The holiday season is officially over, so let’s take a look back at all of the festive feasts and holiday baking we enjoyed, starting with Thanksgiving. I think the turkey turned out especially well this time around!
We had our “pick out dinner” on Christmas Day:
And our “fancy” Christmas dinner two days later. I never want to prepare a beef tenderloin any other way!
On New Year’s Eve, we had our traditional hot chocolate bar, but we made it fancy, with the addition of homemade hot chocolate bombs!
And on New Year’s Day, we had our traditional pork tenderloin, with an untraditional (for us) side of twice-baked potatoes:
On to the baking. Of course there were pies (seven!) for Thanksgiving:
We made five types of German Christmas cookies in Christmas School:
And another ten types of Christmas cookies besides!
There were eight different cakes throughout the season:
And some other various treats including Christmas cracker candy and lussekattes:
This was a fun and delicious season, but now the kitchen is closed!
“Fast away, the old year passes Fa la la la la, la la la la Hail the new, ye lads and lasses”
Can you believe it’s already 2023? 2022 (for the most part) just zoomed right by! Here’s a look at how we celebrated New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day this time around.
I like a theme, so we started the day yesterday with hot chocolate rolls:
We spent a lot of the day decorating sugar and gingerbread cookies. Mickey Mouse shapes were very popular this year!
I also (finally!) made eggnog:
We decided that 2022 deserved one more Disney Dinner, so I made one of our favorite recipes from Delicious Disney, Monte Cristo sandwiches:
After Apollo 13, we had our traditional hot chocolate bar, with the addition of hot chocolate bombs that Ladybug and I made!
Another new addition was hot chocolate Chex mix:
My only motivation to stay up until midnight is ringing in the New Year on my Animal Crossing island, and I made it!
New Year’s Day is the perfect excuse to wear something sparkly, am I right?
Of course we started the year with a special dinner, so I set the table with the china again, and this time, I learned a new napkin fold to make things a little fancier!
Pork tenderloin is a fairly traditional New Year’s Day main course here, although I did prepare it differently this time. I also made twice-baked potatoes, roast carrots and parsnips, and for the first time, spiced apple rings, since you apparently can’t buy them in a jar anymore.
It was delicious, and not as much work as Christmas dinner (and way, way less work than Thanksgiving!).
For dessert I made a hot chocolate cake, complete with homemade marshmallow creme (I told you I like a theme!).
So that’s how we said goodbye to 2022 and hello to 2023…and now I’m looking forward to giving the kitchen a bit of a break!
Our celebration started, as always, on Christmas Eve, with Christmas Crunch for breakfast:
I played Animal Crossing early, because I knew that might be my only opportunity to deliver gifts for Jingle and say “Merry Christmas” to Roald:
The Fab Five completed this year’s Advent project, the Lego Disney Castle.
Speaking of Disney, Ladybug and I made red velvet Mickey Mouse waffles for lunch:
And then we went to church. It was quite early for us…3 p.m. It was definitely different to go to Christmas Eve church when it was still so bright out!
It was even bright when we stopped to see the city of St. Louis Christmas tree after church…but that made it easier to see the snow on the ground. We finally had a white (and very cold) Christmas!
It was also still pretty bright when we drove through the Way of Lights, but after all these years, it was kind of cool to see it in a different way:
I took lots of pictures when we got home:
And we enjoyed some cake:
We played a couple games of Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries. I suffered one of my greatest losses of all-time in the first game!
The theme for this year’s Christmas jammies was (surprise, surprise) Mickey Mouse:
I still always set up the Little People nativity scene before bed:
We almost kind of got to sleep in on Christmas Day…but just barely. Stockings were the first order of business:
And then our traditional Christmas morning coffee cake:
And then we headed back to church for the Christmas Day service.
We found time for a nice family photo:
After we got home, we opened presents.
And then I got to work putting together the “pick out dinner.”
I was once again very pleased with how my charcuterie board turned out!
It’s such a fun and delicious meal!
We had another little reminder of our vacation when I burned the Christmas candle we picked up at Disney Springs:
Yesterday was a pretty quiet day because we waited for today for our fancy Christmas dinner. The table looked especially nice with our (kind of) new glasses added to the place settings:
For dinner, I made a beef tenderloin, which turned out beautifully. We also had sautéed mushrooms, hasselback potatoes, roast Brussel sprouts with a balsamic glaze and dried cranberries, our favorite cherry Jell-O, and rolls:
It was delicious and elegant!
For dessert I made a pair of yule logs. I tried a new recipe for a red and green variety, which was delicious, but not as pretty as I wanted it to be. I also made a favorite gingerbread variety, which was delicious and pretty!
The whole season of Advent went by quite quickly, and so has the beginning of the Christmas season, but I’m looking forward to making the most of the days ahead!
Time for a look back at our family’s Thanksgiving celebration, a three-day affair that always begins with Pie Day (Wednesday), and continues on through Black Friday.
On Thanksgiving morning, we watched the Macy’s Parade (which just wasn’t the same without Al Roker), and in between dinner preparations, I played a bit of Animal Crossing:
While we watched the Dog Show (we were thrilled that the adorable French Bulldog, Winston, won!), I got to work setting the table:
Instead of using a mix of stemmed glasses, this year, I set the table with our “regular” drinking glasses, which I purchased over the summer. They look pretty fancy, even though we use them everyday!
Dinner was ready earlier than I was expecting (I’m glad I checked the turkey when I did, because the pop-up timer, which I never use, had already popped), and I scrambled to get it all together. Our meal was fairly standard, with turkey and everyone’s favorite stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, carrots and parsnips, green beans with almonds, Brussels sprouts, and rolls, plus one new dish, made with wild rice and mushrooms, that I really liked!
I think it was a pretty amazing feast!
For dessert, we had our standard seven pies, most of which were our usual picks, but I did make one new recipe for a cranberry curd tart with a shortbread crust:
I chose the two main Thanksgiving flavors, pumpkin and cranberry, for my dessert plate:
The next morning, we started the day with pie-for-breakfast…this time, I chose Nutella:
Then we went to see Moose march with his band in the town Santa parade:
Nothing beats a turkey sandwich on Rye bread for the after-Thanksgiving lunch!
I also tried the pecan pie…I updated my recipe, and I just had to see for myself how it turned out (really, really well, if you’re interested!):
This year’s Lego Winter Village set is an adorable Main Street complete with a streetcar:
For dinner, I made turkey soup (of course):
And then Moose, Chickadee, and I went downtown for the tree lighting:
Can you stand one more look back at the holiday season? I hope so, because it’s time to wrap-up all of the festive feasts and baked goods I prepared from Thanksgiving through Epiphany!
Our Thanksgiving dinner was fairly standard, although I did make a second kind of stuffing, and instead of just roasted carrots, I made a blend of roasted winter vegetables (which did include carrots):
Our pick-out dinner is always my favorite meal of the year, and I thought it was extra special with the full charcuterie board I prepared:
Our fancy Christmas dinner (which we had on the Sunday after Christmas) featured beef Wellington:
Our New Year’s Eve hot chocolate bar looked a little different this year, but it was still delicious!
Pork tenderloin is becoming something of a tradition on New Year’s Day:
And finally, our most recent “festive feast,” Ryan’s birthday dinner last week:
I made ten pies over the holidays (with a lot of help from the girls):
We baked more cookies than I can count, including several new varieties, my favorite of which was the Linzer Augen:
“Only” six cakes this time around (do Yule logs count as cakes?):
And some other assorted treats, including my first attempt at cannoli and gingerbread Oreo truffles:
It’s not like I’m going to stop cooking anytime soon, because we still need to eat, but I’m looking forward to planning some simpler meals for a bit!
How lucky are we that we have Ryan’s birthday to celebrate so early in the year every year?!? Since his birthday also falls on Epiphany, it’s always a double celebration, as we have our last holiday meal of the festive season, too!
He picked chili for his birthday dinner last night, with all the fixin’s, plus fry bread, which everybody loves.
For his birthday cake, Ladybug and I tried a new recipe from The Ultimate Final Fantasy XIV Cookbook for a “Chocobo Cake” which I can assure you was made with no actual chocobos. It was a vanilla-cardamom cake soaked in a lemon syrup and filled with strawberries and topped with vanilla whipped cream. It was very delicious!
I always feel like we’ve gotten the year off to a good start once we’ve had a birthday celebration!
Already it’s the second day of 2022! Here’s a look back at our New Year celebrations.
I found some hot cocoa rolls with marshmallow frosting for breakfast on New Year’s Eve…I thought it was the perfect way to start a day that features a hot chocolate bar!
We had pizza for dinner…I don’t know that we ever have the same thing two years in a row on New Year’s Eve!
After our annual viewing of Apollo 13, I set up our hot chocolate bar. Things were a little different this year due to various shortages…I couldn’t find speciality hot chocolate or peppermint candy canes (which I hear became very difficult to find this year), but we did have several other flavors (mint chocolate, raspberry, and wintergreen), and three kinds of whipped cream (regular, chocolate, and peppermint).
I did manage to stay up until midnight, but only so I could ring in the New Year on my island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
We had what is a fairly common dinner for us on New Year’s Day, starring pork tenderloin.
Chickadee helped me make dessert, featuring two different recipes from the My Little Pony BakingBook she received for Christmas:
After what was a very strange and low-key Christmas last year, this year’s three-day Christmas celebration was closer to the normal we remember. We started the day on Christmas Eve by forgetting to eat the Christmas Crunch I had been saving specifically for that day. The Fab Five (specifically Turkey) finished building the Lego Millennium Falcon in the morning:
I found some time to play Animal Crossing and deliver gifts to all my neighbors:
We enjoyed Portillo’s for an early dinner before church:
And we got to go to church inside this Christmas Eve!
On the way home, we stopped to see the city of St. Louis Christmas tree and drove through the Way of Lights:
Of course I took pictures when we got home!
We lit the Advent wreath and had birthday cake:
And the Fab Five received their yearly gift of Christmas jammies…this year’s theme was gnomes!
I filled the stockings and made sure the tree and nativity scene were just right before I went to bed:
On Christmas Day morning we had our traditional Christmas coffee cake, plus the previously-forgotten Christmas Crunch:
We got to go to church on Christmas Day this year!
And I even had a chance to take a picture of the Fab Five without their masks before the service because we arrived so early and there was hardly anybody else there yet:
We opened presents after we got home:
And had the best meal of the year, the “pick out dinner.”
There were old favorites and a few new items:
I think the star of the meal, though, was the charcuterie board I put together, featuring salame roses:
Seriously, it’s the most delicious dinner ever!
And this morning, we were back at church, and again we had an opportunity to take a mask-free picture, this time of the whole family!
Tonight we had our fancy Christmas dinner, featuring beef Wellington:
It was also a delicious dinner (but not as good as the pick out dinner!).
For dessert I made both a gingerbread Yule log with sugared cranberries and a more traditional chocolate variety:
So this Christmas was still a little different, but more familiar than last year. I’m so grateful we had more opportunities for worship this year, and the ability to have family visit. Maybe next Christmas will be more normal still!
Time for a look at our annual three-day-long Thanksgiving celebration, beginning with a beautiful sunrise on Wednesday morning, which gave me encouragement to bake nine pies, prep two different kinds of stuffing, and make the cranberry sauce.
On Thanksgiving Day, we had fun watching the Macy’s Parade and playing Thanksgiving Day Parade Bingo, picking our favorite dogs at the National Dog Show, and playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Of course, there was dinner to attend to, as well. I thought the table looked extra pretty this year…maybe that’s because we had guests to set it for!
The menu was a mix of old and new. I made our traditional stuffing to go with the turkey, but also a new recipe for everything bagel stuffing. I also tried a new roasted winter vegetable dish to go alongside our usual green beans with almonds. Of course we also had mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, and cranberry sauce:
It made a very pretty plate!
For dessert, all of the pies. Sadly, the pie I was most looking forward to trying, cranberry custard, didn’t set right, so even though it looked pretty, it didn’t come out right at all. I guess that’s the risk you run when you try a new recipe on a holiday!
This morning started with one of our favorite traditions of pie for breakfast.
I was very happy to get to go see Moose march in our town’s Santa Parade for the first time since 2019, and for the first time with the high school marching band! We honestly weren’t planning on staying for the whole thing since his group was near the beginning, but it was fun as well as short, so we ended up seeing it all!
I enjoyed having a place to wear one of my new Erstwilder Christmas brooches:
Turkey sandwiches for lunch are another great thing about the day after Thanksgiving!
And more pie:
We built the annual addition to our Lego winter village:
And had turkey soup for dinner:
After dinner, some of us went back downtown for the tree lighting and community sing:
And more pie for dessert when we got back home:
There you have it. It was a mostly normal holiday, and it was good to do things that felt familiar again!
I often take a look back at the holiday baking I did from Thanksgiving through Epiphany; this year, I thought it would be fun to look back at all of the holiday meals and treats we’ve enjoyed, starting with Thanksgiving dinner:
We had our pick out dinner on Christmas Day this time:
And our fancy Christmas dinner on the Sunday after Christmas:
Of course we had our traditional New Year’s Eve hot chocolate bar:
And a special New Year’s Day dinner to start the new year right:
And finally, our Ryan’s Birthday/Epiphany feast:
On to the baking. There were pies for Thanksgiving:
And several cakes throughout the season, for St. Nicholas Day, Santa Lucia Day, Jesus’ Birthday, the fancy Christmas dinner, and New Year’s Day: