A Very Merry Christmas!

It’s hard to believe it’s over already!  Since first starting to see Christmas decorations right after Halloween, I can’t believe we’ll ring in 2013 just next week.

Since my Mom was going to my brother’s house for Christmas (check out his last blog post!), we celebrated with my side of the family on the 23rd.  My Mom makes a mean lasagna, and I brought a salad and bread and my sister brought dessert.

While I love snowmen, my Mom loves angels!  She didn’t decorate her house nearly as much as she would have since she wasn’t going to be home, but it was very festive!

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I realized that I was in a lot of the pictures I downloaded, and I didn’t take a picture of everyone – gah!  My Mom is only 4 feet 9 inches tall, so while I stand at only 5 feet 3 inches tall, I kind of tower over her.  In one picture I ducked down so she would be taller – we were laughing so hard. 

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My sister won’t get any points for plating, but my Mom’s lasagna is really good – I had two pieces!

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I specifically told my family that I didn’t want anything for Christmas.  My only gifts were granola and homemade Chicago Mix popcorn.  So imagine my surprise when I was given LOTS of stuff – it was embarrassing!  Snowmen, cookie sheets, a pretty blue pitcher, a 5 quart sauté pan with lid, a big bench scraper, coffee, mustards, homemade treats – it was too much!   So my tip to you is next year tell people you don’t have any money and they will buy you lots of stuff!  So thank you family! Open-mouthed smile

Christmas Eve it was just me and Tony.  We watched It’s a Wonderful Life which is my favorite Christmas movie.  True story.  I was in college (oops, not quite 21 yet!) and my roommate invited a couple guys over and we started doing shots of root beer schnapps.   It was before Christmas break and one of the guys had never heard of It’s a Wonderful Life, let alone seen it.

In my slightly drunken state, I proceeded to tell the movie, from when Harry falls into the ice on the shovel, to when Clarence says that he can’t fly because he hasn’t earned his wings yet, to one of my favorite lines in the whole movie:

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?

Every year when I hear that, I wonder if I’ve done enough in the past year to touch the lives around me.  And usually the answer is “not as much as I could.”  I hope to volunteer in 2013 – it’s good for the soul!

We ate the steak we would have had on our Anniversary, with a baked potato and garlic bread.  We each only ate half – we easily could have split this plate.

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I made no knead Artisan bread for our Christmas Day dinner.  Just like how I gushed about the lasagna soup I got from Suzie, even if you are afraid of using yeast, this is the easiest recipe!

  • 6 1/2 cups regular flour
  • 3 cups water
  • 1.5 tablespoons yeast
  • 1.5 tablespoons salt

That’s it.  MIx the flour, yeast and salt well in a large bowl.  Add water and mix, making sure the flour at the bottom gets incorporated.  It will be a sticky dough, no worries.

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Now the original recipe says to let rise for two hours, divide the dough into four balls, let those rise another 40 minutes while you preheat your dutch oven in the stove at 450 degrees.  I think four loaves are two small, so I always make 2 loaves out of this recipe.  Yesterday I made one loaf sesame seed and one loaf rosemary and sea salt.

Once your dutch oven gets to temperature, bake the bread covered for the first 30 minutes, then take the lid off for 15 minutes more.  Comes out perfect every time!

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And speaking of lasagna soup, I made that our first course.  I posted the picture of the soup and bread on Facebook, and my Aunt Martha immediately asked for the recipe.  I said I followed Suzie’s recipe to the T, except that I left out the onions.  To which Veronica and Suzie said:

Veronica Miller Biz is crazy, don’t leave them out! ;)

Suzie Shaw Don’t fear the onion! ;)

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My second course:  wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and bacon bits.  Turns out only a few of us like blue cheese!

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I made oven roasted sesame carrots, which were really good, if a bit overcooked.  I made them earlier in the morning and they were perfect, but when I heated them up they got a tad dry.  No worries, a little butter helped!

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I used the baking method from this blog, and also “borrowed” their picture because I didn’t get a good one when they were first done.  I also just used olive oil, salt, and pepper, and 10 minutes before they were done cooking, I sprinkled with sesame seeds.

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And the star of the show?  Tony’s grilled ham!

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My plate:  sauteed apples, baked potatoes my SIL brought, sesame carrots, ham, mustard that Hannah got me – simple and delicious!  And no, that is not butter on my baked potato – its mustard! Open-mouthed smile

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It was a nice, relaxing day.  It just looked like a full restaurant was cooking in my kitchen, it may have been just a bit of a disaster!  Tony and Hannah are clean as you go cooks.  Me?  Not so much.  I think I used every plate, salad plate, bowl, fork, knife and spoon I own. Embarrassed smile

I am grateful for another day off from work today.  I have two projects.  One is to finish the laundry, and the second is to sort through my clothes and donate them – I figure if I haven’t worn it in the last six months, it’s never going to happen.  I also plan on going to the gym!

The only thing I’ve been good about being off from work is getting my water intake in, other than that, my exercise came to a screeching halt.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  Make it a great day!