merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
For my own reference, because some of these recipes were fucking awesome.

Assorted holiday sweets

Brown butter rice krispie treats made with organic chocolate krispies OMG
Gingerbread cupcakes - Vicki's mom's recipe
Cinnamon roll cupcakes
Homemade granola bars made with dried cherries and almonds
Salted pretzel chocolate toffee
Cranberry orange pecan bread - if making mini loaves, be aware they bake damn near as long as full size ones

Xmas eve - simple chicken and dumplings.
Melt 1 T butter and a good glug of grapeseed oil in a large dutch oven. Sweat 12 oz of sliced mushrooms until brown around edges. Remove to bowl. Add same amounts of fat, then sweat a couple cups of mirepoix (carrot/celery/onion) until softened. Add mushrooms back. Add a splut of chopped garlic and whatever herbs (some thyme, rosemary, and marjoram are nice) and stir for 30 seconds or so. Dump in 8 C of chicken or veg broth and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Dump in 1 lb of chopped raw chicken and a cup or so of frozen peas. Add a little salt and a sizeable dash of pepper. Bring to boil. While waiting, make a double batch of Bisquick dumplings, livening them up with 1/4 t curry powder and a couple teaspoons of rosemary. Drop in by soup spoonfuls. Boil for 10 mins with the lid on, 10 mins with the lid off. 

Xmas day - Keep it simple ham dinner.
Green salad with carrot (do with peeler), grape tomatoes, spiced pecans, and orange-rosemary dressing (made with orange white balsamic vinegar, fresh OJ and zest, garlic, and a pinch of coriander)  (I meant to add dried cranberries and pear slices but forgot)
Ham with Guinness glaze
Green bean and bacon bundles, which E will make because it's His Thing now
Asiago sage scalloped potatoes
Rolls
Chocolate bread pudding
Mint chocolate fudge topped with crushed peppermints

New Year's Day

Simple black-eyed peas - In a medium saucepan heat a tablespoon or so of butter over medium low heat. Sweat half a large onion, chopped, until soft. Add thyme and pepper and stir until fragrant. Dump in two cans of good-quality black-eyed peas, one drained, one not. Stir to combine. Heat through. Add season salt to taste.
The Kitchenista's freaking delicious greens, made with collards, kale, and ham shanks because HEB didn't have hocks, WTF
Corn muffins

merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
Awesome things about my last day and a half:

- I am in New Orleans with my honeybunch to continue celebrating our anniversary and because holy crap we needed a break

- We got a nice deal at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, a super-schmancy and very conveniently located hotel which, it turns out, offers outstandingly warm, friendly, and competent service. They are taking excellent care of us.

- I surprised him with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries on arrival :)

- One thing for which I am deeply grateful after two straight years of WTF stratospheric stress level is our financial well-being. Money does not buy happiness, but it damn sure greases wheels. We're taking this really decadent trip without worrying about what anything costs, and that is a tremendous privilege.

- OMFG New Orleans French bread is fucking amazing

- Said bread is excellent with tasty shrimp and okra gumbo

- Said bread makes the best goddamn bread pudding I have ever eaten

- We listened to jazz and drank expensive but perfect drinks at our hotel lounge. The boy had a hurricane, I had a Pimm's cup. Ahhh, fruity booze and boozy fruit.

- The boy had never had eggs Benedict until he had them for breakfast from room service this morning (!!!), after which he said, "So basically, an egg McMuffin is a hideous desecration of this dish." I couldn't really argue.

- The aforementioned bread makes fucking amazing French toast

- The aforementioned hotel is six pleasant blocks of walking from Jackson Square

- There was - I'm completely fucking serious - a guy in Jackson Square dressed up like Prowl, the Transformer police car. And he could actually transform and roll around on four wheels. That guy fucking rocks.

- There were many mediocre and some amazing artists displaying their wares in the square. We bought a painting of a silhouette of a jazz combo, done on recycled slate, from the artist himself. I love handing the money to the person who made the object.

- There is a charming toy store nearby. I bought some NOLA-themed children's books for the kiddos in my life.

- We took a half-hour mule cart tour of the French Quarter with Charlie, the tour guide, and Sugar Daddy, the mule. We saw a bunch of stuff and heard some fun stories about pirates and movies and voodoo queens and other NOLA-y things.

more decadence behind the cut )

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merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
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February 2016

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