By: Jackie Brigante
My apprehensiveness for holiday travel is at an all time high this year: we are driving to the central Florida Gulf Coast. Christmas in the warm weather is never something I have experienced; there is usually freezing rain, runny noses and black ice up in Jersey burbs. While I am overly excited about the warm weather and sunshine; the rapid climate declination is where I am at an emotional standstill.
Upon leaving my New Jersey domicile I shall be bundled up to the nines: Uggs, Northface, knee socks and the coziest sweats I can find. All New Jersians can attest that the start of a 5 a.m. car trip in December can be mighty frosty; but the thaw on the way down south is what I am looking forward to the most. The end of this adventure should result in cut-offs, a tank top and flip flops – which will make me the happiest girl alive!
As this sunshine and summer apparel is probably an all too exciting fixation for me, but I am feeling one tiny bit of trepidation for this trip: mom said I have to pack light. Although my clothes do tend to be on the smaller side; packing light does not exist in my vocabulary; especially on a road trip! This climate disaster that I am currently facing is forcing me to pack two full suitcases – one for the winter and one for the summer. Sorry mom and dad, that trunk is going to be mine…espadrilles take up a lot of room.
Another weather crisis that is making me feint of heart is the waning climate. What if it is snowing in Virginia when we stop for lunch? What if dinner in South Carolina rains on my parade? What fashion choice do I make if night time in Florida is cold?! There are so many unanswered seasonal queries that are plaguing my thoughts!
Now for all of you Christmas fanatics – be aware. All winter trips on which I venture; there is always a blizzard in good old New Jersey. My family has the knack for staying in Vegas an extra day due to airport shutdowns and coming home from Disney only to find a driveway full of fluffy, glistening snow. So perhaps while I am basking in the sunshine, New Jersey really will experience a White Christmas.
By: Todd Woodruff
Well, well, well….where do we even begin? That is the question for every guy that has to shop for their spouse/significant other during the holiday season. It is a very nerve-racking thing to do, especially if you are not a very creative person or always need help with making decisions. For some it is easy, but for others it is very difficult. You never want to buy the wrong gift that your spouse/significant other may or may not like, so it is tough approaching how to shop for them. If you live with them or are always with them, it is easy to pick up and see things that they need. If you do not live with them but are always with them and you listen to what they are saying and want, then you can get ideas from that. Yes I mentioned listening in my last line, I know all of the ladies are thinking what guy actually listens? Right: well ladies during the holiday season it is our goal to make you happy, so; believe it or not we do listen to what you want. But the first step in doing this is to talk to your spouse/significant other and put a price range down on what you both are willing to spend.
Gifts from a guy to a girl. What does she like or want, and will it be exactly what they think it is? It is very tough shopping for her because you feel like it has to be something extraordinary. Gifts from a guy to a girl do not always have to be a piece of jewelry, purse or other accessory that they use. In fact, this can be very difficult to buy the correct item. If you know exactly what piece of jewelry or purse they want that is fine, but why buy something that she may want to return? Sometimes it is easier to take them shopping if you want to go that route. Girls can be very particular and like to pick out certain items. Other options for guys are to take them to a holiday show and out to dinner and drinks and pay for the night.
Gifts from a girl to a guy. Well ladies: most guys are very easy to please. What is your spouse interested in? Sports, electronics, building things? Depending on what his interests, there are many different ideas that are available here. For example; if he is into sports, why not buy tickets to his favorite sports team and you can both go to a game and enjoy. If he is into electronics or tools buy him the newest version of the latest tool or electronic he has.
For the both of you. If you are both at a crossroads or living together you can always decide on something that is worthwhile for the both of you. Together you could always take a trip, buy a larger TV for a living room, go to a sporting event or play together maybe even pay for improvements on the house or apartment together. These are just some ideas that I have thought of to get people started if you have not already started thinking about your spouse for the holiday season. Have a great Holiday and Happy New Year.
By: Keir DeFonzo
We all have our uncompromising ways of just how to prepare a Turkey for the big Thanksgiving feast. Some pride themselves on generations of family secrets to get their birds just to the right desire of crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. There are lots of different ways to handle the main attraction on our dinner table. But one question to ask as we kickoff the holiday season is whether or not to brine your turkey.
Brine is a salt solution in which the turkey is submerged and kept chilled, in the refrigerator or a cooler, overnight, before being cooked. Some may argue brining a turkey is the only way to guarantee the juiciest meat. This especially occurs in the turkey breast which is notorious for being dry if over-cooked. Others feel that the brine will compromise the flavor since the ones we buy from the store already are high in sodium and have been pre-treated with brine before being sold.
With salt as the main ingredient, the solution will allow the salt to transfer into the meat overnight and act as a sponge to retain the juices and moisture. The bird will lose some of its water when cooking off in the heat; brine will prevent the bird from losing too much. The fun part of preparing the brine is that you can add herbs and aromatics to give the flavor a twist that will enhance the meal. For example, some people add bay leaves, rosemary or peppercorns. The options are endless. Having experience with the brine myself, I will say that once I started the tradition, I find there is no other way to go. Where I keep perfecting my technique is in the ingredients of the brine. One thing is for sure; my days of serving turkey that needs to be drowned in gravy are over! Turkey can now stand alone on the plate and compete with its rivals (the potato, the stuffing and the cranberry) for your taste buds attention.
One last tip I will share that I picked up along my cooking travels: place the bird breast down. The majority of the fat is actually in the back. By cooking your turkey face down, the fat will naturally create an additional baste for the white meat and create perfection!
Executive Chef Nino LaCasio’s Turkey Brine Recipe For an 8lb Turkey:
2-1/2 gallons cold water
2 cups kosher salt
11/2 cup sugar
2 bay leaves, torn into pieces
4 tablespoons dried thyme
1 whole head of garlic, peeled
1 cup of pickling spice
2 tbsp Ground pepper
Whisk sugar and salt in water till it dissolves. Stir in other ingredients. Pour over turkey in a plastic bag and tightly seal the bag before refrigerating. Make sure turkey is fully submerged in the solution and let soak overnight. Drain Turkey and pat dry. Allow to sit one hour before roasting.
This post is co-written by: Jackie Brigante
Red roses, box of chocolate and expensive jewelries are the images that pop into my head when I hear people talking about Valentine’s Day.
Of course the holiday for love is a lot more than just mere material things, it’s a chance that comes once a year for admirers to confess their love to the admired, it’s a chance for a young couple to celebrate their new found love for one another and it’s also a chance for a husband to rekindle his love to his wife and relive the younger days when their love was still new and full of unknown excitements. Continue reading
2011 is the Year of the Rabbit.
Chinese New Years are named after a cycle of twelve animals that go in the order of Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog and Pig. This coming year is the year of the Rabbit and it officially begins on February 3, 2011.
The legend of the Chinese New Year includes a story on why the Cat never made the zodiac list.
The 12 Chinese Zodiac Cycle
Once upon a time, the Jade Emperor thought it would be better to assign an animal to each year so people could more easily remember the Zodiac cycle. He decided to hold a meeting with all the animals so that he could choose twelve of them to be the Zodiac animals. At that time, Cat and Rat were close friends. They were very excited about the meeting and decided to go early; however, Cat was a sleepyhead. He hardly ever woke up before noon. On the night before the meeting, he asked Rat to wake him early the next morning. When morning came, Rat got up early and quietly left for the meeting alone. When Cat finally awoke in the afternoon, he knew it was too late. Feeling betrayed, he vowed that henceforth Rat would be his enemy. This is probably the main reason Cats are always chasing after Rats.
Congratulations to everyone who got engaged over this holiday season! I have been planning weddings at the Inn for the past 10 years and have some tips that may be helpful in the beginning of your wedding planning journey.
What is the first thing that every bride wants to do once engaged? Tell everyone she knows! While your parents and immediate family should be the first to know, telling them in person is the best way to share your news. Once your family knows your good news it is time to share with everyone else. There are numerous ways to get the news out quickly. Making phone calls is definitely one way to start, but you can also consider noting your engagement on Facebook and sending an e-mail to everyone you want to share with. There is also the traditional route in throwing an engagement party and posting your engagement in your local newspaper.
After the excitement of getting engaged starts to wear off it is time to officially start planning your wedding and reception. The first thing that every couple should determine is your budget and how much will be allotted to each segment of your wedding which can include the church, reception, flowers, entertainment, photography, favors, honeymoon, etc…
Prince William Ballroom at the Nassau Inn.
Your next step is picking your wedding date by seeing what dates your ceremony and reception venues are both available. Be open when considering dates especially if on a tight budget as most venues will offer a discount for a Friday evening or Sunday wedding. When looking at reception venues it is best to research all that you are interested in and then narrowing down your list to 3 – 5 and making appointments to check the ones that you are really interested in. Keep in mind that you will love and not love something about every venue you look at and should make your decision on what is most important to you. Continue reading
Although losing weight and getting healthy may be a cliché of a New Year’s Resolution, the New Year is a great time to kick start a new diet plan. As an avid nutrition and exercise planner, I love when my friends and family get in the spirit of getting healthy when the New Year rolls around.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a vital part of eating healthy.
Healthy eating can be boring and hard; and I am one to attest this. The staples of my diet consist of cottage cheese and lettuce: this doesn’t mean it has to be monotonous!
The Yankee Doodle Tap Room offers a variety of healthy and light choices for those who love to eat out and still remain healthy. Kick-starting your day with a healthy and hearty breakfast is the most important diet tip to remember. While most people forget about breakfast, I opt for the Tap Room’s Egg White Omelet: served with broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and feta cheese. Order a big glass of ice cold OJ to really get your day going! Continue reading
What's on your resolution list?
The time between the holidays and New Years is a time filled with family and friends for those of us so fortunate. A time where each person in their own way and in their own time reflect a bit more, open their hearts a bit more and are generally more compassionate.
It is the perfect combination of feelings being drudged up from the year passed as well as all of the hope filled thoughts of the year to come. It is the perfect combination for the introspective self assessment that leads about 45 percent of people to embark upon an age old ritual dating back to Babylonian times, 4,000 years ago…it is the proclamation of a New Years resolution. Most of us chose to lose some of that holiday weight plus a couple of lbs, some of us set off to devote more time to family, or quit smoking, drinking etc, etc…
It is a decision that should not be taken lightly however. Out of the 45 percent of Americans that chose to cling to a New Years resolution only 3 percent of them follow through with it. This is a failure of epic proportions by any standard. If we are to reverse this tragic wave of fickle promise and create a more concrete resolution we must dedicate more time and thought to more attainable goals. We must try to remember that the year is long and that life will inevitably get in the way. We must outline a plan of action, consider all obstacles, clear a path for the righteous resolution, granting it the greatest opportunity of success. Continue reading
Shopping on the Square
Palmer Square – A picture perfect place for shopping, dining and enjoying the holiday season. Fresh garland, red velvet ribbons, twinkling white lights. Sound like a winter wonderland? Well, that is certainly what we have in mind when it comes to decorating the Square for the season to create the perfect backdrop for shopping, dining and gift finding! From apparel, accessories, and home goods to specialty foods, toys and wine, the unique collection of stores on the Square makes it easy to find something for everyone on your list. Shopping can build up an appetite, so don’t forget, we have great places to dine too! Store Promotions Designer trunk shows, sales, discounts, donations to charities…our stores do a little of everything. Here’s a sampling of the many exciting promotions happening around the Square this month http://palmersquare.com/promotions.asp.
Santa Claus at the Square
Holiday Entertainment – While our Tree Lighting and Menorah Lighting ceremonies have past, things are festive every weekend on the Square. Musicians, carolers and Santa can be found strolling on Saturday and Sunday afternoons throughout December. Carriage Rides are also available on the weekends from 12-4pm and depart from the corner of Nassau and Witherspoon Streets.
Free parking This is our gift to you this season. It’s simple: Enter our Chambers Street or Hulfish Street garage after 4:30pm; visit a store on the Square and request a red validation ticket; present the ticket upon exiting the garage and your parking will be free. Valid through December 31. Extended Holiday Hours We want to accommodate your busy schedule during this time of year, so Palmer Square will have extended shopping hours December 13-23, from 10am-8:30pm. So whether you’re coming to shop with us, dine with us or just coming to enjoy time in downtown Princeton, we look forward to seeing you. Happy Holidays!
Guest Author – Anita Fresolone, Marketing Director for Palmer Square Management