Friday, December 8, 2017

My Top 10 Christmas Movies

I enjoyed writing about my favorite Halloween movies so much that I decided to write a Christmas List, too! Christmas movies are kind of awesome, and I even love and adore the dorky Hallmark ones (we have about twelve on our DVR that my mom and I haven't had time to watch).

If you're not sure what to watch this Christmas, I hope this list helps you find something heartwarming, funny, and joyful.

10. It's a Wonderful Life

I'd never seen this movie all the way through until about three years ago. I was surprised how much I liked it. It's another one of those that you could watch any time of year because it takes place at various points in Jimmy Stewart's history, and its climax comes to a head on Christmas. 

9. The Nativity Story

This is a sweet story that tells the story of Mary and Joseph meeting, to Mary's message from the angel Gabriel, and their difficult trip to Bethlehem. It's a beautiful movie and exactly how I imagined The Nativity to be. Starring a younger Oscar Isaac as Joseph, too, for all you Star Wars fans.

While not a Christmas movie, per se, there is a big Christmas scene at the end brings the entire film to a climax. It's Judy Garland at her best, and one of the most heart-warming family movies ever to grace the silver screen. I was actually so obsessed with this movie that when I was seven, and we took a road trip through St. Louis, I kept waiting to see the house, carriages, and streetcar that had been there 80-some years before. You can imagine my disappointment that it didn't actually look like a quaint small town with big Victorian mansions. 

As it takes place in all seasons, you can watch it any time of year. You're welcome.

7. A Charlie Brown Christmas

This will always hold a special place in my heart. Charlie Brown has a hard time figuring out what Christmas is all about, so he goes through everything he can to put him in the Christmas spirit. It isn't until he's put in charge of the Christmas play that he finally demands to know what it's all about, and Linus puts down his security blanket and says this

6. The Holiday

I love a good Nancy Meyers movie, and considering she made one about a lovelorn Kate Winslet falling in love with a film composer, it's like she was writing about my life. I absolutely love this movie, and its quirkiness, its comedy, and its elements of Hallmark in a big budget film.

5. A Princess for Christmas

This theme has been running rampant for a couple years, but I first saw this film because I was high on an Outlander binge and needed more Sam Heughan. In one of his first films, he plays Ashton, prince of a small European country who lives a cold existence with his father. He'd lost his brother a few years before and things hadn't been the same since.

But the story doesn't start there. It starts in Buffalo, New York, where Jules Daly, a harried guardian of two children loses her job and her nanny right before Christmas. The trio is invited to the European country to spend Christmas with the children's grandfather, who up until that point, had ceased all contact. Jules brings a bright, jolly demeanor to a dour, cold castle, and falls in love in the process. It's fluffy, sweet, and completely predictable, but that's totally okay because it's Christmas. 

4. Love, Actually

The Quintessential British Christmas flick that America keeps trying to remake, and keeps failing miserably. 

Several stories intertwined around the Christmas holiday, of different kinds of love, culminating in a Christmas Pageant at a public school, where more than one lobster was present at the birth of Jesus (duh!)

My favorite stories are the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) and one of his assistants (Martine McCutcheon), as well as Sarah (Laura Linney), a lonely office worker, and Karl (Roderigo Santoro), her co-worker that she's been in love with since day one. The rest are all great, too, but those two are my favorites. 

It IS a risque movie in places, but if you can catch it on Freeform, the most risque plot has been removed.

3. Santa Claus: The Movie

This is probably the first Christmas movie I ever recall watching. My sister and I were obsessed with it. We had it taped off TV and the tape got so warped by the time we upgraded everything to DVD. But it's so fun because it's two movies in one! 

We have the history of Santa Claus (David Huddleston), and how he came to become The Legend, and then a secondary story in the modern age where one of his more inventive elves, Patch (Dudley Moore), has done a poor job of being Santa's assistant and travels to New York to prove what a great elf he can be. He has a run in with the dastardly BZ (John Lithgow), who runs a shoddy toy company, and shenanigans ensue. It's pretty fun and has some great moments. Love it.

2. The Santa Clause (And Sequels)

Is there a Santa Story more magical than The Santa Clause? Tim Allen accidentally scaring Santa off his roof, and getting shanghaied into being the Big Guy? It's classic 90's Christmas comedy at its best.

And I have a soft spot in my heart for The Santa Clause 2 because while Santa has to find his Mrs. Claus, she's played by an alumna of my college, Elizabeth Mitchell. Stephens Solidarity.

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause is fun, but kind of the forgettable one in the Trio. It's got a bit of It's a Wonderful Life going on, but Martin Short can come on a bit strong for my taste.

1. The Muppet Christmas Carol

This is it. My absolute favorite Christmas movie of all time. It's got the classic story A Christmas Carol with the Muppets witty touches! It has Michael Caine playing everything as straight as any other Scrooge before him, while having to say lines like, "It's Fozziewig's old rubber chicken factory!"

Comedy gold, man.

I will say that there is something that bothers me about the DVD version. They removed the BEST SONG IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE. When Scrooge is going back over his past, there's the saddest, most beautiful breakup ballad in the world. Titled "When Love is Gone," and Scrooge's fiancee, Belle, sings about how she and Scrooge have gone separate directions. The reason it's so awesome is that at the end when Scrooge has his awakening, and he joins with the rest of the city to celebrate Christmas, he sings a song called "The Love We Found." 

It bookends the entire story. They should never have gotten rid of it in the widescreen DVD/Blueray version. It didn't slow the story down, and you really saw exactly WHY it had such an impact on Scrooge and the rest of his life. 

There are so many others that I wanted to add (White Christmas! Miracle on 34th Street! A Christmas Story!) But I had to draw the line at ten. 

Your Turn!

  1. What are your favorite Christmas movies?
  2. Do you agree/disagree with any on this list?

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I Tried Low Carb Cloud Bread (And Survived!)

I'd been avoiding this new trendy food thing for a while. Didn't want to make it, didn't want to try it, didn't want anything to do with it. It just looked weird. And rubbery.

However, I've recently realized that my body does better on lower carb, so I decided to give it a whirl. If it was terrible, I'd add it to the list of things I'd never ever try again.

Know what? It wasn't half bad.

What is Cloud Bread?

Cloud Bread is a bread-like substance made of separated eggs, cream cheese, and any seasonings you want to add. You can make it sweet or savory, and it works very well for sandwiches. It's low carb, contains mostly fat (don't worry. It'll help keep you full), and when you cook it long enough, it's very sturdy. I've been known to undercook it and it sticks to my fingers. Whoops!

How is it made?

  1. Preheat oven to 300 Degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. Add Cream of Tartar to your Egg Whites and whip with a mixer with a whisk attachment until stiff peaks form (That means when you pull the whisk out, the egg whites stand up on their own. The Cream of tartar helps give them structure).
  3. In another bowl, beat your egg yolks and cream cheese until uniform and there are no clumps of cheese left (I've tried this with a whisk and with a mixer and a mixer is superior for really smooth eggs and cream cheese).
  4. Carefully fold a scoop of your egg whites into the egg yolks. To fold, use a rubber spatula to cut through the whites and fold the yolks over the top. Repeat until the first round is incorporated, and add the remainder. 
  5. Use a scoop or spoon to spoon the mixture onto your baking sheet. bake for 30 minutes until golden. Let rest for 1 hour.
  6. Store in a plastic bag in your fridge. 
Check out the video to see it done!

Why Would You Ever Eat Such a Thing? Bread is Life!

I know. And I love bread and pastry as much as the next amateur blogger. I'm addicted to Cupcake Jemma videos on YouTube and have more dessert pins on Pinterest than probably anyone. But the fact of the matter is, my health is what I'm focusing on. I'm tall, but I'm heavy. My joints ache, I'm tired all the time, so I'm in the process of searching for what is a good eating plan for me. 

My sister has been doing Keto since may, and she just hit the 50-pound mark. I'm so proud of her, and I've seen on my own journey that lower carb seems to work. 

Also, I think I'm addicted to sugar, and if I don't eat every couple of hours I get shaky and cranky. Since starting Keto (High fat, moderate protein, low carb), I haven't been hungry every two hours, Breakfast keeps me until actual lunch, I've lost weight, I'm more alert, and I'm discovering that a side of rice or potatoes isn't really necessary to make a rounded plate. 

Don't worry, this isn't going to become a Keto blog. It's still a lifestyle blog, with guest posts, and a lot of fun things to keep you informed.

Until Next Time!

Your turn!

  • Have you tried Cloud Bread?
  • How about Keto?
  • Got a favorite low carb recipe? Share in the comments!

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