Articles Posted in Live

Published on:

Venn Crawford

During my holiday travels, I found myself in Hot Springs, Arkansas. As a little adventure, we made a stop at the Arlington Hotel.

The Arlington Hotel originally opened in 1875 and has been rebuilt twice since. The hotel has had many famous guests, including Al Capone, who used to rent an entire floor for his gambling scheme. The bathhouse spa looks like it hasn’t changed since the 20s, either – what a nostalgic event for Dwight and me! Of course, men and women have separate sections of the bath house.

20171227_092713-e1514491110874-1024x795
The spa experience starts with a relaxing mineral soak. The tub had what looked like a hot tub pump in it. When we’d soaked for long enough, we went into a sauna to steam the water away. After drying, we were wrapped in hot towels. We laid on a cot, a cold towel on our face to keep us from overheating. A shower in Mineral Springs cooled us off after the sauna and towels.

Published on:

Venn Crawford

Peppermint is one of the most iconic tastes of the holidays, nipping at us with the same frost as the winter air. We usually see peppermint in the form of candy canes during the holidays. I remember as a child, we used to eat candy canes like lollipops. We tried so hard not to bite into them because we knew that if we did, they wouldn’t last long.

Though we see candy canes as an emblem of Christmas, they were originally just made to keep kids quiet. Back in 1670, the children at achurch in Germany kept making noise during a Christmas ceremony, frustrating their choirmaster to no end. The choirmaster, having given up on discipline at this point, asked a local candy maker to make sugar sticks for the kids. If they’re busy eating candy, they can’t talk, right? Obviously giving kids candy just to shut them up doesn’t look great, so the choirmaster had the candies made to look like shepherd’s crooks. This way the kids were quiet, and he could pass the candies off as a reminder of the shepherds that visited Jesus during Christmas.

Chocolate’s another iconic holiday taste. Nothing makes you feel quite as festive as a cup of hot chocolate heaping with whipped cream. Hot chocolate itself wasn’t originally a holiday treat, though – it has its origins in Latin America, where the Mayans made a cold chocolate drink with chili peppers in it. Hot chocolate as we think of it today wasn’t invented until the 17th century. During the chill of winter, sweet hot chocolate was bound to be a success, so it’s no surprise that it became a holiday tradition.

Published on:

Venn Crawford

The holidays are here, and with them, colder weather, hot chocolate, and Christmas music in nearly every store. The Walmart near me even has the poles outside dressed up as candy canes. As soon as December hit (earlier even), the whole country began to celebrate. Some traditions are old – decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, and gift giving. Others, like the Starbucks holiday cups, are newer. No matter what holiday you celebrate, the yearly traditions we cherish are part of what makes the holidays so special.

For families, traditions bring us together and create special memories that we will cherish for a lifetime. We carry many of our parents’ traditions into our own home, and we create some of our own to share with our children. Those who are new parents, newly divorced, or celebrating the holidays on their own for the first time may want to find new traditions to make the holiday their own. Below are some traditions from around the world that you can bring home this holiday season.

GLFjf1416_01

Ligligan Parul – The Giant Lantern Festival (Philippines)

Published on:

Venn Crawford

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! One story I have been thinking about regarding giving is the story of Stone Soup. The story is an ancient narrative, and the details vary depending on which country’s version you hear. In some, the main character is a gypsy, in others, a soldier. But no matter where your version of the story is from, it goes something like this:

A traveling soldier, hungry, homeless, and with nothing to his name save creativity and a cooking pot, happened upon a village. A river wound through the countryside, bordering the village on one side. Hungry, the soldier walked down to the banks, filled his pot with river water, and placed a single stone from the riverbed into the water.

kitchen-2930947_1920-300x200
The soldier built a fire by one of the main paths to the river and began to cook his stone. The fire licked up at the bottom of the pot, heating the stone and forming tiny bubbles along the iron beneath it. As the stone began to boil, a villager traveling to the marketplace stopped to greet the soldier.

Published on:

Venn Crawford

Thanksgiving is next week, and if you haven’t started planning your meal, it’s definitely time to start. If you’re short on ideas or tired of making the same thing, that’s ok! I’ve gathered some of the best Thanksgiving recipes for you to wow your friends and family with at dinner. I’ve also added tips to help you cook faster, tastier, and healthier.

Bon appetit and happy Thanksgiving!

Potatoes Au Gratin is easy to make and is one of my favorite side dishes. This cheesy potato casserole has layers of thin potatoes with a quick homemade cheese sauce and is baked until browned and bubbly! Pretty enough for guests, easy enough for any day of the week!

Au Gratin Potatoes with Gruyere Cheese
Published on:

Venn Crawford

I know that kale has spent some time as a fad food, but I have to admit that I’m sold on it. I’m not crazy about kale by itself, as it tends to be a bit bitter, but this massaged kale salad is incredible. You can make it with any kind of kale, but my favorites are the deeper green varieties, such as Tuscan kale.

Massaged kale salad unsurprisingly starts out with kale. Make sure to rinse it well. Tear the leaves off the stems and break them into small pieces, setting them aside in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and salt, and massage the kale as if you’re kneading bread. As you massage it, the kale should start to break down and become darker in color. Depending on your hand strength, this can take several minutes.

Once the kale has been massaged with the lemon juice, drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and massage for another minute. You don’t want to add too much olive oil here, though. If it creates a noticeable pool in the bottom of the bowl, it’s too much.

Published on:

Venn Crawford

Halloween is for all things spooky and creepy, and so slime fits right into the October aesthetic. In the spirit of all things ghoulish, I’ve created an ectoplasm slime recipe for you to try. All you need is borax, Elmer’s glue, water, and food coloring (you can find borax with laundry supplies at most stores).

Multicolor Slime Misadventures

Originally, I wanted to make a black, orange, and purple slime. When I made the purple, I realized it would take far too much food coloring to do black. So, I decided to make orange and purple.

Published on:

Venn Crawford

Last week, I gave you my chicken tortilla soup recipe. This week I bring you my baked potato soup, another cold weather favorite. This recipe is great for lazy weekend mornings when it’s too cold to go outside – or anytime you need some warm comfort food. Continue reading

Published on:

Venn Crawford

It’s finally getting colder, which means it’s soup season! I love soups because they’re easy to make, easy to experiment with, and the leftovers still taste amazing. One of my favorite soup recipes is chicken tortilla soup. My version was originally based on two different recipes, but in the three years I’ve been making it, it’s evolved into a delicious chicken tortilla and black bean soup hybrid.

I typically make everything from scratch for my soups, roasting a chicken and making broth from the giblets. I’ve provided a shorter version here that uses premade broth and chicken breasts. However, if you’d like to try making it from scratch, I’ve included recipes for the roasted chicken and the broth at the bottom, so skip down and follow those first. Continue reading

Published on:

Venn Crawford

It’s October – a month of harvests and haunts. If you haven’t gotten in the spirit yet, here’s a list of haunted happenings in the triad to get you started. The first list covers kid-friendly events, while the second contains spookier events for adults. Click the dates to see the event website. Continue reading