"Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better."
Welcome, 2013! I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a great New Year's Eve. If your last few weeks were anything like mine, they were full of sweets and treats, gift shopping and wrapping, family visits and travel, and tying up year-end work before a much-appreciated break. Below is an overview of some of my December holiday activities.
Christmas Cookie Swap
Earlier this month, my sister and I got together with another pair of sisters we've been friends with for years, Michelle and Angela, and were joined by my nephew and niece, and Michelle's daughter (her son was sick). I asked everyone to bake and bring cookies, and I made some kid-friendly savory food and snacks to offset the sweetness. I bought Christmas napkins and decor from Marshalls, including adorable Meri Meri "'Tis The Season" garland and party picks. The best part? Everyone went home with lots of different cookies!
|Christmas cookie swap|
|Homemade cookies and chocolates and cute Christmas decor|
|Making pistachio-shortbread sandwich cookies|
|My pretty pistachio and strawberry shortbread cookies!|
|Angela's rich chocolate truffles rolled in cocoa and powdered sugar|
|Michelle's thumbprint and sugar cookies, and Angela's peppermint bark|
|Maureen's PB & J thumbprint cookies (which I made first 2 years ago)|
and M&M cookies
|Non-cookie food preparation|
|Winter fruit salad with apple, banana, pineapple,|
|Buttered mixed nuts with rosemary and orange|
|Green and red peppers with onion dip, tortilla chips with red and green salsa|
|Creamy crockpot mac and cheese|
|Sesame chicken wings|
|Tried-and-true sliders expertly cooked by Sam|
and McClure's Garlic Dill Pickles
|Lots of beverage choices to wash down the sweets and savories|
Holiday Lunch Party
The following weekend, I invited my Brooklyn-based coworkers for a holiday luncheon. We live so close to one another and I had been meaning to have them over since we moved into the neighborhood. To make things easier, I kept a very similar menu to the cookie swap get-together -- buttered nuts with rosemary and orange, veggies and dip, macaroni and cheese, sesame chicken wings, and sliders -- but chose a fancier fruit salad, made a smoked salmon quiche with goat cheese and leeks baked in a whole wheat cream cheese crust, and baked a batch of chewy ginger cookies, which I first made during Hurricane Sandy; they are so good.
|Fruit salad and quiche preparation|
|Winter fruit salad with navel and blood orange, mango, banana,|
kiwi, kumquat, pomegranate
|Smoked salmon, goat cheese, and leek quiche with cream cheese crust|
|Carrot "chips" for the reindeer|
(and chewy ginger cookies)
Christmas in Our Home
Our apartment is small, but we do have some room for Christmas! My mom gave me a mini Nativity figurine which I placed next to our holiday "Wish Give Love Peace" greeting and some tea lights. Of course we put up our new Christmas tree, which we named Murray, decorated with old ornaments I've had for the past 10 years or so, with the exception of a new 2012 ornament (photo below).
|Christmas on our bookshelf|
|"Sharon and Samuel, Christmas 2012"|
|Murray the Christmas tree with Boo, presents,|
and handmade heat-embossed gift tags
|We love seeing everyone's holiday cards|
Christmas in Chicago
This holiday season was a first for us as a married couple, and a first for me spending it outside of New York. We flew to Michigan on December 23, spent some time there with Sam's mom and some relatives, then drove to Chicago on Christmas Eve to stay with Grace, Sam's sister, and her family.
On Christmas Day, we enjoyed watching the kids open gifts, and Grace and I cooked Christmas dinner: the roast prime rib au poivre recipe my sister uses, steamed lobster tails, turkey bacon and Brussels sprout salad, mashed potatoes, my go-to simple buttermilk biscuit recipe, and Grace's favorite apple pie. After dinner, we went to the Bulls vs. Rockets game.
On Wednesday, after a relaxing day inside, we went out for a late second dinner at Joe's Stone Crab -- I was supposed to go to the Miami location during my bachelorette weekend, but we opted to stay on the beach, so I'm grateful to have had the chance to go in Chicago. On Thursday, we went to Yolk for brunch -- I first went there 2 years ago and have been waiting to return ever since! We drove back to Michigan on Thursday afternoon and flew back to NYC that evening.
|Christmas morning with Grace, Tommy, Isaiah, Christina,|
and monkey bread!
|Prime rib, lobster, Brussels sprout salad, mashed potatoes, biscuits,|
and apple pie à la mode
|Bulls vs. Rockets, playing in the snow, cinnamon roll French toast|
and pumpkin bread French toast
New Year's Eve
Last night, we went to see Angela's New York Repertory Orchestra and the New York Festival Singers at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle. Then we ate ddukbokki (spicy rice cakes) and Korean fried chicken at Turntable in K-Town, and rang in the new year at IchiUmi Cellar with Daniel, Sam's brother. It was an unplanned evening that turned out really nicely.
|My festive silver glittery Barbie nails, beautiful Roman Catholic church|
|Ddukbokki and fried chicken|
|Happy New Year!|
We have another few days off before returning to work. Today we started a 3-day cleanse, which I plan to post about next. Happy holidays!