This year my schedule worked in my favor in that I had Christmas day off. But it's just Little Lady Beatrix and myself so no reason to go all out. We dressed up as cheery reindeer for pictures. I didn't send out Christmas cards this year so Trixie and I humiliated ourselves as penance for all to see. That began on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning I enjoyed a cup of Churchill Fine Tea's Paris blend
Christmas morning was very quiet for us. Well as quiet as it could be.
But lets back up a day. Savannah arrived Christmas eve and one of the things we've tried doing something fun whenever she's here. For example when she was here one summer for 2 weeks we had the 2 week taco challenge. Our goal was to have tacos every day for 2 weeks. We succeeded in having them everyday save one. But we were in Kanab, UT and there was a fab BBQ joint we needed to eat at.
Anywho.. This time was the hot cocoa challenge. I managed to find hot cocoa from around the world.
We covered Belgium, Spain and the USA. We topped our hot cocoa with cute Christmas marshmallows, marshmallow fluff and homemade whipped topping.
All were yummy. With the exception of the cute marshmallows.
Oh for Christmas dinner I made a pesto bolognese lasagna that was pretty freaking spectacular. But trust me. Delish!!
Christmas Eve found us in church for one of the most beautiful services you will ever witness. The candlelight service brings me to tears every time.
Clicking on each photo will take you to the websites for the hot cocoa
Of course, my family knows me best and bought me the coolest onesie which I have not taken off since....jk. But seriously. On Christmas Day, we visited our favorite buffet discovered last year at Talking Stick Resort and indulged on unlimited seafood, steak, appetizers, desserts, you-name-it-we-ate-it! It was delicious! I love that we all dressed up for this affair. My family is pretty handsome, I must say! There was a Gingerbread house built in that timeline somewhere and some Christmas lights scouting, but I just couldn't add any more photos. My favorite time of the year has passed, and now I countdown til next Christmas.
Time spent with our loved ones.
Noshing on tasty food
Baking and decorating fun cookies
At the end of the day it's really none of these.
Christmas celebrates the birth of the one true King. The Savior of all mankind
Praying all a joyous Christmas season
Amy, Georgia, Nikita and Jen
While I believe the photos speak for themselves I will give a sparse narrative all the same. Some Joy- making banana bread, reading Christmas books, noshing on a slightly different party mix, and of course, Trixie. In its own way, these all tie-in with Peace. I had Christmas music playing as I made the banana bread and I found the whole process to be rather peaceful. Trixie settling down with her pretty pink banky from Aunt Georgia are blessed peace and silent indeed.
And the sweet little moments that my crazy girl gives me some affection when I need it most.
No matter which holiday you choose to celebrate or even if you choose not to observe any holiday this season, may you not take for granted those moments that are Joy, Peace and Silent.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
From Trixie and I.
P.S. If you are curious about my Party Mix:
Pretzels, Multi Grain O's, Kashi Dark Cocoa Karma cereal, banana chips, golden raisins and carob chips. I just toss it all in a bowl.
This challenge was more difficult than it seemed. Amongst the decisions of work, home life, adulting, parenting, holiday shopping, and more, I found this sweet moment Friday morning at 6:00am. Matt took a couple of days off before Christmas as he usually does each year, and Christopher is finally out of school for Winter Break. Both of them sleeping in (which almost never happens) and me finding myself in a quiet house with the glow of our beautiful 9-ft tree towering over me. The night before I made some Hot Cocoa Cookies because I heard a rising revolt in the house when the realization had settled in that it was December 19th and no cookies had been made. *Look for cookie recipe in Christmas Cookie 2017 edition of Saturday Bites* I shared with Matt my sweet quiet moment that evening, and he said he got goosebumps because he knows these pockets of time are rare in our busy life together.
I really liked this challenge. Finding peace, joy and silent. Especially in this crazy chaotic time of year.
For me to take a step back and reminder all that I'm thankful for.
Randy and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary on the 20th.
We took a stroll through the Albuquerque botanic gardens
And last but not least are my little cat models
All bring me joy. But it's the botanic gardens that bring me peace. Oh and it was not busy today.. So a nice dose of peace and silent
The perfect challenge for this time of year. A great way to step back and reflect.
Amy, Nikita, Georgia and Jen
Eggs in peppers is one of my new favorite ways to make eggs! Put green pepper slices on a pan, crack an egg into the center, and cook. Makes a nice tidy egg patty perfect for breakfast sandwiches. You can also add cheese and/or a slice of deli meat. Yum!!!
Eggy-Weggs! Which, to be honest, gives me rancid flatulence. I make a point of consuming eggs whenever the customers behave like disagreeable children.
I knew upon which cookbook I could rely.
The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham is still one of my most frequently used cookbooks. Old Reliable!
I went with a dish that you all may wish to consider for Christmas breakfast or brunch. It could also serve as a clever way to use up some leftover ham. I did a slight twist on it.
Saw this lovely recipe in the latest edition of Bon Appetit Magazine (A gift from my sister) and both the husband and I were like.. yeah.. That looks tasty. And then Jen threw down the egg challenge.. Timing
So the end result.. I LOVED it. The husband thought it had too much lime in it.. (Mind you I used less than half of what it called for)
End of story. If you like a lot of flavor.. This is for you. If you don't.. Then maybe not
This week was my week for the food challenge and I had a craving for stew and for some reason beef barley sounded like just the ticket.
So I made this lovely. Slow cooked the meat, added a few more veggies and called it delish
Today was a cold and rainy day for us here in Phoenix…a perfect day for stew! I had a bag of various peppers that needed to get used today, so google lead me to “chicken and pepper stew”. My husband and I loved it.
I modified the recipe a bit based on ingredients at hand. 2 large chicken breasts, 2 green peppers, 3 Anaheim peppers, 3 jalapenos, 2 medium sized white onions, salt, and one can of tomatoes per the recipe.
I think we can all agree that braised food is a form of stewed food. With in mind, I chose a dish in which the food is braised. For one, this dish felt perfect in the waning days of Autumn. But the main reason for choosing this dish is with Christmas rapidly approaching I felt compelled to share with everyone in need of gift ideas this the most beautiful cookbook in my collection. It truly deserves a plug. A Boat A Whale & A Walrus: Menus and Stories by Renee Erickson with Jess Thomson is a must have for the true food adventurer and as a bonus fans of photography may take an interest as well. There has been many occasions when I have found myself removing this gem from the shelf and I turn pages as a child would their favorite storybook. Ms. Erickson is a well-known restaurant owner in the Seattle area. The title of this book is a play on the names of three of her restaurants. As mentioned there are stories as well. The story of Ms. Erickson's entrance into the culinary world unfolds with every word, every photo and every recipe. Exquisitely composed this book is charming down to the last detail. There's a delightfully warm, cozy and serene "aura" about this book. The recipes are created with fresh , local and seasonal products (for the most part). Throughout the pages we are introduced to many of the people that help to create the mouth watering food in the restaurants and this cookbook. From the bee keeper to the wine taster, I do not believe that anyone had been overlooked. The menus are designed in a way to encourage the cook and their dinner party to slow down and be present once they've sat down at the table. Every dish is a labor of love. While I admit most of the recipes are in a league in which I lack talent and a fat bank account, there are still quite a few that I have with success. This book is a treasure.
I took a couple of photos of pages in the cookbook as a small sampling(my photos don't give it justice) to entice everyone to be not afraid. Yes there are many seafood recipes but hey substitute if you wish. No one is going to report you.
Nikita is taking a stew pass this week, however come back tomorrow.. She made some beautiful cupcakes and will be sharing
I love how we always manage to make something so completely different.. Great recipes to save for another cold day
Until next week,
Georgia, Jen and Amy
eBoy oh boy! Here is a recipe worth sharing. This week I picked cranberries as our secret ingredient. We just finished off our cranberry sauce with our turkey dinner last week, but I wasn't ready to be done with cranberries just yet. I found this recipe on Pinterest while perusing the many ways to use cranberries. Not sure why eggnog and these beautiful, red pops of tart deliciousness seemed to sound so good together, but Christopher an I were sold. I made this breakfast this morning after a late night of soccer games yesterday. The pancakes have the underlying theme of eggnog as you take each bite. The cranberry syrup seemed to be more sauce than syrup, but I also opted to not strain the cranberry chunks ( that's the best part!) If you have a griddle, then pancakes cook up quickly. I do not, so I opted to cook them in two pans to shorten my time over the stove.
It was my rotation for helping with breakfast at church. So I made the normal blah, blah, blah breakfast casserole and this lovely orange cranberry bread.
One thing I did different than the recipe, I used the plain greek yogurt, less sugar and added about a 1/4 cup of honey. I would absolutely do that again.
Next time I'll add more orange tho.
Both were gone before breakfast was over. So even the blah breakfast casserole wasn't so blah
I always associate cranberries with sweet, so it was interesting to use them in a different way. I made a stew. That’s right, stew. Quasi-leftover-Thanksgiving style, so I don’t have a recipe, but I can at least tell you what’s generally in it!
Leftover cranberry sauce (not jellied – actual cranberry chunks), leftover turkey, red onion, chicken broth, black beans, cannellini beans, dried oregano, rosemary, marjoram, salt, pepper. And a bit of mozzarella cheese, just because.
It was reasonably good…my family ate it twice without complaining. 😊
So I 'm going to share a couple of easy peasey recipes and ideas for leftover cranberry sauce.
I make my own cranberry sauce because it's the easiest homemade holiday food to make. I make a large batch because I am able to make so many different dishes with cranberry sauce. If canned cranberry sauce is your thing then consider buying a couple of extra cans and give a few of these ideas a try.
Take about 1/2 cup or so of cranberry sauce and a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup and stir them in a small saucepan over low(ish) heat. Allow it to lovingly simmer for a few minutes. Use this to top waffles, pancakes or French toast. I made French toast. I tossed Clementine segments on top because I like clementines.
Other breakfast ideas:
Mix some cranberry sauce into hot cereal such as oatmeal. Swirl into yogurt (plain or vanilla works well) top with granola. Or make a parfait.
Use it in a smoothie.
Cranberry sauce can also be used in homemade muffins, scones and breakfast bars.
Chop or shred leftover chicken and combine it with a tablespoon of cranberry sauce, mayonnaise, celery and chopped walnuts for chicken salad.
Combine cranberry sauce with your favorite barbeque sauce to make a tangy pulled chicken(or leftover turkey) sammich. You can also use it as a proper barbeque sauce for grilling.
The Elvis: spread some peanut butter in a hot dog bun, add a strip or two of fried bacon then place a peeled banana in the bun and top with some cranberry sauce.
Add cranberry sauce to your grilled cheese sandwich. I use sharp cheddar but feel free to try something different. If you have leftover ham perhaps add that to your sammich.
Make a stir fry using meat of choice(I used tofu) and whatever veggies you prefer. Mix cranberry sauce with soy sauce and garlic chili sauce. Top rice, quinoa or noodles with the stir fry. You can use dried cranberries in the grain and perhaps pumpkin seeds. Top with fresh chopped basil or scallions.
Dessert: Use cranberry sauce in place of other berries on or in a cheesecake.
And, of course, serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
There's plenty more ideas all over the world wide web. Or be like Sponge Bob and use your imagination.
How fun discovering new ways to serve cranberries and I love how Jen re-invented Thanksgiving leftovers
Until next week,
Nikita, Georgia, Jen and Amy
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