Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas in Our New Home

It feels like forever since my last post, and it has been a long time.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with family and friends.  

Dining Room Tree
Since I never posted before Christmas, I thought I would do a post now to show a few glimpses of our holiday in our new home and to share a few recipes we've enjoyed over the past few weeks.  Unfortunately, in the bustle of the holiday, I did not take as many pictures of food as I should have, so I'm posting the links and the pictures from the sites so you can see what they should look like. I will also post some images of our home decorated for the holidays because even though it still needs so much work, it is home now and being in it made for a wonderful Christmas season.  

Usually Christmas is a time of travel for us, going to my family home and my husband's (both over two hours from our current home and three hours away from one another), but this year was different.  We did travel to my family for Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day was spent in our own home with my husband's family visiting us.  It was nice to be home on Christmas. 

Christmas table set with my grandmother's Christmas dishes.

Our Christmas Day was very cozy with lots of twinkling lights, glowing candles, and a fire (built by my father-in-law) in the fireplace as the temperature became crisp outside.  

A glimpse of the porch before the wind blew me back inside.
We enjoyed a casual dinner of Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce, Ricotta, and Mozzarella, a simple salad, and garlic bread.

Dessert was this Brownie Pudding from Ina Garten.  If you have never tried Brownie Pudding, you must.  It is gooey, almost like brownie batter inside, but it has a crisp, chewy crust on top.  With ice cream, it is delectable.  My in-laws all brought yummy snacks, and my sister-in-law brought a chocolate chess pie similar to this one (yum!).  

Brownie Pudding 

I also hosted a cookie swap the week before Christmas which I have done for the past few years.  It was a little different this year because we opted to bring unbaked cookie dough to freeze rather than bake all of our cookies.  I am really looking forward to being able to bring out cookie dough whenever I need it over the next few months.  

Our Christmas "bush" on an old trunk in the living room.  It is decorated with my grandmother's antique glass ball and teardrop ornaments. 

The cookie swap dinner consisted of Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon baked into individual ramekins, topped with whipped potatoes, and broiled until crisp on top.  The salad recipe was really tasty. I followed this recipe from Williams-Sonoma for a Spinach, Pear, and Pomegranate Salad, but I used a baby kale blend in place of spinach and candied walnuts in place of toasted ones.  It will definitely be making a reappearance soon.  

Image Credit

I also made a Dark Chocolate Peppermint Tart from Bon Appetit.  I didn't have the patience for the decorative whipped topping, so I just mounded mine on, but it was delicious nonetheless.  Unfortunately, after we ate our fill, I was putting the rest in the refrigerator, and it slid right off the cake plate and onto the floor.  It was frustrating, but the dog really enjoyed licking up the residue later.  

The crust is filled with dark chocolate ganache and sprinkled with crushed peppermint candy. 

Then it is topped with peppermint whipped cream and more crushed candy.  I used half the whipped cream recipe, and it was plenty. 

Now that Christmas is over, it is difficult to think of taking down the decorations and getting back to "normal".  Christmas is such a magical time, and the decorations make everything so warm and cozy.  So, rather than think of it ending, I am going to savor one last evening by the fire and curl up to watch Meet Me in St. Louis while enjoying a cup of hot tea.