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!
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!
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:
We baked so many Christmas cookies!
And an obligatory “other” section, for things like lussekattes, coffee cake, and even some special holiday beverages:
I put in a little extra effort this year, to make up for the fact that we couldn’t go anywhere or do most of our normal Christmas activities. In the end, I think we’ll have a lot of delicious memories from this holiday season!
If there’s anything that didn’t change too much for us this year due to COVID-19, it was Thanksgiving. That’s not to say things weren’t different at all, but we never travel for Thanksgiving, so at least we didn’t miss that, and we don’t always have family over, so while we missed seeing them, it wasn’t necessarily expected either. So, a lot of our three-day Thanksgiving holiday looked pretty much the same, starting with Pie Day on Wednesday, when we baked eight pies (seven for our family, and this year, one to give away).
In the middle of the baking, the children also made their yearly hand-and-footprint turkeys…Turkey and Bunny were kind enough to play along again this year at my request, since it is their last year in my homeschool.
We watched a very different version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning (in the words of Al Roker, it wasn’t the parade we wanted, but it was the parade we needed), which we enjoyed very much because it was something somewhat familiar. The same went for the National Dog Show, which was extra exciting for me this year because the dog I wanted to win actually did! And then we got ready for dinner. One of the best parts of any holiday is setting the table:
And the food. There was a lot of food, even with the turkey mishap we had in the morning (I ended up having to throw out the turkey I had purchased to roast, and we decided to order a second Beast Craft BBQ smoked turkey to ensure we had enough leftovers).
It’s always a pretty-looking dinner!
After clean-up and Holiday Inn, I got out the pies:
I limited myself to trying two kinds. This was my first attempt at lemon meringue pie, and I was very pleased with the results!
I made sure to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and helped Franklin prepare his holiday feast:
The day after Thanksgiving has been pretty different. We didn’t get to see Moose march in our town’s Santa Parade this year, which was disappointing…I’d really come to enjoy that event. And there was no town tree lighting or gingerbread house walk or trolley ride to look forward to after dinner. This morning, though, the family traditions did continue with pie-for-breakfast:
And turkey sandwiches for lunch, which I almost like better than Thanksgiving dinner itself!
Lego building is also part of our day-after-Thanksgiving celebration…I built the free-with-purchase A Christmas Carol set we received:
I always make turkey soup for dinner the day after Thanksgiving:
And after dinner, the Fab Five built a Lego Harry Potter set to add to our Hogwarts setup in the school room.
It wasn’t exactly the Thanksgiving we had planned, but all things considered, we had a very nice family celebration!