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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. 

The world is opening, and it is time to celebrate! One of the first things people are doing as they exercise their recaptured freedom is heading out of town to new destinations. I thought a few refresher tips on travel might be good for all of us.

Walking into the room, my husband pauses in front of the TV. Turning to me with a spoiler alert about my favorite Hallmark movie he says, “Hey Lisa…they get married.” And you know what? He’s right! The girl found her prince charming, and the couple has a happy ending, every time.

How many mornings have we left home in a state of utter chaos? Breakfast was late, children were crying, and we hurriedly throw on clothes from the night before only to realize how wrinkled we look. This mad dash makes for an unpleasant parting from our family and it is usually caused by a disorganized approach to our routine. So much of the bedlam we experience at the beginning of the day can be avoided if we are willing to implement a few tasks the night before.

The mamor (mother-in-law) and damor (daughter-in-law) relationship is meant to be beautiful and strong. In parts 1 and 2 of our series we learned why women in these roles might have certain feelings in their new family dynamics. Once we learned the “why” we then explored practical steps we can take to strengthen these special bonds. As we bring our series to a close, I want to impart some words of wisdom we all need to hear, and be reminded of, to ensure we create a healthy, life-long bond between the mamor/damor.

In part one of our series on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship we learned why the women who find themselves in these roles often experience emotions ranging from pure joy to hurt and sadness. Once we discovered the answers, our understanding of this special relationship came into focus. We had an “aha” moment which makes our path forward easier to navigate.

Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

  • 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

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