25 December 2013

Merry Christmas 2013


From our family to yours, my dear friends, we wish you the happiest of Christmases. We hope your celebrations were safe and joyful and happy. We had a very lovely Christmas. Just the sort of calm, peaceful day you dream of and with 75 degree weather. Can't complain about that....except for the lack of snow, haha.

We woke up early but lounged in bed. Our Little Bug is not with us this week so we will be celebrating most of our traditional Christmas events on Saturday when she returns. Christmas Eve Dinner was always a BIG tradition in my family, so last night I made The Man and me a beautiful dinner. It was so nice to have the time to just enjoy the process without any pressure or stress. We turned on the fireplace, all the lights, put on holiday music and I enjoyed my time prepping each dish and timing everything out perfectly so that it would all be ready at just the right time. I made filet mignon (maybe my best steak cooking I've ever done --yay!), roasted garlic mushrooms (a new recipe we loved!), baked potatoes with sour cream and scallions, glazed carrots and garlic green beans. It was so yummy. 

When we sat down I said "Let's try to stretch this out and enjoy every taste" and yet after about 25 minutes we were done eating. All the preparation for those few delicious minutes. But that's how it usually goes with special meals, isn't it?

For dessert we had pumpkin pie that I made on Monday. I tried something new and just pressed the crust into the pan with my hands instead of rolling it out. For the most part that seems to be a very good way to go because the dough recipe I use (found on The Pioneer Woman blog) makes such flaky, soft crust that getting dough from the rolled out spot into the pan is very difficult. Pressing it into the pan with my hands was not as easy as I'd hoped but it seemed to work out in the end quite well. I also learned that pumpkin pie tastes better after it sits a while. This pie tasted much better than the slices we had almost straight from the oven on Monday.

Today I made peanut butter bars like we used to have weekly in our school lunches when I grew up. Since I was a little kid I have always wanted to make those so it was a big day that this little dream finally happened. It's a silly thing, really, but the 4th grader inside of me was quite excited and proud. I did put a little too much peanut butter in, which made them a little too soft, but I am glad I will have another chance to perfect the recipe another time soon. I like the base of my peanut butter bars a little more dry and crunchy.

One funny thing I was missing today is an outdoor fridge - and by outdoor fridge I really mean living somewhere that is cold enough you can refrigerate extra food outside on your snow covered patio or in your freezing cold garage. At my parents' house we often put extra food, in well sealed containers in the garage or on the patio to keep cool. With a fridge and freezer overflowing with food and leftovers right now I was really wishing for an outdoor fridge today when I decided to make peanut butter bars that needed to be refrigerated.

We have been watching movies and relaxing. It is a much needed blessing to slow down for a day or so, right? Today we spent the evening with a group of lovely people for Christmas Dinner. It was fun to get to know new people, be around noisy, excited children and enjoy a very delicious meal. Thankfully I was able to take half my pan of peanut butter bars along with drinks and rolls so that we don't have that whole pan of deliciousness here calling to us.

The Man and I each opened one gift tonight. After a year in a war zone, I thought he deserved "2014: A Year of Fun and Adventure!" So my main gift to him was things to help him have a fun and adventurous year to come. He definitely deserves it. Each month I am going to make sure he does some fun things that inspire him and are just plain fun. We are starting out early by going on a little adventure tomorrow afternoon. Should be fun. I'll tell you about it soon. Until then, continued best wishes for the continuing holiday season.

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