Christmas Movies

  • A Very Vegetarian Christmas ~ Appetizer #3

    I have been a long time fan of savory appetizers ~ you know, garlic and brie, bruschetta, and holiday poppers to name a few. There is nothing like a deep and satisfying savory taste to prepare your palate for the scrumptious main meal. But, what if we could introduce a bit of sweet along with the savory? I think it might be simply delightful.

    ecolove_peargorgonzolabitesContinuing with our very vegetarian Christmas meal ideas, I've got something really special for you today. Let's take a bit of Gorgonzola (savory) and a bit of pear (sweet), and put those on top of a puff pastry square (delicious). And, then what if we topped it all with walnuts that have been glazed in a riesling carmel drizzle (savory and sweet)? Is your mouth watering? Do you think that would go over with your guests?

    Not only does it taste light and sweet and savory all at once, the puff pastry is just such an elegant base. When you add the crunch of the glazed walnuts, the pronounced depth of flavor in this appetizer is quite striking. You can get the exact recipe and all the instructions right here.

    While this recipe doesn't qualify as vegan, it definitely will please both your vegetarian and omnivore guests alike. You may want to make a double or triple batch of this one, I have a feeling it's going to disappear right before your eyes.

    TIP: Some puff pastry has trans fat in it, but the Trader Joe's brand is pure! No need to add the bad stuff in when you've got such a winning mix of other ingredients, right? Hooray for Trader Joe's!

    Photo and recipe courtesy

  • Best Christmas Movies - Ever?

    What are the best Christmas movies of all time? Obviously the answer to this is subjective, and each person's favorites may change over a lifetime.

    Nostalgia plays a part. Consider the slightly tacky Santa decoration that you love because it reminds you of your great aunt, or the too-sweet candy that you have to buy because Grandma always had a bowlful during the holidays. For the same reason, many Christmas movies are viewed because it's tradition, part of enjoying the season.

    And would you agree that Christmas movies are a category not always judged under the same rules as other movies? Many of our favorites do not have the best acting, plots, character development, etc. We're sometimes willing to give a little extra credit if a film puts us in "The Christmas Spirit", right?

    Having said all that, many would put It's A Wonderful Life on any Top 10 list. It was nominated for 5 Oscars in 1947, and won the Golden Globe for Best Picture, after all!

    While not in the same category of cinematic greatness, another favorite for many is A Christmas Story. The 1940s flashback film endowed pop culture with not only the leg lamp but also the phrase "you'll shoot your eye out!" What's not to love?!

    Or there's the animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas, based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name.

    Three Christmas classics, each a vastly different style. But what do they have in common? All have been updated in some capacity.

    Have you seen It Happened One Christmas? It was a 1977 remake of It's A Wonderful Life, made for TV, starring Marlo Thomas in the title role. An update of How The Grinch Stole Christmas cast Jim Carrey as the Grinch, and brought the Whos of Whoville from animation to live-action.

    And this year, we'll have the opportunity to judge a direct-to-DVD sequel of A Christmas Story. Apparently a teenage Frankie has his sights set a little higher than the Red Ryder BB Gun this time. Check out a little preview:

    http://youtu.be/YHJNBZ2rrMM

    Is this a wonderful tribute to a much-loved film, or a travesty? Let's be honest, movie-making is a business, and money is the driving force behind all of these remakes. So are you willing to shell out a few bucks to see a movie remake? Maybe the right question is, are you willing to risk having your favorite Christmas movie tainted by a less-wonderful version?

    What are your Christmas film traditions? Do you love to see the same movies year after year, or do you love the new ones that come out?

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