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Give Cookie Dough to Stretch the Holiday Cheer into the New Year

Give Cookie Dough to Stretch the Holiday Cheer into the New Year

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Each year, my wife and I pass out cookie dough to friends around Christmas. With the glut of sweets around the holidays, our friends can just make them according to "need" after the holidays settle down.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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You can do the same for your friends and family members. Make cookie dough according to the cookie's recipe. Portion each cookie out as if you were going to bake them. Instead of baking, freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Flatten the tops slightly for easier stacking. Once frozen, you can put them in a plastic zip-top bag or decorative tin. Be sure to deliver with an ice packet so the dough doesn't thaw and clump together.

Include information for baking the cookies with each gift you give. You could even print the recipe and include in case they want to make more later.

Cheerful Christmas Movies on Disney+ Printable

This holiday season, cuddle up with a cozy blanket and a warm cup of cocoa and start watching Cheerful Christmas Movies on Disney+. It&rsquos the perfect way to spend family time this holiday season while keeping the children entertained.



  • The Nolan Variations: The Movies, Mysteries, and Marvels of Christopher Nolan, Tom Shone
  • Made Men: The Story of “Goodfellas”, Glenn Kenny
  • Murder and the Movies, David Thomson
  • Shit, Actually, Lindy West
  • The Camera Lies: Acting for Hitchcock, Dan Callaha
  • Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise, Scott Eyman
  • Just as I Am, Cicely Tyson


The American movie industry, a vital national economic sector valued at over $40 billion, counts on the willingness of patrons to pay good money for the pleasures of sitting elbow to elbow in enclosed spaces, sharing communal laughs, gasps, shouts, sobs, coughs, chatter and corn kernels while watching large screens for two hours at a stretch. As the Sept. 3 domestic release of “Tenet” proved, few want to do that this year. Box-office receipts for the marquee writer-director Christopher Nolan’s latest cabinet of brilliant cinematic curiosities, a thriller with a characteristically squirrelly, palindromic plot structure teased by its title, have demonstrated an impressive regard for Covid-19 caution on the part of American consumers. The numbers proved the limits of fandom in this year of pandemic. Nolan’s admirers (I’m one) have loved his work since “Following” and “Memento,” up through “The Dark Knight,” “Inception” and “Dunkirk.” But they — we — love life more. We’ll wait.

This deadly, as-yet-unsolvable, real-life obstacle in the path of the Anglo-American filmmaker’s rapid trajectory as a master of brainy blockbusters gives THE NOLAN VARIATIONS: The Movies, Mysteries, and Marvels of Christopher Nolan (Knopf, 381 pp., $40) an interesting unplanned edge. The book, by the British-born writer and film critic Tom Shone, is every bit as intricately jiggered as one of Nolan’s projects — a kind of ongoing, genially competitive, intellectually footnote-y conversation between the author (who has written previous books, one in praise of Martin Scorsese, another in praise of blockbuster movies) and the subject. The two first met in Los Angeles in 2001, following the success of Nolan’s second film, “Memento,” at the Sundance Film Festival, and the dynamic was set in motion. “As he picked up his menu, I couldn’t help but notice that he leafed through it backward. He was left-handed, he said, and always leafed through magazines and such from back to front. I wondered if this had anything to do with the structure of his film, which plays its scenes in reverse order. He told me I may have hit on something, explaining that he had long been fascinated by notions of symmetry, mirroring and inversion.”

Shone’s close reading continued nearly two decades later, through conversations held over a period of three years. And the associative leaps are impressive the short stories of the Argentine master Jorge Luis Borges and the music of the English composer Edward Elgar, whose haunting 1899 musical puzzle “The Enigma Variations” provided Shone with an organizational principle, are mentioned in heavy rotation. The thematic headings, attached chapter by chapter to Nolan’s résumé of 11 commercial films, include “Structure,” “Perception,” “Chaos,” “Dreams” and “Knowledge.” The physical book is a handsome thing in itself, luxuriously illustrated with eye-pleasers, including movie stills from “Blade Runner” and “Chariots of Fire,” archival photos of Nolan’s English boarding school, a reproduction of C. S. Lewis’s map of Narnia and a page from Elgar’s “Enigma” score.

Shone presents Nolan as a cool puzzle with “the matte mystique of the magician played by Hugh Jackman in Nolan’s 2006 film ‘The Prestige,’ who takes his applause below the stage, having just disappeared through it.” In work, the filmmaker likes precision, discipline, punctuality and efficiency. In life, he eschews the email account and the cellphone, and he is partly colorblind. His longtime artistic and producing collaborator is his wife, Emma Thomas. Other close collaborators include his screenwriter-brother, Jonathan Nolan, and the composer Hans Zimmer, whom the director astutely describes as “a minimalist composer with maximalist production values.” It is Zimmer’s stunning score for “Dunkirk” that turns the Elgar variation called “Nimrod” into the movie’s spectacular aural heartbeat.

“The Nolan Variations” keeps the manly volley going through the making of “Tenet.” But between then and today, as we know now, a global virus would wreck the movie’s game plan — and perhaps some of Shone’s mojo, too. Glenn Kenny got luckier working on MADE MEN: The Story of “Goodfellas” (Hanover Square, 397 pp., $29.99). The movie-and-music-mad longtime New York critic, who contributes frequently to The New York Times, squeezed in a final interview-in-a-hurry with the director Martin Scorsese on March 9 of this year, just days before New York City went into pandemic retreat. Kenny transcribes that nicely nerdy session of fast-talked remembrances at the conclusion of his impassioned homage to Scorsese’s grand, bloody 1990 tour de force of a mob movie, now celebrating 30 years of Joe Pesci scaring the crap out of audiences with the quiet line, “I’m funny how — I mean funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you?”

“Made Men” is obsessive, free-associative and exuberantly geeky. I mean that in a good way it’s everything a hard-core fan might want, with Kenny’s signature bebop digressions that cover the pages with first-person asides. The book’s structure is somewhere between frame by frame and minute by minute — a quick-fire commentary track on paper. And the author takes maximum advantage of interviews, particularly with Barbara De Fina, an ex-wife of Scorsese who continued to work with him professionally and who, listed as executive producer of “Goodfellas,” still smarts from the greater credit she feels she was denied by the producer Irwin Winkler. Then again, Kenny also salutes Winkler’s interview accessibility. (“Go figure,” he adds in the acknowledgments.)

As a cool-down lap after the fever of his “Goodfellas” chronicle, Kenny barrels through 30 years of Scorsese’s ensuing projects in one chapter, from “Cape Fear,” “The Age of Innocence” and “Casino,” up through “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Irishman,” which first aired on Netflix in 2019. Along the way he takes some jabs at the former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein (now serving prison time as a convicted rapist). He settles some scores with fellow movie critics. And he wiseguys his way around even in the footnotes. Confirming the detail that, in condemning the violence in “Cape Fear,” the conservative commentator George Will, speaking on television, pronounced the director’s name as “Scor-seeze,” Kenny writes, “You’re going to have to trust my word and my memory on this one, kids.”

The prolific British movie critic and historian David Thomson always trusts his own words, and always states those words with outsize confidence in his opinions and delight in his own prose. Sez who? Sez him. That’s what makes his more than 20 books so intriguing — or aggravating depending on the reader’s (i.e., my) mood. In recent years, Thomson, like many other movie-purist critics who previously didn’t have time for television, has thrown himself into the medium, weighing in with “Breaking Bad: The Official Book” in 2015 and “Television: A Biography” in 2016. MURDER AND THE MOVIES (Yale University, 232 pp., $26) arrives a year after “Sleeping With Strangers: How the Movies Shaped Desire,” and the author does indeed riff on how movies allow the viewer to “watch so many murders with the distance of a connoisseur or a general on a hilltop far away.” But he can’t help beginning with a set piece on the critic-approved Netflix crime series “Ozark,” in which Jason Bateman and Laura Linney play an upscale Chicago couple relocated to the Missouri Ozarks, whose descent into crime involves an operatic deluge of deaths.

Then Thomson is on to Jim Jones’s exhortation to mass suicide by his followers in 1978, and then on to “The Shining” and “Deliverance,” and “Psycho” (of course) and “Full Metal Jacket.” Sometimes he asks, “In 1939, as a magical sniper, would you have shot Hitler?” Sometimes he wonders whether Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone assassin. His analysis of death in Hitchcock movies is gorgeous. His restlessness is palpable. There is an anxiety in this brief, hurried book that suits these political and medical times so well, I had to check when it was written: 2018. No pandemic yet, just White House instability and mass shootings in high schools. No wonder Thomson has been switching channels a lot.

This may be a good place to lighten up for a minute, and turn to SHIT, ACTUALLY (Hachette, 243 pp., $27). The statement might well apply to all of 2020, but in this case it is half the legal title of a collection of snarky movie reviews by the delightfully brassy comic essayist Lindy West, who made a splash in 2016 with “Shrill.” The other half is “The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema.” Of course, nothing in this collection, inspired by a series of movie essays West began at the feminist website, is either definite or objective, beginning with the title — one great punchline — applied to the 2003 romantic comedy roundelay “Love Actually.” I don’t happen to agree with West about the sentimental sins of what has become annual, anesthetizing Christmas viewing for many. But I do love her vocabulary. And I cheer the author’s unique, loud voice. So if watching West chew on modern cinema morsels as gummable as “Titanic,” “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Forrest Gump” (which she calls “Dude, You Gotta Stop Listening to Your Mom”) sounds like fun, then check it out, actually.

Or you might prefer a pair of books that look at old Hollywood from contemporary angles. With THE CAMERA LIES: Acting for Hitchcock (Oxford University, 251 pp., $34.95), Dan Callahan takes Alfred Hitchcock’s often-retold quip that “all actors should be treated like cattle,” and shapes the one-liner into a cohesive thesis about the kind of performance that best suited that old master’s aims — one by an actor who could do “nothing” well. Callahan, the author of two previous volumes on “The Art of American Screen Acting,” writes, “He wanted his audience to act and supply emotions to the large heads of the stars on the screen, and so he didn’t want the actors to do too much emoting.”

By way of explication, the author goes through every title in Hitchcock’s filmography, identifying what made some players great (Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant), and some less so (Joan Fontaine, John Gielgud). His observations are bright, often wry. He is also keenly — nay, insistently — interested in the sexuality of the players, both expressed and hidden, beginning with that of Hitchcock himself, but especially when a queer-centric observation is possible. Of Esme Percy in “Murder!” (1930), he writes, “Percy’s real-life sexuality is unknown at this date, though there are several fetchingly girlish photos of him as a young juvenile actor to place him on the gay side of the spectrum.” Analyzing a scene in “Rear Window” with Raymond Burr, he comments, “Burr was gay, but that’s not something you would likely guess from his heavy, staring screen look and presence.”

With so much written for so long about “the male gaze” in culture as applied to women both by creators and critics, there can be freedom, honesty and even revelation in the many newer gazes through which to interpret art. Reading sexual overtones and undercurrents into Hitchcock’s relationship to his actors and the performances he drew from them is as viable an approach as any. Scott Eyman doesn’t refer to sexuality in the subtitle of his thorough new Hollywood biography, CARY GRANT: A Brilliant Disguise (Simon & Schuster, 556 pp., $35) — or does he? On the one hand, Eyman (whose previous thoroughly studied Hollywood subjects include Mary Pickford, Cecil B. DeMille and John Wayne) declares that he is most interested in the contrast between Grant’s powerful “Cary Grant-ness” onscreen and the private man. “This philosophical awareness of an essential duality took Grant decades to assimilate, and it was accomplished only after sacrificing four marriages, enduring years of therapy, and over 100 LSD sessions — an experience he came to regard as life-altering,” Eyman writes.

Cool, tell me more! On the other hand, the biographer returns again and again to poke at the long and happy domestic life Grant shared for many years with his fellow actor Randolph Scott, who once signed a souvenir menu, “to my spouse, Cary. Randy.” Looking for … what? “There is plausible evidence to place him in any sexual box you want — straight, bi, gay, or any combination that might be expected from a solitary street kid with a street kid’s sense of expedience,” Eyman finally hedges. Oh, for the momentary contemporary bluntness of the British actor Tom Hardy, when once asked (years ago, please note, when he was less famous and less guarded) whether he ever had any sexual relations with men: “Of course I have. I’m an actor. . I’ve played with everything and everyone.”

Moving right along. It is a fine and bracing thing to finish this roundup with JUST AS I AM (HarperCollins, 416 pp., $28.99), a memoir completed recently enough to include references to Covid-19 and Breonna Taylor. (It will be published in January.) The stories are those of the esteemed actor, activist and former model Cicely Tyson, who, just two years ago, became the first African-American woman to receive an honorary Academy Award, and who has received multiple Emmy nominations for her ongoing work on “How to Get Away With Murder.” Of course, what with Tyson turning 96 years old this year, no illusions are spoiled in explaining that the firm, warm, proud, reflective voice on the page, in full keeping with the star’s onscreen image, is the creation of Michelle Burford, a gifted “collaborator and story architect,” as she calls herself, whose previous celebrity collaborations include books with Alicia Keys, Toni Braxton and Simone Biles.

I linger on this “with” credit, because I like to think that Tyson herself must admire the enterprise with which Burford has turned her specialized skills into such success. The Harlem-born Tyson was “a deep chestnut brown in a nation that considers the darker sister the less attractive one.” Her parents were immigrants from Nevis in the West Indies her father’s womanizing resulted in her mother leaving, taking little Cicely, her older brother and younger sister. Tyson’s mother could be harsh, belittling. Pregnant as a senior in high school, young Cicely married the baby’s father, but the marriage was brief the daughter she sent away (to boarding school, to the care of others) for such long stretches while she hustled to establish her own life appears over and over in these pages, an old mother’s regret for what she felt she could not give her baby girl.

Certain stories serve as narrative anchors: Tyson’s artistic education through the tutelage of the lauded director Lloyd Richards the revolutionary gesture of cutting her hair short and natural in 1962 and, especially, her long, complicated romantic relationship with the damaged, drug-ravaged, genius jazz musician Miles Davis, a connection of great glamour and great strain. This she reflects on at length, with a cleareyed attention to painful details that, no matter how great the writing assistance, begins with the integrity of the woman ready to do the telling.

A throng of admirers has been eager to hear whatever she wants to tell. Burford, a sensitive listener, has organized 96 years’ worth of stories with grace. Right about now, the autobiography of Miss Cicely Tyson is a balm for the afflicted.

Lisa Schwarzbaum is a freelance writer and former critic at Entertainment Weekly.

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How to stretch your holiday budget in a way that means more

We are officially in the thick of the holiday season. Christmas is a wonderful time of year to come together with family and friends. From tasty food to twinkling lights, there is something extra special about the holidays.

Even with festive trimmings, however, many people feel the stress of holiday shopping. As we are getting closer and closer to Christmas Day, don’t be discouraged if you haven’t purchased presents and are finding your wallet a bit strapped for cash. Don’t let this turn you into a Scrooge. We are here with some Santa approved gifts to help you save!

Creative Christmas gifts are not only meaningful, but very cost-friendly. Homemade gifts also are extra special because they show that you put effort into making the present. Here are some of our favorite suggestions:

  1. Craft a Christmas ornament. The holidays are a special time of year and many people love adding new ornaments to their tree each season. It might take you back to the elementary school days, but creating your own Christmas ornaments is both a perfect and meaningful gift. Visit your local craft store for supplies or if you are extra creative, consider crafting from items you may already have at home. Personalize each ornament to make it even more meaningful. Your gift will be part of their Christmas for years to come. To make it even more fun, make your own ornaments together as a family and give them as gifts to relatives, neighbors, teachers and friends.
  2. Christmas cookies. A great way to spread holiday cheer is with homemade Christmas cookies. Not only are they delicious, but they make great gifts for your friends and family. You can dress your cookie gifts up by placing them in festive, decorated jars. Add red and green ribbon to your cookie jars and a personalized note for a special touch.
  3. Build a recipe book. Food is a major part of the holiday season. Many recipes are near and dear to families and make appearances at Christmas annually. Gather your favorite recipes and family favorites to build your very own holiday recipe book. Make it personal by sharing stories and traditions with each recipe. Adding in pictures from holidays past can make it even more special. Jazz up the look of your recipe book with cute Christmas ribbon and stickers.
  4. Memory Jar. This is a frequent suggestion when it comes to homemade gifts for good reason. A memory jar truly is the epitome of a sentimental gift. It doesn’t cost much, but the gift of cherished memories is priceless. All you need is a Mason jar, paper and festive ribbon. Once you decide who will be receiving your memory jar, think of your favorite memories that you have shared with that person. Begin writing down each memory on cut strips of paper and then fold each piece before placing them in the jar. You can do a month’s worth of memories or even enough for the entire year! Write a card to go with your memory jar instructing the gift receiver to pull one slip of paper each day. Decorate your jar with ribbons or bows for a festive touch.
  5. Put your knitting skills to use. Winters around here bring chilly weather. The perfect Christmas presents to combat the cold air are hats and scarves. If you already know how to knit, break out your yarn and get started. Your family and friends will appreciate these presents when the temperature drops in the coming months. If you don’t know how to knit, there are many online video tutorials that can give you step by step instructions. Learning a new skill can make your present very meaningful as it shows you put in both time and thought.
  6. Make a mixed “tape.” It might be old school, but making a mixed “tape” (or in 2017 a customized playlist) is still a great way to show you care. Choose songs you know the gift receiver likes or mix it up adding songs that remind you of them. It might seem silly, but it’s a fun gift that won’t cost you a fortune.
  7. Send candy grams. A sweet twist on the traditional Christmas card is to send a candy gram instead. Purchase candy bars and then use decorative paper to attach a fun note or handmade card. This personalized gift is sweet in two ways as it shows you care and it’s yummy. It might not seem like much but in an age of technology sometimes a handwritten note is the best gift of all and you can’t go wrong with chocolate!
  8. Christmas Coupon Book. This is another gift idea that frequents our DIY gift lists. It is not only easy, but is actually a pretty nice gift, especially for your partner our spouse. All you need is paper, a hole-punch and ribbon to get started. Make your coupons based on various household chores or activities. For example, one coupon guarantees that you will do laundry for a week or that you must cook dinner that evening. Other coupons could be movie night of their choice. One you have your coupons created, simply punch holes in the top and tie them together with ribbon. This gift brings in the humor factor but is surely to be appreciated. Just make sure you are prepared in the future when the coupons are cashed in!

If you aren’t exactly confident in your creative skills to do homemade presents, there are other holiday “gifts” you can share with family and friends. Other low cost ideas include:

  1. Christmas Caroling. Gather your friends and actually go out caroling in your neighborhood. This is an old tradition, but one that is actually quite meaningful. It can be a fun family activity as well and it may even help get you into the Christmas!
  2. Visit local light shows. Take a family trip to see local holiday light shows. In our area the Gallipolis City Park in Gallipolis, Ohio, currently boasts a wonderful walk through display of festive lights. Santa Claus is even known to be at his house in the park on occasion. In Point Pleasant, W.Va., Krodel Park’s light show illuminates the park beautifully. Both of these events are free, unless you’d like to provide a donation. Check out your community tourism center to see what Christmas shows are available to you.
  3. Family Gingerbread House Competition. Get your family and friends together for a classic holiday gingerbread competition. Mix up your own gingerbread dough and jazz up your houses with sprinkles and frosting. You also can purchase kits with pre-made gingerbread and decorating supplies. Have another friend or neighbor serve as the judge. Free gingerbread cookies for all winners and participants!

We hope these low-cost, creative gift ideas will help you have a magical holiday season. From all of us at OVB, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Where And How To Get Dawning Ingredients

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  • Personal Touch: Melee kills
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  • Bullet Spray: SMG and Machine Gun kills
  • Essence of Dawning: Complete activities in the solar system

Enemy Faction Specific

  • Ether Cane: Fallen kills
  • Cabal Oil: Cabal kills
  • Vex Milk: Vex kills
  • Chitin Powder: Hive kills
  • Taken Butter: Taken kills
  • Dark Ether Cane: Scorn kills

Many recipes return from last year, but there are new ones as well, including those that will have you delivering the end result to characters like Saint-14 and raid boss Riven. We’ve assembled all the ones we know–including Vanilla Blades for Shaxx, Chocolate Ship Cookies for Amanda, and Eliksni Birdseed for Hawthorne, which are all part of the Cheer Up quest you’ll get early on. For more, check out our guide to the A Matter of Time quest.


I&rsquove been making my own cherry pie filling for years. In fact, I first shared this recipe back in 2011 &ndash the post and photos have just gotten a few upgrades since then.

This cherry pie filling is super simple and only requires a handful of ingredients. And if you&rsquore not into pitting cherries or fresh cherries aren&rsquot in season, you can totally use frozen, pitted cherries from the market with great results.

Making Homemade Cherry Pie Filling only takes about 20 minutes to make. That&rsquos probably less time than it would take you to run to the store and buy a can of pie filling!

And, since you made your filling from scratch, you can definitely get away with using a store-bought pie crust if you want, &lsquokay? Just sayin&rsquo.

Seafood Sausages with Chive Sauce

4 oz. cod filet, finely diced

4 oz. scallops, finely diced

2 teaspoons fresh chives, minced

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs

Finely dice 4 oz. of the salmon. In a large saute pan or skillet,melt the unsalted butter over medium heat and saute the cod, diced salmon, and scallops for 5 minutes or until opaque. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, and chives. Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining 8 oz of uncooked salmon. Add the egg whites, salt, and pepper and process until smooth. Place the pureed fish mixture in a bowl set inside a bowl of ice and slowly whisk in the cream.

Add the sauteed fish and mix to combine. Refrigerate mixture for one hour.

Remove fish mixture from fridge. Place one soup spoon size dollop of fish mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a sausage.

Roll it up and tie a knot at each end with kitchen string. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and poach the sausages for 10-20 minutes depending on size and thickness.

When the sausages are done look for the plastic wrap to take on an air bubble shape. The sausages should be plumped up like hotdogs get when boiled in water, and the sausages should be firm to the touch. (The firmer the sausages are the easier they will be to roll in the bread crumbs and saute in the pan without breaking apart). While the sausages are cooling make the Chive Sauce.

Once the sausages have fully cooked in the water remove them to a baking rack and let them cool completely (about 30 minutes).

Roll the sausages in bread crumbs. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat and fry them until golden brown on each side.

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Milliner’s head was pounding as he woke up. As he tried to shake away the fog he realized the pounding was also on the window he was leaning against. Bleary eyed, he glanced out to see a set of knuckles wrap in quick succession right by his head. Confused his eyes followed the arm up [&hellip]

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Serena’s ear twitched as the door clicked shut. Hearing the soft beep as the scanner outside the door registered a key scan she clinched her eyes shut. Arching her back into a deep stretch she snuggled deeper into the pillow and fell back asleep. An hour or so later she was harshly awoken by a [&hellip]

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