A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
Nancy's Web Tips For The Holidays October 20th, 1999
Have you started planning your holiday meals and parties? Buying presents? Wrapping them? Well, my goodness, it's October already and you better get busy.
Seriously, I have started doing all three. Ok let's be honest, I started planning last March, a trait that drives my children nuts. What can I say? It's my favorite time of the year coupled with the fact that I enjoy planning. And, ok, ok, yes, I am a Virgo. And I might point out, that those same children who tease me about being compulsive don't hesitate to eat the bazillion holiday cookies that I have time to make and ice in December, or enjoy the 8 foot tall Christmas tree that I spend 3 days putting up.
In what is perhaps a vain effort to help those of you who start getting ready for your own holidays a week before they begin, I have searched out programs and sites that can assist you with everything from meals to drinks to holiday cards. However, this is as far as I go. I will not come and wrap your presents!
This first program is called Bartender's Friend 2.0. It was created by Anthony Zimmerman. It requires System 7.0 or greater and will run on a 68030 Mac or greater. This shareware sells for only $10, a very reasonable price for all that it offers. You can download a sample copy from both The Mac Observer's Version Master (direct link) or Download.com and try it out before you purchase. Many of the features are disabled on the trial version. This program discusses tools, liquors, mixers, etc. necessary to create alcoholic drinks. There are 200 recipes and you can browse, or list the items you have in stock and then ask the program what kind of drinks you can mix with what you have. You can ask for a display of drinks by their ingredients. There are very good directions that accompany the program.
I also found a drinks program called BarWare 4.1. This program features 775 classic, non traditional, and nonalcoholic drinks. It also can be checked out at either The Mac Observer's Version Master (direct link) or Download.com. Unfortunately, I could not test it because it requires you to have FileMaker Pro on your machine. If you do, I think you might want to have a look at this shareware program.
Moving on from programs to web sites, I found some real dillies. Better Homes and Gardens has a great site that features, among other things meal planning and recipes for numerous holidays. There are sections on appetizers and beverages, breads, vegetables and salads, how to cook turkey or ham, desserts, menus and recipes for two, diabetic menus, and directions for preparing a meal for 6, 12, or 20 people. There are also video links for making breads. eggnog, dips, and dozens of other holiday foods. I checked out the video programs to see both how good they are and if they will run on an older Mac like mine because I think this kind of thing is what makes the internet so wonderful for the average user. Unfortunately, I was not able to run the current version of RealPlayer on my machine. However, if this is something you are interested in you can go to www.RealNetworks.com to get a free copy of RealPlayer. You can also choose to get additional options above and beyond the free version for about US$11.00 or the full version for US$29.00. You will indicate the system you operate, your language choice and modem speed. After you register with your name and e-mail address you can download the appropriate program for your set up. To view any of the video's at the Better Homes and Gardens site just click on the video link.
If you weren't hungry when you start reading this, you probably soon will be. Here are some of the recipes you can get from the Better Homes and Gardens site.
Cooking for two: chicken breast with cornbread sausage stuffing, saffron rice, roasted and stuffed turkey breasts. Thanksgiving Survival Guide: Brie En Croute, Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Roasted Vegetable Caviar with Toasted Pita Chips, Eggnog (with a video) Mulled Cider, Glacier Punch, Braided Egg Bread (with a video), Cinnamon Rolls (with a video), Dinner Rolls (with a video) Flaky Biscuits, Cranberry Apple Muffins, There are lots and lots more.
Another great holiday food site is www.merry-christmas.com/recipes.htm. The recipes found here include: Berry Mocha Fudge, Sour Cream Potato Salad, Eggnog Bread, Apple Pecan Cake, Divinity, Candied Cranberries, Christmas Soup, Cranberry Punch, Baked Spinach Casserole. This site also features links for cookies, cookbooks, and allows you to download the entire Archive of Christmas Cookie recipes for both PCs and Macs.
White House Holiday Recipes really has me drooling. The recipes include Fruit Punch, Spice Fruit Bars, Smoked Salmon with Peppercorn Crust and Tarragon Mustard (yummy), Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing, and Butternut Squash Salsa.
If you are interested in an around-the-world holiday, check out www.santas.net/recipes.htm. You will find dessert recipes from Italy, Australia, Chile, France, Australia, Scotland, Egypt, Hungary, Germany, an Amish recipe, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Greece, Spain and the US
Chanukah recipes can be found at several sites. www.foodwine.com/food/egg/egg1296/eggsalad.html tells the story and history surrounding Chanukah as well as sharing traditional recipes such as Sweet Potato Latkes, Cheese Latkes, Crepes, Fresh Apple Sauce, Potato Pancakes, Baked Apples, and Holiday eggnog. If you have never had potato Latkes, made from scratch by someone who knows how to do it, you are missing out on one of life's true rewards.
For those who celebrate Kwanzaa I found recipes, activities, and information on the seven symbols that are part of the Kwanzaa celebration at http://members.aol.com/lindano/Course/pages/kwrecipe.html. Recipes include Spicy Mocha Punch, New Style Collard Greens (less fat), Corn Bread from scratch, and Southern Plum Cake.
One final site you may want to visit is my own home page. All of this discussion on holiday meals inspired me to add some of our family favorites. My heritage is deep south, specifically Georgia. In our family no holiday is complete without made-from- scratch cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, apple and raisin salad, and divinity. I have added to that tradition a 100 year old cake recipe that came from my oldest children's great grandmother's, great grandmother, and my own recipe for iced holiday cookies [Editor's note: These are the finest cookies on the planet. Nancy provides them for the staff at Christmas and fist fights have been known to break out. Seriously]. These recipes are now included on my home page at www.angelfire.com/nc2/texas. Enjoy.
I bet you thought I got so hung up on all this good food that I forget about other holiday celebrations. I will admit that I had to stop half way through and go eat dinner, but that is really another story. Now, about those holiday cards.... In last week's column I talked about how to make and send internet based documents as attachments to your regular e-mail. This skill will work great for sending out holiday cards to your family, friends, and business acquaintances who have e-mail. To make a really spiffy card you may want to use some animated graphics and I found a really wonderful site that has animated graphics for numerous holidays. You can find the graphics at: http://22.214.171.124/~toddwonka/gifs.html.
If you decide to start getting ready for the holidays now, more power to you. If you don't, and you are rushing around the night before trying to get everything done at once, then take a moment to think of me, sitting calmly in my recliner, admiring my Christmas tree and eating home made cookies.!
If you have any tips, suggestions, or other comments about this, or any other Mac topics, send them to me so that I can share them with other readers.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color,
covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.