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Chris H. Olsen is a nationally known home and garden guru, designer, author, TV personality and public speaker. In his book, Chris shares his landscape and gardening knowledge along with his unique flair for home decor and design. He is also a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.

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Friday December 11th, 2015 6:30pm to 9pm $125 per person - Holiday meal prepared by the one and only Chef Donnie Ferneau. This is a small intimate dinner limited to 20 people. An evening of enchantment, divine cuisine and a chance to tour Chris H. Olsen's home decorated in holiday splendor.

CHRISTMAS TREES!!! - Chris wanted you to know that right now at Plantopia, you can find fabulous cut Christmas trees from Nobles to Frasier Firs. They not only have sheared trees but also--something nobody else in Arkansas has--natural Frasier Firs that look like old-fashioned Christmas trees. All of these natural trees are perfect for showcasing your ornaments.

Top FIve

Lemon Herb Chicken Burgers with Thousand Island Dressing

YIELD: Serves 4

ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes


1 pound pasture-raised, skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into large chunks (or you can use ground pasture-raised chicken or turkey)
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 gluten-free buns, such as Sami's Bakery buns
1 handful mâche lettuce, baby spinach, or arugula
For the Thousand Island Dressing:
1 1/2 cups (about 4) quartered plum tomatoes
1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts or cashews
2 garlic cloves
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 dill pickles, minced
For the Garnish:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large red onion, sliced into thin rounds
1 large red onion, sliced into thin rounds

First, make the dressing. In a blender, purée the tomatoes, nuts, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt for 45 seconds, until the mixture is thick and creamy. Transfer the contents to a small bowl and stir in the minced pickles. Set it aside. (Any extra dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.)

To prepare to garnish, heat the coconut oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until they are slightly caramelized, then set them aside.

For the burgers, in a food processor purée the chicken, onion, and garlic until everything is well combined. Transfer it to a large bowl and add the parsley, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Blend the mixture well with your hands, then form it into four equal-size burgers.

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil, then add the burgers. Allow them to brown on one side for several minutes before flipping them and browning the other side. If you are not serving these right away, you can transfer them to a heated oven at this point to keep them warm.

When the burgers are ready, serve them on buns topped with the fresh greens and sautéed red onion, and with a side of Thousand Island Dressing.



Greek Nachos

YIELD: Serves 4–6

ACTIVE TIME: 10 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes


3 handfulls baked pita chips
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup halved kalamata olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 small persian cucumbers, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Place the pita chips on a serving platter.

2. Top with the red bell pepper, tomatoes, olives, and cheese.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, cucumbers, lemon juice, and salt. Drizzle all over the nachos.


You can do this!





3⁄4 cup water (or orange juice)
3⁄4 cup white sugar (or less to taste)
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange
10 whole cloves
1 - 750 ml bottle Block Nine Pinot Noir

In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the simmering water. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange peel, and place peel in the simmering water. Continue simmering for 30 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
Pour in the wine, and heat until steaming but not simmering. Remove the clove-studded orange halves.
Serve hot in mugs or coffee cups.



Visit the Colonial Tasting Bar at this link


Poinsettia (December)

Also referred to as Christmas Stars, the Poinsettia originated in Mexico before it became popular in American Christmas traditions. Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico and amateur botanist, introduced the Poinsettia to the United States in 1928. The bright red, pink, or white colors of the Poinsettia, which are perceived as the petals of the flower, are really leaves called bracts. The actual flowers are small, yellow clusters of balls in between those brilliant bracts. This plant is sold in pots during the holiday season, yet with special attention, the Poinsettia can grow to enormous sizes. This plant is known as a short day plant because it grows best when the nights are long and the days are short. It was once thought that the Poinsettia is a poisonous threat to pets and small children. There is no evidence that the Poinsettia is a hazard. However, eating large amounts of the plant will cause upset in the digestive system.



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