Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This is how we Christmas

Christmas Eve is a big foodie deal in my family.  Thanksgiving is more of a formal food affair and we do have long back and forths over what food we're going to fight for to keep in the repertoire.  On Christmas Eve though, we experiment.  I can't remember exactly when we decided to do appetizers for the Christmas Eve gathering, but what I do remember is Mom being tired of cooking two large meals right after the other.  I think I was still in Junior High, or maybe I had just entered High School, but for me that translated into "more cheese balls and cookies!"  So naturally I was all for it.

These days our family gathering is much smaller than it used to be due to other parts of the family doing their own thing for the holiday.  But we still gather at one of the family homes to eat together and open presents.  Below is our Christmas table with all of our dishes.  Though apparently we were missing Mom's truffles.  For shame!

Mom is the sweets queen.  She always brings her traditional Christmas cookies and gingerbread men plus whatever other cookies or truffles she feels like throwing together.  It's not Christmas without those Christmas tree and candy cane sugar cookies.  I remember sitting around our kitchen table as a girl decorating those.  the trees have much less of those silver beebee looking candies on them now that I'm not decorating anymore.  I think our dental plans are thankful for that.

Mom also always brings the beef.  Our thinly sliced Burgandy Beef favorite was a tad overcooked this year, but it was still just as good as always.  I'm one of those people who prefers my beef on the medium to medium rare side.  I don't care what Mom said about the dish being overcooked.  I still took a baggy home with me to eat for the rest of this week.  Also seen here is the horseradish sauce that is to accompany the beef as well as my sister's shrimp dip and some cheezy things and bacon wrapped sausage appetizers.

Here we have the Mushroom plate.  

First up is my Mom's stuffed mushroom recipe and her rye bread snacks, which also have a small amount of mushroom in them.  Both of these items have been on the Christmas menu since we started doing this appetizer style meal years ago.  They're one of those items that we all insist on reprising every year.  This year I was supposed to make the stuffed mushrooms, but Mom's recipe ended up being put together by my Brother-in-Law since the makings of that recipe were one of several which were left at my house accidentally.  He did a great job with them considering we realized I got the wrong kind of Parmesan.  The greener of the stuffed mushrooms are Walnut and Spinach Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms from Foods for Long Life.  That recipe was a new one for me.  I've always wanted to add in a raw vegan option for us to try out.  I finally made it this year.  Except, I didn't have time to dehydrate the mushrooms, so they ended up getting lightly baked anyways.  They were a hit in any case, but I sure would like to try them out as they were made to be eaten sometime.  The little white bread appetizers are my sister's mushroom canapés.  If I remember correctly there's mushroom, mayo, and fried onions mixed together on that bread.  

On this next plate we have the Pumpkin Pie Wontons from and Pear & Brie Tart from Beantown Prepster.
Those Pumpkin Pie Wontons were also made by my Brother-in-Law as yet another pre-prepped dish forgotten at my place, but it as it turned out, his were better than mine!  I actually made the Pear & Brie Tart, which was just Divine!  That recipe was a first for me and I was a little nervous about how it was going to work since I've never really worked with phyllo dough much, but it was very easy to put together and it tasted wonderful!  If you click on the link, there is mention of Philly Cream Cheese for the herbed cheese.  I used Boursin cheese because I never saw any such garlic herb Philly Cream Cheese.  But Boursin cheese is made like Neufchatel, which is fancy cream cheese, so it's the same thing.

I had one other item that didn't make it out to the table setting this year.  My Sweet Potato version of Perfect Parsnips from the Good Mood Food Blog.  These were another example of a pre-prepped food that was left at home, so we hurridly tried to replace them.  Unfortunately, I didn't put enough oil on them during the baking process, so they were too flour-ey.  Then after I added the oil, the cheese started over cooking, so the potatoes didn't ever crisp up.  But they tasted ok mushy, so we all snacked on them as we were cooking everything else.  By the time we were ready to put the last food on the table there wasn't even enough of the potatoes to put out.

For Christmas gifts, the adults in the family draw names for gift giving.  But we go all out for the kids.  Since my niece is the only girl child in the family, I've been making her fun costumes or purses or accessories every year for a while now.  I really enjoy it.  This year she asked for Renaissance Faire garb so she can be in costume for Scarborough Faire.  Her little brother also asked for garb as well, but he's still little enough that I think he forgot and would really rather have toys when it comes down to it.  I still made him garb.

Here they are in their new Rennie fashions:

I made my niece's dress from my tried and true Tudor Tailor patterning book.  This is actually the pattern I've used for most of my own garb.  It's simple and easy and can be worn under more embellished looks or alone.  I made it a little big so she has room to grow.  It laces on the sides and in the back and the shoulder straps are  loosely stitched so they can be adjusted as well.  The skirt is a separate piece for mixing and matching as well as full adjustment.

My nephew got a basic Tudor shirt with a collar and basic straight legged pants.  There's going to be a doublet later to fancy it up a bit.  I have all kinds of great fabric to dress him in, but since this was the first thing I made for him, I wanted to make sure I had basics first.  He should be able to grow in that shirt and the pant legs have several inches of hem to give.  Plus if he stays thin he can wear the pants as highwaters and wear cool socks with them.

I hope all of you had a great Christmas and have a Happy and Save New Year!


Sandra said...

Wow!!!! This is awesome. So you all enjoyed your Christmas a lot.

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