Christmas 2010 is Over, But Won’t Soon Be Forgotten

I hope everyone out there had a Merry Christmas.  I’m still in a bit of shock that it is now gone for yet another year.  I always feel a little sad after Christmas, the holiday season is mostly over (I hold onto it until New Years)… drab bleary winter is still ahead for at least another 2 months until it starts showing some signs of spring and all the anticipation is gone and the magic of the season quickly fades.  I feel so joyful this year to have actually enjoyed Christmas once again this year and felt much more like my normal old self than a couple Christmases past.

On the 23rd I went on a spree of making sweets, knowing damned well I didn’t much want them in my house nor to eat them (I’ve gained no weight this holiday season, but that has probably changed now lol) but I enjoy making things, just the process of doing it.  I have of course since consumed some of it.

I made:

candy coated pretzels

  • These simply consist of pretzels coated in white candy bark and then sprinkled with your choice of sprinkles, candy, etc.

 

 

Truffles, which are such a PITA to shape.

  • 14oz dark chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (you know what, I think I forgot the butter in mine, doh!  Probably explained some of the excess stickiness)
  • Bring cream to boil, pour over chocolate and butter and stir until melted & combined
  • Refrigerate until hard enough to roll into balls
  • Use a teaspoon size scoop to form balls, place on parchment paper and then return to fridge for an hour or so to let harden
  • Then you can do whatever you want with them, coat them in chocolate, cocoa powder, nuts, sprinkles, etc

 

 

Buckeyes

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1.5 cups of peanut butter
  • 5.5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • chocolate for dipping (I used one regular bag of chocolate chips)
  • Melt butter in pan and simmer until it becomes a light brown color.  Pour butter in mixing bowl with peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Combine into a smooth dough.  Form small balls.  Freeze until firm.  Melt chocolate, and then using a toothpick or skewer, insert into peanut butter ball and dip until chocolate. Freeze or refrigerate until chocolate is firm.

 

 

Baklava, which I was quite proud of since this is the first time I have ever attempted it.  I would make a few changes if I make it again, but overall it was quite delish.  And phyllo dough is not as difficult to work with as everybody likes to make it seem.

  • 1 lb walnuts
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (I only used 1)
  • 1 lb phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1″ strip of lemon zest
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • Make the syrup (ingredients for it start at 1 cups of sugar).  Combine all the ingredients of low-medium heat, stirring often let sugar dissolve and let simmer for 10 minutes or so.
  • Chop nuts finely in food processor, combine with cinnamon and salt.  Melt butter.  Brush baking dish with butter and then one sheet at a time start laying out your dough, brushing with butter inbetween each layer.  I did a total of 8 layers of dough, then added about 1/3 of my nuts and layered like this until I finished off with 8 sheets of dough at the top.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut into squares or diamonds.  Bake (covered or else your risk burning the top layer of your dough) at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.  You can uncover the last 5-10 minutes for a nice golden brown top.
  • Remove from oven, drizzle syrup over baklava.  Allow for the syrup to soak in for several hours or even better overnight before serving.

 

 

Oreo fudge, which is the definition of NOM NOM NOM

  • 18 oz white chocolate
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 pkg oreos
  • Melt white chocolate and milk together.  Crush oreos and combine.  Spread into pan, let harden in fridge and then cut into squares.

This was the damage by the time I got done

Plus the whole beautiful pan of sticky baklava 

I attempted to give away as much of it as possible on Christmas Eve but still came home with a ton of sugary fattening goodness.  Clearly I need more friends to pawn it off on lol

On Christmas Eve we went to my sister’s house.  It was a nice celebration for the most part.  Of course the biggest thrill was watching Tristin experience Christmas this year.  It was an utter delight.  Last year he was just 6 months old and pretty unimpressed with the whole concept of Christmas.  He would just stare at the toys a bit baffled and scream at the wrapping paper.  Of course this year is completely different.  He’s his own person with so much personality (except I can say even when he was 3 weeks old he had so much personality for such a wee little blob).

We Christmas Eve dinner which consisted of ham and a few sides.  And so much dessert and candy that I’m surprised now one left with diabetes =P

Nacho was there as well to enjoy Christmas Eve with us

Naturally, the best part of watching people open gifts was watching Tristin open gifts.  He was the star of the show.  He’s so much fun now.  Last year I admit I felt a bit resentful that the entire Christmas deal was spent staring at Tristin, mostly because like I said, he didn’t care it was Christmas!  So instead it felt like everyone sat around in silence staring at a baby who was none too impressed.  This year it is so fun to have a little person to interact with!  (I also admit, although I have to cuddle little babies, it is definitely not my favorite age of children.  About 9 months and up I find them awesome, anything younger than that are a wee bit frustrating at times lol)  He loved opening his presents and got so excited about everything.  But I must say that apparently my gifts were the winner.  He was enamored with his toy animals and I don’t know how I missed it because Potsy was apparently the best gift of all.  I don’t have a picture of him with Potsy but after presents were all unwrapped he probably played with Potsy for a good hour or so non stop, stirring, putting the ‘ingredients’ in the pot, pretending he was eating from the pot.. it was so cute!

Overall everybody seemed to enjoy their gifts.  Well… there was the case of my brother… who didn’t seem too thrilled with the fact that I got him a print from his guitar shoot but this is mostly because he hates any photo of himself that doesn’t contain him looking deranged.  In retrospect,  I knew this and should have spent the money on something else for him, but whatever.  He also got a lava lamp and Ki went out and got him a whole other gift as well besides the lava lamp and prints.

My mother ended up leaving early, but we stayed as well as my brother and hung out, chatting and playing with Tristin.

When we got home on Christmas Eve, for the first time in a long while I felt like a kid.  I’m convinced it probably had to do with being around an actual kid.  I suddenly realized how much magic and joy children bring to Christmas with their energy and excitement.  It makes me really look forward to having kids someday.  I was almost too excited for Christmas morning to sleep.  But eventually we went to bed and slept in the next morning.

Ki and I always spoil each other on Christmas.  I guess it is one of the things you get to do when you’re a married couple without any kids yet.  We were useless this year in taking pics during Christmas day though.  I got a lot of awesome stuff but my favorite gifts was a new lens, a Canon 55-250mm 4-5.6 Telephoto zoom lens. It isn’t my dream zoom lens but it is good enough to get me by for now and I think I will enjoy some outdoor shooting again more with this.  And 2nd favorite gift was a pair of sparkly glittery stilettos.

It was a great Christmas for so many reasons.  Instead of lamenting that it is all over, I am trying to look forward to 2011 and believe that it will be a fantastic year!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. JohnSherck
    Dec 27, 2010 @ 15:58:49

    Thanks for sharing all of those delicious-sounding recipes! New Year’s resolutions may prevent me from trying any of them for a while, but I’ve filed several of them away for later use!

    My daughter was almost 1 this year, so she’s sort of the mid-point between where your Tristin was last year and where he is this year. She doesn’t really get it yet, but she likes to rip the paper and crumple it up. It was a thing she could do on command, really, but when she opened her first gift, an Elmo doll, someone said “Aw, give Elmo a kiss” and she leaned over and kissed Elmo. We were all so impressed with her that she gave him two more smooches.

    But mostly she was just happy to play with the wrapping paper! Next year should be a really fun Christmas with her. In any case, happy holidays and happy holidailies to you!

    Reply

    • Raychela
      Dec 28, 2010 @ 10:09:38

      Glad you enjoyed the recipes, do try them when you get a chance! Although I might recommend halving them unless you plan on giving a ton away to avoid the temptation of eating so much of it lol

      Such a sweet story of your daughter and the elmo kisses! She is definitely at the fun age in my book and next year I bet you will really have a blast at Christmas with her.

      Reply

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