Food Network Star Damaris Phillips Hits the Right Notes in Our Empty Nest

Got My Reservations 25 Days of Christmas 2013 Medium Button15 days until Christmas, and we’re making progress. How are you doing?

Over the last two weeks I have made two recipes from Damaris Phillips’s new show on the Food Network, entitled Southern At Heart. And they were both fabulous.

I’m going to be perfectly frank here; I was not convinced about Damaris when she won Food Network Star this year. Although I liked loved her unfiltered personality, I wasn’t sure that she had what it takes to join Alton, Giada, Ree, or even Guy (not my favorite) on her own show.

She has proven me wrong.

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I like everything about the show. I like how she starts by visiting a local Louisville purveyor to get her special ingredient. I like the guys who have signed on to be taught to cook a special meal for their sweethearts. I like her sass and I like her recipes.

Recipes are where it’s at in the rundown to Christmas.

What is usable and what is not? If you are going to try something new that’s out of your traditional rut, where do you want to go?

Click into photo for recipe.

Beer Mac and Cheese. Click into photo for recipe.

We made the Beer Cheese and Mac and her Curry Cauliflower and Rice casserole in the last two weeks, and they were both winners in the empty nest. I highly recommend that you consider these recipes for your Christmas entertaining. Both have unexpected ingredients that take a familiar recipe to the next level, and that’s why I recommend them.

On the Christmas countdown tally sheet, we’ve ticked off some items. We set up the three new pillow top mattress sets in anticipation of the Christmas Gathering of the Clan, bought a paper towel holder (isn’t it always the mundane things that drive you crazy when people are working in your kitchen?), and talked to the visiting English chef/daughter’s boyfriend about the menu. He says he can make naan bread from scratch. Really??? I’m pretty sure I would buy it from my local Indian market — we live in Chicagoland and we are fortunate that there are actually Indian markets that are likely to be open on Christmas day, but I’m willing to let him do whatever he wants. That’s what I promised, a no-drama mama Christmas. :)

How are you doing on your preparations? Do you have your gifts purchased? I’m almost done with that as well; thank goodness for online shopping! Thanks for stopping by to see how Music Man and I are getting ready for Christmas in our empty nest.

Got my bags, got my reservations,
Spent each dime I could afford.
Like a child in wild anticipation,
I long to hear that, “All aboard!”

Music and lyrics by Bud Green, Les Brown and Ben Homer (1944)

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