Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm going to try to make a New Year's Resolution early... be more dedicated to this blog. Not that anyone cares, but it helps me stay on track, and at the offset chance you're reading this, this is for you!

December has flown by, and it's been a whirlwind of bustling around malls, cooking sweets, ham, turkey, everything in between and trying to stay on top of school, work, and having a life. Same old, same old, right?

The nice thing about being in college (among, well, being in college) is that you get these nice long breaks with no commitments other than sleeping in, going out, staying up, hanging around and winding down. No homework, obligations, or anything for almost a month. If I could be having my college winter break right now, I'd be in heaven. Instead, I'm in online class hell, struggling to stay excited about class when everyone else is talking about New Years plans, having time off of work, and enjoying the last of the holiday fun. It's not been horrible, but I'd be lying if I wasn't starting to fade out a little. I love school, really. I'm a big nerd like that, but something about a semester at Nova followed by two online courses throughout December and January only to be rewarded with a three night a week graduate school course load is daunting! I'm just excited to be done with all these prerequisites and on to the good stuff. Speaking of the good stuff, I'm sure that's why you are here.

Holidays, to me at least, more than anything, mean good food with the people you care about. Not to be hokie, but memories are stimulated and created with food, it's true. So many good times have stemmed from families in the kitchen or around the table sharing food. For my family, it's no different. Things in December were busy enough for me to not take pictures of everything, or anything really, so I apologize, but I'll give you what I have.

As you saw earlier, I spent my Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania, with my boyfriend and his family. I begged and begged my mom to do a "Thanksgiving in December" and finally she agreed. So, on a snowy December day when we were stuck inside due to a blizzard, this feast happened. It was everything traditional of an expected Thanksgiving menu. Nothing strange for our family: turkey, stuffing (or dressing, as Susie calls it), mashed taters, cranberry sauce (straight outta the jar, how festive!), green bean casserole, cauliflower and peas with a cheese sauce, tasty dinner rolls and of course, pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream. As you can tell from my plate (#1... shh), I indulged in everything... with gravy to spare. And it was glorious! The thing about this dinner is that in most cases, you eat it once, and maybe twice as leftovers. This fear of waiting 365 more days for the taste of spicy stuffing, or thick rich gravy is more than I can bear! So, the solution? Load up and go for round two... three? Okay, maybe four. Yeah, I had a total of FOUR Thanksgiving's this year... so no excuses for me over-indulging.

But, our pseudo-Thanksgiving came and went, and very soon we shifted from turkeys to gingerbread men, pumpkin pie to peanut butter blossoms, and cranberry sauce to wintry mint chocolate bars.

These are not real sugar cookies... just leftover pie crust from Thanksgiving. Decorated by this guy... and he was proud.
These are just some delightful peanut butter blossoms I whipped up with Alex. He wasn't there to taste test, but I'm sure you can imagine they were pretty good.

This picture is the ingredients to the beautiful gingerbread house sitting in our dining room. The finished product was worth all the slave labor!
This is Christmas Eve dinner. It's been the same for as long as I can remember... with a few new tricks here and there. We had a sort-of Cobb salad, but it's really just a mish-mosh of everything tasty one could put in a salad: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado, fried onion, bacon, blue cheese and--wow. Good stuff. On the menu was roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese, these wonderful rolls from Wegmans, baked potatoes and steak fondue--with sauteed mushrooms and dipping sauces a plenty! I love this meal, and yes, it's not super healthy, but for a holiday meal... not bad! The steak is cooked in a wine broth, not much oil topped with mushrooms. Lots of veggies in this meal!

This little number is a chocolate mint brownie in which I found the recipe online. It has pros and cons. The con is that it has to be stored in the refrigerator because of the topping, which hardens the brownies. Also, there is nothing really super special about the brownie layer. Like recommended on the website, you could easily just use store bought or your favorite brownie recipe. The pros-- the topping is delicious, pretty, and rich. It is really festive, too (if you add green food coloring!)

On Christmas morning, I brewed a big pot of coffee for my family, and following a great span of ripping open gifts and taking goofy pictures, we went out to breakfast at Amphora, a really good restaurant in Vienna. I had a really hard time deciding what I wanted (big surprise, right?) but I ended up getting the "ranch omelette." This tasty tex-mex plate had an omelette stuffed with Monterrey jack cheese, onions, peppers, and maybe tomato (I forget). On the side it came with black beans and salsa in a tostado bowl, with home fries. I tried to eat as little home fries as possible but really they were too good to completely resist. I love this restaurant for breakfast, and it was much more appealing than it's rivals, Denny's and Ihop.

And now for the main event: CHRISTMAS dinner. We have a delicious combination of honey baked ham, twice baked potatoes, cauliflower and peas with cheese, green bean casserole, pineapple casserole, and good rolls. I was absolutely stuffed after this... but then had a cookie or two, or three.

The point is, I ate well over the holidays, and I continue to indulge daily. What's life with deprivation? Not one for me. Anyway, it's 8:45 and far too late for me to be awake-- pathetic and true. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and have a wonderful New Years.


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