Posted by Nancy Northcott Dec 31 2007, 5:15 am in goals and resolutions, Nancy Northcott, New Years Eve, Stuffed Shells Florentine
by Nancy Northcott
Well, here we are at the end of the year. Some people see December 31 as a time to look back on the previous 364 days, count successes and shortcomings, and devise a plan for what they hope to do in the next 365. Other people will shrug their shoulders, label this just another day, and move on into the New Year. Some people will stay up to watch the ball drop in Times Square while others will dive into bed early, pull the covers over their heads, and say, “Go on, already, 2007! You’re outta here!” before they drop off to sleep.
December 31 wasn’t always the last day of the year, of course. According to various books and websites I’ve checked, the new year once started on March 15 and then was set as March 25 to coincide with the date the Catholic Church commemorated as that of the Annunciation. The switch to the Julian (named after Caesar) calendar set the New Year as beginninng on January 1, a change not accepted in England until the 18th century. Various religions still count their church years as beginning on particular dates not coinciding with January 1.
For me, the last day of the year is an occasion to look back, think of where I’ve been, and see where I am relative to where I’d like to go. This year saw a couple of difficult and interlocked family situations come to a close. I’m looking forward to starting a year with those receding in the rear view mirror instead of floating overhead. I’ve read some fabulous books but have a TBR pile that, well, teeters dangerously, so I hope to whittle it down this year. I used to read more. I’d like to slide back into that. There were some wonderful developments, not least being my association with the banditas and the renewal of ties with old writing buddies. Of course, there were also a couple of things I wish had turned out better. As my golfing cousin might say, however, “you play it where it lies,” so I’ll be shooting for more landings in favorable territory in 2008. As far as goals go, I’d like to write my first short story in about 15 years, whether or not it sells, write “The End” on book-length manuscripts twice, and build the content on my website. Of course I have the usual resolutions about exercise and better eating, but I prefer to think of all such things as plans. “Resolution” sounds so . . . fragile at times, despite the word’s firm meaning.
Tonight is party time for a lot the world, some of whom won’t be in the best shape tomorrow, depending on how enthusiastically they party. A lot of people will haul themselves out early to mop up the last of December and launch the new year. Many people will watch football games. I’ve included the dh’s recipe for a great dish to take to buffets. It travels well, though its density means it doesn’t reheat especially well in a microwave.
Are you a party-goer or a homebody on New Year’s Eve? What do you like and dislike about the holiday? What are you most looking forward to in 2008? If you have resolutions or goals you’d like to share, feel free!
I’m giving away a $15.00 Borders gift card to one commenter chosen at random. I’d like to thank all our visitors, commenting and not, for stopping by and to wish each of you health, happiness and success in 2008!
Stuffed Shells Florentine
1 pkg. jumbo pasta shells (12 oz.)
2 cups pasta sauce (bought or made; can be with or without meat)
1 can sliced mushrooms (4 oz.)
1 pkg. chopped, frozen spinach (10 oz.)
1 pkg. ricotta cheese (15 oz.)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozarella cheese
1 large egg
nutmeg, garlic powder or garlic salt, dried oregano, salt, pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Boil pasta shells in large pot, stirring often so they don’t stick to the bottom, for about 15 min.
Drain shells and set aside.
Beat the egg and mix with the ricotta cheese until well blended.
Add the parmesan cheese to the ricotta mixture and blend well.
Add 1/2 cup of the grated mozzarella (reserve the other 1/2 cup) to the ricotta combination and mix well.
Prepare frozen spinach according to package directions; drain any excess moisture.
Add spinach to the cheese mixture and blend well.
Drain mushrooms and mix into the cheeses.
Season mixture with dash of nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, and 1 tsp. dried oregano.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cover the bottom of a 13″x9″ baking dish with pasta sauce (about 1 cup).
Fill each pasta shell with 1 tablespoon of ricotta mixture and arrange shells in dish.
Pour remaining sauce over shells.
Sprinkle remaining grated mozzarella cheese over shells.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour.
Makes 7-8 servings as an entree. As a buffet side dish, serves about twice as many.
Posted by Kate Carlisle Dec 30 2007, 11:58 pm in Bandita Booty, Kate Carlisle
We’ve got winners!!! For commenting on Christmas day, Gillian is the winner of my $25 Amazon.com gift certificate! Way to go, Gillian! Contact me at email@example.com and I’ll email you your prize! Anna’s Boxing Day prize of a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card goes to P226!! P226, if you’ll send your snail mail info to Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org, she’ll send the card straight away. And the lucky winner of Tawny’s goal-setting basket is Jane!! Congratulations, Jane!! Just send your snail mail info to Tawny@TawnyWeber.com and she’ll ship it out to you. Thanks to all our friends for stopping by
Posted by Jo Robertson Dec 30 2007, 5:01 am in Jo Robertson, New Beginnings
by Jo Robertson There’s a Rob Reiner movie out this holiday season in which the characters – terminally-ill patients in a health-care facility – make a list of the things they want to do before they die. They call it the BUCKET LIST because, well, they’re ready to kick the bucket.I’ve been thinking about that concept recently and asked myself, what haven’t I done that I’d REALLY like to do before I die? I’ve been lucky, so there’s not much left. I wanted to have a career – teaching – a happy marriage and a family. Mission accomplished. I’ve traveled
Posted by Beth Andrews Dec 29 2007, 5:02 am in Beth Andrews, Does She Dare?, Tawny Weber
by Beth Andrews As one of Tawny’s Critique Partners, I’m lucky to be able to have a front row seat to her creative process. Tawny and I have been through good and bad together – rejections, Golden Heart finals and wins and best of all, SALES. *g* I interviewed Tawny to celebrate the release of Tawny’s second awesome Harlequin Blaze, Does She Dare? (though its release date is Jan 2008, Does She Dare? has already been spotted in stores across the country. Well, what are you waiting for? Run out and get your copy today *g*) Beth: Hey, the end
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Dec 28 2007, 6:14 am in Antonio Banderas, bandits, blogs, Golden Heart finalists, Pirates, public relations, Romance, Suzanne Welsh, Zorro
by Suzanne Welsh About this time last year a group of us were chatting on the 2006 Golden Heart Loop about our careers and lives since becoming finalists in the Golden Heart contest. We celebrated in the sales of a few of our numbers–Anna Campbell, Donna McMeans, Tawny Weber, and Christine Wells. A few of us had ventured into the cyberspace realm of Public Relations with websites, myspace pages and personal blogs. I can’t remember who exactly first posted about blogs on the loop, but suddenly many of us were asking how to start a blog. Then the conversation turned
Posted by Tawny Weber Dec 27 2007, 7:39 am in Does She Dare?, Goal Setting, New Years Resolutions, Tawny Weber
by Tawny Weber The New Year is upon us once again (where DID the time go?) and that brings us to the ever-frustrating experience of setting New Year’s resolutions. Me, I’m not so much into the resolution gig. I’m more of a goal setting gal, myself. The difference? I always think of resolutions as those things we decide to quit or avoid (lose weight, quit smoking, cut back on caffeine–of which the latter always baffles me… no caffeine? Ack) while goals are things to work toward. It’s really just semantics, but years as a hypnotherapist showed me over and over
Posted by Anna Sugden Dec 26 2007, 5:05 am in Anna Sugden, Boxing Day, soup recipe
by Anna Sugden Boxing Day? What is it? For many it is a great sporting day, for others a time to hit the shops for the best bargains, and for the rest of us, it’s another day of eating and relaxing (and maybe some sport on the telly – Go Manchester United and Exeter City!) In the UK and other Commonwealth countries, the day after Christmas (also known as St Stephen’s Day) is a national holiday, called Boxing Day. There are a number of explanations as to how it got its name – but the most popular/well-known is that is
Posted by Kate Carlisle Dec 25 2007, 9:43 pm in Uncategorized
First, I want to wish all my Bandita friends and families a joyous Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! And now … I thought I’d share some random thoughts and photos taken from my own family’s Christmas celebration. We’re a cozy group this year, just eight of us. Two of my brothers and their wives, my nephew, the DH and I, and mom. We’re staying together at my mother’s big house in Palm Desert, California. Our first night together, we ate chicken tacos and watched that heartwarming, traditional Christmas film, Die Hard. Here’s a photo of Satina the reindeer.
Posted by Beth Andrews Dec 24 2007, 5:05 pm in Bandita Booty
And the winner of the $15 Amazon gift card for the story about her favorite Christmas gift is… Helen and her story about getting a puppy!! Congratulations, Helen *g* Please drop me a line at: email@example.com (that’s: bethandrews91 AT gmail DOT com) with your email info and I’ll get your gift card right out to you Thank you all for commenting about your favorite and most memorable gifts!
Posted by Jeanne Adams Dec 24 2007, 5:05 am in Christmas in Africa, Elephants, Kim Howe
Happy Holidays Everyone!!! Thank you to Jeanne for posting my blog today. I’m sorry I’m not here to personally wish you all a happy holiday, but I’m incommunicado in the middle of the African bush. Definitely a green Christmas for me. I’m visiting South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana on safari. Today, I’m in Botswana playing (maybe the wrong word choice) with semi-habituated elephants. Wish me luck! Spending Christmas in Africa makes me think about celebrating the holidays in an unusual way. What is customary in one country is unusual in another. I’d love to hear about your holiday traditions, the