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Friday, December 3, 2010

A Sushi Christmas Tree ... Really?

No ... your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.  You haven't entered the Twilight Zone either.  Yes, Virginia ... there is a sushi Christmas Tree.  It's beginning to look like Christmas. 

 

Close your mouth before something other than sushi flies in.  Now tell me this, who had the time to painstakingly arrange each piece of sushi to make this incredible Christmas tree displayed in a Japan store window, of course, and discovered on Odee.com. Talk about being a kid in a sushi store.  I could eat my way up each edible branch without breaking a sweat.  Please pass the Wasabi. 


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(Left Photo by Nigel Main )

 
   
Here's a tree environmental enthusiasts will love.  Made of eco-friendly plywood, it has a mid-century modern vibe, perhaps influenced by the room's cool decor.     

Kiki here, miracles and blessings to all of my iCafe Woman Moderne Divas and you first-timers. 

Don't worry, you've got time to grab your favorite beverage before we start.  May I recommend this week's iCafe Woman Moderne special:  Kiki's White Chocolate Cappuccino or Nina's Iced White Chocolate Cappuccino Frappe version (photo) and Celia's  cranberry scone.

"Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me, and keep me from stumbling."  Psalm 119: 105

It's only fitting that the daughter of a former Christmas tree vendor hosts our latest text-webisode:   "A Sushi Christmas Tree ... Really?  Don't be afraid to add your own unique theme to centuries old traditions.  We're giving you permission to think outside the box.'"  

Here's another eye-opener.  

 
Yup, it's a Mr. Potato Tree. 



This one's easy and touches my love for books.  It has to be in a  library or bookstore.  But don't let a toddler near it.



Our celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ is the true reason for the season that often gets lost in the shopping frenzy translation.   

Many longstanding traditions accompany our celebration of the most precious gift of all -- but the Christmas tree is the biggest tradition transcending generations.
  
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(Photo - Creative Consulting) 

There are tons of stories circulating about the history of the Christmas tree, here's one I like the best.  According to the Christmas Tree Farm Network,  legend has it that Martin Luther started the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate the birth of Christ.

"One Christmas Eve around 1500, he was strolling through the snow-covered woods and became awe-struck by the beauty of a grouping of small evergreens.  Their branches, dusted with snow, shimmered in the moonlight.  When he arrived home, he set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share it with his children.  He decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honor of Christ's birth."

We're not letting grass grow under our feet.  We're busy here at iCafe Woman Moderne embracing the spirit of the season and revamping the traditions.  There are two live trees adorning the great room and an artificial white tree turning heads in our sun room.  

Yes, you heard me right, the daughter of a former tree vendor has put up a white Christmas tree at our virtual cafe.  When you hear what we're decorating it with, you'll forgive me.  There's a method to Kiki's madness.
  

Oooh ... did you smell that ... another batch of Christmas cookies just came out of the oven.  This time, they baked a batch of a New York favorite:  Black & White cookies, also known as Half Moons.  

Wait a minute, did I just here Kekoa say she's baking a batch of her TuTu (grandother) Kalani's Hawaiian Tea Cookies in the other oven?  Our iCafe Woman Moderne divas -- Kekoa, Linda and Jocelyn -- are in Christmas Cookie heaven, baking their hearts out.  Is this batch number eight or ten?  I've lost count.  They're stuffing  them into cute quart size chinese containers in a variety of colors and patterns, from Flamingo Pink to Tiffany Blue and Chocolate polka dots.

A Bonsai Christmas 
Speaking of Chinese food containers, here's another unique tree I bet you never thought of doing a Bonsai Christmas tree.


Miniature Chinese lanterns and flocked birds make this plastic  bonsai tree memorable.   

Here's another unique tree from Martha Stewart.com.

A Rose Christmas Tree.


According to the legend of the Christmas rose, Madelon, a poor shepherdess, was tending her sheep on a hill near Bethlehem when she saw the wise men bearing gifts on their way to visit the Christ child. 

Madelon wept, knowing she could not afford a present for the new king. Just then an angel appeared and turned the girl's fallen tears into pale pink roses. A joyous Madelon gathered the blooms and carried them to Bethlehem to give to baby Jesus. 

Since that time, the Christmas rose (not a rose, but a hellebore) blooms each December as a reminder of this loving gift.

"The Partridge Family"
Aluminum Christmas Tree
 

Remember the aluminum tree?  It's making a resurgence.  
This is a updated version. 

"Oh, that's beautiful ... Dominique ... I love it.  A proud Dominique shows off the favor tree she constructed from Martha Stewart.com.  Pardon my manners, Dominique is our resident chocolatier and right now she's filling the favor bags with her signature chocolate.   Enjoy!
  

See those three  iCafe Woman Moderne divas huddled around the towering white Christmas tree, they're ready to decorate it with some unique decorations.   To reflect our fashion forward fashionistas, they've using a "Little Black Dress/Little Pink dress theme inspired by our new favorite annual tea.  

Stephanie, an excellent crafts woman, hand made miniature little black and little pink dresses, shoes, hats and handbags to put on the tree.  We may keep it up until our next Little Black Dress/Little Pink Dress Sisters Tea for Breast Cancer Survival in May.

Here are some cute shoe and handbag ornaments from Avon. 
I'm also cutting black & white damask fabric into a long strip to wrap the tree.  You know from past text-webisodes, how much I love damask. 

Some of our mini shoes and handbags are actually made of chocolate.  We just can't get away from chocolate can we?  
  

Our two iCafe Woman Moderne kitchens are definitely getting a boot camp workout.  I warned you a few text-webisodes ago that yours would too.  Ours is holding up quite well, how about yours?

Okay, we're seen a sushi tree, a potato tree and an eco-friendly Christmas tree, what's next ... a candy tree?  Well, actually ... yes, a gum drop tree.  Ashley and Megan bought table size aluminum trees from a local Dollar store along with the decorating candy.  The sky's the limit with what you can do with a candy tree! 


My Personal History with the Mighty Fir tree


My dad sold Christmas trees throughout my childhood and teen years.  On Black Friday, we'd get up way before dawn and go to a wholesale place in South Philly to get our bunches for sale.  Dad sold them in front of our North Philly row home, replacing the peanut and bubble gum machine usually there.  

Being the last of five, and since my older siblings were no longer interested in helping Daddy, I became his designated partner by age eight.  

I was security, branch sweeper, handed him the string to bind the trees and nails to hammer into the stand.  I took my job very seriously. I even kept a metal shovel nearby to go after anyone who tried to swipe a tree.  The only time my father got robbed was every year around two or three in the morning by the same family, the Marstons.   Well, I guess it was a friendly heist.

They were a family of twelve, and every Christmas Eve after my family turned in for the night, two of the older kids would lumber up the street (they lived on the same block) and ring our doorbell in hopes we had one tree left for their Christmas morning.  

Daddy always kept one for the Marstons.  He'd charge them a dollar and threw in a stand for free.  More often than not, no money exchanged hands.  This happened for over ten years.  

Of course, his security was right there on his heels just in case there was, what my Dad called, "a no account jitterbug" ringing our door.  The parents usually sent the older sons.  After we said Merry Christmas to the young Marstons, Daddy would cover my eyes so I wouldn't see the goodies under the tree.  Good times!

Since we're more environmentally aware in the New Millennium, a live fir tree seems to be the natural choice.


Christmas Tree Farm Network
Did you know ... Christmas tree farms stabilize soil and protect water supplies while providing refuge for wildlife. In case you're ever on Jeopardy, Christmas trees grow on soils that can't support other crops. 

Another benefit, real Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases and emit fresh oxygen. This helps prevent the earth-warming "greenhouse effect." One acre of Christmas trees produces the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people.  Approximately one million acres produce Christmas trees in the United States that translates into oxygen for 18 million people every day. For every real Christmas tree harvested, three seedlings are planted in its place.

Enjoy your Christmas tree shopping.  Try thinking outside-the-holiday box when you're ready to decorate.  And more importantly remember to be a blessing to someone this Advent Season.  Be an Advent Angel for someone in need.   We leave you with a few delicious recipes to enjoy with family and friends. 

White Chocolate Cappuccino  (modified)
from About.com
Perfect for those cold winter nights. An espresso and white chocolate mixture with a bit of brandy. Made with real melted chocolate, too.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz light cream
  • 4 oz espresso
  • 1 oz white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp rum non-alcoholic flavoring
  • 1 tsp creme de cacao
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  • Whipped cream

Preparation:

Heat cream until almost boiling. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk until melted and smooth. Stir in liqueurs and vanilla. Return to low heat and whisk until foamy. Pour espresso into a large mug, then spoon chocolate mixture over the espresso. Top with whipped cream.
Serves 1


From Cooks.com
HAWAIIAN TEA COOKIES

Read more about it at www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1710,151183-243194,00.html
Content Copyright © 2010 Cooks.com - All rights reserved.
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. coconut
Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, lemon juice and vanilla until well mixed. Stir in flour mixture, then coconut. Shape dough in two 2 inch diameter rolls. Wrap and chill 4 hours.With sharp, thin knife, slice dough 1/4 inch thick. Place 1 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven, 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove to rack to cool. Makes about 3 dozen.