Here we are between holidays. Have you noticed how quickly the commercial world shut Christmas down? Just a few days ago, carols were playing over the speaker system in the stores, beckoning and setting the mood. “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” to the store to buy things!!
And now, Christmas is over. I mean, OVER! QVC and HSN shopping networks turned off the Christmas gift spigot three or four days before Christmas. They had their strategy all mapped out. They are now selling women’s wrinkle creams, makeup foundations and jewelry, almost as though they have never heard of Christmas. HSN was clearing out the leftover items. They were selling the dickens out of colored slotted spoons for only $19.
Candy is going half price, wrapping paper, bows, baubles ... it all looks so passé.
Christmas is over, and even the romance-Christmas movies on television are worn out and stale. One week ago, they were wonderful.
The themes follow a handsome, young, modern-day prince courting a young, beautiful woman who is working her practical fingers to the bone in a failing small-town business. I am addicted. I love those romances. They are heart warming. But, now? Ugh.
The sandwich time between the two holidays gives us a reprieve. It’s health time ... for a week. Drink lots of water. Leave the sweets alone now. Better yet, throw them in the garbage. NO, don’t fish them out! And for goodness sakes, don’t store them in the freezer. Frozen sweets in the middle of the night are delicious.
This is the time we grab the gifts so thoughtfully chosen, and we march them back to the stores for a refund. If we don’t, those gifts will never leave the top of the dresser or the floor in our closet. They will sit there, month after month, until they become a part of our décor. Get them back to the store. That’s what this time is for!
The alarm clock that shoots the image of the time on the wall, the electric bug vacuum (look it up), the battery powered sox, the talking toilet seat, and the book on etiquette. Back they go. The pig that oinks when you open the refrigerator, the Chia Grass Head, the tight sweater, and the fishing pole flashlight all need to go back.
This is retail transition time. Now the accent will be on food. The grocery stores are crying, “It’s our turn! It’s our turn!” Ads are beckoning us with sales and recipes. Shrimp cocktails, little sausages floating in grape jelly and chili sauce, black-eyed pea soup, crab and artichoke dip, shrimp dip, oyster stew... mmm.
And like the lemmings we are, we plan parties, and opportunities to eat this stuff. That’s the purpose of this week. We can bring these “snacks” to work with us; treat the gang. We can finally use those coupons and buy items we would never have thought of during the normal year. That’s what this week is for.
And then there’s football. All week!
Do they think we don’t see their agenda? Bring it on! Let it come! Make shopping lists!
OK. I am a sucker. I found a recipe I am going to make on New Year’s Eve. It’s called “Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Pepper Dip.” Happy New Year!
Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Pepper Dip
16 oz cream cheese softened
1 cup mayo
4 oz can diced jalapenos drained
4 oz can diced green chiles drained
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp cumin
6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon divided
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. I use my quiche pan, but any shallow baking dish will work.
Add softened cream cheese and mayo to a mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer until smooth and combined. Add 1/2 the bacon, jalapenos, green chiles, cumin, and Mexican and mozzarella cheeses.
Transfer to prepared dish, smooth out with a rubber spatula.
Combine melted butter, panko, and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the dip. Sprinkle remaining bacon pieces over the top.
Bake for 25 minutes, until panko is lightly golden brown and dip is bubbling.
If desired, top cooked dip with slices of fresh jalapeno. Serve hot.
Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website juditabler.com.