Be generous with your giving

It is less than a month until Christmas now, and I am sure many of you have started your shopping, plus many of you and especially men, will end up waiting until last moment to do their shopping.

I just wonder who is better off — the ones that start early or at the last moment. For sure the ones starting early will probably end up spending the most money, where as the last minute shoppers less.

For the first time ever, I heard that there will be a Christmas Tree shortage nationwide this year, however I do not think we have that problem here locally. Tree farmers say that it takes eight to ten years to grow trees to the right size to sell so you will either have to buy their tree early or buy an artificial tree where I can guarantee you there will be no shortage and can be used from year to year.

This is a very busy time of the year, not only with all the shopping, but the decorating of your homes inside and out and locally we have been very fortunate for the weather has been nice for doing our outside decorating.

As you drive through the city, you will see that many homes already have their Christmas decorations up even before Thanksgiving Day. Now who knows, “Is this weather here to stay”, and do we really want the warm weather for Christmas or the traditional snow that goes along with the Christmas season and sprit.

Especially this time of the year, we must keep in mind the less fortunate and be generous with our givings. When you see the Salvation Army red kettles, bell ringers, etc. be sure to drop a little something in.

Please keep in mind the “Angel Tree” to pick a child’s dream for Christmas with the person’s wants, age and sizes listed. The various trees are located in many different places, but I personally requested that one be put at our Auntie Anne’s Pretzel shop at the Grand Central Mall.

This is something you can do as an individual, a group or family project, where all you have to do is to purchase the requested items and drop them off at the Salvation Army on 5th Street and the many volunteers will see that they are delivered. (Not only does this provide a nice Christmas for a child or family, but also give one self satisfaction.) Teach your children at a young age to give and help others, so they will remember and continue to do so as adults.

Keep in mind all the different Christmas programs and events coming up, like the PHS lighting of the Christmas Tree on Dec 5, the Christmas Concert at the Blennerhassett Junior High today presented by the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, which will add to your Christmas spirit.

Below and from now on I will send recipes for your Christmas parties and dinners.

Until next week!

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Classic Roasted Duck with Orange-Bourbon-Molasses Glaze

2 whole ducks

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup orange marmalade

1/4 cup bourbon

3 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Remove giblets from ducks. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Remove excess fat and skin. Tie legs together with kitchen string; chill, unocvered 10-24 hours. Preheat oven to 450. Let ducks stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Prick legs, thighs and breasts with fork. Rub with salt and black pepper and place breast-side up on a wire rack in an alumninum-foil lined jelly-roll pan. Bake 45 minutes. Stir together orange marmalade and next 5 ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook; stirring often, 10-15 minutes or until reduced to about 1 cup. Remove ducks from oven and carefully spoon fat from pan. Brush ducks with orange marmalade glaze. Reduce oven to 350 and bake 20-25 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

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Grilled Pork Loin Steaks with Cherry-Plum Sauce

1 4 1/2-5 pound pork loin roast, trimmed

4 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh roesmary

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

8 thick bacon slices

cherry-plum sauce

Cut roast into 8 slices, removing end pieces. Stir together salt, pepper and reosemary in a small bowl. Rub each slice with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt mixture, pressing to adhere. Wrap 1 bacon slice around edge of each pork slice and secure with toothpicks. Let pork stand at room temperature 50 minutes. Light 1 side of grill, heating to 350-400. Place pork slices over unlit side and grill, covered with grill lid, 8-9 minutes on each side. Transfer pork to lit side and grill, covered with lid 4-5 minutes on each side. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve with sauce.

Cherry-Plum Sauce

1 shallot, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1 5-ounce package dried tart cherries

1/2 cup plum juice

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Saute shallot in hot oil in a small saucepan over medium heat 2-3 minutes. Stir in cherries, next 5 ingredients and 3/4 cup water. Bring cherry mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until mixture has thickened slightly and cherries are plumpest. Serve warm.

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Spice Rubbed Tenderloin with Mustard-Cream Sauce

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 5-6 pound beef tenderloin, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

Mustard-Cream Sauce

Preheat oven to 500. Stir together salt and next 6 ingredients. Rub tenderloin with olive oil. Sprinkle mixture over it, pressing. Cover and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Place on lightly greased rack in a roasting pan. Bake at 500 for 15 minutes, then reduce to 375 and bake 25-30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving with Mustard-Cream Sauce.

Mustard-Cream Sauce

1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup Creole mustard

2 teaspoons sugar

1 8-ounce container sour cream

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Saute shallot in hot oil for 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Stir in wine, mustard and sugar, bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly 3 minutes or until mixture is thickened and is reduced by half. Remove from heat and whisk in sour cream, salt and pepper. Serve.

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