Tag Archives: holiday

The Gentleman Caller’s Non-Tacky Christmas Stocking

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

One thing about Christmastime has always baffled me. A good many people lose all sense of taste when it comes to decorating and what is acceptable to put out around their homes. Perhaps, rather, Christmas exposes people I didn’t know had bad taste as People Who Have Bad Taste. The vulgar plastic atrocities lining the shelves of the local K-mart continue to bring us to new visual lows as a society.

The two particular items I find most loathsome are 1) Santa hats, and 2) STOCKINGS.

Now, a stocking is a must. It’s half of the Santa shakedown. I would have run around as a child with nary a pair of underwear were it not for the Christmas stocking. But let’s class it up a little, can we?

The Gentleman Caller has taken the matter into his own hands. We are making our own. Go out and find some lovely material that incorporates your home’s decor with your Christmas tree, and then watch my video. It’s a VERY easy sew. And don’t forget: the bigger the stocking, the more loot Santa leaves.

Good luck and happy holidays!

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller

The Gentleman’s Momma’s Holiday Hot Chocolate

 

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Wow, it’s coming fast, kids. We’re just ripping those doors off our advent calendars at breakneck pace!

Today I got a great big package from Alvin, Texas and I was perplexed as to what it might contain. So I FaceTimed with Momma so she could walk me through it in case I wasn’t supposed to open something from “Santa Claus.”

To my delight and surprise, it was filled with homemade cookies, fudge, citrus from mom’s backyard trees (standby for The Gentleman’s Winter Marmalade Recipe…), and this enduring classic: The Gentleman’s Momma’s Holiday Hot Chocolate.

Every year in December mom would make this beverage powder, and divvy it up into decorative containers, mugs, and jars. Then she would gift it to friends and relatives. This tastes like my childhood.

Here’s what you need:

Don’t you love when the recipe is in the hand of the person from whom you receive it? 

  • 1-8 quart box powdered milk
  • 1-1 pound box of Nestle Quick (it’s now branded as Nesquik and has a big rabbit on the front)
  • 1-1 pound box powdered sugar
  • 6 ounces powdered creamer

Combine all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl.

In a kettle or the microwave heat water or milk. Add 1 cup of liquid to 1/4-1/2 cup dry ingredients. Add marshmallows. Add a peppermint. Add Baileys and look at the tree.

Make all your friends happy by sharing your concoction. Or drink the whole damn batch yourself!

More later.

The Gentleman Caller (+ Momma)

THE GENTLEMAN’S MOMMA’S HOLIDAY HOT CHOCOLATE

The Gentleman Caller Custom Candle

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Ok, people. It’s a week out from Christmas and we ain’t got a second to waste. I am going to spit this one at you so fast your head will spin.

This is part one of a two-parter. The complete idea is a holiday window spray with custom candles and pine boughs. However, you can make these candles as gifts and things. They are very pretty and not labor intensive.

Let’s do this.

What you need:

  • pillar candle (wax, not soy)
  • wax paper
  • scotch tape
  • iPad or other device or a printer
  • tissue paper that matches your candle
  • piece of holiday ribbon that sheds glitter like crazy or actual glitter (the thinking behind this being that if you use the glitter from your ribbon it will match the ribbon in the spray exactly. This will make more sense in part 2.)
  • blow dryer
  • Sharpie

There are a plethora of sites that allow you to create a monogram in different fonts. Find a combination you like. Size it to scale for your candle. There isn’t a right and wrong here. Use your eyeballs and your noodle.

Either print a copy or just lay a piece of printer paper on a mobile device and trace.

Lay the tissue paper on top of the design. Tape the edges to avoid slippage. Trace the design again.**

**For a VERY refined design, you can get an 8.5″x11″ piece of card stock and tape a piece of tissue paper on that and run it through your printer. I think it’s fun to do the work by hand. Machines are clinical. Beyond that, you could do ANY design this way with a printer, including photos. For now I am doing a monogram.

Cut the design out very close to its edges.

Center it on the pillar candle. Be certain it is straight.

Pull enough wax paper off the roll to cover the circumference of the pillar. Tape tightly into place. VERY tight.

Put your blow dryer on high heat. Hold the dryer very close to the candle, allow the two surfaces to bind together. You’ll see ripples in the wax paper as the wax melts. If you don’t see ripples, it’s not hot enough.

Peel away the wax paper. The design should be firmly stuck to the candle.

Embellishment time! Get another piece of wax paper. With your hands, simply rub the glitter off the ribbon you’ve selected and allow it to deposit into the waiting wax paper.

Roll the candle up in the glitter paper tightly. Repeat the hair dryer step. This should leave your candle all glitter-ized.

Now give it as a gift or enjoy yourself.

And don’t forget, Santa is watching, you bad children.

All for now.

The Gentleman Caller

The Gentleman Caller’s Linzer Cookie

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Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Welcome back, you crazy carolers!

Alright, I am outing myself here. I am a cookie monster. I have been known to take a cookie to bed with me, and that’s not a euphemism. I could eat a cookie every day. During Trip of Love, given it’s proximity to Schmackary’s, NYC’s most renowned cookie purveyor, I DID eat a cookie almost every day.

My family has a long tradition of making several varieties of holiday cookie, some more notorious than others. There’s this one particular variety that are green butter cookie Christmas trees that – well, let’s just say there is a lot of green food dye in them and you might have a surprise the next morning.

While we’ve always made cookies, we didn’t do the Linzer traditionally. However, I have always thought them pretty and elegant. And perfectly seasonal. So I did a little development and here I present The Gentleman’s Linzer cookie.

What you need:

  • 2 sticks of butter – 16 tablespoons, softened OR 1 stick – 16 tablespoons of butter flavor Crisco + 6 tablespoons water**
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • strawberry (or your favorite red colored) jam (http://thegentlemancaller.net/the-gentlemans-momma-end-of-summer-strawberry-jam-video/)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

**I know I sound like a Crisco salesman, and yes, it is not good for you, but it makes a flakier cookie.

Preheat oven to 375.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter and sugar to cream, about 4 minutes. While creaming, sift flour and salt together. To the mixer add the egg and vanilla. Turn the mixer off. Spoon in the flour and salt mixture and stir to combine. This dough is stiff. If it’s especially dry in your house from radiant heat, or you live in Las Vegas or something, you might need a tablespoon of water. Humidity makes a difference in a stiff cookie.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Take about a 2 cup ball of dough and roll it out on the parchment to 1/8 of an inch. Thin is your friend. Use a biscuit cutter to stamp out circles. Remove excess dough and reuse in the next batch you roll out. Use a smaller cookie cutter (or soda bottle cap or something else like that) to stamp out a relief in the middle. Reuse that dough as well. Not everyone has all these shapes and cutters. Be resourceful, you just need two shapes, one bigger than the other.

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Bake for 7 minutes. Check them. They should not get brown, only barely gold-ish. Watch them fastidiously.

Keep baking in batches. Allow them to cool.

Spread the tops (the ones with the hole in the middle) on wax paper. Put the powdered sugar in your sifter and dust the tops gently.

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Spread the jam on the bottom halves. Squish the two together.

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OPTIONS:

  • Cut the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract and use cherry jam instead of strawberry jam. Delicious.
  • To the dry ingredients, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom. Use orange marmalade instead of strawberry jam. Spicy.

These are very impressive on the plate and will impress people if you gift them. But good luck not eating them all yourself, says the self proclaimed cookie monster.

That’s all for now.

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller

THE GENTLEMAN CALLER’S LINZER COOKIE

The Donkey in the Manger, aka The Gentleman’s Holiday Mule

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Hello, holiday revelers!

I’m about to knock your stockings off with a donkey kick to the palate with my Holiday Mule.

Do you know what a pomander is? It’s when you take an orange and shove cloves in its skin in a decorative way. We used to make them when I was a kid. Very aromatic. This was my inspiration for this beverage.

hgtv-mcaughey-pomander1

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Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole cloves
  • oranges
  • vodka
  • ginger beer**
  • club soda
  • orange bitters

Combine water, sugar, and cloves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. While that’s cooking, use a vegetable peeler to take the outer skin off the orange.

At the end of the 20 minutes, add the orange peel to the saucepan and remove from heat. Allow to steep and cool. Reserve a peel or two for garnish. Strain the solids out of the syrup once cool.

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Fill your mule glass with ice. A traditional mule is copper with a handle. I found this ridiculously cute one at Pier One Imports.

To the ice add:

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce cooled clove-orange syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice (if not using fresh, reduce to 1/2 ounce)
  • 2 ounces ginger beer**
  • 3 ounces club soda
  • dash of orange bitters

**ginger beer has no alcohol. Make this kid and Designated Driver friendly by simply eliminating the vodka.

Swirl with a spoon to get everything happily married. Toss a reserved orange peel on top and chug-a-lug from that sweet copper mug!

I’m certain this will become one of your holiday staples.

Enjoy in moderation.

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller

THE DONKEY IN THE MANGER, AKA THE GENTLEMAN’S HOLIDAY MULE

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