Read More »from The truth about Christmas tree farms
Can cutting down a tree ever be eco-smart? Absolutely, says Rick Dungey of the National Christmas Tree Assn., a Missouri-based nonprofit that represents America's 22,000 Christmas tree growers. "There's no reason to feel guilty about taking home a live spruce, fir, or pine that has been harvested specifically for the holidays," says Dungey.
Christmas trees are a crop just like any other agricultural product, such as potatoes, broccoli, or corn, and they're completely natural and biodegradable, he adds. "I would invite anyone who has misgivings about buying a real tree to visit a tree farm in the spring," says Dungey.
This year alone, growers planted an estimated 47 million trees in North America, with most farmers planting up to three seedlings for every tree that was harvested. And best of all, tree farms not only enhance the beauty of our hillsides, meadows, and back roads, they create a lush habitat for all manner of wildlife, big and small, which is a lovely gift for the planet
Blog Posts by Country Living
Read More »from The truth about Christmas tree farms
Read More »from The best wood for a long-lasting fire
A toasty fire is great for cold winter nights spent with the family or a group of friends. For your next holiday get-together, make sure you have the right kind of wood to make sure your fire lasts as long as your last guest stays.
Dense, well-seasoned hardwoods (oak, hickory, birch) make for the hottest fires. You can either buy wood that has been pre-seasoned or season (or dry) the wood yourself. Unseasoned wood can contain up to 45 percent water, so stacking it where there is maximum air circulation is key.
HOW TO PREPARE THE WOOD
Begin by purchasing firewood from a reputable purveyor (try firewood.com). Unsplit wood is less expensive but requires chopping. Pre-split wood comes seasoned (dry and ready to use) or green, which requires seasoning, or drying, before use. Green wood dries fastest when it is "penned," or "chimneyed." If possible, choose a covered spot in your backyard with good air circulation, then stack unseasoned wood in alternating layers on logs fitted with
- Country Living | Shine Food – Wed, Nov 26, 2008 1:42 AM EST
Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls...the list of delicious sides is endless! I'm partial to turkey stuffing, but what about you? Tell us about your all-time favorite Thanksgiving side dish and then get three recipes that we just had to share with you. It's the season for giving after all!Read More »from What's Your Favorite Side Dish? (And 3 of Our Best Recipes)
#1. "PERFECT MASHED POTATOES"
2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1. Cook the potatoes: Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Place the potatoes in a pot and fill with enough water to cover. Add the salt and bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender -- 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, transfer to a baking pan, and place in the oven until thoroughly dried out -- 7 to 8 minutes. (Shake the pan occasionally to ensure all excess water
Read More »from The Ultimate No-Bake Holiday Pie
If you don't feel like turning on the oven for an hour or so the day before Thanksgiving, try this rich chocolate dessert, capped with fresh whipped cream. The filling is no-bake, and the simple pat-in-the-pan cookie crust requires just 10 minutes in the oven. Top with homemade Caramel Sauce or use your favorite store-bought brand.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups (about 5 ounces) finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies
2 tablespoons Cognac
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup (plus 2 tablespoons) whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 Batch Homemade Caramel Sauce
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir the crushed cookie crumbs, melted butter, and Cognac in a medium-size bowl. Press the crumb
Whether you're traveling for the holidays or staying at home, these thoughtful gifts will delight your favorite hostess and make entertaining just a little easier.
More from Country Living
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.Read More »from Gifts for the Hostess
- Country Living | Author Blog Posts – Fri, Nov 14, 2008 6:47 PM EST
One of the great things about the holidays is spending time with friends and family that we don't always get to see. But finding the extra space for overnight guests can be a challenge. Before you call a contractor, reconsider the rooms you already have. A home office or den can transform into stylish guest accommodations with just a few simple modifications.
- Choose a soft, neutral color palette that's conducive to sleep and relaxation. (Here we used soft blue and cream with black accents for a soothing, sophisticated feel.)
- Select furnishings that work equally well in both settings, such as a daybed, or those that can camouflage the room's true function, such as a computer cabinet.
- Supply those gracious touches -- extra towels, bathroom supplies, and reading material -- that make guests feel special.
1. DESK: A roomy armoire can be used as a work space that is easily hidden when guests arrive. Purchase one that's made to hold computer equipment, or Read More »from Easy ways to transform your home office into a guest room
Read More »from Game Night Recipes
In the season of long nights and chilly temperatures, why not stay in and invite over some friends for a night of good food and fun times? Whip up food that is satisfying, yet easy to prepare, serve, and eat. Finger foods are perfect for nibbling between rolls of the die, and a hearty main course provides sustenance as the night -- and games -- linger on.
TIP: Discount and drug stores often stock inexpensive games to add to the routine lineup. Or, if you're planning ahead, order something online from sites like Amazon.com or Walmart.com.
Recipe: Cheddar Goldfish Crackers with Peanut Butter Spread
Recipe: Crispy Oven Chicken Fingers
Recipe: Zesty Vegetable Lasagna
Recipe: Chocolate Domino Cookies
Get more recipes and tips for Hosting a Game Night Party.
Winter Comfort Food
Antique Game and Card Tables
Vintage Playing Cards
Entertaining in Fall
Limited Time Offer - Order Country Living & Save up to 81%
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.