Holiday Recipes: Candy Cane Coffee Cake

Holiday RecipesINGREDIENTS
2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs, beaten
5-1/4 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) finely chopped dried apricots
1-1/2 cups finely chopped well-drained maraschino cherries
2 tablespoons butter, melted
ICING:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons water

DIRECTIONS
In a saucepan, heat sour cream until lukewarm. Set aside. Dissolve yeast in warm water. In a large bowl, combine sour cream, softened butter, sugar, salt, eggs and 2 cups flour. With an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Stir in just enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; divide into three equal parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll each part into a 15×6-in. rectangle. Place on greased baking sheets. With a scissors, make 2-in. cuts at 1/2-in. intervals on the long sides of each rectangle. Combine apricots and cherries; spread one-third of the mixture down the center of each rectangle.
Crisscross strips over filling. Stretch dough to 22 in. and curve to form cane. Let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°

Bake 15-20 minutes. While warm, brush canes with melted butter. Combine icing ingredients and drizzle over tops.

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Gift-A-Book: The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere

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The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere

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Published: October 2016 by Raincoast Books

Donna VanLiere, New York Times bestselling author of the timeless The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Hope, is back with this moving and uplifting story about finding love, hope, and family in unexpected places.

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

Review

This moving story is the perfect gift for the reader on your list. A story to cherish year after year. This was my first plunge into author Donna VanLiere’s writing and it certainly won’t be my last.

Grab your copy at Raincoast Books!

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Holiday: Krampus Fashion

krampusA centuries old German Christmas tradition gives way to a mysterious character who is called Krampus.

While the man who became known as St. Nick is famous for rewarding good children, his companion Krampus has been given the legend of making a special appearance to the more naughty children. During the night before Dec. 6 each year, to those children who have been especially naughty, Krampus pays a visit and punishes them, often with a whip made of birch branches or a rusty length of chain, before dragging them out into the blizarding night in a burlap sack.

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The night is called “Krampusnacht,” according to folkore, and the tradition has been kept alive in some remote villages of Euro-Germanic countries.

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The name Krampus, derived from the German word krampen, meaning claw, is said to be the son of Hel in Norse mythology. Risen from the antique myths and legends of Alpine Europe, Krampus has long been a commonplace of the snowcapped mountains of Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Northern Europe.

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Sour Puss Krampus Fair Isle Dress

And while America may receive many of it’s Christmas traditions from our European ancestors, the story of Krampus is one that many Americans have never heard of.

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Poprageous Krampus Leggings

Nothing says Christmas like clothing showcasing Krampus!

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Gift-A-Book: Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual

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Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro by Bobbi Brown


This is the book that Bobbi Brown’s fans have been waiting for: her 25-plus years of makeup styling experience distilled into one complete, gorgeous book. Bobbi looks at everything from skincare basics to every aspect of facial makeup–from how to find the right color and type of foundation for any skin tone to how to apply every detail of eye makeup (Brows, Eye Liner, Eye Shadow, and Eye Lashes) no matter your eye color and shape.

The perfect gift for every make-up lover on your list!

The perfect gift for every make-up lover on your list!

Of course there are never-before-seen tips on blush, bronzer, lip liners, lipstick, etc. And Bobbi looks beyond the face with informative chapters on “Hands and Feet” and “Body Skin Care.” Each chapter has thorough step-by-step basic directions for makeup application and easy-to-follow photographs and line drawings, along with Bobbi’s expert, yet assuring, advice. Plus, there’s a groundbreaking section of the book that will be of special interest to women who’ve wanted to know how makeup stylists do what they do: the top beauty secrets only these artists know, essential equipment to keep on hand, how to break into the business, and how to work with photographers and celebrities.

Breathtaking photos of the finished faces-from everyday looks to exotic runway style-along with advice on putting it all together for every woman, make this a book like no other.

BOBBI BROWN’S MAKEUP MANUAL will be the only book any woman will need to look absolutely fabulous.

 

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Gift-A-Book: My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

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My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins (Editor), Holly Black, Ally Carter, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Matt de la Pena, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor & Kiersten White

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If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

I LOVE short story collections, especially Christmas ones! With most collections, there are stories that are absolutely phenomenal, then there are ‘meh’ stories. I am proud to say this collection was consistently great.

All twelve stories appealed to me in different ways. The only theme each carried was the setting of Christmas/New Years. Each author took a completely different twist on ‘holiday’ stories. Some were contemporary and light, others heartwarming and my favourites were tales of folklore and magic.

This collection offers something for all readers. For the young & old alike–this one’s for you. Indulge in tales of holiday mischief, nordic folklore come-to-life and celebrate the meaning for the season.

It is always tricky to review short-stories. I don’t like to ‘dissect’ them as I would a full-length book. With such a short span allotted to tell a story, reviewing it almost seems to spoil it for the readers.

This book is one to add to your shelves and pick up each holiday season.

Included in the collection are the following:

“Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell

“The Lady and the Fox” by Kelly Link

“Angels in the Snow” by Matt De La Pena

“Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me” by Jenny Han

“It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown” by Stephanie Perkins

“Your Temporary Santa” by David Levithan

“Krampuslauf” by Holly Black

“What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?” by Gayle Forman

“Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus” by Myra McEntire

“Welcome to Christmas, CA” by Kiersten White

“Star of Bethlehem” by Ally Carter

“The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor

Thank you, Raincoast Books for the review copy.

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Gift-A-Book: The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa

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The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa

Published: October 2016 by Simon and Schuster

One of the best reads of 2016.

An absolutely captivating story, perfect for the reader on your list!

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A stunningly ambitious and beautiful debut novel, perfect for fans of Sarah’s Key and All the Light We Cannot See, the story of a twelve-year-old girl’s harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion.

In 1939 before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. Her family moved in Berlin’s highest social circles, admired by friends and neighbors. Eleven-year-old Hannah was often taken by her mother for an afternoon treat at the tea room of the beautiful Adlon Hotel, both dressed in their finest clothes. She spent her afternoons at the park with her best friend Leo Martin. But, in an instant, that sunlit world vanished. Now the streets of Berlin are draped with red, white, and black flags; their fine possessions are hauled away, and they are no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home. The two friends make a pact: come what may, they promise to have a future together.

As Hannah and Leo’s families desperately begin to search for a means of escape, a glimmer of hope appears when they discover the Saint Louis, a transatlantic liner that can give Jews safe passage to Cuba. After a frantic search to obtain visas, the Rosenthals and the Martins depart from Hamburg on the luxurious passenger liner bound for Havana. Life aboard the ship is a welcome respite from the gloom of Berlin—filled with masquerade balls, dancing, and exquisite meals every night.

As the passengers gain renewed hope for a bright future ahead, love between Hannah and Leo blossoms. But soon reports from the outside world began to filter in, and dark news overshadows the celebratory atmosphere on the ship; the governments of Cuba, the United States, and Canada are denying the passengers of the St. Louis admittance to their countries, forcing them to return to Europe as it descends into the Second World War. The ship that had seemed their salvation seems likely to become their death sentence.

After four days anchored at bay, only a handful of passengers are allowed to disembark onto Cuban soil, and Hannah and Leo must face the grim reality that they could be torn apart. Their future is unknown, and their only choice will have an impact in generations to come.

Decades later in New York City on her eleventh birthday, Anna Rosen receives a mysterious envelope from Hannah, a great-aunt she has never met but who raised her deceased father. In an attempt to piece together her father’s mysterious past, Anna and her mother travel to Havana to meet Hannah, who is turning eighty-seven years old. Hannah reveals old family ties, recounts her journey aboard the Saint Louis and, for the first time, reveals what happened to her father and Leo. Bringing together the pain of the past with the mysteries of the present, Hannah gives young Anna a sense of their shared histories, forever intertwining their lives, honoring those they loved and cruelly lost.

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Holiday Playlists: Silent Night Covered By Your Favourite Artists!

ChristmasPlaylistSilent Night is one of the most stunning traditional Christmas carols.

Such beautiful music paired with thoughtful lyrics referencing the reason for the season.

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Each interpretation of the song is uniquely different. With such a graceful song, it is impossible to have a bad rendition.

Check out some of your favourites covering the classic:

Stevie Nicks

En Vogue

Nat King Cole

Christina Aguilera

Jennifer Hudson

The Temptations

Kelly Clarkson

Beyonce

Boyz II Men

Sinead O’Connor

Elvis Presley

Olivia Newtown John

 

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