Sparkle and Berry Front Porch Christmas

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“Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.  Just keep going. No feeling is final.” Rainier Maria Rilke

2015 has been a difficult, tragedy-filled year from Paris to Charleston, and I am struggling to find the Christmas spirit.  It even seems trivial to post the décor of the front porch although it is my readers’ favorite.  Then I stumbled upon this quote by Norman Vincent Peale: “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” and thought, if I can brighten even one person’s world, I should.

The wreath was created by wiring a red berry wreath over a tig one, adding glittery pinecones, a glitter star ornament, sleigh bells and a red ribbon bow with glittery silver snowflakes. This set the theme for the rest of the proch décor.

The wreath was created by layering a red berry wreath over a twig one, adding glittery pinecones, white berry sprays, clusters of silver mini ornaments on florist pics, suspending a glitter star ornament in the center and crowning the wreath with a cascading red ribbon bow sparkling with  silver snowflakes and a cheerful pair of silver sleighbells on a velvet ribbon. The wreath set the theme for the rest of the porch décor.  The wreath was repurposed from what was in the Christmas closet and is probably my favorite wreath ever.  It really shimmers when the light catches the glittery bits.

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Almond~Date Amaretto Truffles

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“Christmas cookies and happy hearts, this is how the holiday starts.”  Unknown

Truffles denote decadence,sophistication and a guilty pleasure.  These sweet little morsels only taste like it!  These healthy truffles get their natural sweetness from the dates, are gluten free and take but a few minutes to assemble.  With the aromatic flavoring of almonds, cocoa, orange juice and Amaretto liqueur, they are a perfect little addition to your sweet holiday offerings.  The Amaretto makes them just a little bit naughty but the wholesome ingredients make them nice!  They are made directly in the food processor for no fuss, easy clean up.  A guilt-free sweet little nugget!

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Blackened Portobello Mushrooms on a Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

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A recent trip to New Orleans inspired this dish. New Orleans is a fun city which prides itself on a vibrant food culture as much as on its historic districts, jazz,  and fine libations. You can’t help but be swept in by the energy and  the people.

In this dish, whole portobello mushrooms are marinated in balsamic vinaigrette, coated in blackening spices and pan fried.  The roasted red pepper coulis is velvety smooth with some Big Easy attitude:  a bit of heat from fresh ginger and hot sauce and  bold flavor from shallots, garlic and a bit of vinegar.  Serve it as an appetizer as is or make it into a meal by adding whole grains topped by a crispy perfect fried egg.  Laissez les bon temps rouler!

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