Recent Comments

Categories

Search

Blog Submissions

Do you have an idea of something we should feature on the blog? Contact us here!

Becky

Author Archives: Becky

Merry Christmas to You!

2 comments

Christmas 2016

It’s Christmas—huzzah! 😀

We hope that each and every one of you are having a fabulous Christmas. All of us up here at the North Pole are enjoying spending time together and eating lots of cookies.

We wanted to take this moment to say thanks to our corporate sponsors who have helped tremendously with the cost of developing and maintaining northpole.com. So, thank you very much to our Diamond Deck-the-Halls Sponsor, RTI, Inc., and our Platinum Poinsettia Sponsor, SimTrain! (Interested in sponsoring Northpole.com? Click here for more information.)

Also, thanks go out to YOU for spending part of your Christmas with us! We appreciate every single one of our visitors, and we are so happy that you came to visit Santa’s Secret Village. We do hope that you’ll spend part of next Christmas with us as well.

So, tell me… What was your favourite Christmas memory this year? Did you spend time with loved ones, try a new yummy recipe, go sledding with friends? Let us know in the comments!

Enjoy the rest of Christmas Day, and from all of us at northpole.com, we wish you a very happy and healthy 2017!

Etsy Item of the Day: Bassets Under the Mistletoe Christmas Card

Leave a comment

After the adorable, festive videos and photos I posted earlier today, I have bassets on the brain. Although—let’s be honest—when do I not? Of course I adore this sweet Christmas card featuring two basset hounds under the mistletoe. This card does leave me wondering one thing: When doggies meet up under the mistletoe, do they slurp or sniff each other?
Bassets Under the Mistletoe Card

Etsy Seller: Beagle n Thread

One More Sleep Until Christmas!

2 comments

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you are finished shopping, wrapping, and baking—and are now ready for some merrymaking! Today I will be spending time with my husband, my basset hound, my parents, and their 2 bassets. In honour of the furry, festive fun, I thought I’d share some adorable doggie videos and photos to put a smile on your face and help you pass the time while you count down the minutes until Santa arrives 😉

Dashing through the snow is hard #holidayworkoutplan #bringonthefeast #idratherbesleeping

A photo posted by Hank The Basset (@hankthebasset) on

A photo posted by Loki & Friends (@corgistagram) on

short legs and deep snow is a tough combination. ❄️

A video posted by Dean (@deanthebasset) on

A photo posted by Pip & her hounds (@philpush) on

Easily Donate to Goodwill through Give Back Box

Leave a comment

Amazon & Give Back Box
Image: Amazon

How many of you do a lot of holiday shopping online? If you have boxes from Amazon or other retailers piling up at your home, wait a moment before you simply toss those boxes into the recycling bin. With the Give Back Box platform, you can fill a box with items for donation, print a prepaid shipping label, and then ship the items to your nearest Goodwill. Donating unwanted items has never been so easy!

Participating retailers include:

Etsy Item of the Day: Georgia Highway Christmas Ornament

Leave a comment

Raymond and I had such a wonderful time during our trip down to Atlanta, seeing the sights and eating various local treats. This Georgia highway Christmas ornament show that all roads lead to Atlanta! Laser cut from birch plywood, this ornament is delicate and would make a nice gift for the Georgia peach in your life. [Psst… Looking for another state? Maplanta has highway ornaments for all 50 states.]
Georgia Highway Christmas Ornament from Maplanta

Etsy Seller: Maplanta

Raymond Around the World: Atlanta

Leave a comment

So far this year I’ve told you about Raymond and me checking out the holiday decorations at the Opryland Resort and the two of us eating our way around Italy, as well as Raymond’s adventures in China with a friend of the elves. Our other voyage this year was in October when Raymond and I travelled down to Atlanta, Georgia. Previously we went to this southern US capital solely to catch a baseball game, and Raymond requested that we go back to see more of the city.

When we arrived in Atlanta, we were pretty tired, so Raymond and I took a nap. When we woke up, it was 3am—darn jet lag! Our tummies were rumbling, and we knew just where to go. With more than 100 locations in Atlanta alone and open 24 hours, we headed to none other than Waffle House. When in Atlanta, where else would you eat in the middle of the night, right?

Waffle House
Raymond perusing the giant menu

There we shared a waffle, eggs, and hashbrowns that were scattered, smothered, and covered, which is Waffle House talk for hashbrowns that include sautéed onions and cheese.

Waffle House
Scattered, smothered, and covered

Well-rested the next day, Raymond and I set out to explore. We had heard about something called the Big Chicken, which locals actually use as a landmark when giving directions. We were rather curious, so we had to check it out, even though it’s in the suburbs. Standing more than 17 meters tall, it is indeed a big chicken!

The Big Chicken
Yup, that is a big chicken

Curiosity satisfied, we headed back ITP [“inside the Perimeter,” which is the ring road around Atlanta] for a bit of history. Thankfully the clouds had parted when we went to view a sculpture titled Homage to King. Atlanta is Martin Luther King Jr.’s hometown, and this simple, yet lovely steel sculpture honouring MLK overlooks the city.

Homage to King in Atlanta
In front of Homage to King

From there it was a short walk to the Jackson Street Bridge where we were treated to the quintessential view of the Atlanta skyline. The cityscape from this spot was really fantastic. If Raymond and I ever travel to Atlanta again, we’ll definitely have to go back to this bridge for the sunset!

Raymond in Atlanta
Raymond in ATL
Raymond in Atlanta
Enjoying the view of the Atlanta skyline

Next Raymond and I decided we wanted lunch, so we went to Ponce City Market, a huge mixed-use development that was originally a Sears, Roebuck and Co. building when it was built 90 years ago. Nowadays Ponce City Market features a food hall, shops, event space, and even a carnival-esque park on the roof.

Ponce City Market
Raymond in front of Ponce City Market
Ponce City Market
About to enter Ponce City Market
Ponce City Market
Some wayfaring signage at Ponce City Market that is also good life advice

We filled up on yummy salads from one of the food hall vendors, then we wandered outside to go for a walk on the BeltLine. This former railway corridor has evolved into a multi-use path, and the eastside trail runs right beside Ponce City Market. It was the perfect place for a post-lunch stroll as the sun beamed down on us.

Atlanta BeltLine
Hoofin’ it along the BeltLine

As we walked along the BeltLine, Raymond and I noticed that there is a lot of art dotting the trail. We learned that Art on the Atlanta BeltLine is a juried, public art exhibition, so the art changes each year. What a great idea to incorporate temporary art amongst the urban and natural beauty of the BeltLine itself! We enjoyed looking at the different murals and sculptures as we made our way down the path.

Art on the Atlanta BeltLine
Art on the Atlanta BeltLine

When we were walking back to Ponce City Market, we came across a small door. [Raymond knocked, but no one answered.] Turns out that there are a number of tiny doors all around Atlanta! Next time Raymond and I visit Atlanta, we might have to go on a mission to find all of them.

Tiny Doors ATL
Anybody home?

After our walk, Raymond and I were ready for a snack. What can I say—we like to try local grub when we travel. We went to The Varsity, the iconic restaurant that perches above the Connector [the freeway that runs through Atlanta].

The Varsity in Atlanta
At the iconic Varsity
The Varsity in Atlanta
What’ll ya have?
The Varsity in Atlanta
Learning about the history of the Varsity

We were impressed to find out that The Varsity is the largest drive-in fast food restaurant in the world. When we walked in, we understood why The Varsity has this honour, as the space is absolutely massive. Welcomed by the traditional “What’ll ya have?” greeting, we ordered a Frosted Orange, which tastes like a creamsicle. In between a milkshake and a slushie, Raymond and I agreed that the Frosted Orange was a tasty treat.

Frosted Orange at The Varsity
Mmm… orangey goodness

The next morning before we left Atlanta, Raymond and I stopped by Sublime Doughnuts. Sublime has quite the variety of flavours, such as Fresh Strawberry ‘N Cream, Orange Dream Star, Salt & Vinegar, and much more. We opted to order an A-Town Cream, which was fabulous. Since Sublime is open 24 hours, it’s probably good that Raymond and I don’t live near it 😉

Sublime Doughnuts
24-hour doughnuts? Dangerous!
Sublime Doughnuts
So many delicious options
Sublime Doughnuts A-Town Cream
Raymond impatiently waiting to eat his A-Town Cream

Overall Raymond and I had a fun [and yummy] time in Atlanta. Where should Raymond visit next year? Let us know in the comments!

Raymond in Atlanta
Merry Christmas from ATL!

Etsy Item of the Day: Gift Giving Holiday Octopus Watercolour Painting

Leave a comment

In this original watercolour painting, the gift giving octopus is definitely feeling the holiday spirit with his Santa hat, Christmas lights, and candy canes! Full of detail and awesome linework, this piece of art would be a perfect present for the cephalophile in your life. Giclée archival prints of this design are also available here.
Gift Giving Holiday Octopus Watercolour Painting

Etsy Seller: Sharktopia

Six Seasonal Drinks for a Flavorful Christmas Party

Leave a comment

Between now and the end of the year, I’m sure many of you will be going to Christmas parties with friends and family—or perhaps hosting a holiday gathering yourself. A couple of days ago, I gave you some tips on how to put together a fabulous cheese board for your fête, and today I bring to you six seasonal drinks for a flavorful Christmas party. What’s your preferred holiday beverage? Let us know in the comments!
Six Seasonal Drinks for a Flavorful Christmas Party • Northpole.com

Click on the image for a closer look!

If you want to share this infographic on your own website or blog, simply copy and paste this code:

Or share on social media using the buttons below!

Have Yourself A Cheesy Little Christmas

Leave a comment

When planning my holiday party each year, I have some standard party dishes that are my go-to recipes, such as a variety of quinoa salads, edamame dip or hummus, stuffed mushrooms, crostini topped with veggies or fruit, and of course some type of dessert. Since folks are nibbling on food for several hours at my parties, I like to balance these lighter, mostly veggie-centric dishes with a lovely and hearty cheese board.

Not only is the cheese board always popular with my friends, but I just adore cheese! I enjoy trying new fromage, and a cheese board is a fun way for you and your guests to sample new cheeses without having to purchase a whole big piece or wheel for only yourself. Plus—and maybe I’m just a cheese nerd—it’s fun to experience and discuss new cheeses with loved ones.

The Cheese

To select the cheeses for my board, I usually stick to 3 or 4 farmstead or artisan cheeses, and I try to have a variety of flavours and textures. If you’re serving a few options, it’s a general rule of thumb to have one soft, one semi-hard, and one aged cheese. If your crowd enjoys the veined stuff, you can also include a blue cheese. When picking your fromage, you can also have diversity by selecting cheeses made from different milks [cow, goat, sheep]. And if making the cheese selection yourself seems overwhelming, talk to your local cheesemonger! They are very knowledgeable and would be more than happy to help you choose some delicious and interesting cheeses.

Here are a few cheeses I’ve been savouring recently to give you some ideas to get started:

Whole Foods 12 Days of Cheese
Photo: Whole Foods

If you aren’t used to purchasing farmstead or artisan cheeses, you might have a little bit of sticker shock at first since nicer cheeses are pricier than your regular ol’ supermarket brand cheese. But trust me, they’re worth the higher price! If you’re wanting to venture into the world of artisan cheese, head to Whole Foods between now and 24 December, as they are currently celebrating 12 Days of Cheese. [That’s my kind of holiday!] During this event, a different artisan cheese will be half-off each day. Today’s fromage is Pheasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese Company, about which Whole Foods says: “The only three-time winner of the American Cheese Society Best of Show, this cheese has a sweet, broth-like flavor with notes of butterscotch and fruit.” Yum! Tomorrow’s cheese is Le Gruyère, and Monday’s is Cypress Grove Chevre’s Truffle Tremor, so Whole Foods is highlighting quite a range of delicious cheeses. To see the full list, read descriptions of the different cheeses, and find beer/wine pairing notes, see here.

The Board

There are loads of different options for the actual board itself, from a marble slab to a wooden ampersand to even a slice of acacia. However, my favourite platter for serving cheese is my slate board from Brooklyn Slate. A unique serving dish, the slab of slate is as striking as it is beautiful. Plus, you can write the cheese names or festive messages on the board with the included soapstone pencil.

Cheese Board Arrangement & Styling

Once you’ve selected your yummy cheeses, you’ll need to lay out your actual board. For some tips on how to arrange and style a beautiful cheese board, check out this great video from Bon Appétit:

The Accompaniments

The video above gives some good ideas for accompaniments to include on your cheese board, and here are a few of my favourites:

  • Dried fruit, such as apricots or figs
  • Fresh fruit, such as sliced apples, sliced pears, or grapes
  • Membrillo [quince paste]
  • Local honey
  • Honeycomb [Try a small piece with spicy cheese and a slice of green apple—divine!]
  • Marcona almonds
  • Mixed olives, such as Kalamata, Castelvetrano, and Cerignola
  • Cornichons
  • Assorted crackers, crostini, or sliced baguette

You’ll want to base your accompaniments on what cheeses you’re featuring, so perhaps membrillo and Marcona almonds with manchego or cornichons and slices of baguette with Gruyère. And don’t get upset if a guest uses the “wrong” accompaniment with a cheese—they’re just experimenting and could come up with a delicious new flavour combination!

The Knives

This wonderful cheese knife guide from Castello is an easy reference for which type of knife you should use with which cheese. For even more information, see here.

Castello Cheese Knife Guide
Cheese knife guide from Castello

The Wrap Up

It’s rare, but if you have any cheese left over after your party, I recommended wrapping each cheese separately in cheese storage paper or placing each cheese in a cheese storage bag from Formaticum. The paper used for these items is specifically designed for storing fromage, and they allow cheese to breathe while at the same time retaining humidity to keep the cheese from drying out.

What is your favourite cheese? If you have a recommendation, please let me know in the comments, as I’m always looking for new cheeses to try!

Here’s to a very merry, cheese-filled Christmas 😀

The Elf Blog is proudly powered by WordPress, milk & cookies.