Friday, November 30, 2012

Grab your Santa hat and check out these holiday events

So you missed Hob Nob Gobble and the Turkey Trot. Just don’t miss the Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run/Walk, 9 a.m., Saturday at Northville Downs, 301 South Center Street in Northville.

Walk-in registration ($35 fee) begins at 7:30 a.m.

Individuals and teams are invited to participate in this holiday themed running and walking event to raise awareness and funds supporting the fight against arthritis.

Jingle Bell Run/Walk participants are encouraged to dress in their favorite holiday costumes – be it Santa Claus’ red suit or just Rudolph’s red nose. Last but not least you’ll need some bells, tied to your shoes to create a chorus of jingle bell rings. Loads of fun for the entire family, the event includes a 5K run/walk with competitive timing, kid’s quarter mile “Snowman Shuffle” and post-race party with awards for best time and most creative costume.

Being honored at this year’s event is Detroiter, Cathy Brown-Thomas, who was excitedly planning the details of her wedding when experienced significant pain. She was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, requiring her to control the pain with medicine and therapy. For her involvement, Brown-Thomas hopes to raise awareness about arthritis and let others know that help is available.

For full event details visit:Jingle Bell Run/Walk

 Noel Night stars 

Whether it's a school Christmas pageant or Tchaikovsky's ballet --there is something special about live entertainment during the holiday season.

This Saturday students from the Arts Academy in the Woods, a charter high school based in Fraser, will be performing at two major holiday events. The school's guitar quartet will be entertaining Noel Night attendees starting at 5 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble store on the Wayne State University Campus, located at 82 W. Warren, Detroit.

Then there's the Arts Academy in the Woods' dance academy appearing from 6:30 to 7 p.m. at the Detroit Public Library's Main Branch at 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

  Also that night, the school's madrigal choir will be performing at the City of Fraser's "Christmas in Fraser" event at Fraser City Hall. The festivities begin at 5 p.m. that evening.

Arts Academy in the Woods is chartered by the Macomb Intermediate School District.  It offers students the opportunity to major in the fine and performing arts while completing the Michigan Merit Curriculum.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday events serve to thank Michigan’s military

Macomb Daily staff photo by David N. Posavetz

The secret is out!  

Santa Claus had so much fun at Lakeside Mall’s Bagels with Santa event for the military last year that he’s making it a holiday tradition. 

Military families who wish to join in the fun are invited to meet Santa in the Food Court on December 1 at 9 a.m. for a feast of bagels, juice, milk and coffee. “We (already) have 20 families signed up for this special morning,” said Amy Stanton, marketing manager at Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights. However, in order for the elves to have enough goodies to go around attendees must register by calling 586-247-4131.

Each child in attendance will receive a plush toy brought by Santa just for them.

This event is sponsored by Panera Bread and Lakeside Mall. 

Santa Claus also will be visiting civilians:
Monday – Saturday
10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Lunch: 1-2 p.m.
Dinner: 5- 6p.m.
11 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Lunch: 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Christmas Eve
9 a.m. -6 p.m. sharp!
Lunch: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

For directions and further details, visit www.shop-lakesidemall.com.

Trees for Troops

Being a nursery it is only natural that English Gardens would join the brigade supporting Trees for Troops -- nationwide program of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation in which fresh-cut Christmas trees are donated annually to members of the U.S. military.

“This is the first year English Gardens has participated in this great program,” said John Darin, president of English Gardens. “It’s a great cause and we’re proud to help give back to members of the military and their families who give so much to us.” 

Nigel Manley, Christmas SPIRIT Foundation chairman would agree.

“Being involved with Trees for Troops is truly a gift that gives back,” he said. “It’s rewarding and meaningful to everyone involved because it gives us the opportunity to say thank you to our troops, and help ensure military families have the kind of joyful, traditional Christmas memories that we would wish for America’s heroes.”

For each $30 donation, English Gardens will provide one 6 to 7-foot fresh-cut Christmas tree that will be donated to an American military family. Donations will be accepted through Dec. 2 at all eight English Gardens stores and online at www.EnglishGardens.com.

Trees for Troops Weekend, kicks off Nov. 30 and hundreds of participants across the nation do their part to collect the trees for troops. English Gardens is the only retailer in Metro Detroit this year but it’s bound to catch on. Spreading good cheer and if things go as well as last year – more than 103,000 fresh cut evergreen trees will be delivered to troops in time for Christmas. 

If you want to see what the military think of the program, visit the Trees for Troops website at www.treesfortroops.org where each year, hundreds of military families click on to leave heartfelt thank you messages and pictures of their families at Christmastime. “Thank you for our beautiful Christmas tree!” said a message from the Pendleton family. “We weren’t sure what we were going to do this year… Trees for Troops was an answer to our prayers.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Be creative with Thanksgiving Day leftovers

I am part of a big clan of friendly people. That means the food cooked for a special occasion such as Thanksgiving is often enough to feed a small battalion of friends who they might happen to invite at the last second. I remember one year inviting a Capuchin monk because his family wouldn’t be around for the holidays. I knew my father-in-law -- who is always saying the more the merrier -- would approve.
It’s for this reason my mother-in-law’s refrigerator is always full. When you cook for an army there tends to be plenty of leftovers.
So what do you with all of the potatoes, turkey, ham and other stuff left over from the holiday meals? First and foremost is to store it properly. Anything you plan on saving in the refrigerator or freezer should be done immediately or at least no longer than 2 hours after the meal has ended. This will eliminate any risk of bacteria proliferating in the food. Now that the food is safely stored, check out this list from Metro Newspaper Services on creative menu ideas for leftovers from any holiday:

  • Turkey wraps - Sandwiches are always a great idea for leftover turkey and ham. But instead of bread, consider using flatbreads and tortilla wraps.
  •  Turkey burgers -- Mix the chopped meat along with the dressing together to create a meat patty. Fry it up and top it with the leftover cheese and other appetizers such as pickles, olives and sweet onions.
  • Days after breakfast -- Dice the leftover ham or sausages along with any vegetables and toss them in a bowl with some eggs for a country-style omelet. Add some onions and bacon bits to the leftover mashed potatoes and you’ve got a side dish of potato pancakes.
  • Soup base -- Promptly toss the ham bone or turkey carcass and leftover meat into a big pot of water and boil it for homemade stock for soups and stews. To make potato soup, add cream, bacon and scallions to the leftover mashed potatoes.
  • Baked goods – Mash the leftover sweet potatoes and bake them into a sweet potato bread loaf.   
  • A toast - Spread the leftover cranberry sauce over a toasted bagel or piece of fresh bread and butter.
  • Everything quiche - Dice up leftover meats and veggies and mix them with a batter of pancake mix to create an easy quiche.
  • Bread pudding - Break up the stale rolls and leftover bread and then find a good recipe for bread pudding. Toss in those leftover walnuts, cranberries or other dried fruits from the appetizer trays.
  • Mexican night - Fry up the leftover meats and add enchilada sauce to create spicy fajitas. Top them off with sour cream, salsa and fresh tomatoes and avocadoes.
  • Quick dinners - If you’re lucky enough to own a grinder or food processor, takes the leftover meat and grind it. Then add some breading and spices and bake it into a meatloaf one night when you’re strapped for time.
  • Fondue night - Gather up the leftover cake, cookies and other desserts and serve them on skewers for dipping into chocolate fondue.
  • Pot pies - Take the chicken, turkey, ham or even sausage and cube it. Mix it in a bowl with leftover gravy along with cubes of potatoes, carrots and onions and pour it all into a pie shell.
  • Jack’s sandwiches - One of my dad’s favorite traditions following Thanksgiving was to create a batch of open-faced sandwiches. Just pick up a loaf of fresh bread, cut the bread into thick slices and pile on the leftover turkey, cheese, ham, red peppers, onions or whatever you happen to enjoy and toss it in the toaster over or oven (set on broil). His sandwiches were always served with a side of chips and a hot cup of Earl Grey tea.    

Friday, November 16, 2012

REVIEW: Even odd has its ‘Silver Lining’

The Weinstein Company
You know what it's like when you meet a family for the first time and everyone seems a little odd, maybe even frightening at times? That's the feeling evoked at the start of David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook.

Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) is a former teacher who has moved back in with his parents after a stint in a mental institution. It is not known why he was there only that something terrible happened and he was committed. Now after months of therapy with a kind and humorous psychiatrist (Anupam Kher), and some coaxing on his mother's part, he is released. Determined to apply his therapy to good use, Pat decides to find the silver lining in all things, read good things, and resume the life he had with his wife. One of the funnier scenes early on has Pat storming into his parents’ room in the wee hours of the morning to discuss Ernest Hemingway’s decision to end his A Farewell to Arms on a sad note. Whether he's a good guy is still unclear, but because it is Cooper (and who doesn't like him) the character is given the benefit of the doubt. 

The Weinstein Company

Pat's parents, Pat Sr. (Robert DeNiro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver), are a middle-age, middle-income couple, whose lives revolve around their sons (one of whom is out of the picture until the end) and Philadelphia Eagle football. Pat Sr. has lost his job because of a violent incident alluded to early on and unveiled later. That's kind of strange but pretty normal considering our economy. The way that he obsesses about the Eagles, even believing his son Pat is a good luck charm despite the unlucky life he leads, is odd, but only if you do not like football or have never been a fan of something. 

The Weinstein Company
Danny (Chris Rock) is also from the institution and, though never released officially, shows up now and then, as if stowing away a few hours with the Solatano family is his own form of therapy. Rock is funny but in a more subdued way than we are used to. Instead of in-your-face humor, he steals the scenes with a chuckle and a nudge. His character is kind and we can sense there is a bond between him and Pat, perhaps formed because they are both fighting for the same thing, to be normal. 

The film is an adaptation by Russell (“The Fighter”) of Matthew Quick’s novel of the same name. Although dubbed a romantic comedy, it’s really more of a drama about life with elements of humor and romance thanks to Tiffany, the deceased policeman's widow played by Jennifer Lawrence who is introduced to Pat, on a blind date. 

Jennifer Lawrence
Her life is screwed up, too -- having buried her grief in a string of one-night-stands -- but she likes to jog. And it's this normal behavior that leads her and Pat to become friends, and eventually partners who find a way to rebuild their lives.

In the end, we understand the Solatano family and see the similarities they share with the rest of us --  trying to cope with everyday life in our own quirky way.
Russell’s portrayal of the family and outstanding performances by Cooper, Lawrence and DeNiro, could earn it an Oscar nod. There’s good reason it won the People’s Choice Award following its fall debut at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Silver Linings Playbook opens in limited release today and will roll out across the country Nov. 21.