More lights the merrier is the Christmas rule

Published 11:55 am Wednesday, December 26, 2018

More lights the merrier

Is the Christmas rule

By Peggy Walker, R.D.

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Christmas music is playing nonstop at my house.  The stockings are stuffed.  The dining room table is covered, not with goodies to eat, but wrapping paper and ribbon for those last-minute gifts to be wrapped.  And the lights are on.

This time I decorated with multi-colored lights mainly because that’s what I found in my box of lights.  I don’t remember exactly why, but I brought several strands, including two big rolls of what Mack calls rainbow lights from Batesville.  So, I went with them.  The pretty snow-flocked artificial tree that good shopper Laura found for me at the Highway 70 Yard Sale is beautifully aglow with tiny white lights sparkling in the dining area. But the others are pure fiesta! 

The pre-lit garland strands that I traditionally have placed across the top of the piano and entertainment center are now post-lit lights.  But not to be outdone and not wanting to make a trip into Jackson, I just wove the colorful lights in and out and through the old shedding garland.  I was liking how this was going and it was looking rather festive.  And why not be festive at Christmas?

Next, the tree.  DW and I settled on a white pine from a local tree-farm because it was raining, actually snowing, on the day we planned to go down to DeSoto County for a “real” Mississippi style cut Christmas tree.   We wrapped and crisscrossed the colored lights around the scruffy looking tree only to come out with sticky fingers. It was like our own scene from the movie Christmas Vacation.

Not wanting to damage any ornaments with the sticky sap we opted for leaving off my grandmother’s crocheted snowflakes and my delicate glass ornaments from Poland.  But fewer ornaments meant more lights! I was beginning to see the light…s! And it was good!

If a little is good more is definitely better.  Later on DW was gone and I was home alone with a 50-foot spool of multicolored lights.  I walked around wondering what to do with them. Maybe outside around the front door, but no, who would see them? I kept walking and looking and thinking.  With visions of all the grandchildren, wide eyed with exuberant wonder, looking at the Christmas spectacle at GiGi’s house I wrapped the breakfast room’s double window with the lights and plugged them in.  And viola, or rather olé. My house was looking like a Mexican restaurant. And I loved it.  Oh, I can’t wait until the little ones get here.  There will be a party going on!

DW and I hope your Christmas is just as colorful and full of festive holiday fun.

Feliz Navidad, everybody!

Recipe of the Week


Colorful lights call for a colorful meal!

1 (4 – 5) pound Boston Butt

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried

1 cup chopped tomato

¼ cup chopped red onion

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped, seeded jalapeño

12 6-inch flour tortillas

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Cut pork roast in half.  Combine chili powder, pepper, cumin, cloves, sugar and 1 tablespoon salt; sprinkle over all sides of pork. Heat oil in large skillet over high.  Brown pork, about 2 minutes per side.  Place pork in slow cooker.  Add vinegar and oregano. Cover and cook on LOW 8 – 10 hours. When done, pork should fall apart.  For salsa: combine tomato, onion, lime juice, jalapeno and ½ teaspoon salt in bowl, chill for 2 hours or more.  Heat tortillas per package directions.  Shred pork in slow cooker with 2 forks, stir in paprika and cayenne.   Fill warm tortillas with pork; top with salsa, cilantro and other favorite toppings.  Or use shredded pork to make nachos, loaded potatoes, or taco salad. Es muy bueno!

Tres Leches Cake

And save room for dessert….

½ cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

5 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla, divided

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

12 ounces evaporated milk

1 ½ cups whipping cream

¼ cup powdered sugar

Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until fluffy.  Mix in eggs and ½ teaspoon vanilla.  Combine flour and baking powder; add gradually to butter mixture, stirring to blend. Pour batter into greased and floured 13×9 inch baking pan. Bake in 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until cake tests done in center.  Pierce cake all over with fork.  Combine the 3 milks; pour over top of cake; cool to room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, 4 hours to overnight.  Beat whipping cream, powdered sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla flavoring at medium high speed until thick; spread over cake and serve. Serve with melted chocolate or dulce de leche (caramel sauce).  Santa would love a serving of this moist and delicious cake!