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A toast may be offered in any setting and made to an individual or a group. Increase your confidence at your next social gathering by learning the ins and outs of this ancient tradition. Toasting to someone’s health or honor goes back to biblical times and can be found in most cultures including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians.

We could spend hours diving into every aspect of table do’s and don’ts, but I want to give you my top 13 tips that will help you navigate any social or business gathering with confidence.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

Vacations are back on the calendar, and many people are crossing the country through our friendly skies. I thought a refresher on airport and plane travel might do us all a little good.

I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99!

“Conflict is part of every marriage. Thirty-seven percent of newlyweds admit to being more critical of their mates after marriage. And 30 percent report an increase in arguments. Whether you argue does not determine the health of your marriage. Far more important than how often you argue is how you argue.

With Father’s Day coming soon, you and your family will be celebrating one of the most important men in your life- Dad. As a child, he was your hero, your protector, and your solid rock. Now that you are older, you admire him for all that he has done for you and you still look to him for advice and wisdom. Picking out the perfect gift for Dad is not easy!

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

Graduation is a pivotal point in a young person’s life. It is the beginning of a season of responsibility, coming of age, and independence. As these twenty-somethings are about to discover the meaning of “adulting,” here are some gift ideas that will no doubt be a blessing in your college grad’s new life.

If some of you are thinking, “I believe I have read this letter before,” you would be correct. Our son and daughter (in law) had a beautiful wedding ceremony planned for April of 2020. As with thousands around the country, they had to postpone the big event, but chose to hold a private covenant ceremony in our backyard. Well, we are finally celebrating their wedding vows, and it was on my heart to re-post the letter I wrote to my son last year. Some things have changed (he is now 25, not 24 as the letter states), but I hope you enjoy!

 I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99! 

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.

 

1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

  • Alina Gersib

Severed Beef Wellington Taste Test



Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!


I try not to pick favorites often, but my goodness, this meal is a new favorite. The flavors play off of each other in the most wonderful way. From the tanginess of the mustard to the earthiness of the mushrooms and the crunch of the puff pastry, this meal gets 10s across the board. Both my fiancé and I went back for seconds, we could not get enough. A favorite show of ours is Gordon Ramsey Uncharted. If I received this meal in one of his restaurants I would be absolutely blown away, that is how good it is. The best part? It is not too difficult to prepare.


If you follow the recipe closely and plan things out well, it will flow seamlessly. A few suggestions, start the mushrooms early as they need to chill for an hour before being placed on the puff pastry. Also, the puff pastry takes about 40 minutes to thaw so make sure to pull it out early.


I started by making the Mushroom Duxelle. While it was chilling I washed all of the dishes I had accumulated from the mushrooms. When I hit 40 minutes left on the mushrooms I took the puff pastry out to thaw and measured out all of the ingredients for the next steps. After prepping, searing, and covering the meat with mustard, I was ready to start assembling the ingredients on the thawed puff pastry. Once the beef Wellington was in the oven, I washed up all of the dishes and started making the sauce and a side of asparagus. With working while things were cooking (or chilling) everything was ready right at the same time for this delicious meal!


Severed Beef Wellington



Severed Beef Wellington
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.32MB

Makes 5 servings

Preparation Time: 30 Minutes

Cooking Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients:

*2 pounds beef tenderloin

*1/2 cup yellow mustard

*2 cups Mushroom Duxelle (recipe follows)

*Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed and rolled out 10” x 10” x 1/8”

*Salt and pepper, to taste

*1 whole egg, beaten, for egg wash

*1/4 cup olive oil, for searing


Preparation:

*Season the meat with salt and pepper to taste, and sear to golden brown on all sides in a pan on high heat.

*Take it off the heat and reserve on the side.

*Preheat oven to 400F.

*Spread the Mushroom Duxelle over the prepared puff pastry making sure to leave 2 inches free on all sides.

*Brush the egg wash on this 2 inch free space of pastry.

*Brush the mustard all over the seared tenderloin, and place tenderloin on top of one end of the prepared puff pastry.

*Now, carefully roll meat and dough, making sure it is nicely tucked in. Keep rolling until meat is fully incased. Pinch and press the ends to seal meat, making sure there are no openings or gaps on either end.

*Carefully place meat/dough on a sheet pan and brush egg wash on all sides.

*Put in preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, then remove and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

*Slice in 1 to 1 1/2 inch thickness.

*Accompany with grilled asparagus and Marsala Wine Sauce.


Mushroom Duxelle (for Beef Wellington)



Mushroom Duxelle
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.32MB

Makes 5 servings

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

Cooking Time: 35 Minutes


Ingredients:

*2 pounds mushrooms, minced in a food processor

*1 cup onion, finely chopped

*2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced

*1 tablespoon butter

*2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

*1/4 cup dry white wine

*1 teaspoon salt


Preparation:

*In a large sauté pan, place the butter, onion and garlic and cook on medium heat until onion is translucent.

*Add the minced mushrooms, rosemary, wine and salt.

*Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is completely dry. (Mixture should have absolutely no

moisture.) This entire process should take about 15 to 20 minutes on low to medium heat. (It took mine about 35 minutes but my pan does not have a huge surface area)

*Turn heat off, spread onto a sheet pan, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

*Mushroom Duxelle is ready to use.

Marsala Wine Sauce



Marsala Wine Sauce (for Beef Wellington)
.
Download • 2.32MB

Makes 1 Cup

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes

Cooking Time: 15 Minutes


Ingredients:

*2 tablespoons olive oil

*2 tablespoons fresh onion, grated

*1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

*1 cup Marsala wine

*2 cups beef or chicken stock

*2 tablespoons cornstarch slurry, or as needed for thickening (A cornstarch slurry is equal parts water and cornstarch mixed together. I combined 2 tbsp of each and used almost all of it.)

*2 tablespoons butter

*Salt & pepper, to taste


Preparation:

*In a medium saucepan heat the oil to low smoking point.

*Add the onion and garlic, cook until translucent.

*Turn heat to high and add the wine.

*Reduce to half, then add the stock and reduce to half again.

*Turn the heat back to medium and add cornstarch, whisking as needed to lightly thicken the sauce.

*Season to taste and add the butter.

*Whisk to melt butter in the sauce.



Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib