Herbed Leek Gratin


  • 3 pounds slender leeks, trimmed
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 3 Tablespoons snipped fresh marjoram, or 2 teaspoons dried marjoram, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1½ cups fresh French or Italian bread crumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • Fresh marjoram sprigs (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Generously butter a 2 quart au gratin dish, or rectangular baking dish.  Trim roots of leeks leaving pieces 4 to 5 inches long with white and pale green parts.  Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and clean thoroughly under running cold water; pat dry.  Arrange leeks just side down in the baking dis, overlapping as necessary to fit.
  2. Combine the cream and broth; pour over the leeks  Sprinkle with half of the snipped marjoram, salt and pepper.  Cover the dish with foil; bake 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, cheese, melted butter, and remaining snipped marjoram.  Uncover leeks and sprinkle with bread-crumb mixture.  Bake uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes more or until leeks are tender and crumbs are golden brown.  Top with several marjoram sprigs, if desired.


Makes six servings. Nutrition facts per serving:

  1. Calories… 237
  2. Fat… 15g (Saturated 9g)
  3. Cholesterol… 46 mg
  4. Sodium… 476mg
  5. Carbohydrades… 23g
  6. Fiber… 2g
  7. Protein… 4g


  • Always a favorite with my brother-in-law, Jack at Thanksgiving.
  • Fresh sourdough bread makes a good choice for the breadcrumbs also.
Source: Better Homes and Gardens, December 2000


Santa teaches the connection between desire, intention and magic – he was by-far the most important pagan god in my childhood.  He delivered.

Via twitter from @BarefootTed, 2013-12-25, 11:06

Merry Christmas

Gift of the Magi

In the tiny apartment on the Lower East Side,
The beautiful Della combed her long hair,
And thought about Christmas and bitterly cried,
For they had no money, no money to spare.

So little money, and Christmas was near,
And Jim worked so hard and for so little pay.
He’d grown discouraged, her darling, her dear
She must give him Christmas, she must find a way.

So she went to a wig shop and sold them her hair,
Her beautiful hair that her husband adored,
Her face was all pale as she sat in the chair,
And she cried as the barber cut it off short.

And out in the street, with a scarf on her head,
And the money in hand, Della searched through the shops,
And there in a window was the gift she must get:
A platinum chain Jim could hang on his watch.

His beautiful watch that his father had owned,
So handsome and beautiful, just like her Jim.
And she bought him the chain and gladly went home
And curled her short hair as she waited for him.

He opened the door and he saw her hair
And she ran to his side and tried to explain
It would grow back so quickly and she didn’t care
And she gave him the beautiful platinum chain.

Jim took her gift — how brightly it shone.
He covered his face and sighed in despair,
And he told her, “I bought you those tortoise shell combs,
Tortoiseshell combs for your beautiful hair. ”

He had pawned his watch to buy her the combs,
To buy him the watch chain, she sold her hair
And the two of them looked at each other and groaned,
At the sight of the two useless gifts sitting there.

They sat holding hands and they started to laugh
At the beautiful emptiness of what they were wishing
The gift of the Magi is to hold what you have
And not think a minute of what you are missing.

As told by Garrison Keillor


Happy Festivus!  I hope you experience many Festivus miracles.

Fifty years of holiday memories


  • Remember?  Bob Hope performing for the troops
  • Kitchen Smelled like: Julia Child’s beef bourguignon
  • On the hi-fi: Nat King Cole, “The Christmas Song”
  • On the tube: Charlie Brown, Rudolph, Frosty, and the Grinch specials
  • In theaters: Babes in Toyland, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
  • Under the (flocked) tree: Hot Wheels, Easy-Bake Oven, Etch A Sketch


  • Remember?  Waiting for our Polaroid photos to develop
  • Kitchen Smelled like: Butterball turkey
  • On the 8-track player: Jackson 5 Christmas Album
  • On the tube: The Waltons: The Homecoming
  • In theaters: Scrooge with Albert Finney and Alec Guinness
  • Under the tree: Pet Rocks, Legos, Wonder Woman dolls, Atari 2600


  • Remember?  Cutting down your own tree
  • Kitchen Smelled like: Honeybaked ham
  • On the cassette player: “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band Aid
  • On the tube: Roots: The Gift, Johnny Carson’s fruitcake jokes
  • In theaters: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Scrooged
  • Under the tree: Transformers, Cabbage Patch Kids, Rubik’s Cube


  • Remember?  “Merry Christmas” gives way to the secular “Happy Holidays”
  • Kitchen Smelled like: Organic, free-range turkey
  • On the CD player: “These Are Special Times” by Celine Dion
  • On the tube: Seinfeld’s “Festivus for the rest of us” episode, “Elmo Saves Christmas”
  • In theaters: Home Alone, The Santa Clause
  • Under the tree: Beanie Babies. Poké mon, Furbles


  • Remember?  Mulling whether to get a greener— or is it? — artificial tree
  • Kitchen Smelled like: Turducken
  • On the iPod dock: “Harry for the Holidays” by Harry Connick, Jr.
  • On the flat screen: Marathons of A Christmas Story and 007 movies
  • In theaters: Elf, The Polar Express, Bad Santa, Harry Potter movies
  • Under the tree: Wii, gift cards, Razor Scooters
via AARP Bulletin, December 2012, Page 68

Aunt Chippy isn’t too chipper

Aunt Chippy isn’t having too great a day.

A Thanksgiving Pie-ku

Fullness is a myth.

Just Unbutton, take a slice…

Pumpkin?  Apple?  Both.

Rhymes with Orange comic by Hilary Price, 2013-11-28