Saturday, December 26, 2020

'Twas the Day After Christmas...

HALLIE EPHRON: The day after Christmas, if you have any luck, you’re wallowing in leftovers. Hoping you have a bounty of homemade candy and cookies and maybe a box of gourmet pears or Florida grapefruits to be savored. Cold roast beef or ham? If you’re lucky you can curl up with the perfect book that you got from someone who knows you well. Or start putting together a wonderful new jigsaw puzzle. In years past, we might even have gone shopping. I'm hoping we won't be dealing with power outages and wind damage from the storm that's supposed to sweep through New England... so I'm tucking this in a few days early.

How will you be spending what should be a cozy, perfectly indolent day, and what’s in your refrigerator to graze upon?

RHYS BOWEN:
John and I were alone on Christmas Day. So strange after the usual chaos of 14 people celebrating.

When rain was forecast we opted to visit our daughter’s back yard on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts in the open air. So our Christmas celebration was definitely low key. We had a lovely brunch or rather full English breakfast and for dinner smoked salmon then leg of lamb followed by Christmas pudding. So enough lamb for Shepherd’s pie as well as mince pies and sausage rolls.

Our big treat was we bought ourselves an electric fireplace so we can have a “fire” on spare the air days, which happen often in winter. And we don’t have to haul logs either!

JENN McKINLAY: Surprising no one, I’m sure, I’m on deadline with a book due January 1st which is only half written, so after a frenzy of last minute baking, I’ll be eating cookies for breakfast - #badbreakfastchoices - making a turbo charged pot of coffee, grunting happy new year at my people as I likely won’t see them until then as I burn the midnight oil to finish Killer Research.

Thankfully, all three of my men know how to work a stove and have jobs they need to go to so I doubt they’ll miss me...much.

LUCY BURDETTE: We’ve been feasting all week and have lots of cookies and half a caramel cake leftover. I did get a stack of books from John and my sister, but since I have a couple book ideas creeping out of the darkness, I am trying to write some things down. Plus copyedits, which is less taxing.

So picture me, like Jenn, working and eating cookies!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: We have some leftovers, but tonight we're having the take out Chinese we usually have on Fridays.

Otherwise, I am so far behind on my deadline, so I'm thrilled to have nothing to do but write and enjoy my Christmas decorations for another week! Alas, I didn't bake, so have no cookies to go with my tea…

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: The final edits of my new book are due to my agent on Dec 29. The final final edits to the editor on Jan 4. GUESS what I’m doing?

We had rack of lamb and champagne last night, and today we’ll have yummy leftovers. I wish we had cookies.

A reader friend sent me a glittery gold star ornament (made of wood, so beautiful) , so I hung it in a place of pride, and wish on it every time I see it. I’ll make some wishes for you all, too!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I, too should be working on my book, but honestly, having all my kids at home for the first time in a YEAR is too much to pass on.

We had a lovely, low-key Christmas Day, and I enjoyed the novelty of cooking for five instead of twenty-five, as I usually do. We were going to go snowshoeing today, but yesterday’s wind and rain storm (54°, for heaven’s sake!) has made that a lot less appealing.

So it will probably be watching Christmas movies in front of the wood stove, picking on leftovers, and getting up a board game. One of these years, the only thing I’m going to ask for is that we play CLUE. I love it, and the kids refuse to play it with me.

Has anyone broken down and gotten HBO Max in order to watch Wonder Woman 84?

HALLIE: I still haven't see the earlier Wonder Woman so maybe that's what I should do... Or Die Hard which I've also never seen.

What about everyone else: How's your day-after going?

131 comments:

  1. It’s bitterly cold here, but we have coffee, maple walnut spice cake and lots of cookies [I guarantee that both the double chocolate espresso cookies and the maple bacon sugar cookies will be gone before the weekend is over] . . .
    There are yummy leftovers in the refrigerator . . . and I have several new books to read, so I’m all set . . . .

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    1. sounds lovely Joan, especially the maple bacon sugar cookies!!!

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    2. You're all set, Joan! Those cookies sound fabulous.

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    3. I'm pretty sure you've shared the recipe for those bacon cookies, Joan, but I can't find it, which makes me think someone needs to canvass all our comments sections and compile a Jungle Reds Recipe Book!

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    4. Maple bacon Sugar Cookies?! How? When? Must be from before my time of reading this blog, I'm sure but I want this recipe, please!

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    5. MAPLE-BACON SUGAR COOKIES


      2-1/2 cups flour

      3⁄4 teaspoon salt

      1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda

      1 cup butter

      1 cup sugar

      3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

      1 egg

      1/2 cup cooked bacon, cooled and crumbled

      Extra sugar for flattening [I use demerara sugar]


      DIRECTIONS

      Pre-heat oven to 350.

      Sift together flour, salt and baking soda.

      Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

      Beat in maple syrup and egg.

      Add flour mixture and beat until smooth.

      Stir in bacon.

      Drop by teaspoon about 3 inches apart onto greased baking sheets.

      Flatten with bottom of glass that has been dipped in sugar

      Bake in 350-degree oven about 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

      Cool on rack.

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  2. I've been up since 1 AM working on edits. Since it was just the two of us, there's a lovely bit left over roast beef in the fridge and some mashed potatoes. I'm planning beef and gravy tonight and then a beef pot pie with the rest. We still have some butter cookies, but I've been put on notice that the supply is short and reinforcements are required. Cooking baking is in my future - and while I have the oven on, I think I'll make some cranberry orange scones!

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    1. I'll be baking today, too - thinking about finding a recipe for crispy (not soft chewy) gingerbread cookies with lemon icing...

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    2. Usually we have a TON of leftover sweets, since many of our usual guests bring treats and desserts, but this year, the five of us polished off dessert entirely while watching DIE HARD (yes, on Christmas evening instead of Christmas eve!) On the plus side, the kitchen is in far better shape than it usually is after dinner for 18-40, so this might be an excellent afternoon for cookie baking.

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  3. This year's Boxing Day feels oddly constrained since Ontario entered its second lockdown at 12:01 today. I would normally be lining up pre-dawn for some Boxing Day doorcrasher specials in the freezing cold. Instead, I am at home in the pre-dawn, reading your comments and posting here. Also I am not really in a shopping mood since I am still waiting for 4 Black Friday/Cyber Monday online orders that have not been delivered (from the US).

    Some Ottawans are feeling this province-wide lockdown is unfair since our city is an outlier by being able to sharply reduce new COVID cases. Being on lockdown for the next 28 days will be a bummer and some coping mechanisms that I had hoped we could use are being restricted.
    We had a rare Green X'mas yesterday with 24 hours of heavy rain and balmy temperatures in the high 40s (+8C). The weather is more normal today (-3C/26F with a -9/16F windchill).

    Daily exercise has been keeping me sane during the pandemic but once the snow comes back, we cannot do the same winter sports we are used to. Ontario has decided to close the downhill ski resorts for the next month. Although neighbouring Quebec is keeping the ski hills open, Ottawans cannot cross the bridge to enter Quebec to take advantage of these openings as well as a more extensive network of x-country ski and snowshoe trails (when the snow finally returns).

    Last night's solo pre-ordered holiday dinner was really nice, and I have plenty of leftovers, including the sticky toffee pudding which I did not eat at the meal (too full).

    And I will continue finishing my Icelandic book flood reads which were some holiday-themed mysteries before switching over to the most recent stack of book purchased during Cyber Monday & some ARCs.

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    1. I am also doing some baking this morning: a pear-apple-ginger crisp.
      Right now, I am eating leftover panettone bread pudding I made on Christmas Eve.

      Yay, my pink oyster mushroom kit is starting to sprout (after 7 days). This addition to my indoor garden will be fun to watch over the next month in lockdown.

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    2. Your Xmas dinner looked delicious Grace! I'm sorry about the lockdown, and sure hope it keeps people safe.

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    3. Roberta, yes, the multi-course turkey dinner was way more elaborate than I would have made on my own and included soup, appetizer and desserts which I did not fully eat yesterday. So another serving of turkey + the sides and uneaten app/dessert are on the menu for me today, yay!

      The main reason for the lockdown was that Ontario is reaching a tipping point re: ICU capacity province-wide. The Greater Toronto Area has been in lockdown since late-November and is responsible for 70% of the new cases. Despite being in lockdown, the new cases continue to surge probablu since many Torontoians were defying the lockdown restrictions by going to adjacent regions to X'mas shop or go to the gym or movies.
      So the Ontario Premier decided to lockdown everyone to prevent this type of behaviour. Same with the province of Quebec which ended a full lockdown on Christmas Day.

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    4. Oops, last sentence should have read Quebec which ENTERED (not ended) a full lockdown on Christmas Day!

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    5. Oh, and I lied when I said I was NOT going to do any Boxing Day online shopping.
      Just bought some more ebooks on KOBO. Crazy book lady cannot control herself, lol.

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    6. Grace, your pear-apple-ginger dessert made me salivating

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    7. Grace, you've inspired me to get back on my exercise bike... and with the snow washed away I'll be going out for a walk, too.

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    8. Whew, good to know that books don't count, except when I get my credit card bll next month, lol.

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    9. Hallie, my Sweatcoin walking app informed me that December 2020 is my best walking month in 2020: 235,136 steps so far. The unusual lack of snow this month has certainly made it easier to exceed my daily step count (12,000 steps a day).

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    10. Danielle, the fruit crisp is in the oven and the aromas are making my mouth water, lol.

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    11. Ok, there's NO ONE outside (Day 1 of new lockdown) but I am allowed to do SOLO DAILY EXERCISE, so off I go!

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    12. Grace, your "door buster" comment made me think of THIS amazing news story from yesterday (via AP):

      BAY SHORE, N.Y. -- A Long Island man has been arrested after a Christmas morning crime spree that gave new meaning to the term doorbuster.

      It happened shortly before 2 a.m., Suffolk County police said, when Justin Shuffle stole a 2010 Bobcat skid loader, which is used to push snow, from a Bay Shore shopping center. He then crashed the mini-snow plow through the front doors of a nearby Target.

      Once inside, authorities said, Shuffle swiped a coat and several gift cards before police caught him in the electronics section of the big-box retailer.

      No one was injured, but the front doors of the store “suffered extensive damages," police said in a news release.

      Shuffle, 33, of Deer Park, pleaded not guilty Friday to third-degree burglary and fourth-degree larceny. It was not immediately clear whether he had a defense attorney.

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    13. It was not immediately clear whether he had a brain.

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    14. Also--exercise bike (well, treadmill and nordic track) is the PERFECT movie watching situation. I watch Turner Classic movies, whatever is on, and it keeps me going!

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    15. Julia, WOW that is definitely a literal doorbuster, lol.

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  4. We have lots of country ham and cold cuts and cheeses to eat today. Plus, we have pecan pie and Franco mint cookies. So, we will not want for food. I’ll probably make a pot of chili tomorrow to get some warm food back in us

    We usually go out to eat the day after Christmas because it’s our daughter’s birthday, but we can’t do that this year. Husband’s birthday is in four days, and we will probably grill steaks for that. Different celebrations this year for sure.

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    1. So tough to have a birthday right on top of Xmas. Our son-in-law has one, too.

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  5. There is very little left over from our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners because I made small festive meals for 2. There is an amazing raspberry and dark chocolate coffee cake that I
    baked on Thursday while listening to the Audible of one of Jenn's Hat Shop books.

    We'll order take out tonight. Today is the day all women wish would pass with nothing remarkable, mammogram day.

    Hallie, watch Wonder Woman. Gal Godot is the most gorgeous woman! If you watch Die Hard, which I think you should, remind yourself that a hundred cultural references come from this movie. And Alan Rickman is a dastardly villain.

    Good luck with all of your deadlines my friends. Your readers love you.

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    1. Alan Rickman?!? Snape?? Isn't he in Love Actually, too?

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    2. Alan Rickman was in every movie you want to see, Hallie. Sigh. What a man.

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    3. Indeed, Alan's in Love Actually, but he doesn't come off well.

      By the way, I DID get a Joni Mitchell cd for Christmas this year.... the first volume of her newly released archives...Just what I asked for (and I wouldn't want an overpriced pendant anyway).

      By the way, wasn't Alan R also the dastardly Sheriff in Robin Hood, with the immortal and suddenly relevant line, "...and call off Christmas!"

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    4. Alan Rickman is indeed in Die Hard. It was his first major film role, as the villain, and he was absolutely brilliant. Rickman was brilliant in everything he ever did, whether good guy or bad guy. I think I can say I had a huge crush on the man. I was devastated when he died.

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  6. We had a quiet day yesterday, just me and my husband, as I am in quarantine after a virus exposure last weekend (I am symptom free thus far, so yay!). No special cooking for xmas dinner, although I did make a yummy coconut dal for lunch - go figure. No baking, either - I have enough trouble with my weight as it is! But yes, I did order HBO just so I can watch WW today, after I do some morning paperwork and take a spin class on my smart bike. Those usually wipe me out pretty well, and relaxing with a movie should be just the thing to help me recover 😂.

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    1. Kerry, hoping you didn't get it and are back in circulation soon. Coconut dal sounds fabulous, btw.

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  7. It was very low-key Christmas for me. First time in forever have I felt so alone and I'm normally alone on the holidays. Julia, I broke down and bought HBO Max basically for WW84 and Godzilla vs. Kong. What to my surprise to see a whole bunch of Godzilla movies which I'm counting my way down the list.

    Good luck JR writers on meeting your deadlines. Eat cookies!

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    1. Dru, you have been having a sucky 2020, and I'm sorry you are feeling alone during the holidays. I get it, normally being alone during the holidays does not bother me either, but 2020 is a weird one.

      Did you like watching WW1984? I loved the first Wonder Woman film and have been wanting to watch it it seem like forever this year. Of course our movie theatres are all closed because of the new lockdown and I would not get HBO Max since I have no cable TV at home.

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    2. anyway if it helps a little, we are sure glad you're here this morning!

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    3. Ugh, just checked and I can't get HBO MAX at all in Canada anyways because of different licensing rules. Oh well, I have to wait until the movie theatres open up in Ottawa in the new year to be able to see WW84.

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    4. Eat cookies! I so agree. We should do a post of monster movies. I confess I've only seen the first Godzilla movie. There's a terrific documentary about the guy who created the models for the early monster movies: Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan. It was on Netflix but I think you can still find it on Amazon Prime Video.

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    5. Hallie, I had no idea that Harryhausen influenced the first Godzilla movie made in the 1950s, which I mentioned yesterday was holiday classic our family watched in the 1960s/1970s!

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    6. Dru we are so glad you’re here—aww. You are such a rock star.
      Now. The first WW . We should talk, because that movie kind of drove me crazy. I guess because she spoke perfect French, but then on the island where they lived, they thought they were the only place in the world. So what is French? And who made the airplane? Where did that come from? see what I mean? that we got HBO max, too, so we will watch it :-)

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    7. Dru, I have found movies to be a GREAT comfort in the times of my life when I was feeling most lonely and stressed. A run of Godzilla flicks sounds perfect to me!

      Grace, I suspect WW84 will be for sale on DVD very quickly. They undoubtedly expected massive profits from non-American markets, and they'll want to recoup them somehow.

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    8. Hallie, I did not know about the Harryhausen documentary. It is now in my queue.

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  8. I got an unheard of eight hours of sleep after watching the Call the Midwife Christmas special last night, so I'm getting a late start on the day. We have leftover blueberry turnovers, (delicious) ribeye roast beef, a lot of rum balls, and a few cookies. I have an unscheduled day ahead to catch up on the week's writing goal, with a walk tucked in there. Two thousand words or bust!

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    1. I watched Call the Midwife when I finally got through the mountain of dishes. Did anyone else notice that half the cast looked like they had spray tans? It was so weird.

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    2. Now that you mention it...

      I JUST got my 2k words, but it was slow going. Off to enjoy the rest of the day.

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  9. Youngest nephew was snowbound with his best friend's family on Christmas day, so there are some leftovers in the fridge. Not much, though. I cooked much less than I normally would for a festive meal. Youngest sister sent a huge box of cookies, barely touched yet, so there are plenty of those around.

    I'm alone for now--the animals taken care of--including the birds--so the cats have some entertainment watching the feeders. I could use a scone or two, Kait, to go with a cuppa!

    Wishing you all a peaceful day--now where did I put that puzzle?

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    1. Birds! Every day I check out the Cornell Feederwatch Cam - Panama and Sapsucker Woods are my favorites. Probably because we've been to both... nearly got eaten alive by mosquitos in Sapsucker Woods.

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    2. Hallie, thanks for the tip--I used Cornell resources quite a bit in my faunal analyses--they've got a virtual version of their faunal collections. But I never thought about a Cornell cam! Will be checking this out!

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    3. If you love bird cams, watch the Audubon puffin-cam from Project Puffin sometime. There are trips out to see the islands off the coast of Maine which are pretty cool.

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  10. It's a blustery snowy Boxing Day with no big plans. The Robertson Ham has all been carved off the bone, with a half a dozen packages plus the bone vacuum packed for the freezer, and the rest sliced and in the fridge for noshing today. We also got an incredible sandwich making gift from our Maggie Kiley, all the way from LA, with pastrami and corned beef, huge dill pickles, and the best seeded rye I've ever tasted, complete with mustard even. (Is it Langley's, Hallie?) We will be in panini heaven this weekend. She is the daughter of our next door neighbor and a successful director, both movies and TV.

    There is still date bread, little mince pies, sausage rolls, green jello and leftover scalloped potatoes. We will neither starve nor cook this weekend.

    Santa is bringing us a new hot water heater before this one give up the ghost, must be 40 years old at least. Today will be football, books, and diy meals.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Kwaanza, and let this evil year BEGONE!!!

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    1. And sometime today we will watch "Call the Midwife!"

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    2. That deli package sounds fantastic. The delis I grew up with in Southern Calfornia were Linneys and Nate'n'Al's and Canter's. It's been ages since I had a descent rye bread... but then all I'd have to do is order one from Russ 'n' Daughters in Manhattan.

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    3. Ann, just reading about that deli package made my stomach growl. I don't often envy other people's presents, but I covet that pastrami and dill.

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    4. Sounds like your gift came from Langers deli here in Los Angeles. Famous for their double-baked rye, pastrami and corned beef

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  11. We made pizza from scratch yesterday! We tried to do it before - believe me, when the NY Times said it was easy, they lied! - but having nothing special to do, we gave it another shot. We had restaurant-purchased dough, and we made some also, and compared. Flour everywhere! They both turned out pretty good, we have leftovers, and it kept us amused. And tired when we were done. Happily finished off the day with Call the Midwife. Happy leftovers to all of you.

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    1. HOmemade pizza SOUNDS like a great idea - you can get just the proportion of cheese to sauce that pleases you. We have a special pizza baking pan (round w perforations) that yuo can use on the barbecue or in the oven. We use it for sorting puzzle pieces.

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    2. I cheat at pizza making. I start with a frozen plain or pepperoni, and add more stuff.

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    3. It IS easy! We make it almost weekly with a yeasted dough. Funny about your pan, Hallie - it's like using a treadmill to hang clothes on...

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    4. I agree with Edith, making your pizza dough is easy. The challenge is having a hot enough oven to cook the pizza, even with the performated pizza pan.

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    5. I can never get our homemade pizza to taste like real pizza. I will keep trying. I think you’re right, Grace, the oven has to be so hot.

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    6. I have been making homemade pizza for years, and I have found two essential pieces of equipment are a pizza stone and a pizza peel. The stone heats up in a 450 degree oven, and the pizza peel is the wide flat paddle used to slide the dough onto the stone. Both surfaces should be dusted with cornmeal, so it helps to have a shaker for that. Shortcuts I use are jarred marinara sauce and shredded cheese. Skies the limit for the other toppings. Irene

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    7. I have the stone but still need the peel. And we go with 500.

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    8. I am identical with Edith, 500F temperature and a pizza stone but no peel.

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    9. We have both pizza stone and peel (husband loves gear). We went with 550, hottest our oven goes, and it seemed right. But the flour all over the kitchen...corn meal too...but we plan to keep practicing.

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    10. I also use a pizza stone, even for takeout pizza. I put it in the oven when we call in our order, and take it out to put the pizza on when it comes home. Keeps the pie hot for a long time.

      But I've been looking for a peel for awhile now, and having a hard time finding one. Another weird shortage?

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    11. I have the stone and the peel. Usually we buy the crust (Trader Joe's had a good rectangular one now) and add our own toppings. But I do prefer making my own whole wheat dough, and for that I use the pan with the holes.

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  12. After two very windy and rainy days, I got up to the sun reflecting on the snow: very beautiful and uplifting.
    I had baked date squares and maple syrup squares. I gave a lot but ate too much so, today, I'll give a break to my stomach and freeze what's left for later.
    I've stocked up on books at the public library before they closed for the new lockdown. I have many on my tablet and I'm also rereading Julia's series in between new books.
    Today, after a long walk , I intend to read in front of my fireplace with hot tea, bliss.

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    1. Danielle, reading in front of the fire with hot tea is at the top of my St. Stephen's Day list as well!

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  13. We're starting... another jigsaw puzzle! Our last one, finished day before Xmas, was a killer. Curlicue pieces on plywood from the1930s; no picture just a title. Fortunately it wasn't too big. And we got 2 NEW puzzles as Xmas gifts so putting away the curlicues (the damned puzzle is labor-intensive to take APART) and starting a new one. Our 20-something-th since April.

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    1. I got new puzzles for Christmas, too, Hallie! Some look very challenging, some not so much. You are far ahead of my puzzle count, though.

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  14. Freezing cold in Cincinnati, leftovers, BPL soccer and Winspear's NEXT YEAR WE'LL BE LAUGHING. I hope it's an auspicious harbinger of 2021.

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    1. I started reading last weekend, Among the Mad, I think it's called. I got it for a steal on Chirp.

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  15. My son did a deep fried turkey which was quick even if not as tasty as roasted in the oven. They tried to give me a bunch of leftover turkey to bring home but I said "no, no!" Now I realize I need my head examined! Maybe I'll make something yummy today; you folks have given me lots of ideas.

    I tried to watch Die Hard last night but apparently it didn't start to record until the movie was well under way and I must watch things like that from the beginning. So I watched Love Actually and liked it more than I did all the other times I watched. Today it will be Call the Midwife which was an unexpected and wonderful surprise.

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    1. Awwww Don’t you love it when she says she learned English “just in cases”? Aww.

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    2. I've alwas wanted to try fried turkey - but it seems like you need to invest in a lot of equipment which means you need a place to put it the rest of the year and space is what I'm fresh out of.

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    3. I’d love to try it too, but maybe just have a bite that someone else makes. All that hot oil is terrifying.

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    4. Didn't Deb tell us she made one once and disposing of the oil afterwards was a pain in the neck?

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    5. We had Thanksgiving a couple years with friends who had a fryer. The turkey was honestly some of the best I've ever eaten, but the apparatus was daunting. They kept the fryer in the garage all year because it was large, and the cooking had to be done outside on the driveway! Which is fine in more clement parts of the country, but in Maine, at the end of November, the weather is always a crapshoot.

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    6. We had to rent the fryer, and then had to dispose of 5 gallons of peanut oil afterwards! My son-in-law took it work. I have not been tempted to do it again.

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  16. Margaret, I didn't realize Jacqueline Winspear had a new book. Enjoy.

    I cooked for two days, for just the two of us. Seafood pie on Christmas Eve (did not do the step of chilling the mixture before adding it to the dish, and it didn't seem to matter). Rosemary-scented pork loin with dried fruit and garlic for dinner last night, with mashed potatoes and gravy (which we only have twice a year, usually), sauteed baby bok choy, and a mixed green salad with pomegranate arils.

    And I made a fabulous chocolate fruitcake for dessert, a new recipe that turned out really great. And which became my own #badbreakfastchoice this morning, Jenn! Yum. It has pecans, chocolate chips, and rum-soaked dried sour cherries. Divine.

    Today I am NOT cooking anything. Tomorrow is the Christmas Bird Count, and I guess I'm going to have to participate this year. All but two of Steve's normal group are down with either Covid or on quarantine.

    Yesterday, despite our isolation, we had a lovely day. It helped that we had a three-hour family Zoom, with our kids spread all over the world. The Michigan crew is in our time zone, but the middle daughter is three hours behind, and now the youngest is eight hours ahead, in Kenya. Everyone was keeping safe, but we still had fun.

    Best of luck with all your deadlines, ladies. What a way to end the year. My only push is to make sure my Tax Goddess duties are all done by New Year's Eve, all charitable donations in, etc.

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    1. Karen, glad you dedided to make a fruitake after all! Adding chocolate to a fruitcake brings it up a level!

      Enjoy the Christmas Bird Count.

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    2. Oh my golly, that fruit cake sounds amazing!

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    3. Xmas bird count! I'm so jealous...

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    4. Grace, I couldn't find the typical fruitcake ingredients this year, but I have to say, this will be a new favorite. It's fantastic.

      Hank, here's a link to the recipe: https://www.davidlebovitz.com/chocolatecherry/

      Hallie, I'm actually looking forward to it this year. The forecast says mid-50's for a change. Usually, it's cold and mucky.

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    5. I'm far from a tax goddess, but it's felt SO good to give away way more money than usual this year (thank you, readers who bought a LOT of my books during lockdown, thus thank you, royalty check).

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    6. Karen, weirdly I also had a hard time finding the dried fruits needed for the GF stollen I baked earlier this week so I had to improvise. I wonder if these ingredient shortages are another pandemic situation re: flour and yeast earlier in the spring?

      I do like David Lebovitz recipes.

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    7. Karen, I am a huge David Lebovitz fan, even though not much of a baker. That recipe tempts me, though! Have you read his book about his apartment in Paris?

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  17. Yaaay! My sister sent me cookies! They are gorgeous! Incredibly fabulous and I am thrilled. And! My publisher sent grapefruit and pears! Yay! happy day after, everyone! And I’m down to 107,000 words… I have cut 10000 words! Yay me. 7000 to go. Onward! Xxx

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    1. I can't WRITE 100,000 words, never mind cut them...

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    2. Hank, you are the only writer I know that is HAPPY to CUT another 7,000 words, but yay, go for it!

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    3. What Hallie said! Also, will I know I've "made it" when my publisher sends me a gift?

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    4. Edith, either that, or you'll know your PUBLISHER has had a very good year!

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    5. Aw, you all are too funny. Yes, I LOVE to cut! I know, I should just not write the words in the first place, but it helps me get there.

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  18. Christmas was quiet for me. I stayed off the computer, and just read, listened to music, and started a new jigsaw puzzle. Had long phone conversations with Deb and my sister. AND I have a new/old favorite pastime. Deb gave me a bird feeder that hangs over my patio garden, so I can see it from the den. I already have a birdbath there, so it took less than an hour for the birds to start hitting that feeder. I've watched birds since I was a kid, but hadn't set up a bird feeding station at this house out of concern for attracting rats. Deb to the rescue with safflower seed!

    The only thing I have to do today is get dog food. Maybe I'll have them deliver . . .

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    1. Isn't it the best? We call it "Bird TV", with several feeders outside our family room picture windows.

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    2. YES! I love BirdTV--that's what we'll call it now!

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    3. Yes, I love my bird TV. I can see the feeder from my desk in the sun porch.

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  19. We are driving to my sister's house, an hour away, for a SHORT, masked, well ventilated visit long enough to exchange gifts. (This was originally scheduled for yesterday afternoon, but the snow convinced us to hold off one day.) She lives alone and I just feel like she desperately needs that shot of human contact, even if it has to be different from usual. And I'm looking forward to the car time. Our son has asked us to help fill some of his gaps in knowledge of US 20th century history, so I anticipate a lively discussion.

    As to what we're munching, we have leftover roast beef from yesterday's dinner, leftover homemade chicken noodle soup from Christmas Eve, and the remains of a cheeseball and other cheeses. Plus cookies, as we spent yesterday afternoon baking!

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  20. My older son has been visiting for the weekend, which I am thoroughly enjoying! Wednesday we had the grandchildren over (Henry, 4 and Autumn, 2) while their parents were skiing and had a wonderful day. We were all at my house on Christmas eve and together we made my late husband's "famous" enchiladas, which we had never attempted before--it turned out surprisingly well. And yesterday we were at my younger son's house for a long session of present-opening. In my family our tradition is for one person to open a present, then the next one, so we can all enjoy every gift. I was amazed that the children did well with that. Our dinner was a Honey-Baked ham from my son's boss, plus stuffing (even though the turkey was absent), mashed potatoes, green beans, two dips, two kinds of cookies, fudge (all desserts homemade), and eggnog coffeecake. Plus, we had mimosas pretty much the whole day.

    Today my son, daughter-in-law and children are visiting the other grandma and papa, so my older son and I will enjoy a day when we don't have to get up early. I have some "to do" items for him, as he is my "IT department," but I will be making him one of his favorites, shrimp creole, for dinner, as it's his birthday tomorrow.

    We did watch Wonder Woman yesterday at my younger son's house (I don't have HBO Max), as well as Die Hard. I'm looking forward to a new holiday British Baking Show, the new Pixar movie, "Soul," and the new series "Bridgerton," all of which are newly available. Hopefully that will make up for missing "Schitt's Creek," which I sadly finished watching last night (I started with Season 2, as recommended, then watched Season 1 after finishing the rest).

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    1. Margie, I'm dying to watch Bridgerton, but it may need to wait until guest son goes back north to the student apartment. I don't think I can sell him on historical romance.

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  21. We're enjoying another sunny mild day, so I think a walk in my future. I made a crawfish pie for Christmas Eve. It was a hit. No leftovers! I made a breakfast casserole for Christmas morning. There's a little left over. And that was the last time I cooked. Frank set out a spread of meats, cheeses, crackers, etc for yesterday's meal. That worked very well. Plenty of wine to choose from too. I never got around to wrapping a brie and baking it so maybe we'll have that later today. I made some molasses cookies a couple of weeks ago and they are probably close to being gone. I do have a nice big tin of those crispy Swedish ginger cookies you can buy at World Market. Also a tin of Walker's shortbread. And Blue Bell ice cream. And lots of meats and cheeses. I think we're good to go!

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  22. There is a lot of roast beef leftover at everyone's houses, and I have quite a bit as well, so can someone tell me the best way to heat up slices? Honestly, in days past, there usually wasn't this much leftover, and I'd make hash with the scraps. But now I've got some lovely slices (no gravy, I was lazy) and I don't want to destroy them with cooking them further.

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    1. Following! I was thinking exactly that. (Also no gravy here.)

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    2. I have the same issue, Julia. I thought I would wrap the slices in foil and heat in the oven. The beef was very rare so I don't think that will overcook it. Anyone else have suggestions?

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    3. Do you have canned/bottled, beef broth, Julia? Heat the broth and slices of beef in a skillet. Perfect for French dip or served with potatoes and jus.

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    4. When I reheat slices of roast beef, or steak, I do it in a 350 degree oven on a roasting pan for about 10 minutes. I do not cover them. The meat will get a little more "done" so watch it carefully. Also, consider the thickness of the slices. Hint, put it in the oven just a few minutes before you sit down to eat.

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    5. This is VERY difficult. I am reading these suggestions with great interest .

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  23. Ahhh, Boxing Day, with Lindor chocolates and shortbread cookies for breakfast. (I made the usual 3 batches, but then realised I wouldn't be seeing people to give them too. Duh!) Plus morning coffee in my brand new thermal mug that keeps it hot for ages. (Thanks to my daughter)

    Yes, as Grace mentioned, here in Toronto we've been in lockdown for weeks, with plenty of cheating. So now it's going to be province-wide and maybe, just maybe, our numbers will settle down.

    I've watched far fewer Christmas movies this year. Just While You Were Sleeping, Love Actually and a mid-century English film, The Holly and the Ivy, which I always sit back and enjoy.

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  24. We had a very nice day yesterday, with our socially distanced outside gift exchange. And then I cooked! It was all good, but took ages, and we had enough for six people rather than two. When I finally got the dishes done, I put my feet up and watched Call the Midwife, and had one of the Kate Weiser chocolates I treated myself to for Christmas. We watched The Christmas Chronicles 2 on Christmas Eve, so I would love to get in Love Actually sometime this weekend.

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  25. Okay, first off, I have a complaint - You are all driving me nuts with all these great food lists, baking and leftovers. Recipes please, lots of recipes, please! I was sensible this year, I bought a piece of salmon and cooked it in parchment with slices of the largest cippolini onions I've ever seen, white potatoes and lemon off the tree at church. No special dessert. My niece sent me baked good, my sister and brother-in-law sent be "fancy" pears and apples along with other nibbles. I have no plans for today except to go down to church before dark and wander the Wise Men a little closer to Baby Jesus. Since we are not allowed to have services in the building, I'm taking the opportunity to actually move the Wise Men from the east end of the church to the Holy Family figures at the altar for each of the Sundays during these twelve days of Christmas.

    Okay, I've had my three cups of stronger coffee but with a little eggnog for something festive and a large hunk of the biscotti my niece sent me for Christmas now, I think I can function. Just looked out my window, the sun is playing hide and go seek with the clouds so one minute the room is warm and the next it cools off... This is the closest I can get to sun blinding off of snow... sun blinding off clouds as their drift on the breeze.

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  26. For those here that double up as Facebook friends, you probably saw what I posted there about my Christmas Day. Short recap: Dinner with my friend Ann, exchange of gifts that included my receiving of Paige Shelton's COLD WIND, watching the last two episodes of 'Lucifer' Season 5 Part 1 and the movie The Old Guard with Charlize Theron. Oh and there is the matter of the other literary related gift Ann gave me: An Edith Maxwell author coffee mug that she conspired with Edith to get me...signed and everything. It was the coolest and most unexpected gift I've gotten in a good while.

    My plans for today were to sleep in and do nothing. Instead, I was up at 5:45 am and doing the usual Saturday housework chores before sitting down to work on my Top 10 CDs article that is posted on the Classic Rock Bottom message board now (and linked on my Facebook page too). Then off to do laundry and do lunch from the 99 restaurant. Now I'm home where I hope to be for the rest of today and tomorrow working on reading, reviewing and writing while listening to music and/or watching TV.

    Hope everyone else is enjoying whatever form of "relaxation" today takes for you.

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    1. I'm so delighted you loved the mug - it's the last of the ones I ordered a few years ago! Your friend Ann is very thoughtful; she knew exactly what would make you happy. The best kind of friend.

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    2. Oh I love it. I'm going to try and find a display case that I can put it into (like they do with signed baseballs) so that when I finally clear a shelf on the living room bookshelf and make my Edith Maxwell shelf, I can put that in the middle as a way to break up the run and provide some extra eye candy!

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  27. Hitting the keyboard hard today as I mentioned. I hope you all have a lovely Boxing Day and a terrific New Year!

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  28. Sick yesterday so I slept all day!

    Hallie, the earlier Wonder Woman had more violence than I expected!

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