I am a cold climate person… was born and lived with cold winters all my life. One of the things that freezing temperatures highlight is the comfort of a fireplace. Whether it includes the view of the fire or not, radiant heat of a real fire is supremely cozy and enjoyable. We borrow that feeling when thinking of building relationships with others: the fireside chat. Or we picture the security we feel when sitting by a warm fire while the cruel weather wails and blows outside our window.
It is a page of features and descriptions highlighting my work online for the past decade and more. Sometimes it is hard to believe that I have been writing and contributing to the worldwide web for that long.
I have shared myself, warts and all, online and during the process managed to make friendships with people who I have a genuine affection for. I suppose we doubt that this is possible, or as real as “in person” relationships, but I am reminded of those of Victorian times correspondence. Or more recently, of those we were “penpals” with in the not so distant era of my childhood.
It is different when relating long distance, but no less warm.
I don’t think it is better, nor can it replace our physical relationships of family and friends, but I recognize its reality and importance.
Mantles, The Vestiges of a Hearth
I have always enjoyed the look of a fireplace, and in my youth ( during the fifties and sixties) we usually had the fireplace without the fire. Usually a defunct gas fireplace that was no longer in use with a very decorative architectural element of a mantled opening in the wall. We might have had a picture or mirror overhead; and always had decorative objects on the mantle itself.
It was a strange thing to have the shell of what was once the center of a room, but no longer the use or the warmth of it.
Then, the Fire, but not the Mantle
After the energy crisis of the seventies, I had woodburning stoves. These are energy efficient fireplaces that are closed, so you don’t see the fire and they have no mantles.
The decoration is gone, but the substance of the fire is magnified for a delightful radiant heat experience that is more and more desirable as the cold of winter rages outdoors.
Fitting a Woodburner into an Old Gas Fireplace
The details on how we did this was as follows:
First we hired an expert in Rumford fireplaces. He rebuilt the inner part of the chimney to accomodate a wood fire.
We lined the chimney with a chimney pipe for the next step.
We then purchased an airtight woodburning stove. This was connected to the inner chimney pipe.
This stove had glass inserts to view the fire, but was rather small. It provided wonderful supplemental heat and made a precedent for the large stove that is the primary heat for our present home.
Nothing feels better on chilly days than to stand close to the comfort that emanates from its iron body to your fleshly one.
I do miss the mantle. It graces a room in a way that is hard to replicate otherwise. But given the choice of necessity, I am content to do without, so as to have the real heating properties of a stove. A fireplace, even with a crackling fire is often too drafty to provide needed warmth. It is more a psychological enjoyment of the sight of the fire, which is a delight to the eye without any benefit to the bones.
Rambling On To An Eventual Point
Loosely, I am celebrating creature comforts and taking pleasure in simple things. Just as loosely, I am following a metaphor to our relationships in life.
We build our relationships around what we believe we need. They can be culturally constructed in ways that might derive from necessity or perhaps are gutted by social traditions. Experience sometimes teaches us their value or the way in which they must change.
At times we may even believe we no longer need them as a central focus for our life. I wonder, though, whether the fireside pictures for us the wisdom or folly of our perceptions?
Among the more obscure nationally proclaimed holidays, were you aware of the day set aside to celebrate cherry desserts? Well there is one! For most of us, that means the tart fruits of the sour cherry tree, the Prunus cerasus. The pie cherry has been consumed since prehistoric times. The earliest record of the cultivated cherry is recorded as having been brought to Rome by Lucius Licinius Lucullus from northeastern Anatolia, the country nowknown as Turkey.
Romans introduced cherries into Britain before the 1st century AD, where they became very popular in the time of Henry VIII.
In America, Massachusetts colonists planted the first sour cherry, ‘Kentish Red’, and they have since become a much loved fruit here. That variety of cherry tree may even have been the one in the famous legend of George Washington, who knows?
Whatever its history, it is the flavor that assures ongoing popularity, and reigns supreme in every type of dessert. For your own celebration, whether on the official day or not, some well loved recipes are included in this post along with the surprising health benefits and a bit of trivia about the fruits themselves.
It’s a National Holiday for Tart Pie Cherries in Desserts
Even though cherries seasonally ripen in June, the Presidents Day holiday gives February the honor of being named “National Cherry Month”.
They are tart, or sour, cherries from the tree Prunus cerasus. Their tartness makes them preeminent for the flavor they give baked goodies like cherry pie, cobblers, and other well loved recipes we remember from our mothers and grandmother’s kitchens.
While sweet cherries, from the Prunus avium tree, are best chosen for fresh eating, nothing beats a pie cherry for any recipe that calls for cherries for cooking.
Pie cherries with their tart and tangy taste create the zing that ignites a plain fruit pie into a memorable sweet summer surprise of flavor. Just the right contrast to the flaky crust of a home baked pie, or the biscuit topping of a cobbler.
Those “down home” desserts are only two of the ways you can use pie cherries to give your table a treat in the early summer month of June, or during other times of the year if you freeze or preserve the the cherries.
Tart Cherries Have Health Benefits
Health benefits of pie cherries include the fact that they have anti-oxidants.
* Promotes circulation
* May help you sleep better due to the melatonin content
* Helps relieve migraine headaches
* Helps prevent free radical damage
* Helps you heal faster from muscle related sports injuries
Facts about Pie Cherries
Pie cherries keep their bright red color when cooked, naturally
Sour cherries, like the sweet, are picked ripe
Look for cherries that are plump and brightly colored, cherries do not ripen off the tree.
Store in the refrigerator and rinse just before using
Cherries are highly perishable: Their shelf life is about four days in the refrigerator.
They are good for preventing gout. It is said, “six cherries a day” will keep the gout away, and it is certainly a delicious remedy to try. Research indicates that cherries have urate lowering properties. Uric acid crystal buildup is indicated in the onset of gout. (This is not medical advice, but information about the research results on the benefits of tart cherries).
More Reason to Love the Tartness
Tart cherries have fewer calories and more beta-carotene than sweet cherries
Additional Health Benefits
Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants that are believed to relieve the pain of arthritis and gout and help fight cancer and heart disease.
At more than 12,000 ORAC units per hundred grams of fruit, cherries have a higher antioxidant capacity than grapes, oranges, plums, raspberries and strawberries combined.
They’re also especially high in the antioxidant melatonin, which may help prevent or reduce brain deterioration associated with aging. And to top it off, they’re high in vitamin A and beta-carotene. 
Did you know? Dried cherries are made from the tart cherry variety. They have iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as some melatonin- which is a hormone important biologically.
The Celebrated Pie Cherry
Most tart cherries are grown in the state of Michigan in the USA. Traverse City, Michigan is called the “Cherry Capital of the World” and is host to the National Cherry Festival.
In Australia, the New South Wales town of Young is called the “Cherry Capital of Australia” and hosts the National Cherry Festival of Australia.
Fun Facts About Cherries: Cherry pits have been found in Stone Age caves.
Thomas Jefferson, grew cherries on his plantation at Monticello
Tart cherries ripen two or three weeks after sweet cherries. Look for them in mid to late July.
The Dessert Side of the Story
Cherries are good for you, but all that cream, sugar, and pastry? Maybe not so much… but the taste!
Besides pie, cobbler, or cherry dump cake, how can you fix this fruit as a dessert? Healthier choices to enjoy as desserts.
with sherbet or gelato
baked into oatmeal
Because of their tartness, most people will want to sweeten them, which makes them ideal for desserts.
Prepare Your Pie Cherries with Professional Quality Cherry Pitter
During the season when stone fruits are available, you may be buying fresh produce. In order to use them in desserts, it is necessary to remove the pits. If you have ever tried this, you know how much a kitchen gadget makes all the difference.
If you are going to pit lots of cherries this is a professional style of machine to make the job easy. Highly rated and recommended.
Fun for Cherry Dessert Day
Wear a cherry patterned apron, bake a cherry pie or make some quick and easy cherry cobbler to celebrate the day.
Cherry Cobbler, Classic Recipe
Cherry cobbler is like an easy, messy cherry pie, but that yummy topping soaking in the juices is what makes it such a well beloved dessert cousin of the cherry pie. Emeril uses cinnamon, but I suggest experimenting with mace or cardamom - two spices that complement the cherry flavor extremely well.
Cherry Cobbler, Classic Recipe
Cherry cobbler is like an easy, messy cherry pie, but that yummy topping soaking in the juices is what makes it such a well beloved dessert cousin of the cherry pie. Emeril uses cinnamon, but I suggest experimenting with mace or cardamom - two spices that complement the cherry flavor extremely well.
A cherry is a fruit with a hard seed pit which must be removed before using the cherries in baked goods. There are a number of types of gadgets to do the job, which is important to own if you have a large number of cherries to prepare.
If you are like many Christians, it is a temptation to make such a division between the spiritual and the physical that the two realms almost seem mutually exclusive. Or you may not have a spiritual emphasis, but an intellectual one. It is as if to be truly spiritual or intelligent, we must almost deny we have bodies.
This is a grave mistake and not what scripture refers to when we are told to deny the flesh. Since that statement demands some exegesis (or whatever you call bible study), it will have to wait for an addition in the bible section of my page. For now, let’s just look at the matter practically and ask these questions:
Things To Ask Ourselves
* Do I need good health to carry out my responsibilities to my family? * If I have physical strength, can I work more effectively taking care of the elderly, the needy, or others who have need of my services? * If I have more energy, could I additionally serve the Lord? In other words, will it prepare me for future ministry?
If You Answered Yes
Now, perhaps you feel more virtuous praying “God, help me lose weight, help me overcome fatigue, or this besetting illness” and then sitting back in faith. Or in your intellectual quest, you are willing to read book after book of self-help or the latest diet.
Now it is time to add works to your faith. Add action to your knowledge.
That is not to say those spiritual things (looking to God for help or asking to be healed) aren’t necessary, they are, but we need to add a little balance . Try to eat right, exercise, rest properly…all those things that are the attributes of moderation. And if you carefully read much of the scientific findings on good health you will see it all boils down to being moderate.
“Let your moderation be known to all men”.
A word here on what exercise won’t do. There is a scripture ( I Timothy 4:8) that states “bodily exercise profiteth little”. And that is absolutely true: it profits something, but doesn’t take the place of character and spiritual building. One look at the number of athletes with moral problems ought to illustrate that point most eloquently.
Let’s say you’re ready, convinced that exercise is going to be part of your life, what choices are out there and how will you fit them into your life? What are some choices and what considerations are there for Christian women?
Weight training is important when you live a Western lifestyle (when was the last time you hauled water from a well?). For healthy bones and maintaining muscle strength some form of weights should be used. If you have a body type that bulks up easily, a program like The Firms cross training should work fine since it combines aerobics and light weights.
Martial arts and workouts such as the Tae-bo type should fulfill your aerobic needs, as long as you skip some of the Oriental Philosophy involved. Actually, many forms of exercise have philosophies and sometimes religious beliefs included; if you have qualms about this just avoid that type and make your own program.
Yoga was one form I avoided for awhile since it comes from an Eastern religion, but I found myself doing many of the exercises in my tapes. The stretches are wonderful and you may find the ones you need in one of the Wharton’s books, or in a Pilates program, as well as in many videotapes available. The flexibility that stretching gives your body is necessary, the yoga program is not. Choose according to your conscience.
Dance gives gracefulness along with flexibility and aerobics in a fun format. Again, though, some people have reservations and should follow their choice to other forms. But for those who like this way of getting a workout, there are so many types of dance- each with its own feeling and demands. Ballet is athletic, jazzercise is fun way to get fit, bellydance is feminine and sensual, etc.
Take yourself outdoors to witness the glory of God’s creation. Begin walking or gardening and if the nasty little creatures are bothering you find some Avon “Skin So Soft” and learn to praise the Lord for the day when there won’t be such curses!
What I’m not trying to do is make judgment calls on the forms of exercise and whether you should engage in them.
The Biblical hierarchy is always spiritual first, soul second, body third. One does not nix another, as in forgetting about the body or soul in pursuit of spiritual growth. It might help to remember how interdependent the heart, soul, and body are. How many times is physical health undermined through the damage done to a person’s heart and mind? Or vice versa?
The Bible addresses “wholeness”, and others may use the term “holistic”, but the idea is that we are not compartmentalized beings, and fragmenting our view of ourselves leads to poor health.
Exercising the body is one part of the wholeness. Not more than building good character or growing spiritually, but alongside these important goals.
There are so many ways to get the bodily exercise you need that there is no reason to wound your conscience by engaging in a type that you are disturbed about.
How can I find the time to exercise? This can be tough when your schedule is already full or you have small children at home (duh, same difference). It is terrific to know that small bites of exercise throughout your day are an accomplishment that can give you results.
points to Keep in Mind
Move exercise time to the top of your priority list.
Strategize the best times of day to develop a habit.
Determine that your health is important enough to not tolerate competition from other demands.
Vary your exercise efforts and incorporate an element of fun and enjoyment.
Consider using a fitness app or watch to spur you on to exercise regularly throughout the day and week.
Aim for the three to five full workouts, but understand that you will, many times, have to skip some of them. Just be prepared with exercises you can do in the car and at your desk, free weights in the bedroom for some back and arm exercises for five minutes between coffee and the rest of your day or at night while you watch that video or wait for SOME peoples pages to load. We’ve all been there…
I joined Curves to provide a consistency to my efforts; I found that exercising together with other women in a positive environment is very helpful. We all talk about how it is time that we take for ourselves, because we need it. We are the better for taking the time and those around us are better for it, too!
After Curves, our family signed up for a membership at our local YMCA. I haven’t taken classes there, but used the equipment, including treadmills and ellipticals. My grown kids have joined gyms, and these are all helpful ways to stay motivated and put in the time for fitness.
Exercise Will Do You Good
You know it is sort of an overused joke that people who go to fitness clubs jockey for the closest parking spaces. Make up your mind to do a little extra walking, stair climbing (in real life), etc. during your day. This is a great stress reliever, as well; instead of fuming about that creep taking the spot you were waiting for, you are actually thinking Pollyanna thoughts of how good the exercise is since you won’t have time for the regular workout this day. REALLY.
This is a totally new way of thinking and very freeing. The workouts you do ought to pay off in more strength for those everyday chores. All work is some sort of exercise! The reason for structured workouts is so that you are building muscles that are somewhat neglected in your daily activities, compensating for the fact that you overwork some muscle groups while underusing others.
Stretching exercises can be squeezed in almost anytime. Stretches, once learned, can be worked into the day to increase flexibility – you won’t believe how much better you function after working on lengthening some of your poor contracted muscles!
My favorite way to learn stretch exercises is through (have you guessed?) – a video. Although I did find books from the library and magazine articles which illustrate a regimen to try. However, it is just that I love someone else thinking up the sequences and moves, while I just follow along with music and timing all worked out for me.
How I’ve been making time for exercise lately
You know how we waste time on Facebook? Frittering away more time than is reasonably rational. Well, we can turn at least some of that into a creative way to get a bit more exercise. All we have to do is use some of the posted videos to turn some of that time into a fitness routine.
I thought about starting here because exercise is so foundational to good health. My equation is HEALTHY=BEAUTIFUL as well as its reverse (I knew it, algebra was worth something!).
In the last few years, I’ve been regularly exercising-originally to combat back spasms, rising blood pressure and eye pressure. My pressures are down, back spasms no more, and I have some other truly valuable benefits besides. I’ve shaped up (my husband is so appreciative), I have more energy (needed that!), and (what I most appreciate) I’m stronger. Much stronger. Human beings, being compound organisms require compound components, so exercise is only part of what’s needed, but that’s the part addressed right here.
Key to consistent effort in exercise is finding something you like, so you keep working with it. In my twenties, running was really popular and my husband was interested in it, so I thought I’d try that. I did, once. It was so boring for me.
What I find I really like, many women I talk with find boring: exercise videos. I love exercise videos. My “Jane Fonda Complete” started me out in weight training. I’m so grateful, Jane! This was when I began to notice my strength improvement – and have found many references in medical articles on the necessity of this type of exercise.
Fitness On Video
Susan Powter is great in this respect, too. Her videos are a great workout with “real people” partners. Kathy Smith has the best pregnancy workout, and her “Body Basics” was the first video I purchased.
There are so many fitness types and stars of every type to lead us in routines that cater to every level of ability that there is really no excuse to delay creating your plan. Stretching, yoga, Latin dance, even chair exercises to deliver personal training right in your living room
I always rent or borrow videos to work with before I buy and it gives variety to my routine. So this is my main form of aerobic exercise, which I supplement with free weights.
Since I first wrote these tips, so much has changed on the video fitness front. Now, you can choose from DVDs to Youtube, and I notice that Amazon Prime offers a wide range, as well.
One that I have fun with lately is “Body Groove” – check it out! I like its loose, fun style that fits the fact that I need movement and don’t have lots of ability right now.
Tactics to Tackle Exercise
I keep some dumbbells in my bedroom so that I can fit in exercise easily. Please, no jokes about that last sentence. I know none of this is new, mostly it’s just a pep talk – you have to “just do it”.
The observation I have at this point is that so many times we limit ourselves to activities which don’t fulfill our needs: team sports, good weather activities, gardening. These activities are exercise, but usually they’re marathon efforts with long absences between sessions.
Find something to fill in the spaces of everyday activities.
I would compile it this way:
aerobic of your choice
recreational events(hiking,skiing,double digging a rose bed)
Women, particularly, need to take responsibility for their wellbeing. We’ll be more purposeful in our lives, feel better, prevent diseases, alot of things because we add exercise. It’s not the answer to all of life’s problems – I believe only Christ is-but bodily exercise is a key to bodily wellbeing. You already know I like exercise videos, but thought I’d list the ones I like best:
Oldie but Goodies
The Firm series: these are tough and effective; be sure to pace yourself and add the weights in carefully.
Jane Fonda series: I like the dance moves, variety of weights and spot exercises.
Kathy Smith Body Basics: This is the best warmup, and best ab and leg work in my opinion.
Marilu Henner Dance Aerobics: fun dancing
Susan Powter: no nonsense strength training and shaping. Great attitude!
Various Pilates-type videos: Kathi Smith, Denise Austin, and many more to try. Concentrated.
There are so many more to choose from now than when I started. I have especially liked the wide range of Yoga workouts.
Many of the stretches and strength exercises were given to me when I had to have some physical therapy in recent years. I believe we lose fitness without being completely aware of what’s happening.
This is all the more reason to create a deliberate plan and stick to it. It is the habit that is important, the challenge level or even the forms ( dance, aerobics, yoga) may well change to adjust to our interests and needs, but the fact that we need to keep using all our muscle groups remains the main goal.
A fun way to get aerobic exercise is in a dance class. There are many forms of dance, jazzercise, ballet, modern, but an unusual type I tried was bellydance…
I have some pages on the many aspects of belly dance, including the costuming part of it. They will soon be posted here.
Greetings! I’d like to write a few words on motivation before I add new pages to this section. I’m sure it is different for everyone, but sooner or later something trips up our regimen.
Some years ago, for me, it was some family/emotional crisis I went through. I just did not have the motivation to continue regular (oh, let’s be truthful: any) exercise for weeks. When I could make myself care about it I put in an hour or so once a week. I knew for the sake of my health and energy, that this situation couldn’t go on.
As time as gone on, I have found that motivation has been an increasingly important factor.
At one time I joined Curves to provide that extra impetus to remain focused on exercising for health. It was motivating for a time, but I still needed to follow the following steps to “get back on the bandwagon”.
…And here is the method I follow to get back on track.
Keep It Simple
1 First, dispose of all guilt. It simply is counter-productive and exercise is not one of the ten commandments. Yes, you are healthier and you feel stronger; you get those endomorphins surging, but that is something you do because you want to, and you are not a bad person if you haven’t worked out lately.
2 Next, start back slowly, realizing you won’t be doing as much, at the pace before your layoff. The good news, of course, is that because you were exercising, it will not be as long to regain stamina, strength, and shape, as when you first began.
Still, you shouldn’t go all out and short-circuit your newfound resolve. Achy or injured muscles tend to dampen enthusiasm for most of us. Build up your mind-set with a little positive thinking…
“I’m worth it”…
“my family will benefit from it…and they are worth it”
“I will feel better, if I do this ” …whatever is your form of affirmation.
3 Finally, recognize that the ebb and flow of life means that you may get the flu, or have family matters that require lion shares of time, or any number of things that interfere with scheduled workouts. The resumption of workouts is part of the flow- you just have to decide that good health is non-negotiable and remember all the benefits of exercise.
The number of diseases exercise staves off or ameliorates is amazing. You will look better and function better, all with a few hours week spent in a simple work-out program. Not because I say so, but reams of medical research has come to this conclusion. (1)
When exercise is made a lifestyle habit, it helps such wide ranging problems as heart health to diabetes management to eye health.
Starting slow or with enthusiasm?
On to the rest of the fitness pages with determination to make your own life better. You will love the person you become if you take time to meditate on good things.
We all need to get rid of excess stress. Few people realize how destructive and debilitating stress really is to their lives. Instead of wishing it different, there are real things we can do to lessen the drain of daily accumulations of stress.
We can’t, and wouldn’t want, to have all stress removed. It has its usefulness to help us handle urgent situations, but modern day life and mentalities give us more than we were ever meant to handle. So, when you’ve received advice to get rid of your stress, or have those physical symptoms of “too much overwhelm”, why not try some of the relaxation suggestions here?
I also have a mood helium section, from the old “House of Happiness” blog, filled with all the things that help me feel relaxed or happy – or both! If you want further inspiration from poetry, art, suggestions for spa products or ideas on how to enjoy life more, check out “Happy Thoughts” for some mood helium.
Start with some good advice from dogs that someone gave a human voice:
Things We Can Learn From A Dog
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
Take naps and stretch before rising.
Run, romp and play daily.
Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout …run right back and make friends.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be sure to keep up your exercise program. Exercise is one way to relieve stress, along with things that you do to relax and renew yourself. So don’t let your exercise program be a source of stress: find things you enjoy, pace yourself, diversify your activities.
One of the reasons exercise is a stress reliever is because it gets your circulation going and causes your body to release endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that affect your brain to reduce perception of pain and can trigger positive feelings in the body (if you have experienced “runner’s high” you know what this feels like.
National Cherry Cobbler Day is on May 17th, just in case you wondered.
History Fact About Cobblers
“The earliest meaning of the word “cobbler” refers to one who makes (or “cobbles”) shoes. Sometime later, “to cobble” came to mean “to put together clumsily or roughly” (American Heritage Dictionary).
This second meaning is most likely the origin of the name of fruit-based dessert known as “cobbler,” in which the ingredients are thrown together with little of the precision required to make a classic fruit pie. Cobblers are thus easy to make.” – The Dictionary of Americanisms
I think Jamie Curtis is absolutely gorgeous. She has a look that is healthy, natural, and which any woman might want to emulate. Jamie Lee Curtis and I share something in common: we have some Hungarian ancestry.
With her athletic, yet feminine build, the gamin haircut has been the perfect foil for her, and it melds perfectly with her lively persona.
For those who want to borrow the style and look of this beautiful and magnetic star… read on….
Jamie’s Style: Her Look, Her Hair, Her Makeup
“…a classic cut for Ms. Curtis. Jamie Lee’s back and sides have been angle cut to create a messy, sexy look and her top section has been razor cut to add body and movement. This is an easy style to maintain with regular trims.” – Hairstyler.com
Of her Pixie haircut one commenter said, “you need good bone structure and a bit of bravery, since there’s no hair to hide behind” about choosing this style.
If you look at lots of pictures of her, it becomes apparent that her general style is to be very simple and striking in flattering cut clothing with usually one focal point of jewelry, fabulous earrings, or a stunning necklace. she often chooses silver metals with diamonds, but not always. The key is that with simple well fitting clothing and her short haircut the jewelry serves to highlight her face. It is a very effective look for an older woman.
One thing that is readily apparent about Jamie Lee Curtis is how fit and athletically slim she is. If you have rolls or extra pounds on your frame you can’t wear her clothing styles. but you can use her sense of color and design for your overall look.
“Jamie Lee Curtis enhances her gray locks with soft, neutral makeup.”
Choose cooler tones for eyes like pewter and lavender.
Choose warmer tones for cheeks and lips like golden pinks and apricots.
Choose a light shade of brow color and define the eyebrows.
Add extra sheen to your hair with finishing sprays that have glisteners, use mineral powder foundation with illumination for your skin.
No copper or orange shades of makeup- choose peachy instead.
Steer clear of dark lip colors, and make the lips look plump and juicy with shiny lipgloss.
A pomade gives hold and shine and is great for short gray hair like Curtis’ pixie cut. I haven’t seen what particular line of hair products she uses, but her stylist spilled about one that is both good for your hair and keeps a well groomed natural look like Jamie Lee’s signature style.
Jamie Lee Curtis Style
Fabulous Makeup Products – Get the Look
To get Jamie Lee Curtis’ flattering natural look, all luminous and bronzed, consider that she endorses “Sheercover Makeup“.
Studying her photos, she almost always opts for a very natural look that includes pink lipstick, some blush, and accents her eyes with shadows and mascara, done with a light hand.
Glammed-up events occasionally break the rule, but rarely appear better than her signature look.
Sometimes it really helps to have some guidance when entering a new phase of life, like becoming a mommy, re-entering the workforce, or any big and important, new phase of life. Aging is no different.
I liked the advice given in this book and the way it is presented. Maybe we have felt our best was behind us -looks wise, anyway, but the idea of “making a comeback” puts it in perspective. We just have to fine tune some things and polish up a bit… we are on our way to a new and exciting chapter of life.
Recently stylist Sean James is quoted as using PHYTO Volume to style Jamie Lee’s hair for her FOX Los Angeles Screening Party of Scream Queens.
What Style And Aging Means To Her (And Oprah)
I made a commitment to being physically strong — at 51
Getting fit is a big part of the look
Getting fit is important to any woman’s health, and the look of the simple form-following wardrobe that Jamie Lee Curtis wears hangs on a body that is not skinny, but certainly is not packing extra pounds.
In recent years Curtis cut back on her favorite carbohydrates in breads, etc. to cut her weight for health reasons. Modifying your weight by losing extra pounds will reduce the blood pressure and the cholesterol readings. It also makes you look better in your clothes.
True confession: I’m writing this as motivation for myself- to eat healthier and see these results.
You like a Gap T-shirt, and then six months later you want the same one because the baby pukes all over you. And then they don’t make it anymore. So I’m a replicant. When I know something I like, I just want to replicate it.
It’s not over yet! We are just beginning to awaken to making the most of our beauty now. A mature beauty, yes, but it has its own attractiveness. Just as we see in celebrities like Jamie Lee Curtis!
What most helped me is the advice on clothing. That is more of a challenge than hair or makeup for me. This book has it all covered, though. Chapters on each part of your look given in an encouraging, spirit uplifting way.
Fun and Freaky Movie
I had so much fun watching this movie.
Freaky Friday is my favorite Jamie Lee Curtis movie. Her great comedic talent really shines out. Jamie Lee was perfect for this part. It is a light and well-paced comedy that plays off the fact that we all imagine we would play another’s role in life so much better: mothers would behave better if they were in their daughters shoes, and the daughter would presumably do everything differently. Yes, there is a moral here, too- that everyone should give a bit more love and tolerance to each other.
Her Activia Commercials
One of the ways you might have seen Jamie Lee Curtis is due to her involvement with representing the yogurt ‘Activia’ in TV commercials.
“A lot of celebrities do product endorsement. Curtis just stumbled into the big one. “I never in my life thought when I first was asked by this company, Activia, Dannon, to be their representative, I really don’t think it was just like, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a check, I’m going to do it.’ I really thought, ‘Okay, wait a minute. I’m going to go out and talk about bowel movements and about how people’s digestive tracts work. Some work better than others and why and blah blah blah and that this will help.’ I really thought, ‘Okay, is that going to be weird? I mean, is that going to be weird? You’re an actor, you’re a writer. Is that going to just be a weird thing.’ It has turned out to be the most fun thing.””
What do you think about celebrity commercials?
What Are You Doing? – How Do You Feel About That?
How Jamie Lee describes our parenting now…. She is a funny, and articulate. person.
Try to discourage your loved ones from falling prey to this system of dissatisfaction. Men, honor your women and girls. Tell them that they are beautiful and show them that you mean it. Pattern your behavior so that young men can learn about what are and are not appropriate ways to talk about women. There are plenty of things to be anti about as a family. Let’s try to stop aging as being one of them.
— Jamie Lee Curtis on The Huffington Post
Continuing To Grow
People know Jamie Lee Curtis as an actress, child of actors, and as a spokesperson for Activia on TV commercials, but she is also a children’s book author.
Her books are best sellers.
I like celebrities who have more than one side to them, who have taken time to develop other talents.
You knew Jamie Lee Curtis is partly Hungarian, right? Her father , Tony Curtis was an Hungarian Jew (his father was born in Ópályi, near Mátészalka, and his mother was a native of Nagymihály).
She and her father helped finance the rebuilding of the “Great Synagogue” in Budapest, Hungary.
Everyone Has Role Models
Who was Jamie Lee Curtis’ role model for aging gracefully?
Jamie’s Ideal of a Beautiful Celebrity
Jamie’s Ideal of a Beautiful Celebrity is another great actress who aged with beauty and grace.
Everyone has heroes, and the actress that Jamie Lee Curtis looked up to was Jessica Tandy. She was another fine actress who was well known for her great character roles and for aging well.
She acted well into her older years and wore her gray locks beautifully. I think Jamie Lee has followed her own inspiration and given us a role model of aging with grace and panache. Her whole look inspires woman to be more natural and make efforts to be healthy and vibrant.
We can take cues and add notes to our own integration of those things into our own choices as we age.
I actually became aware of BB creams by reading a review about them, and since then have tried a few brands. I have been purchasing the Garnier brand, despite a few detours trying out other brands, because of its skin enhancing qualities.
What Do I Like About This BB Cream?
Garnier makes theirs with a smooth application, it glides on.
I like the smell of the product
It is something between a cream and a makeup giving decent coverage to my aging skin
I think it improves my skin. There doesn’t seem to be anything that is “not to like“, although my daughter considers it a little too “heavy”. I don’t agree, but thought it might help someone who is looking for the lightest possible feel. She likes Aveeno Positively Radiant moisturizer instead.
I’ve also used “CC” creams (Read on for comparison of the two types).
But again, I like this brand of tinted cream better for everyday wear.
I feel it protects my skin when I go outdoors (which is often, given that I’m an avid gardener), and it is moisturizing. It has a sunscreen level of 15, which is enough for most of the year in my Northern climate.
I use separate sunscreen to boost the protection in summer and when I go to sunnier climes.
More To Like
Easily available, and it is economical. I think the price point is important. Why spend more for products when Garnier has created a BB cream that works, feels good on your skin, improves it, and smells nice? I spend more on a full coverage makeup, but this is the tube I grab on most days, and sometimes use it as a prep for other liquid makeup.
A comparable product, L’Oreal brand is one I have also used and I didn’t like it nearly as well. Compared to Garnier it felt dry and powdery on my skin, with its medium shade too light. So I went back to using that bright gold tube with the grass green logo which I started out with.
How To Describe it?
Remember those sheer makeups that came out years ago? I always liked them and this product looks very much the same. They even out my tone, which in aging skin like mine has sun damage, gets dry easily, and needs some under-eye lightening. When I use this cream it smooths out that unevenness.
It goes on quickly and doesn’t look streaky . Yes, some products with pigments look a bit streaky when not taking time to blend in, but this one doesn’t need that extra step, which makes it great for busy mornings.
BB cream And Little Else
A daytime application for “out and about” in a botanical garden. I no longer wear much makeup in my daily routine: the cream and a swipe of lipstick is about it!
A daytime application for “out and about” in a botanical garden.
I no longer wear much makeup in my daily routine: the cream and a swipe of lipstick is about it!
A Few Tips For Getting a Great Look
Apply in layers until you get the coverage wanted
Apply with your fingers, it goes on easily
Blend, if desired, with cosmetic sponge or Kabuki makeup brush
I also use it to cover imperfections elsewhere on the body (mosquito bites, etc!)
*I noticed that the demonstrations in the videos on this page often use blender brushes.
I have made the Garnier B.B. one of the first choice products for my makeup bag and to take traveling.
BB stands for “Beauty Balm”
BB vs CC Cream
What is the difference between these two types of products?
BB creams are lighter than foundation but heavier than tinted moisturizers
CC cream has a fluffier feel, while BB feels more like a moisturizer
CC stands for “color correction” and theoretically provides more coverage
The OPINION Report
Have you tried this cream? Do you like it?
I do recommend this one. Try it out for little cost. You might stick with this choice like I have, or move on to more expensive brands, but I think you will like BB creams.
How to Apply BB Cream
Basically, smooth on the first coat just like tinted moisturizer. Then add additional thin layers to areas where more coverage is needed. For spots or blemishes, dab on extra coats with the tip of your finger and feather it invisibly into the surrounding skin.
This video illustrates the technique:
When you want something for those undereye circles
I have some circles (who doesn’t?) and the roller ball is pure genius.
This cosmetic brand has been creating a line of truly beneficial products and the price is economical.
If you have dark circles under your eyes and want a quick fix, put this into your makeup bag arsenal.
BB Creams I Didn’t Like
For comparison sake: from L’Oreal
I also tried L’Oreal’s, and did not like it very well. Although the white color from the tube turned to the proper shade on my face, it felt all chalky and unpleasant. It went on more heavy, too. In comparison, the Garnier brand felt more like a tinted moisturizer.
I also did not care for the smell of this product.
I also tried this brand, which I purchased at Costco ( also available online). It had a dry application that felt and smelled a little like something “plastic”. The color was dark and not completely natural for me.
On the plus side it has a stronger sun protection, which is why I purchased it. I still chose the Garnier brand!
Although Florida has been most famous for Miami, many are discovering the beauties of the Emerald Coast and the allure of Apalachicola. I know I am one of that number. In fact, Florida’s Emerald Coast has been voted the “Best Beach Town in the South” by the readers of Southern Living magazine, in 2011.
Visiting The Emerald Coast? Discover Destin Beach!
The Destin area is great for families. No place better for reunions, it is a fun place to meet up with kids and grandkids. The beaches are clean and beautiful, there are plenty of things to do and see -in a completely relaxed atmosphere.
Lots of shopping opportunities in the general area.
The clear waters, ocean breezes, and nice condos are the perfect backdrop for good memories and family fun…. and that is what makes this an area worth return visits.
Read on to find out about some of the great restaurants, attractions, hidden gems -all honestly reported from our family visits.
Our Latest Destin Beach Vacation
Another great time of fun in the sun
We love to spend most of our time on the beach.
Take along a really great beach bag to tote all the necessary essentials. My daughter uses the beach cart and considers it a lifesaver for hauling all the family gear to and from the beach: boogie boards, sand toys, beach umbrella, etc.
We’ve always enjoyed the beach, but Destin has such clear water and white sand beaches, it rates as our family’s top favorite place to enjoy a Beach vacation.
Being in the panhandle, it is a little far north for some snowbirds who like to vacation during the winter months, but for us the late spring and early fall are good times to go. That is when we have experienced Destin at its most pleasant.
The General Area: The Emerald Coast – Basic Beach Vacation Info
The Beach is what I go to Destin for… those gorgeous white sands and emerald waters are the centerpiece of the area. There are plenty of things to do and places to eat, but when all is said and done it is the natural beauty of the area that makes it really special.
Emerald Coast Guide
Things to do at one of the most beautiful places in America. BEACH INFORMATION: Emerald Coast Guide Home, Recreation and Attractions, Fishing, Dining and Entertainment, Shopping, and more
a small insulated pack for water and refreshments.
Don’t forget your sunscreen …especially if you are from the North! Or have pale skin!
Most condos don’t have beach towels, so bring a nice big beach towel. You can buy them at the outlets, but they are cheaper and much better quality if you buy them before you arrive in Destin. This is true of most resorts and beach destinations.
“Sunscreen?”… by Kurt Ard
Packing list if you travel by car:
Bottled water and drinks
Beach umbrella or tent
Extras of paper products like paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper.
Get ready for the beach – Beach gear for maximum fun
This is another great idea that my daughter has adopted for her family’s beach vacations. When the sun is as hot as it gets in Florida, these tents are great for the young children who need to take a little nap, or for moms with fair skin who need timeout from the midday sun.
I need to reiterate: if you come from the North and have fair skin (I do) use a powerful sunscreen 30+ and above right from first thing in the morning.
I had thought I was protected enough but got badly burnt. Until slathering on 55 SPF first thing in the morning it was not enough. Get everything possibly exposed to the sun covered with sunscreen.
visit Seaside, too, while you are on the Emerald Coast.
My Favorite Breakfast Place
My family and I revisited my favorite haunts listed here during our 2011 trip. I still like Another Broken Egg, and the oysters from Shrimp Shack were still excellent.
We spent more time getting items at “Fresh Market” during this vacation, and found they sell oysters ‘Rockefeller’ there. The sandwich wraps, bakery items, and salads were just wonderful. Very good fresh fruits and juices, too. We highly recommend this as a choice for many lunch and light dinner times.
Another Broken Egg Cafe
I had the ultimate crabcakes here, but no matter what you order from the menu this restaurant is a destination as far as I’m concerned. I bought the souvenir coffee cups, too. We tried it out on recommendation of my daughter and son-in-law, and they know how to pick ’em.
I like everything about the pleasant inviting decor, the delicious food, and the menu selections. Everyone in our large party was happy. And that is a tall order!
If you want to know what other people thought, here’s a review of the Destin locations.
I know it is a bit of a run to get over to Seaside, but it is a nice attraction. While you are there looking at the little shops and all the pretty houses, get some Apalachicola oysters at the Shrimp Shack. They are addictively delicious.
The beach directly behind the eating area is pretty and there is a great smoothie trailer across the street.
Another Oyster and Seafood Place:
The Boathouse Oyster Bar
Taste the sea
A fun loving place where the oysters are shucked as fast as the guy can get ’em out, and the crowd is loud and happy. This place is tucked away and a bit hard to find… look for the “Boathouse Oyster Bar” sign as you near HarborWalk Village. They have lots on the menu besides oysters, but if you love oysters this is the place you want to go.
One thing, though, is that you can’t get them for take-out… oysters must be eaten on site.
I ordered the baked oysters “Half and Half”, two recipes of 6 each: one a butter,mozzarella,bacon, and onion smothered oyster- the other a cocktail sauce and cheddar cheese concoction. Both good.
Definite “beach” feel with old style wooden building.
Harborwalk Village – shops,views, fun, and food
photo by Marvin Kuo
Harborwalk Village is a waterfront collection of stores, eating places, and some fun stuff for kids located right next to the Destin Harbor Marina. A small “locomotive” gives a ride, upscale stores offer a place to spend your money, and restaurants are bright, lively, and can be expensive. It is all pretty expensive – but an enjoyable place to see. Located across the street from Mcguire’s and below the Emerald Grande Hotel.
Very sunny and hot in the daytime, I preferred visiting in the evening after sundown, the lights reflect on the water and the mood is upbeat.
Source: flickr.com via HarborWalk
Located within Harborwalk Village is Harry T’s – a loud and sloppy restaurant, but with very decent food if you don’t mind the high prices.
I ate the catch of the day which happened to be snapper and buttery new potatoes. My husband had the “best Reuben sandwich I ever tasted” – that is what he said, just quoted him.
We were seated overlooking the bay which was very beautiful, just missing the sunset views which I’m sure can be spectacular…looking over the water and towards the bridge to Okaloosa Island.
I thought the seafood was okay, and very overpriced … so while it was an overall good experience, I don’t think I would choose to go there on my next trip.
Everyone seems to agree that this is a place for good food and fun. Mcguire’s in Destin is right across the street from Harborwalk Village, wonderful place to walk along the waterside, visit upscale boutiques and eat- even if you don’t decide on Mcguire’s.
Now that I have spent a number of years allowing my hair to grow into its natural silver and white, it is time to spill the beans on the realities of keeping my mane looking its best.
Problems and solutions follow, along with some hairstyle looks for inspiration.
As Years Go By
Do I still love it? Yes, going gray was one of the best beauty decisions of my fifties. Has it rendered my haircare totally carefree? No.
I should get my haircut refreshed far more often than I do. What a difference a professional cut can make- giving shape and movement to create a more lively look.
I have also learned the hard way that a pennies amount of protection and prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to maintaining the good looks of gray.
I continue to seek the perfect style. (I am starting to believe this dissatisfaction has more to do with losing bodyweight than fixing my hair.) I did want to update a few of the tips which have stood me in good stead for that past few years.
When Gray Isn’t at Its Best
I have had some challenges as a Silver Fox that I never had when I was a Brunette.
The most irksome:
Yellowing. This is the worst problem and the one which has been hardest to deal with.
Flyaways and thinning, related to aging, rather than the color; but requiring care and products to manage.
Challenges of growing it long and keeping it looking good.
Those have to be the top three problems for most gray locks ( except for the last one, not everyone wants to have long hair!).
Short Gray Hair
Not everyone needs or wants to chop the length, but it is one way to deal with the above named topknot troubles. It was easiest for me to maintain shine and silveriness when I had a mid-length bob.
Cutting off hair that has been damaged by the elements or heat styling is a tried and true way to control the dryness and discoloration.
It also gives a fresh new look that is instantly rejuvenating.
Love Really Short?
Growing It Long
I know there are many women, like me, that see those gorgeous long locks of shining gray hair. It is so tempting to desire those below the shoulder lengths.
So I gave in, after two or three false starts, and began to grow out the length of my hair. I must be honest and say that the results are mixed. I haven’t given up yet, but if I remain ambivalent about this look, I will go back to the smooth, mid-length pageboy.
What Is My Beef with Body?
Thinning means less hair to give “body” to a style, and I have had layers put in to keep the style from going flat. Layers, however, can be more prone to flyaways when the weather turns cold (a trial for all types of hair).
Serums are still the best bet for taming flyaway hair, although hair pomade like Alberto VO5 works, too. Beware of too much which can weigh down and flatten your style.
Have you tried to grow out your silver locks? What were your hurdles?
Stop Turning Yellow!
I admit it, I didn’t use the color correcting products as often in the past year. The shampoo and conditioner formulated for gray hair make a huge difference under most circumstances.
I had an experience with battling a bout of yellowing after a beach vacation two years ago. I am convinced that using sun protection would have prevented it. I even went to my stylist and had a “Malibu Treatment” at the time, but I felt the results were negligible. Perhaps it will work better for you?
So far, the best antidote has been Paul Mitchell’s Forever Blonde line. In the future I will make a review comparing and contrasting several product lines, but this is my top tip so far.
Try rinsing with the juice of a lemon added to two cups of water. It will help clarify and brighten.
I have to contend with hard water, exposure to the elements ( LOVE being outdoors), what are your bug-a-boos? City pollution? Certain hair products? Chlorine?
UhOh Argan Oil
Maybe this personal anecdote is silly, but every time I used Argan oil, which makes hair very soft and pretty and is good for skin, I noticed a yellow cast to my hair. Hard water is also an issue in my area, but I believe the Argan oil was yellowing. Coconut oil is a better solution when moisturizing hair.
Alberto VO5 for gray hair has been my go-to for smoothing when styled, but I like natural oils for occasional replenishing.
The New Blonde
The longevity of the gray Celebrity fashion has been a happy circumstance. More and more models and actors display silvery manes. It is no longer remarkable when seeing women “of a certain age” with natural looking hairdos. The beauty of maturity is accepted and even celebrated, though I believe we have a ways to go in appreciating the middle-aged and aged.
A few highlights for a vibrant look in maturity:
Keep the style “young”, but not faddish.
Keep hair healthy, whether short or long.
Good grooming is always in style, don’t go for frumpish.
Protect from too much sun and heat.
Take vitamins- good looks are from the inside out!
Find the products that work best for you- experiment.
I hope these tips, styles, and reminders are helping you keep up appearances in the best possible way. I love my gray hair and would never go back to the artificial coloring regimen. I think it has the lighthearted feel of a Blonde, with the intelligence attributed to the Brunette, and an attitude of confidence all its own.
When I was a young woman I regularly used a facial steamer. It lasted me for many years… Until one of my teenagers rendered it unusable (don’t ask me how! I have no idea).
I recently decided it was time to begin facial steaming again.
Years ago, it was a Conair brand that served me well. Now I wished for some updated features.
In my research into reviews, the “KINGDOMCARES NanoSteamer” came up regularly. I like the features, although it came with a few negatives. Comments such as ” water reservoir was too small”, or complaints about plastic odor were offputting.
Pure Daily Care Nanosteamer
It was a close runner up to the one I have decided to purchase which is the “Pure Daily Care Nanosteamer“. Two features tipped the balance:
Long running time (up to 30 minutes)
Towel warming feature
This steamer comes with a bonus (extraction tools), but that did not weigh into my decision. It was named in the short lists for a number of recommended steamers, although never as #1 choice; Panasonic brand rated more highly, but was twice the price.
This appliance’s moderate price was a factor for me.
I would have liked the addition of aromatherapy features, but decided the quality of the steam, reliability of machine outweighs that addition of having essential oils at this time.
Most all of the steamers recommend using distilled water to reduce calcium buildup. Many customers of different brands reported problems if they used oils or tap water water. For aromatherapy, it seems best to use an appliance specifically for that purpose.
Lighted Magnifying Mirrors
My mother always had magnifying mirrors, so this was not new for me. What was new is the revelation of how important a lighted mirror with good magnification would be for aging eyes.
In a guest bathroom, a whole new view was revealed when I saw myself in a lighted 10X Vanity mirror. Hairs to pluck! Skin texture to exfoliate!
I knew it was time to order a mirror, and I knew which features I wanted:
with a cord
one with good reviews
I ended up with two mirrors, one ordered from Amazon, and one my husband picked up at Costco. Read my comparisons here.
Conair Oval Vanity Mirror
After much research I bought a Conair brand mirror that had less magnification, but better looks. Initially, I wasn’t as happy with my choice, but after use it has proved its assets.
This is the exact one I bought. I love the Satin Nickel finish. It is a very good looking mirror, and the lighting is pleasing. At first I felt the 7X was not strong enough magnification, but I believe this is one of the best mirrors to buy after a couple months of actually using it.
The Costco Mirror
I am less happy with this one. It was very economical ( which is why my husband bought it), but it has a buzz that is unpleasant when the light is on. The lighting is also very harsh and bothers my eyes. The 10X is useful, and I do use the mirror, but the glass quality seems lacking.
It is definitely a case of “you get what you pay for”.
Why Have Beauty Appliances?
In this time of life when my major goal is “divesting”, it is fair to ask why I am buying more appliances. I’ve done fine without them for so long…. why now?
For the mirrors, my aging eyes have had increasing trouble seeing my face for beauty regimens, including putting on makeup. The magnifying mirror with good light is a necessity. More important than a hairdryer, for me.
The steamers serve more than one purpose, and these things have to do with luxury and comfort. In a way, it is also more economical to give myself a facial than to spend extra on spa services. The steamers are good for home health, since they moisturize the air and skin.
So what appliances do you now feel are necessities for you? One of these or something else? Leave a comment to tell me about your favorites.
Every year, and it is my hope to continue, it is our tradition to have a big family meal together on Christmas Eve.
We keep certain foods on our menu because they are something that say “Christmas” to us in a special way, but we also change around the menu occasionally to include new dishes for excitement.
I want to share some of the foods we love with you, and the menus we have enjoyed as a family.
Sharing the holiday meal together is one of the most treasured ways we have celebrated Christmas.
Toys break, sweaters get stretched out and worn, games are forgotten in a drawer, but memories of enjoying a special meal stay woven within our hearts. Foods that create a part of a celebration together are an important part of that experience.
Dream Of An Old Time Christmas?
Memorable recipes are a time honored way to create a special experience that combines tradition, nostalgic memories, and fresh new excitement into your celebration.
The act of sitting around a table that is decked out in a beautiful setting is quite an unusual thing for many of us. Making it simple, special, and homey recalls old time ways of gathering family together for a memorable meal.
Eating Our Christmas Dinner
A Festive Christmas Menu
While it is my favorite for Christmas Eve dinner, consider this meal for special times from New Years Ever to Valentines day, and beyond. Anytime you wish to have something to impress your family and guests.
Simply customize the serving amounts.
So what’s on the menu this year?
Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin
German style fingerling potatoes
Pear and Pomegranate Salad
For Dessert: purchased cream puffs and warm fudge sauce
(The Cardamom roll recipe is long, and it takes some time to make, but it is worth it. I’ve had it online with other Christmas recipes I make….)
Why Choose Beef Tenderloin for the Main Course?
Tenderloin is very easy to cook
An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year!
I know this cut of meat is costly, but if you remember that it is boneless, easy to fix (hard to mess up), and everyone loves it… you might want to consider it as your Christmas dinner menu centerpiece.
It is usually accompanied with a cranberry relish for Christmas, but I sometimes skip that dish , depending on the rest of the menu.
We always have a fruit and a green salad. A side dish of potatoes, sweet potatoes, or noodles is usual; and we always always have the Cardamom rolls that I make only for Christmas Eve.
This has become our family’s all-time favorite, and the entrée I now make for Christmas dinner. One of the things I like about it is the ease and relatively short cooking time involved.
Make Ahead Tip
The roast can be seasoned and refrigerated up to 4 hours before roasting.
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1-1/2 tsp. fennel seed, ground
1 tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly cracked
2 -1/2- to 3-lb. beef tenderloin roast, with excess fat trimmed
1/2 cup crème fraîche
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
How to make…
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Stir to make a paste.
Pat the beef dry with paper towels and rub the paste all over the surface of the meat. If necessary, tie the roast at 1-1/2-inch intervals.
Put the roast on a rack on a small, rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 120 °F for rare, 125 ° to 130 °F for medium rare,or 135 °F for medium, 40 to 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, mustard, and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt to taste.
Transfer the roast to a carving board (preferably with a well for collecting juices) and let it rest, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes before carving it into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve the beef, passing the mustard sauce at the table.
The original recipe was from Fine Cooking magazine.
I found it difficult to locate the ground fennel, and ended up using a spice grinder to grind up the fennel seeds, myself. since I was able to find containers of Devon cream in the store I used that to replace the crème fraîche.
1 ½ cups whipping cream
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) buttermilk
Combine cream and buttermilk in a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well for 2 or 3 minutes. Let stand at warm room temperature for at least 24 hours. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Besides being used for the beef:
Use it as a dessert topping, too. Very good added to vinegar and oil dressings. Delicious over fresh fruit and berries.
How To Cook A Beef Tenderloin
If you have never prepared this roast for a meal before, you may gain confidence from viewing the how-to video.
Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water over medium high heat until almost tender, 5 to 8 minutes, drain.
Sauté prosciutto in oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat until crisp, 5 minutes -or the bacon cut into pieces. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Return pan back to burner, add vinegar and sugar and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add potatoes, simmer 4 to 5 minutes, then stir in prosciutto (bacon bits), add parsley, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions.
Pear and Pomegranate Salad
– Refreshing, Colorful, and Easy
This is one of my all time favorites. It is fancy looking with its creamy white pears, ruby red pomegranate seeds, and deep pink syrup sauce, yet quite simple.
3 pears thinly sliced – two red pears and one Asian
1 pomegranate seeded
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
4 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
dark green lettuce leaves
Place the sliced pears and pomegranate seeds into a bowl.
Toss with lemon juice to coat.
Combine the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small cup or bowl, then mix into the fruit.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to blend the flavors.
Serve in individual dishes on a bed of lettuce greens, and garnish with a sprinkling of sliced almonds with a sprig of mint
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 20 min
Whole Green Beans – Simply delicious
3/4 lb whole green beans
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
Fill a bowl with ice water.
Cook beans in a large pot of salted boiling water just until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain beans and transfer to ice water. Drain well in a colander and pat dry.
Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté beans with mustard and salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until heated through, about 4 minutes.
Recipe from Epicurious which is closest to how I make these simple green beans.
Pioneer Woman Talks about Holiday Foods
Some of my best holiday recipes and serving ideas have come from special holiday cookbooks. They are inspirational and come in a wide variety of cuisines to cater to every tradition and taste.
Once I found a set of menus that my family really enjoyed we rotated them through the years. We always seem to have a few things that we can’t do without for our holiday repast… usually the sweet potatoes and Waldorf salad (and of course, my Cardamom rolls).
Christmas Holiday Cookbooks
Christmas Entertaining (Williams-Sonoma)
This is a book of inspirations for all types of holiday meals and party fare. It includes the menus plus the decorating ideas and everything needed to make it a time to remember.
How to decorate the table festively and work plans to make everything happen without a hitch.
Holiday Settings – Festive Table Trimmings
Whether it is a few hand-picked pieces or an entire set of china dedicated to the trimmings of the season, it really brightens the table setting to have plates or serving pieces with iconic Christmas trees, bright ribbons, or snow scenes. Spode and Lennox are just a few of the companies which are famous for Yuletide dinnerware designs.
My sister has a complete set of dinnerware for the season, while I tend to pick up bowls and platters from after Christmas sales. They add a cheering note of pretty color to my all-white stoneware. When fixing a special meal like beef tenderloin, this servingware really showcases the special foods, economically.
Pretty dishes that are perfect for holiday dinners make the table part of the annual tradition. I always loved to see certain cups and dishes that were reserved for special family times on my grandmother’s table.
Set a festive table with this fine dinnerware perfect for the Christmas season. Made by one of the best names in fine pottery.
Not Christmas Yet?
When first writing this, it was far from Christmas time. For Christmas aficionados I know no apologies are necessary. Some people (like me!) are only too delighted for an excuse to plan the upcoming Christmas celebration.