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day 6: hovland swanson bow

Hovland Swanson Department Store in Lincoln, Nebraska, was the place to purchase your wife a mink coat for Christmas. Hovland offered wonderful gift wrapping for any purchase, but a mink coat was placed inside a new aluminum trash can. Many a husband could be seen grinning ear to ear while putting a shiny silver garbage can with a Hovland Swanson bow under the tree. When a woman arrived at church on Christmas morning wearing a mink coat with a bow pinned to the front, everyone knew she had opened a garbage can from Hovland. The department store is closed, but the bow lives on.

The Hovland Swanson Bow
clear tape
square of cardstock

1. Wrap ribbon in a circle 10 times. Cut excess and secure inner end with a piece of tape.
2. Center cardstock under ribbon and staple both sides of circle, as pictured.
3. Loosen each loop of the ribbon. This completes 1/2 the bow.
4. Repeat steps one-three to complete the second half of the bow.
5. Staple the two pieces in the center, perpendicular to each other. Tape to the top of a gift.

Download the printable how-to!

PS–More secrets for tying the perfect bow.

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day 2: cozy comfort food

Sometimes you don’t want the trendy dish with the cool cutouts in the hip ramekin. You just want to turn on the 24/7 Christmas music station and make comfort food like your grandma used to serve on Christmas Eve. Here are some dishes that take us back to 1986, when Santa was just hours away from landing and the biggest problem was deciding if Rudolf would prefer carrots or cookies.

Acorn Squash
serves 4 • 1 hour • $

2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter, diced
6 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Place squash in a shallow baking pan, cut side down.
2. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until tender.
3. Turn cut side up; season with salt and pepper, dot with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
4. Bake for 20 minutes more.

Download recipe card.

Hearty, Italian Lasagna
serves 10-12 • 1 hour • $$$

2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1 Italian sausage link removed from casing (use spicy or hot Italian sausage for an extra kick!)
1 pound beef (8 ounces for less meaty)
2/3 cup sweet, yellow onions, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon oregano
16 ounces tomato paste
10 ounces mini diced tomatoes, drained
18 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/8 cup 2% milk
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces mozzarella cheese
2 cups Parmesan Cheese

1. Saute salt, sugar, and garlic in a medium to medium-large sized sauce pan (cover if possible).
2. Remove Italian sausage link from casing, cut or tear into small pieces to be browned with the beef.
3. Add the sausage and beef into the sauteed mixture, brown on a medium heat
4. Add onions, garlic salt, and oregano to the browning meat.
5. Add tomato paste and drained mini-diced tomatoes.
6. Keep at medium to medium-low heat and let thicken while preparing the additional parts.

Boil a pot of water. Once at a boil add noodles for 7 minutes. Should be al dente. Do NOT let sit in the water. Immediately drain boiling water and fill basin with cold water, covering the noodles, so the noodles to not dry sticking together. This should be timed out so that the cook is ready to start layering the lasagna together right when the noodles are done boiling.

1. Mix together egg, ricotta cheese, and 1/8 cup of milk, adding chopped parsley to the mixture when even.
2. In large casserole pan, layer 1/2 Italian tomato sauce followed by a layer of noodles.
3. Layer half the ricotta mixture topped with a layer of 1/2 cup parmigiana and layer 6 ounce mozzarella. Then add a layer of noodles.
4. Layer remaining ricotta mixture topped with remaining mozzarella
5. Layer remaining tomato meat sauce
6. Finish with a layer of parmigiana
7. Cover with tin foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes
8. Remove tin foil covering and bake for 20 additional minutes (add 5-10 minutes for a more crisp and golden-topped lasagna).

Download recipe card.

Cheesy, Green Bean Casserole
serves 10-12 • 35 minutes • $

4 cans french-style green beans
3 cans cheddar cheese soup (use two cans for less cheese)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large can fried onions

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, except about 1/3 of the fried onions to be sprinkled over the top.
2. Pour into a casserole dish, sprinkle with the remaining fried onions.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. (If preferred, cover with tin-foil to avoid over-crisping the top layer of fried onions.)

Download recipe card.

– Acorn squash by Ananda + Benjamin Spadt, Lasagna and Green Been Casserole by Ashley Kosmicki

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spooky drinks

Your Halloween cocktail glows in the dark and you probably don’t even know it. If your mixed drink of choice includes tonic water (or diet tonic water), turn off all the lights, flip on that black light you saved from high school and watch your drink GLOW. Creepy, huh? Tonic water contains quinine (it says so right on the front of the bottle) which naturally glows under a black light. We mixed up a classic Gin and Tonic and a Saint Charles cocktail (from the first issue). The Saint Charles uses red peychaud bitters which gives the drink an eerie crimson glow.

Classic Gin & Tonic
tonic water

1. Mix one part gin to two parts tonic water.
2. Garnish with lime wedge. Yes, it’s that easy!

Saint Charles
2 ounces gin
5 ounces tonic water
4 healthy dashes Peychaud’s bitters lime wedge
juice of one lime lime peel (removed with a vegetable peeler)

1. Place the lime peel in a highball glass and add the gin.
2. Muddle the lime peel gently, to help press out some of the lime oil. If you’re patient, let it sit for a few minutes.
3. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice cubes.
4. Add the lime juice. Fill with the tonic water, then add the bitters.
5. Rub the lime wedge around the rim of the glass, then add it as a garnish.

Download our Saint Charles recipe.

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maché cookies

We don’t want our name in lights… At maché, we want our name in C-O-O-K-I-E-S. This was a fun little afternoon project, writing our name in dough, baking it to a beautiful golden brown, dusting with sugar and then devouring it. Every letter was delicious.

This sugar cookie dough holds it’s shape, making it perfect for spelling out words.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg

1. Mix dry ingredients into the bowl and set aside.
2. Combine butter and sugar. Cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light in color and has a fluffy texture. Add the vanilla extract and egg. Beat until blended. Gradually add the flour and salt, mixing until just blended.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
4. On a piece of parchment paper, mold dough into desired design, keeping thickness close to 1/8-inch.
5. Bake the cookies 1 sheet at a time for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are golden around the edges and firm to the touch. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Dust with powdered sugar.

If you can resist immediately eating them, cookies can be stored in resealable plastic containers for 1 week.

You could spell P-A-R-T-Y!

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