Did you know that on the second Thursday of each month from 5:00 - 9:00 PM, downtown New Bedford becomes the epicenter of a FREE arts & culture event? Aha! Night involves over 60 downtown museums, galleries, arts organizations, merchants, restaurants, churches and schools, The New Bedford Whaling Museum and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. Each month there is a different theme to AHA! Night. You will be able to enjoy artisans & exhibits, lectures & films, museums & galleries, performance art/live music, working waterfront, eclectic eateries, family activities, walking tours and boutique shops. For more information and for a calendar of events two weeks prior, please visit their website at www.ahanewbedford.org.
Place the roast in a roasting pan with the fatty side up.
In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.
Spread the mixture over the fatty layer of the roast, and let the roast sit out until it is at room temperature, no longer than 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Bake the roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F, and continue roasting for an additional 60 to 75 minutes. The internal temperature of the roast should be at 135 degrees F for medium rare.
Allow the roast to rest for 10 or 15 minutes before carving so the meat can retain its juices.
Heat oven to 375°F (350°F for dark or nonstick pan). Line bottom only of 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan with foil or waxed paper; spray with baking spray. Place paper baking cup in each of 8 regular-size muffin cups.
In large bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Add cake mix, water and oil; beat on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour 3 1/2 cups batter into pan. Divide remaining batter among muffin cups.
Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in center and cupcakes test done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If necessary, run knife around edges of pan to loosen cake. Turn cake upside down onto clean kitchen towel sprinkled with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar; carefully remove foil. While hot, carefully roll up cake and towel from narrow end. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 1 hour. Cool cupcakes 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely, about 30 minutes. Save cupcakes for another use.
Meanwhile, in medium microwavable bowl, microwave whipping cream uncovered on High 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds or until it just starts to boil. Stir in chocolate chips and corn syrup; let stand 3 minutes. Beat gently with wire whisk until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Refrigerate about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until spreading consistency.
Unroll cake carefully, and remove towel. Spread filling evenly over cake; roll up cake. Place cooling rack on sheet of waxed paper. Place cake roll on cooling rack; frost cake. Using fork, drag tines through frosting to look like log. Let stand 15 minutes. Transfer cake to serving platter. Store loosely covered in refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
I admit it: I am that annoying person that plays Christmas music in November and starts looking forward to Christmas in mid-July. I think what I love most about Christmas is that people actually appreciate one another more than any other time of the year. Unfortunately, some people are "bah-hum-bugg-ish" and need a little help to get into the swing of the Christmas spirit. I suggest making hot cocoa, decorate the Christmas tree with Christmas music playing and then then pop in a Christmas movie. Here is a short list of my favorites:
• A Christmas Story
• Miracle on 34th Street
• The Santa Clause
• It's a Wonderful Life
• Holiday Inn
• The Polar Express
• How the Grinch Stole Christmas
• A Charlie Brown Christmas
• Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
• The Bells of St. Mary's
• Four Christmases
• The Little Drummer Boy
• Frosty the Snowman
• A Year without Santa Clause
• Santa Clause is Coming to Town
• National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
• Christmas in Connecticut
• 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened
• 1/2 cup of sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
• 3 cups of all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon of salt
• Ornamental Frosting (optional)
• Coarse sugar crystals, silver dragées, holiday decors (optional decorations)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat butter and sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and creamy. On low speed, beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in flour, baking powder, and salt until blended.
2. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or until dough is firm enough to roll. (Or place dough in freezer 30 minutes.)
3. On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll 1 piece of dough 1/8 inch thick. With floured 3-inch to 4-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into as many cookies as possible; wrap and refrigerate trimmings. Place cookies, 1 inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet.
4. Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings.
5. When cookies are cool, prepare Ornamental Frosting, if you like; use along with sugars and candies to decorate cookies. Set cookies aside to allow frosting to dry completely, about 1 hour. Store in tightly covered container (with waxed paper between layers if decorated) at room temperature up to 2 weeks, or in freezer.
• 1 package(s) (16-ounce) confectioners' sugar
• 3 tablespoon(s) meringue powder
• 1/3 cup(s) warm water
• Assorted food colorings (optional)
1. In bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat sugar, meringue powder, and water until blended and mixture is very stiff, about 5 minutes.
2. Tint frosting with food colorings as desired; keep surface covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. With small spatula or decorating bags with small writing tips, decorate cookies with frosting. (Thin frosting with a little warm water to obtain the right consistency, if needed.)
What is a Cookie Swap? Think of a potluck but with just cookies for the holidays! All what you need to do to make this happen is to arrange a “girls night” with a bunch of your friends and bring with you some home baked fresh cookies. You can bring one type of cookie or a few types... that is entirely up to you and your friends. The hard part is that you are supposed to only sample a couple of cookies. Then you take the cookies you want home with you. Technically, you are supposed to save them for any Christmas visitors that you may receive but I admit that never happens. By the time they make it through my front door, my boys have inhaled them. But, it still is a nice way to decompress with friends and have a lot of laughs before the craziness that are the holidays! How’s that for warm and fuzzy?
Every year the Salvation Army operates a unique program called the "Adopt-a-Family" program. This program was designed to help families who have experienced a devastating tragedy or crisis during the past year. Through the Adopt-A-Family program, you can become a sponsor of a family that has experienced or is experiencing severe economic, emotional, or physical crisis. Eligible families include low-income working families, grandparents who are primary caregivers of their grandchildren, victims of domestic violence, fire victims, or family members who are suffering a serious illness, such as cancer or AIDS.
The program staff at the Salvation Army matches the needs of families with the giving interests of the individual or group sponsors. A sponsor can be a family, group of people, or individual who adopts a family for the holidays by purchasing new clothing, toys, household items, and food or grocery store certificates. When an Adopt-A-Family match is made, the family information and wish lists are sent to the sponsor.
This year we decided to adopt our own family. It has been a very fun and rewarding experience. We were inspired by so many other people who have done this in the past and we encourage others to the same. It is such a good and worthy cause! If you are interested in "adopting" a family, please call or contact the New Bedford Chapter of the Salvation Army at (508) 997-6561. The New Bedford Chapter is located in Downtown New Bedford on 619 Purchase Street. You can learn more about the Salvation Army/New Bedford Chapter by visiting them on the web by clicking here.