Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Eve in Florida

At times it does seem odd to have all the windows open while looking at the Christmas tree and listening to Christmas music. Coming from northern parts, it took a while for me to get used to celebrating without snow! I miss family and friends up north but we have friends here and they become our family for this season. I celebrate Christmas in July with my children and grandchildren up north!

I am ready this year more than any other year that I can remember. We started decorating the house right after Thanksgiving which created a calming effect for me. I enjoyed writing my cards in front of the tree. I baked with music playing in the background. Most of my gifts are homemade or vintage pieces that I am re-gifting so that there was not last minute panic which saved me and my pocketbook! As I wrapped each one, I took my time. The packages look pretty good for someone who is ribbon-challenged. I think the teddy bears I made years ago helped the process along.

There are some wonderful cooks out there in Blogland and this year two recipes were on my menu. Pam of Pam's Midwest Corner shared a recipe this summer for Italian Sausages Roasted with Grapes. We decided to have this for Christmas Eve and we were not disappointed. I served the sausages with creamy polenta but they are wonderful with mashed potatoes. You can print the recipe here. Thank you Pam. You can visit her here.

We started the meal with an Antipasto. I like to try different meats and cheeses. The composition is fun and a light drizzle of good olive oil and the vinegar of your choice complete the presentation. I usually use red wine vinegar but Balsamic is also a good choice.

This year I made individual plates which included Mortadella, Provolone, Milano salami, Piave Fresco (the cubes) and white sardines with marinated olives. I arranged these on a bed of Spring greens.

Then dessert! I have been intrigued by this since Thanksgiving. Another wonderful cooking blog that I follow is Schnitzel and the Trout. Susan shared this recipe for Orange Ice Cream with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pecans. You can see it here. You can visit her blog here. Thank you Susan.

I served the ice cream with Forgotten Cookies and a small bit of Drambuie. There are hundreds of recipes for these cookies. Google and see which you would like to try.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year to you all.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas in the studio

The year we became engaged my parents had a cocktail party to introduce Rich to their friends. My Aunt June (a Christmas diva) came to help my mother decorate. There was a tree in every room and each tree had a theme. I cannot remember them all clearly. In my room was a bride's tree and it was white as I recall. In the bathroom was the Santa tree. My mother saved those decorations in a baggie and I have kept this for many, many years. I meant to do a tree last year but never got around to it but this year it happened.

The baggie contained candy canes, 2 chains of bells and the Santa heads attached to pipe cleaners. I added the paper dolls (never too old for dolls). The tree is from Pottery Barn.

My quilt shop had kits to make these dolls. I like it when everything you need is included so you can come right home and start the project. If I have to drive all over town to gather this and that, I often lose interest in the whole thing! These dolls were ironed to a backing and cut out. I placed them in the tree and on my desk.

The colors are quite seasonal! 

Now it is time for a cup of coffee, looking at the tree and a few last minute cards!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Almost Ready...really.....

 The menu is planned and some of the gifts are wrapped. It is very early in the morning and the house is peaceful. This is my favorite time of the day. The lights are on on the tree and the coffee will be ready in a minute. Jack is still asleep but not for long and another day will start soon. We have errands to do. I remember my parents doing errands. They would take all day and I would just shake my head. Most likely we will be gone a good part of the day!

This time of the year brings back many memories of my childhood and growing up in a little town in New Jersey. As I set the table and decorate the house, I bring out many of the things that belonged to both my grandmother and my mother and I treasure them. You will see them on my Christmas table next week.

This year I have used many recipes from blogging friends. My dinner and dessert will be from 2 wonderful cooks who blog and share. I will write about these recipes next week as well. I wouldn't want to spoil any surprises!

The embroidery machine has been busy and the tea towels that are never to be touched are on display. Even the guest bathroom is ready.

Well, I have really rambled this morning. I need to get out of this chair and get that coffee. I am joining Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for another Pink Saturday. Be sure to stop in and see some wonderful Holiday posts.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Soup, Sandwiches and Cookies.....

 I hope everyone had a good weekend. We spent most of the time in the kitchen! The house is decorated, the Christmas music is organized and there is just a feeling of contentment. I am reminded of growing up in a small New Jersey town. This time of year there was lots of snow and we would go sledding - fearlessly I might add. In those days the street would be closed to all traffic but sledders. 

We would only take a break for lunch. We were rosy cheeked and hungry and my mother would have lunch ready. More often than not there would be a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

I am a huge fan of Ina Garten and her recipes. So that is what we made. You can find the recipe here. We doubled the recipe.

Mom never added basil! Or Creme Fraiche!

After this had cooked for the allotted time, the food mill came out and finished the job. We froze bags of this for future lunches. I don't know about you but I have been disappointed recently in many of the lunches we have in restaurants. This lunch was not a disappointment.

We reheated the soup in the top of a double boiler and then made the grilled cheese sandwiches with extra sharp cheddar.

Lunch was good. Then I made cookies.

You can print recipe here. A neighbor in Maine gave me this recipe years ago. It only makes 3 dozen so they usually all disappeared after school and before supper.

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Enjoying the view.......

 The downstairs is about as decorated as it will be until I set the table for Christmas Eve. We only have one place to eat inside so I wait until closer to the day. I know there are those who don't like to decorate so early but I do for two reasons. I have arthritis and I cannot rush at the last minute without paying serious consequences and Jack and I love sharing this holiday as we both had some very empty ones before we met. I write my blog very early in the morning and was wonderful to come downstairs this morning while it was still dark and turn on the lights on the tree. A cup of coffee and the day started beautifully. Maybe tomorrow I will make cookies!

I was reading Lines from Linderhof the other day and saw her making pomanders. Years ago I made these but had not even thought of them for quite a while. Thank you Martha! Jack sat with a bowl of whole cloves and a knitting needle and I unwrapped the ornaments and put them on the tree.

This year we have a real tree. I am so used to a prelit artificial tree that the lights are not as even as I would have done years ago....There is always next year.

A few years back we saw a wall hanging in my quilt shop and nothing would do but I had to make it.

The wall hanging is done in tiles and then sewn together. It was done on my embroidery machine and has a gazillion stitches and took a long time. Jack nagged me until it was done was a great help with his words of encouragement. The design is by Anita Goodesign. You can see her designs here.

I am joining Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday. This holiday season we can post either pink or holiday.

Happy Pink Saturday!


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