‘The Great Indoors’ with Tracy Briggs appears every Thursday in The Forum. For more information go to her blog at thegreatindoors.areavoices.com.
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One thing I've learned from my years of holiday baking is to simplify when you can. For example, I found out the hard way that when you spend hours baking cookies, the last thing you're in the mood to do is spend hours decorating them. Some days I'm in the mood to bake elaborate recipes — other days I'm in the mood to decorate. But never both at the same time, or you'll get a tired, crabby me who might end up chucking the whole ordeal in favor of a cup of spiked eggnog and a rerun of "Chopped."
FARGO — Black Friday has come and gone and some of you are well-into checking off items on your Christmas list. Others are in a white-hot panic with no clue what to get anyone. No matter which category you fall into, you might want to consider homemade gift breads. They're a fairly economical way to add an extra homestyle touch to store-bought gifts, and they're an easy standalone gift for those still stumped with shopping.
Whether you're "Deep in the Heart of Texas," whistling "Dixie" or "California Dreamin,'" state-themed items like jewelry, T-shirts, artwork, dish towels and coasters have become popular for those wanting to show their state pride — or, better yet, as gifts for loved ones who've moved away from home. But as is the case with many trends, state-mania is evolving and expanding to larger ticket items.
FARGO — Some people look forward to Thanksgiving dinner all year. Not me. I look forward to what comes after Thanksgiving dinner — dessert, duh. Last year on The Great Indoors, I went all out and made what I called a PieLogNog — a mashup of a pecan pie, chocolate caramel log and eggnog cheesecake based upon chef Zac Young's Pielogen. It was super yummy, but even then I realized you can't beat a simple piece of pumpkin pie. However, as I mentioned last week, I'm trying out a low-carb Thanksgiving this year.
FARGO — You enter the cluttered closet with the best of intentions. You tell yourself, "This time, I'm really going to clear the clutter — if I don't wear it, I'm getting rid of it!" But then you pick up that blue sweater your 4-year-old daughter picked out for you because she thought it was pretty. She is now 15 and you haven't worn that sweater in a decade.
On Thanksgiving, how many of us will eat a huge turkey dinner with all the fixings, then head to the couch to watch a little football only to fall asleep by halftime? The common belief is that the drowsiness is caused by a chemical in turkey called tryptophan — the basis for the brain chemical which makes people tired. But scientists now say that's not what's really happening. They say the snooziness comes from eating an abundance of carbs and drinking alcohol.
Any fan of musical theater will remember the famous song "I Cain't Say No!" from "Oklahoma," in which Ado Annie sings about her troubles rejecting the proposals of would-be suitors. These days, saying "no" to a dancing Oklahoma cowboy isn't the issue. It's rejecting the assertive neighbor lady who wants you to be vice president of the PTA. You swear you're not going to say "yes" to this volunteer committee or that. You won't agree to chair the school bake sale or join the board of a nonprofit that you gave money to once.
FARGO — Saturday marks an important anniversary in archaeology circles. On Nov. 4, 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter chiseled his way through the doorway of what would become the most famous tomb in history — that of King Tutankhamen. Not only did Carter unearth treasures not seen in 3,200 years, he opened the door to a pop culture phenomenon celebrated decades after the young pharaoh's death.
In 2017, a prospective home buyer doesn't have to wait until an open house to take a peek inside their dream home. Recently, more potential homebuyers are experiencing close-up views of what could be their new home without ever walking through the door. Sophisticated, immersive media technology — including 3D imaging, virtual reality walkthroughs and 360-degree photos — are changing the way buyers are buying and sellers are selling.
Every once in a while I'm reminded that not everyone lives life the way we do in the upper Midwest. And nowhere is that more evident than in the kitchen. Not everyone calls that bubbly stuff we drink "pop." In most of the world a casserole — while warm to the touch — is not called a "hotdish."