New 2015 Christmas Movie Alert: Let it Snow

let_it_snow_ya_novelAccording to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette a new Christmas movie is being filmed in the city for release this coming November. Let is Snow will star pretty much every actor you currently like (or at least I do) including, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Ed Helms, Diane Keaton, Anthony Mackie, Amanda Seyfried, June Squibb, Marisa Tomei and Olivia Wilde. The official working synopsis of the film states: As Christmas Eve chaos unfolds, so do moments of life transition for each of them as they realize that a house filled with love and laughter always makes the season bright.

The really interesting thing to me is that this movie is actually based on a trio of short stories by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle. I read the young adult novel last Thanksgiving and it’s definitely all about the teenage point of view so I’m wondering why there are just a couple of teenagers and 1 child listed on the cast list so far. Perhaps it’s being very, very, very loosely adapted from the source material? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Holiday in Handcuffs Removed from Netflix

holiday_in_handcuffsI realized yesterday that one of my favorite made-for-tv movies has been removed from Netflix. That’s right folks, Holiday in Handcuffs with Melissa Joan Hart and a shirtless Mario Lopez has been stricken from all of our queues. Thankfully I have a DVD version of the movie — yes, that’s how much I like it, but I’m seriously going to miss being able to just turn it on whenever I feel like it. It’s actually one of my favorite things to watch when I have insomnia. Of course, Holiday and Handcuffs wasn’t the only ABC Family festive flick to get the boot. Snowglobe, Snow, and Christmas Cupid are also noticeably absent from the service as of January 29th, 2015. At least we still have Amy Acker’s Dear Santa to cheer us up… for now.

Festive Flicks for the Week of January 26, 2015

christmas_tivoEven when it isn’t Christmas time I still religiously check my “Christmas” wishlist on the TiVo. Not sure how to make a wishlist for you favorite holiday key words? Let me just direct you this way.

In the meantime, here are 5 festive flicks to look out for this week:

This Christmas
Friday, January 30, 2015 at 7:00 PM [BET]
Synopsis: A matriarch assembles her brood for their first holiday reunion in four years, but secrets come to light and family ties become strained. PS: IDRIS ELBA alert. 

Frasier: Mary Christmas
Season 8, Episode 8
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 1:30 AM [Hallmark]
Synopsis: Frasier appears more jealous than jolly when he co-hosts Seattle’s Christmas parade with his radio rival, Dr. Mary (Kim Coles); Niles and Daphne open their gifts early; and beer adds to Martin’s holiday cheer.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 1:30 AM [IFC]
Synopsis: A family host their dysfunctional relatives for the holiday as the dad contends with spontaneously combusting Christmas lights and temperamental trees while anticipating the arrival of his annual bonus.

Doctor Who: Last Christmas
Season 8, Episode 13
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 10:15 PM [BBC]
Synopsis: The Doctor, Clara and Santa Claus go on a dangerous sleigh ride through space and time.

Mad Men: Christmas Comes but Once a Year
Season 4, Episode 2
Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 7:00 AM [AMC]
Synopsis: The agency’s Christmas party is nearly spoiled by the late arrival of a surprise and not-so-welcome visitor.

Note: All times are EST.

The Only Sugar Cookie Recipe You’ll EVER Need

Christmas Sugar Cookies

My food blog,, that now sits in deep hibernation (oopsie) features a number of posts where I used my go-to sugar cookie recipe for countless holiday treats. I’ve actually been using the same sugar cookie recipe since my friend Anna recommended it to me back in 2002 (so the stone ages). That’s a lot of sugar cookies, people. This means that I wholeheartedly stand by this recipe 100%. It makes the best, thick, chewy, and buttery sugar cookies ever. Just make sure to follow a few tips I’ve learned over the years:

  • Roll the chilled dough to a 1/4 inch thickness (no less)
  • Bake the cookies on the middle rack in your oven
  • Use a Silpat
  • ONLY let them stay in the oven for 10 minutes. I don’t care if they are raw. Only 10 minutes!
  • Remove them from the oven and leave the cookies on your baking sheet for 2 more minutes and them place them on a cooling rack.

Voila! Christmas cookie achievement unlocked. Any additional notes on the recipe that I’ve added are in bold below.

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies (Originally published on the Food Network website)

1 cup butter, unsalted
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla (the good stuff, Ina said so)
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Then, beat in the eggs and vanilla.
In a second bowl, combine and mix well the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Stir flour into butter mixture 1 cup at a time.
Chill the dough for 3 to 4 hours.
Roll out dough and cut into shapes with cookie cutters or a knife. 
Roll the dough out thickly (at least 1/4 of an inch).

Bake on a sheet pan or a parchment lined sheet pan (actually, please use a silpat) in a preheated 350º oven for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the cookie. To keep them from getting crispy and possibly burned take the cookies out of the oven at the 10 minute mark. Leave the cookies on your baking sheet for 2 additional minutes (use a timer!) and then place them on a rack to cool completely.