POSTS WITH TAG: traditions

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    Not too long ago, I turned 40...

    I was telling a friend that I'd be willing to trade in my Gen X status for that of a 30-year-old hipster who wears black-rimmed glasses (for statement, not vision, purposes). Then, I'd never have to admit that I spent the Saturday nights of my childhood hoping beyond hope that Charo would be the surprise guest on The Love Boat or that somehow, Shari and Lambchop would find themselves in an eerie episode of Fantasy Island where Shari was the puppet. (What, I'm the only one who wished for that story line? I think not.)

    No, I wouldn't know a lot of things like, the pain of seeing Chachi marry Joanie or the name of my first Cabbage Patch Kid or the "awesome" effects of Sun-In, had I not been a poster child for Generation X. Things like this:

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    As cool a First Lady as she seems, if you were a pastry chef with a flair for French baking -- think lots of cream and butter and tasty "bad stuff" -- creating magical desserts for uber health-conscious Michelle Obama might not be the ideal job for you. After serving as executive White House pastry chef since he was hired by Laura Bush in 2007, Bill Yosses is stepping down from his position, and everyone -- including Bill -- blames Michelle for his career change.

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    Did you know? The couple who eats pizza together every Friday stays together. Well, it works for one couple, anyway. As part of their relationship contract, "Newlyweds" TV show alums Tina Sugandh and Tarz Ludwigsen vowed to always have Pizza Friday together. This means they agree to "keep this time free from all phone calls and other interruptions. No friends or business colleagues will be invited to Pizza Fridays."

    Wow, a tall order to follow for the modern couple. But I think it's a great idea. My son and I do Taco Tuesday, and we love it. (It's not just for Legos.) I think we're a bit looser on the rules -- friends are willing to join us. But the point is, it's our food ritual, and it helps us connect at least once a week. Over food. Which makes connecting awesome.

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    You've trimmed your tree, hung the stockings by the fireplace with care, and constructed a Christmas village that makes the neighbors think you're either crazy or a decorating genius (or both). If you're wondering how else you can get into the holiday spirit and encourage the grinches in your life to embrace this most wonderful time of the year, look no further for ideas.

    Grab a bundt pan, cake mix, and a few other essential ingredients and prepare to create the most gorgeous Christmas cake anyone has ever seen!

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    Last year, I wrote about some non-traditional things I'm ashamed to be thankful for. You know, the types of things that would probably get you kicked out of Thanksgiving dinner?  Like: I am thankful for stars like Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Heidi Klum, and J.Lo, who make 40 seem not so old. 

    Well, this year, I thought I'd focus on some things I'm thankful for as a parent. Sure, the list may be a bit superficial, but I bet you're thankful for similar stuff.

    Soooo, I say we take a sec to forgive each other for mentioning these things and then we, well, mention them.  I'll start:

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    No offense to vegetarians, but for me, one of the tell-tale signs that I'm eating something extraordinarily delicious is if I don't even realize it contains not an ounce of meat. This creamy, cheesy, absolutely amazing baked pumpkin fettuccine alfredo, courtesy of How Sweet It Is, is the perfect meal to try as we -- believe it or not -- wind down from pumpkin season and shift into gingerbread, eggnog, and all-things peppermint season. 

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    It's almost the spookiest time of the year. Halloween! If you're me, that means bolting all the doors and praying the ghosts of your ancestors do not return and insist you avenge their murders perpetrated by a malicious supernatural entity (....). But for everyone else it means candy, costumes, and all things creepy, crawling, and crusty!

    Let's check out some of the creepier dishes served around the world. We're not suggesting you go out and try any of them, but maybe it's not a bad idea -- see the world, gentle The Stir reader. If you'd rather not, that is also okay. You can sit in your chair, warming the seat, and checking out these creepy foods from different parts of the earth-orb to get you ready for the day wherein my family will finally be avenged Halloween!

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    Once you hit adulthood, there are certain things you just can't do anymore. Sadly, getting involved in epic, gooey food fights lands at the top of that list, right next to never washing your hands. So what's a grown-up to do when the desire to hurl some soft, harmless fruit at someone arises? Well, hopefully channel your energy into doing something more positive with less clean-up.

    Then again, if that doesn't take, you could always pack a bag and head to Spain. Don't worry, we're not banishing you from the country for poor manners. But if it's a food fight you crave, then you should go to the tiny town of Bunol for what they call "La Tomatina." This normally quiet town near Valencia erupts annually for this, the world's largest food fight.

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    This Easter season, no fewer than ONE BILLION PEEPS will be "hatched." I know. Pretty freakin’ awesome, and a great way to celebrate Peeps' 60th birthday, isn't it? That's six decades of those strange, colorful creations that appear at this time of year.

    Peeps, cute though they may be, have a bad rep as far as culinary trends go. "They taste like crap!" declared a colleague of mine. But I have a confession to make ...

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    Yesterday, I was sent a group email asking me to list things I’m thankful for that aren’t traditional, like: "my family," "food on the table," etc. Other moms on the email tree were coming back with beautiful sentiments about new friendships, the help of strangers, and averting disasters.

    I didn’t respond because everything I thought of seemed trite, superficial, and a tad less profound.  However, I did write a list, and frankly, I'll share it with you because these things totally deserve thanks in my book -- just refrain from saying them around the dinner table.

    1. I am thankful for the dimmer switch in my bedroom.

    2. I am thankful that I keep a pair of tweezers in my car.

    3. I am thankful my daughter has not lost faith in the tooth fairy, and my son goes along with it.

    4. I am thankful I didn't have an affair with the head of the CIA.

    5. I am thankful for Homeland -- somehow that red-headed guy is really sexy?!

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