Both sides of the family have the same recipe, but each thought it was their grandma’s secret recipe! Come to find out…it was the same!  I’m guessing it was in every church recipe book back in the day.😊 ” -Kris

Ingredients

1 pkg fresh Cranberries 

1 – 1 ½ cup granulated Sugar 

20 oz. can of crushed Pineapple (drained) 

½ pkg. miniature marshmallows 

½ pkg Heavy Whipping Cream (NOT Cool Whip!) 

Directions 

  1. Rinse Cranberries 
  2. Grind Cranberries into a bowl 
  3. Add Sugar, stir together 
  4. Whip the Heavy Cream until stiff peaks 
  5. Add Pineapple, Marshmallows and Whipped Cream 
  6. Fold all together 
  7. Store in refrigerator until serving 

The Holidays are truly all about spending time with loved ones, family traditions, and making memories.

We would like to share some favorite movies, traditions, and of course our favorite cookies because who doesn’t love dessert or chocolate, from our Rockton team

Let’s start off with our all-time favorite movies for the holiday season. We have a mixture of old and new, new renditions of some classics, and family favorites.

  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • Home Alone and Home Alone 2
  • It’s A Wonderful Life
  • The Santa Clause (Tim Allen)
  • Christmas with the Kranks
  • Family Stone
  • Love the Coopers
  • Four Christmases
  • The Grinch and How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • The Polar Express
  • A Christmas Carol (2009 with Jim Carey)
  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
  • Miracle on 34th Street

Christmas Vacation is definitely an all-time classic and favorite. In fact, last year we created a Winter Staycation parody.

With every holiday season there are always cookies to bring to a gathering, to make as a family, a cookie swap, or just have them on a daily basis because that’s what you do this time of year.

What are some of the classic cookies we have each year?

  • Chocolate Chip
  • Pfeffernusse Cookies
  • Canadian No Bake
  • Frosted Sugar Cookies
  • Peanut Butter Kiss
  • Snowball cookies
  • Ginger Snaps

A few different twists on the traditional frosted sugar cookie come from Mark and Sheila.  Mark, despite not being a fan of lemon, recalls as a kid his mom would swap lemon extract for the traditional vanilla, and Sheila uses almond instead of vanilla.  This sounds like an opportunity for a cookie taste test.

Family traditions are such a great way to not only bring the family together but to keep the spirit alive of loved ones who may not be with us. One thing is certain we all love spending time with family.

Alicia

My parents have a century-old 8-acre farmstead outside of rural Comstock, Minnesota – a small town of roughly 150 people.

There is a large wooden barn on the farm, and it has played host to our local, small-town church’s live nativity service every Christmas Eve for more than 20+ years.

Our family always supplied the live animal Nativity scene and special guests have included, a herd of goats, a miniature donkey, my horse, some wayward chickens, countless barn cats, 3 dogs and the occasional mouse that crashed the party.

The service would start just after dark, and that is when all the antique oil lanterns are lit. Guests would enter through the ancient dusty milk room and be met with twinkle lights, kettles of steaming hot apple cider, and more cookies than a Norwegian grandma can shake a stick at. It was always me and my brother’s job to see that every guest was served a treat when they arrived. Once they got into the main part of the barn everyone took their “seats” on their quilt-covered haybale.

I loved surveying the scene after everyone was in place waiting for the actors to come into the room – seeing all the quilts and blankets spread across the laps of entire families, the steam rising out of the cups of cider, and how cozy it was when you put 100+ people dressed in full Minnesota winter gear into a barn on a -15-degree night.

The muffled mitten claps as classic Christmas carols were sung between the various Nativity character appearances was my favorite sound, besides the occasional goat bahhhing from the stable scene.

After the service, you could watch taillights for miles driving off in various directions down the long gravel roads as people dispersed to their homes for their own family events.

Anyone without family or festivities was always invited into my parent’s home following the service to enjoy a meal with us and we always made sure there were a few extra gifts under the tree so everyone, including our new guests, could open a present after family carols.

The yearly event drew people from all over the states, even hearing of over the road truckers that made it a point to be passing through Moorhead, MN on Christmas Eve night so they could enjoy the cider and cookies and some holiday tradition with us.

The barn service tradition came to its close in 2018 when the aging barn could no longer hold up to the harsh MN elements, but we still hear from past attendees how that service became part of their own family tradition as well and how much it is missed.

Mark

A new tradition we started with my family is the annual gingerbread house. We save up the tons of candy the kids collect at Halloween.  We scratch-bake the best gingerbread ever, bake the sides and roof, and then ice it together.  The kids go crazy eating all the Halloween candy we denied them over the past month, and only about 10% of it ends up on the actual gingerbread house.  On New Year’s Eve, the kids get to eat the house.  One year, the kids got pretty clever.  Because the gingerbread and candy gets stale, they hid a ton of wrapped candy INSIDE the gingerbread house so that on New Year’s Eve, when they ate the house they broke into the middle and got another ton of non-stale candy.  Clever kids.

Michelle

Cooking together as a family; Working on a Christmas puzzle (someone always steals the last piece to put it in at the end and claim VICTORY over the puzzle completion …. eyes rolling; giving the beautiful gift of “time” to family & friends.

Sheila

When I was younger and in Colorado, I would make a ton of stuff during Christmas.  Turtles, Buckeyes, Chocolate Peanut Clusters, Chocolate Covered Cherries, Cookies.  Tons of things and we would make plates and deliver to family and friends.  We also like to go drive around and look at lights on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day we typically go to the theatres for a good movie!

Ginger

loves starting off the holidays with an Advent Calendar and 12 days of Xmas presents for her hubby and son.

Mike

Likes going up and spending time with family, and especially nice when it snows.  Oh, and hiking into the woods and cutting down our Christmas tree.

Other Holiday Traditions:

  • Pass the parcel
  • Drinking Egg nog
  • Collecting ornaments from past travels
  • Sushi night on Christmas Eve

Whatever your traditions are big or small we hope you keep them alive and growing, and still enjoy everything about the holiday season before us. It is time to focus on gratitude, peace, love, joy, and family.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Festivus!

from the Rockton Team!

The leaves are falling. Cooler winds are blowing in. Some of us have even seen a bit of snow. Autumn is here and all you want to do is snuggle up in a cozy sweater and smell your favorite comfort food warming on the stove. There aren’t many Fall comfort foods that top a homemade bowl of Chili. It seems like everyone has their own twist on this classic crowd-pleaser. Check out our Rockton staff pick for October:

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion – diced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz) can of kidney beans; drained & rinsed (*can substitute any of your favorite beans)
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • 2 ½ tbs. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder (*I often use real garlic instead)
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper (*Optional)

Instructions:

  1. Add olive oil to pan and add diced onions to a larger soup pot. Cook about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add ground beef to pan with onions. Break up and cook until fully browned.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients
  4. Bring liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the head to low/med-low to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  5. Remove pan from the heat. Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  6. Add toppings as desired: cheese, sour cream, fritos, tortilla chips, etc.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds raw peanuts in shells (or green peanuts)
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons cajun seasoning (or creole seasoning)
  • 1-3 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4+ quarts water

Instructions

  • INSTANT POT BOILED PEANUTS: (77-93 Minutes)
    • Place the peanuts in a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot. Add the salt, cajun seasoning, crushed red pepper, liquid smoke, and garlic powder. Pour in 4 quarts water… Or enough to cover the peanuts when you push them down.
    • Lock the lid into place. Set on Pressure Cook High for 77 minutes for green peanuts or 93 minutes for raw peanuts. Once the timer goes off, perform a natural release. Once the steam button drops it’s safe to open the Instant Pot.
  • STOVETOP BOILED PEANUTS: (2-8 Hours)
    • Place a large 6-8 quart dutch oven over high heat. Add the peanuts, salt, cajun seasoning, crushed red pepper, liquid smoke, and garlic powder. Pour in 4+ quarts of water, or enough to cover the peanuts when they are pushed down.
    • Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir well, then lower the heat to a mild simmer. Cover and cook for 2-3 hours for green peanuts or 6-8 hours for raw peanuts. Check the water level every hour and add warm tap water if needed.
  • CROCK POT BOILED PEANUTS: (22-38 Hours) 
    • Set out a large 6+ quart crock pot. Add the peanuts, salt, cajun seasoning, crushed red pepper, liquid smoke, and garlic powder. Pour in 3-4 quarts water, or enough to cover the peanuts when they are pressed down.
    • Cover the crock pot and set on low. Cook for 22-24 hours for green peanuts, and 36-38 hours for raw peanuts. Add water every 8 hours if needed.

Recipe and image from A Spicy Perspective

Rockton's Word of the Year is Gratitude

Word of the Year

Starting the year with a ‘Word of the Year’ is a powerful tool to align with their intention, focus their attention, and ultimately shape their execution.

During recent leadership meetings, we thought why not?  Why not come up with a word of the year for our team.  Something to help us align with our true intentions, to focus our attention, and to help shape our execution.  So, what did we pick?  Gratitude.

It might seem like a funny choice for a business.  After all, we need to turn a profit to keep the doors open.  How will Gratitude help us thrive, help us be a successful business? Gratitude helps us focus on our teams’ overall well-being

A company is nothing without its people – Team, Family, Customers, Partners, and Community.

We pride ourselves on our value statement – We improve the lives and business success of our employees and customers. And this year we are doing this by intentionally focusing on Gratitude.

Gratitude can improve your overall well-being, working memory, sleep, immune system, relationships, and coping with emotional upheavals. I think we can all agree. After the past 10+ months, we could all use more of this… and TRAVEL, I could use more travel 😉

What did we do first?

Our first Gratitude activity was a charitable donation drive.  Rockton offered to match any donation made to a charity, of the team members’ choice, within a set timeframe.

During a recent company meeting each team member spent time explaining a bit about the charity they chose.  What an eye-opening and inspiring activity?!  Often the most common charities come to mind first. We heard that not only food shelves are suffering right now, but some zoos are struggling to feed their animals too. And about some of the trickle-down effects caused by someone being incarcerated without being able to post bail.

Our team ended up donating just under $8,000 to our local communities.  Here is a list of who our team supported this past month.

Who are we donating to?

Bonner Community Food Bank

Children’s Cancer Center

UMOM New Day homeless shelter

Denver Zoo

East Bay Food Pantry

Children’s Hospital Colorado

Rise Against Suicide

Coal Creek Meals on Wheels

Great Plains Food Bank

Matthew’s Voice Project

Chad Smith Ride for Life

FairFight

Attention Homes

Bail Project

Angel B Wilson Foundation

Ronald McDonald House

Sanford Children’s Hospital

Outdoor Adventure

Our Tradition

Rockton has a tradition of giving back to the community in a variety of ways. We have our 1-1-1 rule, where 1% of our team’s time, 1% of company profits, and 1% of our product is given to charities in our communities. Also, each year at GPUG Summit we give away one of our products for free to a Non-Profit. In 2020 we gave out 2. Check out those winners here.

Rockton Travel Announcement

COVID-19 Update

To our software community,

We live in a much different world today than we did two months ago, with our professional and personal lives being disrupted in numerous ways, both large and small. At times it feels that some parts of our lives are perpetually on hold and, with this type of uncertainty, it can be difficult to plan what to do next.

At Rockton Software, we are taking decisive action on what we can control while continuing to celebrate our larger Dynamics channel family. Today, we are announcing that Rockton has canceled all business travel to events with over 30 participants for the remainder of 2020. We will take smaller events with less than 30 participants into consideration on a case-by-case basis.

The health and safety of our team are non-negotiable. We strongly believe that attending a public event before a permanent vaccine is found would put our team, partners, and customers at unnecessary risk. As a business owner, I cannot in good conscience ask anyone on my team to travel, knowing that everyone has different levels of risk and are taking unique precautions. Making the sacrifice to travel for work adds unneeded stress, especially when you have family members that may be immunocompromised, which includes members of my own family as well as others on our team. Instead of leaving everyone in a space of ambiguity, we’ve decided to put some clear parameters around business travel.

In an effort to continue supporting our technology community, we have tasked our talented and creative team to find new and effective ways to connect, engage, and celebrate innovation. We have already paved the way with the GP Optimizer magazine coming to life and other virtual events, in addition to collaborative webinars with others in our channel. Are they different? Yes. Are they working? Yes. We believe that these actions taken together will support the long-term health of our business while protecting our team and external partners.

We look forward to a day where we can see your smiling faces to discuss business solutions and advanced networking opportunities. In the meantime, I hope that you will join me in taking a stand against business travel for a defined period of time while we work to regain control of our future and focus again on making our business world work simpler & easier®.

Sincerely,

Mark Rockwell

President

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