Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas

Santa came!!! On Christmas Eve, I asked K what he wanted to leave out for Santa and he said, "two Christmas cookies, a slice of apple pie, orange juice and milk. And carrots for the reindeer." To which I jokingly commented, "Wow! That's a lot of food for Santa - he's going to get fat at our house!!" K didn't want Santa getting too fat and having to stop at the doctor mid-present drop, so he edited the apple pie of out the spread. He also insisted that we label the carrots for each reindeer. Silly Dasher and Vixen only ate half of their carrots.

K woke up on Christmas morning to find this:

He was so pleased that he had, in fact, been a good boy and that Santa had come. Gah, I love that little guy.

While that was our actual Christmas Eve and morning, our Christmas celebration started on the 23rd when we had two families over. These two families are so wonderful and I 100% consider them our family here. (That's not to be rude at all to Y's family, it's just that we don't live anywhere near them either.) This post is going to be kind of a long one, but it will have lots of photos of delicious foods.

As you may recall, up until a week or so ago, we were all sick. This put my dinner prep way behind given that I first had to catch up on everything else that I didn't do while I was sick. Last Friday, we finally went to buy the turkey and other groceries, but by the time we got home, put everything away, ate dinner, and put the boys to sleep, I was too beat to actually start cooking. This means that all of the foods you are about to see were made between Saturday and Monday - mostly Saturday and Sunday, of course. Y is a complete saint. He cleaned the house and took care of the boys so that I could focus on food. It was a ridiculous amount of work to be doing while sleep deprived and with a lingering cold and a 4-month old, but sharing a delicious meal and a wonderful time with our family was well worth it.

Here's what I made: Before dinner, we started with K's favorite Christmas cookies, as well as mint chocolate chip and M&M cookies, candied pecans, and some savory snacks - cheeses, veggies, crackers, and chips.

The ginger Christmas cookies (K's favorites) were delicious as always. I love how all of the spices meld together making this the most Christmas-flavored cookie.

The mint chocolate chip and M&M cookies were a new recipe and they turned out really good. In K's letter to Santa, he asked what Santa would like to eat when he stops at our house. K recommended "mama's M&M cookies" because Santa "would certainly like them." How could I not make some M&M cookies after that raving review?! That being said, I just recently made some M&M cookies and wanted something a little different. Mint and chocolate are another of my favorite Christmas combos, so I went with it. For the most part, I followed the recipe aside from the refrigeration bit - I was in a bit of a rush, people!

Also I used peppermint essence instead of extract. I don't know what the difference is, to be honest, but it did not have the disastrous results that the recipe's baker had. These were quite nice.

The other change was that, of course, I had to add in some M&Ms. I went with half chocolate chips, half M&Ms. Also, when I said they were quite nice, I meant to say they were awesome and I ate my weight in them.

I rolled them into little balls and baked for 8 minutes. Delicious!

The other new recipe that I tried were candied pecans. Holy moly, these were amazing. Unfortunately we have eaten them all. Fortunately, we are headed to Y's parents' for New Years. I think I need to make another batch for the occasion.

These were so super simple. Mix sugar, cinnamon and salt in a big ziplock.

Whisk egg whites, water, and vanilla in a bowl.

Stir in some pecans.

Put the pecans in the bag and shake. Then spread them out on a baking sheet and bake. The recipe says to bake for an hour, but mine were still slight sticky at that point, so I put them back in for 20 minutes. They were phenomenal.

 Dinner consisted of: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole (from the can, not that homemade business I usually slave over, thanks to my little brother who FedEx-ed me the ingredients!!),
 roasted brussel sprouts, applesauce with dried cranberries, carrot ribbons with cashews, and stuffing.
This little princess of a girl kept saying "oishii!!" (delicious) as she ate her dinner. Gah! Be still my heart! What a cutie pie!!!
 I wasn't going to make a pecan pie, but one of the friends who came over halfway requested it, so I threw it into the mix as well. As far as pies go, it's a pretty simple one.

I also made my favorite, apple pie. Turns out I am one of the only ones who actually ate it. Pecan pie for the win! (Note: the below photo was taken about 10 minutes ago, I didn't eat that much pie!)

It was a pretty mental three days in the kitchen, but I haven't cooked since, as we have been living on leftovers. I guess maybe it was worth it?? Who are we kidding? It was totally worth it! I love this meal!!!
As a final little story of from the evening, my favorite line of the night comes from our friends' 9-year old son, while playing MarioKart against K. K is fiercely competitive and if he is losing or loses at something, he generally doesn't take it well. This is something we are working on, but it's not going so well; he just hates losing. Naturally, he was losing. In the middle of a race, K goes, "Z!! Slow down!! I want to win." Without missing a beat, he replies "No way. I'm not losing to a 3-year old." Man, I love kids!

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