Thursday, November 22, 2012
Reach out and help those in need this holiday season.
Every time Thanksgiving comes around, I just can’t help thinking about those that are less fortunate than us. As I’ve written before, when my father abandoned our family in 1964 we had to depend on welfare payments and other government assistance to survive and I have used this mini-bully pulpit to give you a more personal view of what it means to have to rely on others. Sure, I may go overboard with my “bleeding heart” stuff, but I just cannot sit still when I hear people (like Mitt Romney) make broad generalizations about how people on government assistance prefer not to work, how they just sit around and watch television while conjuring up their next scheme to defraud the system. Like it’s oh-so-much fun sitting around waiting for …
#20: That my gym doesn't take attendance.
I'm such a cliché’. You probably expect me to write about gratitude on this Thanksgiving day so I intend to do just that. But since comedienne Elayne Boosler's attitude of gratitude is funnier than mine, I will let her kick things off. Here’s what she expressed thanks for in a Huffington Post piece: I am thankful I was born in America, although if I gain any more weight the burqa thing may start to seem like a good idea to me. See? Another plus about America, you can always find some food. I am thankful that every person in Congress who wants to set women and minorities back, repeal freedom of choice, deny marriage to loving couples, or abolish sex education, will surely and without a doubt, eventually be caught in a public restroom or …
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Brining a turkey takes time and effort, but results in a moist and flavorful bird.
“Brining” has always been the secret method that chefs use to make a moist and flavorful baked turkey. Many years ago I asked a chef why her turkey meat tasted so good, and she led me back to the kitchen’s large, walk-in cooler filled with birds soaking in a fragrant bath. I immediately got her recipe. But what is brining? There are two types: wet and dry. Dry brining is simply rubbing a turkey in a salt and herb mixture and letting it sit (refrigerated of course) for many hours (usually about one hour per pound). It's somewhat easier and more convenient than the alternative wet option, and advocates insist dry brining makes for a bird with a firmer meat texture, and the skin is sensational. Wet brining, which does seem to be the most …
What do you and your family do on a holiday weekend?
Thanksgiving weekend is upon us. Sure, we all know what the actual holiday has in store, most commonly a feast and some football viewing (the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at 4:15 p.m. Thursday). But if you have holiday house guests, there is lots more time to fill. What do you suggest? Shopping? A hike at Great Falls National Park? A trip to see the monuments and museums in DC? Help your neighbors out by suggesting some of your favorite day trips or other local outings. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Hollin Hall Pastry Shop in Fort Hunt has already sold hundreds of pies and cakes for the holiday.
Have you ever carved a cake that looks like a turkey? The Hollin Hall Pastry Shop on Fort Hunt Road sure has, and was in the process of cutting one up when Patch caught up with them Tuesday afternoon. The shop, which is closed on Thanksgiving day, has reached its limit for special orders, but they'll still have plenty on Wednesday. They are baking round-the-clock: fruit tarts, cakes, and hundreds of pumpkin, pecan and apple pies. You can still find what you want at the pastry shop on Wednesday, but you'd better get there fast. They're open from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. "There's going to be a line going out the door all day long," said manager Nadia Patnode. "We'll probably sell out by 5 p.m." It costs $18-$22 for a 12-inch pie. Get em' while they'…
Monday, November 19, 2012
Try these local restaurants.
Looking for a no-muss way to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without the prep and clean-up? According to opentable.com, there are at least 40 Northern Virginia restaurants ready to serve you a grand meal on the big day. We're highlighting a few of them here or you can peruse the entire list on opentable.com. But act fast though, in some cases, restaurants are completely booked up. We're including some that are, in case you're wondering: Alexandria: Ashburn: Clifton: Fairfax: Mount Vernon: Know of another restaurant in Northern Virginia serving Thanksgiving fare? Add it to the Comments box below.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
A few tips on beating the traffic while holiday shopping during Black Friday weekend.
This year, about 147 million people plan to go shopping during the Black Friday weekend, according to a recent National Retail Federation survey. The survey shows a slight decrease from last year’s 152 million who planned to shop during the same weekend. Specifically, NRF’s survey shows that 71 million said they would shop and another 76 million said they would wait and see what retailers have in-store that weekend. “Though the Black Friday tradition is here to stay, there’s no question that it has changed in recent years; already there is a tremendous amount of excitement and anticipation surrounding retailers’ Thanksgiving and Black Friday promotions,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. With that said, shopaholics everywhere are …
Friday, November 16, 2012
The Huntington Community Center will have a food drive through December; center's Thanksgiving potluck is Saturday, Nov. 17.
The Huntington Community Center is currently having its annual food drive that will extend through December. The center is accepting non-perishable foods, cleaning materials and paper products to help those in need throughout the holiday season. Elisa Velasco, the center's assistant director, said they will have a box set up at the center where people can drop off donations during the center's regular hours. The Huntington Community Center is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. The center will also accept gift cards to local grocery stores for the purchase of meat and vegetables and other perishable items. Velasco said the Huntington Community Center will also have its Thanksgiving potluck …
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Thanksgiving and 'Black Friday' will be regular solid waste collection days.
Trash will be picked up on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 22) and the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, Nov. 23) in Fairfax County for those receiving Thursday and Friday collection service for trash and recyling and for customers with previously scheduled collections, according to a news release from the county. All materials should be at the curb by 6 a.m. to ensure they are collected. The Recycling and Disposal Centers at the I-66 Transfer Station (4618 West Ox Road) and the I-95 Landfill Complex (9850 Furnace Road) will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, according to the county. Both locations will reopen Friday, Nov. 23. More information about trash and recycling collection can be found on the Fairfax County website. For questions or …
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Master poultry and pumpkin pie in time for Thanksgiving
Roasting a chicken might seem out of your element, but with a few quick tips, you can master any poultry just in time for Thanksgiving. Because it can takes hours to make, picking a side that can cook simultaneously is a must. For a quick meal, I chose mashed potatoes and stuffing. Roast Chicken Rinse out the chicken's cavity and generously salt and pepper the inside. Cut two of the limes in half and stuff into the chicken, upside down. Place the chicken in a large baking pan, on top of a wire rack, to reduce the fat. Generously season the chicken with all of the spices and squeeze the last lime's juice all over it. When cooking the chicken, every pound takes about 20 minutes, so leave enough time. At seven pounds, mine took almost two and…