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Sunday, November 16, 2008
MAKING DELICIOUS HOLIDAY MEALS doesn't have to be expensive. The secret is having the skill-and the will-to shop intelligently, eat sensibly, and celebrate within your means. Here are nine tips that pay off.

1. START WITH A STRATEGY "PLAN your dinners around unfussy, inexpensive ingredients," says the Food Network's Paula Deen. "Scour your pantry and use what you've already got. Keep an eye on pre-holiday sales, especially on supermarket brands.Make a grocery list - and stick to it."

2. SHOP EARLY The truly thrifty know that pieces rise after Thanksgiving, "so shop now for Christmas canned goods, frozen foods, and baking supplies," says housekeeping expert Cynthia Townley Ewer. One exception: Unsold fresh turkeys usually are discounted for quick sale the day after Thanksgiving.

3. ASK FOR HELP "If you've been designated by divine ordinance to host 48 people every holiday, now's a good time to rethink that role", says Nick Malgieri, director of the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. "Male this holiday sharing kitchen duties - and costs - with friends, family members, and neighbors. You'd be surprised how willing people are to pitch in."

4. TRY A BUFFET If you normally serve a sit down holiday meal, consider a money-saving buffet. "Use the old hotel trick of placing your rolls and big carb items like yams and potatoes at the beginning and the meats at the end," says Michael Ainslie, development chef for Fresh & Easy Supermarkets. "People's plates will be full by the time they get to the big-ticket items. Buffets also cut down on second and third helpings."

5. RETHINK BREAD Bakery breads can be costly, so try new options. "Buy day-old or use stale bread for stuffing." Deen says. Adds Malgieri: " Focaccia is a bread that takes minutes to whip up. There's no kneading or food processing, and all you need is flour, salt, warm water, yeast and oil."

6. GET CREATIVE WITH DECORATIONS For decor, skip the pre-made pieces on display at the store and make your own. "Bundle twigs from the garden with bright ribbons," Ewer suggests, "and plunk them into a carved-out pumpkin for a designer centerpiece at a yard-sale price."

7. PICK THE RIGHT FRUITS AND VEGGIES With people, the key to saving is knowing what's abundant and in season. This time of year, look for fresh apples, yams, squash, potatoes (especially low-cost russets), onions, carrots and promegranates. More expensive: grapes, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and strawberries. Anything pre-cut or bagged only adds cost. For tasty alternatives, frozen corn, peas and blueberries work best in compotes, stuffings and stews rather than in a bowl on their own. Adds nutrition expert David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, "Frozen veggies are generally just as nutritious as fresh. Canned foods tend to have added salt, so choose low-sodium and rinse before preparing."

8. BUY FROZEN MEATS With meats, the frugal go frozen. But read labels. Liquid broths and flavor enhancers add costly weight and affect taste and texture. "Look for minimally processed or natural poultry, so you're not paying for water", says Ewer. Interestingly, fresh hams and turkeys, while more expensive, aren't necessarily healthier, since those products are sometimes "saline-infused to plump them out", says Katz.

9. MAKE YOUR OWN DESSERT "A showstopping dessert doesn't have to be expensive", Malgieri insists, but it helps to bake it yourself. "storebrought pie can run $20 for something that costs $5 to do at home". Same goes for frozen pie crusts, which fetch $4, compared with $1 or less for homemade. "Combine butter and Crisco to save money and add to the flakiness," says Flo Baker, author of THE SIMPLE ART OF PERFECT BAKING.

With meats, the frugal go frozen

If baking scares you, look for simple recipes for brownies, chocolate cakes, and old-fashioned applesauce cakes (you can find some favorites at Parade.com/food) If chocolate is a must, shop warehouse club stores for 18 ounce, no-name Belgian bars - far tastier than squares of blands baker's chocolate, Malgieri says.

To make it even simpler, Deen suggests that you "fancy up a $1.79 cake mix by adding cream cheese or canned fruit to the filling." And all the while, remember the true meaning of the holidays. "No matter how much we cut back and scrimp, we're still with our family and friends," she says. "With lover and a little ingenuity in the kitchen, everyone's likely to end up with a full belly, so try to enjoy."

(Source: PARADE MAG by: David Hochman)
posted by infraternam meam @ 8:31 PM   1 comments
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Nielsen ratings reveal cities' likes, dislikes.

(Most popular TV shows during week of Oct. 27 - Nov.2)


1. MLB World Series Games 5 Fox, Wednesday --- 19,844,000 Viewers

2. CSI, CBS Thursday --- 19,098,000

3. Dancing With the Stars ABC Monday --- 18,876,000 Viewers

4. Dancing .... Results ABC, Tuesday --- 17,444,000 Viewers

5. NCIS CBS, Tuesday --- 17,258,000 Viewers

6. NFL Sunday Night Football NBC, Sunday --- 16,741,000 Viewers

7. The Mentalist CBS, Tuesday --- 16,073,000 Viewers

8. Desperate Housewives ABC Thursday --- 15,933,000 Viewers

9. Grey's Anatomy ABC, Thursday --- 15,319,000 Viewers

10.60 Minutes CBS, Thursday --- 14,322,000 Viewers


1. CSI CBS, Thursday --- 21,330,000 Viewers

2. Dancing With the Stars ABC, Monday --- 19,567,000 Viewers

3. NCIS CBS, Tuesday --- 18,221,000 Viewers

4. Grey's Anatomy ABC Thursday --- 17,709,000 Viewers

5. Desperate Housewives ABC, Thursday --- 17,709,000 Viewers

6. Sunday Night Football NBC, Sunday --- 16,295,000 Viewers

7. Dancing ... Results ABC Tuesday --- 16,247,000 Viewers

8. The Mentalist CBS, Tuesday --- 16,247,000 Viewers

9. Criminal Minds CBS Wednesday --- 16,174,000 Viewers

10. CSI:NY CBS, Wednesday --- 15,329,000 Viewers

11. CSI:MIAMI CBS, Monday --- 14,788,000 Viewers

12. Two and a Half Men CBS, Monday --- 14,651,000 Viewers

13. Survivor:Gabon CBS, Thursday --- 13,720,000 Viewers

14. 60 Minutes CBS, Sunday --- 13,679,000 Viewers

15. House FOX, Tuesday --- 13,567,000 Viewers

16. Without a Trace CBS, Tuesday --- 12,400,000 Viewers

17. Eleventh Hour CBS, Thursday --- 11,993,000 Viewers

18. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ABC, Sunday --- 11,993,000 Viewers

19. Cold Case CBS, Sunday --- 11,781,000 Viewers

20. The OT Fox, Sunday --- 11,677,000 Viewers

21. Sunday Night Football Pre-Kick NBC, Sunday --- 11,421,000 Viewers

22. Bones FOX, Wednesday --- 10,990,000 Viewers

23. Brothers and Sisters ABC, Sunday --- 10,911,000 Viewers

24. Samantha Who? ABC, Sunday --- 10,732,000 Viewers

25. Law and Order:SVU NBC, Tuesday --- 10,375,000 Viewers

(Source: Excerpts from Sunday Trib: Arts & Ebtertainment Section by: Maureen Ryan, TV Critic)
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:25 AM   0 comments
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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