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!
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:
Today, as is our tradition the day before Thanksgiving, we made pies. Seven of them this year, which honestly seemed like nothing after the nine we made in 2021! Most of our creations were old favorites…Nutella, pumpkin, caramel apple, pecan, butterscotch, and s’mores:
The one new addition this year isn’t even technically a pie…I made a tart for the first time. A cranberry curd tart with a shortbread crust. I’m hoping it’s as delicious as it looks!
I’m really looking forward to enjoying the fruits of our labor tomorrow!
This week has been more…complicated than I expected. It started out pretty well, with a day off on Monday so we could see Moose march in the town Labor Day parade. And then on Tuesday, we had a field trip day to the Missouri History Museum (for the first time in almost three years!), to see the new Coloring STL exhibit. We had a really great time…how often are you encouraged to color on the walls of a museum?!?
Even I made a small contribution, because I found something mid-century marvelous!
On Wednesday, we got back to our regular work. Ladybug reviewed radicals in algebra 2. She began Act III of Romeo and Juliet. She learned about mixtures and compounds in chemistry. In history, she read about Flavius Theodosius and the Roman Catholic Church. Her creative writing course had her rewriting sentences to make them more interesting and less repetitive. We continued reading The Fellowship of the Ring, and baked Barliman Butternut’s Blackberry Pie, which was delicious!
Chickadee reviewed calculating area and perimeter in math. In science, she continued learning about order Carnivora by starting a chapter on bears. In history, she read a brief history of the Jewish people, focusing on Abraham and Joseph. She learned how to add adjectives to a sentence diagram in grammar. We continued reading Heidi, and to my relief, we have almost reached the part where she gets to go home to the mountains.
On Thursday, our school day was interrupted by the developing news in the United Kingdom, and we spent most of our day watching the BBC. Today, I decided we should continue to focus on the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, so we watched The King’s Speech and some of our royal documentaries. Hopefully, next week we’ll have a little more success staying on task!
Today we wrapped up the first-ever Markel Family Tour di Pizza!
Last year, we came up with an idea to try lots of different styles of pizza from places we don’t normally frequent. We decided the perfect day to start this event was on MAR10 Day (March 10), and we decided to kick it off with Jet’s Detroit-style pizza, which was delicious!
On Friday I made Chicago-style pizza, since there’s just no place around here that makes it as well as I do. This was definitely the most familiar item on our list, but you can’t have a Tour di Pizza without stopping in the Windy City!
On Saturday we had the craziest day of our experiment with California-style take and bake pizzas from California Pizza Kitchen. Their pizzas are pretty small, so we tried three varieties…the ever-controversial Hawaiian, shrimp scampi, and California Club. Even though they were unusual as far as pizzas go, they were all delicious (although the shrimp scampi variety did fall apart a bit in the oven!).
Since I had some time on Saturday, I made the perfect dessert to accompany pizza…cannoli! I don’t think I could have made them any better…the shells were perfectly flaky and crispy, and my work to thoroughly drain the ricotta paid off, making the filing just right!!!
Yesterday we tried New York-style pizza from Papa John’s. I don’t know if it’s because I have a bias against New York-style pizza as someone who grew up in Chicagoland, or it’s just that Papa John’s isn’t my thing, but this was my least favorite pizza of the event.
We wrapped up our Tour di Pizza today, 314 Day, with St. Louis-style pizza from the hometown favorite, Imo’s. I’m not going to lie…this generally isn’t my favorite type of pizza (it’s a crust thing…I like something with more substance than a Saltine), but I do really like that they use provel cheese, and it’s not so bad for a special occasion!
Since today was also Pi Day (convenient that we could have pizza pies for dinner, don’t you think?), I made pies for dessert to cap off our dinner event…s’mores and chocolate hazelnut, with decorations courtesy of Bunny:
This was a really fun, silly thing to do for a few days, and it also gave me a break from making dinner for a few nights, which was really nice!
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!
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!
That one day of the year when the kitchen turns into a bakery is here! This year I made nine pies, and I even tried a new recipe! I also worked a bit at making my crusts look prettier, with some mixed results…pie crust is just not something I’m good at.
Here’s the rundown:
It’s going to be hard to wait until tomorrow to dig in!