Christmas Deliciousness

Usually at this time of year, we have our annual Eggnog & Dessert Party, where I bake some things and we invite our families over to indulge.  This year, with my dad being sick we weren’t able to do that.  And usually, for Christmas Eve we have Eric’s family over for a big dinner.  But, again, with things being what they were this year, we had to celebrate a bit differently.  So, for Christmas Eve we went and visited my parents for a little bit, and then came home and Eric made us a spectacular meal – just the two of us.

First course was Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Brown Butter Sage Sauce.  This was absolutely delicious.  I could have eaten nothing but this and been happy.

Second course was Crab Cakes.  Full disclosure – I don’t eat them, so this was Eric’s.  But, you can’t have Christmas Eve dinner without some seafood.

The main course was Baked Chicken with Garlic, Olive Oil and Italian Bread Crumbs along with Fried Zucchini.

And our accompaniment for the meal was Messina Hof’s Muscat Canelli 2005, which was really good.

We completed the meal with Eric’s dessert request.  He wanted more of those Chocolate Salted Cake Balls I made last year.  With eggnog, of course.

It was all so delicious.  And it was actually kind of nice to just have a quiet Christmas Eve to ourselves.  And I didn’t spend two hours in the kitchen afterwards washing dishes.  Plus, the added bonus is that I actually have photos to share of our dinner!  I always forget when we have company, so at best I usually share only the dessert photos because I make that ahead of time!  So – bonus!

And for Christmas Day, Eric made another scrumptious meal.  For starters, we had Tomato Basil Bisque.

Then we had a gorgeous steak and fresh asparagus, which is one of my favorite meals.  Eric’s actually the one who introduced me to asparagus, and now I can’t seem to get enough of it!

And then for dessert, Eric’s second request – Chocolate Espresso Angel Food Cake.  I’d made this once for him year’s ago, and he wanted it for Christmas this year.  It’s really a delicious cake.  And I sprinkle powdered sugar over it when serving.

We had a quiet Christmas, but it was very nice.  We watched a ton of movies, like Polar Express, Jingle All the Way and It’s a Wonderful Life (which I’d never seen before!).  Focusing on each other instead of the hustle and bustle of the season, was a nice change.


All Aglow

Our home has been decorated for the holidays, and it is nice to have a bit of “normal” right now, with my father so sick.  We won’t be holding our annual family gatherings this year due to his health.  So, Eric and I will just have a small, quiet Christmas with just the two of us.

Anyway, Eric decided last year that he really wanted lights on the wreath on the front door.  He found some great battery operated lights this year, and now our wreath has its own little bit of brightness.

Eric found a beautiful tree again this year.  I just love the smell of a real tree in the house.  I scaled back a lot on my ornaments this year though.  I wanted a more simple look on the tree.

Some of my favorite ornaments are our Swarovski annual ornaments.  I’ve been giving one to Eric each year since 2005.  They catch the light so beautifully.

And I decided to put out the Nutcrackers again this year on the mantel.  Eric saved the branches he had to cut off the tree at the bottom for me, and I used them on the mantel.  I love the way that looks.

The odd man out in the Nutcracker theme is this guy.  He was a gift to me from my parents when I was about nine or ten.  My parents used to take my sister and I to see the Nutcracker ballet every year at the holidays.  One year, before we went, they presented me with my very own Nutcracker.  You wouldn’t believe how much I cried with joy.  He’s looking a little worse for wear, and his hair and beard are looking a bit thin (they are rabbit fur).  But, I get such pleasure from having him out at Christmas.

We’ve received so many lovely cards from friends and family.  Unfortunately, this year I had to make the decision not to send out cards.  There has just been too much going on to get them done.  I hope everyone understands.

And our tree in the entry.  This is my “handmade” tree.  I hang handmade ornaments on this tree, along with some pretty red glass balls.  There’s a train around the base of this tree as well.

And my Dickens’ Village.  Eric made me a fabulous platform for my houses this year.  The table I set them up on has rather high sides, so it was getting difficult to make them all fit.  Eric made a platform to go over the top of the table and it worked out perfectly!  All the houses fit.  And several of these were gifts from my parents over the last few years, so I love seeing them out.

And yesterday, I managed to do all of my gift wrapping.  These were headed off to the Post Office to be mailed.

I hope you all have a lovely holiday and that it brings you much joy and happiness.  Thanks for stopping in to see me and I so appreciate all your sweet comments!


Christmas in the City

I thought it would be fun to share some photos from our trip to New York City a few years ago.  New York is amazing at the holidays.  The whole city is decorated and it seemed to me the whole place was filled with music too.  One of our first days there, we spent the whole day just walking through the city to see all the holiday decorations.


Inside Macy’s.

And the amazing store windows, decorated for the holidays.

And our evening was spent at Rockefeller Plaza.  We watched the skaters and had hot chocolate.


One evening, we stopped and had hot dogs from a vendor to tide us over before seeing the Rockettes perform at Radio City Music Hall, which is just across the street from these pretty ornaments.

Inside the Empire State Building was festive too.

And a quiet walk through Central Park.

Whenever the holidays come around, my memories of New York are always intertwined.  It was truly an amazing trip and I highly recommend seeing the city at Christmas if you get the chance.


Meanwhile…Back at the Fair



I’m still trying to get caught up here on the ole blog, so I thought I’d share some photos from back in October (!).  Every year Eric and I make sure we take a trip to the State Fair.  This year, Eric organized a group from the photo club to go.  It was a lot of fun to wander about as a group, particularly a group of photographers.  I love seeing what other people are drawn to shoot.  And of course, this was my first time with the fancy-pants camera, so I was anxious to try it out.

One of the things Eric likes to do is see The Killdares perform.  Last year was my first time to see them and this year’s performance did not disappoint!

Of course, it also afforded me some great opportunities to people watch.

I love finding different sculptures and artwork while we wander through the fair grounds.  There was a whole forest of these license plate pinwheels that I thought were great.

But, of course, my favorite shots are usually from the Midway – all the food, rides, games.

This photo of the corn dog was one of my favorites of the day.  You wouldn’t believe the strange looks you get when you’re hovering around the condiment stand with a camera though.

And this shot – although mostly blurry (and unfortunately my watermark is covering up the best part) – I had to snap a photo of this guy in the hat with the glasses.  He is awesome.

Not quite as awesome as this though…

When the sun started to go down, I really enjoyed playing with the different settings on my camera.  It was short-lived though because I finally had to succumb to a migraine and plant myself until the group was ready to go.

These two I’m just in love with.  Look at that sky.  And the red.  Love!

Hope you enjoyed that virtual leap back in time.  I really had a lot of fun at the fair, and I was so glad to have my new (almost a year old) camera to try out!!