2006 Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 35

Week 35 (11/21/2006)


“Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.” E. P. Powell


With each passing year, America’s Best Flowers is increasingly grateful for all our friends and customers who have supported our business throughout the years.  We are thankful for being allowed to share in your lives, in whatever way we can.  We wish you the best Thanksgiving ever. 


“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  John Fitzgerald Kennedy


At the gym where I exercise, there is a white board on which they’ve written the question “What are you thankful for?”  Many people have answered with predictable things, like ‘My Kids,’ ‘My Home,’ ‘My Family,’ ‘My Job,’ ‘My Health.’  And for these, we all are truly thankful.  But there are things we are grateful for that are more individual.  And these often change from year to year.  While nothing has brought more joy to my life than my children; and the comfort of home, family and employment deepens my sleep; this year I am especially grateful to be able to walk about freely, without a trace of a limp.  Following a relatively minor injury in August, it took several weeks of treatment, including physical therapy, to get back there.  My temporary immobility made me truly appreciative of what I have always taken for granted.  When I read the following quote, I felt as if it were written just for me.


“Stand up, on this Thanksgiving Day, stand upon your feet.  Believe in man.  Soberly and with clear eyes, believe in your own time and place.  There is not, and there never has been a better time, or a better place to live in.” Phillips Brooks        Makes you wish you could have met the man, doesn’t it




If the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is causing you stress, we would like to invite you to a better place.  Visit our greenhouses, take a quiet stroll through the benches of beautiful poinsettias and lush tropical plants, breath in our super-oxygenated air and feel your stress melt away. 


While you’re here, we can help you create a memorable Holiday Season with our wonderful plants, custom wreaths with matching porch pots, and beautiful Wisconsin-grown Christmas trees.  Come on out today and treat yourself to some quiet time.


“I am thankful for the shadow that watches me work – because it means I am out in the sunshine.”


Calling all lonely ‘does’ – is your significant other deer hunting?  Come on out and get what you need to make a Holiday Porch Pot.  Our porch pot workshops are over for this season, but we’ll still let you work right in the greenhouse so you won’t have the mess at your house


UPCOMING EVENTS at America’s Best Flowers


Christmas Tree “For The Birds” Workshop – Saturday, December 9 at 10:00 AM.  Make Christmas fun for the family by decorating a small tree with edible ornaments for the birds.  We’ll provide assistance and all materials.  Pre-registration required. Call 222-2269.  Class size is limited. Call today! $25.00 fee includes the cost of a small living evergreen tree and all materials to make the ornaments.


Create a Holiday Centerpiece – Saturday, December 16 at 10 AM.    Create an elegant holiday centerpiece using fresh greens, candles, berries, and more, for your home.  We’ll provide assistance and all materials.  Pre-registration required. $35 fee includes the cost of the centerpiece. Call 222-2269 for additional information.


 “I am thankful for the weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day – because it means I have been capable of working hard.”


FOOD DRIVE at America’s Best Flowers


America’s Best Flowers is proud to be involved with the Share Your Holidays Food Drive for the Second Harvest Food Bank All donations go to feed the hungry in Dane County.  For a list of needed items go to www.secondharvestmadison.org   Remember, not everyone will be sitting down to a wonderful meal with all the trimmings this Thanksgiving.  So while you’re picking up the ingredients for your family’s dinner,  pick up a few extra items and drop them off at America’s Best Flowers.  We’ll make sure they reach those in need.  Keep in mind the tremendous buying power of the food bank allows them to provide seven meals to the needy for every $1.00 in cash/check donated.  We have both barrels and donation jars ready to accept your offerings through the end of the month.  Thank You so much for sharing!


“I am thankful for leaves that need raking, windows that need cleaning, and gutters than need fixing – because it means I have a home.”




America’s Best Flowers is extending our recipe contest one week.  So YOU, too, can win a FREE POINSETTIA (approx. $20.00 value).  This week we are asking for recipes using leftovers.  If you have a creative way to turn a container of leftover turkey into a gourmet meal, or Grandma Mary had a way with cold mashed potatoes, or Aunt Betty knew how to bring new life to stuffing, we want to hear from you. 


Please submit by separate e-mail to ed@americasbestflowers.com   We have been having problems receiving e-mails directly through this link. If you submitted a recipe through the link, there is a good chance it did not reach us.  Please accept our apologies and try again. To make sure your recipe reaches Bonnie’s desk, please put “Recipe for Contest” in the subject line. .  Please include your name, address and phone number.  The deadline for this week is Monday, November 27, so we have time to try out your recipe.  We are searching for answers regarding why our link doesn’t work.  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  Alternately, you may mail your recipe to Bonnie at America’s Best Flowers, 4311 Vilas Hope Road, Cottage Grove, WI 53527 Or Fax to 608-222-1234.  Our phone number is 222-2269.


“I am thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug – because it means I have enough to eat.




The following entries were chosen from recipes submitted during the last week.  Each winner will receive a coupon for a free Santa-size poinsettia


Here is a favorite fall recipe of one of our customers – too good to serve only at Thanksgiving.


Sweet Potato Puff


Serving Size 8


3 cups cold mashed sweet potatoes –(no milk or butter)

½ cup sugar

½ cup butter – melted

1/3 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup flaked coconut

2 eggs



½ cup packed brown sugar

2 Tab. Butter – melted

¼ cup flour

½ cup chopped pecans


In a mixing bowl, beat potatoes, sugar, butter, eggs, milk and vanilla until fluffy.  Stir in coconut.  Spoon into a greased 2½ qt baking dish.  Combine topping ingredients until well blended; sprinkle over sweet potatoes.


Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.


NOTES:  To bake sweet potatoes: rub unpeeled sweet potatoes with oil.  Do not poke holes or wrap in foil.  Bake sweet potatoes 15 minutes at 400, then for 60 minutes at 375, or until soft.  Remove skins and mash.  Cool and use immediately, or freeze until ready to use.


 “Why did the Pilgrim eat a candle?   He wanted a light snack!”


With all the overindulgence of the season, it’s great to find an alternative for dessert.  Lois originally developed this recipe for her father, after he was diagnosed with diabetes.  One of his favorite foods was pumpkin pie, but he gladly traded in that high calorie dessert for this one.  Hope you find it as good as he did.


Sugar-Free, Fat-Free Pumpkin Custard


1 can pumpkin (15 ½ oz.)

1 can fat-free evaporated milk

3 egg whites (slightly beaten)

½ t. salt

2 t. pumpkin pie spice

½ c Splenda granular

1/3 c. brown sugar twin


Mix all ingredients and pour into 6 custard cups.  Bake in a water bath at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour, or until set.  Each cup contains 80 calories, 3 gms fiber, and 1 Weight Watcher point.


“What would you get if you crossed a turkey with an octopus?  Eight feather dusters!”


Christmas Cactus, Holiday Cactus, Zygos


By any name, the Christmas cactus at America’s Best Flowers are a great houseplant for winter.  Like the poinsettia, the blossoms of zygos develop during the progressively darker days of late fall.  They begin blooming in November, and if kept cool, will maintain their beautiful display for several weeks.  These easy-to-grow plants love cool temperatures and bright indirect light.  Like other succulents, zygos prefer to stay on the dry side, although they do require weekly watering while in bloom.


Zygos make wonderful gifts that provide long-lasting bloom.  Come on out today and check out our great selection.


“Why did the turkey cross the road?   It was the chicken’s day off!”


Question Corner


If you have gardening questions you would like answered in this newsletter, please e-mail them by separate e-mail to ed@americasbestflowers.com    NOTE:  We have been having problems receiving emails directly through this link.  If you have wondered why I didn’t answer questions previously sent, there is a good chance it didn’t reach us.  Please accept our apologies and try again as a separate email. To make sure your question reaches my desk, please put “Question for Newsletter” in the subject line. We are searching for answers regarding why our link doesn’t work.  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  Again, please write to us through a separate e-mail. Alternately, you may mail your questions to America’s Best Flowers, 4311 Vilas Hope Road, Cottage Grove, WI 53527.  Attention: Bev. Or fax to 608-222-1234.  Our phone number is 222-2269.


“My neighbor bought a Canaan Fir Christmas tree from you last weekend.  I’ve never heard of them before.  Can you tell me about them?”


The Canaan Fir brings the best of two worlds together, with the silvery underside and sturdiness of a Fraser Fir and the fragrance and light weight of a Balsam Fir.  America’s Best Flowers has all three varieties in stock, so come on out today and compare. 


“If I buy my wreaths this early, how can I be sure they stay nice until Christmas?”


Every wreath, as well as all roping, sold at America’s Best Flowers has been treated with an anti-desiccant to prevent moisture loss.  This keeps the greens looking fresh and prevents needle drop.  We carry an excellent selection of wreaths made from balsam fir, fraser fir and mixed evergreens.  Our talented associates have custom decorated wreaths with matching porch pots to add a special, unique touch to your holiday decor.  Visit us today while the selection is still good. 


“Why did the turkey sit on the tomahawk?  To hatchet!”


Bonnie’s Kitchen


This is a good stuffing recipe that I’d gotten from the Food channel on the program, “Sara’s Secrets”.


Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Apples


1 lb. bulk Italian sausage, sweet or hot

½ c butter

1 lg. Spanish onion, chopped

4 ribs celery, chopped

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced into ½ “ cubes

1 T rubbed sage, crumbled

1 t thyme leaves, chopped

4 c cornbread croutons

4 c white bread croutons

2 ½ c chicken broth


Preheat oven to 375’

Brown sausage in an ovenproof saucepot that has a lid.  With a slotted spoon, remove sausage from the pot and pour out the drippings.  Add the butter to the pot and melt over medium heat.  Add onion and celery and cook, until softened. Add apple and cook until softened. Add herbs and stir.  Return sausage to pot. Add croutons and chicken broth and bake stuffing in the oven at 375’ for 30 to 40 minutes.


The Thanksgiving recipe contest has been a lot of fun, so we’ve decided to run it one more week.  This week however, the contest is for your favorite Thanksgiving leftover recipe. This is one of my family’s favorites.


Turkey Au Gratin Casserole


1 c chopped onion

1 lg. green pepper

6 T butter

1 t basil

1 (28oz.) can  diced tomatoes

5-6 c cubed leftover turkey

¼ t salt

¼ t pepper

touch of cayenne

1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened

1/3 c milk

½ c grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400’. Saute onion and green pepper in 2 T butter until soft.  Add basil and tomatoes with the juice. Cook rapidly, stirring until most of the liquid evaporates.  Stir in turkey, salt and peppers. Pour into a sprayed, shallow casserole dish.  Mix cream cheese with remaining 4 T of butter in a separate small bowl until well blended.  Gradually beat in the milk.  Spread over ingredients in casserole.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake uncovered at 400’ for 20 minutes.


You Burnt the Bird?

          Reasons to Be Thankful!!


·        Salmonella won’t be a concern.

·        No one will overeat.

·        Everyone will think it’s Cajun Blackened.

·        Uninvited guests will think twice next year.

·        Your broccoli lima bean casserole will gain newly found appreciation.

·        Pets won’t pester you for scraps.

·        The smoke alarm was due for a test.

·        Carving the bird will provide a good cardiovascular workout.

·        You’ll get to the desserts quicker.

·        You won’t have a face three weeks of turkey sandwiches.


Source: Every Excuse in the Book: 714 Ways to Say “It’s Not My Fault”


Carol and Ed Knapton, owners of Americas's Best Flowers You’ll Love Your Garden … It’s Our Promise! May the Holy Spirit Guide You! God Bless
Edward Knapton says Keep on Smiling!
Sec – Treasurer Berry Hill Farms, Inc.
DBA Americas Best Flowers Garden Center
4311 Vilas Hope Road
Cottage Grove, WI 53527
608-222-2269 Fax 608-222-1234 Cell 608-698-5627