Christmas 2015 recap

Somehow the holiday season is already wrapping up and I’ve been getting ready to go back to work (!!!). Baby vacation is officially over on Monday. What a crazy wonderful past four months I’ve had! I digress. Let’s focus on the past week or so. Here is our Christmas 2015 recap:

Michael visited his first (and second) Santa and did a stellar job! He’s such an adorable kid. (‘Course I’m biased, since I’m his mom…)

Michael's first Santa photo

Michael’s first Santa photo

Michael was skeptical with his visit to the Santa at Theo Chocolate

Michael was skeptical with his visit to the Santa at Theo Chocolate

New Christmas Eve tradition

Michael, Brandon and I started a new tradition: reading the Polar Express before heading to bed on Christmas Eve! Michael didn’t quite understand the story yet, but he will in a few years.

Christmas morning brunch

My parents came over bright and early on Christmas morning and we made the fontina and spinach baked eggs with garlic brown butter breadcrumbs from the latest cookbook we’re cooking from, Seriously Delish, along with hashbrowns; a fruit salad of pineapple, blueberries and raspberries; and chicken sausage. We paired it with mango mimosas. Truly seriously delish.

Christmas morning brunch

Christmas morning brunch

Christmas tamales 

As I mentioned last week, we have a tradition of making tamales for Christmas. This year we made them on Christmas day.

Christmas evening tamales

Christmas evening tamales

We followed our recipe, but this year paired the tamales with some black beans, queso fresco, toasted pumpkin seeds, a kale salad with a spicy lime vinaigrette, and red and green tortilla chips with homemade guacamole. I think this will be our new usual. The whole meal was delicious!

Our Christmas night feast

Our Christmas night feast

Christmas treats

I also made a recipe that I’ve been lusting over for a few weeks: the clementine-cocoa nib meringues from Eating Well. (We picked up the nibs while Michael visited with the Santa at Theo!) These were super easy to make and delicious.

Clementine-Cocoa nib meringues: SO GOOD.

Clementine-Cocoa nib meringues: SO GOOD.

I did run into one snag however. It’s very important that you break up the chocolate nib/powdered sugar combination before you fold it in to the meringue. I wasn’t as diligent about it and chunks of chocolate got stuck in the tip of the piping bag and made things trickier.

Our family feast

We concluded the Christmas weekend with a prime rib feast at my parent’s house, with asparagus, potatoes, and a delicious salad, paired with a pinot noir. The place card snowmen I made last week completed the table scape!

Our Christmas 2015 feast

Our Christmas 2015 feast

Our place settings

Our place settings

Here are a few more of my favorites from this year’s Christmas celebrations:

Santa's little helper

Santa’s little helper

Three generations on Christmas!

Three generations on Christmas!

Santa Baby!

Santa Baby!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and 2015! Cheers to an even better 2016!!

Christmas food wrap-up

We had a wonderful Christmas holiday and hope that you did too! We celebrated with Brandon’s family in Idaho the weekend before Christmas, cooking and bringing nothing but a few bottles of wine.

Our Christmas Eve feast

Our Christmas Eve feast

We celebrated with my family on Christmas eve and brought several varieties of sweets. They look really nice plated together, don’t they?!

Christmas 2014 desserts

Christmas 2014 desserts (not pictured: raw chocolate macaroons)

All of my sweets were gluten-free and while none of the recipes were my own, I put my own creative flare on each of them. Here are the recipes for you to use as you see fit:

  • Polar bear peanut butter cups (So cute! However, these are crazy sweet! You’ve been warned! )
  • Raw chocolate macaroons (So good and so easy!)
  • Christmas tree meringues (We made several batches of these and while I would follow the instructions again, I would advise you to work quickly — the meringue liquefies if too warm — and don’t get too ambitious with the size of these trees. We found that keeping the base the size of a silver dollar worked best.

On Christmas day, Brandon and I had a leisurely morning and then hosted a brunch with my parents and Grandma. We cooked a feast and it was delicious! The frittata especially drew rave reviews.

Here was the menu:

  • Kale frittata
  • Aebleskivers with jam (a Danish Christmas specialty!)
  • Perfectly crispy hashbrowns
  • Turkey breakfast sausage
  • Assorted fruits
  • Orange juice

I started with this recipe for the frittata and then changed it… again.

  • Using the same technique, I made the following alterations:
  • I swapped the pepperoni for thin-sliced honey ham from the deli
  • I also swapped the Parmesan for reduced-fat smoked gouda from Trader Joe’s
  • I halved the onion, using only 1/2 a medium size onion
  • I added 1 c. of diced mushrooms. I cooked these and the onion down for about 10 minutes, prior to adding the other ingredients
  • I added a couple of pinches of the Pasta & Co. House Herbs (similar to Italian Seasoning)
  • Finally, I used too large of a frying pan, so I added 2 more eggs to even things out. It turned out great!
My off-the-cuff kale frittata

My off-the-cuff kale, ham and Gouda frittata

Abelskivers and sausage

Aebleskivers and sausage

Our Christmas morning spread!

Our Christmas morning spread!

After we went for a nice long walk, we also made tamales (from scratch!) on Christmas evening. I’m still working on that post and will share it soon!

I hope you’re enjoying your holidays and I’ll see you here {and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter} soon!

 

Happy {belated} Mother’s Day!

My babies: Maddie & Jack

My babies: Maddie & Jack

Happy {belated} Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! I’m the proud mom of two wonderful cats who even gave me a present for being such a great mom. (A special thanks to Brandon who helped the cats with their purchase…)

In addition to spending quality time with Brandon and the cats,my parents and sister and brother-in-law came over to Megan’s Island for a special brunch! We had quite the spread. It was similar to last year’s, but switched it up a bit.

This year’s menu:

  • Waffle bar with berries, syrup and whipped cream
  • Asparagus, ham and brie frittata
  • Chicken sausage
  • Homefries
  • Fruit salad
Mother's Day brunch on Megan's Island

Mother’s Day brunch on Megan’s Island

And… Mimosas!

Mother's day mimosas

Mother’s day mimosas

I hope you all had a really great Mother’s day! And a very special happy Mother’s day to my Mom. Mom: You’re the best and I love you! Thank you for being such a great supporter of mine!!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

For more photos of me and my Mom, visit last year’s post here!