3 Delicious Recipes for National Pie Day

National Pie Day, celebrated on January 23, is just one week away!

That means TODAY is the perfect day to go out, get some pie-making supplies, and start baking in preparation for this delicious holiday!

Yum!

Need some inspiration on what types of pies to make?

Here are a few of our favorite recipes…

Classic Apple Pie Recipe

It just wouldn’t be National Pie Day without making a traditional, classic, and tasty apple pie.

The following recipe is very easy to make and turns out a great pie every time…

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • Ice water
  • 1/4 cup PLUS 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 lbs. apples, (Granny smith and Macintosh), peeled, cored and sliced, (about 8 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp. milk

Directions:

To make the crust…

  1. Combine 2 cups flour and salt in medium bowl.
  2. Cut in unsalted butter with pastry blender or two knives until coarse crumbs form.
  3. Add 4 to 5 Tbsp. ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until dough forms.
  4. Knead dough with floured hands and shape into two discs, one slightly larger than the other.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 425°.
  7. Unwrap larger disc of dough and roll on lightly floured surface from center to edges to form 12-in. circle. Press into 9-in. pie plate; set aside.
  8. Unwrap remaining pie dough and roll on lightly floured surface to form 10-in. circle; set aside.

To make the filling…

  1. Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, remaining 1/4 cup flour and cinnamon in large bowl.
  2. Add apples; toss until coated.

To finish pie…

  1. Arrange apple mixture in pie crust.
  2. Top with remaining pie crust and seal edges. Brush with milk and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar.
  3. Arrange pie on heated baking sheet and bake 10 minutes.
  4. Decrease oven to 375°. Bake 1 hour or until juices are bubbling.
  5. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe Source: http://www.countrycrock.com/recipes/detail/51680/1/classic-apple-pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Recipe

Chocolate and peanut butter lovers, rejoice!

This chocolate peanut butter pie recipe is sweet, decadent, and bound to be a new family favorite.

Give it a try…

Ingredients:

  • 25 whole chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • One 8-ounce package whipped topping, such as Cool Whip, thawed

Directions:

To make the crust…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Crush the cookies until they’re fine crumbs.
  3. Pour the melted butter over the top and stir with a fork to combine.
  4. Press into a pie pan and bake until set, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

To make the filling…

  1. Beat the peanut butter with the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  3. Add in the thawed whipped topping and beat until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.

To finish pie…

  1. Pour the filling into the crust, evening out the top with a knife or spatula.
  2. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Recipe Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/chocolate-peanut-butter-pie-recipe-2125370

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe

If you’re someone who enjoys a classic pie with a fun twist, this strawberry rhubarb pie might just be right up your alley!

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this recipe…

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 10 tablespoons (about) ice water

Filling

  • 3 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb (1 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
  • 1 16-ounce container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)
  • 1 teaspoon water

Directions:

To make the crust…

  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor.
  2. Using on/off turns, cut in shortening and butter until coarse meal forms.
  3. Blend in enough ice water 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps.
  4. Gather dough into ball; cut in half.
  5. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F.

To make the filling…

  1. Combine first 7 filling ingredients in large bowl.
  2. Toss gently to blend.

To finish pie…

  1. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang.
  2. Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips.
  3. Spoon filling into crust.
  4. Arrange 7 dough strips on top of filling, spacing evenly.
  5. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction on top of filling.
  6. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively.
  7. Brush glaze over crust and transfer pie to baking sheet.
  8. Bake 20 minutes.
  9. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 1 hour 25 minutes.
  10. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

Recipe Source: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lattice-topped-strawberry-rhubarb-pie-4459

 

What is your favorite type of pie? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Common Breast Reconstruction Questions

Undergoing breast reconstruction surgery is a life-changing event.

It’s a decision that often requires multiple doctor’s consultations and lots of personal reflection after a battle with breast cancer.

And even after all that time spent planning, researching the best doctors, and doing your homework, it’s possible that you might walk out of a reconstructive surgery and be unhappy with the results.

It’s heartbreaking, and we hate to see women suffer through this.

That being said, there’s a lot that can be done to help repair reconstructive surgeries that didn’t go as planned.

And thanks to innovative technology and our amazing surgeons at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, our team can often help women achieve their reconstructive goals in order to feel beautiful and confident once again.

Are you feeling disappointed after a reconstructive surgery?

If so, we encourage you to take a look at some of the most common questions we get from women who are looking for reconstructive help to see how we’ve been able to help them in the past.

Chances are, if you have similar issues, we’ll be able to help you, too!

Check it out…

QUESTION 1: Is It Possible to Do Repair and Nipple Reconstruction Surgery at the Same Time on the Same Breast?

Not long ago, we received the following question from a prospective patient…

Question: I had hybrid DIEP reconstruction at another facility, and I am disappointed with the results. There have been many issues.

For example, my breasts are different shapes and sizes, no node involvement and no microinvasion. The surgeon who did the mastectomy said the path report said the margins were not wide enough and he will need to cut additional skin out during the next surgery.

The next surgery is supposed to be to reconstruct the nipple. Can you do both procedures on the same breast at the same time? Please Help!”

Here’s our response…

Answer: “I’m sorry you are having to go through this.If your margins were positive and you had an immediate DIEP flap, that could be a little complicated to resolve, although I’m sure we could work through it.

Reconstructive surgery can be different for every patient that we encounter. However, many times it is possible to do both at the same time. The best way to determine what method will work best for you is to come in for an evaluation.”

QUESTION 2: I’m Unhappy with My Reconstructive Result from Another Surgeon – Are You Able to Make It Look More Natural?

The question we received was…

Question: “Three years ago, I had a double mastectomy and am now cancer free. My plastic surgeon did a terrible job with the reconstruction. The left side implant is way off to the outer side and looks larger than the right side.

The right side is way too far to the outside. There is zero cleavage.

Is there any way to reposition the implants more to the natural position of the breast? I do not expect perfect but don’t like looking like a botched job. Thank you.”

Our response is as follows…

Answer:  “I’m glad to hear you have been cancer free and have your treatment for breast cancer behind you. At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, it is part of our mission to help women move on with their lives after breast cancer. We focus our efforts on helping women get their bodies back together with permanent, natural results.

I’m sorry you are disappointed with your reconstruction. If you have had radiation, then it may be very hard to have your breasts match with implant reconstruction. If you have not had radiation, then perhaps your implants could be revised or adjusted for an improvement.

Unfortunately, these corrections are all too often temporary. It is possible that using your own fatty tissue would be a more permanent option without implants.

Sometimes it is hard to start over with another approach, but it may be necessary if you desire a more natural and permanent result. So, the answer is yes–it’s likely that we CAN help you achieve a more natural look.

If you would like more information about natural breast reconstruction with your own tissue, let me know.”

QUESTION 3: I Am Unhappy with My Previous Bilateral Mastectomy with Reconstruction Using Implants. Are You Able to Fix It?

Question: “I’m not happy with the results of my bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction using implants. Reaching out to see if it can be fixed.”

Answer:  “It is very likely that we could help you with your unsatisfactory reconstruction. This problem can often be fixed either by using your own tissue, or by revising your implant reconstruction.

I will be happy to discuss your situation and provide you with some options.”

Looking for options to improve your breast reconstruction results? Give us a call at 1-866-374-2627 or contact us online to find out more!

5 Resolutions for a Happy and Healthy New Year

On behalf of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we want to wish you a very happy New Year!

We hope 2018 will be your best year yet!

And, with a little planning and a few New Year’s resolutions, we know it’s possible to ensure that this year will be filled with the things that matter most–time spent with loved ones, good health, and joy.

What should you add to your resolutions this year to help make 2018 one of the best years yet?

Check out the 5 resolutions we recommend trying to achieve this year.

Resolution #1 – Drink More Water

Every New Year thousands of people make resolutions to lose weight, tone their bodies, and improve their health.

In theory, these are great resolutions. However, the desire to lose weight and regain your health fast often leads to crash diets and unrealistic workout plans.

No good!

This year, we recommend that you make the resolution to simply drink more water.

Why? Because drinking water…

  • Increases muscle fuel.
  • Helps with calorie control.
  • Improves kidney function.
  • Helps keep skin clear and free from acne.
  • Boosts your brainpower.
  • And so much more!

All those health benefits, and all you have to do is try and drink about 64 ounces a day! Now that’s something anyone can try and do!

Tip: If you don’t like plain water, add lemon, lime, or other flavors to the water you drink to jazz it up! Here are a few recipes you might want to try!

Resolution #2 – Eat More Veggies and Fruits

Much like our first resolution to drink more water, the resolution to eat more fruits and veggies is a simple lifestyle change that anyone can make.

Not to mention, it’s also a super easy resolution to carry out through the entire year!

Here are a few ways to add more fruits and veggies into your diet…

  • Use a vegetable-based pasta while cooking.
  • Blend vegetables and fruits together to make a sweet and delicious smoothie.
  • Grab a piece of fruit as a sweet snack instead of a candy bar.
  • If you’re craving a salty snack, try out veggie chips–made with sweet potatoes, turnips, onions, and other veggies–instead of potato chips.
  • Substitute cauliflower for mashed potatoes or rice.
  • Top your oatmeal off with fresh berries for sweetness instead of sugar.
  • Preslice carrots, peppers, and cucumbers for an easy, grab-n-go snack.
  • Add one vegetarian meal to your meal plan every week.

Regardless of whether you love veggies and fruits or not, there’s a ton of ways you can sneak them into your meal plans so you can consume more of them on a regular basis.

Resolution #3 – Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Spouse/Significant Other

When there’s turmoil in your relationships, you’re bound to experience unnecessary stress, anxiety, or even depression.

The best way to avoid this is to make it a priority to work on your relationship with your spouse or significant other and strengthen the bond this year.

There are a few ways you can do this.

First of all, it’s important to have time together. This is extremely important for couples who have children, which makes it difficult to go out on a date night.

Make it a priority to have at least one night a month that you can spend alone with the one you love.

Second, communication is key.

Make sure you and your partner are taking the time to communicate with each other. Talk about your goals or dreams. Discuss the things that are driving you crazy, whether it’s something happening at work or in your family life. And continue to make sure to keep each other updated on what’s happening in your lives.

Third, consider taking a class or workshop that will give you the tools and strategies you need to strengthen your relationship.

We personally recommend The Love and Respect Video Marriage Conference.

Resolution #4 — Make Time for Self-Care

Self-care is a topic that we talk a lot about, and for good reason.

Without focusing on self-care, it’s easier to fall victim to stress, anxiety, depression, and even poor health.

So, what is self-care and how do you do it? Easy.

Self-care is simply making time for yourself every day or week.

It can be as simple as setting aside an hour of time to unwind in a hot bubble bath or as extravagant as planning a week-long vacation for yourself to rest and recoup.

For more information on self-care and simple things you can do, check out our blog post here.

Resolution # 5 — Schedule Your Yearly Physical

Going for a yearly physical is one of the best ways to help keep you safe and healthy.

At a yearly routine checkup, doctors will check for signs of serious health conditions like high/low blood pressure, unusual lumps or bruises, heart problems, and so much more!

It’s also a great time to bring up any health concerns that you have and chat with your doctor about the things you should be doing to improve your health during the year.

We know your schedule is busy! But, please, before you forget, get this resolution checked off and call your doctor’s office today!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Let us know in the comments below!

The Benefits of Stillness: 5 Ways to Recuperate and Relax

Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!

The holiday excitement is over, the festivities have come to a close, you can finally rest now and get off of your toes.

The children are nestled all snug in their beds,while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

You’ve pulled off a holiday season to remember, one that’s worth a slow clap, now after all of the chaos, it’s time for a nap!

All silly rhymes aside, we’re serious about that nap!

After all, we’ve just come out of a season where many of us tend to run around like chickens with our heads cut off. And if you don’t take the time to recharge, you might start to suffer from exhaustion.

Stillness is so important for the body as it lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, and allows the body to recoup. So, today, we thought we’d share some suggestions on how to “be still” after this crazy season.

Check them out…

Take a Hot Bath

There’s nothing more relaxing than a hot bath on a cold winter’s night.

This week, set aside an hour or so of uninterrupted time and take a hot bath. Then, grab your favorite book, turn on some music, or simply rest as you enjoy the comfort of a warm tub.

If you have children, we recommend you have your partner take the kids out for the evening to grab dinner or go see a movie. After all, the last thing you want is little Timmy interrupting your time of stillness because he can’t find the toilet paper!

Rest in Your Favorite Chair

Most people have a favorite chair that they like to to relax in. You know, the soft, cozy one that cradles you as you let your tired body sink into it?

The moment your house gets quiet, take advantage of that time by spending some quiet time in your favorite chair. Grab a soft blanket, and perhaps a cup of hot cocoa, coffee, or tea, and just sit.

Don’t turn on the TV or grab a book. Just be. Reflect on all the amazing holiday memories that you’ve made, breathe, relax, and enjoy the stillness.

Meditate

Meditation is proven to lower blood pressure and refocus your mind–two benefits people often need after a crazy holiday season.

Not to mention, a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison also indicates that meditation reduces the grey-matter density in areas of the brain related with anxiety and stress.

Clearly, meditation is the ultimate key to relaxation. So, how exactly do you meditate?

Check out this FREE 30-day  meditation program via YouTube that’s specifically for beginners.

Visit Your Favorite Outdoor Spot and Sit Quietly in Nature

There’s something magically rejuvenating about the stillness of a winter’s day.

If you live in a cold climate, the simple act of sitting on the cool ground while watching snowflakes fall from the sky is peaceful and relaxing.

And, if you live in a warmer climate, you can enjoy the same serenity while watching leaves rustle on the ground or birds flying from tree to tree.

Nature is the perfect environment for being still, letting your mind rest, and reenergizing as you silently watch the beauty that’s all around you. Take a trip to your favorite outdoor spot, soak in the peace and calm, and leave feeling renewed.

Relax While Listening to Your Favorite Peaceful Music

Did you know that music has the ability to disorient rhythmic brain activity in the thalamus and the brain’s outer cortex?

It’s this phenomenon that enables music to make us feel happy and relaxed when we listen to peaceful, calm music.

Schedule some time this week and lie in a dark, quiet room. Then, plug in your headphones and play some classical music or calm music from your favorite genre.

Note: This is not the time for headbanger music, even if it’s your favorite music. Stick to soft, gentle tunes. Otherwise, the sounds of loud, chaotic music will have a reverse effect and the potential to hype you up instead of settling you down.

What is your favorite way to relax and be still? Let us know in the comments below!

 

3 Delicious Hot Cocoa Recipes with a Twist

Winter has arrived, a cool chill is in the air, and it’s the perfect time to cozy up with a steaming cup of hot cocoa.

While we love a classic cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows, we know we have an entire season of sipping this yummy beverage ahead of us. So, we thought it would be fun to share some ideas on how you can add a twist to a classic cocoa recipe.

This year, mix things up and try our recipes that put a twist on one of the world’s most favorite winter drinks.

Enjoy…

Raspberry Hot Chocolate Recipe

Fruit and chocolate are a match made in heaven. So, it’s no surprise that this raspberry hot chocolate recipe is nothing short of amazing.

Give it a try…

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces (roughly 3 1/2 cups) fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Mini marshmallows or whipped cream, for topping

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the raspberries, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil then boil for 3-5 minutes or until the raspberries are cooked down and the mixture thickens.
  2. Remove from the heat and push through a strainer or sieve, discarding the seeds left behind. You should have roughly 1 cup puree.
  3. In another medium saucepan, heat the milk until hot (but not boiling).
  4. Whisk in the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and raspberry puree. Serve immediately.
  5. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream.

Recipe Source:
https://www.chocolatemoosey.com/2014/12/29/raspberry-hot-chocolate/

Vegan Chai Hot Chocolate Recipe

Hot chai tea or a steaming cup of cocoa…how can you possibly choose? The good news is that with this recipe you don’t have to! Get the best of both worlds by mixing up this vegan chai hot chocolate recipe.

Check it out…

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vanilla almond milk, sweetened
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chai Spice

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium size saucepan.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil and stir until spices and cocoa powder have dissolved.
  3. Reduce heat and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe source:
https://fitfoodiefinds.com/2014/09/vegan-chai-hot-chocolate/#_a5y_p=2519397

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate Recipe

This red velvet hot chocolate recipe combines two classics–a traditional cup of hot chocolate and the delicious taste of red velvet cake. And boy is it delicious! “Have your cake and drink it too” with this tasty drink.

Give it a try…

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/2 teaspoon red gel no-taste food coloring

Ingredients for whipping cream:

  • Vanilla sugar
  • Vanilla sugar whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (No vanilla sugar? Add regular sugar and a drop of vanilla extract)

Directions:

For whipped cream:

  1. Add heavy cream and vanilla sugar to a cold metal bowl. Either whip by hand with whisk or with hand-held mixer until soft peaks form.

For hot chocolate:

  1. In a small pan, combine milk, chocolate morsels and food coloring. Gently simmer until hot and all the chocolate is melted.
  2. Top with freshly whipped cream.

Recipe Source:
http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/850687/red-velvet-hot-chocolate-recipe

What’s your favorite hot cocoa recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!

5 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress

Joy, excitement, anticipation…and stress.  These are four very common emotions that run high during the  holiday season. And in all honesty, we could do without the fourth one–stress.

After all, having a panic attack in the middle of singing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is not fun for anyone.

If we desire joy, peace, and happiness, why is it that we let ourselves succumb to the madness of the season?

We believe there are two major reasons.

  1. We focus so much on others and forget to take care of our own needs.
  2. We get caught up in the whirlwind of holiday activities and forget to take a moment to breathe.

If you’re looking to take the stress out of the holiday season this year, we recommend you take to heart the following tips….

Tip #1 — Make Time for  Self-Care

It’s the season of giving. And trust us, there’s nothing more wonderful than giving your time, attention, and resources to others.

That being said, it’s not okay to forget about yourself.

Self-care is necessary if you want to keep stress levels low and be able to remain calm when the cat knocks all the ornaments off the tree or when your in-laws have overstayed their welcome.

Make time every day to do something for you–whether it be making a meal you love, sitting down with a good book, or watching your favorite television show.

We promise, there’s nothing wrong with asking your partner to bake the cookies for your kid’s class party or saying no to an event so you have time to stay home and relax.

Tip #2 — Say No to Things You Don’t Want to Do/Don’t Have Time For

Between organizing parties, attending events, hosting fundraisers, and other activities, there’s a lot on your schedule during the holidays.

It’s easy to overbook yourself…especially if you’re a people pleaser who doesn’t want to disappoint. But, the reality is, you just can’t do it all without getting stressed out.

This year, say no to the things that you don’t want to do or don’t have time for.

Your office holiday party will still be a hit even if the cupcakes you bring are store-bought instead of homemade, and your town’s holiday festival will still go on without your presence.

Slim down your schedule this year, and you’ll find the season much more enjoyable. We promise.

Tip #3 — Get Organized

One of the best ways to manage holiday stress is to get organized. And even at this point in the month, there’s plenty you can do to get ahead before overwhelm and stress get too out of hand.

Here are a few ideas…

  • Sweet lovers–Schedule a grocery trip to get all of your baking supplies at once. Store it in your pantry so it’s ready whenever you get the itch to bake.
  • Party attendees–Make sure you place all your events on a calendar so you can clearly see how your time is scheduled.
  • Gift givers–Make a list of all the gifts you’ll be purchasing this year. Then schedule a shopping day to get all your shopping done.

We recently wrote a post on ways to get organized for the holiday season. Check out some additional ideas and read the blog here.

Tip #4 — Keep Things Simple

There’s no need to overcomplicate things during the holidays. Yet, it’s something too many of us seem to do (especially after reading Southern Living or a lifestyle blog that makes you want to wow friends and family and attempt your own centerpiece made out of fruit).

Fret not, overachiever. Here are a few ways to keep it simple and lower your stress levels:

  • If you love baking, but don’t have time to make everything from scratch, buy premade cookie dough.
  • If you want to give your loved ones gifts this year, but are stressing out over what to buy them, give them money or gift cards.
  • If you’re hosting a holiday party, but are worried about making dinner and prepping for all those people, have the event catered.

You get the idea…keep it simple!

Tip #5 — Practice Meditation or Deep Breathing Exercises

Meditation and deep breathing exercises are scientifically proven to clear your mind, slow your heart rate, and reduce your stress levels.

If you’re feeling stressed, try to practice some form of meditation each day.

Not sure where to start?

We recommend taking a yoga class or a meditation/wellness class in your community.

Or, if you’re looking for a free option, check out YouTube. Search for “yoga instruction” or “deep breathing exercises,” and pages of free videos will pop up for you to use.

What do you do to stay stress-free during this busy season? Let us know in the comments below!

Must-See Holiday Movie List for the Family


There’s nothing better than throwing on some cozy p.j.’s, popping some popcorn, and settling down for a movie night with the family. Especially now that our favorite classic holiday movies are playing regularly on TV and Netflix.

This year, we thought it would be fun to put together a list of our favorite family-friendly holiday movies.

Are your favorites on our list? Find out now…

Movie #1 — Elf

Elf is a comedic story about a man named Buddy who was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a baby and raised among Santa’s elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn’t fit in, Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father.

Not only will this flick have you in stitches from laughing, but it will also have you spreading Christmas cheer by singing loudly for all to hear.

This movie is often played on ABC family multiple times during the month of December.

 

 

 

Movie #2 — A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas has become an iconic holiday classic since its 1965 release. This year, discover the real meaning of Christmas and join Charlie Brown as he organizes the town Christmas pageant.

Check your local listings to find out when it airs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie #3 — Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Claymation Version

Kick it old-school with a screening of the claymation version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Will Rudolph and Hermey the elf make it past Bumble, the scary snow monster? You’ll just have to watch the movie to find out!

You can find copies of this classic film in movie rental stores, or stream it live on your computer via YouTube and other websites that provide affordable access to movies online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie #4 — It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life is a magical story about a man named George Bailey who wishes he had never been born. Upon hearing George’s wish, a Christmas angel  is sent to earth to make George’s wish come true. Over time, George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he were never there.

It’s tradition for NBC to play this movie every Christmas Eve. Be sure to mark it on your calendar so you don’t miss it this year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie #5 — Home Alone

Home Alone, released in 1990, tells the story of 8-year-old Kevin McCallister who gets accidentally left home alone after spending the night in the attic as punishment for acting out. While his family is enjoying a holiday trip in Paris, he’s left home alone to protect his home from sneaky (and very funny) burglars.

This movie is typically available via Netflix during the holiday season. If you can’t find it online, check your local movie rental store or TV guide to see when it’s playing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#6 — A Christmas Story

“You’ll shoot your eye out,” “oh fudge!”, and “He looks like a pink nightmare” are all famous quotes that came from the movie A Christmas Story.  If you haven’t seen this film yet, you must join Ralphie Parker on his dream of getting a Red Ryder air rifle from Santa this year.

Every year on December 24 and 25, TNT airs the movie for 48 hours straight.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie #7 — The Polar Express

The Polar Express, a movie based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, takes you on an amazing adventure with a boy who takes a train ride to the North Pole.  On this journey, the little boy discovers that the wonder of life and the magic of the holiday season never fade for those who believe.

This movie often airs on ABC family. Check your TV guide listings for when it will be played.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie #8 — The Grinch

The Grinch is a classic tale about a grumpy Grinch that decides to ruin Christmas for the cheery citizens of Whoville. In the midst of trying to steal Christmas from all the Whos in Whoville, the Grinch runs into an endearing character named Cindy Lou Who. Will she be able to stop him from ruining Christmas? Find out while watching the movie.

The Grinch often airs in December on ABC Family. Or, if you’re interested, the old cartoon version of the Grinch can usually be found on CBS. Check your local listings for airtimes.
 

 

 

 

What is your favorite holiday movie? Share it with us in the comments below!

5 Ways to Get Organized and Reduce Stress This Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

…Unless you easily get bogged down by the chaos that ensues during this incredibly busy holiday season.

We know the feeling of stress and overwhelm that can come along with attending holiday parties, shopping, making travel plans, and everything else that pops up during the holidays.

And these feelings can easily steal the joy out of what’s supposed to be a fun, exciting time of year with family and friends.

But, here’s the good news…we’ve also discovered the secret to not going crazy during this time of year…and it all has to do with organization!

The sooner you are able to get your ducks in a row, the more you’ll be able to enjoy the holidays. So, today, we’ve decided to share how to easily get organized for the holiday season.

Check out some of our favorite organization strategies…

#1. Use a calendar to clearly plan out all your events, vacations, etc.

The best way to get organized is to pull out a calendar. After all, there’s nothing worse than having to run out at midnight to grab cupcakes because you forgot about your kid’s school holiday party or accidentally double-booked your Saturday night plans because you have more than one holiday event to attend.

Whew, talk about stressful!

This year, hang a calendar in a common room for everyone to see. Mark the days you have plans so you can stay on top of what’s coming next on your schedule.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to schedule a few “relax days” when you do absolutely nothing. We promise, you’re going to need them! 

#2. Make travel plans early so you don’t have to stress about them.

Waiting last minute to do anything in regards to traveling can be a pain. For instance, when you don’t plan ahead, you might find yourself…

  • Paying more for travel expenses.
  • Settling for cheap hotels because everything else is booked up.
  • Having to endure long, stressful car rides because plane or train tickets are all sold out.

Don’t wait to reserve your hotel room until the night before you arrive in town. If you know you’ll be traveling for the holidays, get your plans together ASAP.

As each week goes by and we get closer to the end of December, it’s going to be harder and more expensive to book all your travel plans.

#3. Declutter your home.

The holiday season is also a gift giving season. And while there’s nothing wrong with spoiling your kids with a few new toys or accepting gifts from friends and family, the amount of stuff that accumulates in your home can easily become overwhelming.

This year, get organized by weeding through your stuff and getting rid of what is not needed. Or better yet, put together some gently used clothes, pieces of furniture you don’t use, or other household items, and donate them to those who are in need.

To keep your home from filling back up with stuff, ask friends and family who feel the need to give you a gift to send a donation to a charity of your choosing.

#4. Purchase staple holiday foods/baking supplies in advance.

Nothing says the holidays quite like a tray of freshly baked Christmas cookies or a turkey cooking in the oven.

Having to run out to the store to buy eggs every time you get inspired to make some cookies certainly takes the joy out of baking!

This year, put together a list of the foods and desserts you want to make…and do your shopping ahead of time. This way, you can stock up on the materials you’ll need to cook and bake.

If you’re hosting a turkey dinner, buy your turkey early and keep it in your freezer. Planning on making several batches of cookies? Buy lots of butter and then freeze it. You get the idea!

The best part…frozen items, canned goods, and a lot of baking supplies (flour, salt vanilla extract, etc.) will keep for months! If you don’t use all your supplies for the holidays, keep them on hand, and you can use it throughout the year.

#5. Be realistic about your holiday commitments.

Last but not least, we encourage you to be realistic about your holiday commitments.

It might seem like a good idea to say yes to everything at the time, but several weeks later when you’re running from a party to a holiday parade to dinner at your Aunt Barbara’s house, you’re probably going to regret it.

Organize your time wisely. Don’t schedule too many activities for one day. And be okay with saying no to the things you don’t want to do.

How do you stay organized during the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction Gives Thanks

On behalf of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.

We hope you are able to spend time this week with the ones you love, eating delicious food and reflecting on the many things you are grateful for!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve spent some time thinking about the things that we are truly grateful for. And in honor of this holiday of giving thanks, we wanted to share our list with you.

How many things do we have in common on our lists? Keep reading to find out…

#1 — The opportunity to work with so many courageous women who have battled breast cancer.

First and foremost, we are so thankful that we get to work with such amazing women each and every day. Their stories inspire us, their smiles brighten our day, and it is truly a gift to be able to interact with each and every one of the ladies we work with.

Read the stories from some amazing women here.

#2 — Our team of highly skilled staff and medical professionals.

We never take for granted the amazing staff and medical professionals that we have on our team. We are thankful that we have kind, hardworking, and highly skilled professionals that are able to give our clients the best care they deserve.

#3 — Our health.

Every day we work with women who have fought courageous battles against cancer. And every time we hear a new patient’s story, we are reminded of how lucky we are to have our health.

#4 — Our friends and family.

From loving spouses and children to awesome coworkers and friends, we are thankful to be surrounded by those who love us each day.

#5 — Our freedoms.

We are thankful for all the freedoms we have. From access to the technology and education we need to serve our patients to being able to pursue our passion to help women recover and heal from breast cancer, we are truly blessed.

#6 — Delicious food.

Last, but certainly not least, we are thankful for the delicious Thanksgiving meal we will be indulging in this week. There’s nothing better than chowing down on our Thanksgiving favorites while surrounded by the people we love.

Need some inspiration of what to bring to your Thanksgiving table this year? Here are some of our favorite holiday recipes!

This year, when you’re gathered around your Thanksgiving dinner table, we encourage you to share the things you’re grateful for with your loved ones.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! We hope you have a wonderful holiday!

What are you thankful for? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Unique Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

When invited to someone’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s common courtesy to bring a side dish to share with everyone.

Sounds easy. That is until you’ve waited until the last minute and you scramble, trying to figure out what to bring.

Aunt Betty always brings sweet potatoes. Grandma Doris is sure to bring her famous green bean casserole. And your good friends from down the street already volunteered to bring dinner rolls.

It doesn’t seem like there’s much left to choose from.

Until now…because we are going to recommend 3 unique and delicious Thanksgiving side dishes that are sure to wow everyone at the dinner table. Check out the recipes below…

 

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Soup might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, but this gourd-based menu item certainly deserves a spot on the menu. Not only does it make a great side dish, it’s also a wonderful main dish option in case you have any vegetarian friends attending the celebration.

Here’s the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), halved vertically and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Up to 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, to taste (substitute olive oil for dairy-free/vegan soup)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the butternut squash on the pan and drizzle each half with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the squash on the inside (about 1 teaspoon each). Rub the oil over the inside of the squash and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
  2. Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender and completely cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes. Set the squash aside until it’s cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Then use a large spoon to scoop the butternut squash flesh into a bowl and discard the tough skin.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet (or large soup pot, if you’ll be serving soup from that pot), warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallot and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often until the shallot has softened and is starting to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  4. If you have a high-performance blender like a Vitamix, transfer the cooked shallot and garlic to your blender. Add the reserved butternut, maple syrup, nutmeg and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line (you can stir in any remaining broth later). Secure the lid and select the soup preset. The blender will stop running once the soup is super creamy and hot.
  5. If you would like to thin out your soup a bit more, add the remaining cup of broth (I used the full 4 cups, but if you used a small squash, you might want to leave it as is). Add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, to taste, and blend well. Taste and blend in more salt and pepper, if necessary.
  6. Serve immediately (I like to top each bowl with a little more black pepper). Let leftover soup cool completely before transferring it to a proper storage container and refrigerating it for up to 4 days (leftovers taste even better the next day!). Or, freeze this soup for up to 3 months.

Recipe Source: https://cookieandkate.com/2015/roasted-butternut-squash-soup/

Baked Apples with Sausage Stuffing Recipe

Stuffing is a food that’s typically only made during the holiday season. For that reason, it’s no surprise that this treat is often one of the first food items to disappear during a Thanksgiving feast. This year, bring some backup stuffing baked inside sweet, delicious apples.

Check out the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil or butter
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • ¼ cup finely diced onion
  • ½ package sausage
  • 1 box stuffing mix
  • 1 ¼ cup  chicken broth (or the same amount of water called for in the instructions for the stuffing)
  • 6-12 apples such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium or large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and the celery and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the sausage to the skillet and cook thoroughly making sure to break it up into crumbles. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together stuffing mix and sausage mixture. Add chicken broth in the same amount as water is called for in the stuffing mix instructions. Mine called for 1 1/4 cups of water so I used 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth.
  4. Stir the mixture together so that the stuffing is soft and moist. Feel free to add a little more broth if needed. Set the mix aside.
  5. Slice the very top of the apples off.
  6. Use a spoon or a melon baller to carefully scoop out the entire core of the apple.
  7. Repeat this for every apple.
  8. Spoon stuffing into the apples and place in a high-sided baking dish.
  9. Once all the apples are stuffed and in the dish, carefully pour an additional 1/4-1/2 cup of broth over the apples. Add another 1/4 cup to the bottom of the dish.
  10. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the apples are softened but not falling apart. If you don’t want the stuffing to brown, cover the dish while baking.

Recipe Source: https://growingupgabel.com/baked-apples-sausage-stuffing-recipe/

Apple Pie Salsa with Cinnamon Chips Recipe

There’s no rule that says Thanksgiving side dishes have to be nutritious or healthy. If you really want to surprise your guests, while also appeasing everyone’s sweet tooth, we suggest you bring this one-of-a-kind dish–Apple Pie Salsa with Cinnamon Chips.

Here’s how it’s made…

Salsa Ingredients:

  • 4 medium Granny Smith apples, diced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream (optional)

Cinnamon Sugar Chips Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 5 flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions for Salsa:

  1. In large sauté pan, combine apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cornstarch. Cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm. Top with whipped cream just before serving.

Directions for the Cinnamon Sugar Chips:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Brush both sides of each tortilla with melted butter. Rub cinnamon-sugar mixture onto both sides of each tortilla. Cut tortillas into wedges. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 14-16 minutes until brown and crisp. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe Source: http://frostingandasmile.com/archives/1568

What is your favorite unique Thanksgiving side dish? Let us know in the comments below!