is a tremendous convenience, especially during the hectic holiday travel season. Having your luggage awaiting your arrival and tracking it along the way is even better,” said Bryan Vial, The UPS Store franchisee from Phoenix, Ariz. “Ship your luggage as is or place it in a box for shipment. Or, at select locations, you can purchase a luggage box and avoid a suitcase altogether.”
Some major airline baggage fees can add up to over $100. Vial says that a luggage box of comparable size shipped via UPS Ground service is competitively priced and saves you time and hassle at the airport. If you are a member of the Automobile Association of America, you can receive a 15 percent discount off the full retail price of eligible products and services, and 5 percent off domestic U.S. shipping costs.
Luggage Shipping Tips
—Because of the duties and taxes associated with international shipments, The UPS Store does not recommend shipping luggage internationally.
—Federal Aviation Administration restrictions prohibit shipping hazardous materials, including colognes and perfumes, aerosol sprays, nail polish and cigarette lighters via air.
—Include packaging tape and a return shipping label in the luggage box for use when returning home.

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