A Holiday Tale: A Beginner's Guide to Cooking a Boneless Ribeye Roast

By now your home is a mess. Toys, clothes and other presents are strewn about. You've got stacks of cookies on your counter and a Christmas tree that is dropping a needle every second.

Christmas Reality: The Aftermath of Christmas

As I sit at my computer in my robe typing away, my clock reminds that I have another Christmas celebration in less than two hours. For this one, I will prepare my French Warm Lentil and Kale Salad, but that is a story for another day.

My mom kept hinting around that she would like prime rib by sending me online recipes of prime rib. This marked our 12th Christmas without Dad. He used to make bone-in prime rib on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. He would make a big one, weighing in about 10 to 12 pounds.

Beginner's Guide to Cooking a RibRoast

I read the recipes she sent and they frightened me a little. All of this math for per pound of cooking wanted me to run for the hills. I would never commit and two days before Christmas, I still did not know what I would prepare for Christmas dinner.  I pulled countless of recipe books from my pantry and thought maybe I would attempt some type of tenderloin, either beef or pork. When I went grocery shopping, I took two cookbooks to Lowes Food and they sat in the cart while I looked at meat. There was not a beef tenderloin in sight for less than $80.

My wallet spoke. Boneless ribeye roasts were on a major sale. A four-pound boneless ribeye roast was marked down from $52 to $32.  I flipped through my cookbooks and I surfed the internet on Lowes free wi-fi and decided I would try it. It would be the meat entree along with sides of corn pudding, macaroni, and cheese, southern butterbeans, green beans and rolls.


3 Holiday Tips to Embrace Every Year for your Sanity

3 Holiday Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday; Every woman should embrace

We are officially in the busiest time of the year. I love December, but it is a whirlwind. As I was coming back from dropping the kids off at school this morning I wanted December to slow down so I could enjoy it. 

Next week alone, I have three school-related functions and a trip to the Nutcracker, as a chaperone. I have bathrooms to clean and laundry to fold. I have holiday presents to buy and doctor appointments to make. But, I'm just going to take Elsa's own advice, and "Let It Go!"

Frozen-Themed Birthday Party
This is one of my favorite photos of Liza as Elsa. She taught me how to "Let It Go" in pure Elsa style. 
I have three tips that I do every year that helps me during this time of year.  I've implemented them into my schedule and they work for me.  

It's OK to Say No, and Stay Home and Eat Chocolate. Tips for a  less-stressful holiday


All Dolled Up Labneh Dip and Zaatar Pita Chips: A Lebanese Recipe Perfect My Holiday Gathering

Every family has holiday traditions. Perhaps, it is picking out a Christmas tree or always serving hot cocoa to Santa on Christmas Eve. For my family, ours is apparently a tree-trimming gathering. Last year, I didn't host one because we were still in the middle of our move to our current house. By skipping a year, I learned that I must have established a post-children "family tradition." My Mom told last week that she could not believe I did not do the tree trimming meal last year because she looks forward to the tree-trimming more than Christmas. 
Honestly, I think it's the chicken tetrazzini I usually make with my wintry green salad with cranberries and citrus that she missed the most.  But, regardless, our tree-trimming gatherings are usually quite the crazy family affairs.The kids usually fight, an ornament gets broken, Will usually complains I'm not helping enough with the tree and well, you all know the struggles with those darn strands of lights. One bulb is out every single year. 
This year with my being out of town, we needed to trim the tree on a weeknight and I just could not get a home-cooked meal together. One thing my family can count on is me mixing it up a little. No doubt about it, my personality tests say I'm quirky and that translated into Southern BBQ and Lebanese food. All items were take-out except for a Lebanese dip I made from a recipe given to me by Simone Saleh. Her family owns the restaurant Sassool Cafe with locations in Cary and North Raleigh. 

I interviewed Simone for a Live #OutaboutNC moment where she pulled things from the restaurant's new market area for this labneh dip recipe. She also gave me insight into Lebanese food.  In the live moment, we talked more about how labneh is used. I had never tasted it before and it's difficult to find except in specialty stores.  It also can be used as a substitute for recipes that use sour cream.  It is rich, creamy and delicious. It serves as the base for "All Dolled Up Labneh Dip" along with mint, olives, olive oil and zaatar spice. 

Labneh Dip with Zaatar Pita Chips


The Holiday Gift Guide for Practical People

Now is the time that the holiday frenzy is in full swing.  It's as if people flip their calendars to December 1st and the inner crazy in all of us rears its ugly head. Traffic backs up. People honk. It takes you twenty minutes to go two miles and longer if you are near a shopping center. We really try our hardest to be festive but we have to so much stuff on our "to-do" list this month. 

Will's holiday party is tonight. I'm going to muster up the energy to put on my make-up and perhaps a little sparkle. It's Friday night!. I get up at 5:30 a.m. By 8 p.m, I just want to go to bed. I know you think because I'm a blogger that I'm on the go a lot. I'm a hermit. My happiest is when I'm on the computer doing exactly what I'm doing right now. I schedule my work events very sparingly, and in my private life, I'm as bland as Britain's food. 

But tonight, the party is at one of Raleigh's local breweries, Trophy Brewing, and it's one of my favorite breweries in North Carolina. Because of that tidbit and the fact that I will be away from the kids for awhile, I have a little more pep in my step and the energy to do a holiday gift guide that I will call The Guide for Practical People. 

Holiday Gift Guide for Practical People. From Experiences to items to keep your sponge clean at all times. Gifts that practical people want.

Cleaning Service Gift Certificate

#1, Do you remember the old ads where someone suggested a vacuum for a gift?  I don't know how you feel, but I better not see a vacuum with a bow under the tree.  Oddly enough, now that we have our dog. Will mentioned that we needed to own a carpet steamer again. Like most pet owners, we've had a few mishaps. However, my suggestion instead of a broom, mop, duster, or vacuum under the tree, put a cleaning service gift certificate under there. I will tell you right now as I finish this sentence, surrounded by dust on my desk, I would be happy to see it. And if your spouse really likes a clean house then it's a win for he/she, too. 

Magazine Subscription, Local Paper Online Media Subscription, or TV/Movie Watching apps

#2. How many of you go to a store like Barnes and Noble, and look at the magazines? As a blogger, it would be crazy not to tell you that I love to read things online, but there is nothing like turning the page of a glossy magazine. I pick them up at the supermarket, too. Every recipe always looks so good. But, I'm too practical to pay $6 an issue so when it's my turn at check-out so I put the magazine back and read magazines at the doctor's office or hair salon. Subscription services are a gift idea for practical people. My Mom likes English Garden. She won't order anything online so she asked me to renew for her because the price was good. Andy, our poodle is now giving it to MiMa for Christmas. LOL. Magazines don't work too well in my own home though. Will hates the clutter because I want to keep something for future reference. In my household, online media subscriptions are good bets. Here in Raleigh, the News and Observer's social media team does a great job of promoting articles and every time, I go to read one, my free limit is up. With so many things charging now just to watch TV, I think it is easy to find subscriptions to give as simple gifts or stocking stuffers. 

Travel and Local Experiences
#3 I am an advocate of giving experiences as gifts. I ask for a spa gift certificate from a local spa every year for my birthday which is also this month. I don't use it right away either because life always gets too busy, but then I like to make time to go to the spa this month when life is just chaotic. Experiences for gift giving can be anything. From dinner, movie tickets, or an overnight hotel stay in your hometown or in another town.  The sky is the limit here. 

Hanky Panky Underwear make great practical gifts

Socks and Underwear
#4 These items are about as practical as it gets. But, I mean nice socks and good underwear. My favorite winter sock company is Smartwool and they are not cheap. They are comfy and keep your feet warm. My favorite pair of underwear is Hanky Panky, and it's not cheap either. With this underwear, there is no bulging or any cutting in. If you're really skinny, you may not have that problem, but at 48 and a mother of two, I like a soft, smooth side. I've bought imitation and they just don't last like a good pair of Hanky Panky.  

Kitchen Items
#5 Decades ago, I could not imagine someone giving me kitchen items as a gift. But now, I spend about as much time in the kitchen prepping meals as I do anywhere else in my home. When I was at University Place the other day, I saw some great kitchen gadgets. One being a zester.  I don't have an easy zester utensil that looks like a grater. A lot of recipes call for the zest of lemon. That's one recipe step where I fail.  I have never zested a thing properly in my life. I also saw the herb stripper. in person. and it seems useful. I cook a lot with Hello Fresh,(Use my code T54LKR and save $40 on your first box) and they send fresh herbs with their meal kits often. It is so hard to strip rosemary or thyme from their stems.  

The SpongeBath System kills 99.99 percent of bacteria on your sponge to keep it smelling fresh and clean. It also tidys up your kitchen.

Another item for the kitchen is the Spongebath system. I'm not certain how many people would think right away, "Oh, I need this right now!" at the price of $49, but it serves a great, practical function of cleaning your sponges without the use of harsh chemicals, which I like especially since I use so many chemical-free household items. I was gifted one last week and you can watch this live video on the day I set it up for use in my home. I really like it on my counter. It looks better than having a sponge sitting out, but the best part is knowing you are wiping your counters after a sitting in a solution that kills 99.99 percent of bacteria. Will seems to like it thus far and the sponge looks and smells fine after a week so far. The only upkeep after buying the system is to buy the cleanser approximately every two to three months. 

Do you have any other practical gifts to add? Good craft beer and wine are always good, too. 

FTC Disclosure: Referral links are in this gift guide post and this gift guide in which referral/commission income can be generated if any purchases are made from this website. The Spongebath System was given to me complimentary.  Thank you for supporting this blog's affiliates. 

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