• The Dish

    Best Holiday Dinner Tips

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    Horizontal image of a table with gold red and silvery decorations. The words "Best Holiday Dinner Tips" are overlayed on a place setting.

    Are you starting to worry about your holiday entertaining? Maybe you have the holiday decor decided, the menu roughed out, the guest list firm, and you think you are ready to have the most fun and entertaining party ever. But do you really know how to make your party go smooth and also enjoy yourself?

    I would love to help you with that! It has taken me years to understand how to be a better host and I want to share with you my very best holiday dinner tips.

    I’m one of those people who love to try to do everything myself when entertaining.  I want to make the dinner, do the décor, serve tempting appetizers, and make everything in my home sparkling clean to have the most amazing dinner party ever.  But I can say from sad experience that this thinking is a perfect recipe for exhaustion, disappointment, and stress.

    The most important thing to remember…

  • The Dish

    Bread and Magic

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    You’ve heard the sayings, “bread is the staff of life”, “bread is life”, and “bread is gold”.  They might seem old fashioned and cliché, but bread really does hold a great deal of meaning in our lives.  We break bread together to be close and for many of us, bread is a daily need and sometimes a daily ritual.

    Blue background with the words Bread & Magic in white. Beside the words is a magic wand and stars floating from the star atop it - Landscape Image for Facebook

    When I was young, my mom would make my school lunch for me.  Commonly, I would get a lovely sandwich of two slices of whole wheat bread that contained delectable bits of meat from the previous night’s dinner.  If it was Monday my sandwich would be pot roast.  Tuesday would be meatloaf.  Wednesday could be a bit of tuna held back from the making of a tuna casserole.   But occasionally it would be peanut butter with homemade apricot jam.  Even though my sandwich was delicious, I always wished it was like the sandwiches my friends had, peanut butter with Welch’s grape jelly on the popular white sandwich bread of the time, Wonder Bread.

  • The Dish

    Where Have I Been?

    A Cutting Board with Green Herbs with the Text "Where Have I Been?"
    Blog Title - Cutting Board with Herbs and a Knife with the words Where Have I Been?

    If you are a regular subscriber, you probably already know this has been a super busy year for me, which has kept me from doing a weekly posting on Encharted Cook. However, I know there are quite a few readers of Encharted Cook who are not subscribers and have come to my blog and been disappointed that new content has not been posted regularly.

    There are three reasons for my slowness… and I have been reticent to share them because “Excuses only Satisfy the Man who Makes Them”. I feel strongly about that saying. It is true and I can thank my favorite teacher, Mrs. Heinzman for sharing this saying in her classes. I took it to heart at the age of 14 and still do.

    Nonetheless, I think I should explain my absence.

  • The Dish

    Shining Gifts

    Shining Christmas Ornaments on a Green Christmas Tree

    Each and every year I have always watched the same holiday movie while wrapping Christmas Gifts.  It is my touchstone for the season and embodies the lessons I want to live every day of every year.  Although, it is hands down my absolute favorite Christmas movie, it is not likely one that is favorited today.

    Like everyone, I have several favorite holiday movies I watch. I love “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  It is so like “A Christmas Carol” with its themes of redemption, change, and gratitude. Then, there is “Holiday Inn” with the debut of the iconic song “White Christmas” and starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, and the heartwarming, “Love Actually”, where love mostly wins out. A holiday season is just not right without playing each of these movies in the days leading up to Christmas.

    But for me the film that resonates most is “The Bishop’s Wife”.  Disguised as a romcom, it is the story of an Angel who answers the frustrated prayer of a Bishop who believes his only problem is fundraising for a new cathedral. As the story unfolds, it gently leads us to the theme, that Grace is not measured by what we own or can obtain… and God is not in a building, but lives within the heart.