Sunday, December 21, 2008
Time to relax and enjoy
Yesterday, we had our annual holiday open house. Too much food, not enough chairs, but plenty of laughter, friends and family.
I took Friday off from work so I could stay home and bake. I made our family favorites: meatballs, kielbasa, crab-stuffed mushrooms, tomato tart, veggie wraps, pesto cheesecake, spinach and cream cheese loaf.
Then, the desserts....mochaccino spirals, egg nog cookies, cream cheese spritzes, white and dark chocolate bark with pecans, peppermint bark, homemade hot chocolate. The girls requested Vienna Torte- chocolate cake with creme de menthe frosting. But the highlight was the Yule Log- gingerbread cake with crystallized ginger, orange pastry cream filling and nutella frosting. Oh my. Naturally, I made two of everything, and now we have a torte and a yule log left for just us. Yum.
The girls decorated the house. Emily was working, so Christine's boyfriend Leaf filled in. He got to hear the history of every ornament- 23 years worth of stories and memories. Sweet.
I have yet to go shopping. Matthew ventured out into the ice storm, so I could stay home and make Cheese Braid, another perennial favorite. Actually, I could have a party and serve nothing but cheese braid, and everyone would be happy. A sour cream, nutmeg and orange dough with fabulous filling. Teachers fight over it, co-workers steal it, Matthew's father lives for it.... it cannot be helped. I scored a Kitchen-aid over it. 22 years ago (in Washington, base housing), I stumbled across this recipe in Good Housekeeping and made it. But it burned up my handheld mixer and another one. So Matthew said if I promised to make it every year, I could have a Kitchen-aid. What could I say? We drove to the Exchange at the Air Force base south of Tacoma, and bought a red Kitchen-aid for $229. So expensive, but we thought we had gotten a good deal. 22 years later, and they are still right around the same price. Amazing. But I still have it and I still make Cheese Braid for Christmas and sometimes Easter. And everyone still "oohs and aahs."
Merry Christmas to all of you. I think 2009 is going to be an incredible year.