‘The Great Indoors’ with Tracy Briggs appears every Thursday in The Forum. For more information go to her blog at thegreatindoors.areavoices.com.
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MOORHEAD, Minn. — The supermarket: an everyday convenience that Americans sometimes take for granted. To us, the "super" in supermarket is often overlooked. We're accustomed to our fully-stocked produce sections, wide aisles and plethora of choices. But if you're not from here — if you're a new American or simply a tourist from another part of the world — then you might find American supermarkets a little out of the ordinary, overwhelming or just plain odd.
If you're like me on these days after Christmas, you're staring at mostly-empty Christmas cookie containers wondering how it got this far. Crumbs are the only evidence of the carnage that unfolded throughout the holiday season. Oh, the humanity! The holidays are a time of parties, home baking and well-meaning coworkers delivering treats to your desk (I'm talking to you, Helmut Schmidt). It's been a season of eating and the scale shows it. New Year's resolutions loom on the horizon: I'm going to eat less, get fit and lose weight. But how will I do it?
Don't you love those desserts that taste like you toiled for hours over a hot stove but, in fact, aren't much more difficult than a microwave mug cake? Sticky Toffee Pudding fits the bill. I made the sweet, British dessert a couple of years ago at Christmas Eve and will probably do it again this year. I found it to be the perfect ending to our meal. With its flavors of caramel and date, its rich velvety texture satisfied in just a couple of bites (not that I stopped there, but I should have). I top it with whipped cream, but vanilla ice cream is an option as well.
FARGO - We all know those people. In fact, we might be those people. They treat their dog like their own child. They have pictures on their desks, bumper stickers on their car and dog presents under the Christmas tree. It’s easy enough to find gifts for your pet –most of the time, a sturdy chew toy will keep the dog happy. But what do you buy not for the dog, but the dog lover in your family? Here are 5 gifts that are sure to please.
One thing I've learned from my years of holiday baking is to simplify when you can. For example, I found out the hard way that when you spend hours baking cookies, the last thing you're in the mood to do is spend hours decorating them. Some days I'm in the mood to bake elaborate recipes — other days I'm in the mood to decorate. But never both at the same time, or you'll get a tired, crabby me who might end up chucking the whole ordeal in favor of a cup of spiked eggnog and a rerun of "Chopped."
FARGO — Black Friday has come and gone and some of you are well-into checking off items on your Christmas list. Others are in a white-hot panic with no clue what to get anyone. No matter which category you fall into, you might want to consider homemade gift breads. They're a fairly economical way to add an extra homestyle touch to store-bought gifts, and they're an easy standalone gift for those still stumped with shopping.
Whether you're "Deep in the Heart of Texas," whistling "Dixie" or "California Dreamin,'" state-themed items like jewelry, T-shirts, artwork, dish towels and coasters have become popular for those wanting to show their state pride — or, better yet, as gifts for loved ones who've moved away from home. But as is the case with many trends, state-mania is evolving and expanding to larger ticket items.
FARGO — Some people look forward to Thanksgiving dinner all year. Not me. I look forward to what comes after Thanksgiving dinner — dessert, duh. Last year on The Great Indoors, I went all out and made what I called a PieLogNog — a mashup of a pecan pie, chocolate caramel log and eggnog cheesecake based upon chef Zac Young's Pielogen. It was super yummy, but even then I realized you can't beat a simple piece of pumpkin pie. However, as I mentioned last week, I'm trying out a low-carb Thanksgiving this year.
FARGO — You enter the cluttered closet with the best of intentions. You tell yourself, "This time, I'm really going to clear the clutter — if I don't wear it, I'm getting rid of it!" But then you pick up that blue sweater your 4-year-old daughter picked out for you because she thought it was pretty. She is now 15 and you haven't worn that sweater in a decade.
On Thanksgiving, how many of us will eat a huge turkey dinner with all the fixings, then head to the couch to watch a little football only to fall asleep by halftime? The common belief is that the drowsiness is caused by a chemical in turkey called tryptophan — the basis for the brain chemical which makes people tired. But scientists now say that's not what's really happening. They say the snooziness comes from eating an abundance of carbs and drinking alcohol.