Friends and family. Holiday treats. Red-nosed reindeer. For me, that's what Christmas is all about!
My friend Jerry lives in Paris and once a year he comes home for the holidays. His visit was a welcome time, full of catching up, a little shopping and lots of fun.
There's always a snafu or two or three during the holidays. My most recent one deserves sharing. I rarely sift flour when baking cookies (unless absolutely necessary). So, when making what looked like a fabulous new ginger cookie recipe, I proceeded to dump in my three cups of King Arthur flour from a brand new bag (expiration date sometime in 2025) into my recipe and beat it up.
Then I noticed these.... white shards, thin -- like plaster. Some were larger, some broken up by the mixer. I had no idea how they got there. Could they have possibly got into the bowl (which I would have sworn was clean) from having my ceiling fixed the month before?
So, I tossed the dough. (I'll try the recipe again because they look great!)
I still needed to make cookies for the kidlets to decorate -- but this time, I sifted the flour -- and in just the first cup of flour, I found this. (And this is just a sampling -- there was much more!)
Needless to say, now that the holidays are over, I'll be taking up this issue with the King's customer service folk. My words of wisdom from this? If you have King Arthur flour, sift it! I'm sure I'm not the only one who found this.
Cookies completed, it was off to spend Christmas with the kids. We would spend three nights, and return home on Christmas morning after breakfast. Kevin is a fabulous cook and we ate well. Rick did his part (with some assistance in measuring), making pizza dough for our lunch pizza.
Ever since the big boys were kids, we have done cookie decorating on Christmas Eve. The schedule has changed a bit and the big guys dropped out, but the little guys were into it! I'm not sure I would have eaten any of the Camster's cookies -- I think that frosting-loaded finger got a work out and that the spreading knife was in his mouth as much as it was spreading frosting!
Meanwhile, Big Brother was more deliberate!
In any event, our cookies were delicious (and no shards of plaster!).
Lots of smiles!
I think we were a little less successful with building the Oreo train (from a kit). It looked more like a train wreck.
Our weather was unseasonably warm -- in the 50s. As darkness fell, the boys took cookies to the neighbor, dressed in their Christmas lights!
I mentioned that Kevin is an amazing cook and his dinner didn't disappoint -- grilled steaks with a wonderful sauce, crispy potatoes and asparagus. Those who preferred chicken nuggets didn't know what they were missing!
Our Christmas morning was on Christmas Eve (technically). We started out with opening presents.
This one might have been the hit of the morning -- the indoor snowball fight kit. We all participated (one had to -- when a soft snowball is chucked at you by a five-year old or his brother, you have to throw it back!) Highly recommended for all ages!
And then a lovely breakfast at a lovely table!
I would be remiss not to mention Waffles, the most patient cat in the world! I know he is Gypsy, living his next best life!
We took off on Christmas morning after breakfast. It was a warm morning (this is SO not Michigan -- last year we drove home in the aftermath of an ice storm, which was a harrowing ride.
We passed through the area where this fall's tornado did severe damage.
My visual lesson from this? You hear the tornado warning, you get low!
I am not bonding well with flour this season. At home we decided on an easy dinner -- scalloped potatoes with ham, one of my specialties. I'm not sure if I was overly tired or just spacy, but I forgot to put in the layer of flour between each layer of potatoes and ham. When I went to check on it -- theoretically 15 minutes before it was to be done, what I saw was akin to potato soup. We sort of rescued it with a flour slurry, but I can't say we were racing to enjoy the leftovers! At least the table looked pretty.
Several years ago, Panoply blogger Rita sent this glorious tablecloth and napkins. It looked wonderful with my mom's Spode dishes, silver and crystal.
Rick and I opened our own presents to each other -- with an audience!
Our holiday isn't over -- we have one more fun Christmas event with friends (more on that later) and I suspect more than a few more jollies before festivities end. Meanwhile, I leave you with some smiling faces!
I hope that during the rest of this winter holiday season you are merry and bright. And mellow. And relaxed.
Well, at least some of the above! (Have a cookie!)