Immersed in the Christmas Story at Sight & Sound

Ok, first off I have to start with a disclaimer. I have never had the chance to see a show at the Sight & Sound Theater here in Branson! Shocking, I know. So when the opportunity presented itself for me to see Miracle of Christmas I of course jumped on it, being that Christmas is my favorite time of year.

Upon my arrival, I was in awe of how beautiful this theater was, both on the inside and outside. It was decorated beautifully for Christmas! After browsing around the theater for a few minutes, we headed to our seats, which were awesome. Right in the middle for a perfect view of everything that was going on around us. (You’re probably wondering why around is in italics, we will get to that later)

The goal of the Sight & Sound Theaters is to bring Bible stories to life and they do just that. The beginning of Miracle of Christmas starts all the way back with the betrothal of Mary and Joseph and goes through all the way through the birth and announcement of the Christ child.

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The sets and scenes are truly breathtaking. The sides of the theater literally open and you are surrounded with the performance. Animals walk down through aisles and you truly get an up close and personal experience with this story.

One of my favorite scenes from the performance had to be Scene 3 called “Heaven”. You can imagine what that was about. Angels came floating in from the sky and literally from all directions in the theater. They all ended up on the main stage and performed a mesmerizing song and dance. At the end of the scene God is talking to his son telling him that he is sending him to Earth. It is beautifully done.

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Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Miracle of Christmas and cannot wait to come back next year to see Jonah which opens in March.

The details:
http://www.explorebranson.com/shows/listing/484/Miracle-of-Christmas
800-377-1277

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Unique Christmas Gift Ideas from Branson

Running behind on your Christmas shopping? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Here some one of a kind Christmas gift ideas from Branson:

1.) Blow your own glass ornament at Silver Dollar City. This is a great Christmas keepsake: Forever preserve your loved-one’s breath inside a blown glass ornament! Working with Silver Dollar City’s expert glass artists, a park guest (kids too) can blow a glass ornament, sealing the breath inside the blown glass bulb, for only $35. There is a choice of five colors. (The ornament cools overnight and is ready for pick up the following day.) Appointments to make this most unique gift can be made at the desk at the glass shop or by calling 417-338-8223.

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2.) Hand turned pen by Max McFarland at the Branson Craft Mill. Max McFarland is a demonstrating craftsman at the Branson Mill Craft Village.  Daily, he takes pieces of wood and other objects like deer antlers or vintage bullets and turns them into pens that truly works of art. More information here: http://bransonmill.com/

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3.) For the person with the sweet tooth on our Christmas list, try the “Chocolate by the Foot” at The Fudge Shop in Historic Downtown Branson. It literally is chocolate in the shape of a foot. Yum! (Cash only accepted)

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4.) Fruitcake lovers should try the Famous C of O fruitcake. The College of the Ozarks students make these fruitcakes with the finest ingredients and in several different sizes. More information on pricing and how to order, visit here: http://www.cofo.edu/Page/About-C-of-O/Visiting-C-of-O/Sights-to-See/Fruitcakes-and-Other-Goodies.354.html

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5.) Kringle’s at the Grand Village Shops is a Christmas lover’s paradise. With 9,000 square feet of Christmas and collectibles to explore in six great rooms, the discoveries are endless. More information here: http://grandvillageshops.com/ShopsDetail.php?id=38

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6.) Dick’s 5 & 10 is truly a unique shopping experience. Shoppers can find almost anything you need like gifts, souvenirs, toys, games, hard-to-find old-time candy, houseware gadgets, toiletries, linens, dry goods, sewing notions, yarn, greeting cards, crafts and the list goes on. More information here: http://dicksoldtime5and10.com/

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For a complete list of shopping opportunities in Branson, visit here: http://www.explorebranson.com/shopping

Happy shopping!

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December 2013 Winter Weather Updates

Last Updated: Dec. 9, 2013 8:31 a.m.

The following businesses have closed or changed their schedules due to winter weather conditions. For all other businesses, we recommend calling ahead to verify schedule and availability.

  • Branson Adoration Parade – Rescheduled for 12/15
  • Forsyth Christmas Parade – Rescheduled for 12/14
  • Kimberling City Christmas Parade – Rescheduled for 12/14

If you are a Branson-area business that needs to add or update your information here, please email lmabe@bransoncvb.com.

Posted in Branson News | 6 Comments

Jaynee’s Mincemeat Pie & Pie Crust Recipe

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Ingredients:
1 cup shredded roast beef
1 cup white raisins
1 cup raisins
3 medium sized green apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 marmalade
3/4 cup chopped almonds
1 cup brown sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:
Mix together the shredded roast beef, raisins, apples and marmalade, almonds and sugar. Add the lemon juice and spices. Cover the mixture and refrigerate overnight. Next day, mix the mincemeat thoroughly and pack and seal in glass jars. Makes approx. 9 cups.
This should be prepared at least one week before you plan to use it, as it really improves with age and lasts almost indefinitely.

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Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening, chilled
3 tbsp. cold water

Directions:
Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the water over the flour mixture. Stir with a fork to moisten, adding more water a few drops at a time until the dough forms properly. Gather all dough pieces into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes before rolling. Roll out the dough, and place it in a pie plate. Fill with desired contents. Try apple, cherry or even chicken pot pie. Bake according to individual pie directions. This standard pie crust makes eight servings.

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Branson Fall Foliage Driving Tours: Table Rock

Fall is a great time to visit the Branson Lakes Area. The leaves are just starting to turn, so we thought that we would take a driving tour to scope out some of the beautiful scenery. There are three driving tours, and one walking tour available on ExploreBranson.com that highlight some of the most scenic spots in the Branson-area Ozarks.

We decided on the driving tour that went around Table Rock Lake and through Kimberling City. We started at the Branson Chamber Welcome Center and turned left on Highway 248. At the stoplight at 248 and Gretna Road, follow 248 to the right, and continue straight through the next stoplight.

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We stayed on 248 as it turned into a winding 2-lane road and climbed the ridge overlooking the city and the Branson Hills area. There are several spots to pull over to see the scenic mountain views.

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When 248 crossed the Ozark Mountain Highroad, we turned left onto Highway 465. The four-lane highway is a scenic byway, and affords you spectacular views of the tree-covered mountains.

The Highroad ended, and we looped onto Highway 76 and turned left going west. Along the highway, we noticed some beautiful trees lining the road leading up to the Indian Point highway. We continued on 76, but you could take a side trip down Highway 265.

We continued down 76 into Branson West, and turned left onto Highway 13. As we left Branson West, we entered the Mark Twain National Forest, and were treated to some of our first views of Table Rock Lake. We then entered Kimberling City and quickly descended from mountaintops to lake level. We crossed the Kimberling City bridge and continued on Highway 13 through Lampe.

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Highway 86 merges with 13. We stayed on Highway 13, unless you want to take a side trip to Dogwood Canyon. After a few miles, 86 and 13 split near Blue Eye. We turned left onto Highway 86 and continued along the south side of the lake.

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We crossed the lake again at the Long Creek Arm bridge. We continued on 86 until it intersects U.S. Highway 65. We turned left and followed 65 back into Branson.

To learn more about fall foliage driving tours, visit here: http://www.explorebranson.com/fall/drivingtours

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Chico Pete’s Nacho Gazpacho Recipe

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Ingredients:
14 medium tomatoes, diced
2 cups canned tomato juice
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 small red onion, minced
2 T. cooking oil
1 can beef broth or consomme
3 T. wine vinegar or cider vinegar
2-3 dashes Tabasco
salt, pepper & garlic salt to taste

Directions:
Combine liquid ingredients in a large bowl. Add uncooked diced vegetables and seasonings. Put in the refrigerator and dance around your kitchen for a couple hours while it chills. Serve with fresh Guacamole and Nacho Chips around the bowl or cup. Top with either a dallop of sour cream and a stalk of celery – or sprinkle with chopped parsley and croutons. The amounts of vegetables can be increased substantially if needed. The soup will keep for as long as two weeks.

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Mitsu Neko Offering Edgy and Innovative Japanese Dishes

Becoming restaurateurs has been a dream for Roman and Kate Minialo since before they moved to the U.S. from their native Moscow. Living and working in the Branson area for the last five years, Kate says that they found the very Midwestern, down-home atmosphere of many local eateries endearing. ” But we really missed the edgy, innovative dishes we loved in the city,” said Kate. Which is why Mitsu Neko Fusion Cuisine and Sushi Bar is truly a labor of love for the couple.

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Located on West Highway 76 (in the Village Plaza shopping center, next door to Great Southern Bank, across the street from Applebee’s), all of the restaurant’s renovations were completed by the Minialos, and everything on the menu is as unique and ambitious as the décor itself. Roman, who has a master’s degree in Japanese Studies, is passionate about preserving the historical and cultural Japanese influence in the sushi and other dishes he creates, all while working to “fuse” tradition with modern, creative touches. According to Kate, “Making excellent sushi is not just about rolling some fish in rice. It takes care and patience and high-quality ingredients.” Mitsu Neko strives to use only fresh foods – avoiding artificial coloring, MSG and other preservatives. The vast majority of items on the menu are made from scratch daily, including sushi, sauces and desserts. As a result, some dishes are only available as periodic specials while supplies last – like the Vermouth Saffron Sea Bass dish that is available right now. A dish that isn’t printed in the menu, but is wildly popular because of the incredible flavor of fresh sea bass and the creamy vermouth saffron sauce. (You’ll want to ask for a spoon so that you don’t waste a drop of it!).

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Everything from sushi rolls to menu specials to desserts and cocktails are meticulously presented with such flair that many customers find themselves snapping a quick photo before they dig in. Kate, who confesses to constantly experimenting with carving fruit, sculpting sugar and constructing beautiful sushi dishes, says that she is always bothered when chain restaurants serve plates that look nothing like the photos on the menu. “At Mitsu Neko, everything we serve is as beautiful as it is delicious.” Though customers are welcome to drop in for lunch or dinner seven days a week, they do recommend making dinner reservations on the weekends.

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Everything is fresh and made-to-order and multiple sushi dishes take time to prepare to perfection. It is absolutely worth the wait and so is the scrumptious crème brulee! To take a look at some of the delicious fusion creations at Mitsu Neko, check them out on Facebook or call for reservations at 417-336-1819.

https://www.facebook.com/vasabi.branson/about

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Andy Williams’ Mama’s Rhubarb Shortcake Recipe

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Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. strawberry rhubarb
1 cup sugar (white)
4 Tbsp. butter
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup of milk
2 cups of flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups brown sugar
2 loaf pans

Directions:
Cut rhubarb into 1-inch pieces. Divide evenly in bottom of loaf pans.
Sprinkle 1 cup of brown sugar over each layer of rhubarb.
Make shortcake batter out of remaining ingredients.
Cream butter, sugar and beaten egg
Add flour, milk and baking powder
Pour batter (divided evenly) over rhubarb and brown sugar
Bake for one hour at 350 degrees
Turn pans upside down to cool. Serve in upside down position so that the rhubarb is on top.

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Chateau Grille Offers Upscale Dining Experience

On it’s own, the Chateau on the Lake Resort Spa & Convention Center is breathtaking, but add in the Chateau Grille and you have the beginning of an incredible experience! Receiving kudos from both Wine Spectator Magazine and 417 Magazine, the Chateau Grille is known for its elegant presentation and exceptional cuisine – serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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For a unique dining experience, make reservations for the exclusive Chef’s Table. Executive Chef Doug Knopp provides custom menu-planning at the time the reservation is made and will prepare a five-course gourmet meal to your specifications, complete with wines that have been expertly paired with each course. The Chef’s Table experience includes the option of dining in an intimate restaurant setting or in the show kitchen so you can actually watch and interact with the culinary staff.

By following the Chateau Grille on Facebook, you can get a sneak peek at their daily specials, like the 6 oz. filet with a shrimp skewer and Wild Boar bacon marmalade, truffle whipped potatoes and fresh asparagus. For more information about the Chateau Grille, call 417-334-1161 or to see sample menus from the Chef’s Table, visit them online at www.ChateauOnTheLake.com/Restaurant-Bar/.

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Emily’s Summer of Fun: Stop 12 – Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery

I went to the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery this past weekend with my sister, which is the largest trout production facility in the Missouri Department of Conservation trout production program and was built in 1957. The hatchery typically produces 1,125,000 catchable trout annually, weighing 301,000 pounds. We had a good time looking at all of the animals. It is cool seeing all of them, including some that I didn’t even know existed.

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I am not a big fan of snakes and spiders, so I was a little scared with only a thin glass cage between me and them in the main building. After seeing a tarantula for the first time in person I have confirmed my fears. There are a lot of interesting facts on the walls as you walk through the building and it is very interactive.

This would be a great place to take the kids for a day. There were a lot of kids there while we were and they seemed to love it. It is very kid friendly and of course seeing all of the animals in person is a bonus.

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Outside of the building are rows and rows of tanks filled with different ages of trout. It is really neat to see the progression from the smallest stage to where the fish are old enough to be released into the lakes. Make sure to bring some spare change, so that you can feed the trout.

It is also right down the street from the Dewey Short Visitor Center, which is also free. This would be a fun day trip to check out all of the cool, fun, and free activities Branson has to offer, like its hiking and biking trails as well.

The details:
Address: 483 Hatchery Road, Branson MO 65616
Phone: 417-334-4865
Web: http://mdc.mo.gov/regions/southwest/shepherd-hills-fish-hatchery

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