Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Celebrate "Christmas In July" With A “Crown Roast of Pork with Stuffing” Recipe Plus Save The Date For Two Christmas Concerts By "Micheal Castaldo"

It has been extremely hot across the country this summer so far. Everyone is wishing for some relief from the heat. Aren’t you? So picture this; A cold winter’s day, as you are decorating the Christmas tree, the dinner is in the oven and you are awaiting the rest of the family coning for Christmas Eve Dinner, you can see through the steamy window as the snow comes down and absorbs the sound while hitting the ground, which shines like diamonds. Finally, the family is here! So now you know that it really is Christmas and many memories to follow.…yes, winter, with those crisp cool nights, we know we can‘t change the season, but we can dream of Christmas in July!” That is what many people do year after year. It’s an unofficial holiday which refers to a Winter-Christmas-themed celebration held in July.

The specific beginnings of the “Christmas in July” tradition are not very clear, but it is believed to have started in Europe, as a way to celebrate Christmas in the summer. It has been said that a group of Irish tourists who went on vacation to Sydney’s Blue Mountains in the summer months of July in 1980. This may have been the original start of this unofficial holiday. Away from the summer temperatures in their country, they were overjoyed at the sight of snow in the mountains. It is believed that these travelers convinced the owner of a local hotel in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales to hold a party called, “Yulefest.” The idea was an instant hit and now each year in July they hold a Christmas Party. Hence forth “Christmas in July,” became a tradition and continues to this day with a festival and many celebrations.

In the Northern hemisphere there are parties that are given in July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of the holiday but with warmer temperatures. In the midst of the scorching summer months, people have parties which may include Santa Claus, ice cream, and cold foods. In the United States, this festival has become highly commercialized. It is used more often as a marketing tool. Many retail stores offer specials, “Christmas in July” sales that started around 1950. Restaurants offer special discounts and even television stations show re-runs of Christmas specials. This is mainly because most retailers tend to sell overstock of their Christmas items to make room for next year’s inventory, and before the “Back to School” shopping period begins in August.

Some families love this concept of “Christmas in July,” especially if their family members are scattered across the states, because it is easier for them to travel in July when the weather is more favorable for a vacation, rather than in the freezing winter months when long distance travels are really hard due to snow storms, etc. Celebrating “Christmas in July” can take place at any time during the month of July. At the Bakken amusement park in Denmark, Christmas is celebrated in July for three days, as well as the annual World Santa Claus Congress, attended by Santa Clauses from all over the world, accompanied by their wives and elves. Then, there are those individuals that choose to celebrate “Christmas in July” just because it is a clear excuse to have a party. 

****My readers know that I love anything Christmas! This holiday is my favorite! This concept is a wonderful way to spread cheer and have fun in the summer no matter what way you celebrate, “Christmas in July.” Also want to give you a heads up to “save the date,” December 6th  starts my traditional “12 Days Of Christmas.” This year my theme is “12 Days Of Christmas Cookies” Which means that everyday from December 6th through December 17, I will be posting a sweet, yummy, and an easy cookie recipe. This year I am starting sooner so you will have time to make these delicious cookies for your Christmas celebration. Any questions or requests, just email me or leave a message below.

My recipe this week gives us the opportunity to celebrate Christmas and “Christmas in July” together. It is called a “Crown Roast of Pork with Stuffing ” A Crown Roast has always seemed Dickensian to me. A warm and cozy aroma coming from the oven.. Every Christmas my mom would prepare a Crown Pork Roast or Prime Ribs of Beef. My job was to make the little tops to put on the ribs. This succulent dish is adapted from “Taste of Home” magazine. Each forkful is a bit of “Christmas” as you can taste the delicious pork and freshly seasoned stuffing. Try to stay cool and remember Christmas is 5 months away! (I know that is it so hot now no one can think of this dish at this time. But now you have a Christmas Dinner planned. One less thing to think of)

                                 "Crown Roast of Pork with Stuffing    

Bake: 2-3/4 hours Yield: 12-16 servings

3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 pork crown roast (16 ribs and about 8 pounds)

Crown Roast of Pork with Stuffing

For Stuffing:
1-1/4 pounds bulk Italian sausage (with or without the fennel)
3 cups finely chopped onions
2 cups finely chopped carrots
2 cups finely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped apple (any kind will do)
4 cups diced cooked peeled red/yellow potatoes
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Decorative foil or paper frills, for tops of the ribs (optional)

Rub: 1 tablespoon oil over entire roast; place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Cover rib ends with aluminum foil. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 1-3/4 hours.

For stuffing, in a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In the same skillet, sauté the onions, carrots, celery, apple and garlic in remaining oil until tender. Stir in the potatoes, parsley, salt, pepper and reserved sausage. Carefully spoon into center or roast. Bake 1 hour longer or until a meat thermometer reads 160° and meat juices run clear. Replace foil with decorative frills if desired. Remove stuffing to a serving bowl; slice roast between ribs.   

*****To pair wine with your dinner, you can try all of these which would have a lovely bouquet and very tasty as well. Chardonnay, Red Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio or a Sagiovesse… 


I have a “Christmas in July” gift for you…A special cocktail to keep you cool and in the spirit of Christmas….Similar to a Spritzer or a wine cooler, this cocktail is very refreshing. Easy and perfect for the summer and “Christmas in July” You can use Sprite or 7UP.

Tinto de Verano” 

Ingredients: (1 drink only)
2 ounces dry red wine
2 ounces lemon-lime soda
Lemon slice, for garnish

Combine the wine and soda in a tall glass or cocktail shaker. Serve in a rocks glass over ice and garnish with a lemon slice. Enjoy!

                             “Please Drink Responsibly”


Wait, Don’t Go Yet…..there is more “Christmas in July” fun…..

Ciao a tutti, I know that my readers and followers have heard of my personal friend Micheal Castaldo. I have written about Micheal before on my blog posts. He is an Award-winning song writer/producer, recording artist, composer, Italian Cultural Ambassador, and entrepreneur. He was born in Calabria, Italy, and has fans all over the world, including many from the tri-state area. For more information, click on this link.....Micheal Castaldo. So save the dates....   Micheal is very proud and excited to announce two fabulous Christmas Concerts:

Michéal Castaldo “Home for Christmas” Concert to Benefit St. Brigid’s Parish, Westbury, NY,  “Home for Christmas,” a traditional Italian Advent and Christmas concert that will take place on Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. at St. Brigid’s/Our Lady of Hope Chapel, 101 Maple Avenue, Westbury, NY 11590 (doors open at 4:00 p.m.).

Castaldo will perform classic Advent and Christmas carols from his chart-topping best-selling album, "Extravergine: Christmas in the Mediterranean," accompanied by a string quartet. A few songs will include, "Oh Santa Notte" (Oh Holy Night), "E Nato Il Bambino Gesu" (What Child Is This?), "Batte Nel Cuore, Suona Natale" (Little Drummer Boy), "Gioia Nel Mondo" (Joy To The World), "Puoi Sentire Quel' Che Sent Io?" (Do You Hear What I Hear?), and "Astro Del Ciel" (Silent Night). Castaldo translated the well-known Polish carol, "Jezus Malusuenki" now entitled, "Piccolo Jesu," which will also be featured along with "Gloria in Excelsis Deo," "Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle," "Va Pensiero," and "Adeste Fideles." You can get the CD of Extravergine from Amazon 

My family and I will be attending this concert and I can not wait as this holiday concert will capture your heart and imagination with the spirit of the Christmas Season especially being in this 160 year old, St. Brigid’s Church (Built in 1856). Even those who don't speak Italian will be moved by the setting, the songs, and Micheal's powerful and melodic voice. Over the past ten years, Michéal Castaldo has entertained more than 500,000 people across the USA, Canada, and Europe with creative and rousing renditions of classic Italian songs. Castaldo’s performances are enchanting, heartfelt, and authentic. He treats the audience to stories, spoken in English and Italian, in between songs that share moments from his Italian upbringing, tidbits about his musical journey, and insight that went into his song choices. All songs are sung in Italian with a few sung in English as well.

Refreshments will be served immediately following the concert, with a meet and greet with the artist, courtesy of the Comitato Italiano of St. Brigid.

So come and join Micheal and my family…Tickets are available for $45/premium and $35/regular seating at 1-800-838-3006 (mention event # 2563580), online at Brown Paper Tickets  St. Brigid Parish Center at 516-334-0021, or the Comitato Italiano of St. Bridgid at 516-578-8753.

The second concert:

Michéal Castaldo to Perform “Songs of Angels – Italian Christmas Hymns and Carols” is at Saint Ann’s Catholic Church, (704 Jefferson St., Hoboken, NJ 07030) On December 10, 2016 - at 7:30 pm. He will be accompanied by the Castaldo String Quartet. This concert is another fundraiser to help the church meet its restoration fundraising goals for 2016.

Fr. Michael Gori, OFM Cap., the first Capuchin Franciscan pastor of Saint Ann Catholic Church, oversaw the laying of the cornerstone of the church on All Saints Day in 1925. The magnificence of this House of Prayer, remarkable for its pure Romanesque architecture, the monumental marble alter towering in the sanctuary, the elegance of the stained-glass windows, and the flood of light effused throughout the interior of the church coupled with the majestic harmony of the organ music and the rhythmic concert of the bells ringing in the steeple, dazzled the senses and inspired one and all to praise and glorify God. For more information, you can visit here- Saint Ann Catholic Church.

Micheal will be singing
from his chart-topping best-selling CD album, "Extravergine" Immediately following the concert, refreshments and an Olive Oil tasting will be served at St. Ann’s Hall, with a meet and greet with the artist.

The production value of this concert is in excess of $75 per ticket. But due to the generous support of its sponsors underwriting the production costs, the tickets will be available for only $25 at 1-800-838-3006 (mention event # 2563594) or online click here... Brown Paper Tickets or they can be purchased directly through the church rectory at (201) 659-1114.

Both of these awesome concerts will sell out fast so please, get your tickets today! Thank you 

Till Next Time………

Copyright © 2016 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Good morning Dottie ,
    Thank you so very much for your kind and heart felt comment , I do so appreciate it so very much .
    Hubby's family went public with the gaming , they now have 7 properties in 5 states (only the gaming properties went public ) Ferrari Carano wines stayed the same . They are calling it a working get to know you vacation , the kids are loving it , we are traveling by motor home and the kids love it .
    I read your posts on the run and it makes me feel close ... I will be back to blogging , soon I do hope .
    I enjoyed this post so very much it made me think of home .
    I also love Christmas and I will cook the crown roast as soon as we return home , girl my mouth is watering .
    I am very happy you put an update on Michael , he is sharing so much love .
    I have my lappy with me ... I wanted to email you , I want you to let me know it if's alright to use the address I first used when I met you ( giggling) instead of Jeanne Carano it says Robert Johnson . We are in Erie , Pa now at the Presque Downs & Casino and the off to Reno , Na and then home to Shreveport .

    My dear friend , I was so happy to hear your Mother / Father is better and you are doing better my friend .
    Take care and I will keep you in the loop .Enjoy Michael's concert for me my friend . Wiggle those toes :) NEE

    1. Good morning dear Nee,
      So happy to hear from you...you have been missed. Glad that you clarified the family going public. I thought it was the wines. Gaming in 7 states..that is awesome but I can imagine how crazy busy you all must be. Wow! A motor home..that is the right idea especially with the kids..They must be having a ball...
      Thanks for reading my posts when you can, yes this time I am finally going to hear Micheal sing. My parents are doing well and they will be married 65 years on Dec 2. So my whole family are taking them to see and hear Micheal sing for a gift. We are first going to go to dinner and then to the concert. I am thrilled can't wait..I have not met him personally before.
      Nee, before you know it Christmas will be around the corner. You must be tired of traveling and want to get home. Soon I hope.
      Yes, No problem to use the Robert Johnson address, at least now I know who that is...Yes that was funny the first time you used it. I had no idea who this was....
      Erie, Pa was not far from where I used to live in upstate NY. It is right over the Pa/NY boarder. I lived in a small town called Salamanca, NY..When I had lived there they had built a Casino right off the Road. My hubby and I used to go a few times a year. Not to really gamble but they had great restaurants and good shows.
      A few more stops and then you go home. Thanks again for visiting and thinking of me and my parents. Keep us in the loop dear friend..safe travels and be well...
      Hugs Dottie xx :)

  2. Oh I didn't know about this tradition. I know some shops celebrate it but just to promote their products. This is an interesting tradition in the middle of the summer with all that lovely food! I love your roast and I could have that any time of the year and your lovely refreshing drink too.
    Hope you are enjoying your summer my dear friend. BACI!

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thank you for your comment. Our traditions are so different, but this one is a fun one. Yes, the sales are advertised the whole month of July. Glad that you enjoyed this post especially the drink...I love it too! Yes, my summer is HOT, but enjoying it nevertheless...Hope that you enjoying your summer too! I know you are looking forward to going to Italy for vacation.. Baci my friend...
      Ciao, Hugs... Dottie :)

  3. Christmas in July sounds like just what this summer needs. I only yesterday said that it seems like this summer needs a bit more spirit.
    It is much too hot to make the pork roast but I certainly think it looks delicious! and the drink looks refreshing and wonderful as well.
    Please stay cool and happy it will still be quite hot for the next few days. xoxo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      Thank you for visiting and your comment. I agree we just need to have a memory of the cool weather when it is so hot. I would think it is too hot to cook this roast but it is a good one for the fall or winter, but at least the drink will keep you cool. You also keep cool and thanks for always thinking of me. Have a good rest of the week...
      Hugs Dottie :)

  4. Love the idea of Christmas in July! By sheer coincidence I roasted a turkey breast this week. Mainly to use the meat in salads to beat the heat! :-) So many good things in today's posts -- it's like 3 or 4 posts in one! Love that drink -- thanks.

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree love Christmas in July. That roasted turkey sounded yummy. I love that idea to use the meat with salads etc. So glad that enjoyed this post. I know sometimes I get carried away. I used to do 2 blog post a week if you remember, but now only one. Plus I do enjoy writing and cooking/baking. Chin Chin with that drink..Have a great week and weekend my friend.
      Dottie :)

  5. Christmas in July sounds good to me! And you've got all sorts of great things to prove it. Love the roast and the wine, sounds delicious! I'm not familiar with Michael and will have to check it all out. I love the Santa on the beach! You take care and have a great week! Hugs

    1. Dear Pam,
      Thank you for your comment. I love that Santa on the beach as well..he needs a vacation after his big day! I know the crown roast is what my mom would make on Christmas or a big holiday. Hope that your week is a good one too!
      Hugs friend....Dottie :)

  6. It was a beautiful activity to spread and share the joy of Christmas. Please click to watch the vibrant Christmas celebration Christmas shopping ideas