Every child got what they wanted...but they had to sign a contract first.
I finally woke up from my eggnog coma long enough to tie a bow around 2015 for y'all.
For those of you keeping score at home (thank you for that fruitcake BTW) I like to end each year with a look back. Think of this as a blog rearview mirror. And remember, objects may be larger than they appear. Like my ego and Donald Trump's hairpiece.
My next column will be my fearless forecast for 2016. But, we'll burn that bridge when we get to it.
So take notes. This'll all be on the final.
We welcomed in 2015 with our good friends David and Catherine at Boomer Brief HQ. I set a new record for champagne cork-popping with a distance from our front porch to the sidewalk **The German judges disqualified my record-breaking attempt because they accused me of doping. In hindsight, they might've just said, "Bob's a dope," but either way I didn't take home the Gold**
It snowed. And snowed. And snowed. I was stuck on top of the Fort Worth Mixmaster during a sleet/snow storm. Good times.
Our family insists on traditional favorites during the holidays. So Bob and I always serve Texas Turkey, Cornbread Dressing and homemade Cranberry Relish for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Besides feasting on them during our holiday meal, we layer that terrific threesome on hot rolls for killer sandwiches that keep us happy for days.
Although I've made my delish Cranberry Relish countless times over the years, I can never remember how much fruit to buy. I invariably pick up two bags of fresh cranberries only to realize (Duh!) that I only needed one.
When that happened this year, I immediately turned to Pinterest to find ways to use those extra bits of fresh cranberry goodness. That's how I discovered this easy, family-pleasing pie. It's based on an idea from Allrecipes.com.
It's funny how a craze can begin. A few years ago, the baking world was consumed by a gooey butter cake trend. Little did most people know that this cake was invented decades ago--in St. Louis, not the South. In fact, my mom first received this recipe from my Aunt Beverly, a St. Louis resident, over 20 years ago. She would make it whenever we visited her and her family: my Uncle Richard and my cousins LaKeisha and Raquel.
...and it's bringing in people from three counties over.
Let's just get this out in the open. Robert DeNiro is a national treasure who gets better with age. And what better way to celebrate his DeNiro-ness than his latest film, Dirty Grandpa. A movie that tosses out his tough guy image and replaces it with a sexy curmudgeon.
C'mon...what's not to like?
Most everyone in my family enjoys cooking. My mom Patsy, my sister Pam, sometimes even my brother David and I get a kick out of trading recipes.
So you can thank my baby sis Pam, a talented Texan who followed her true love to Tampa, for this sure-to-please Sweet Potato Cheesecake. Topped with a luscious praline paste and oodles of toasted pecans, this creamy, almost pumpkin-tasting concoction spells Y-U-M. I made it and Bob's all-time favorite Chocolate Cream Pie for Thanksgiving, and he actually had a hard time deciding which he liked best. Trust me, that's high praise from a man who always chooses chocolate.
Even better, this irresistible cheesecake doesn't require a lot of work. You start with a large ready-made graham cracker pie crust like Keebler's 10-incher that says "2 extra servings" on the package.
The filling calls for Neufchatel cheese, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, eggs, mashed sweet potatoes and lemon juice. I like using Neufchatel rather than standard cream cheese here because you get the same taste with about one-third less fat. For the sweet potatoes, Pam buys fresh ones and microwaves them. But I'm all about shortcuts so I microwave frozen sweet potatoes instead. Then you have no messy potato skins to worry about.
But trust me, it's better than Cape Fear. That place scares the crap out of me.
Brussels Sprouts are one of our favorites because they're easy to prepare in a variety of ways. For a more seasonal flavor, we'll bake them with cinnamon, nutmeg and chopped sweet potatoes. This recipe is more traditionally Mediterranean, but it's simple and filling, and great for throwing together on a cold lazy night after a long day. The feta cheese isn't necessary, but it adds a nice balance of flavors. If you want an extra kick, we suggest adding one chopped red onion and five chopped garlic cloves.
Next time, try the cone of silence.
I've never been a fan the saccharin sweetness of most Christmas movies. Sure, I'll cop to watching Frank Capra's, It's A Wonderful Life plenty of times. Ditto Miracle on 34th Street. But, most 'em leave me wanting more than smiling faces singing Silent Night around a tree.
I like my holiday films with a little edge. My modern favorite - Bill Murray's Scrooged, ditches the traditional Christmas carols and ends with a nice rendition of Jackie DeShannon's, Put A Little Love in Your Heart. Now THAT's what I'm talking about.
If you're a fan of The Boomer Brief, you know that Charlotte and I love movies. Over the years, we've refined our Christmas list to some vintage films that always seem to satisfy. Here are three we'll be watching between now and when Santa slides down our gas-burning chimney.
Thanks for returning it.