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Today's Features

  • It is that time of year again when most of us have either bought or received a poinsettia for the holidays.

    First, a little history lesson. When Joel Poinsett was ambassador to Mexico in the early 1800s, he saw these beautiful plants and decided to bring them back to the United States. This is how the poinsettia came by its name. This plant is now one of our most endearing holiday decorations and has produced a business into the millions.

  • When I heard the buzz about “Precious,” a movie based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, I was determined to view it. I also decided I’d not do any previewing or surfing the Internet for reviews so my own insights would not be unduly influenced by those of others.

    All I knew was the movie’s focus was on an overweight, under-educated 16-year-old—Clareece Precious Jones—a girl who wished to be identified by her middle name, Precious.

  • ATMC awarded $25,000 in grant funds to 17 educators and community organizations serving Brunswick County students and residents and honored them with a reception on Nov. 12 at ATMC’s corporate headquarters in Shallotte.

    Representatives from each school talked about the programs for which the grant funds are earmarked and how these grants will positively impact area students. Checks were disbursed for Smart Connections, the educational component of the cooperative’s grant program.

    Those receiving funding were:

  • The town of Shallotte has scheduled its annual Christmas tree lighting and parade for Dec. 4 and Dec. 5, officially ringing in the holiday season in town.

    The town and the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the annual Christmas tree lighting beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at Rourk Gardens.

    The event will begin with welcomes from Shallotte Mayor Gerald Long and chamber president Cathy Altman.

  • Once our weather begins to cool off, it’s time to look for some winter squash. If you’ve been frequenting our local farmer’s markets and farm markets, it’s hard to miss them in the produce section this time of year. Spaghetti and butternut squash are bright yellow or orange; some are small and some are really big, like the Hubbard squash, which comes in blue and orange!

  • One day last week when I was looking for some rice vinegar and sesame oil on the turn-table in my corner kitchen pantry, I came across a bottle of molasses I had bought a couple years earlier for a recipe I no longer even remember. This got me to thinking maybe I should read up a little on molasses and find some good recipes that use it.

    Table-grade molasses contains about 60 percent sugar, is economical and can be used on cereal, baked apples, stewed fruit, peanut butter, baked ham and even bread and butter.

    What is molasses?

  • October is one of my favorite times of the year, as oysters, shrimp, crab and clams are featured at the many seafood festivals in our area. Shrimp, because they are so rich in food value, are the most popular of seafood products. But you can’t beat the oyster stew and clam chowder that is prevalent this time of the year.

  • The Thanksgiving holiday is all about traditions. Most American families usually have their own tradition when celebrating Thanksgiving, from preparing the turkey and/or ham, to attending the holiday parades, to watching the many football games on TV, or to just lounging around with many friends who have gathered for the holiday event.

  • The holidays are a great time to stop and reflect on the things that have happened over the previous 12 months.

    While the economy has struggled, 2009 wasn’t a bad year in the garden. Rainfall and temperatures were close to normal. We weren’t pounded by any tropical storms. So, what plants were the winners and losers this year?

    Two new Knock Out roses were released in 2009—Sunny and Whiteout. After planting several of each in different locations including my own garden, my initial impression of these proved correct.

  • For many, real Christmas trees and poinsettias are basic ingredients for a successful Christmas season; however, buying right and then caring for your trees after they enter your home is critical for the success of this recipe. Yes, poinsettias are small trees. Our goal is to keep the trees looking good for as long as possible.

    Christmas trees

    With a real tree, you can smell and feel its presence compared to an artificial one. The magic ingredient to prolong this feeling is water, whether the tree is cut or live with a root ball.