Sunday, December 31, 2017

Holiday Recap

I hope you all had a peaceful and happy holiday. Ours was quite nice, with all four kids at home and my sister and her husband to visit. The tree didn't catch on fire (always good) and it didn't plague us with allergens like it did last year. I had numerous difficulties with the cookie baking this year - even threw an entire batch of macarons into the trash because they were inedible. Still, when all was said and done, we had a few decent cookies.

Our neighbor gave us this enormous turnip and Brigid carved a face into it.

Me and my sister on Christmas Eve

There was much hilarity on Christmas Eve and after a dinner of gnocchi, homemade sauce, and cookies, we carried on our tradition of the Christmas Pyramid. This activity started years ago when "camera phones" were the new and exciting thing and we engaged in a game of photographic one-upmanship with relatives in Buffalo. Our last stunt with the camera - to form a human pyramid - was such a success, we continued to do it every year.

From top to bottom, above: me, Grace, my sister Margaret, Brigid, Ian, Seamus. Margaret's husband off to the left and Jon took the picture.

Two sets of sisters

The Christmas tamales came off well with only one tiny meltdown on my part. Tamales are a LOT of work. I knew that, but I didn't take into account how much more work they are when you are also making appetizers and desserts. The thing that saved us is that I made the fillings and mole sauces ahead of time. We had two types of tamales: chicken with a pumpkin mole and mushroom/goat cheese with mole verde. Of the two, we all preferred the mushroom. I made meatballs and a bean dip with tortilla chips for everyone to snack on while I did the tamales. In the end, it wasn't "I" I got quite a bit of help from the kids. Grace took care of serving the appetizers and getting wine for everyone and Seamus and Brigid figured out how to efficiently assemble the tamales on the island, while I worked at the counter. The cookbooks always insist that tamale making is a many-person project and they are right.

I was supposed to make a jicama/red cabbage salad, but I was so tired of cooking that I just threw the shredded cabbage into a bowl with a little lime juice and mayo. For dessert we had Smitten Kitchen's German chocolate cake, as well as a gluten free stained glass cake made from gelled fruit juice and whipped cream.

And now the tree is down and Christmas is over for another year. 

Phoebe is wondering why we had to take the tree down.


  1. These are lovely photos. Thanks for posting them. That family pyramid is excellent. I love your dog's expression in both of the photos. And the turnip's expression too. Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

    1. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well!

  2. I had the most massive dessert fail ever this year - the whipped cream filling for the yule log wouldn't whip, the cake fell apart and the ganache was grainy. I ended up throwing it all in bowl and it worked out okay. After that, everything else was easy peasy.
    Happy New Year!

    1. I saw that on facebook! I'm glad you were able to salvage it. A ruined dish is so frustrating.

  3. Merry Christmas!
    Wishing you a wonderful new year!
    Of the things I miss most as an adult during the holidays, I miss meeting up on Ericson Drive to stockings with all the cousins.
    I'm so glad you got another pyramid in.

    1. I used to love boxing day and Grandma and Grandpa's too. And our extra stocking!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks! They were yummy, but I don't think I'll be doing them again soon.