Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015

We have been having a wonderful Christmas, and festivities are scheduled to continue through to the New Year. The best part of it is taking time off to spend with family and friends.

One of our gifts was a huge hit: a wookie pajama suit for BroP!
Believe it or not, he had a Chewbacca t-shirt on before he even opened the gift. He hammed it up and sported it for most of the night, certainly giving us a Christmas to remember.

We also got to spend a bunch of time with our sweet NieceM. This was her first Christmas and you could tell she was in aww of this magical time of year. (Amazing photo courtesy of BroJ.)

Even Eva got in the spirit with her Christmas outfit. There was a lot happening, and she didn't appreciate being distracted for pictures.

Christmas Eve also happens to be MomB's birthday! While it is great to all be together every year to celebrate, I always feel a bit bad that it gets overshadowed by Christmas festivities.
I usually make or help make a cake, but this year I wanted to try something a little more special.

I think it took me three hours, and about half the dishes in the cupboards, but I made a Yule Log cake (a.k.a. Buche de Noel). It is actual an old European tradition you can read more about.

This is the Yule Log Cake recipe I used, but I added a chocolate ganache frosting.

The cake doesn't have any flour or leavening ingredients (stuff to make it rise like baking soda, baking powder, or yeast.) Instead it relies on eggs whipped into a stiff meringue and folded into the batter.  This is much more technical than most of the recipes I attempt, but it is a special occasion. It's not difficult but does take a lot of focus, time, and attention.
Overall it actually turned out much better than I expected. It even kind of looks like a log!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas Prep

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas always seem to be a scramble.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to get much of a head start since Dear Husband (DH) came down with the flu just a week after he got his flu shot. It takes about two weeks for your body to build up the antibodies after getting the shot, so he wasn't quite protected from the flu when he came in contact with it.
Thankfully I had gotten my shot a few weeks before DH so I was safe from the flu, but as soon as he got better I came down with a viral infection. Lovely.

Even with a lingering cough, I rallied enough to help decorate for the holiday. Of course Eva helped, as always. Here she was, helping make giant origami Christmas decorations. I really should have taken a picture of them since they were so cool, but here is a link to show you how we did them.

Then she had to inspect our mini Christmas tree... It is real, but I think with the stand and the angel it is maybe 4 feet tall. It is so worth it for the fresh pine smell. (We need one that fits in the trunk of our Honda Civic.)

Thankfully she can't reach the mantle to inspect the "Father Christmas" collection ornaments. This was the last series of ornament that my Nana was sending me when she passed. The series is still going and I make sure to pick up the new one every year.

I was cooking up some home made Christmas presents when DH caught me sneaking some treats to Eva and her boyfriend, Aiden. Hey, apples are a healthy treat!

Best Christmas gift so far? We had an extra vacation day, and DH suggested we take a Friday off to go shopping for gifts. A whole day date with a stop at the Chocolate Cafe? Perfect.