Our Christmas really started on Saturday, December 21, when our friend Jerry came to visit from Paris. After doing some running around, we landed at a comfy place, Rick's house, his tree glowing!
Rick was on cooking duty that night. He makes this terrific Pasta Amatriciana using pancetta. I'm not sure if this is his recipe, but this one from Bon Appetit looks pretty close. To die for.
I spent a lot of time at Rick's the week before Christmas, doing lots of baking! I did more lemon bread and four kinds of cookies at his place. Then I headed home and made Nana Diana's Incredible Peanut Butter Fudge. (This is so easy and so good and it is REALLY dangerous!) Some of the cookie recipes are HERE.
I also made a wonderful nut recipe I've been doing almost since I started blogging. This is a real keeper and it is at the bottom of this post.
I finally had some decent light in the house and got a couple of photos of the living room so one last overview of the decor.
(I wish IKEA still made the red chair cover. Maybe I can find it online. Lizzie loves it as a scratching place. She has loved it too much so now it just comes out at the holiday. On my last visit I bought the gray and another beige one!
And the big tree. Most of the presents under that one were headed for our family Christmas the next day!
I finally had to pull the orchids and roses from the flower arrangement I did HERE and added some holiday bling.
One of the first bloggers I "met" online (and actually, in person!) was Anno, who stopped blogging in 2011 and just a few days ago put up a new post, featuring her favorite books of the year! (I was SO thrilled to see her back!) But I never stopped making her spiced nuts, which I named Anno Nuevo New Year's Nuts. They're very peppery and a real hit! (And not just for New Year's!)
Anno Nuevo New Year Nuts
- About 4 cups of nuts. I use almonds and pecans and this year macadamia. Anno just used pecans and for a long time I just used almonds. Your call!
- 3/4 c. brown sugar
- Half stick of butter (4 T)
- 4 T. water
- 2 T. fresh ground black pepper
- 2 t. salt
Cover a cookie sheet with foil that is buttered or sprayed with a cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350.
Combine the salt and pepper and put aside.
In skillet heat butter, add the brown sugar and water and when dissolved, add the nuts. Let the nuts go, stirring periodically to be sure all are well covered but not burning. Add half of the pepper mixture and stir. This might be about 10 minutes, maybe less. You are looking for the sugar mixture to thicken and more or less disappear as it covers the nuts.
Turn the hot mixture out onto the cookie sheet and flatten to single layer. Sprinkle the other half of the mixture on top. (Optional -- a light sprinkle of raw turbinado sugar on top will add sweetness. I don't always do it and they are just as good.)
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove foil with nuts from pan to a rack if available or to counter. When fully cool, break apart.
If I'm keeping them for any length of time, I will freeze them but usually they don't last that long. For giving away, I either put them in bags tied with a ribbon or if I have enough, empty Bonne Maman jars (my preferred method) or small canning jars.
~~~~~~~~Then it was time to head out for our Christmas celebrations with the kids. But more on that later!
Lizzie and I hope you are having a wonderful holiday!