Archive for November, 2009

HOLIDAY FIND:

The fun hip urban holiday card collection from R. Nichols

GIFT WE WANT:

Travel Soaps from Saipua

WAY TO GIVE BACK:

Cell Phones for Soldiers

HOLIDAY FIND:

The classy holiday napkin rings by Dransfield & Ross

GIFT WE WANT:

Money Clip from Baekgaard

WAY TO GIVE BACK: 

North Shore Animal League

HOLIDAY FIND:

The gorgeous heirloom-quality ornaments of John Toole

GIFT WE WANT:

70th Anniversary Edition of Gone with the Wind

WAY TO GIVE BACK:

Give the Gift That Helps Feed the Hungry

HOLIDAY FIND:

The amazing selection of quality greeting cards from FineSationary.com

GIFT WE WANT:

A fun neoprene case for our laptop from Built NY

WAY TO GIVE BACK:

Cookies for Kids

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We plan to have our Christmas shopping, annual giving and preparations finished by the Winter Solstice, December 21.  This will leave us a few days of pure relaxation to get ready for the big day as we watch our friends, neighbors and family rush around at the last minute.

td1That is why our 25 days leading into Christmas will not start on December 1, but on the day after Thanksgiving – November 27.

Each day for Lost Cowboy’s 25 Days of Christmas we will present: a “Holiday Find” – something cool that will help you celebrate; “A way to give back” – opportunities to share the joy this holiday season; and “Gifts we want” – which you are free to send us, or, may give you ideas for someone on your list.

All of this is in addition to our regular posts.  So check back daily and spend some time with us this festive holiday season.

In the meantime, from all of here at Lost Cowboy, have a great Thanksgiving!  We’ll be back on Friday with our regular posts. 

Cheers!

OK, so maybe we are turning into a recipe site. 

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We couldn’t help ourselves after a friend sent us this Carrot Soufflé recipe when she saw our Corn Pudding posting.  This looks like the perfect companion for our Corn side dish and we can wait to try it out.  We’ll let you know how we make out – let us know if you’ve tried it.

Carrot Soufflé

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking dish
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
Coarse salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup saltine cracker crumbs
3/4 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1/3 cup very finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish; set aside.

Place carrots in a large pot and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Generously salt water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender and easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 10 minutes.

Strain carrots and transfer to the bowl of a food processor; process until pureed.

Transfer carrot puree to a large bowl; stir in milk, cracker crumbs, cheese, onion, butter, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk eggs until foamy. Whisk eggs into carrot mixture until just combined.

Transfer carrot mixture to prepared baking dish and bake until puffed and light golden brown on top, 40 to 45 minutes; serve warm.

OK, so this is not a recipe blog, but if you are anything like me, you are panicking about Thanksgiving dinner and worried that nothing with be ready in time.

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Well, a couple of years ago, I made corn pudding for Christmas dinner and it was a big hit.  Since then I have made it for every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.  It is relatively easy to make and best of all, you can make it ahead and keep it warm or heat it up before the dinner.

Seriously, if you bring this to your family dinner you will be the big winner of the day – and there isn’t a crispy French onion or mini marshmallow to be found.

LOST COWBOY’S CORN PUDDING
RECIPE
1 can (14.75-ounce) cream-style corn
3 cup fresh corn kernels or 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen corn
1 container(16-ounce) sour cream
3/4 cup cornmeal
3 large eggs, separated
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13″ by 9″ glass or ceramic baking dish; set aside.

In large bowl, combine cream-style corn, fresh or frozen corn kernels, sour cream, cornmeal, egg yolks, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

In small bowl, with mixer on high speed, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into corn mixture; pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake pudding 45 minutes or until edges are set and center jiggles slightly.

Let pudding stand on wire rack 10 minutes to set before serving.

It is day two of my pre-Thanksgiving Christmas card panic and I am feeling pretty good.  A couple of things I remembered: the scores of cards I bought after Christmas last year at a deep discount; and the fun I always have shopping for cards.

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First, the cards purchased last year are packed away with my other Christmas items, and I refuse to dig into that stuff until at least December 1.  Second, I like shopping for cards early, but I never buy them.  I guess I like looking at the options, especially the high-end cards, and hoping I can score them cheap at the end of the season.  I guess it is all part of a silly game. 

My favorite places to go to look at cards are high-end department stores.  When I first moved to Boston as a college lad in the 1980’s I loved going to Neiman Marcus at Christmas.  The store was always decked out and the ornaments, cards and other holiday items for sale always seemed so over the top expensive and out of reach.  But mostly I remember that the cards were artsy and beautiful. 

There has been a whole revolution in stationary and cards since then making quality cards more affordable and available, and now I can see what Neiman’s has for sale online.  Sure enough, this year they are offering this really cool polar bear card.  Still out of reach for a curator of a silly blog that doesn’t make a penny – but a boy can still dream!

 

 

It is the weekend before Thanksgiving and right on schedule, panic is setting in.  What am I going to do for a Christmas card this year?  I have had the thought do a special card since last year, one that involves a little bit of work on my part, and I have thought about it on and off all year.  But as I sit here now, very little has been done.

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Every year since 1991, I have had a picture taken with my niece on Christmas Eve.  I thought for the 18th anniversary of that first Christmas, I would do a card that had all 18 Uncle and niece portraits on it.  At this point I have found most of them, even scanned in a few that I only had in print form.  But I have yet to complete it.  Thus the panic.

But the good news is that there are any number of online resources available to help with these types of projects and make me look good.  I use Kodak Gallery, but there are many similar sites out there (like Snap Fish, etc.).  On these sites you can upload photos and then do all sorts of things with them:  from sharing with your friends via an online gallery; or creating all sorts of “projects” which will allow you to do cool things with your pictures.

My favorite thing these days is to make a bound book with your pictures.  Kodak Gallery offers many different options for taking your pictures and making a book that you can keep forever or give as a gift.  Not to mention the other things you can make with your photos like calendars, mugs and ornaments.  

Sure, there is still something cool about a handmade card you make with your printed pictures, construction paper, a glue stick and some glitter.  But it is a thrill to see your own pictures looking like something from the nicest stationary store on a Christmas card or one-of-a-kind book.